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Alucard gets his grubby hands on AotC!

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  • #61
    Hey, y'all, finally got my replacement charger.

    Natural Magics

    ​I love the little stuff like this. Things that are too strange and mystical to sit on the shelf in a marketplace, but not quite potent or lasting enough to necessitate Artifact dots. We've got a lot of classics here, but I don't recognize Dawnflower; is it new? Either way, it's pretty neat. I've already pestered my ST to retroactively assume my Eclipse owns a dreamstone.

    Audient Brush

    ​Another old classic, wasn't expecting my socks to be knocked off by it. To be fair, most of its thunder was probably stolen earlier by Sun's Brush.

    Clockwork Bird/Bird of Vanileth

    Thanks for the clarification on First Age artifice. I've never been too big on spending dots on Familiar or anything else that amounts to a small animal; daiklaves and the like might be able to be stolen, but at least they're relatively hard to destroy. But I realize this is just my stupid, scarred-by-2e brain getting in the way of a pretty neat artifact. Plus, this one's at least hardier than your standard small bird.

    Lorestone

    ​Fairly basic, but not in a bad way. I love the inclusion of First Age cuisine in the list of subjects.

    Lotus-Blossom Cup

    ​Another classic. Its interaction with the disease and poison rules are a reminder of how pleasantly simple the rules for those are now, and thus I love it.

    Solar Seal/Auspicious Secret Seal

    ​I rather enjoy the elemental variations that occur by making these out of blue, black, or red jade, and brings to mind the thought of what might happen with other materials. Perhaps a green jade one would cause the missive to blossom into a flower? I wonder what a starmetal one might do, for that matter...

    Stoneheart Coffer

    ​I actually like that it protects against jostling and the elements, but not against time itself.

    Ultimately Useful Tube

    ​Again, fairly basic, but not bad. I'm curious as to what's so special about the Liar's Tree; is this a reference to something I've missed?

    Winterbreath Jar

    ​I'm enjoying the added clause about plugging in an Air-aspected hearthstone.

    Arete

    ​The first new artifact of the chapter, I gotta say, the inclusion of a backstory makes this artifact so much more vivid. Its Evocations really resonate with the story, too.

    Carnelian Phoenix

    ​Once again, y'all have an artifact that's cool before we even get to the Evocations. I'll have to look at the Ride rules again, but this seems pretty neat for such a character.

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    • #62
      Starmetal Seal - ...note? What note? The envelope was empty.


      ....

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      • #63
        Dragon Tear Tiara

        ​An old classic, this seems handy for an Occult character; I might end up having to dig one up for Spider. I'll have to keep an eye on future publications to see how it interacts with Sidereal, Lunar, et cetera., spirit detection.

        The Golden Hounds

        ​I like the story of this one. Is the Sand mentioned the same one from Caste Book: Eclipse? The Celerity mechanic looks like fun, too. I especially enjoy that the ecstatic speed granted by the Golden Hounds is limited in its capacity to be used for offense; sure, you can use it to evade attacks as you Rush an enemy, but the second you actually hit him, your bonus resets to 0 as if you'd stopped moving altogether. It reinforces their nature as a runner's boots, not a fighter's.

        ​(I also enjoy the shout-out to Ruvia.)

        Illusion-Shattering Mirror

        ​The power of coincidence is strong; I happened to also be hearing the introduction for the audiobook of Neil Gaiman's Smoke and Mirrors at the same time as I was reading this one. I rather enjoy how one can use this mirror to not only break an enemy's disguise - you can use it to help a someone destroy a false belief they hold. This might be really handy to have for when a Solar goes too far with Memory-Reweaving Discipline. Still, they have to be the one to discard it; the lie might be too comfortable for them to cease hiding behind it.

        Jade Steed

        (double-checks horse stats)

        ​Okay, yeah, this is cool.

        Resplendent Satchel of Healing

        ​I didn't like the old version of the Satchel; Seamstress of Dissolution's player wanted one in my Okeanos game, and so I went combing through the Second Edition books to uncover it. When I finally found it, I asked her, "Why? All it does is render the Medicine Charms on your sheet obsolete!"

        ​This one feels more like it complements a healer character, rather than replacing her.

        Second-Shadow Drum

        ​Ahh, a human-skin drum; this feels pretty damn pulpy. It also seems like the guy who has this also has the envy of every necromancer on the block.

        Brass Legionnaire

        ​These guys seem like top-notch combatants, pulling slightly ahead of even a Dawn's Tiger-Warriors. I also appreciate the sidebar about making batches of these guys; even a dedicated Twilight isn't going to be able to just litter the setting with these things.

        Collar of Dutiful Submission

        ​For all your Monkey King-restraining needs. It wouldn't have occurred to me to make the Stamina + Resistance roll require a flurry to do anything else, but that seems like a pretty solid way to represent struggling against its tightening without making the character completely helpless. I like it!

        Shadow-Casting Jewel

        ​This one's pretty niche, given its short-range limitation and once-per-month usability, but still makes for a very nasty surprise. I recently reread Niven's "Not Long Before the End," and this feels like one of the kinds of things the Warlock would squirrel away for a confrontation.

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        • #64
          Sorcery-Capturing Cord

          ​Another old classic. This one is a tad dangerous, as it requires you to stand in the path of a sorcerer while he's shaping a spell, and hope that your fingers are quicker with knots than his mind is with channeling mystic energies. On the upside, if you pull it off, you can save that Death Ray for a rainy day. The idea that you might come across one with a spell already tied up in it is pretty intriguing, especially paired with the chance of knot knowing what it is.

          ​Robin: "There's a spell already trapped in this cord."
          Knight Raiton: "What is it?"
          ​Robin: "I don't know, but it's Solar circle."

          Wings of the Raptor

          ​I like the mythic origin of these wings, and that you've actually gotta have room to fly around with the 20-foot wingspan that'd be required to give a human enough lift to fly. The old wings of the raptor from previous editions felt rather easy to pass up, and wasn't helped by how interchangeable even wings of different materials were.

          ​I think it's a good move, giving the first Evocation a discount for having the right Charms. Its capstone is super good; I hope folks aren't discouraged by the "keep it attuned for a full story" requirement of its prerequisite.

          The Golden Viper

          A talking venomous snake that offers knowledge that leaves you no longer innocent, seemingly working toward its own mysterious agenda. Plus he turns his victims into solid gold. This is definitely a five-dot artifact, all right. I also like the way in which it demonstrates the difference between its ilk, and automatons that aren't works of First Age Artifice.

          The Veil That Holds Back Time

          ​Kickass name, vivid description. I'm not a huge fan of easily-destroyed artifacts (as stated above and elsewhere), but considering that this one wasn't made with any of the magical materials, I can dig it. I'm not entirely convinced that its utility necessitates five dots, but it's definitely cool.

          Siege Weapons

          ​One game session from my Okeanos game had some of the PCs fighting on another ship while Seamstress stayed behind with the mortal crew; unbeknownst to them, a shark-god child of Siakal had come aboard the circle's ship intent on slaughtering the crew in their absence. Seamstress surprised it by tackling the thing and locking her arms around its throat. The rest of the crew, heartened by her brave antics, beset the thing with knives and belaying pins, and one of them unloaded a couple of ballista bolts into it.

          ​The shark-god very wisely decided to dematerialize after that, but Seamstress maintained her death-grip even across the chasm of the material, and strangled it to death.

          ​At the time, these rules hadn't been published, so I just kinda winged it. But I'm glad to see that my ST instincts weren't too far from the mark.

          Lightning Ballista

          ​I'm a little surprised that you can throw an unblockable lightning bolt and have it not be a decisive attack. This bad boy's definitely something to tread lightly with, both because of its capacity for friendly fire, and because deciding to deploy a Stormblast Barrage means it'll require maintenance after.*

          Implosion Bow

          ​It feels a bit redundant to say that it's unblockable and automatically hits battle groups, but then again, maybe I just don't pay enough attention to Evasion. Combining the withering effect on top of the decisive implosion, plus destroying structures and objects, plus devastating battle groups, plus leaving behind difficult terrain, definitely says Artifact 5 to me.

          Horizon Endeavor

          *jaw drops*

          ​I was unprepared for how badass an artifact warship would be. Beware the Sail Supernal Solar who gets Blood and Salt Bondage and sets his sights on Horizon Endeavor.

          Chariot of Aerial Conquest

          ​I'm glad this thing doesn't have any integrated weapons - I don't know if I would've been able to handle it.

          I like this one, as I'm not particularly fond of airships that look exactly like sailing ships. Having it be a giant five-sided howdah (sans elephant) made of gold makes for a pretty unique airship.


          ​*At first I misread these bits, thinking it would require maintenance after every shot, limiting it to a once-per-combat affair, but a subsequent rereading showed me that it doesn't actually require the maintenance until after the scene is over. That's much better.
          Last edited by TheCountAlucard; 01-14-2019, 07:05 AM.

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          • #65
            The Veil makes a good combo with the Stoneheart Coffer.

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            • #66
              Originally posted by Elfive View Post
              The Veil makes a good combo with the Stoneheart Coffer.
              Had a First Age Dragonblooded planned who had survived by being mummfied in the Veil and stored in a Stoneheart Coffin


              I did a lot of homebrew over here. PEACH.

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              • #67
                Warstriders
                ​Now we finally get to the long-anticipated chapter on the walking war-engines of the First Age. I've been excited about these since I first heard about them. The execution's always felt a bit off in previous editions; there were few foes a Solar could face where they'd genuinely be better off fighting from a thirty-foot-high relic-armor of legend, and that's just disappointing.

                ​But this edition seems to have nailed it. The free Devastate action really puts the war in warstrider, and its ability to ignore the benefits of Legendary Size (while enjoying those benefits itself against smaller-scale opponents!) makes it very formidable even before we get to Evocations.

                Already my breath is taken away by the artwork and fiction. Even though the Solar seriously threatens the life of the Dragon-Blooded pilot, this pyroclastic metal titan feels appropriately powerful and massive.

                ​Now, let's get to the named ones, shall we?

                All-Conquering Colossus
                ​Great name, great story. For those of you who can't read along, this orichalcum titan was created by a Twilight looking to reunite with and protect her circle's Dawn, who had sworn an oath to defeat all of Creation's enemies. Encased as she was in the warstrider, the Dawn didn't recognize the Twilight at first, but after a few rounds of combat, she realized who she was fighting. They were wed soon after.

                Once again, even before we get to its Evocations, we see that this thing is meant to shrug off lesser attacks and slay giant horrors. Sure enough, its first two Evocations showcase this. Rita Repulsa-alikes, beware: this mecha won't just defeat your sorcerously-enlarged behemoths - it'll fling them back at your moon-palace with enough force to topple its towers.

                Cathedral of Sublime Annihilation
                ​We receive yet another hint about the enigmatic Scorpion Empire in this thing's blurb. This sun-metal weapons platform is bristling with deadly weaponry, made to stand against otherworldly enemies from the Wyld and stranger places. ​Anyone who's ever felt like warstriders are a little too punch-focused for their Archery character: this is the warstrider for you. Concealed within it are reserves of firedust, massive crossbow bolts, flechettes, lightning ballistae, and of course its Godsigh of Noonday Triumph.

                Crusading Spear of the Depths
                ​Our first non-orichalcum one, this black jade warstrider was created by a familiar Sidereal to do battle against the Niobrarans. The warstrider's inaugural pilot tragically lost her life in the conflict, but brought down the armies of the Spoken with her via Crusading Spear's devastating Ocean-Twisting Maelstrom.

                ​I'd like to note that while this metal giant is specialized for underwater combat, many of its Evocations have at least some application in combat on land.
                Last edited by TheCountAlucard; 01-26-2019, 08:38 PM.

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                • #68
                  Emerald Chevalier
                  This is the unparalleled choice for the combatant who wants to play at mounted combat but doesn't want to breed a warstrider-sized horse. Emerald Chevalier is a four-legged green jade warstrider in the shape of a woman riding a horse. Her first wearer tragically neglected to perform maintenance on Emerald Chevalier, and then was killed by nomads while trying to unstrap herself from it. Damaged beyond the Shogunate's ability to repair it, Emerald Chevalier was enshrined in some ruin or another.

                  ​I very much enjoy this potent warstrider; its Evocations are those of a swift, tireless charger, impaling foes on her lance or trampling them underhoof, culminating in an ultimate technique in which the lance impact sends out a massive shockwave.

                  Godspeed Vanguard
                  ​This is a lightly-armored scout of a warstrider, capable of stealth and various optical tricks, drawing on orichalcum's themes of light and shadow equally. I find it worth mentioning how its blurb details its use in a conflict between Solars battling for dominance over Creation in a period apparently called the Sunstrife Wars.

                  ​(This is actually intriguing; let's hope it's not explored and demystified in a disappointing way, like the Clone Wars.)

                  ​Oh, also it can flash brightly enough to burn out mortal eyes, and that's not even the capstone.

                  ​*rechecks Living Wind Approach*

                  ​Yep, okay, that's more powerful. This one deserves its five Artifact dots.

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                  • #69
                    Emerald Chevalier also comes with a bow and Evocations that assist with Aiming, so it can shoot at targets as it charges into melee range with them, and as it retreats.

                    Among the non-flying warstriders of the book, it is the supreme hit-and-run champion, though it obviously gets into trouble if it cannot extricate itself from close range with opponents like All-Conquering Colossus, and Cathedral of Sublime Annihilation can really put on the hurt from a distance before Emerald Chevalier can get close enough to overwhelm its meager close range power.


                    Formerly Inugami, formerly Tornado Wolf.

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

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                    • #70
                      Indeed it does; yesterday was a bit stressful for me, and I in fact overlooked some details.

                      I saved the N/A's for last, let's take a look.

                      Ascendant Nova Phoenix

                      Designed to be the supreme flying warstrider (and indeed, the only one published in this book capable of flight), this orichalcum war machine was created by a team of three Exalts who used Wyld-based time-dilation to finish their project in secret. This thing is glorious, with a blue jade wings and individually crafted feathers of orichalcum. The pilot operates from a sphere of adamant that can display what the warstrider sees to the pilot (and the rest of his circle, as there's room for them in the fuselage!); in idle time, it plays through visions of some of its more legendary deeds.

                      ​Naturally, creating something this awesome led to the makers turning on each other; we're not told which one ended up with this amazing device and went on to shape the Age.

                      ​This thing can kick all kinds of ass; Ascendant Nova Phoenix can fly at (Essence x500) miles per hour, and can perform many sorts of aerial maneuvers above and beyond what's allowed with humble wings, without even a single purchased Evocation. Once you start buying those, you're capable of creating burning landscapes, damaging whirlwinds, or pillars of fire, or showers of holy burning feathers, or sonic booms; often just as a by-product of making an attack. Its Evocations intersect at many points with the Solar Charmset, enhancing the already-pretty-amazing Heavenly Guardian Defense, Eye of the Unconquered Sun, and Eagle Wing Style. Its pinnacle Evocation permits you to fly fast enough to cross Creation itself inside of an hour.

                      Ascendant Nova Phoenix very much lives up to its name and its hype. It stands at twice the height of other warstriders. If you knew you were going to duel Ligier in an hour, this would be the suit you'd put on. It absolutely deserves its N/A rating, as its battlefield-scarring glory transcends the notion of game balance and glows fiercely enough to dim the rest of Creation by comparison.

                      And that's not even the last one in the book.
                      Last edited by TheCountAlucard; 01-28-2019, 10:05 AM.

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                      • #71
                        Oh, the next one is going to be a fun one. Looking forward to your reaction.

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                        • #72
                          Karvara the Walking Devil-Tower

                          ​There was once a monster that lay dormant in Zen-Mu. It was turned loose by Feng Huang Morningstar, a Solar traitor, and where the monster was, Creation was not. A hundred Exalted working together subdued Karvara, pinned the horrific creature down, but even then they could not kill it. A Lunar and Solar worked on it from within and without, working molten moonsilver over the beast to imprison its apocalyptic body inside a massive warstrider. The warstrider's fuselage is a hollowed-out portion of the beast's spine, and its controls hook directly into Karvara's nervous system; the pilot and the beast may even communicate with each other through this link.

                          ​The beast is not content to meekly serve, either; it quietly seeks to influence and corrupt the pilot, for in the midst of Limit Break, Karvara may assert control over the moonsilver limbs of the warstrider. Even that is not enough - it wants to be free.

                          ​After the Usurpation, Karvara was entombed with its pilot, and sealed behind the sinews of dragons and the silk of Pattern Spiders, with just a touch of the Silent Wind of Malfeas. Naturally, the agent Heaven sent to check on it after the Jade Prison was broken has gone missing.

                          ​Hoo boy. This moonsilver monstrosity is a vicious and terrifying bastard. It won't even accept you as a pilot if you're not cursed enough for it to corrupt you. Its Evocations are monstrous and aptly-named; the first, "Eat the Heart of God," slides back the armored plate over the warstrider's mouth to reveal a toothy maw that can swallow whole fallen foes of less than Legendary Size. Karvara can permanently destroy spirits in this fashion, and eaten creatures yield tasty, tasty Initiative. Its Evocations often reward the pilot who gains Limit at the helm of Karvara, and reap grisly trophies from its slain foes.

                          "Torn From This World" is genuinely scary, even months after having read it, this Evocation may keep me from sleeping; you gain it for free when Karvara devours someone you have a Major or Defining Tie towards, at which point eaten foes are erased from history. Even the pilot won't remember someone the warstrider consumes, absent Charms like Invincible Solar Aegis.

                          ​Its ultimate technique, "Voice of the Apocalypse," lets Karvara speak a word from the tongue of Zen-Mu, unmaking Creation in an arc that extends out to extreme range, and replacing it with something... else. Enemies caught in the wake of it are Torn From This World.

                          ​Wow. I've got the shivers. This thing needs to be imprisoned forever. I love it.
                          Last edited by TheCountAlucard; 01-29-2019, 01:40 PM.

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                          • #73
                            Summary

                            Arms of the Chosen is a thoroughly remarkable book, filled with all manner of artifacts for player characters to discover the history of, seek out, or wield in battle. The blades, bows, armors, and amulets contained inside are game-changers, and serve as a shining triumph of the Evocations system. The devs have written artifacts that make me feel like a kid fogging up the glass window of a display with his breath, simultaneously wanting the things displayed within with unmitigated greed, and not feeling worthy of them. Moreover, it's inspired me to come up with artifacts of my own, from Ravenous Shade Prison to Centimane to the Regalia of the Raiton. Eric Minton and Robert Vance should be proud of their work.
                            Last edited by TheCountAlucard; 01-28-2019, 01:51 PM.

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                            • #74
                              And just in case you ever think Karvara isn’t N/A enough, don’t forget the part where you can buy the Charms of spirits it eats as Evocations.

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                              • #75
                                You think you'll carry on with the artifacts we get in the fatsplat books? The DB ones are rad and I'm sure Lunars will carry on the tradition.

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