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[White Elephant] For Flintlock: Sidereal custom Charms and discussion on themes

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  • [White Elephant] For Flintlock: Sidereal custom Charms and discussion on themes

    This is for you, Flintlock! You said you liked Sidereal stuff. That's good, because I also like Sidereals! So my gift to you is a compilation and update of all the Sidereal custom Charms I've made over the years, with commentary on what I think Sidereal Charm themes are and the custom Charms themselves. Enjoy!

    First, I will preface with what I think are general Sidereal Charm themes. That is, themes that fit in any Ability. Those are "fate manipulation" and "ordering, controlling, and binding spirits." Throughout Sidereal trees you will find Charms related to these themes. It's always a good fallback, if you want to make a custom Sidereal Charm, to just hit one of those strongly. "Being a vizier" and "mysticism" I would call subthemes, or motifs. You see them show up in some Charms, but I wouldn't say Charms focus on them. Rather, they're more like flavor.

    A note on 'sideways use' of Sidereal Charms: Some of the fun of playing a Sidereal, and writing Sidereal Charms, is how their Charms are sometimes nominally about one things but can, with some care, but used for something else. Not all their Charms are like that, to be sure, but it's found throughout their Charmset and it's good when writing Sidereal Charms to keep that in mind. When you pull it off, it's glorious.

    A note on Sidereal Charm placement: Sometimes Charm effects seem to be in strange places. The spirit-killer Charm is in Bureaucracy. A Fivefold Bulwark Stance/Flow Like Blood effect is in Performance. A social attack in Larceny. A stealth effect in Bureaucracy. A soak and defense Charm in Integrity. And so on. That said, the majority of Sidereal Charms effects do logically fit the Ability they're within. These oddball effect placements are just that — oddball, and are not the norm. Care needs to be taken when writing custom Sidereal Charms not to fall into the trap of putting effects in places willy-nilly. There should be a strong thematic reason for an effect to go in an oddball Ability.

    Really, if I had to take a shot at it, I'd say the reason for these oddballs is (1) to give the Sidereal Charmset a little bit of an off-kilter flare, since they're supposed to be like that, and (2) to let character who normally wouldn't be good at a thing sidestep into skill with that thing. For example, a socialite being surprisingly good at dodging, a bureaucrat being exceptionally sneaky in certain circumstances, or a thief being able to be powerful socially as long as they twist the truth.

    Resistance

    "Sacrifice."

    I find this theme interesting for Resistance, which is generally an ability to keep from having to lose something (health, ability, etc). So for Sidereals, it loops back around: to protect yourself, you have to give something up.

    While that may seem like a straightforward theme, it is not quite so as this tree began as a combination of a couple different 1e trees that each had different themes. Still, the theme is present in Water and Fire Treaty and Water and Fire Legion, as both talk of buying protection via sacrifice, even though only the first has any mechanics about it via the health level cost. Optimistic Security Practice speaks of postponing sacrifice, and enables you to sacrifice the Intimacies of others to protect themselves. Heartless Maiden Trance sacrifices Essence respiration and general sensation for the myriad benefits. Storm's Eye Stance is a stretch, being that you links your harm to another.

    Someone Else's Destiny and Shield of Destiny are more general fate manipulation than anything else.


    Harm-Pocketing Art
    Cost: 10m; Mins: Resistance 5, Essence 3; Type: Reflexive (Step 7)
    Keywords: Combo-OK
    Duration: Instant
    Prerequisite Charms: Shield of Destiny, Heartless Maiden Trance

    The Sidereal grabs hold of the fate of the incoming harm, twists it into a tight coil, and locks it away in a corner of her soul. This Charm is activated in Step 7 in response to any incoming damage. By this displacement she reduces the raw and final damage to zero, after all other effects, even against that which is unsoakable. Immediately upon using this Charm, the Sidereal chooses a Virtue in which to store the pocketed fate. That Virtue is considered one lower while that damage is stored there. She may store harm in the same Virtue multiple times, but cannot reduce a Virtue below zero. If she hides it away in her flawed Virtue, the Exalt immediately rolls (flawed Virtue) dice, gaining Limit equal to the number of successes rolled, and does so again every day until the damage is removed. The flawed Virtue cannot be reduced below 3, thus damage can always be hidden there if the Sidereal is willing to chance Limit gain. This Virtue suppression is a unique Flaw of Invulnerability.

    The Sidereal has a number of options by which to dispose of the pocketed harm, each restoring one dot of Virtue:
    • Allow the damage to seep into her unconscious mind while sleeping; she does not get to roll her Conviction to regain Willpower upon waking due to horrible dreams of death and pain. Each additional use of this disposition in a single night reduces the Sidereal's temporary Willpower by one point.
    • Filter the damage through her body and chakra; for a full day she is inflicted with the fiery pain which manifests as a -2 wound penalty that stacks with all other wound penalties.
    • Force the damage into her lungs and expel it via her breath, both spiritually and physically; she suffers a -2 internal penalty to all social rolls for a full day due to strange alterations in her voice and respires Essence at half the normal rate, including external sources like hearthstones.
    • At Essence 4+, the Seer may forcibly expel the stolen harm by immediately losing the appropriate Virtue's channel.
    None of these penalties can be negated with other Charms or powers, as they are part of the cost of using Harm-Pocketing Art. The Storyteller is encouraged to work with his players to figure out new methods of bleeding off the Virtue suppression. Use the above methods as examples.

    A perfect soak, something Sidereals sorely lack. I think it's an interesting Charm in that it has a limited number of uses unless you feel like gaining a bunch of Limit and has a bunch of weird downsides later on. Still, you can twist the Virtue suppression to your advantage: Need to do something nasty? Temporarily suppress Compassion. I've never actually playtested this Charm, so it might need some tweaks. Still, I think it has enough of a Flaw of Invulnerability to be fine.

    The theme of "sacrifice" is present in that you temporarily sacrifice your own Virtues and cause yourself troubles down the road to negate the damage now. It also carries the general theme of fate manipulation, so I think this Charm fits Sidereals well.


    Survival

    "The wild is mine to control."

    I like that the theme went in this direction, as it's different enough from just being able to withstand the wild, or be comfortable in it, like many other Survival-based Charms. Sidereals make it their own, and that allows for some nice mystical shenanigans.

    Adopting the Untamed Face allows you to command animals. Becoming the Wilderness makes the wild like a stroll in the park. Dreaming the Wild Lands is blatant control, moving features of the wild as you desire. Sky and Rain Mantra does the same for weather, forcing it to be the way you wish. Spirit Sky Demand hits the general Sidereal theme of messing with spirits. The finally Wilderness-Commanding Practice, which wraps the whole thing up in a very obvious mastery of the wild.


    Embracing the Wilderness
    Cost: — (+2m, +1wp); Mins: Survival 3, Essence 3; Type: Permanent
    Keywords: None
    Duration: Permanent
    Prerequisite Charms: Becoming the Wilderness

    This Charm permanently upgrades Becoming the Wilderness. By activating that Charm and increasing the Cost by two motes and one Willpower, the Sidereal integration into the wild becomes fully realized. Environmental hazards from the untamed wilderness are now ignored as well — she will not drown in water, lava and lightning strikes will not burn her, plant and animal poisons will not afflict her, etc. This expansion follows the same limitations as Becoming the Wilderness: it does not function outside of untamed wilds unless she has acquired the repurchase, she cannot use both functions at once, and this Charm does not protect from the hazards of titan-bodies until the Sidereal is Essence 4+.

    If the Exalt is Essence 4+ and has both purchases of Becoming the Wilderness, she understands that all is the wild, no matter its origin; by spending one Willpower while this Charm is active, the Seer is protected against environmental hazards from attacks of characters for the rest of the scene.

    Just a simple upgrade to Becoming the Wilderness to allow it to protect against environmental hazards. There is some overlap here with Water and Fire Treaty, but I feel that overlap in capability in different Charm trees is fine, even beneficial, so different character concepts can get desired capabilities.


    Dodge

    "Avoiding trouble."

    A great theme for the Ability. It seems obvious, at first, but taken in the mystical way that Sidereal Charms tend to apply their themes, you get some interesting effects.

    Even the names of the Charms point toward this theme. Absence, which essentially a Shadow Over Water copy, displays how dodging in general follows the theme. But it just gets more esoteric from there: Duck Fate allows you to avoid anything. Avoidance Kata I find follows the theme fundamentally, being that you just are gone, leaving trouble the moment it crops up. Trouble-Reduction Strategy allows you to share your avoidance with your allies. Then Neighborhood Relocation Scheme, a jump to the weird, but follows the theme well, as it's about doing the impossible and moving a location out of harm's way.


    Separation
    Cost: 2m; Mins: Dodge 2, Essence 2; Type: Reflexive
    Keywords: Combo-OK
    Duration: One scene
    Prerequisite Charms: None

    The Sidereal untangles and separates herself from the fate which binds herself to a conflict. This Charm may be activated whenever the character is given the option to roll Join Battle or Join Debate in response to another character's actions. All participants in the combat or social combat suffer an external penalty of (the Sidereal's Essence + 1) to any action to involve the Exalt in that conflict, such as attacks or social attacks against her respectively. Correspondingly, the Sidereal suffers the same penalty to any actions to involve herself in the combat or social combat, such as making attacks or social attacks against any participants respectively. Thus, the complementary penalties are linked: if the Sidereal or any participant somehow negates their suffered penalties, the opposing side's penalties are also negated.

    If the Sidereal ever chooses to cancel this Charm and join the conflict fully, she binds herself strongly enough to the combat or social combat that she cannot reactivate this Charm until the conflict is resolved.

    This was originally made to be a replacement for Absence that I felt was a speedbump for a specific character. It avoids trouble, by making trouble hard to affect you, and conversely making it difficult for you to affect them back. While it has the obvious use of keeping you safe in combat (though also making you much less effective) it is most powerful when you want to ignore combat to get something else done in the scene, like steal something. A powerful effect, but with a significant downside, so I feel it's balanced.


    Linguistics

    "Connections and Bindings," with an obvious emphasis on language.

    An obvious theme, but like Dodge it takes as aspect of what the Ability is and takes it to the foreground, sometimes blotting out the Ability itself to a degree, which leads to some interesting things.

    Favorable Inflection Procedure isn't clearly within this theme, but does show how language has power over someone; the name binds the person to feel a certain way. Blue Vervain Binding is more explicit, binding different beings together to be able to communicate. Abandoned Words Curse displays the opposite, breaking a linguistic binding. Then Lover's Oath, a powerful binding of two people.

    Interestingly enough, in 1e this tree had another Charm, Ice and Fire Binding. It made sense in Linguistics as a binding of a spirit (which is also a general Sidereal theme so it fits Performance well enough). It was moved to Performance presumably because it involved singing. Personally I'd of left it in Linguistics because it really needs the Charms.


    Always Coming Home
    Cost: 2m; Mins: Linguistics 2, Essence 1; Type: Reflexive
    Keywords: Combo-OK, Illusion, Training
    Duration: Indefinite
    Prerequisite Charms: None

    A Sidereal is at home wherever she may go. When this Charm is activated, the Seer gains a Linguistics specialty — the dialect of the place she is currently in, with a perfect local accent. The Sidereal may spend the required experience points while this Charm is active instantly learn the granted specialty, as a Training effect. This Charm does not give the character knowledge of the actual language of the region. Locals also treat the Sidereal as a local-born, even if as one returning from a long time ago and a long way away, forgiving her of not knowing proprieties or even the local language. This unnatural Illusion costs two Willpower to resist.

    At Essence 3+ this Charm may be used to provide whole languages as well, granted temporarily without an associated Linguistics dot. This use costs an additional one Willpower to activate.

    I got the concept for this Charm ages ago, from some other Sidereal Charm rewrite. I've used it a lot throughout my gaming and enjoy the Charm greatly. It fits the theme as it binds the Sidereal to the place they're at, making it like home. It's not terribly powerful mechanically, but nicely useful. A good low-level Charm.


    Performance

    "Bringing forth harmony and joy."

    A nice theme in contrast to Socialize. They really play off each other well, and a character with both has some great variety of effects. Like many Charmtree themes, it's linked to the Ability, but not directly related, so it blends at times but pulls away at other times.

    Heart-Brightening Presentation Style is linked to Compassion. Faultless Ceremony benefits social rituals of hope. Perfection in Life grants Willpower so people live their destiny with grace. Defense of Shining Joy brings the Sidereal in harmony with their attackers. Song of Spirit Persuasion instills agreeable demeanors in spirits, while Ice and Fire Binding grants an extra Motivation to promote and protect a group of people. And finally Harmonic Completion is all about filling a gap in people's lives, being in harmony with them, and getting massive social powers from it.

    Some of the Charms more clearly fit the theme than others, but I always found Performance to be pretty obvious with its theme.


    Posture of Sublime Grace
    Cost: 6m; Mins: Performance 3, Essence 2; Type: Simple
    Keywords: Combo-OK, Compulsion, Emotion, Virtue (Compassion)
    Duration: One scene
    Prerequisite Charms: Perfection in Life

    Those who the behold the Sidereal cannot help but feel completed by her presence, such is the way she carries herself. While this Charm is active, the Sidereal gains a +1 to Appearance, as well as imposing an unnatural Emotion of preoccupied affection toward the Sidereal on any who can sense her, if their MDVs are less than (the Sidereal's Appearance + Performance). This is enough to cause distraction and make characters generally friendly toward the Sidereal, but little else.

    If the Sidereal so chooses, whenever shel takes an action — a performance, joins battle, picks a pocket, sips some tea, etc. — any beholding the act feel enriched and filled with joy by observing or participating in the act, as an additional Emotion effect. The Exalt may always channel Compassion with these actions. Both mental influences are resisted together for one Willpower to resist for an action (in long ticks if in social or mass combat, or five minutes out of combat), up to a maximum of three Willpower to resist it completely for the scene.

    A Charm that started as something sort of like Respect-Commanding Attitude but warped away from it as I wrote it. Now its scene-long Charm that makes people happy with whatever you're doing, even if it's terrible. Which may let you get away with it. The +1 Appearance is also nice. It fits the theme of the tree pretty obviously, as it directly causes people joy in what you do.
    Honestly I'm not sure how useful this Charm really is, as I've never playtested it. It might depend most on how much the ST takes the Emotion effects to heart when roleplaying NPCs.


    Socialize

    "Emotional domination and unbalanced relationships," with an emphasis on lust, desire, and taboo.

    A fun, nasty theme, showcasing the darker side of social interaction. As said above, a good contract to Performance. It takes what in many ways is a fairly passive Ability (that gives information like etiquette or reading emotions or lies) and gives it a lot of force.

    Shun the Smiling Lady destroys romance, but only in one person, making a relationship imbalanced. Cash and Murder Games forces emotional domination of one over the other. Life Without Compunction is a more general domination over a social scene by negating the backlash of taboo acts. You and Yours Stance sets up domination over everyone around you directly through the medium of desire. Wanting and Fearing Prayer forces a relationship you want upon two others. Only Fortuitous Fellowship stands out as not being within the tree's theme, but it fits the general fate manipulation theme nicely.


    Pity for the Weak
    Cost: 2m; Mins: Socialize 3, Essence 2; Type: Reflexive (Step 10)
    Keywords: Combo-OK, Emotion
    Duration: Instant
    Prerequisite Charms: Shun the Smiling Lady

    While it is the nature of the strong to dominate the weak, this uneven relationship can be twisted by those who understand it. This Charm may be activated when the Sidereal successfully negates an attack with his DV. The Sidereal projects a posture of fragile resolution, a sight that can move the hearts of his aggressors. The attacker treats it as a scene building a positive Intimacy toward the Seer. The specific emotional context (whether it be admiration, respect, or unexpected love) depends on the circumstances and may be chosen by the attacker's player. This unnatural Emotion costs one Willpower to resist.

    This Charm does not function if a Charm possessing a Flaw of Invulnerability is used to defend; the Sidereal's beauty lies in his weakness, not his invulnerable strength.

    This Charm, and the next couple, might look familiar: They are essentially ripped from Black Claw Style. I did this because I liked the effects and they fit a character of mine well, but this character was in no way a martial artist. The effects fit Sidereal Socialize very nicely, however. Pity for the Weak is all about unbalanced relationships, but putting the Sidereal in the form of the dominated, though by exploiting that, gains power from it.


    Contempt for the Strong
    Cost: 5m; Mins: Socialize 3, Essence 3; Type: Reflexive
    Keywords: Combo-OK, Emotion
    Duration: One scene
    Prerequisite Charms: Pity for the Weak

    The Sidereal assumes a weak yet defiant stance expressly to undermine her attackers' image in the eyes of those who see such aggression. All onlookers treat each attack directed at the Sidereal as a scene eroding any positive Intimacies they may feel toward the attacker, as only a brute would attack such an underdog. This unnatural Emotion costs one Willpower to ignore per attack for each onlooker, up to a maximum of three Willpower to ignore it for the rest of the scene, with regard to that attacker.

    This Charm follows the same line of theme as Pity for the Weak, the Sidereal posing as the dominated, but exploiting it for emotional control. Also from Black Claw Style, and fits Sidereal Socialize very nicely.


    Fainting Maiden Ward
    Cost: 2m; Mins: Socialize 4, Essence 2; Type: Reflexive (Step 2)
    Keywords: Combo-OK, Emotion
    Duration: Instant
    Prerequisite Charms: Pity for the Weak

    Vulnerability can be a great defense for those who exploit it ruthlessly. The Sidereal flails or cowers in response to an attack, every motion accentuating her inferiority in the face of the oncoming assault. Her attacker notices this weakness and it unnerves or unduly excites him, depending on temperament, causing him to suffer a (Sidereal's Appearance + 2) internal penalty on his attack roll. This unnatural Emotion costs two Willpower to resist. If it is not resisted, the attacker also suffers a cumulative -1 internal penalty on all his attacks against the Sidereal for the rest of the tick.

    At Essence 3+ the Sidereal may repurchase this Charm, adding additional capabilities. If the attack still succeeds after activating this Charm, then in Step 9 the Sidereal may emit a heart-rending scream by spending 8m, 1wp as a Counterattack. Roll ([Manipulation or Appearance] + Socialize), adding (current wound penalties suffered) additional successes and compare it to the Dodge MDVs of all witnesses within earshot save the attacker himself. Those who fail succumb to an unnatural Compulsion to either assault the Sidereal's attacker or protect the Seer herself, depending on their temperament. Resisting this for the rest of the scene costs two Willpower, or one if the attacker would be considering a blatantly superior foe (i.e. difficulty 3+ on a morale roll) by the onlooker. The Compulsion persists until the attacker or Sidereal are out of sight for at least a minute, or the scene ends, whichever comes first.

    Same as above! Both effects are from Black Claw. The base effect I upgraded slightly to be more on-par with Impeding the Flow. I am worried that having them both would get ridiculously good, but you can do that anyway with Black Claw Style so maybe it's not a big deal. This Charm and its repurchase could probably use a little tweaking to make it more unique, but I am, to some degree, lazy.


    Beauty is Never Tarnished
    Cost: 8m, 1wp; Mins: Socialize 5, Essence 3; Type: Simple
    Keywords: Combo-OK
    Duration: One Scene
    Prerequisite Charms: Fainting Maiden Ward

    Though he receives wounds, the hero is only more alluring for his vulnerability. Though his clothes are torn in battle, it only serves to better flaunt his handsome physique. While this Charm is active, the Sidereal is immune to Crippling effects, receiving a wound that is appears only superficial. Additionally, he receives a bonus to his Appearance equal to his unmodified wound penalty; no matter how severe his wounds, they only make him appear more rugged rather than grotesque.

    Finally, the Sidereal may cleanse his body or mend his clothes automatically, and any new grime that seeks to befoul him (whether it be the splattered blood of his enemies or the soot from his forge) and all new damage to his clothing or person is always artfully done. Any stunted social roll which describes his appearance in such terms lowers its target number by one.

    This Charm is brought to you initially via Reminiscent Oasis. I've tweaked it a bit, and put it in Socialize instead of its where he put it, in Resistance. This is because it fits Socialize's theme nicely, being about desire and attractiveness, but also my new tree of Socialize Charms, being how it creates power through seeming to be the vulnerable one in an unbalanced relationship.

    On its effects, I find them fun. Sidereals normally have no Crippling immunity (though I think it'd fit fine in Someone Else's Destiny or Deferred Wounds) so having this is very nice. Gaining Appearance, cleansing, clothes-mending, and social on the side is nice (and very appropriate as it is in Socialize), and could set up some weird situations of wanting to hurt yourself to get the bonus Appearance then using Peaceable Conclusion to negate wound penalties. Which is appropriately Sidereal.


    Hot-Eyed Snake Whispering
    Cost: 2m; Mins: Socialize 2, Essence 1; Type: Reflexive (Step 1 for attacker, Step 2 for defender)
    Keywords: Combo-OK
    Duration: One scene
    Prerequisite Charms: None

    Choose a character the Sidereal can observe when activating this Charm. While it is active, he knows if the target character desires the Sidereal, and if so, how (friendship, romance, sex, as a political partner, torture, murder, etc.) and to what intensity. Any stunts that exploit this knowledge grant the Sidereal bonus Appearance dots equal to the bonus stunt dice until his next action.

    At Socialize 5+, the Sidereal can designate someone other than himself as the subject of possible desire. The Charm lets him know if the target desires that person, and if so, how and to what intensity. If this is done, the Exalt loses the ability to gain Appearance bonuses from appropriate stunts.

    At Essence 4+, the Sidereal can target to everyone he can observe with this Charm.

    The name comes originally from 1e, being basically an Excellency Charm. The name is great, however, and I'm happy to use it here. (Another 1e Charm name that never returned which I'd love to use is Lore's Systematic Understanding of Everything. Just never thought of a good effect to go along with it.)

    I really like this Charm. It fits the themes of desire. Its effects are very simple but can be very powerful, even simply having the knowledge of who desires you can be a potent tool. It also synergizes nicely with some of the other Socialize Charms, namely Shun the Smiling Lady (destroy someone's Intimacy then use this to get one to yourself), Cash and Murder Games and Wanting and Fearing Prayer (set up the desire as you like, then exploit it) and You and Yours Stance (know how someone desires you then bring it to bear to increase the difficulty of the Virtue roll).

    Note that the Appearance bonus is general, it doesn't just apply to the person who's desire is being exploited. I could see that being very useful in a social flurry, stunting off of one's desire and using the Appearance bonus against another who desires you not at all.


    Presence

    "Subtle imposition of will."

    A very direct interpretation of the Ability (imposition of will), but with a twisted undercurrent (subtlety) that gives this rather light tree a lot of flavor. I may have to delve into making more Presence Charms, because the theme has a lot of good potential.

    Force Decision forces someone to make the choice you choose, but from a distance and without needing to say a word or even make your presence known. Presence in Absence Technique makes the weight of destiny cause your social attack, from a distance, without anyone being the wiser. Impose Motivation is somewhat more direct, but still only requires a touch and nothing else, and is an even more extreme imposition of will than the previous Charms. Loyalty-Sacrificing Sidestep is very subtle and a twist upon the the theme, directing what would be an imposition upon you to another. Easily-Accepted Proposition Stance pushes the theme to the extreme, imposing your will subtly but in an incredibly far-reaching way upon the world.


    Word of Advice
    Cost: 1m; Mins: Presence 3, Essence 2; Type: Simple (Dramatic Action)
    Keywords: Combo-OK
    Duration: Indefinite
    Prerequisite Charms: Presence in Absence Technique

    To use this Charm, the Sidereal advises an individual for five minutes, one-on-one, and commits the Essence to this Charm. Afterwards, so long as the beneficiary believes she is heeding the Vizier's advice, she gains +(Essence – 1) to her Presence-based Parry MDV, her Dodge MDV, and as dice to her Presence rolls; these bonuses do not apply when used against the Sidereal. The Exalt may have up to (Essence x 2) beneficiaries at once.

    The Sidereal also can ascertain a general emotional state of the beneficiaries of this Charm, regardless of distance. This is usually enough to tell if they are in danger.

    A repurchase at Presence 4+ and Essence 4+ allows the Sidereal to use Presence in Absence on beneficiaries from afar, regardless of distance, as well as Loyalty-Sacrificing Sidestep if the Exalt knows it and it is valid.

    This Charm started as porting Sifu's Useful Fingers out of Martial Arts, for the same reason I did with Black Claw Charms. It became its own thing, however, and I like it all the more. Its a subtle effect, as all you need to is give some advice, and the target gains a bunch of social bonuses. It's not so much a direct imposition of will as something more manipulative: only if the target thinks they heed your advice do they get the bonuses. The advice can be extremely general, like, "Be yourself," or, "Follow your dreams," or, "Do whatever the hell you feel like." But it can be far more focused. And you can always drop commitment to stop the effect whenever you want. So, with some clever manipulation, you could get people coming back to you again and again to get you advice to try and get those bonuses, and you can perhaps get them to do whatever you want. Without ever actually making a social attack.

    Mechanically, I worry it may be too powerful, for too cheap. It's difficult for me to get a balance point for this because a Charm like the Solar's Underling Promoting Touch does not compare well to Sifu's Useful Fingers.

    The repurchase is also really great, I think, though it might be too powerful. Still, I like the idea of those Charms being used in such a far-reaching way.


    Investigation

    "Indirect knowledge and getting others to find knowledge for you," with an emphasis on research and a motif of living things.

    The "indirect knowledge" part of the theme is pretty closely connected to Investigation, as that's much of what the skill does: take evidence and works backwards to find out what happened. Bringing that to the foreground, like other trees, can have interesting effects with the mystical Sidereal way. The "others find knowledge for you" is not so direct, but perhaps ties in with the spiritual or advisory ways Sidereals tend to function.

    Auspicious Prospects for (Caste) gets the Maidens to find stuff out for you, essentially, and is a very indirect way of gaining said knowledge. Efficient Secretary Technique makes you a helper who finds things out without ever actually interacting with said things directly. Research Assistant Invocation makes you more general researcher, a literal character who finds stuff for you. Embracing Life Method grows you a christmas tree that has clues as presents underneath it.


    Origin of Knowledge
    Cost: 5m; Mins: Investigation 3, Essence 3; Type: Simple (DV -3)
    Keywords: Combo-Basic
    Duration: Instant
    Prerequisite Charms: None

    Any good researcher knows that knowledge is only as good as its source. To do so, the Sidereal Exalted dig into the depths of fate. This Charm must be used immediately after a piece of information is gained from some source. A source could be someone's words, a book, or any other method of conveying information. Roll (Perception + Investigation) with a difficulty dependent on how long ago the knowledge was learned by the source. If it was within the past year, the roll is difficulty 1. For every magnitude of time further back the information started, increase the difficulty by one (so ten years is difficulty 2, 100 years difficulty 3, and so on). Therefore information that was last discovered during the Primordial War is difficulty 5. This roll may have external penalties, if the source has been deliberately hidden (usually the successes on whatever roll was made to conceal it), or otherwise especially difficult to uncover. If the information's origin is outside of fate, this Charm cannot get any more specific than that.

    Success immediately tells the Sidereal where the current source of the knowledge got its information, such as the person heard it in a particular lecture or the book's author found it etched into the side of an ancient Solar tomb. The Seer can immediately invoke this Charm again to find out where that source got its information. She can continue this process until she finds out in what way the knowledge was originally discovered or learned.

    In a roundabout way, this Charm can be used to detect lies, since if someone tells the Sidereal a bit of information or where it came from, she can use this Charm to check to see if it originated with the speaker, or if the source was falsely given.

    This tree is so short, so I'm happy to give it another Charm. This Charm is basically the "get a citation" Charm, which should make its connection to research obvious. It is making others find knowledge for you as you pull the citation out of another, and it's indirect as you don't need to find the citation yourself.

    I do enjoy this Charm, and it's gotten some fun use in playtesting. I also like that it can be used for some roundabout lie detection.


    Larceny

    "Theft of abstract things."

    I love this theme. It's so very direct, as it's still taking things, still theft, but of anything but normal physical objects. Very mystical, and we end up with a lot of fun Charms (though sadly many fall flat).

    Thought-Swiping Distraction steals thoughts. Sidereal Shell Games steal dice out of pools. Name-Pilfering Practice steals names. Dream-Confiscation steals dreams. Avoiding the Truth Technique doesn't really fit — and for good reason. It used to be a Lore Charm in 1e, and its theme ("secrets that are best left hidden / horrible truths") still applies here. Nor does Masque of the Uncanny, really, since you just adopt a disguise of something outside of Creation. (This is probably because it was one of the new Charms added in 2e. It could've fit the theme much better if it was about stealing someone's or something's image.) Conning Chaos Technique is a blown-up version of the theme (as nearly all prayer strip Charms are) being a con instead of a theft, and with destiny and the Wyld as its abstracts.


    Creation Smuggling Procedures
    Cost: 10m, 1wp; Mins: Larceny 3, Essence 2; Type: Simple
    Keywords: Combo-Basic
    Duration: Until the character sleeps
    Prerequisite Charms: None

    The Sidereal grabs a bit of fate and tucks it safely away. When the character enters the Wyld, the Underworld, Malfeas, or any other non-Creation realm, she sneaks a measure of Creation's laws with her by craft, art, and cunning. Neither the character nor anything within ten yards of her suffers the effects of exposure to these alien realms. This Charm does not protect against physical or magical dangers such as Wyld beasts, the acidic waves of the demon ocean Kimbery or attacks by ghosts, but characters avoid Wyld mutation or recover Essence in the Underworld as they would in Creation. This protection lasts only as long as the Seer remains conscious and keeps the Essence committed; the Charm shuts off when she becomes unconscious. The Sidereal cannot activate this Charm while already in some other realm of existence; Creation is smuggled in, it does not just form around her.

    This Charm is essentially pulled from 1e. I think in 2e it was moved to Integrity and renamed Creation-Preserving Will, which now is a Shaping defense and not really the same. So I thought it'd be nice to bring back this Charm, which is essentially Chaos-Repelling Pattern, with a few key differences: It is a theft of an abstract, that being Creation's laws; you must activate this Charm while in Creation, to pocket that bit of reality. It only lasts until the character sleeps, which could make long-term travel in the Wyld difficult without a Charm like Heartless Maiden Trance or some similar effect. Still, it's useful, easy to acquire, and with some prep can be easily used.


    Bureaucracy

    "Control without authority," with an emphasis on strengthening the hierarchy of an organization and, keeping to Endings, removing corruption and being about absolutes and finality.

    I had a tough time really deciding what Bureaucracy's theme is. I kept meandering, making long explanations, until I hit on the above. Still longer than others, but it's the best I can do. It's a nice twist on the Ability as compared to Solars, who are all about direct leadership via Bureaucracy, and fits the vizier aspect of Sidereals well.

    Icy Hand is a good intro, making someone do their job, but without actually needing to be part of the organization. Terminal Sanction is a potent example of the theme, being you can lay down the threat of permanent death or other punishments to any god or demon, without needing any position in the Celestial or demonic hierarchies. And it definitely has that touch of Endings about it being about real death of a spirit. Underling Invisibility Practice is all about exploiting the hierarchy of an organization (formal or informal) and how people see themselves and others within it, again without needing to actually be a part of it (though still needing to fake it). Paralyzed Mandarin Infliction controls the organization from without by ending its productivity. End Debate allows you to step in and get things moving, without any authority, and again fits the Endings emphasis well.


    Remove Distraction
    Cost: 7m; Mins: Bureaucracy 4, Essence 2; Type: Simple
    Keywords: Combo-OK, Illusion, Touch, Social
    Duration: Indefinite
    Prerequisite Charms: Icy Hand

    An organization only works at its best when it is without distraction or outside influence. Sidereal Exalted may achieve this by cutting the threads of fate that bind someone to an organization's perception. The Sidereal activates this Charm by touching someone who is not a member of a certain bureaucracy or organized group (chosen by the Sidereal) and rolling (Charisma + Bureaucracy) plus (Essence) automatic successes. If the Seer rolled more successes than the leader's Dodge MDV plus (half the organization's Magnitude), the organization is afflicted with an unnatural Illusion that blocks the target's presence or any of his actions from being noticed by the chosen organization for as long as the Seer commits the motes he spent activating this Charm.

    The target can scream at office workers, send letters, or attempt to procure services, but all will go unnoticed. Note that the Illusion affects the organization as a whole, not individual members specifically; they will not notice the target while working, but while off the job they are unaffected. The effects of this Charm can be resisted by individual members of the organization if they spend one Willpower per scene. Once they spends four Willpower, the character has broken the Illusion's hold for the remainder of its duration. The leader of the organization may spend eight Loyalty to totally break the Illusion for the entire organization.

    At Essence 4+, the Sidereal no longer has to commit his Essence to this Charm if he spends one Willpower on its activation; its effects are instantaneous, and last until resisted.

    This Charm I like since it has a lot of those sideways uses if you're clever about it. One example that came up when I first posted it for review was using it on a Solar to block them from being noticed by a Wyld Hunt. Unlike the fluff of the Charm, this makes the Wyld Hunt work far worse, but that's the way Sidereal Charms go sometimes.

    I'd say it fits the theme well, as you can just step in and mess with an organization without ever needing to even interact with that organization, and fits the Endings emphasis (which is strong in Bureaucracy) well by being a sharp removal.



  • Limited Reagent
    replied
    Blast from the past! I haven't checked this forum in ages. So, three months after the request, I'll throw down a custom Charm I wrote ages ago for a character that should fit exactly what you wanted (no fancy descriptions of the Ability this time, though, because I'm lazy):

    Mantle of Misplaced Things
    Cost: —; Mins: Craft 3, Essence 3; Type: Permanent
    Keywords: None
    Duration: Permanent
    Prerequisite Charms: Destiny-Knitting Entanglement

    This Charm permanently upgrades Destiny-Knitting Entanglement, allowing the Sidereal to "hang" owned objects in fate by activating the Charm and indefinitely committing the two motes used. While these motes are committed, fate conspires to keeps the object within ready reach, no matter where the Seer may go. This is functionally the same as keeping the object Elsewhere — safe from unwanted detection, permanent theft, or undue damage — though it is actually hidden amongst the scenery or with extras. The Sidereal may have only up to (Essence) objects hung in fate this way at any given time. At any point, the Exalt may end the commitment to find and ready his object in a miscellaneous action, so long as the object be physically hidden there — the character could not uncover his carriage inside a tea house. Thus larger objects may require more time to show up or find, though usually no more than a few actions.

    This Charm costs four experience points if favored, or five if unfavored.

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  • Xeno426
    replied
    Any chance you might be able to pull off a Sidereal equivalent of an Elsewhere charm? Destiny-Knitting Entanglement doesn't quite give the ease of access, and I like the idea of a Sidereal always being able to go "Oh, this is the box/alcove/shrubbery where I stashed my staff" wherever they are.

    Leave a comment:


  • Limited Reagent
    replied
    Originally posted by Fenrir666 View Post

    I think he was asking you to analyze them like you did the other Charms. I, personally, would be interested in possibly seeing some Occult/Bureaucracy stuff that would be more useful in Modern, if it wouldn't be too much trouble?
    Hmm, is Brawl Throne Shadow Style, or is Brawl 1e Sidereal Brawl Charms? They both have their own theme, and are very different. As for War...

    War

    "Helping troops without leading" with a side of "fucking up Creation's enemies in mass combat."

    That's the best I've got. It's pretty vague. Almost all the Charms do this. It makes enough sense, the Sidereals being advisors and teachers and all that. The secondary theme is "fuck up Creation enemies". Otherwise, you've got some Charms that key more on the fate-style of Sidereal Charms, like Auspicious Recruitment Drive (probably my favorite Sidereal War Charm because it keys so much off of fate manipulation), and some spirit-related effects (Training Mandate of War God Puissance). You might think Training Mandate of Celestial Puissance is a fate-y effect, but it's not, really. It just lets you use other fate manipulation on a particular group of people, and in a very particular way (limiting the astrological effects to the House of Battles). The Charm does nothing on its own.

    The only other stand-out is the prayer strip Charm, which is a cool effect that frankly I can't see how it fits the whole theme of the tree. Unless you consider "summoning a big spirit of Creation to help you out" a mirror to "fuck up Creation's enemies."

    It's no real surprise the War Charms don't have a strong theme; the tree didn't exist in 1e. In 1e, the Predestined Triumph Practice and Essence-Draining, Demon-Blocking, Spirit-Binding Patterns were part of Presence, which made a lot of sense, as Presence was all about subtle imposition of will (as I described in the first post in this thread). Predestine Triumph, in this case, was a very subtle fate-style Charm which penalized anyone fighting against the Sidereal's favored leader when planning a battle. Essence-Draining and Demon-Blocking Battle Patterns build off that, disrupting Essence flows via troop movements for various effects. Then finally Spirit-Binding Battle Pattern, which is a great show of the theme of Presence, as the Sidereal summons and forces a spirit to fight at their side.

    Auspicious Recruitment Drive didn't exist in 1e, nor did Chaos-Quelling and Ghost-Banishing Battle Patterns or any of the Training Mandates. Red Haze was a Resistance Charm.

    I think the errata team did their best to make 2e War function, but there was only so much they could do to get a good theme out of it. I think it falls flat. Integrity suffered the same problem but I think the errata team did a better job pulling all the various bits together into a more unified whole.


    As for your question, Fenri, I don't have any particular ideas for Occult or Bureaucracy Charms at the moment, especially not for Modern (which I've never played), mostly since I'm not playing Exalted with the Exalted system right now. You've already seen the one and only Bureacracy Charm I wrote, Remove Distraction, in the first post.

    Originally posted by Hand-of-Omega View Post
    This would make choosing to use one's full Melee power a gamble, which might be fitting if the theme of Melee is "Risk".
    Originally posted by Jen View Post
    I thought Sidereal Melee is about Control (the flow of battle and conflict) ?
    I agree with Jen:

    Melee

    "Controlling the battle," as in the tactical flow of combat.

    Melee's pretty basic, and that's not surprising. It's basically doing what Dawn Solution War is doing for Solars. To be honest I think the Sids could steal more of of those War Dawn Solution Charms for their own Melee to help round out the tree, as Melee is pretty sparse as it is.

    I'll explain the theme a little more clearly. It's not like control like Presence does. Presence imposes. Melee is about options, and applying those options in the best possible way. All the Charms, more or less, in one way or another, ride on this.

    Also, I do really like the naming schemes in the Charms. I'll go further than Jen and say that most of the Charms juxtapose peaceful words with battle words. This is clearer in 1e, when Orchestration of Mirrored Fates was called Orchestration of Conflict. (Really, sometimes reading through the Charm text in 1e is a great insight to the Sidereal themes; if you haven't done so I suggest checking it out.)

    Harmony of Blows is a flurry Charm, but allows the use of any attack Ability, describing how the Seer need not choose one option over others. He can choose exactly what kind of attack is appropriate, all in an instant. Orchestration of Mirrored Fates is a counterattack Charm, which is a fundamental way to control a battle. The Essence 4+ upgrade strengthens this as the Sidereal can counter attacks that don't even attack her, allowing her to punish exactly those attacks and foes she desires. Impeding the Flow is more a fate-style Charm, but is along the similar vein of punishing attackers with the cumulative external penalty. Serenity in Blood only fails when you've lost control, as someone you've benefited with your astrology attacks you. Meditation on War benefits you when you've brought friends to the battle, and more importantly, allows you to share your Overdrive motes with them, putting those motes where they will best be used. Smiling at the Damned deals agg, and a very specific amount of it. I'd say it's not the strongest in the theme, but agg against anyone is not common, and gives you another tool to chip someone away. Then Perfection of the Visionary Warrior, which is like Harmony of Blows on steroids with the added bonus of having Fivefold Bulwark Stance going. The Essence 4+ effect allows you to stock reflexives, a potent tactical tool that allows for the implementation of even more options as you desire.


    As for new Melee Charm ideas, I'd say they should revolve around granting more tactical options in combat. As for social-fu, I don't see much of it. Maybe some Shadow-Fingers style stuff branching off of Meditation on War, helping those you've instructed further. Or maybe UMIs that lock down enemies' options, disallowing them from making certain tactical choices.

    Hand-of-Omega, I don't see the "Risk" theme at all in Melee, sorry to say. Maybe you can elucidate?

    Leave a comment:


  • Jen
    replied
    I thought Sidereal Melee is about Control (the flow of battle and conflict) ? It's kinda funny that Sidereal Melee charm follow the "Verb + preposition + Noun" formula very closely, and the Verb always invoke a feeling of peacefulness among the bloody battlefield: Harmony Of Blows, Meditation On War, Serenity In Blood, Smiling At The Damned. And the capstone turn you into a blind swordman who cry bloody tear !

    I can certainly see some social-fu in Sid Melee that are steathier than the Presence "Do what I Say !", like direct the conversation toward the subject of the character liking ("maybe we should talk about that guy ugly hair instead of mine"), or stopping the flow of interaction (End Debate?), with a following charm that make it so the flow has been concentrate so much that it overflow like a broken dam ("Urrggh, I can keep it anymore, Demetheus, I LOVE YOU !").

    Leave a comment:


  • Hand-of-Omega
    replied
    Nice analysis and interesting charms! I agree, I'd like to see more charm themes gone into!

    In particular, Melee. I have this image for an alternate capstone, that goes something like: The Sidereal writes the Sutra on a prayer strip, which then flies over him, and elongates into a sword. As long as it hovers over him, it grants him (substantial buffs to his melee skills; possibly free Excellency use?). When the charm is terminated, whether through the Seer's actions or someone else's, the sword plunges and does a ST-rolled amount of Undodgable, Unsoakable damage, that can't be magically healed back (and no, even Perfect Defenses, either the Vizier's or someone else's, can't be used to avoid this effect).

    This would make choosing to use one's full Melee power a gamble, which might be fitting if the theme of Melee is "Risk". But it could work with other themes as well...

    Leave a comment:


  • Fenrir666
    replied
    Originally posted by Limited Reagent View Post
    What about War or Brawl?
    I think he was asking you to analyze them like you did the other Charms. I, personally, would be interested in possibly seeing some Occult/Bureaucracy stuff that would be more useful in Modern, if it wouldn't be too much trouble?

    Leave a comment:


  • Limited Reagent
    replied
    What about War or Brawl?

    Leave a comment:


  • Looker
    replied
    How about war or brawl?

    Leave a comment:


  • Synapse
    replied
    [essence-VRE] then

    Leave a comment:


  • Limited Reagent
    replied
    Originally posted by Synapse View Post
    "You can have as many as [essence] purchases of DoR and [V]RE combined"?
    That doesn't work because you can have four purchases of (V)ER right away at E2. I'll probably say something like "each purchase reduces the total available of the other by one."

    Leave a comment:


  • Synapse
    replied
    "You can have as many as [essence] purchases of DoR and [V]RE combined"?

    Leave a comment:


  • Limited Reagent
    replied
    Disposition of Resources's cap is effectively (Essence - the number of times you've purchased [V]RE). Similarly, the cap on (V)RE is effectively (4 - the number of times you've purchased DoR). So say you're Essence 5 and have purchased all the (V)REs. You can still purchase Disposition of Resources once.

    I can see why you'd come to the conclusion you did, though, now. Now I'm trying to think of a better way to word it, without actually modifying (V)RE.

    Leave a comment:


  • Omicron
    replied
    So, a question.

    Disposition of Resources can be repurchased up to (Essence) times, but it also counts as a purchase of (Virtue) Essence Replenishment. (V)RE can only be purchased four times. Does this mean that the cap on Disposition of Resources is effectively "(Essence) or 4, whichever is lower," or is there a way to purchase additional instances at higher Essence?

    Leave a comment:


  • Limited Reagent
    replied
    I've got some new Charms!

    Linguistics

    Righteous Verse of the Ages
    Cost: 4m; Mins: Linguistics 3, Essence 2; Type: Simple or Reflexive (Step 2)
    Keywords: Combo-OK, Virtue (Valor)
    Duration: Until next action
    Prerequisite Charms: Favorable Inflection Procedure

    The Sidereal draws truths of future and past from the skeins of fate and forms them into devastating poetry. The Seer chooses a target within (Essence) yards that can hear him and rolls ([Charisma or Manipulation] + Linguistics), adding (Essence) automatic successes, against the target's MDV. If successful, the target is clinched, bound by words that shake her to her very soul. The Sidereal must maintain the clinch, focusing on continuing his epic poetry. He may use the normal clinch maneuvers, albeit modified:
    • Breaking Hold: The target flings herself backwards, unable to withstand exposure to the supreme truths of the Seer's words. She is always automatically knocked prone, and may be knocked back (Charisma) yards. Knockback damage is calculated like Heaven Thunder Hammer.
    • Crush: The poetry is so devastating to the target's mind that it manifests physical ailments — sweats, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, and worse. The target takes (remaining successes + Charisma) bashing damage which ignores all soak.
    • Hold: The target's mind simply reels. While she is held, any action she manages to take suffers an internal penalty of (the Sidereal's Essence). This does not include rolls to resist the clinch.
    Righteous Verse of the Ages may be used to renew the clinch, allowing the Sidereal to roll ([Charisma or Manipulation] + Linguistics). The target may oppose the clinch with mental fortitude, rolling (Wits + Integrity), and may only elect to break the hold by releasing the Exalt without violence if she gains control. Unless, of course, the target knows this Charm as well, in which case she can use it to respond with her own overwhelming sagas.

    Finally, the Sidereal may reflexively use this Charm to oppose a physical clinch, forcing his attacker to attempt to comprehend the eminence of his words and lose control of the grapple; the Seer may roll ([Charisma or Manipulation] + Linguistics) to resist the clinch. If he gains control, the above rules apply.

    This Charm's effects are unnatural mental influence; by spending five Willpower to resist, the target can break free of the clinch.

    This Charm was obviously inspired by Jen. It allows Sidereals to literally blow people's mind with ill beats, or rap battle people to death. I couldn't say no to that! Two Sidereals using it on each other would be awesome.

    As I said above, Linguistics is about bindings and connections, positive and negative, making them and breaking them. This Charm literally binds a character using language, to clinch them with righteous poetry. The Charm closest to this one is probably Personality Override Spike, though it is activated only on a physical hit, in Step 10, and lasts until broken. This Charm needs to be activated every action. Oh, and this Charm is UMI, and can be resisted, albeit with 5wp: The reason I chose for it to be so high is because I feel this Charm should be resisted as a clinch is, without automatically breaking out of it easily; this is a combat Charm after all. Plus, reflexive clinch boosters like Dragon Coil Technique actually do work to boost the rolls to renew the clinch, on either side, despite them being strange Attributes and Abilities.

    This Charm's utility is twofold: It allows someone not good at combat or martial arts to be good at clinches, and it buffs the grapple maneuvers, the best one probably being how the crush ignores all soak.


    Firearms

    "Inescapable, uncaring, chaotic violence."

    What a cynical view of combat, right? But it's a strong statement, focusing on just how unpredictable it can be. A great theme for Firearms, since guns in may ways exemplify that aspect of violence: Unlike so many weapons throughout history, the threshold for being able to use a gun is so low — it's so easy to inflict violence with a modern gun. With automatic weapons, bullets go everywhere, fast and free, so easy to cause collateral damage, to draw in innocent bystanders. That is the theme of Sidereal Firearms.

    Holistic Bullet Methodology states how it fits the theme in its first sentence, how it is chance that kills. The Sidereal makes it all that much easier to cause violence, not needing ammo, or even a gun: just violent intent. And the result of the attack is pure violence: no bullet, just a wound. Steel and Smoke Mandala is rather straightforward, and plays more heavily to the Sidereal's general theme of fate manipulation, but still it fits Firearms as it spreads the violence around, hitting a lot of enemies. You have to try, by repurchasing it, to focus your violent intent upon one target. Storm Clouds and Ravens Prophecy is more explicit with its Shaping effect, dragging even those who would rather flee back into the violence. Capricious World Roulette probably carries the theme the strongest: an attack that cannot miss, thus violence must occur (barring powerful magic of course), but without twisting fate, the Sidereal has little say on whom the violence is wrought. It does not care.

    Wearing Red to a Wedding displays how inescapable violence is, how it is so much a part of everyone's frame of mind that nobody bats an eye at obvious signs of battle. Crimson Transient Assurance states its theme clearly as well: the meaningless of violence. The Charm grants you motes when your friends are hurt, when they die, and when you fight your friends. Such is how violence is uncaring, how inevitable it is that all whom you love will be hurt, likely by you, and will die. Then finally there is Mandala of 10,000 Truths, which just straight up shows how nasty combat is, how you cannot hide, and you can only run, from violence. And how, in the end, there is only death (from that 13 post-soak damage).


    Inevitable Violence Attitude
    Cost: 5m; Mins: Firearms 3, Essence 3; Type: Simple (Speed 3, DV -0)
    Keywords: Combo-OK, Virtue (Temperance)
    Duration: Varies
    Prerequisite Charms: Storm Clouds and Ravens Prophecy

    The Sidereal wraps an inexorable fate of violence around her next shot, a potentiality of harm that builds with every second of a battle her gun remains unfired. This Charm can only be activated while the Sidereal is joined in battle. The next Firearms attack she makes ignores all Hardness and converts one die of post-soak damage to a success. The target's soak is also reduced by (the number of ticks that have passed since this Charm was activated). Armor soak is reduced first, then natural. If the attack misses, the shot deals its harm to the first thing it happens to strike thereafter. Once a shot is fired, this Charm ends.

    The violent fate, however, is truly inevitable: If the Sidereal does not make a Firearms attack before the battle concludes, this Charm ends, forcing its doom upon the word. The Sidereal, one of her allies, or an innocent bystander closely connected to the Sidereal (the ST's choice of which) will terribly botch at a critical action as if they had broken an Eclipse Caste's oath. The botch is always violent or harmful in nature.

    If the attack hits, it'll do damage, unless other magic is involved. Works great with Capricious World Roulette, if you're willing to roll the dice, that is. It's fairly powerful at its base, in that it ignores Hardness and converts a die of damage to a success. The real power comes in the soak-reduction, which can quickly add up. But you're paying for it in not being able to make Firearms attacks. That may not be a big deal if you've got another combat Ability you're good at, but it does cut off options. It also makes it so, if you want to reduce soak a lot, you might only be making one big attack with this per combat. And you better not wait too long, lest the chaos of combat ends the battle early, in which case someone horribly botches. I think those limitations balance out the soak-reduction power.

    I'd say this Charm fits Firearms' theme well. It makes the harm from a gun firing inevitable, much in the way Storm Clouds and Ravens makes it more likely, or Capricious World Roulette makes a shot always hit. Shooting a gun, or even the intent to shoot a gun, results in violence.


    Blood in the Gutter
    Cost: 5m; Mins: Firearms 4, Essence 3; Type: Supplemental
    Keywords: Combo-OK, Crippling
    Duration: Instant
    Prerequisite Charms: Steel and Smoke Mandala

    Pain, suffering, and death are simply a part of the world — no one can argue that fact. The Sidereal embraces it, for there is no other choice. This Charm supplements a Firearms attack. The target is considered mortal for the purposes of determining the effects of this attack, specifically bleeding, susceptibility to infection, healing rates, soak deriving from Stamina (targets who have improved that soak, such as a Solar with Invincible Essence Reinforcement, simply have their lethal soak from Stamina reduced by [their Stamina ÷ 2, rounded down]), and the ability to take disabling wounds (see Exalted p. 151-2 for information of many of these). Spirits killed with this Charm are permanently destroyed; they die as their last breath is shed, just as mortals do.

    This Charm drives home how harmful violence is, how nasty and painful it can by. It brings back all the shittiness that comes from being mortal, and even imposes it on gods. Violence is uncaring, right? It lets you bleed out in the street, or die days later from infection, or ruins your body. It kills you, sometimes in the worst ways. That's how it fits the theme.

    As for the mechanics, I had a hard time attempting to balance this, and I'm still not entirely sure on the cost. It's powerful in its aftereffects, but those often don't matter within the battle itself. Plus a Medicine Excellency, or even low level Dragon-Blooded magic can take care of bleeding and infection easily enough. The small reduction in soak isn't a huge deal, and disabling wounds require 4 health levels of damage dealt in a single blow, which is not trivial.

    The 'permanently kill spirits' thing was added as an afterthought. I think it makes a lot of sense, and its nice to have something else besides Terminal Sanction to permanently destroy spirits. Each Charm has its uses, Terminal Sanction also manifesting spirits, allowing anyone to beat on it, and can do other things than perma kill. This is supplemental, so you're going to be burning a lot of motes if you really want to make sure a spirit is perma dead. As I said before, I don't mind redundancy in a Charm set; it's good for different character builds to have the ability to get similar, useful effects.
    Last edited by Limited Reagent; 01-12-2014, 02:08 PM.

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