Ponies Of The Eclipse – Queen Chrysalis

For today, thanks to a request that seemed appropriate for Halloween, it’s Queen Chrysalis from My Little Pony; Friendship Is Magic.

Of course, the problem here is that Queen Chrysalis appears in only two episodes, spends most of what little screen time she gets in disguise, and even then is mostly either being rude (and grossly out of character for Candace), singing, or gloating. That means that she only displays a handful of powers, some of which are very plot-specific. What’s more, for a shapeshifting infiltration expert she didn’t do much research on her target. Not knowing about Shining Armor’s sister? Really? Isn’t that like trying to infiltrate Microsoft without being able to recognize Internet Explorer and Microsoft Office?

OK. I’ll assume that Chrysalis is normally a lot more competent than that and was simply in a big rush or something. I think it’s also reasonable to assume that she’s had a rough and adventurous life, that she’s several centuries old, and that she’s a fairly potent mentalist. Still, while Chrysalis is a major villain, in a generally low-level world like Equestria, that doesn’t really imply being of a very high level. Luna’s build only required level eight, and Alzrius built Celestia at level nine. Moreover, Chrysalis had to be hopped up on love to beat Celestia, so level seven seems fair – and she gets the Low-Level Adventurer Template, just like everyone else.

To summarize the low-level adventurer template, those affected get:

  • A -3 penalty on unskilled skill checks.
  • Very slow level advancement, by direct session-based character point awards rather than experience points. Succeeding in goals helps, but killing things and taking their stuff does not.
  • The status of valuable trouble magnets – they’re rare and find trouble everywhere they go.
  • A +3 bonus on five skills which suit their backgrounds and training. Sadly, this cannot be applied to active magical skills.
  • Extra hit points equal to [12 + (2 x Con Mod)].
  • Two minor special talents. For the full list see the Template, for Queen Chrysalis we’ll take Hard Training (Constitution) (a +2 bonus to her constitution) and Enduring (gaining a +1 bonus on saves) – useful, if subtle and unspectacular, bonuses.

To summarize the Changeling Racial Template Modifiers:

  • Quadruped: Changelings lose half their ground movement if they can’t use all four legs and take a -4 penalty on anything requiring two hands.
  • Attribute Shift: -2 Dex, +2 Con
  • Limited Shapeshift: A physical version of Disguise Self. It does not affect clothing or gear. This is not detectable by psionics or magic.
  • Virtual Equipment: Changelings do not need to actually have basic tools, simple melee weapons, mundane light or medium armor, or clothing to gain it’s benefits and/or relevant appearance. As a side effect they are considered proficient with all such “manifested” items.
  • Innate Enchantments (Spell Level One, Caster Level One): Goo Splat, Goo Mastery, Greater Mage Hand, Sustenance, and one other of choice which may be swapped out given a couple of weeks. Innate enchantments stack with external effects.
  • Changelings may buy four skills (Bluff, Disguise, Sense Motive, and Speak Language) for half cost and gain a +4 Racial Bonus to all those skills.
  • Flight, 30′, with perfect maneuverability. Will not function if the user’s wings are entangled, damaged, or otherwise restrained (although, weirdly enough, as long as the user’s wings are free to move, it doesn’t matter if they are actually moving), is subject to dispelling, antimagic, and similar effects, and makes the user magically conspicuous
  • Love Drain 5/Day: As per Bestow Curse – but the target must be experiencing the emotion of Love or Friendship and the effect fades over the next few days whether removed or not. Victims do get a save, but do not notice making it and the “curse” leaves no traces beyond emotional draining. Each time she “feeds” by successfully cursing someone, she gains 3d “love points”. If the qualifying emotion was true romantic love use d12’s, for true friendship or familial love use d8’s, for crushes and abstract love (groups, comic books, whatever) use d6’s, and for casual affection or lust use d4’s. She can store up to (Chr x Con) Love Points. In general, staying alive costs two points a day – one for their innate Sustenance effect, one for simply functioning. If they’re trying to heal up, it’ll cost another one. Changing forms costs one, as does holding a form for a few hours (three for a day). Finally, using their Innate Enchantments other than Sustenance costs one per five minutes or part thereof.
  • Physical and Magical Hysteria. These run on “Love Points” and only work when the user is at at least 80% of their “love capacity”.
  • Changelings do NOT gain the benefit (a constant supply of Mana) of the Superheroic World Template.

Changelings are a +0 ECL Race – but a version of the “Alicorn” part of the “Alicorn Template” seems fairly appropriate; Chrysalis is pretty blatantly a corrupted/evil alicorn.

Changeling Alicorn Template (32 CP / +1 ECL Acquired Template)

  • Metamagical Theorems: Amplify (3 CP), Elemental Manipulation (3 CP), Lacing (3 CP), and Stabilize (3 CP), all Specialized: only usable with love-powered magic, makes the user a primary target, makes you bigger and more conspicuous,
  • Streamline x4, Corrupted, no more than four levels worth of metapsionics in total may be applied to any one power unless the user has fused their powers with another Alicorn, in which case four levels from each Alicorn involved may be applied, Specialized as above (8 CP). Chrysalis has an even distribution of +2 levels worth of each available, up to that maximum total of four.
  • +2 Constitution (12 CP).


There really isn’t much of any information at all available here. Chrysalis is a pretty good singer, is presumably fairly tough, and doesn’t show any startling disabilities – but neither does she show any particularly fabulous intelligence, alertness, strength, or speed. Those holes in her limbs look like a weakness when it comes to physical strength though. Ergo, Constitution and Charisma are her best attributes and Strength her weakest, with the others splitting up whatever’s left over. So, using 32-Point Buy Base Attributes, that gives here a base of: Str 8, Int 12, Wis 12, Con 16, Dex 12, and Chr 16. After her racial and template modifiers that gives her.

Attributes: Str 8, Int 12, Wis 12, Con 22, Dex 10, Chr 16. That also gives her a “Love Capacity” of 352 Love Points – a rather impressive amount!

Available Character Points: 168 (Level Six Base) + 12 (Duties as the Changeling Queen) + 10 (Disadvantages: Compulsive/Villainous gloating and explaining, Irreverent, and Outcast) + 18 (L1, L3, and L6 Feats) = 208 CP

Basic Purchases (76 CP):

  • Warcraft (BAB): +3 (18 CP).
  • Hit Points / Dice: 12 (L1, d12, 8 CP) + 26 (L2-6, d8, 20 CP) +12 (Template) + 48 (8x Con Mod) = 98 HP.
  • Armor Class 10 (Base) + 0 (Dex) +5 (Armor) + (Martial Art) =
  • Initiative +0 (Dex)
  • Movement: 40′
  • Save Bonuses:
    • Fortitude: +1 (3 CP) +6 (Con) +1 (Template) = +8
    • Reflex: +2 (6 CP) +0 (Dex) +1 (Template) = +3
    • Will: +3 (9 CP) +1 (Wis) +1 (Template) = +5
  • Skill Points: 12 (Purchased, 12 CP) +9 (Int) +18 (Fast Learner at level minus two) = 39 SP.

Other Abilities (132 CP):

  • Fast Learner, Specialized in Skill Points for Double Effect (6 CP). Taken with disadvantage points at birth to maximize the benefits.
  • 10 Levels of Spontaneous-Caster Adept (Mentalist), Specialized for Increased Effect (All spell / power knowledge slots are treated as one level higher and powers may be powered with Love Points – but the list comes with no Power or Spell Slots) (60 CP).
    • Available Spells:
      • 6 L1: Energy Ray (A), Inertial Armor (A), Force Screen (A), Entangling Ectoplasm, Attraction (A), Disable (A).
      • 4 L2: Elfsight, Body Equilibrium, Knock, Cloud Mind.
      • 3 L3: Dismiss Ectoplasm, Body Adjustment (A), Dispel Psionics (Magic).
      • 2 L4: Dimension Door, Power (Love) Leech (A).
  • 10 Levels of Spontaneous-Caster Adept (Mentalist) with No Caster Levels, Specialized for Increased Effect (All slots are treated as one level higher and may be powered with Love Points rather than Power)/comes with no Power, Corrupted for Reduced Cost/telepathic powers only (20 CP).
    • Available Spells
      • 6 L0: Mindlink (A), Charm (A), Conceal Thoughts, Daze (A), Demoralize (A), Empathy (A).
      • 4 L1: Brain Lock (A), Suggestion (A), Read Thoughts, Aversion (A).
      • 3 L2: Major Image (Special), Emotion (Special), Psionic Blast
      • 2 L3: Dominate (A), Modify Memory.

Combined with her innate metapsionic enhancements, this makes Chrysalis a formidable psionic adept – at least as long as her supply of Love holds out. Unfortunately, while her potential output is higher than ordinary ponies can manage, ponies draw on a limitless flow of power. A minute or two at her peak power output will exhaust Queen Chrysalis, while ponies can keep spending mana indefinitely. If she’s going to fight ponies… she has to strike hard and win fast.

  • Ritual Magic (Psionics) (6 CP) with Power Words, Specialized for Increased Effect (can store psionic rituals and ONLY psionic rituals, at a “cost” of 1, 2, or 3 “spell levels” worth of capacity for minor/major/grandiose rituals (6 CP). That gives her a storage capacity of seven “levels” of rituals – enough for her to haul out the occasional very-specialized effect with little difficulty.

“Sink through the ground until you land in the Underdark” seems like an awfully specific and fairly high-level effect to learn – but it would be a simple enough ritual. Personally, I’d assume that Chrysalis prepared it as a backup plan to deal with Cadance if taking Shining Armor’s form and saying “Dear? I’d like to show you something down this way!” didn’t work. It did – so she had the effect in reserve to use on Twilight. I’d peg “Send to the Underdark” as a Major ritual, calling for two of her storage slots.

  • Leadership, with Strength in Numbers and Horde, Specialized/normal changelings never get beyond level one unless they’re fed MASSIVE amounts of Love to enable them to hit level two (6 CP). Chrysalis may have a few level two types (the ones with helmets) in her entourage, but for the most part she just has a swarm of fairly generic first level changelings.
  • +8 daily Bonus Uses on her Bestow Curse / Feed on Love ability (4 CP).
  • Arcane Block with Riposte (12 CP). This – with a little luck – will allow her to intercept Celestia’s shot with her own and strike back.
  • Luck with +2 Bonus Uses (9 CP).
  • Create Relic, Specialized/only for points from Enthusiast, must work in a magical location (3 CP), Enthusiast, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (3 CP worth)/only for creating relics, two-point relics maximum (3 CP).

There really isn’t any justification for this, but it’s a convenient way to allow Chrysalis to prepare for missions; she can forge a relic to give herself a few extra powers, to protect herself against a specific threat – or to cover some new power that pops up on the show if she should happen to reappear.

Skills (39 SP):

  • Bluff +9 (4 SP) +3 (Cha) +4 (Racial) +3 (Template) = +19
  • Disguise +9 (4 SP) +3 (Cha) +4 (Racial) +3 (Template) = +19
  • Sense Motive +9 (4 SP) +1 (Wis) +4 (Racial) = +14
  • Speak Language +9 (4 SP) +1 (Int) +4 (Racial) = +14
  • Concentration +6 (6 SP) +6 (Con) +3 (Template) = +15
  • Perform/Sing +2 (2 SP) +3 (Cha) = +5
  • Martial Art / The Adaptive Way +8 (8 SP) +6 (Con) +3 (Template) = +17
    • Known Techniques: Toughness IV (DR 4/-), Blinding Strike, Mind Like Moon, Sneak Attack II, and Vanishing.
  • Intimidate +5 (5 SP) +3 (Cha) +3 (Template) = +11
  • Spot +2 (2 SP) +1 (Wis) = +3

Chrysalis usually relies on the massed efforts of her minions to gather information for her rather than trying to get it herself – but every once in a while (such as “how Candace acts) they get it all wrong.

Chrysalis is a superb spy, an expert infiltrator, and a decent assassin – but she isn’t really a combat monster. Of course, given that she was going up against thoroughly peaceful ponies, she didn’t really need to be. Pumped up on love, she could easily boost her caster level up to sixteen – well above Celestia’s.

This is all pretty speculative of course – there’s no help for it when there’s so little actual information to go on – but it does cover what we do know and the rest ought to be reasonably plausible. Until there’s an episode which goes into more detail on Chrysalis and her Changelings this is probably about the best I can do.

My Little Pony d20 Index

Ponies have proven unexpectedly popular in the questions here and over on Alzrius’s blog – so enough materials have been generated to qualify for their own subindex. Overall… there should be quite enough to allow anyone who’s interested to set up a d20 ponies game that either emulates the game or transplants ponies into a standard d20 world.

Eclipse d20 Ponies (My Versions):

Background Material:

Building Pony Characters / Examples:

  • The Basic Pony Build and Earth Ponies including Music in Equestria, Special Effects, and Homesteading Magic.
  • Pegasus Ponies, their evolution and Build. Commentary: High-Altitude Adaption and escape plans.
  • Unicorn Ponies and their Build, Child Surges, and the reasons for the “Unicorn Aristocracy”. Commentary: Sunset Shimmer, Discord and Child-Chaos.
  • Rainbow Dash and her development from a filly through the end of season two. An examination of Ponyfinder versus Eclipse Ponies and why they’re so different.
  • Alicorns, Princess Luna’s Abilities, the Cosmology of Equestria, and Tirek. Commentary: Speculations on Tirek and Nightmare Moon. Continues with the full build for Princess Luna, along with some information on governing Equestria, the Dominion of Dreams, and the powers of Nightmare Moon. Commentary: Discord, Equestria Girls as Mystic Artists, and Changelings.
  • Changelings (Speculative): Their Build and Society, Chyrsalis’s Plans, What is Love, Farming Ponies, Goo Splat and Mastery, Kinetic Aura, and Feeding on Love.
  • Queen Chrysalis (Speculative): A build for the Changeling Queen consistent with the events of the show.

Hero System Ponies:

Thanks to terribly bad luck and some summonings, some ponies from the (normally imaginary) magical land or Equestria are running about in the current Champions game. Oh well. Superheroic Mages have turned lose much sillier and more destructive things.

  • Prince Blueblood and the Cartoon Powers Package: Prince Blueblood the Navigator, standard “Toon” powers, and why Celestia tolerates him.
  • Apple Bloom: Alchemist, trap-maker, and (very) minor earth-mage. For when you want to film “home alone” in Equestria.
  • Scootaloo: Scout, weathermage, and junior speedster. Note that – since normal humans with no wings at all can learn flight magic in the setting, this version of Scootaloo CAN fly. She just can’t steer too well yet…
  • Sweetie Belle: Junior sorceress, singer, and just too cute to stop. For all the Cutie Mark Crusaders “Awwww… We’re not in trouble are we?” moments.
  • Trixie Lulamoon and the Alicorn Amulet:  Trixie the Minor Sorceress, a discussion of Traveling Performers – and the power of the Alicorn Amulet.

Alzrius’s Eclipse d20 Ponies:

Alzrius built his ponies so as to fit into “standard” d20 games – whereas I used the “Superheroic” world template because it would allow my builds to reproduce the things that the ponies did on the show. Of course, that means that my builds will only work well in games based on the assumptions of Equestria; they won’t do so well in basic games. For those, courtesy of Alzrius, we have…

  • The Pony Races:  Earth Ponies, Pegasi, and Unicorns.
  • The Elements of Harmony:  Built as Eclipse Relics.
  • Rarity:  Starting off the series at level one! Commentary: Using the Elements of Harmony to cover the characters occasional incredible stunts.
  • Princess Celestia: As she generally appears on the show – as a ninth-level mentor-type who explains why she can’t handle things.
  • Adagio of the Sirens: Unreformed, still at large, and needing only an enchanted gem to make a comeback.
  • Lex Legis (And his Picture): Alzrius’s original character – and a very “gray” potential opponent.
  • Notes on Zecora: A discussion of just how much power – or lack thereof – is needed to build Zecora. Comments: My take on Zebras.
  • The Journal of the Two Sisters – and lapses in logic therein. Comments: Unicorn populations and birthrates, basic demographics – and why the “Unicorns losing their magic” story makes no sense in any terms.
  • Iliana, the Ponyfinder Queen: An examination of how to use Eclipse to customize – and slightly upgrade – a Ponyfinder queen to fit her history.
  • Lashtada, Ponyfinder Goddess:  As set up using The Primal Order for second edition.

If and when additional pony-related material gets posted on this blog or Alzrius’s blog, I’ll try to link it here.

Eclipse: The Codex Persona is available in a Freeware PDF Version, in Print, and in a Paid PDF Version that includes Eclipse II (245 pages of Eclipse races, character and power builds, items, relics, martial arts, and other material) and the web expansion. Here’s a Featured Review of it and another Independent Review.

The Practical Enchanter can be found in a Print Edition (Lulu), an Electronic Edition(RPGNow), and a Shareware Edition (RPGNow).  There’s an RPGNow Staff Review too.

Ponies of the Eclipse – Changeling Speculations

And it’s another pony question…

You say that there really isn’t enough canon information on changelings to write up the race – and Queen Chrysalis’s plan seemed unworkable anyway. So what would your speculations look like?

Oh well. The other pony articles stuck closely to known information from the show (and there isn’t much on changelings), but speculations don’t call for a lot of hard information – so I’ll speculate a bit about ponies and changelings.

  • It’s quite obvious that ponies produce love.

In general though, creatures don’t produce things they don’t need other than waste products. If love is one of the great powers of Equestria (and no one is being paid to haul it away), then it’s safe to say that love is not a waste product.

Is love different from friendship? What we call “love” often contains elements of sexuality and possessiveness – but then we have “friends with benefits”. Perhaps the most succinct real-world definition that I’ve come up with is that you find the welfare and happiness of your friends important to your own, while you find the welfare and happiness of those you love necessary to your own. They’re different in degree, not kind. Of course, in Equestria… love / friendship is a measurable force, a source of raw magical power, and an actual principle of the universe.

  • So do ponies use love and friendship?

Why yes, yes they do. They bind together (huge!) families with it, use it to handle animals, and – if they must – can use it to fuel their natural magic, boosting it considerably. Love lets Big Macintosh bounce around towing a house with no effort at all, restores enchanted friends, and defeats small armies.

  • Do ponies produce more love than they need?

Evidently they do; they certainly seem to have plenty to spare most of the time. Look at Fluttershy’s relationship with Angel Bunny or Rainbow Dash with Gilda. It definitely looks like the Ponies are on the giving ends of those relationships – and they’re always ready to add still more friends and family and forgive their enemies.

So, “Love” in Equestria is an emotionally sticky and bonding power reserve that their society can spare a fair amount of if it’s not otherwise being drained. Love attracts creatures and makes them into friends and allies. It’s addictive. It fills you with energy. According to the metaphors you can be sweet on someone, they’re your honey, it’s like drowning in golden syrup…

There are actually an awful lot of similarities there. A swarm of bees can, if given access to plentiful sources of nectar and pollen and sheltered from creatures that want to steal their food reserves, produce a good deal more honey then they need. Enough for the humans who aid and protect them to quietly get a share without hurting the hive. Whether that’s symbiosis, parasitism, or farming is a semantic argument, and really rather unimportant.

So lets think about changelings. At the most basic…

  • Changelings are parasites (or possibly symbiotes). What’s more, they’re long-term and successful ones; they weren’t even really noticed for many centuries (although the fact that Candace could name them and not have to explain says that they were at least rumored).

That means that they derive their energy from what their host species can fairly readily spare (or they couldn’t pass unnoticed). Thus, if one parasite even approaches the power level of the host species, then they must be VERY heavily outnumbered.

That fits. Queen Chrysalis almost certainly brought most of her swarm (save, perhaps, for a home guard and the kids) along on her invasion. After all, if she needed their help they’d be no use at home and if she had other major projects going on, why not do the invasion later? Sure, Shining Armor may have been a great source of love – but he was only one stallion. Why take the extra risk of going in without every possible advantage, or of going in to Canterlot at all, when she could simply scoop up a dozen sets of newlyweds from across Equestria at any time? After all, to quote Queen Chrysalis herself.

“Equestria has more love than any place I’ve ever encountered. My fellow changelings will be able to devour so much of it that we will gain more power than we have ever dreamed of!”

That doesn’t sound like Shining Armor was particularly unique even if he was a royal treat. It also says something else that’s very important. It says either “refugees” or “nomadic” – and either of those says “no cities”, “poor”, and more than a bit “desperate”. People don’t become nomads or refugees because all is well and they have plenty of everything.

So. Changelings as a group are vastly weaker than ponies. On an individual basis they get beaten quite readily – and there weren’t enough of them to really swarm and control Canterlot effectively or they wouldn’t need to go in for the random-blasts-and-panic approach. Yet Canterlot is a very small piece of Equestria even if it is the capital. It’s also one of the better defended locations in Equestria.

A takeover could never work. So what was Chrysalis’s original – and presumably sane – plan?

if Twilight hadn’t fouled things up, Chrysalis would never have been revealed (a pretty basic goal in a species so adapted for infiltration). She’d have “married” Shining Armor and (presumably) gone on the scheduled honeymoon with him – likely with the intent of allowing her “army” to quietly drain all the love being poured out at the reception and of later brainwashing Candace and leaving her to nurse Shining Armor back to health after an “illness”. That would allow her and her swarm to escape with a huge store of love with no one the wiser (after all… being exhausted, having a headache, and needing a day to recover is pretty routine after a citywide party). A resources-raid on a massive scale “to feed her people”. After all, why else keep Candace? And why then stash Twilight with her? Was there any likely reason besides to brainwash them and return them later to preserve changeling secrecy?

Then Twilight pulled the big reveal and that plan went down the drain. Chrysalis then revealed her army and “intention” of taking over Equestria – no matter how obviously impossible that was when we think about it. Why would she do that? Why did her army need to break Shining Armors shield when she could have just had him drop it or let them in in advance? Why were there so few Changelings outside the shield? After all, there seemed to be more blocking the way to the Elements than there were in the entire army that broke in. Were they there in advance? Perhaps Chrysalis’s “plan” wasn’t what it appeared to be? What was she actually trying to accomplish?

Well, announcing that she and her Changelings were there to conquer Equestria would keep the guards focus on defending the city and its people – not on keeping her soldiers from rescuing her or on pursuing her swarm after they were “driven off”. Keeping every ponies eyes on a comparative handful of changelings in the sky would keep them from paying too much attention to her disguised ground forces. In turn, as ponies frantically sought to find, rescue, and protect their loved ones in the confusion those disguised ground forces could harvest vast amounts of love before running. That wouldn’t be a bad backup plan. It would give her a good shot at pulling a clean retreat with a sizeable profit out of complete disaster.

Then she had to engage Celestia, who (quite unexpectedly) didn’t rush off to rally her guard and defend her city. Perhaps Celestia knew about Changelings and was only surprised to actually be attacked by one? Regardless… Chrysalis obviously didn’t think that she’d win that fight. She was taken aback at the prospect of fighting Celestia, was blatantly apprehensive, closed her eyes at first, was blinking in shock when her magic overpowered Celestias, and even ANNOUNCED that Shining Armors love was even more powerful than she’d thought; “it had made her powerful enough to defeat Celestia!”.

That’s a pretty clear statement that she’d thought that she WOULDN’T be able to defeat Celestia – and an admission that “taking over Equestria” had never actually been a part of her plans.

Still, with Celestia down and Luna wherever Luna was the swarm didn’t have to run immediately! New plan! Have the swarm grab every bit of love (and anything else useful) that they possibly could before the inevitable retreat! Now that they’d lost secrecy… the swarm would need every resource it could get since it would have to run a long ways to find a refuge. Why else would Chrysalis send her personal guard to go and feed while she was in a room full of enemies? If she actually expected to hold Canterlot, what was the rush?

Unfortunately, as it turned out, Changelings might eat love, and power their magic with it – but Chrysalis at least didn’t actually understand it, or what ponies could do with it. If she had, how could Candace and Shining Armor have surprised Chrysalis with a rather basic (and thoroughly cliche) “Our Love Empowers Us!” effect? What did Chrysalis say? “What a lovely, but absolutely ridiculous, sentiment!”?

And then said sentiment smacked her and her entire army over the horizon. Evidently it wasn’t so ridiculous after all.

That’s all we see of Changelings until season five, when a single one turns up at Cranky Doodle Donkey’s and Matilda’s wedding (presumably to collect some excess love) – and is only scary to foals. And this is a species that panicked at a rabbit stampede. Evidently the ponies have become experienced with Changelings – likely some were scattered around Equestria undisguised after A Canterlot Wedding – and now find a changeling less frightening than a swarm of rabbits, despite their invasion attempt and Chrysalis’s defeat of Celestia. What could have convinced them of that?

Perhaps they found out that it was true? After all, an intelligent species who’s lives depend on your species being happy, safe, prosperous, and filled with love, is somewhat less than menacing.

Shining Armor attended Cranky and Matilda’s wedding too, and he didn’t care that there was a Changeling there either – and if anyone would have reason to be paranoid about Changelings, it would be him.

So… it’s rather hard to believe that Changelings never discovered ponies before – or would have failed to realize that a land full of them would have lots of love about. Why couldn’t Chrysalis take the quiet route and just harvest love across the land via infiltration? None of the OTHER races seemed to be aware enough of Changelings to stop them. Ergo… whatever was stopping her was either something innate to the land or its inhabitants (in which case we have to ask what suddenly happened to let Chrysalis in) or it would have to be… other Changelings.

You know, Equestria seems to have few border problems. All of it’s monsters are pretty readily handled. The neighbors never try to take over. It’s almost like something subtle and hidden is quietly manipulating the neighboring griffins, dragons, and other races to keep Equestria peaceful and full of love.

Such a force would probably stay well away from Canterlot though; that’s where those ultra-powerful, highly-experienced, and all-too-perceptive Alicorns hang out. Going near them on a regular basis would be an incredible security risk for any secretive group.

And there’s a rational reason for Chrysalis to be making the equivalent of a smash-and-grab in-and-out raid on Canterlot. Equestria is already the territory of one or more other, stronger, Changeling hives who are doing their best to stay secret and keep “their” pony love-bees happily producing as much extra love as possible.

Perhaps Celestia knew more about changelings then they thought – and thus was very startled to be attacked by a changeling; they’d been quietly protecting her borders, slipping her information, and messing up foreign notions about attacking Equestria for millennia while making no fuss at all. Why would they abruptly change that strategy when it was working so well? How was she to know that Queen Chrysalis was an outsider with no stake in the current system?

And thus – at least speculatively – Chrysalis fouled up a strategy that had been working for more than a thousand years. It’s no wonder that Chrysalis has never appeared again. She’s probably in a lot of trouble.

Now, for actual changeling statistics…

  • Quadruped / “Accursed” (-3 CP): Changelings only move at half ground speed when they can’t use all four legs. They can use one hoof as if they were hooking a forearm around something, one forehoof and their mouth as if they were a hand, and may use both forehooves and their mouth as if they were a hand-and-a-half (-4 penalty on anything which requires two hands). As some slight compensation, this does provide the usual quadruped bonuses (+10 ground movement and increased carrying capacity, along with a +4 against Bull Rush). Fortunately, rings, boots, and so on adapt to fit anyone – so there are no changes in their behavior for changelings even if they can wear magical horseshoes in their “boots” slot.
  • Attribute Shift /-2 Dex, +2 Con: Changelings are fast and coordinated enough, but – when you come right down to it – hooves and mouths just aren’t quite as good as hands when it comes to fine work (6 CP).
  • Shapeshift (Specialized, only as a prerequisite, 3 CP), Variants (Specialized, only to alter their personal appearance. While physically-based, this is essentially equivalent to Disguise Self and does not affect clothing or gear – although it does provide a +10 bonus to Disguise (or Deception or whatever the appropriate skill is in the system in use) checks, 3 CP).

This is one of the defining changeling abilities – which makes it all the more annoying that it’s rather unclear as to how it works. On the show changelings imitate various ponies. In the comics they can take small animal forms. That would make infiltration and feeding easy and the invasion pointless, so here it’s ponies and similar creatures (such as the shows versions of griffins and hippogriffs) only. Similarly, if they could interbreed with ponies I’d expect there to be plenty of halfbreeds – so either they can’t or their shapeshifting extends to their genes, and “crossbreeds” are always either true changelings or true (whatever). Importantly, they cannot readily tell the difference between another Changeling in disguise and a pony, as demonstrated repeatedly in the fight with the mane six. That’s also a big strike against the “hivemind” notion, which will thus not be appearing in this writeup.

  • Changelings (or at least the ones on active military operations) appear to have fangs, horns, and exoskeletons. They probably share at least a part of other ponies resistance to weather, and they can manifest clothing (and presumably basic tools) as needed. That’s Immunity/having to actually have basic tools, simple melee weapons, mundane light or medium armor, and clothing to gain it’s benefits and/or relevant appearance. (Very Common, Minor, Minor, 8 CP). Proficient with all Simple Weapons, Light and Medium Armor, Corrupted/only applies to items “gained” via this immunity, not to potentially superior or enchanted real items (8 CP). Note that they can’t lend stuff to other people or leave it behind; it’s a manifestation of themselves, not actual items.

Changelings don’t need winter outfits, hammers, saws, trowels, shovels, picks, chisels, knives, lockpicks, breastplates, shortswords, or similar gear. They have pockets (despite not appearing to have any) and can appear with hats, elaborate clothing, and similar fashion accessories at will too. (On duty Chrysalis’s soldiers apparently normally default to a “Breastplate”, “Shortsword”, and basic black under any disguise, but other groups may vary). This is very useful to “normal” changelings. It lets them essentially carry a fair chunk of their civilization with them even as they migrate, ready themselves for war without industries or preparation time, and stretch their cash – but it’s no match for pony magic, strength, and toughness. It also isn’t much use past the first few levels, after which mundane equipment becomes a minor expense at most.

Given that this is Eclipse, Changelings are free to upgrade their Immunity to the Major level (+4 CP), allowing them to add Martial Melee Weapons and Mastercraft Qualities to their “virtual equipment”. At the “Great” level (another +12 CP) they may add Special Material Qualities to their “equipment” and produce Alchemical Items as needed.

  • Innate Enchantment: All of these abilities are Spell Level One, Caster Level One, Unlimited-Use Use-Activated (x 2000 GP). With a net cost of 9,400 GP, this costs (10 CP).
    • Goo Splat (Conjuration, L1): The caster may project a glob of goo equivalent to a Tanglefoot bag – although it may also be used as normal glue / cement, in which case it’s permanent since it isn’t being splattered over an area. Fire, or almost any form of attack magic, will eliminate the stuff in moments though.
    • Goo Mastery (Transmutation, L1): The caster may polymerize a goo splat into a mixture of silk-and-resin composite, forming the stuff into ropes, simple nets and restraints, a gripping aid (gain a Climb speed of 10, the Climb skill bonus also applies to holding onto things, resisting bull rushes, and similar checks), a wall finish, hull patches, storage containers, or similar items. The stuff still will not stand up to fire or attacking magic though.
    • Greater Magic Hand: This lets them manipulate objects and pretend to be a Unicorn reasonably well.
    • Sustenance: Reduces the need to eat, sleep, drink, and breathe to one-quarter normal. As long as a changeling has enough love, it needs very little other sustenance Unlike the other effects, this is a personal-only ability, costing only 1400 “GP”.
    • One first-level spell of choice – commonly Charm Person, Sleep, Color Spray, or some similar effect
  • Enthusiast, Specialized for Double Effect and Corrupted for Reduced Cost: Only for Innate Enchantments, takes several weeks of study to change the spell. This provides 2000 GP worth of Innate Enchantment – enough for another first level spell or a couple of cantrips (2 CP).

For the invasion the army was using…

Kinetic Aura (Evocation, L1): The caster may make a straight-line full move at 5x normal speed., During the move he or she is protected by a glowing force shield (+4 Shield Bonus to AC). Of he or she runs into anything, whatever it is will take 1d6 damage per 50 feet which the caster has moved to a maximum of 2d6 (resilient unanchored things like most creatures), 3d6 (unanchored hard objects or anchored/trapped resilient things), or 4d6 (anchored hard objects). The caster is not harmed by the collision.

A few Changelings learn Ritual Goo Magic (Ritual Magic, Specialized in Goo-Related Effects, 3 CP) – allowing them to make prisoner-containment pods, healing goo, and artificial limbs, to turn excess love into easily stored jellied love candies, and to manage some other low-powered but handy magical constructs and effects – but this isn’t a very big branch of ritual magic. That is, of course, why it’s also so cheap.

  • Immunity/stacking limitations when combining innate enchantment effects with external effects (common/minor/trivial; only covers level 0 or 1 effects) (2 CP).
  • Immunity/the normal XP cost of racial innate enchantments (uncommon/minor/trivial) (1 CP).

Changelings are born with their innate enchantments, and need not pay any extra experience for them (or for those they add and drop with Enthusiast). If the Pathfinder Package deal is in use, this cost will not apply – and changelings gain an additional +2 racial bonus to Disguise.

  • Adept: Changelings may buy four skills (using a condensed skill list: Deception, Persuasion, Sense Motive, and Speak Language) for half cost (6 CP) and gain a +4 Racial Bonus to all those skills (8 CP).
  • Winged Flight: One level of Celerity with the Additional modifier (Flight, 30′ base, perfect maneuverability), Specialized for reduced cost: will not function properly if the user’s wings are entangled, damaged, or otherwise restrained (although, weirdly enough, as long as the user’s wings are free to move, it doesn’t matter if they are actually moving), is subject to dispelling, antimagic, and similar effects, and makes the user magically conspicuous (9 CP).

Changelings can feed on love, or at least Chrysalis directed them to do so and stated that, if they got a lot of extra love, they’d become far more powerful (although exactly what powers would be getting a boost outside of “magic” is never clearly defined). They’re also generally presumed to need some to live and more to use their magic. Sadly, we have no details and only one example; Shining Armor. Worse, that involved Chrysalis feeding slowly and avoiding discovery in a rather public situation, and may well be unusual. Secondarily, Chrysalis had mind-control abilities, but there’s no indication that normal changelings usually do; they had to settle for simple captures. I’d also note that they evidently can’t feed on lust or abstract appreciation; otherwise they’d have no need for the invasion in the first place. A shapeshifter can get plenty of those pretty much anywhere.

In any case, Shining Armor was left very tired, unable to use his magic, and possibly rendered more suggestible – but he was still in love with Cadence and he made a full recovery in very short order (albeit with Candace’s help). Being drained apparently wasn’t really that serious.

  • Since we don’t really know exactly what this does, I’m going to buy it as Inherent Spell/Bestow Curse, with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted: target must be experiencing the emotion of Love or Friendship and the effect fades over the next few days whether removed or not (4 CP). That lets “love draining” inflict whatever effects the GM feels is appropriate – and explains why Shiny was so devastated; he’d probably been cursed a dozen times.
  • For the power-bump from having lots of love, throw in Physical and Magical Hysteria, Specialized for Increased Effect (runs on “love points” (see below) rather than Power) and only works when the user is at at least 80% of their “love capacity”, only works with “love points” (12 CP).
  • Finally I’ll throw in Traceless Changeling Magic, Specialized for Increased Effect (hides that the victims are making saving throws) / only applies to their Curse Bestowing and Shapeshifting (6 CP). That makes their shapechanging pretty much undetectable and keeps feeding victims from noticing that they’re making saving throws and being cursed on a failure.

And that’s about it. We don’t know if changelings have additional magic, or what kind of society they have, or how they reproduce, or if they have non-combatants in their population, or how they learn, or if there are other queens (although my speculation is that there are), or even if (barring the comic books) the entire Changeling Army was simply conjured up by Chrysalis while the real Changelings stayed safe at home. We do know that Chrysalis can mind-control at least four ponies at a time, and – when hyped up on love/magic – can out-blast Celestia (or at least outblast what Celestia is willing to do when in a city surrounded by friends). So she’s better at combat magic than Celestia – which isn’t necessarily saying that much; Celestia is no warlord. Chrysalis can also project energy blasts capable of destroying hats, exert some form of mind control, and had some way to banish Twilight to the tunnels below Canterlot – although that may have been something she did with special preparations.

Overall the basic Changeling Racial Template has a base cost of 85 points – a +2 ECL species (there’s even enough room to throw in Occult Sense / Darksight (6 CP) and another instance of Enthusiast to make them more magically versatile without raising the ECL if you think it’s justified). Changelings, however, suffer from a couple of really severe disadvantages:

  1. They are cut off from the flow of Mana in the world. They do NOT gain (Con Mod) free mana points to use every round. This… is crippling, and it’s the game mechanical explanation for why the pony races grossly outpower them in the end. Changelings have some neat tricks and can pull equipment out of nowhere. Ponies have an endless font of raw magical power to draw on. It’s James Bond versus Superman.
  2. They are reliant on draining love to power their magic and survive. For a mechanic, each time they “feed” by successfully cursing someone, they gain 3d “love points”. If the qualifying emotion was true romantic love use d12’s, for true friendship or familial love use d8’s, for crushes and abstract love (groups, comic books, whatever) use d6’s, and for casual affection or lust use d4’s. They can store up to (Chr x Con) Love Points. In general, staying alive costs two points a day – one for their innate Sustenance effect, one for simply functioning. If they’re trying to heal up, it’ll cost another one. Changing forms costs one, as does holding a form for a few hours (three for a day). Finally, using their Innate Enchantments other than Sustenance costs one per five minutes or part thereof.

That reduces a Changeling’s net racial cost to 28 CP – a +0 ECL race. If you’re using them in a world without the Superheroic Template that first limitation becomes meaningless, increasing their base cost to 57 points – a +1 ECL race. Finally, if you eliminate the love dependence (or just make it a roleplaying note), they’re a +2 ECL race.

Overall, this version of Changelings makes for wonderful spies – but getting into a straight fight with Ponies is simply not their thing. The “Invasion” bit was Chrysalis’s last resort – and she was probably pretty desperate at that point.

The Chronicles Of Heavenly Artifice CC – Lazing About In The Sun

Charles was doing the last of the layout… runes and symbols, stage positions, seating, sectional arrangements, heights, audio equipment, the layouts for the various orchestral and choral segments, and more. A concert performance was one thing; laying out the most complex geomantic ritual in history called for rather a lot of finesse… The closer to perfect it all was, the more resources he’d have to deal with disruptions elsewhere.

And there were sure to be a lot of them. At least his assistants had the procedures down for diverting most of the minor gods now…

He didn’t really notice just how quiet it had gotten, other than appreciating the convenience – but the business of setting up the Carnival of Meeting had… completely stopped. The tables for signing up were empty, the other performers had cleared out VERY fast, the normally-officious gods who valued dignified movement had hustled away, and even his guardian Celestial lions were now at the perimeter, talking into the communication artifacts that Charles had provided for them.

Somebody important was probably coming – but Charles obliviously continued fussing with his measurements and setup! No one had come to move him or tell him anything… It was getting bothersomely bright in here, though!

Wait; that got through after a few moments. Even Lytek didn’t usually glow that brightly… Sol? Or perhaps Ligier? Or, if someone had been opening up portals and the universe really wanted to throw him another twist, Cthughu?

The light was golden, warm, and VERY bright indeed.

Oh dear! He hurriedly checked the protocol files! This WAS kind of public after all! And “ALWAYS expect Ninjas!” probably would not do…

It was indeed a youthful, four-armed golden man, his upper arms behind his back. The Most High was not carrying his four famous pieces of regalia, at least not openly, but he was wearing his usual set of armor.

According to the protocol files…. he was the King of Heaven, or at least the ruling regent! Ignis Divine or just the Unconquered Sun was also acceptable. He should be on his best behavior, show him the respect he’d show a head of state who fought outer horrors when he wasn’t playing the Games… and remember, that – to him -0 he was likely still pretty mortal! He DID outdate the current arrangement of the universe after all.

Also, he got the feeling that Luna was watching with popcorn.

Well, that called for a formal bow, a “My Lord?” (or similar phrase indicating waiting), and waiting to hear what he wants to say!

And so it was – although Charles straightened right up again. Sol Invictus was still a lot taller than he was anyway! And even though Charles had gotten MUCH fitter thanks to his own enhancements, the Sun’s physique was very much superior and very much innate. The craftsmanship on him was… perfect.

Charles, in fact, was pretty impressive for a mortal – having already maxed out his attributes, virtues, and relevant skills, and having stacked boosters on those. Sol Invictus was amused – and possibly even a bit startled – to see that Charles… was effectively more virtuous than HE was when he wanted to be. For his age, that was MOST impressive! Even if it was quite obvious that the boy was pretty much blind to status differences, so he treated everyone alike – nicely

(Charles, as Sol considered him) “May I be of assistance my lord?”

(The Unconquered Sun) “Charles Dexter Ward, also known as Aden Shining Dream. I’ve wanted to see you for a short while now (from his perspective, anyway). You are already of enough assistance. Some would even say too much… I want to see just how different you are from the other Solars.” (Said lightly, but knowingly.)

If it hadn’t been for the Lions that would have pretty much blown his cover – but it wasn’t going to outlast Calibration anyway. No echoing demands or cosmic pronouncements, but then Charles was – he thought – already doing pretty much what he wanted. Charles, however, was – after just a moments puzzlement – already off on a literal-minded tangent. With a moments concentration with the Synergistic Overmind portion of his consciousness he prepared a detailed report on all known ways in which he was different!

(Charles) “Hm…. Mostly these ways!”

He threw up a minor ward to blur things from the outside just in case someone had the nerve to be spying – and the absurdly complex displays started coming up, with numerous annotations and places to zoom in on!

Sol had the charms to process all that in a reasonable amount of time – and did so – but also started to laugh. From the tone, Charles wasn’t sure whether it was startlement, amusement, or if he’d driven the Most High insane with the ludicrous amount of power he wielded.

(Sol) “Charles. When your grandfather approached me, neither of us anticipated this exponential growth of power. I had not expected the merger of THOSE powers and the whims of small children to lead to THIS. You are performing a major geomantic alteration to a sleeping Primordial – one I had hoped to see for many millennia, mind you – with HOW many months of planning?”

He seemed more astonished and shocked than angry, but still.

(Charles) “Hm… (he looked momentarily vacant) Five months, two weeks, one day, and fourteen hours now Sir! Er… My Lord!”

Ah, the pitfalls of Social-1.

(Sol) “The Solars of the First Age… I would not have let them alter her in such a way. Most were not even interested. There was an infinite amount of space in the Wyld for experiments, and the few that the Twilights and Eclipses managed to get past My eyes experienced resistance from the sleeper and her guardians. You would not have liked many of them, Charles. But… Charles, even those were planned for DECADES. Meddling with a Primordial’s geomancy is no small matter, even if you are being benevolent!”

(Charles) “I would have preferred more time – but at this point, and with other people’s attempts, there are less than two months left – and working during Calibration is the best time. Next year… will be too late my lord.”

And – while even Charles wasn’t really aware of it – Sol could easily read the little whisper in the back of the boys head that said “Since they knew this was coming thousands of years in advance, couldn’t they have gotten a bit more of this stuff ready?”.

That was very good! If the child had had no doubts about undertaking a project of this magnitude on such short notice he’d have to question his sanity. And there WERE all kinds of reasons for it, starting with giving away far too much information to the crazier Deathlords, but they’d take far too long to explain even if the kid even if the boy had had enough concentration to spare to think about the question… in fact, keeping him FROM asking had been a delicate part of the balancing act for the past few months! If he’d gotten focused on THAT instead of on working it could have been quite disastrous.

While he didn’t regret taking Richof up on the offer, it was certainly FRUSTRATING!

(Charles, enthusiastically filling in the pause without really noting it, was busily pulling up yet more vast heaps of information) “At least everything is ready my lord!”

He was displaying the Creation end of the plans with the manses ready to take over the various functions Yu-Shan had been providing, and the new planets, and the gate network, and the new cities, and the species–and-doman-revival programs, and the ecological work, and the powering up of the dragon lines, and all the rest.

Sol was looking at the plans. The boy had been even busier than he’d thought out where he couldn’t readily see; their original projections had indicated that quite a lot of THAT work would have to wait until later – not be integrated into the primary project.

(Sol) “In-the-nick-of-time is part of the job for Solars, but this is too much!… At least you have used your internal resources and infrastructure to their utmost potential, and ensured that there will be reinforcements to Heavenly forces. This… argh! I… will have to leave my seat at the Games unattended to resolve all the political issues from this!”

Considering that his ministry had been run by other, mostly-corrupt gods for millennia at this point! That was genuinely frustrating too! If only he hadn’t been so constrained for so long!

(Charles) “Well, Gaia will be helping, and Luna gave me a writ, so it may take them some time to get past complaining at me… I can give them some very complicated forms to fill out about how I have drastically overreached myself! Will that help my lord?”

Was the boy actually proposing using phony forms? No, no… he was technically running a small department at the moment thanks to Luna’s writ, and so he was entitled to make internal forms if he wanted… and he had plenty of links with the Department of Geomancy, which was already one of the slowest departments in the entire Celestial Bureaucracy – and THAT was SAYING something. Offended gods would surely be happy to spend months filling out complaints as long as they were sure that it would indeed result in harassing their target. Still, that was a fairly common tactic in the Bureaucracy.

(Sol) “That won’t be enough. I need someone to play in my place and strengthen the ward.”

Charles was off on a tangent again.

Wait; “strengthen the ward”? The Jade Pleasure Dome and the Celestial Lions sufficed to keep out intrusions in general, so it had to be an inward-facing ward, meant to contain something.

With a new Datum, Charles’s mind immediately dumped several old theories and spun a new one. He’d had a look, there wasn’t much in there except the Games, the Sorrowhands, some supplies and stuff (presumably, being inanimate, immune to mental influences) – and the Incarnae. The observing gods were around the edges – almost certainly outside the wards…

So THAT was what the Incarnae had been doing all this time and why they had to be waited on by the Sorrowhands! He’d already known that the Games of Divinity couldn’t be destroyed and that something in there needed lots of motes. Ergo… either the games had a passive influence or they couldn’t be shut down without something (more Primordials than were currently available?) that the entire first age had been unable to supply. In either case, their influence would reach far beyond the Jade Pleasure Dome – possibly across all Yu-Shan or beyond – without the Ward, and that would be really bad for all the gods who (unlike the Sorrowhands and, presumably, the Tenders and Overseers) lacked the right qualities to resist. Since the Ward obviously required regular attention from multiple Incarnae, whatever the Games radiated had to be incredibly subversive; no passive ward would hold it for long. That made a lot of sense!

Unless the next words from Sol ruined that theory too of course.

(Charles) “Perhaps one of Akkados’s aspects could stand in for a bit my lord? He’s very good at wards.”

(Sol) “The Hand of Perfected Guardianship? Your warding soul, I believe… only because he is not a deva as the security systems understand it. We might have to close that gap depending on the other Guardians. I will save that for after THIS is complete.”

(Charles) “Well, one thing – or (thoughtfully) at least the smallest practical number of things compatible with a successful outcome while considering other factors – at a time… my lord!”

Sol almost had to applaud. A mere three words in passing and the boy had instantly discarded forty millennia worth of highly respected theories, inverted his assumptions, and come so very close to the truth – in seconds. It was no wonder that he’d come so far so fast; that willingness to instantly discard cherished beliefs and assumptions and draw a new pattern from new facts… was one of the rarest of all talents.

Perhaps especially among the Exalted. So many mortals AND Exalts had chosen death over admitting that they’d been wrong. Still… he couldn’t have the child spreading that information around.

(Sol) “To tell you any more I’ll need you to take a non-disclosure oath, to last until there are enough – seven – Primordials available for a full round of the games.

That was probably enough to confirm half the boys new theories, but he was obliging enough that he’d take it regardless. He’d held onto his own secrets well enough!

And there he went. More frenzied theorizing.

Hm… There was meant to be a display of the games on the dome, so a display on the outer surface of the jade pleasure dome seemed likely… enough Primordials to complete a round? So it was probably the “couldn’t be shut down” possibility. Would the games keep trying to draw in suitable players unless contained? Hm! If the four other Guardians transcended, and he and Gaia and either Yu-Shan or Authchthon played, that would be enough!

Oh yes! Stop thinking and swear the oath!

(Sol, confirming most of that) “We have not bothered to correct the misperception. From the perspective of those outside… is there a difference? We seven Incarnae are bound regardless.”

(Charles) “Hm… More fixing!”

The cheery innocence – and those absurd effective virtues (having someone around who had effective virtues higher than his own was really a most uncomfortable feeling!) really DID pull you in. Without even thinking about it he’d just notified CHARLES of a problem. Attempts to fix it were now quite inevitable… The child didn’t have his perfect effects tied to those virtues though; he’d somehow tied how quickly he learned to them instead. And THAT… was actually a bit frightening.

(Sol, sighing) “You are impulsive, and unrestrained, and grandiose even by Solar standards – even by the standards of the Guardians, whose imaginations run unfettered by many social constraints. However… there is no one else with the power and – more importantly – the benevolence to fix the problem to my satisfaction. YOU, at least, will not manipulate Yu-Shan to selfish ends, or perform harmful experiments on her.”

Charles looked absolutely blank, since such a possibility had never occurred to him.

(Sol) “You failed to consider the possibility of that, of course. The cantidate-priorities that led to your selection almost preclude such thoughts.

Actually there was a lot to unnerve a god about Charles! The child reminded him of the first time the Solars succeeded at killing off a Primordial, except that he was altering the structure of EXISTENCE ITSELF. Even though it was a change that he supported, the speed, the naivete, and the total goodwill coupled with youthful impatience about fixing everything was less than reassuring. Most unnervingly of all… That story about him giving himself up to the Primordials for a single mortal’s life was an exaggeration. It had been an entire city’s worth of mortals and Essence-using nonhumans. While he was pretty sure that Charles wouldn’t buckle for a minor threat, he wasn’t so sure about a neighborhood. He didn’t regret permitting the Guardians’ creation (too much Conviction) but the consequences were as great as making the Exaltations themselves.

(Sol) “Now… you WILL protect as many gods as possible from the inevitable battle, and ensure as little of the Celestial City is damaged as possible. Since I will have to remove Myself from the Games for this, I will organize the defenders. You will allow me to command any guardians and combatants you send into Yu-Shan for the defense. And… if I remove Myself to fulfill a certain obligation to Saturn during the Carnival of Meeting, you will not complain. I suspect it is a component of this as well.”

Complain? What’s… Oh yeah!

(Charles) “Of course my lord!”

(Sol) “I will hold you to that.”

Not, obviously enough, that it had ever crossed the child’s mind to do anything differently. Still, it was good to have certain orders on record – and the best orders were the ones that you knew would be followed. Never issue orders that you knew wouldn’t be followed, were stupid, or were repulsive! That way the troops would learn to obey habitually!. Staying in charge of a bunch of armed and upset people was a lot trickier than military anecdotes and army movies made it look. They WOULD have chances to “accidentally” undermine you!

(Sol) “Ah, yes. One last thing before I must return to the Games . . .”

And he picked Charles up with all four sets of arms, lifted him way off the ground -he WAS easily twelve feet tall – and gave him a firm hug.

(Sol) “I AM proud of you, Charles – but you have no need to be in such a rush. You have made yourself immortal, and unlike those Solars who have been corrupted, you have no outside forces to manipulate you. I order you to RELAX when this is all done!”

(Charles, hugging back) “I guess I can relax some once everything is fixed!”

(Sol) “THIS project Charles! “Everything” is virtually never-ending!”

Oh well! He just hadn’t been sure how much “all this is done” covered…

As Sol departed, one of the chairs transformed back into Luna. The lions were still around, the pavilion was still nearly empty, and…

(Luna) “Popcorn?”

(Charles) “Sure! Thank you! Sol’s aura makes the very BEST possible popcorn!”

(Luna) “Whew! I’m disappointed in you! Not a single big breach of etiquette?”

(Charles) “I pulled up an Etiquette file my lady!”

(Luna) “Aw, come on… the big Sunny needs to be tweaked on occasion. You know, like SO!”

And she tweaked him on the nose!

(Charles, doubtfully) “Gramps says that it’s inappropriate to do that in public with major gods my lady! Much better in the privacy manse!”

(Luna, with blatant sarcasm) “Oh, fine… it’s not like you’re involved in anything serious anyway!”

(Charles) “It’s too bad, but I’m beginning to think that I’m scaring some people!”

(Luna) “Scaring people is entertaining! Case in point: I gotta go back to the Games or HE’LL take my lead! But why not have a little fun first?”

And she held a finger to her lips and transformed into a snake. She slithered off – and Charles soon heard cries of shock and much shuffling outside!

And no one could complain about her slithering into their robes and other clothes because she was an Incarnae.

Oh dear! Charles promptly sent someone in her wake with chocolate and other refreshment-treats! All quite delicious!

And – despite “privacy” – another wave of rumors rippled out across Yu-Shan.

The Chronicles Of Heavenly Artifice CXCIX – Divine Fixations

At the central pavilion Charles was still busily setting markers… it wasn’t CRITICAL, but having everyone in just the right place would make things just a bit easier – and every little bit would help! But… there was something in the way! A formidable figure of iron and jade, along with a servant trying to get his attention!

(Charles) “Urm… Can I help you while I’m getting the performers positions blocked out?”

(Lykenestes Mail-Splitter) “I would like to place an order for a Lesser Exaltation! It’s for my son Jascen!”

(Charles) “Hrm… Well, I do have some of my share of those left over; they aren’t usually something you just order though… why does he need one? Is something wrong?”

(Lykenestes, proudly) “It’s his twentieth birthday!”

(Charles) “Uhm… what would he DO with one? Do you know?”

(Lykenestes) “Why, serve mine and his mother’s interests! Serve as an aide, perform minor missions that don’t require our attention, assist his less-gifted siblings in battle… You know! Glorious things to serve Heaven!”

(Charles, thoughtfully) “And is that what HE wants?” (Checking Lykenestes essence level… he seemed to be a fairly minor sort – essence 4; reasonably potent, but certainly not a big deal in Heaven) “after all, you’re asking for him to be given a rank and abilities pretty much equivalent to yours. He’ll be entirely his own person then!”

(Lykenestes) “Of course it’s what he wants! It is what he has been raised to be-and goodness knows his mother is her own person! I know just how frustrating mortals can be!”

(Charles) “Well, if you want to send him to Aden for a bit… even if he’s not suited to one of the Lesser Exaltations, there are other possibilities – and I’m afraid that even Lesser Exaltations aren’t on the list of things you can simply order at the moment.”

(Lykenestes) “What?! This cannot stand! You can make anything!”

(Charles) “Not even I can make ANYTHING – but that isn’t really the question! Changing someone in such a fundamental way – even if it DIDN’T include bestowing quite a lot of power – is not always good for them. Will it hurt to give him some time to find himself before meddling?”

(Lykenestes) “No – but can’t you bottle time? How much of that can you bottle up?”

Charles had to think about that for a moment! It was possible to store up a little time to use later, or to modify the flow of time in an area – but there were major problems in pushing either too far. In practice, even with Solar Circle magic, you could squeeze in about (Bottler’s Essence) worth of combat actions before Creation engaged it’s OWN perfect defense against interacting with someone who didn’t follow the rules and dumped you into the deep wyld just like almost ANY realm did when you wouldn’t play nice with it! A Primordial with his, her, or its own time flow could get away with a time-flow differential – but pushing the multiplier or divider past about half their essence rating would risk causal disconnection from Creation, and there was no way of knowing where you might wind up; you might never get hooked up to the right Creation again… You could push it a BIT further in a properly-designed manse of course – at least if you wanted to go slower – but even with a manse-structure to buffer the effect you could get a leveling entropic flow or incursions from other temporal streams and zones…

Wait, that probably had little or nothing to do with what the guy really wanted! Was he just wanting to speed up the process of his kid finding himself? You couldn’t squeeze in any real amount of self-discovery, in any amount of time you could bottle, and it didn’t shorten the process any from your prospective… You really had to go out into the world for that sort of thing! Otherwise, every Solar would have just come up with a spell for that to make increasing Essence faster!

Was Lykenestes looking for an essence boost? A champion would be pretty good for that for a god… No… Malinda said that he wouldn’t mind an Essence boost, though he IS a god of forging and armor-piercing weaponry, and wouldn’t think to do it through petitions. A champion would be less direct, but would be the first thing he’d think of.

(Charles) “ Time… somewhat less than a minute for general purposes – but more is possible for more specific reasons and there are other ways. What do you need time for?”

(Lykenestes) “Oh, no, it’s for my son, to help find himself.”

(Charles) “Ah. THAT I can probably help with – but things are rather busy now. Can I set him up for an appointment in about two weeks? If it’s more urgent than that, or he’ll need sanctuary until then, or something like that I’ll need to know what the underlying problem is.”

(Lykenestes) “That’s not very long at all… very well, then! I shall arrange for his twentieth birthday party to be in Aden!”

(Charles) “Very well then! Parties are always fun!”

And the Hobbits and quite a few other Citizens and Guardians were quite pleased! Charles NEEDED to be attending more parties that DIDN’T have cosmic implications!

And that made it the turn of a duo of whirling spheres of flame and light to barge in! Right after Lykenestes left!

(Charles, making sure that the work was adequately covered even if HE wound up totally unable to do any of it…) “Er… Hi?”

(The Red One) “You cut in line! How dare you do that!”

(The Blue One) “How very sad this makes us! How are we supposed to rehearse with this nonsense happening?”

(Charles) “Well, I had the authority and more or less had to! Did you need a place to rehearse?”

(Duo) “We must do our dance of the Night Sky’s Joy, for the edification of the Carnival! It reveals the mysteries of Creation!”

(Blue One) “And the way our lights reflect in here is best suited to it!”

(Charles) “Would an exact physical duplicate do?”

(Red One) “You must let us practice in here, authority or not! Unless you can mimic the conditions PERFECTLY…”

(Charles) “That’s certainly doable!”

(Duo) “We shall be the judges of that!”

Charles had a small Chancel and a series of precisely duplicated venues set up in a side-tent, just in case anyone else was hacing the same problem. ue… in fact, a series of them, so anyone else with the same problem could handle it. One of the Balgrogs could organize it!

Then it was Gothmug reporting the that the Reininger Dragon-Blooded – the necromantic types – had sent someone to talk to him! (Although the conversion from necromantic Dragon-Blooded to normal Dragon-Blooded was progressing well – which was a good thing!) It looked to be one of the Half-Castes who hadn’t undergone the process yet. Other than the red hue of her skin, the wildly different essence-signature, and all the other giveaways, he’d never have known that she was any different than any other human in Victorian-era clothing.

Well, OK; it was pretty easy for him to spot. A lot of normal folks would have been fooled though!

(Edith) “Ah, you must be Aden. Mother and Father send their regards, and their gratitude.”

(Charles) “I hope that they’re doing well – and they’re quite welcome”

(Edith) “Well, I hope so… I’m not entirely certain about what they’ve requested.”

(Charles) “What’s that?”

(Edith) “Well, Aden… Mother would have you sneak Father and a squad of my relatives into Heaven. I wasn’t informed of WHY. She said it was confidential information… Is something the matter up there?”

(Charles) “Uhm… various things really! Did they say why or when? There are some spare tickets!”

(Edith) “I do know WHEN. Timing seemed very important on this one.”

Naturally enough, it was the day the Song of Creation was scheduled to begin.

(Charles) “Hm… Well, that’s easy enough; anyone can walk in on the days of the festival anyway!”

(Edith) “Festival? Oh, that’s right-there’s a legendary festival that’d take place that day. But… why wouldn’t Father just find a way in on his own? Why would he want to be smuggled in? Does he want to bring some weapons or surprise someone? (Shrugging) “I suppose it’s none of my business… oh yes. It was to a specific location, as well.”

(Charles, curiously) “Where?”

That… matched up with one of those Bronze Faction manses slated to be used for Project Stanewald… the central one. Nowhere’s near the Carnival of Meeting’s site in central Yu-Shan.

(Charles) “Hrm! Now that might be a problem… Although I suspect that a friend of mine will be there! I’ll have to check on a few things!”

(Edith) “I understand… I heard you had a Manse that was in contact with the Underworld. Shall I wait for you there?”

(Charles) “If you like! It’s over this way!”

He directed Edith there – and called Astrid. He’d have to check with her about that. At a guess she would be there, trying to keep someone (most likely Jorgenson) who had made Stanewald his life’s purpose from getting suicidal, and that this batch, with less information, wanted to stop any interference with the concert… He REALLY doubted that they wanted to see the universe blow up – and they might well be expecting a Deathlord (they had, after all, been in contact with at least one) to show up and try to use Stanewald to mess things up. They probably didn’t want to admit to HIM that they were willing to use violence to do it.

Astrid, was working on some sort of project with young Argentia and Vaal. Maela Tengu was there too – although last he’d heard she was down in Japan for safety. Well, if she felt safe in Yu-Shan again, why not? And… indigo Essence shimmered wildly about them!

Since they were busy he left a message – and got a response about fifteen minutes later.

(Astrid) “Whew. I’m exhausted… what did you need, Charles?”

Charles described the situation and the request.

(Astrid, thoughtfully) “Oh. I see. So the House of Reininger has gotten involved.” (Rubbing her temples) “I suppose this was inevitable.”

(Charles) “Well… it does basically involve the entire universe in the end. A lot of people will be taking an interest!”

(Astrid) “Hmm. There might be a personal motive in this, too. People would do a lot to protect their friends, even enter places where they’re not technically welcome.”

(Charles) “Oh dear. Well… Should I allow it?”

(Astrid) “Did you inform them about the Song of Creation? I’d like to know if they know about that first. Actually… better yet. Ask them if it means anything to them BEFORE you tell them anything about it, and watch their thoughts.”

(Charles) “Well, I’ve got a representative here… I think direct talks are in order! (To Edith) “Hrm… I think I’ll need to talk about this directly. Would that be all right?”

(Edith) “Has some concern arisen? I will see what I can arrange. Mother and Father were very ardent about this.”

(Charles) “Well… things will be very busy and quite complicated around that time, and extra factors… well, it could get very messy indeed!”

(Edith) “I see. Well, if you wish to talk with Father directly, I will see what I can do.”

(Charles) “I would appreciate it!”

That went on hold for a bit – and about a day later Charles noticed people looking at something behind him – and eventually looked himself, to see an enormous three-headed , two-tailed dragon. No one, not even most of the gods assembled at the pavilion, seemed to consider that to be much out of the ordinary though… .

He was also wearing a very silly hat, with all three heads crammed in!

(Charles) “Uhrm… King Ghidorah? Can I have your autograph?!!”

(Ghidorah) “Hrm?”

He shrugged and produced a pen and paper out of nowhere. Since he has no arms, he signed with one of his mouths!.. It… was about the quality you’d expect from that kind of manipulation.

(Charles) “Thank you! I’ve got tickets for you…”

(Ghidorah) “Hrm! Thank you very much! Demien sent me to see how progress was coming along!”

(Charles) “Quite well actually! Everything is ready, it’s just the final concert setup that needs taking care of!”

(Ghidorah) “Do you need me to drive these interlopers away? Your work must not be disturbed!”

(Charles) “Uhrm… which ones?”

(Ghidorah) “Well, there will probably be attempts! It’s likely to get confusing what with everyone who will be attending too… Shall I grow to my full grandeur and chase them away?”

(Charles) “Well… not unless someone really is interfering? If they’re just attending, that’s fine!”

(Ghidorah) “I will report that all is well, then, and stay here!”

(Charles) “And you’re quite welcome! Would you like some refreshments?”

(Ghidorah) “Of course!”

Charles made sure that there were enough for the entire crew AND King Ghidorah! He was probably a VERY big eater!

He was – and his table manners were atrocious. Oh well! So were Terapishim’s!

Still, it wasn’t all THAT long before his appointment with a centuries old necromantically tainted Terrestrial Exalt about his visit to Yu-Shan… Otto Reininger was civilly sipping some cognac in the Underworld Communication Manse and discussing distilling with one of the Halflings when he got there. Well, that was mostly fixed now! And privacy warding was already set up!

(Otto) “Ah, Charles. I believe you wanted to discuss the… visit.” (With a noticeable weight on that last word.)

(Charles) “Well, yes… It’s going to correspond with rather a LOT of delicate activity. (He will be passively open to pick up thoughts – but mostly be boosting the relevant skills for conversation and reading people). Have you heard of the Song of Creation?”

(Otto) “Some would say the entirety of life is a song, but I assume you mean a specific song?”

It looked like he really hadn’t – but he did seem to be expecting heavy opposition on this “visit.”

(Charles) “Yes indeed. Creation… must be renewed, or it will fall back into chaos – and there are far too many complicating factors already. If there is to be another… I must know what and why, so that I can compensate if that is required.”

(Otto) “I see… and what do you know about the Emperor of Coruscant? For – while he is not why I am here – he does have something to do with this.”

(Charles, sighing) “I know that he is extremely powerful, that he is almost certainly what was once known as a “Deathlord”, and that that he is ancient – and I know of many powers he is likely to possess . but I have few specific details.”

(Otto, very seriously) “Are you willing to accept help from a Deathlord, Charles? And… are you willing to keep that a secret?”

(Charles) “When the alternative is seeing Creation die, I have little choice about what help I will accept.”

(Otto) “Mmm… that’s more sensible than you’d hear in Heaven these days, or so my source says. Which brings me to why I was sneaking in, at least initially… that source will be in grave danger of dying. Now, that person has found ways of circumventing that fate, but there are those who would oppose their plans. This person is a loyal friend who was responsible for our introduction. You can understand why Sylvia and I would want to protect them.”

Charles could indeed.

(Otto) “We weren’t terribly surprised when the Emperor found out. What surprised us was that he SUPPORTED me infiltrating Heaven. He didn’t tell us what was happening, but that Creation was at stake. So… young man who does a convincing Primordial impersonation. What threat faces Creation this time?”

(Charles) “Hm… I must ask that you take oath not to reveal this information for another six days. If you can’t do that… I’ll have to leave out a lot.”

(Otto) “No doubt my source has… I thought the story had holes as big as the Memory itself. I shall do it.”

He got the usual oath and summary!

(Otto) “So… you intend to reshape Heaven itself-herself? Do you have any idea how big a beacon that is to Creation’s enemies?”

(Charles) “Well, it will most likely spread to a hundred or so additional worlds – but I do have a great deal of support at this point. And the Yozi’s seem to realize that they ‘re getting fixed up next, so they have no reason to interfere.”

(Otto) “You certainly are ambitious.. I do hope none of those nasty kaiju wreck your ritual.”

(Charles) “It kind of looks like there’s going to be a set of Kaiju battles during the concert I’m afraid.”

(Otto) “Or any of the OTHER Deathlords… or that it causes new Deathlords to arise. Oh dear! A good thing my children and I will be underground – though we will have to watch for digging kaiju. But you do have tickets. Would you mind if we used Aden as a staging ground while we wait?”

(Charles) “It’s ok! You can stay at the Citadel of Enlightenment; it’s got all the facilities.”

(Otto) “Ah… the school, correct? That would be perfect. We can shore up some of our tactics there. Unfortunately, I anticipate Sidereal resistance as well as Underworld resistance. (Sighing) I had hoped to reason with them, but my source tells me it’s futile.”

(Charles) “Well, some of the factions are all right and some are helping!”

(Otto) “That’s a relief. Could you get me in contact with one? I know I can trust him. He’s just… notorious for his wanderlust, you see!”

Ah, now that just HAD to be Jose with his Lacuna martial art! He… wasn’t one of the ones who’d taken the Oath, but he certainly seemed to know some things. He hadn’t seemed at all surprised to encounter him in Gauderis Athelstane for one.

Charles opened up a full audiovisual link!

(Jose) “What’s up, Charles? Whoa! Is that who I think it is? Guten tag, Lord Reininger… not as dead as I thought, I see.”

(Charles) “He wasn’t well for awhile! But I was wondering if I could discuss something with you – but you’d have to promise to keep quiet about it with other people for another six days!”

(Jose) “What’s that, Charles? Anything to do with your nana?”

(Charles) “In a way! But more related!”

(Jose) “Okay, shoot. I’m under several vows and curses about that anyway. What’s one more on my back?”

And there was yet another oathtaking and explaining.

(Jose) “Wait, but that means – oh, BOTHER.”

(Otto) “Yes… our mutual friend is in great danger.”

(Charles) “Needs fixing!”

(Both) “Yes!”

(Otto) “I won’t lose Creation, much less my greatest asset in Heaven.”

(Jose) “And… that explains why Astrid has been so evasive with me lately.”

(Charles) “Well, at least you can talk to her now!”

(Jose) “Thank the gods for that! Ergh… how am I going to fit in protection duty with all my other missions? The paperwork can wait yet again, but everything else… No, no… this overrides that. Your nana will be angry if Creation gets… whatever this going wrong would cause, Charles!”

(Charles) “Want to come aboard Mothra Leo for a bit? It’s very safe there! Even if Creation did collapse…”

He covered the various horrific results of failure again.

(Jose) “Yeah… I’ll bring Sailor. I’ll have to look this over – have Astrid help me out with it, and whoever else knows. Who else knows other than me and Otto? Oh yeah, and Astrid, since she’s in on this too…”

Charles shared the list. It wasn’t all THAT long, even if it did have some VIP’s on it, and the Celestial Lions, Tenders, and Overseers made up a fair chunk.

(Otto) “I see. My source was wise to get you involved… so these ‘Tenders’ and ‘Overseers’ are the maintenance system? Is there any way to let them know we’re coming? I wouldn’t want them to think we were invading.”

(Jose) “Yeah… and I’m not… special… but I don’t want them attacking me either.”

(Charles) “Oh easy enough… I’d better make a communications and coordination manse!”

(Jose) “Hah. He makes a Manse for everything. Best get used to it, Otto.”

Otto just shrugged and offered Jose some cognac.

(Charles) “I like manses!”

It WAS getting a bit too busy to make do without a communications center for the mission. Too many participants… He set up sealed unbreakable links, perfect privacy, etc – and it was much appreciated. It seemed fairly dangerous and Manse-links would save up on artifacts and have the usual more-motes side effect. Very handy when you were expecting combat.

Jose asked if those could be linked to someone on the fly.

(Charles) “Well, within a few minutes anyway! An immediate link is possible, but will be strictly temporary and more than a bit unstable with that much power passing through it.”

(Jose) “Hrm… how long would that last? Can you also do healing that way?”

(Charles) “Hm… With a spell a few minutes to an hour, with a prayer only a few seconds, but it’s automatic – and I can do some healing that way!”

(Jose) “Okay then… enough to bring somebody back from the brink of death?”

(Charles) “Well, they might still be injured! I’d have to send more treatments if they were REALLY badly hurt.

(Jose) “Good enough! I just want to be prepared for everything. Or as much of everything as I can, at least.”

(Charles) “That’s always a good thing!”

(Jose, far more gravely than was usual for him) “Yeah… I just hope all of us make it through this.”

(Charles) “Well… do you think you’ll need some other boosts?”

(Jose) “Not me, her.” (Pointing to Sailor) “I think it’s about time for those upgrades you two talked about. I know you don’t usually do weapons… but upgrade her armor and drives, maybe?”

(Charles, doing so) “If she likes!”

(Sailor) “Thank you very much, Charles. If Mr. Cisneros will have me fighting kaiju and Deathlords, I will need all the anti-shaping defenses and hardening I can get. May I have an Aden-link as well?”

(Charles) “Certainly! Do you do Thaumaturgy?”

(Sailor) “To a certain extent… I am trained in the Arts of Attack, Travel, and Warding, among others.”

(Charles) “Would you like an upgrade?”

(Sailor) “I would not refuse such an upgrade.”

Charles threw that in too.

(Sailor) “You are very much like THE Maker, Charles. I had heard you visited the Primal Forge; was there anything of interest inside?”

(Charles) “Lots and lots of very nice workshops, and some interesting machines and facilities… I did an analysis while I was there and duplicated a lot of the more interesting bits later! Not the Deva though!”

(Sailor) “I see. You must show me these after the current trouble ends… if we both survive.”

(Charles) “I will certainly try to arrange it!”

Champions – Perseus

Alexandre Guilmet was attending a rather exclusive, high-security, prep school in lieu of actual parental attention. With little expense spared in the way of tutoring and slightly above-average intelligence he was doing pretty well; he was on the fast track for law and business and had enough magical talent to learn some intermediate-level personal magics. He kind of liked riding and fencing, and had some fairly typical adolescent action-hero fantasies.

Pegasus hadn’t been having much luck finding a suitable potential hero. Sure, there were plenty of healthy adolescent males around, but apparently hardly anyone was teaching young men how to ride, handle a sword, and protect themselves in combat any longer! How could their parents be so irresponsible? What would they DO when there was an attack? Simply let themselves be slaughtered or enslaved?

And there wasn’t a lot of time left before there WOULD be an attack. Pegasus… was getting just a little desperate. Still, Athena could stretch even a few hours into enough training time to make any lad with sufficient potential competent. Surely he could find someone in time. The Fates would not permit it to be otherwise!

They didn’t.

This youngster was athletic enough, had chosen the wooded path (and it’s privacy) to run on for gym, had potential enough for Athena to awaken – and, wonder of wonders, had some heroic dreams AND knew how to ride and use a sword! Good enough!

Alexandre was rather startled when a creature of myth appeared in the woods to offer him a chance to be a hero – but “beware of pegasi offering magical artifacts” had not appeared on any list of cautions that he’d ever heard.

Pegasus promptly took him into the Realm of the Amazons for training at Athena’s temple. There was very little time left!

Athena managed to squeeze about six months of training time into the remaining six hours before the Hydrasaur was due to rise out of Thunder Bay and attack. Aurora Ward found him about five hours/months in – and wound up taking him along, albeit with severe cautions about staying up and WAY out of the things reach while sniping. The kid would be nice and safe that way…

Aurora Wards attempt to talk to Colleen and Maurice Guilmet afterwards proved just as awkward; Colleen was off doing corporate wheeling-and-dealing and apparently no one had been able to reach her to tell her that her son was missing in the first place – while Maurice was busy with his restaurant, and hadn’t bothered to come back home.

OK, “Teenage boy cuts class for six hours” wasn’t exactly unheard-of and cell phones made him easy to notify when his son turned up – but most of Aurora Ward would have expected a little more concern rather than simple, casual, permission for the boy to intern with a superhero group.


“Perseus” / Alexandre Guilmet

Value Characteristic Points
9/15 STR -1
18/20 DEX 24
18/21 CON 16
9/12 BODY -2
9/15 INT -1
11/14 EGO 2
9/35 PRE -1
12/24 COM 1
4/7 PD 1
4/7 ED 0
4 SPD 12
7/10 REC 0
36/48 END 0
24/30 STUN -2
Total 49


Points Powers END
13 Sorcery Multipower (30-pt reserve); Concentrate: ½ DCV, -¼; Gestures: Instant Power, -¼; Incantation: Instant Power, -¼; Activation: 14-, -½; Note that – with the boosting function of the Sword of Perseus – any spell he happens to be using will often have it’s active point total doubled – which may or may not involve simply doubling the effect; it can also involve adding advantages such as “Continuous”, “Uncontrolled”, and “Zero Endurance Cost”.

Perseus’s magics aren’t entirely personal; he’s been given a small tap into Olympian Chaos Magic, and so his spells occasionally get a little… weird. As his active point totals go up, things can be expected to get even weirder.

u-1 Images (Normal Sight, 4″ radius); Range: 140; Observer PER Penalty: 2, +6; Reduced END: Half, +¼ 1
u-1 Telekinesis (STR 13); Range: 145; Manipulation: Fine, +10 3
u-1 4d6 Energy Blast: Sacred Light; Range: 150; Versus: ED; Reduced END: Zero, +½ 0
u-1 Demon Ward: Change Environment/Holy (Basic Spell) (4″ rad.); Effect: Fixed, +0; Reduced END: Zero & Persistent, +1 0
u-1 Combat Ward / Force Field (10 PD/5 ED); Reduced END: Zero & Persistent, +1 0
u-1 Eyes of the Mage
(6) Detect Magic (+2 to PER); Time Required: Instant, +2; Range: Ranged, +5
(4) Enhanced Perception (Normal Sight, +5 to PER)
(2) Discriminatory Sense: Detect Magic (Detect); Concentrate: ½ DCV, -¼; Gestures: Instant Power, -¼; Incantation: Instant Power, -¼; Activation: 14-, -½
Commonly Studied Spells
u-1 Wave of Poseidon / Force Wall (4 PD/4 ED); Range: 150; Width: 6″, +0; Reduced END: Zero, +½ 0
u-1 2d6 Gaze of Ares / Ego Attack; Reduced END: Zero, +½ 0
u-1 Insight of Hera / Clairsentience (Hearing, Sight); See: Present, +0; Dimensions: Current, +0; Range: 150″ 3
u-1 Feet of Hermes
(4) Clinging (Clinging STR +0)
(9) Running (+6″, 13″, NC: 26″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×2, +0; Non-Combat (MPH): 18; Reduced END: Half, +¼ 1
u-1 10″ Stride of Dionysus / Teleportation (Long Range 40″); Increased Range: ×4, +10; Long Range: 40″; Long Range (miles): 0.05; Mass Multiplier: ×1, +0; Fixed Locations: 0; Floating Locations: 0 2
u-1 1d6 Forge of Hephaestus / Transform Air to Metal Shapes (Major, Limited Class); Range: 150; Cumulative: +½; Reduced END: Half, +¼ 1
u-1 Sight of Athena / Detect Vulnerabilities and Limitations (+7 to PER); Addition (Discriminatory Sense): +5; Time Required: Instant, +2; Range: Ranged, +5
u-1 2d6 Word of Zeus / Energy Blast; Range: 150; Versus: ED; Damage Shield: +½; Autofire: 5 shots, ½; No Normal Defense (Force Shield, Being a Golem or other animated object): +1 3
u-1 2d6 Lore of Apollo / Aid Skills (Fade/day, Max. 12); Range: 0; Affects: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; Reduced END: Zero, +½ 0
u-1 1d6 Grasp of Hades / Drain Endurance (Return/turn); Range: 0; Autofire: 5 shots, ½; Damage Shield: +½; Reduced END: Half, +½; Affects: Single Power, +0 1
u-1 1d6 Curse of Artemis / Transform to Animal (Major, Limited Class); Range: 150; Cumulative: +½; Reduced END: Half, +¼ 1
u-1 1d6 Gift of Demeter / Transform Earth to Supplies (Major, Limited Class); Range: 150; Cumulative: +½; Reduced END: Half, +¼ 1
2 5″ Cloak of Levitation / Gliding (NC: 10″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×2, +0; Non-Combat (MPH): 15; OAF: -1

When riding Pegasus, it is best to have something available in case you wind up falling off.

5 2d6 Aid: Add Sorcery Multipower Slots (Fade/day, Max. 12); Range: 0; Extra Time: 1 hour, -2½; Affects: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; OAF (Smartphone / Digital spellbooks): -1; Increased END: ×3, -1

This can provide twelve points worth of additional mulitpower slots – whatever spells he’s currently been studying.

3 High-Quality Smartphone (0kg)
6 +6 CP to All Attributes Blessing; Modifications to Primary Attributes do not affect secondary attributes. Aid to Defenses has half effect per standard rules.
(6) 1d6 Aid (All attributes) (Fade/turn, Max. 6); Range: 0; Affects: All Powers of Special Effect, +2; Reduced END: Zero & Persistent, +1; Always On: -½; Personal Only: -1; Increases maximums only, does not speed healing: -1; Aid to Defenses is halved per the standard rules. Aid to primary attributes does not affect secondary ones. 0
6 2d6 60-Point Available Equipment Allowance Aid (Fade/week, Max. 60); Range: 0; Affects: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; Extra Time: 1 hour, -2½; Only activates in armories, labs, or between outings: -1½; Personal Only: -1; Difficult to Dispel: ×2, +¼; Increased END: ×10, -4; Only to GM-specified items: -2; Actual point total of equipment available limited by GM decision.: -2; Must actually locate gear, availability is not automatic.: -2

This allows a character to haul along 60 CP worth of customized gear.

41 Total Powers  


Points Skills, Talents, Perks Roll
10 +2 level w/Swords
0 Follower (1, 120 pts, -120 Disad.); Number: 1, +0
5 Luck (10d6); Generic Limitation (Only to acquire independent artifacts): -2; Generic Limitation (Backlash: Whenever he “luckily” acquires an item it comes iwth assorted complications.): -2; Activation: 11-, -1; Extra Time: 1 day, -3½
4 Knowledge: Business 13-
3 Acrobatics 13-
3 Riding 13-
3 Stealth 13-
2 Knowledge: Law 11-
0 French (Native Accent); Literacy: Standard, 0
0 English (Native Accent); Literacy: Standard, 0
30 Total Skills, Talents, Perks  


Cost Equipment
4 Elemental Control: Helm of Perseus (15-pt reserve); OIF (Helm): -½; Independent: -2; Visible (Extremely magically conspicuous): -¼
a-4 Invisibility (Hearing, Sight) 3
b-4 Life Support (total)
c-4 Mental Defense (33 pts)
d-4 Armor (10 PD/10 ED)
e-4 +20 PRE
13 Sword of Perseus Multipower (60-pt reserve)
; Independent (-2), OAF (-1), Incantation (-.25), Visible (magically obvious even when inactive, –.25)The Sword is a powerful artifact of Imaginal and Chaos magic – but it’s quite vulnerable to being taken away. A certain amount of caution is in order.
Physical Attacks
u-1 3d6 Killing Attack (HTH): (Strike) (Total 4d6) 2; Range: 0; Reduced END: Half, +¼
u-1 1½d6 Killing Attack (HTH): (Sweep) (Total 2d6) 3; Range: 0; Area Effect (Radius): 6″ radius, +1; Increased Area: ×2, +¼; Reduced END: Half, +¼
u-1 Hand-to-Hand Attack (Flat) (16d6, Total 19d6) 2; Range: 0; Reduced END: Half, +¼
u-1 +50 STR (Hammerblow) 2; Doesn’t Affect Figured: -½; Generic Limitation (Only for smacking things, driving them back, and breaking free from entangles, grabs, and so on. ): -½; Reduced END: Half, +¼
Magical Attacks
u-1 4d6 Killing Attack (RKA): (Lightning) 6; Range: 300
u-1 10d6 Energy Blast: (Sonic Thunderclap) 2; Range: 310; Versus: ED; Reduced END: Half, +¼
u-1 5d6 Energy Blast (Magic Disruption) 0; Range: 310; Versus: ED; No Normal Defense (Versus not being a creature of magic): +1; Reduced END: Zero, +½
u-1 5d6 Entangle (Chains of Tartarus) (DEF 5) 2; Range: 310; Reduced END: Half, +¼
Utilities and Defenses
u-1 Force Field (Ward of Heaven) (20 PD/15 ED) 0; Hardened: ×1, ¼; Trigger (Incoming Attack with Desired Use): Set, +¼; Charges: 32, +¼; Active Points: 61

In essence, the sword can automatically parry major attacks, greatly reducing their effects – but, thanks to the high drain on it’s magic making it “automatic” requires, only a limited number of times per day.

u-1 3d6 Aid: All currently damaged attributes (Spark of Life) (Fade/turn, Max. 18) 4; Range: 0; Affects: All Powers of Special Effect, +2; Restore Only Lost Characteristics and Powers: -½
u-1 3d6 Aid: Any one magical power (Divine Might) (Fade/turn, Max. 30) 0; Range: 0; Active Points: 58; Affects: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; Autofire: 5 shots, ½; Reduced END: Zero, +1
u-1 13d6 Dispel Magic (Magic Drain) 2; Range: 290; Affects: Any Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; Reduced END: Half, +¼
1 Running (+1″, 13″, NC: 26″) 1; Non-Combat Multiplier: ×2, +0; Non-Combat (MPH): 3; OIF (Running Shoes): -½
2 Ring of Calling / Mind Link ; Minds: One Specific Mind, +5; Number of Minds: 1, +0; Distance: Single Planet, +0; Dimension: Any, +5; Link with: Anyone, +0; OAF (Lapel Pin): -1; Extra Time: 1 turn, -1; Generic Limitation (Pegasus Only): -1
2 Rune of Changing / Instant Change ; Clothes: One Set, 5; Charges: 3, -¾; Recoverable Charges (Must recharge for half an hour between changes): -2 lev; Focus (Wristband): Inobvious Accessible, -½
Perseus will usually have a few more minor items chosen to suit his current mission (if any) – but rarely anything very major.
54 Total Equipment


75+ Disadvantages
20 Normal Characteristic Maxima
15 Underage (Frequently, Greatly)
10 Watched: Police (11-); Capabilities: As Powerful, 10; Non-combat Influence: Extensive, +5; Geographical Area: Unlimited, -0; Only Watching: ×½; Punishment: Harsh, 0
20 Code Against Killing (Common, Total)
20 Honorable (Common, Total)
10 Overconfidence (Common, Moderate)
10 Watched: Greek Gods (11-); Capabilities: More Powerful, 15; Non-combat Influence: None, +0; Geographical Area: Unlimited, -0; Only Watching: ×½; Punishment: Harsh, 0
15 Secret Identity / Alexandre Guilmet
10 3d6 Unluck; Generic Limitation (Only to see if the Greek Gods have a mission for him or wish to interfere): -½
130 Total Disadvantages


COSTS: Char. Powers Total Total Disadv. Base
49 + 71 = 120 205 = 130 + 75


OCV DCV ECV Mental Def. PD/rPD ED/rED Phases
7 7 5 33 17/10 17/10 3, 6, 9, 12

Height: 156cm (5’1″), Weight: 44kg (97 lbs), Sex: Male, Age: 14, Race: Human

Appearance: “Perseus” is slightly lighter and shorter than average and has light brown hair, blue-green eyes, and a tan. Overall, he just isn’t all that remarkable – and so his “heroic” image tends to be strongly shaped by his Grecian helm, short sword, and cloak. It may look a little odd with blue jeans, a rock band T-shirt, and running shoes, but what can you do with kids these days?

Perseus is surprisingly powerful for his age, but much of his power depends on his sword and helm – both of which can be more or less readily taken away. Without them… he’s still a well-trained kid, but he’s JUST a very well-trained kid with a knack for magic.


Champions – Pegasus

Pegasus, a minor son of Poseidon and Medusa, sprang from his mothers blood and the foam of the sea – which, when it comes to chaos-spawn, is a fairly normal birth.

Raised – or tamed – by Athena, in ancient times Pegasus was often dispatched to either carry thunderbolts to Zeus or to aid young demigods in their adventures. As he brought Zeus his weapons, he brought the demigodlings theirs – and carried them into battle.

Today – at least for the time being – demigods are a great deal scarcer than they used to be, and so Pegasus has settled for seeking out those with the potential to become heroes. Unfortunately, Pegasus’s standards are just a little bit out of date; he tends to seek out “young adults” by the standards of the ancient world – by modern standards early adolescents.

This is causing quite a lot of trouble. Worse, even with a guidance-artifact, he has to interview quite a few kids to find one with suitable skills and potential. Most modern youngsters don’t know how to use a sword, or ride, or give much thought to fighting monsters.

Pegasus is actually quite dangerous: he’s had millennia of practice in getting himself, and his rider, out of the way – and can keep that up for some time (the Triggered Teleport power, which is horrendously cheesy), if he’s fighting something clumsy enough to make a full non-combat speed (3480 move with the Barding of Hermes) passing strike on he can do an incredible amount of damage – and he usually is carrying a quiver full of Zeus’s lightning bolts. While they’re not at full power for anyone but Zeus, they’re still fairly potent.

That doesn’t entirely make up for his low OCV, but then he’s a companion to heroes, not a hero in his own right.


Value Characteristic Points
9/30 STR -1
15/17 DEX 15
20/23 CON 20
12/18 BODY 4
4/10 INT -6
8/11 EGO -4
14/20 PRE 4
8/20 COM -1
4/7 PD 1
4/7 ED 0
3/4 SPD 5
7/10 REC 0
28/40 END -6
30/39 STUN 0
Total 31
Points Powers END
6 Elemental Control: Flight of Dreams (20-pt reserve); Generic Limitation (Must be able to spread wings and have room to maneuver in flight): -1; Visible (Blatantly magical, leaves major traces): -¼; Extra Time: full phase, -½; Extra Time Required: Only At Startup, ½; Champions Limitation (Pegasus Flight Powers Only): -1
a-7 15″ Flight (NC: 240″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×16, +15; Non-Combat (MPH): 357 3
b-8 14″ Teleportation (Long Range 14″); Increased Range: ×1, +0; Long Range: 14″; Long Range (miles): 0.02; Mass Multiplier: ×2, +5; Fixed Locations: 0; Floating Locations: 0; Trigger (Pegasus or his rider about to be hit by a major attack.): Set, +¼; Reduced END: Half, +¼ 1
c-6 Extra-Dimensional Movement; Dimensions: Group, +10; Time Travel: None, +0; Mass Multiplier: ×4, +10; Carrying Mass: 200 4
2 Elemental Control; Magical Equine Powers (5-pt reserve); Physical Equine Powers Only.: -1
a-5 Growth-3 (×8 mass, ×2 height); Mass: 600 kg/1,320 lbs; Height: 164 cm/5’5″; Extra STR: 15; Knockback Reduction: -3; Extra BODY: 3; Extra STUN: 3; DCV Penalty: -2; PER Penalty: +2; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Always On: -½; Must eat more, buy special equipment, etc.: -1 0
b-6 Running (+6″, 12″, NC: 48″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×4, +5; Non-Combat (MPH): 36; Reduced END: Half, +¼; Four legs, not usable if ground obstructed.: -½ 1
c-3 Hand-to-Hand Attack; Kick (4d6, Total 10d6); Range: 0 1
d-3 Enhanced Perception (all) (+4 to PER); Physical Equine Powers Only.: -1
e-2 Armor (4 PD/3 ED); Physical Equine Powers Only.: -1
6 Summon Equipment (Devices costing up to 30 Points, equating to 0-point creatures with base attributes); Range: 0; Summon: Limited Group, +¼; Extra Time: 1 turn, -1; Activation: 11-, -1; Concentrate: 0 DCV, -½; Increased END: ×6, -2½ 24
6 +6 CP to All Attributes Blessing; Modifications to Primary Attributes do not affect secondary attributes. Aid to Defenses has half effect per standard rules.
(6) 1d6 Aid (All attributes) (Fade/turn, Max. 6); Range: 0; Affects: All Powers of Special Effect, +2; Reduced END: Zero & Persistent, +1; Always On: -½; Personal Only: -1; Increases maximums only, does not speed healing: -1; Aid to Defenses is halved per the standard rules. Aid to primary attributes does not affect secondary ones. 0
6 2d6 60-Point Available Equipment Allowance Aid (Fade/week, Max. 60); Range: 0; Affects: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; Extra Time: 1 hour, -2½; Only activates in armories, labs, or between outings: -1½; Personal Only: -1; Difficult to Dispel: ×2, +¼; Increased END: ×10, -4; Only to GM-specified items: -2; Actual point total of equipment available limited by GM decision.: -2; Must actually locate gear, availability is not automatic.: -2; This allows a character to haul along 60 CP worth of customized gear. 30
66 Total Powers  
Points Skills, Talents, Perks Roll
12 +4 level w/Flight, Passing Strike, and Dodge
5 Passing Strike (OCV +1, DCV +0, 6d6+v/5)
2 Acrobatics; Generic Limitation (Only while flying): -½ 12-
2 Area Knowledge / The Imaginal Realms 11-
0 Greek (Native Accent); Literacy: Standard, 0
2 English (Fluent Conv.); Literacy: Standard, 0
23 Total Skills, Talents, Perks  
Cost Equipment
25 Barding of Hermes; OIF (Barding): -½; Independent: -2; Side Effects (Turns user into an equine): 30/Half, -½; Generic Limitation (Side effects cannot be avoided): -½
(22) Armor (5 PD/5 ED) ; Hardened: ×2, ½
(10) +1 SPD
(10) Need Not Breathe
(3) Life Support: Intense Heat/Cold
(3) Life Support: High Radiation
(3) Life Support: High Pressure/Vacuum
(15) Mental Defense (17 pts) ; Add to Total
(10) Power Defense (10 pts)
(35) 2d6 Aid: Non-Combat Movement Multipliers (Fade/day, Max. 20) 2; Range: 0; Affects: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼
15 Saddle of Bellerophon; Independent: -2; Focus: Obvious Inaccessible, -½
(5) Clinging (Clinging STR +10) ; Generic Limitation (Only to keep rider mounted): -2; Reduced END: Zero & Persistent, +1
(10) +8 level w/Ranged Combat; Generic Limitation (DCV Only): -½
15 Zeus’s Quiver Multipower (75-pt reserve); Independent: -2; Focus: Obvious Inaccessible, -½; Generic Limitation (Lightning Powers Only): -1; Generic Limitation (All slots must run on charges): -¼; Gestures: Instant Power, -¼

As a universal focus, it’s worth nothing that his rider can use the thunderbolts too.

u-1 5d6 Killing Attack (RKA) 0; Range: 375; Charges: 16, +0
u-1 15d6 Energy Blast 0; Range: 375; Versus: ED; Charges: 16
u-1 2d6 Radius Flash (Hearing, Sight) 0; Range: 300; Area Effect (Radius): 3″ radius, +1; Charges: 16, +0
u-1 4d6 Ongoing Shock Energy Blast 0; Range: 350; Versus: ED; Continuous: +1; No Normal Defense (Metallic Armor Suit, Not Being Grounded, Electrical Powers): +1; Charges: 12, +½; Continuing Charges: 1 Minute, -3 lev
u-1 10d6 Explosive Energy Blast 7; Range: 375; Versus: ED; Explosion (Extended Area +0″/DC): +½
60 Total Equipment
100+ Disadvantages
25 No Hands
15 Distinctive Features: Pegasus; Concealability: Not Concealable, 15; Reaction: Noticed and Recognizable, +0
20 Limited Legal Rights, No Legal Identity (All the Time, Greatly)
20 Loyalty to current Hero (Very Common, Strong)
10 Reputation: Steed of Heroes (11-)
10 Public Identity
20 Does not gain experience (Common, Total); Situation: Common, +10; Intensity: Total, +10;

Pegasus is built on zero points plus disadvantages and does not gain experience – making him another truly immortal spirit; it doesn’t matter how thoroughly he’s destroyed; he’ll just come back.

120 Total Disadvantages
COSTS: Char. Powers Total Total Disadv. Base
31 + 89 = 120 220 = 120 + 100
OCV DCV ECV Mental Def. PD/rPD ED/rED Phases
6 6 / 4 4 17 16/9 15/8 3, 6, 9, 12

Height: 82/164cm (2’8″/5’5″), Weight: 75/600kg (165 lbs/1,320 lbs), Sex: Male, Age: 16, Race: First Pegasus

The Chronicles Of Heavenly Artifice CXCVIII – The Carousel of Worlds

Up in Yu-Shan, almost all of Charles’s preparatory work was actually done. He had the dragon lines mapped, manses and artifacts built, spike delivered, seating chart being drawn up, repairs made on most of the manses on Earth that were likely to blow in the power surge, gate manses ready to go, and local arrangements to handle the powerflows on the colony world gates both to Yu-Shan and Earth were almost complete. It was down to double- and triple-checking and the (inevitable) flood of last-minute explanatory-assignments…

And, of course, to dealing with the Carnival organizers, who had – of course – left distributing spots to the last week and a half.

And that meant that Charles had slowed his headlong rush enough to make a scheduled public appearance at the concert – and associated minor ones, such as to submit his application for the location!

And THAT was why he was currently waiting in line!

Around him the planning and preliminary setup for the Carnival of Meeting was underway as the surveyors laid out the areas around the Jade Pleasure Dome to put the various stalls and tents, the geomancers examined the sleeping (deva-)gates, celestial lions continued their patrols around the dome with oddly (at least if you didn’t know what was going on) heightened attention to various geomantic details, and the various Carnival hangers-on made THEIR preparations to take advantage of the increase of divine traffic and the no-doubt-astounded mortals who would be coming through.

The central pavilion was normally reserved for big events and major guests only – and the minor gods of scheduling had little time to pay attention to Yu-Shan gossip. There had been something about a “reshaping” a while back, but who had time for that when the god in charge of the planning council proper was CLEARLY wearing clothing in a new style and it was VITAL to make sure that your own outfits matched!

Some of the Cerulean Lute of Harmony’s Sidereals had once sat on that council, but they were far too busy nowadays for some reason. It was rumored that that ALSO related to that Reshaping thing.

Perhaps they should check into what the “Reshaping” had been one of these eons…

Charles, as usual, appeared to be… a kid with a pack and too many pockets full of junk – a nerd who looked like some craft-gods junior apprentice! And god-blooded to boot! And here he was in the line to request scheduling at one of the hottest locations in Yu-Shan! What was up with that? Supposedly his grandfather was some big deal, but again, that had happened after this fool Reshaping thing. Stupid Reshaping, making things more confusing. And what WAS in the boy’s pockets, anyway? It was rumored that LUNA had taken notice, and it had to be something truly horrific to get Luna’s attention! They had to find some way to keep him out, or at least make things harder! And there was some minor Canal guard letting him cut in line by yielding his place! The insolence! Why on earth would a CANAL GOD, one of the most disproportionately arrogant things in Heaven, do that? And there were a pair of Celestial Lions discretely keeping an eye on him too! No doubt looking for some cause to arrest the arrogant little pest!

(Charles) “Allo!”

(Tetzencol the Meticulous, a minor god of mayan record keeping, subtly looking down his nose at Charles – who did not even seem to notice! How could a mere GODBLOOD be so… oblivious to his betters?) “Hello, and who might YOU be?”

(Charles, who really DIDN’T notice) “I’m Charles Dexter Ward, and I need to schedule an event!”

(Tetzencol with a VERY icy smile) “Of course you do… and what sort of event would require the magnificence of this central pavilion? We have many, many people demanding a slot in here! And we have very high standards…”

(Charles, cheerfully) “A concert! Some musical work to go with Calibration! I’ll need rather a lot of seating too!”

(Tetzencol) “Hmph!”

An actual musical contest seemed in order here . . . not only did it establish the pecking order – or so she would hope! – but perhaps the child will wilt at the competition! He didn’t seem the musical type, that was for sure! Much too nerdy to stand the heat!

(Charles) “There will have to be some isolated seating areas though; some of the people who will be coming can only attend indirectly.”

(Tetzencol) “And what makes you think we will hand a God-Blooded child such a prime position – ESPECIALLY with additional seating required?”

(Charles) “Well it’s important – and I do have a writ for it! Besides… I don’t want to disappoint the people who will be coming!”

(Tetzencol, intent on being as awkward as possible) “A writ? Hmph! Few are highly enough placed to write a writ that will be relevant here! Are you sure that more signatures are not in order?”

(Charles) “I have the seating arrangements mostly planned out, but some are speculative… I haven’t got full responses from everybody yet!”

And he showed Tetzencol the preliminary seating chart – complete with places for the Incarnae, several Yozi Jouten, and numerous other major beings – including Raksha!

(Tetzencol) “What is this! Is this some kind of joke!” And the tone was indeed not questioning, but demanding! “Who put you up to this!”

(Charles, with puzzlement) “Why would it be a joke… Oh! An update! Ligier will be coming… That’s very good!”

(Tetzencol) “Get out! No one make a fool of me! Especially not a mortal child!”

(Charles) “Oh, stop being silly! I told you that this was important! Why do you think that Luna authorized it?”

(Tetzencol) “Well then! Why don’t you get the signatures of all NINE Incarnae! Yes! Luna, the Unconquered Sun, the Five Maidens, Gaia, AND the super-secret ninth Incarnae! Surely you must know about that one if LIGIER is coming to your party?”

(Charles) “Nox is already on the list, and Gaia will be helping out…. I’d rather you weren’t difficult about this! If I have to eject you from things this year I’ll have to assign someone else to handle your job here – and even if you’re being a bit upset now, I’d presume that you’re fairly good at it!”

Tetzencol just gaped at him. Whaa?… who was this “Nox”?! Did the child ACTUALLY think that there WAS a “Super Secret Ninth Incarnae”??? And that he, she, or it was COMING to his little performance? Was he oblivious and being used in a prank or was he just insane? It could be either! Even a foolish God-Blood would never BELIEVE that farrago of nonsense, and should have at LEAST called him on his nonsense!

(Charles) “Oh! Were you wanting a bribe? I’m not too good at picking up that sort of thing… (Distractedly) “Ah! More invitation-responses… good!”

(Tetzencol) “You’re completely insane, discussing that out in the open! We do not take bribes!”

Although heavenly politeness did require that she deny it, there were knowing smiles.

(Tetzencol) “Seriously, who put you up to this, you nutcase? Luna, is this you? AGAIN?”

(Charles) “Oh… OK!” (Removing the immediate area to the edge of creation) “ Is this a better place?”

(Yangzi, Celestial Lion Guard, who had failed to react quite in time…) “Charles, you might not want to teleport a bunch of influential – oh. Oh, boy, the report and audit from this are going to be FUN.”

Hanging between galaxies there was a magnificent view of the wyld, and deep space, and the insane galaxies of the other end of the universe! And a glimpse of Basalt and Crimson towers and the Edge of Creation and the realms of dream beyond. The little circle of plaza mosaic, Charles, himself, the registration desk, the two lions, several bodyguards, and a couple of random bystanders rotated slowly, offering a panoramic view – and making it utterly obvious, just in case there had been any doubt, that they were not in Yu-Shan any longer!

Charles kind of figured that – now that he had gotten the invitations out, and was making public arrangements to seat a lot of beings that did not normally attend functions in heaven, and there was just a little less than ten days left… “concealment” (at least of the fact that he was not a god-blood) was no longer a real consideration.

(Charles, in the silence) “Much more private here!”

(Tetzencol) “WHAT DID YOU JUST DO?”

(Charles) “So how big a bribe did all of you want?… Uhm, I moved us to the edge of Creation! No one from Yu-Shan will be hearing us here…”

There was quite a bit of panic and frantic questioning among the gods – and Charles’s escorting Lions were slapping their foreheads.

(Yangzi) “Um, Charles? I’m a heavenly POLICEMAN. I’m supposed to report on this stuff.”

(Charles, happily) “But if I bribe them enough then they won’t complain – and if they DO it’s because they were going against Luna’s writ, so it falls under the “any actions I think necessary” clause doesn’t it?…” (To the gods) “So how big a bribe were you all wanting?” (To the Lions) “Oh! Not to worry! The area we left just looks privacy-warded right now! We wouldn’t want to rematerialize on top of anybody when we go back!”

(Yangzi) “And you would be performing a meritorious act to save Heaven, yeah. AND we’re not supposed to be outside of Heaven without orders. I think we can let this one slide.”

(Tetzencol) “What did you just do!? What is this place?”

(Charles) “Er… I told you! It’s the Edge of Creation! One of the better views! You can see the deep wyld, the empire of Tarvail, the Emperical Galaxy, the Cosmic Storms coming off the Pole of Fire – that’s the quasar-source area over there – the towers of Gauderis Athelstane, the Guardian of Creation, the Borderlands of the Raksha and the realms of Dream, the living suns, and lots of other neat places! But we’re thousands of light years from anybody at all, and even then it’s Raksha and such – not anyone from Yu-Shan. Isn’t it pretty?”

(Tetzencol) “What did you DO?”

(Charles) “I moved us! From Yu-Shan to Creation and about 10 to the hundredth power light years. You wanted privacy didn’t you?”

Tetzencol just stared – rather literally – into space for awhile. Just WHAT was he dealing with here?

(Charles) “Anyway, we won’t need to start until midway through calibration since Saturn wants to conclusion to overlap with her competition with Sol…”

(Tetzencol) “What is going on here?! Why would you want to perform a musical piece when you could do THAT?”

(Charles) “I told you! I need to make some adjustments!”

(Tetzencol, rather more slowly) “To what?”

(Charles) “Well… I’m still required to swear you to a Security Oath to tell you THAT – but you’ll only need to keep it for about ten days now, so that’s not really a big deal any longer.”

(Tetzencol) “What have I gotten myself into?”

(Charles) “Uhm… Carnival scheduling! Same as last year!”

(Tetzencol) “No, really. What have I gotten myself into?”

(Charles) “Well, to tell you that, you have to swear to keep it secret for the next little bit!”

Tetzencol and the bystanders did – and found the summary quite horrifying! He’d never thought that he would be involved with a secret project of this magnitude! Even if he WAS a bit peripheral Charles could really use someone to run interference with the rest of the fair organizers…

(Charles) “Oh, for a bribe… would boosting your essence a level do?”

(Tetzencol) “You can do that?”

(Charles) “Usually!”

(Tetzencol) “We shall see, then!”

Charles went ahead with that – and it did work just fine…

(Charles) “So… can we get things scheduled?”

(Tetzencol) “Yes. Yes, I think so! But you had better get me back to Yu-Shan in one piece!”

And back it was, and in one piece – and to generate more rumors, as the gods involved were noticeably more vital-looking – and FAR more respectful of Charles. Charles, of course, paid no attention to that, and got right back to getting things set up – although even he realized that he might have to deal with gods who would be trying to unofficially horn in and displace the god-blood who somehow got a plum spot.

By that time, Aikiko was giving her latest report to Lytek. After all, she’d just taken in a major horror of the underworld AND found her last Guardian!

(Lytek) “Gah…. So in a way that armor of yours is STILL fulfilling it’s purpose – releasing the soul-fragments of the neverborn – as you use it to go into apocalyptic horrors and offer them mercy.”

(Aikiko) “Apparently so, Lord Lytek. But at least I’ve tracked down everyone-and that last one REALLY needed the help.”

(Lytek) “I begin to wonder if the universe has about run out of problems best resolved with violence? It might help explain why so many of the Exalted spend so much time at each others throats.”

(Aikiko) “All that power, and not that much to do with it?”

(Lytek) “That – and the Exalted WERE created to be the ultimate expressions of violence. While the Exalted have also been amazingly creative, and noble, and corrupt, and many other things… has anything else been even remotely as destructive?”

(Aikiko, with some startlement – she’d never thought about it that way before) “Hmm… not even the Unshaped can kill stuff permanently. I don’t think even hannya can, can they?”

(Lytek) “Not entirely so in any case.”

(Aikiko) “No… man, everything’s really coming to a head, isn’t it? The world – no, the universe – is going to change big time in-wow, only ten days. I’m… not sure how everyone else will react!”

(Lytek, sighing) “Variously I suppose – but at least – according to the seating chart Charles sent – it doesn’t look like most of the major powers are going to be surprised. He seems to be sending invitations to virtually everyone except the more unpleasant deathlords!”

(Aikiko, peering at the current chart) “Wow! I can’t believe Ligier RSVPed… does he know something we don’t?”

(Lytek, sourly) “Almost undoubtedly – I don’t think that I’d even WANT to know many of the things he knows – but in this case… I’d suspect that the Infernals Charles dealt with have at least told him that something interesting is likely to happen, and invitations to even limited aspects of Calibration are rare enough for those of his nature!”

(Aikiko) “Huh…”

She had to visit Malfeas some time, even if it WAS pretty dangerous there.

(Lytek) “Besides… after forty thousand years of exile, you get an invitation to Yu-Shan by someone who apparently has both the authority and a tendency to try to repair everything he encounters. Why pass up a visit?”

(Aikiko) “I definitely wouldn’t.”

(Lytek) “At least he seems to be setting up overlay zones, so they aren’t quite technically in the city… That’s something! I was beginning to think that he had no trace of caution whatsoever!”

(Aikiko) “You and me both… That’s quite a setup he’s already got, though.”

(Lytek) “A final throw of the dice I think. At least that is one thing the Solar Exalted have always been good at; rising to save the day at the very last moment.”

(Aikiko) “I hope it all works out… even if it’s not going to be as smooth as he thinks. I think that I’d better be standing by on guard duty for this!”

(Lytek) “It never is – but he, like you… has almost never failed in his specialties, even if your aid will almost certainly be needed!”

(Aikiko) “That’s another thing we do.”

(Lytek) “I shall deploy what resources I can in support of this endeavor. Charles… rarely thinks of the darker possibilities. It is endearing, and perhaps a part of youth – but at this point I do not think we can afford to leave any path to failure open if we can seal it up.”

(Aikiko) “What were you thinking of, Lord Lytek?”

(Lytek) “I do have some aides available – but he will need at least the forbearance of the Sidereal Brotherhood. He and you… are, I think, pointing out the way to get it. Before watching you in action, I had not really appreciated the power of “forgiveness” as a bargaining chip.”

(Aikiko) “You can’t mean… you’ve gotten over that attack so long ago?”

(Lytek) “Perhaps it is time too. Haven’t you just shown that a grudge held too long becomes a poison to all Creation? And I suspect that there will never be a better time to play that card.”

(Aikiko) “I guess so!”

(Lytek) “Lessons from the souls of the Neverborn… That “Privacy Manse” of his has… most UNEXPECTED ramifications!”

(Aikiko) “Yeah… it might just save us all a whole lot of trouble… Huh. I wonder how many Heavenly officials could use a trip there. Charles would never force anyone in there, of course, but…”