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Artifact: Soulsteel Dire Chain (PEACH!)

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  • Artifact: Soulsteel Dire Chain (PEACH!)


    Hello! I'm working on the following artifact and would like your insight. The design goal of the artifact is to expand the playstyle of Ebon Shadow Style. In addition to your standard run of assassination options, the evocations of the artifact should allow you to leave your enemy alive but scarred by the harrowing experience of the attack. And then, theoretically, you find some way to manipulate them after the fact.

    Some of the design considerations that go with that line of thinking. Taking social actions during combat is tough, because they take up actions you might need to survive, or inflict flurry penalties which make your everything you're trying to do more likely to fail and make you easier to hit. Also, if you're splitting your efforts (and motes and Willpower) between attack and defense already, adding social actions to the list of things you've got to pay for makes things that much tougher.

    To help mitigate those difficulties and keep social actions from tanking your ability to survive the fight, the evocations have a few things which help restore some of the lost action economy. To deal with the fact that the costs of trying to do everything you need to do and activate the Evocations would be prohibitive, the artifact primarily uses the an internal currency it generates. Some of my playgroup has reservations about these extra resources and how to make sure they stay manageable, so other alternatives that I've considered include mote generation, recapture, and draining. Those effects have the potential to cause their own problems, though.

    These are the Essence 1 Evocations I have envisioned. I figure I get this foundation sorted, and then built out the other evocations from there.

    Anyway, thank you in advance for taking the time!


    ---

    The Ouroboros Abhorrent

    (Soulsteel Dire Chain, Artifact ****)

    In life Isonash was a prophet and oracle of the underworld, and in death he became a mighty lieutenant of a certain Deathlord. In time, Isonash learned to forge soulsteel, and he made a great chain from the souls of those he deemed either worthy of preservation from Oblivion, or unworthy of their ghostly existence. The worthy became the ornamentation of the chain, while the unworthy became its hard links. This chain he called The Ouroboros Abhorrent, a manifestation of his philosophies.

    The Ouroboros is a symbol of the Labyrinth, and draws its power from its sympathy to that terrible place between the Underworld and the Void. Isonash considered walking the Labyrinth to be the key to enlightenment, for the mindscape that place would become was perfect for the development of the soul. And more, holding onto the tension between the ordered existence of the underworld and the oblivion of the Abyss was excellent practice for the cultivation of the enlightened mind.

    Isonash eventually lost his footing on this treacherous path and succumbed to the Abyss. The Ouroboros, however, was passed down through his cult, the Black Gentian Society, from generation to generation.

    The Ouroboros Abhorrent is a Soulsteel dire chain forged to resemble a mighty serpent. The belly of this serpent is a series of exposed links, but the dorsal surface is ornamented with additional overlapping plates, carefully crafted to resemble the scales of a snake. One end of the chain terminates in the broad head of a viper, mouth open and fangs extended. The other end terminates in a Soulsteel weight with a socket for a hearthstone. Regardless of what position the Ouroboros is left in, if left alone and unobserved it will slowly coil back in upon itself and hold its tail in its open mouth.

    Attunement: 5m.
    Type: Medium (+3 ACC, +12 DMG, +1 Def, OVW 5).
    Tags: Bashing, Martial Arts, Disarming, Flexible, Grappling, Reaching.
    Hearthstone Slots: one.
    Era: Reign of the Scarlet Empress.
    Special: The Ouroboros, like the Labyrinth it represents, responds to the mental state of its wielder and its victims. When the wielder takes actions that control, manipulate, or overwhelm its victim, the Ouroboros gains a Coil. The Ouroboros accumulates Coils when the wielder makes a successful unexpected or ambush attack, crashes an enemy, benefits from the weapon’s Flexible tag, or successfully executes a gambit. The Ouroboros’ accumulated Coils last until the scene ends or until they are spent. As Coils are accumulated, the Ouroboros changes--growing longer, larger, and more fearsome.

    Passion-Numbing Venom Fangs
    Cost: 1 Coil; Mins:Essence 1.
    Type: Supplemental.
    Keywords: none.
    Duration: Instant.
    Prerequisites: none.

    The cold proximity of the Abyss rasps away at those passions which makes a man what he is. The Ouroboros strikes at those same passions, consuming them and poisoning the soul.
    In combat, the wielder may flurry social Influence rolls to degrade an enemy’s Intimacy without penalty, or flurry rolls to discover an enemy’s intimacy without penalty.
    Special: As long as the wielder is not dissonant with Soulsteel, Passion-Numbing Venom Fangs awakens when the wielder attunes.

    Winding Labyrinth Impenetrable
    Cost: -; Mins:Essence 1.
    Type: Permanent.
    Keywords: none.
    Duration: Permanent.
    Prerequisites: none.

    As the wielder strikes from the shadow, her victim’s shock awakens the Ouroboros, causing the thing to begin to coil and move, wrapping a hundred spectral layers around the wielder, lengths of chain darting out to catch incoming blows.
    If an enemy attacks the wielder and fails to do damage, the Ouroboros gains 1 Coil.
    If Ouroboros has at least 1 Coil currently accumulated, the wielder gains an additional [the higher of Essence or 3] Soak and equal Hardness. Additionally, the wielder can ready or stow the Ouroboros as a reflexive action.

    Soul-Striking Serpent
    Cost: -, 1 Coil; Mins:Essence 1.
    Type: Permanent.
    Keywords: none.
    Duration: Permanent.
    Prerequisites: Winding Labyrinth Impenetrable.

    The wary warrior is ready for an attack from any angle. The Ouroboros feeds off the anticipations and anxieties of its victims, and thereby strikes from every direction.
    If an enemy attempts to Disengage from the wielder, the Ouroboros gains 1 Coil.
    The Ouroboros gains the Piercing tag and does lethal damage on Decisive attacks. Additionally, as a reflexive action, the wielder may pay 1 Coil to allow the Ouroboros to make attacks against enemies at Short range, and enemies within Short range must Disengage in order to move away from the wielder.


    Seven-Nights Nightmare
    Cost: 1 Coil per recurrence; Mins:Essence 1.
    Type: Reflexive.
    Keywords: none.
    Duration: A number of purchased turns.
    Prerequisites: Passion-Numbing Venom Fangs.

    As the Ouroboros channels the fell power of the Labyrinth, it strikes fear into the very heart of its victim. The foe is subjected to terrible visions that exacerbate his own insecurities into full-blown phobias.
    After the wielder has attempted to Instill an Intimacy of Fear in a victim, the wielder may spend 1 Coil on his next turn reflexively to retry the Instill action (see Exalted, p. 222). This retry does not take an action and does not require greater evidence or a better argument. The wielder may continue to spend 1 Coil on subsequent turns to keep retrying.
    Resonant: Charms used to enhance the retry Instill rolls created by Seven-Nights Nightmare gain the Mute keyword, as the wielder’s Essence channeled through the Ouroboros courses through phantasms in the victim’s mind without passing through the wielder’s anima.
    Last edited by Bandersnatch; 04-21-2019, 05:17 PM.

  • #2
    Going to mostly comment on style and clarity, since I'm not that great with 3e balance.

    General: could use more references to the weapon's full title; maybe every other Charm, give it a mention?

    Coil mechanic: It feels like there should be a cap on the number of Coils that can be accumulated, if not by anyone then at least by non-resonant wielders. I like having a separate resource mechanic as opposed to mote regeneration; it makes the weapon feel more like its own thing, rather than "oh word another Charm tree". More characterful.

    Passion-Numbing Venom Fangs: "Flurry without penalty" is fuzzy wording; does the Charm remove the flurry penalty only from the social roll, or from both actions? Does it also remove the Defense penalty? Be explicit. Also, this is a Supplemental Charm; the thing it enhances should be in the singular ("a social influence roll", not "social influence rolls").

    Winding Labyrinth Impenetrable: This Evocation's interaction with gambits needs to be explicitly stated. Wording is a little unclear: is the ability to reflexively ready the Ouroboros dependent on already having a Coil? Should be "the Ouroboros" in all instances (I presume that was a typo).

    Soul-Striking Serpent: How long the striking-at-Short-range effect lasts should be stated.

    Seven-Nights Nightmare: Cost and Duration seem unnecessarily complicated. Recommend Cost: 1 Coil; Duration: Instant; last sentence of main body replaced with "If this instill attempt fails, the wielder may make another attempt by reactivating Seven-Nights Nightmare on the following turn."

    Overall: I like the theme, but overall it feels underwhelming; these effects feel like Essence 2 branches off of core social influence trees, not like the dread power of a Labyrinth-forged nightmare; I'm interested to see where you take it at Essence 2+.


    Known elsewhere as Kurulham. Void where permitted.

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    • #3
      Thank you for that feedback! Rather than clutter the thread with another copy&paste of the text, I've made some changes based on what you've suggested here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1...it?usp=sharing


      I can see that limiting the Coils might be good. Right now, they're not doing anything overwhelming, but I'm thinking some Evocations further down the road will get them involved in a bigger way, and limitations based on Resonance/Dissonance might be good ways to adjust the power levels for different tiers of Exalted users. I haven't written those charms out yet, so I don't know what the limits should be, but that'll be an idea I can look into going forward.

      I see the Evocations proceeding generally along two tracks: the physical tracks where the Ouroboros becomes increasingly debilitating physically, which begins with Winding Labyrinth Imprenetrable and Soul-Striking Serpent, and the mental track that begins with Passion-Numbing Venom Fangs and Seven-Nights Nightmare. The physical track will have effects that help build coils, with maybe occasional cause to spend them, and the mental track will be the primary reason for expending the coils.

      Along the physical track, I envision it getting to the point where it makes temporary shaping effects on the local environment, calls up ghosts, has grappling effects, and similar. On the mental side of things, I can see effects that suppress memory, capitalize on negative intimacies, and other types of things.

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