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  • Hopes and Desires for Manses in Third Edition

    This is a thread for all to share their hopes and desires. Let me start with one of my own:


    I hope that we still have the choice to design a manse that doesn't produce a Hearthstone, or at least that lets us replace the Hearthstone with an artifact.

    Consider the example of Volcano Cutter. The Solar first built a manse in order to forge Volcano Cutter, so he had the potential for a Hearthstone from the start. When he finished, he took the manse apart and rebuilt it as a temple to empower the sword.

    In a very real way, Volcano Cutter is the Hearthstone of that manse. It receives the manse's power, and the manse's spirit attendant services the sword as well as the manse that gives it life.


    Now, Volcano Cutter could have simply needed a Hearthstone from any manse in order to function. That would have been far more flexible, and it's the model that most Warstriders and Chariots of Aerial Conquest will follow.

    But the tradeoff for linking an Artifact directly to one specific manse should ideally be some boost in power, either for the Artifact itself or for the Manse's ability to service that Artifact.


    I've already stated my own desire to design a Lunar Manse on the Moon that contains a dedicated Moonsilver Warstrider. In this particular case, the Greater Manse would produce at least a Lesser Hearthstone, which the attuned owner would carry around with them as a beacon for calling the flying Warstrider down to answer her summons, whereupon she places the Hearthstone in its heart to fully wake it up from Transit Mode to Combat Mode.

    When she removes the Hearthstone, the Warstrider automatically reverts to Transit Mode and returns to the Manse for maintenance and repairs.


    A similar idea can be used for an Orichalcum Warstrider whose Manse orbits the sun, hidden from sight on earth within the corona that the manse drinks in for power.


    It's also very much the idea used in the original Voltron series, with each of the (Jade) Lions having its own elemental manse to sleep within, and with each of the (Dragon-Blooded) pilots needing to insert a special key to wake them up.

    The Castle of Lions in the excellent Netflix reboot could be an Artifact N/A that not only functions as a flying battleship, but also a manse capable of producing enough Hearthstones to power all five Lions.


    Formerly Inugami, formerly Tornado Wolf.

    My RWBY Blog on Tumblr: Semblances, Kingdoms, Grimm, and more!

  • #2
    I hope you can get a Manse without a hearthstone, because I like Manses much more as magical castles/towers/palaces/tombs/stone circles than producers of magic gems.

    When you first wrote "or an artefact" my initial feeling was negative, but your description of the Manse as a place where the warstrider lives does make sense actually.


    "Wizard of Oz, you really are a wizard!"

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    • #3
      If you wouldn't get extra points for making the manse by forgoing the hearthstone, I'm not sure what the harm of having it in addition to any other properties would be.

      ​Honestly, I've become a bit wary of manses; I have a hard time shaking a sense that many of the properties they had in Second Edition were stepping on the toes of other forms of power, and that a lot of possibilities for them constitute a weird sense of what a building is or can do. Not to mention anything that feels more like it should be the province of First Age Artifice, or otherwise setting breaking.

      ​Plus the ongoing issue of how it can't go anywhere, meaning that a fairly involved one would necessarily bend a lot of story back upon it.

      ​I'm close to wishing that they'd go back to just being distant and secluded sources of power, even if that had the expanded sense of allowing the stronger Artifacts to use their iconic powers.

      ​I probably won't object to any powers that they could be given that can't even be distantly interpreted as game breaking, but I feel it's an uphill battle to make me enthusiastic about them.


      I have approximate knowledge of many things.
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      • #4
        Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
        If you wouldn't get extra points for making the manse by forgoing the hearthstone, I'm not sure what the harm of having it in addition to any other properties would be.
        Hearthstones can seem fairly underwhelming as the only mobile asset you get for the trouble of building or acquiring a manse and then protecting your ownership of it.

        You need to further build or acquire an artifact of some sort into which to socket the Hearthstone in order to get the benefit of standing the manse while not standing in the manse. These benefits are a +4 mote respiration per hour outside of combat, no additional respiration in combat, being able to use the distant manse as a sorcerous Means that grants two additional intervals to appropriate workings, and a reflexively (Perception + Occult) roll to detect anyone using magic back at your manse.

        That's only for a Greater Demense/Manse/Hearthstone, though. For a lesser one, you're only getting +2 motes per hour, one extra interval, and the difficulty to sense magical shenanigans raises to 3.

        Admittedly, that's not counting a Hearthstone's unique ability, but practically all of the ones in the Corebook could be provided by Artifacts which would require much less investment and protection, and which would also allow you to acquire further powers through Evocations.

        A fair few of the Hearthstone powers in the Corebook are things most convenient to mortals living within a given area, and which would seem to make more sense as effects that the manse itself has upon the land.

        This includes one story I thought was written in the corebook. Two cities built on a massive bridge-Manse that spans a great chasm or river, but where the center of the bridge collapsed. The manse still functions enough to produce a Hearthstone that both cities fight over, because the stone creates a zone of comfortable weather. Whichever city lacks the stone suffers horrible weather. But why the stone provides that power, rather than the manse itself, is beyond me.

        Sometimes you might be able to design or acquire a manse with particular powers that a linked Hearthstone might let you access even though you're nowhere near it; things like accessing its archived knowledge or summoning the Warstrider stored within, for example. But that's more on the manse than the Hearthstone itself.


        Right now, the single greatest benefit that a Hearthstone usually actually provides is serving as the battery for a Warstrider or Chariot of Aerial Conquest or a "magitech" Daiklave even more ridiculously powerful than Volcano Cutter.

        So, sometimes it's better to cut out the middleman and just hook your desired artifact directly to a manse. Especially if it's an extremely well-built manse situated on top of a Greater Manse of an aspect you find very useful.

        The Artifact might even be able to transport you quickly back to the manse, making it a useful "warp point" for cutting down on round-trip travel time and also helping you defend your investment.



        Incidentally, it's really annoying that understanding the full rules and requirements of Hearthstones requires you to read three different Merits which are all on different pages, AND a section in another chapter which is multiple chapters away.


        Formerly Inugami, formerly Tornado Wolf.

        My RWBY Blog on Tumblr: Semblances, Kingdoms, Grimm, and more!

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        • #5
          Another thing I'm hoping for in Third Edition is that Lunar Manses don't get short-changed on favored features again. They had the least of any manse-aspect, even after another supplement added more printed manse features.

          In Oadenol's Codex, Lunar-aspected manses received only ONE. Fire-aspected manses had the second-least at THREE, with most others having four or five. Nevermind the number of features that would have been obviously appropriate.

          Also, the one the Lunar-aspected manses got was "Wyld Revocation", which was perhaps THE most ill-conceived, bullshit feature to be printed. It was practically a "do-anything effect" without proper limits.

          Abyssal-aspected Manses achieved the same purpose in a more sensible fashion by using the Shadowland feature. A Lunar-aspect Manse could do the same with a feature that makes its area behave like a Bordermarch zone of the Wyld. Or -- for that matter -- like an uncapped demesne, if those are still supposed to be places so weird that they can mutate mortals.

          I don't want to see Wyld Revocation return, obviously.


          Powers I'd like to see Lunar-aspected manses Favor?

          Geomantic Subtlety: Because if any manse was going to confound your ability to determine its aspect, layout, or weaknesses, wouldn't it be Lunar-aspected?

          Hidden Passages: More subtlety.

          Limited Mobility: The manse has to remain connected to the demense, but can shift about some. Sinking under the earth or rising high above it on pillars, for example. Perhaps a manse tower that can rise up all the way to the moon?

          Sympathetic Dream Link: This may be unnecessary, what with Hearthstones already letting a manse treat you as if you were inside of its borders. But if this feature is more than that, why wouldn't Lunar Essence facilitate it?

          Puzzle Manse: Of course a Lunar-aspected manse should be appropriate for building a confusing maze of ever-rearranging rooms and hallways.

          Greater Veil of Shadows: Despite the name, it's more like a beefier Geomantic Subtlety.

          Otherworld Gate: To the Wyld specifically, or to any other dimension if Luna and her Exalted are still Worldwalkers.


          That's just from Oandeol's Codex. None of them were favored by Lunar-aspected manses, for some reason. Your guess is as good as mine.

          Anyway, another supplement added more features, but I don't own it or remember it. Maybe Lords of Creation.


          Immutable: Because in this Edition, the Wyld didn't screw over the "helpless" Lunar Exalted, and they found a way to use the Lunar-aspected magical material of moonsilver to make themselves utterly immune to it. So surely a Lunar-aspected manse could provide protection against the ravages of the Wyld.

          Regeneration: If a manse of any aspect had the ability to self-repair, it would be Lunar- and Wood-aspected manses.

          Dynamic Architecture: This feature allowed a manse to have more than one set of features it could shift between; mode-transformation. Which I think was also not made Lunar-favored, for some reason. I hope I'm misremembering that, but given the history of the game, I doubt it.


          Formerly Inugami, formerly Tornado Wolf.

          My RWBY Blog on Tumblr: Semblances, Kingdoms, Grimm, and more!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post
            Hearthstones can seem fairly underwhelming as the only mobile asset you get for the trouble of building or acquiring a manse and then protecting your ownership of it.

            You need to further build or acquire an artifact of some sort into which to socket the Hearthstone in order to get the benefit of standing the manse while not standing in the manse. These benefits are a +4 mote respiration per hour outside of combat, no additional respiration in combat, being able to use the distant manse as a sorcerous Means that grants two additional intervals to appropriate workings, and a reflexively (Perception + Occult) roll to detect anyone using magic back at your manse.
            ​So you're saying it's a case of wanting manses to be useful in cases where hearthstones would not be, rather than specifically not wanting hearthstones?

            ​Looking at some of the Second Edition manse features you've listed there, it brings me to one of the odder things I found about the design principle; for it to do double duty as a basis for the building having magical powers, and just mundane features it had (with the justification being that features such as secret passages and a room to keep books in took up manse points because adding features such as that would compromise the geomancy). I found it to hurt forming a sense of what the features of a manse really were.


            I suppose that one thing to say that I would desire for manses is moving away from a point-buy system for assigning their powers. I know that Holden always said that he liked point-buy systems in general and the ones for manses in particular, and if he had ever worked on a book for manses they would probably have made a return, but my issue with them was always that they felt as though the example powers generally had to be fairly non-specific in a manner that could make it difficult to give the manse a distinct identity and coherent theme, and the numbers on them could line up in ways that you might often feel compelled to buy additional powers or features just to round them out. I always saw it as a bit of a red flag when Devil Tyrant Avatar Shintai, which was supposed to be the big power of turning into a fearsome demonic monster, had to say "if there are a few points left over once you've come up with everything that is actually useful and you care about, just put them into an odd hair colour or something".

            ​I think that I'd prefer manses to be a bit more unique and straightforward, with their powers being more subtle and based on something like harnessing the characteristics of the demesne; you take the power residing in an already enchanted place and expand upon it, and bend it to human purposes.


            I have approximate knowledge of many things.
            Watch me play Dark Souls III (completed)
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            • #7
              Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
              ​So you're saying it's a case of wanting manses to be useful in cases where hearthstones would not be, rather than specifically not wanting hearthstones?
              Well, I'm sure not impressed by Hearthstones in general.

              I like the "Wild-born" Hearthstones; they're neat, and a good way to spice up Creation. But they are something so different from Hearthstones that they shouldn't even be called Hearthstones. When you don't need to build a manse to get it, it doesn't help you respire motes, it can't be used to power a Warstrider, and it continues working even when the demesne is destroyed, it's not really a Hearthstone. It's just a magic rock. I prefer to call them "Wildgems".

              They're still better than the actual Hearthstones, though.

              (Demesne) + (Manse) + (Artifact in which to put the Hearthstone) = actually being able to use a Hearthstone.

              That's three different backgrounds just to use a man-made, "not Wildgem" Hearthstone, and none of them are as powerful or useful as Artifacts. That's not a worthwhile investment.


              Rather than saying "Hearthstones suck", I think the problem is that someone is trying to design Hearthstones without first designing the manses they come from. That's like putting the cart before the horse.

              The most useful thing about a Hearthstone is having a connection to a manse. That's how Hearthstones power Warstriders, and that's how Exalts adventuring across the world are able to make use of manses they almost never return to. If a Hearthstone should have any unique power at all, it should be one that facilitates its nature as a bridge between an Exalt (or god, demon, or whatever) and that Exalt's manse.

              No Exalt goes to the trouble of building a Greater Lunar Manse on top of a rare-as-fuck Greater Lunar Demesne for a fucking BEAST GEM. (Also, why give such an awesome name to what's really just a "Livestock" Gem?)

              For that matter, no Exalt would go to the trouble of building a Standard Lunar Manse on top of a still-rare-as-fuck Standard Lunar Demesne for a stupid Chameleon Stone. It would be so much faster, less expensive, and less difficult to learn your own native Larceny- or Appearance-based disguise Charm. You're sure as hell not going to the personal trouble to find a Lunar demesnse and build a manse to produce a Chameleon Stone so that someone else can be saved the effort of learning a single Charm.
              Last edited by Sunder the Gold; 09-30-2017, 04:51 PM.


              Formerly Inugami, formerly Tornado Wolf.

              My RWBY Blog on Tumblr: Semblances, Kingdoms, Grimm, and more!

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              • #8
                To rephrase something for emphasis, it's wrong-headed to think that a Hearthstone powers a Warstrider. That's all wrong.

                Manses power Warstriders. Without a Manse, there is no Hearthstone. A Hearthstone is nothing more than a glorified power-line, like a much more convenient incarnation of those electrical cables that fueled the Evangelions.

                The only reason to produce a Hearthstone for a Warstrider, rather than build a Manse that connects to a particular Warstrider directly, is so that you can pick which Warstrider you fuel.


                Formerly Inugami, formerly Tornado Wolf.

                My RWBY Blog on Tumblr: Semblances, Kingdoms, Grimm, and more!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
                  ​Honestly, I've become a bit wary of manses; I have a hard time shaking a sense that many of the properties they had in Second Edition were stepping on the toes of other forms of power, and that a lot of possibilities for them constitute a weird sense of what a building is or can do. Not to mention anything that feels more like it should be the province of First Age Artifice, or otherwise setting breaking.
                  "Factory Cathedrals" can go die in a fire. Well, the ones that mass-produced Artifacts, anyway.

                  Manses which are, instead, intended to facilitate the mass-production of mundane products are A-OK. That's worthy enough of being called a Factory Cathedral, especially in Autochthonia where the manse is actually a municipal Charm.

                  A Manse Feature to automatically repair a "First Age Artifice" Artifact should be fairly major, and probably limited to just one particular Artifact that the manse was designed to service.

                  As for creating a new specimen of "First Age Artifice", a crafting manse should do little more than provide the basic tools that would allow such a project to begin.


                  ​I probably won't object to any powers that they could be given that can't even be distantly interpreted as game breaking, but I feel it's an uphill battle to make me enthusiastic about them.
                  Yeah. As cool as the idea of Dynamic Architecture is, it doesn't seem very practical when put into practice.

                  What sort of radically different designs would you want a single manse to take, and could you do either of those designs justice given how expensive Dynamic Architecture would have to be?

                  It would be better to have manse-transformation as more of a fluffy thing, related to how a manse folds upon itself to reveal a hidden entrance, or shifts completely into hiding, or pops out a huge Lightning Ballista as its powers up to attack.


                  Formerly Inugami, formerly Tornado Wolf.

                  My RWBY Blog on Tumblr: Semblances, Kingdoms, Grimm, and more!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post
                    "Factory Cathedrals" can go die in a fire. Well, the ones that mass-produced Artifacts, anyway.
                    ​Even that wasn't what I was thinking of specifically. Wyld Revocation was a big one, like you said, as well as various things such as diagnostic powers.

                    Originally posted by Sunder the Gold
                    Manses which are, instead, intended to facilitate the mass-production of mundane products are A-OK.
                    ​See, that still raises one of the questions that is part of why I have a difficult time really being immersed in manses; where the building ends, and the things within it begins.

                    ​After all, buildings don't exactly do things; they're shelter for things that are done. Their façade might be made to look ornate for various reasons, and some buildings are more useful for a desired function than others by virtue of the size and arrangement of their rooms.

                    ​So that leaves me struggling to find something to grasp in a manse. Is it a matter of being filled with things that require a power source in the form of the Essence channelled by its architecture? Does it directly and specifically affect the psychology of people in and around it in some manner associated with how it looks? Does it radiate out some kind of effect on the surrounding landscape? Is it just an especially hardy building, in a manner you couldn't get with superior materials and construction techniques placed anywhere else, that benefits it as a fortress? Or is it a case of a building that actually does do something inherently, whether that be its amenities being a direct part of it, or it having a capacity to alter its own structure.

                    ​I know that sounds like me listing things that manses can actually be, but I'm just not satisfied with any of them, because they don't really feel like they justify the baggage or the prerequisites to building a manse. Maybe that's just a matter of me having standards that can't be fulfilled, but it dogs my consideration of manses.

                    It leads around a bit to part of why I'm growing to prefer the idea of manses as mostly just a means of making and maintaining hearthstones, and powering certain Artifacts; it implies to me a manse that is relatively simple in structure and function, even if it's ultimately ornate. It can be reserved as a kind of shrine, even a big one, and hence be divorced from the need to account for human activity or complex operations.

                    ​So when you get examples of fine architecture known from the First Age, you temples with ceilings of great domes of blue glass and the like, it can just be a matter of "this was something that was made to look nice, and/or represent the beliefs or sensibilities of the architect".

                    ​I'm even starting to find the notion of First Age architecture indelibly associated with manses to actually diminish it a bit, because to me it becomes a case of "this thing looks nice because that's necessary for giving it the magical powers that are what we're really after". That just... lacks a certain resonance to me.


                    I have approximate knowledge of many things.
                    Watch me play Dark Souls III (completed)
                    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDtbr08HW8RW4jOHN881YA3yRZBV4lpYw Watch me play Breath of the Wild (updated 12/03)

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                    • #11
                      I always liked the idea of manses as basically giant artifacts. Not necessarily all 5-dot or N/A rating but rather larger scale artifacts. Things that regulated weather for an large area, caused crops to be more fertile or whatnot etc.

                      Much as a daiklaive take the essence of its wielder and shapes it into volcanoes or allows them to basically fly, I'd imagine that you could have manses that use the essence concentrtions of the land itself to power effects like flying cities, or a city resting on the bottom of the ocean surrounded by a constantly-renewed air bubble, or a manse that can literally re-shape the surrounding landscape for battles. Since they're connected to the land instead of a weilder's essence they'd likely produce the same effects or 'evocations' regardless of who is attuned to the manse, though I could also see a type of hearthstone that basically allows you to use evocations powered by your manse (this would have to be carefully balanced against the dot rating for artifact vs hearthstone and other powers)

                      For any kind of celestial manse I'd assume they'd follow similar themes to those embodied by the associated magical materials. I realize that at the moment, moonsilver is still kinda getting the shaft there but I believe that Vance said we'd be getting better themes for MS in Arms?

                      A solar manse you could have giant death lasers or focus the collected light of the sun into an ambrosia-like drink that empowers your followers. For an abyssal manse you'd be able to draw the essence off of everything in the vicinity (not at a rate to cause mote loss), and channel it into an ever-storm of black lightning. A lunar manse you could do things like your world gates that link vast swathes of creation or other realms to your lair. A sidereal manse could be built to house a demon of great power that you can consult with on many topics, but beware that he always strives to escape his cage and sow ruin again.

                      That's the kind of stuff I'd like to see in a manse. Basically make them artifacts of large scope or scale.


                      Check out my homebrew exalt: The Fabulists - Chosen of the Raksha here

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                      • #12
                        Exalted 1e core on Manses, to go back to basics:

                        Manses are typically enormous structures, built by the Exalted as centers for life, power and spirituality. They combined the most civil elements of temple, university and monastery and were populated by the Exalted and those who learned from them. Investments of Essence prevent most Manses, keeping them intact while buildings around them rejoin the dust. More problematic to the Dragonblooded, most have intricate sorceries built into them to allow only powerful Exalted to enter them and tap into the rich upswelling of power that they embody.
                        (comparing to 3e's comparable bit could be fun).

                        On the topic of hearthstones, I'm a weird one in that I do actually *feel* hearthstones. Mainly because I really like Ikselam's hearthstones (http://exalted.xi.co.nz/wiki/HearthStones/Ikselam), and the whole conceptualiztion of magical objects of power which are much more natural in er... nature, as an living outgrowth and pearl of essence flows, than artefacts are (... and because I like materia).

                        I have to agree in context that hearthstones have fallen well by the wayside, compared to all other sources of Exalted power, and I can understand why - each hearthstone offers very much a standalone, isolated power, that's usually not very major, and in general, manses play weakly well with the style of Exalted adventurers wandering around the earth.

                        I do like the idea of manses as quite a major, defining, significant source of power, on a par with a sorcerous initiation, or an evocation tree. Being able to evoke all sorts of powers and sorceries from a manse seems on a par with the ideas that they were first presented with. *But* I'm not sure there is actually space for this in the game!

                        I also would have say that the initial sense of identity specifically stressing manses as places of learning and spirituality and through that, seats of authority, rather than just any sort of magical residence, that also appeals to me.

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                        • #13
                          Refining a demense in someway is what I'm hoping for...which is basically what armyofwhispers said.
                          The manses I've had/run are all deeply tied to the natural phenomon around them (To a degree. One was made on the fly, and I didn't realize how demenses worked. Another is floating off the edge of plannequin, and moves between spaces in Malfeas, Underworld, and Yushuan, but meh). The ysyr imperial manse (in mine) is tied to a vast amount of Yasal cyrstals it refines and hastens the growth of. Another one aligns the echoes the cyrstals the demense makes (each crystal acting as a bell) to produce music or serve as a vast intimidating PA system.


                          I did a lot of homebrew over here. PEACH.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
                            ​Even that wasn't what I was thinking of specifically. Wyld Revocation was a big one, like you said, as well as various things such as diagnostic powers.
                            What was wrong with Analytical Senses and the other sensory manse features?

                            If you built the manse to have a central intelligence and put it in charge of security, you'd want it to sense as much as possible. Of course, you could just use particularly keen-sensing bound guardians. Sometimes it's a matter of personal choice, like investing in Glorious Solar Saber instead of the Evocations of a daiklave.


                            ​See, that still raises one of the questions that is part of why I have a difficult time really being immersed in manses; where the building ends, and the things within it begins.
                            This is an excellent question to raise.


                            Is it a matter of being filled with things that require a power source in the form of the Essence channelled by its architecture?
                            In the case of Lightning Ballista and other magical artillery weapons, yeah. You could park other artifact artillery weapons on your roof, but none of them would be powered directly by the manse, so they ought to be weaker than the dedicated weapons.

                            Likewise, you could task-bind demons or elementals to guard the premises, but if you'd need to replenish their numbers year after year, summoning them all takes time, and if any are killed in service, none are automatically replaced. Ditto for robot guards. Having bound guardians/servants as a manse feature takes care of that for you.


                            Formerly Inugami, formerly Tornado Wolf.

                            My RWBY Blog on Tumblr: Semblances, Kingdoms, Grimm, and more!

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
                              See, that still raises one of the questions that is part of why I have a difficult time really being immersed in manses; where the building ends, and the things within it.

                              This may just be me, but a lot of buildings are defined by the things in them to the point of not usually being distinct in discourse. Often a building's layout doesn't just happen to lend itself to certain functions but exists to facilitate those functions from the word go. Smitheries and mills, for example, don't really have a function out of being the container for the thing they are named after.

                              While some of the manse powers from 2E were poorly conceived, the idea that a manse exists to perform a particular function seems fine to me. Now ideally this function will relate to the area and demesne it caps rather than allowing it to function as an entirely self-contained setpiece that could be transplanted anywhere with an appropriately rated demesne.

                              As to the distinction between a building created with magic and a manse, that is someone harder to define. Most of the manse powers form 2E could be duplicated with one or more workings done on an otherwise mundane structure. Technically so could many hearthstone effects. This problem applies to Artifacts more generally though. Hopefully, more examples will allow the distinction to become clearer.

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