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  • Been quiet here for a while.
    Convergence was a fun story for me, in which a cult accidently established contact with a being of almost unfathomable scope and turned their tower manse base of operations into a place of body horror that seemed to be alive. The twist was that much of the tone of this arc was a love letter to the movie Annihilation and the Southern Reach Trilogy in general.
    That being that the enemy wasn't a Yozi or similarly malicious being but the remnant of a mostly destroyed world that was attempting to be whole, but with no animus of its own all it was doing was reflecting. Thus people were being pulled apart by their own insecurities and internal contradictions and that body horror in the tower was largely because the cult leader viewed his own human body as a disgusting cage for his vastly superior mind. Two of the PCs were cloned, a number of the cultists had merged into a singular mass and were able to satisfy the entity's desire to no longer be alone anymore. A couple of new NPCs were introduced but I'll talk more about them when they've gotten some significant focus.


    The current arc's main catalyst event is that the deceased Night Caste's longfang has been stolen by someone who very specifically wanted that and only that. The PCs are still guessing the who and why.


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    • Gotta love a game where the PC’s are kept guessing.

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      • The fact the game started in early 2008 means the occam's razor answer of "someone with an unsettled grudge against him" isn't particularly helpful.


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        • I saw this and wanted to use it as a launch point for something I wanted to talk about.
          Originally posted by Zeesun View Post
          (particularly since he's got both Single Point and Edge of Morning Sunlight...they didn't have a good time).
          Back in the playtest I flagged Edge of Morning Sunlight for a charm that probably shouldn't exist because of its potential interactions with Abyssals and Infernals. I was reminded that if Abyssals were going to be just Solars with Creature of Darkness status, then third edition has bigger problems... it got me thinking.

          Aggravated damage, the most common bonus against Creatures of Darkness across all editions doesn't really do much unless the target is in a position to heal their injuries. It doesn't even ignore natural soak anymore. It's great for beating people within an inch of their lives and forcing them through a long recovery process, but that makes the utility of most instances of holy less "smite the wicked" and more "better have my money next time, bitch!"

          Unless of course, we see this reflected in the Abyssal charmset. Previously their mirror of Adamant Skin has been (at least in fluff terms) a super regeneration surge capable of undoing even fatal injuries. If there was literal health level recovery going on then the game's equivalent of holy water and silver bullets would offer strategic value against them.
          Last edited by Lioness; 10-27-2019, 09:29 AM.


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          • Originally posted by Lioness View Post
            I saw this and wanted to use it as a launch point for something I wanted to talk about.

            Back in the playtest I flagged Edge of Morning Sunlight for a charm that probably shouldn't exist because of its potential interactions with Abyssals and Infernals.
            Edge of Morning Sunlight is brutal against any opponent it can hit. Going straight to the Health track like that is rough, especially with Single Point. My Dawn has Sharp Light of Judgement stance now, too, which makes it able to hit a lot more targets.

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            • My problem with the original charm is that holy effects in Exalted that aren't just aggravated damage have a tendency to be deprotagonising in a fight between a Dawn and a Dusk caste whose otherwise a relatively good match this charm is saying "I don't even need to make decisive attacks against you, trivial opponent!" That potential statement is mitigated by Sharp Light of Judgement and to me it makes sense, if it was fair to do this to the Dusk then it's fair to do it to another Dawn you have cause to fight too, right?

              Also Sharp Light of Judgement has its own downside. Needing to maintain major negative intimacies in order to retain a tactical advantage is very risky when acting against them gives you limit.


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              • Originally posted by Lioness View Post
                Also Sharp Light of Judgement has its own downside. Needing to maintain major negative intimacies in order to retain a tactical advantage is very risky when acting against them gives you limit.
                It's difficult to not read deeper into this.


                success is the ability to go from one failure to the next without any loss of enthusiasm

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                • Originally posted by The Hug Ninja View Post
                  It's difficult to not read deeper into this.

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                  • Before I can give updates on the Relic Hunt arc I need to explain two characters who are important to the game’s mythos.

                    Kanika, The One before Ansa
                    Before Autochthon created Ansa Firstborn his first attempt at building Pattern Spiders was Kanika a great spider constructed of clear adamant. Kanika was flawed in the eyes of The Great Maker so he banished her beneath Creation where she nevertheless continued to spin her web in conjunction with the Loom of Fate, her known progeny includes smaller versions of herself and the Devil Stones to deliver messages to specially fated individuals.

                    The most likely reason why Kanika was considered unsuitable is because she’s rather fickle, the entrance to her lair is within the region known as the Burning Sands. The closer a traveller gets to this location the more stories they’ll hear of a chthonic trickster god or a spider creator goddess, as well as tales of something called The Curse of Predetermination in which greedy individuals seeking to control their destiny asked to see their future only to discover to their horror that they were locked into it.

                    As a child Crystal Amarath (the PC Twilight Caste) could read the Devil Stones and the Domination of Vorshgard exploited that affinity to steal some of Kanika’s eggs turning the regional power into a real force to be reckoned with.

                    When the Curse of Predetermination inevitably brought existential horror to Vorshgard an older Crystal tried to return the eggs to the web but instead encountered her younger self and cut her tether, leaving her to be lost beneath the earth and preventing that timeline from taking place. She earned a Solar Exaltation for this act but the paradox of undoing the last decade almost fried her brain and left her with almost total amnesia, only learning of this history on a third visit to the web where she met both of her past selves.

                    Wyne
                    That’s not actually his name. Most accounts of him throughout history know him simply as “The Wanderer” or other such titles that fails to accurately convey who or what he is. Some of the cultures that worship Kanika as a creator goddess have more imaginative names for a black clad stranger who questions the nature of reality and kills at the slightest provocation.

                    Wyne speaks of the world like it’s some riddle to be solved and he doesn’t believe in free will but seems desperate to prove his own thesis wrong. He’s pursued the Devil Stones and sought ways into Kanika’s web but seems to always be thwarted by a being he calls the Champion.

                    He encountered Impetuous Tempest (the PC Dawn Caste) a few years prior to his debut and considers him the latest incarnation of the Champion and seemed almost surprised that Tempest didn’t remember their earlier encounters. In his initial appearance he kidnapped Crystal because due to her unique history, he believes she might have true free will and the means to finally gain access to the Web. Given that this would be tantamount to accessing the Loom of Fate via a backdoor it’s generally agreed that he can’t be allowed to achieve this goal.

                    It’s deliberately ambiguous to what extent Wyne sees something everyone else doesn’t vs. him being insane.


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                    • As Tempest's player, his interactions with Wyne are amusing to me and often end up confusing the other PCs.

                      Even though they've fought to the 'death' multiple times, he's always polite to Wyne and affectionately refers to him as his 'old man', to the point where at least one PC thinks Wyne might be his father. He doesn't really do anything to deny that notion, since he's naturally kind of a cryptic person who doesn't open up easily.

                      The last time they met up, in the current arc, he took Tempest's kind nature and used it against him, that plus Tempest being unwilling to admit what he was and wasn't capable of let someone else die while Tempest was trying to protect people, which really helps cement just how good Wyne is at getting around Tempest to get what he wants.

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                      • Relic Hunt, part 1

                        As the story begins Seven Sentinels (city where the PCs live in the southern Scavenger Lands, has 7 skyscrapers hence the name) is currently trying to welcome two new groups that have recently arrived in the city and promote unity with the River Festival. Unfortunately, during the event someone stole Eyeblinder, the Orichalcum longfang of Lu Zhin (the recently deceased Night Caste PC).
                        The thief was apparently no opportunist as they neglected other items that could have been stolen at the same time. Furthermore, Eyeblinder is not a storied weapon of the First Age but was forged a few years prior as a replacement for the direlance Sunflame.
                        After investigating possible leads there seemed to be no trail to go cold and they were going to have to use more esoteric means of locating their quarry. They were somewhat distracted from this by a wave of people reporting terrifying and violent nightmares, given that the Three in Great Forks were among the people they were going to ask about the longfang their destination is pretty settled.

                        Great Forks has been hit slightly harder by the wave of nightmares because they use a system of indenture and powerful drugs to deal with criminals. The extent of the nightmares had woken up a few of them and caused them to go on murderous rampages. Nothing the law enforcers couldn’t handle but it’s disquieting to say the least.
                        The Exalts of Seven Sentinels are on good terms with the Three who appreciate the offer of help, the only one of these convicts to still be alive a man called Sour Note is terrified of going back to sleep let alone his drug induced indenture and would rather be executed than face that again.
                        Impetuous Tempest (Dawn Caste) has a sentient daiklave called Atansis Kohl who recognises what’s going on and attributes it to an axe that’s sufficiently like her that she considers him a brother, apparently this axe known as Lokeyaw was imprisoned within a tree some point during the First Age and someone must’ve recovered him.

                        They get a little help from Dreamweaver to allow Tempest to enter the man’s mind and see what they’re up against. Tempest finds himself in a forest where Sour Note and others are hiding from someone.
                        So, when he goes investigating the matter he comes across a mountain of a man his face hidden by a metal helmet that looks more like a torture contraption than anything someone would wear into battle it’s oversized and barely allows him to see, his equipment is similarly cobbled together with broken chains hanging from his body and his weapon of choice is a sizable axe, Lokeyaw.
                        Tempest tries words and it doesn’t accomplish anything. There’s an unnatural sharpness to the man’s attacks as he lunges, enough to give even a Dawn Caste cause for concern but as the two exert themselves golden sunlight starts pouring through the iron mask. The Axeman is a Solar.
                        Rather than being horrified Tempest delights in testing his limits. He’s able to incapacitate the Axeman only to have Lokeyaw take over the man’s body completely, moving the Solar’s unconscious body around like a sinister marionette. He wants a reckoning with Atansis who seems to be hiding from him in the dream.
                        Tempest goes all out, but unfortunately Sour Note almost has a heart attack from having the two battle inside his dream and the connection is severed. While Tempest might have proven himself the better fighter than the Axeman, he might have shown too much of his hand so they’ll be better prepared for the main event because there's no mistaking it, they’re coming for them now.
                        Joyous Sky (Zenith Caste) is pretty horrified by this turn of events not least because there’s another Solar Exalt involved. Even if Tempest can defeat them the Axeman and Lokeyaw are carving a pretty serious path of destruction and finding Eyeblinder is going to have to wait for now.
                        Last edited by Lioness; 01-09-2020, 04:21 PM.


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                        • Relic Hunt part 2

                          The revelation that the Axeman is a Solar is a point of division for the circle, there’s a serious question of if he can even be saved. While Tempest and Sky are opposed to the idea that they should kill him Shanishara (Night Caste and Lu Zhin’s reincarnation) is wary of simply accepting that the axe is entirely at fault for this situation. Who’s going to hold a mad Solar accountable if not them? Argument ensues.

                          Around this time Nileen (non-canonical Exalt) decides to finally tell the others what’s going on with her. She has a form of dissociative identity disorder that’s a consequence of compartmentalising parts of her personality for so long that it’s given rise to an internal power struggle. It explains a few of her weirder moments but overall this aspect of her is met with acceptance.
                          Nileen goes into an empty room to confront Jaanavi her other-self, her original self and for the time being at least both sides of her come to an understanding. She emerges from the room with a plan to deal with the Axeman, they’re going to lure him into the depths of the Black Chase and make it so that he’s fighting the forest as much as he’s fighting them.

                          From here they head to Sijan, Sesus Viola (Fire Aspect) and Crystal Amarath (Twilight) have a necromancer as a contact and occasional lover which seems like a good idea for making the Black Chase as hostile to the Axeman as humanly possible. To everyone’s surprise they encounter Wyne accompanied by a little girl. Wyne explains that because of Lokeyaw’s nightmares, the girl Tadita had been orphaned. Her father had killed her mother in a bout of rage and that Wyne had intervened on behalf of the little girl. He offered his aid in stopping the Axeman and his help was accepted.
                          Meanwhile Viola and Crystal’s contact put them in touch with the Hexmanse a school of necromancy ran by a being known only as The Headmaster. The talent is varied as are the prices the students ask for and they decide on three of them. Abalrose who has an unusual affinity for dead wood, Forson who has some control over carrion and scavengers and lastly Calama who deals in curses.

                          With Wyne and the three students they look for a part of the Black Chase to be their battle ground and Nileen has her heart set on a swamp for a whole number of reasons. Even by the standards of the Black Chase the swamp is raw concentrated evil, Shani has a weird nightmare and awakens to find that she was sleepwalking away from the safety of camp. Finally, Nileen discreetly puts the last part of her plan into motion, with only a mundane knife Shanishara has struggled against the more dangerous enemies the circle has faced. To that end they enlist Abalrose’s aid in seeking a powerful poison so that the Night Caste can make her first strike really count. It’s a way to force the issue with the Axeman since neither Sky nor Tempest is versed in medicine.

                          It doesn’t take long for the Axeman to find them, in the dead of night and so close to the swamp the scene is like something out of a horror movie. The axe comes flying out of the darkness screaming through the air like a boomerang striking Tempest before returning back to its master. The circle scramble to face this threat, the Axeman has avoided much of the traps and is in turn trying to lure them out to a clearing in the shadow of a nearby cairn. He weathers the elemental bolts of the Dragon-Blooded sisters as Shani and Nileen creep through the shadows looking for the ideal moment. Crystal covers the escape of the necromancy students as Tempest, Sky and Wyne confront him head on. Wyne and Sky are quickly pushed back by the ferocity of the attack while Tempest holds his own. Lokeyaw and Atansis make unearthly shrieking sounds as metal meets metal, they’re fundamentally opposing concepts in weapon form and there can only be one.

                          It’s here that Shani makes her move and stabs the maddened Solar before Nileen leaps onto his back and brings her garotte down upon his throat. It’s here that their concern turns towards Lokeyaw, it’s capable of restoring the Axeman’s vitality rather quickly if it wants to. By this point there were also monstrous howls coming from the trees, something was coming that could at the very least give their enemy a chance to recover. Sesus Linarra (Water Aspect) froze the Axeman’s arm in a sleeve of ice to loosen his grip upon the weapon and finally, the axe tumbles from his grasp. Sky blasts it away before he can retrieve it and Tempest goes to collect the weapon so this can finally end. But now it's time for Wyne to make his move and remind everyone of his true colours. Tadita always seemed very optimistic and cheerful despite being recently orphaned and there’s a reason for that. He’d taken all her sorrow and anger and forged them into raw spheres of hate. He’d never agreed to bring the Axeman in alive and in that moment raised his Spitecaster to the gap in the Axeman’s helmet and on behalf of a little girl he pulled the trigger before disappearing into the trees with tip of his hat.

                          Hungry Ghosts started to flood through Abalrose’s defences but without the Axeman calling out to them as an avatar of violence and wrath they were easily dispersed and the circle was left to reflect upon the fact they’d probably never know who the Axeman was or why he did the things he did.
                          Last edited by Lioness; 01-11-2020, 09:02 AM.


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                          • So my earlier comment on Sharp Light of Judgement was based on the Axeman.
                            He had something that was making his withering attacks do a small amount of lethal damage, this made him a nightmare to deal with but it also had disturbing implications. It was either one of Lokeyaw's Evocations doing this or it was Edge of Morning Sunlight/Sharp Light of Judgement and this Solar hated everyone so much that not acting on it gave him limit.
                            Last edited by The Hug Ninja; 01-11-2020, 01:59 PM.


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                            • To clarify, Tempest's argument about saving the Axeman didn't actually come from the process of the Axeman being an unwitting pawn, but rather came from his own history and backstory. Through the conversation, Tempest never actually implied the Axeman was good, or that that mattered to him, and the reason for it is pretty simple.

                              It's known in the OOC but not in the IC that Tempest was an extremely violent gangster in Nexus before his Exaltation, with a large body count and a significant number of grudges. His violent tendencies are why he's managed to become so strong, because he always pushed himself by getting into more and more fights. He's also always had a temper, which made Lokeyaw, a weapon that enhances Anger and Wrath, a terrifying prospect for him to handle because of how close he feels the axe is to him.

                              His Exaltation came not after a fight or anything like that, but rather when he made the choice that he wasn't going to be a killer anymore and walked away from what he had built up and his entire life to find something else to do with what he had, because all he had felt was emptiness at leaving dead people wherever he went. To him, the Axeman, and any person he comes up against, isn't beyond saving, because he considers himself far worse then other people, and he's making the effort to change, so everyone deserves the attempt to change. Because of this, even when faced against someone who could have sought out a talking demon axe for nefarious means, he's still very against killing them because he doesn't want people to make the same mistakes he has. This is also why he's never particularly tried to kill Wyne; even when he's facing down something people consider the literal devil, he doesn't think Wyne is all bad, or at least that he isn't beyond saving somehow.

                              When he got the axe, he also realized he didn't trust himself to handle it effectively while still holding Atansis, and he gave it to Sky and her family, thinking they could manage it better.

                              The ghost scene was also fairly cool to me as a player because Tempest intimidated them into dispersing rather then engaging by yelling at them.

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                              • There's more NPCs who demand an explaination before I can do part 3 of the story justice.

                                Sesus Artashakthra
                                (Fun fact: I got this character’s name and a few details from the previous developers during the long wait for Dragon-Blooded because I wanted to try and keep my House Sesus in-line with the eventual book. However due to them leaving the matriarch changed but by this point the Arta in my games was her own distinct character).

                                The current matriarch of House Sesus was someone who was never intended for much in the way of greatness, she was a graduate of the Spiral Academy in a time where her family looked to generals for its leadership. A formative experience in her youth took her to the far east with her Hearth where they accidently became embroiled in a country's civil war and ended up helping a warrior clan overthrow the government.

                                Along with the rest of her Hearth she got a tattoo on her shoulder and named an honorary member of the clan, but whereas her sworn siblings sought to remove their tattoos when they returned to the Isle, Arta kept hers as an acknowledgment of what she really was. Family focused but utterly ruthless in pursuit of her duties, the only point of concern during Artashakthra’s meteoric rise was that she continued to acquire tattoos to commemorate key events in her life. Initially they were a thing shared only with her lovers but over the course of her centuries long life came to become a full “body suit” giving her an incredibly striking appearance but one that’s been known to make Immaculate Monks uneasy.

                                She’s got a very cherished clandestine partnership with Mnemon that’s given her access to second circle demons on critical ventures in exchange for little favours along the way. There are assurances from both sides that they won’t have to skulk around in the shadows forever but neither side is certain that they mean that or what the conditions to going public would even be.

                                When she discovered her grandchildren Viola and Linarra had aligned themselves with anathema and weren’t coming home she saw opportunity where others saw shame. House Cathak had recently claimed Thorns as a Satrapy (with the PCs help, the PCs weren’t down for the Satrapy part but didn’t want to commit resources to fighting the Realm) and were dependent on House Nellens to help their new investment grow (they have money that's not Ragara money).

                                Arta spoke of a common enemy but didn’t fully appreciate how loyal Lu Zhin remained to House Cathak. An oversight that led to him foiling her attempt to set up a geomantic bomb under Greyfalls (to clarify, in my game Greyfalls is a Nellens Satrapy as it had been in second edition) the resulting explosion killing him rather than striking the devastating blow to two rival Great Houses that she’d intended.

                                She let the PCs think of her as dead after that, but Yakuza Hot Grandma was never going to stay away forever!



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