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1001 Wonders

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  • #16
    15) Solar Battery (4 pt. Charm):
    Mages and Vampires tend to avoid each other where possible. Nonetheless, conflicts break out between them at times, necessitating a special collection of arms. A seemingly ordinary d-cell battery, the Solar Battery has been created by various groups, but all have similar purposes. When slotted into a flashlight, it converts the ordinary illumination from the device into that foremost of vampire banes: pure, direct Sunlight. Sustained exposure to this light can reduce even hardy blood-suckers into ash, assuming it doesn't send them running in terror. Licks never, ever expect to encounter sunlight in the dead of night.

    Because of the high skill needed to produce them, Solar Batteries are rare and expensive. Only dedicated vampire hunters, or those who have made serious undead enemies (not that these two groups are mutually exclusive), bother to create or commission them. Not when fire is nearly as potent, far easier to produce, and just as likely to send a vampire packing. Still, there are reasons to employ such a tool. Certain vampires have shown immunity or lack of fear of fire. Flame can't always be controlled. And nothing sends the visceral fear into the vampiric population like stories of a mortal with the power of the sun in his hands.

    Since it can turn a person to dust (under the right circumstances), this Effect is Vulgar when used against vampires.

    System: Forces 5 + Prime 4 empowers the pitiful beams of illumination from a regular torch into a shaft of bright, concentrated Sunlight, mystically identical to the real thing. Counts as Direct Sunlight for the purposes of vampire's soak (difficulty 10), though this refers to the light shining directly on the vampire. Cover and bouncing on surfaces may modify this difficulty, as the situation dictates. Battery lasts for 10 minutes, before charge is completely expended and the flashlight goes dark.


    • #17
      16) Third Arm Scarf (3 pt. Artifact):
      Sometimes called "The Arm of Arif ibn Dima", for the earliest recorded creator of one (a Taftani magus of some influence), Third Arm Scarves have likely been produced for as long as humans have worked with weaving. A scarf - which can come in any number of colors, designs, and materials - that is roughly a meter and a half or more in length, ending in four prominent tassels. When worn around the neck, shoulders, or waist, the Third Arm Scarf's trailing end can be animated by the wearer. The length acts as a prehensile arm, the tassels like articulate fingers. Acting according to the mage's will, the scarf acts as an eponymous third arm, capable of performing most functions that a human arm can.

      Mages throughout the centuries, from Turkey to Indonesia, have employed Third Arm Scarves for their raw utility and usefulness in combat. Taftani wizards have flown atop carpets, striking at foes in the skies with scarves half a dozen meters long, in ostentatious displays of both their craft and magick. By contrast, Batini and Euthanatoi have employed the scarves surreptitiously to assassinate targets, by arming their extra appendages with slim daggers that strike from odd angles. An esoteric, rare Do technique was developed by Akashayana that is built around a flexible third arm. Even modern Orphans pass around knowledge of Third Arm Scarf creation, as knitting a scarf is relatively easy.

      Unless the mage is being very subtle with the scarf, this Artifact is Vulgar in the modern day.

      System: Matter 3 twists and animates the scarf, letting it performs many of the same functions as a regular appendage. It can be used to wield weapons, and even to make unarmed strikes or grapples (Matter gives the soft material enough rigidity at the point of impact to deal damage). For simplicity's sake, assume the arm has the same physical stats as the user, as the Scarf seeks to become an extension of them. However because of this, the mage gains no additional actions beyond normal. She may split dice pools as normal, and Time magick can permit more. There are even stronger variants of the Third Arm Scarf - with higher point costs - that come packaged with a Time 3 effect. Allowing the user one free movement upon activating the scarf, so long as the extra action is performed only by the scarf. In all cases, the Third Arm Scarf is more flexible than a regular arm; it can squeeze through tiny gaps, and bend at angles impossible for a normal arm. It can stretch slightly, too, but only so far before the mage risks damaging the fabric or disrupting the magic.

      Flaws: A multitude of Third Arm Scarves have been produced over the years, and so a multitude of Flaws have cropped up in them. Some are mundane - requiring special cleaning procedures or containers for when not in use. Some scarves lose their strength when attempting to touch and handle certain objects or materials, like religious statues or copper. Some scarves become attuned enough to the mage that they behave according to the user's repressed desires, or make the mage feel a phantom pain when the scarf is damaged.


      • #18
        These are fantastic, thank you. I've got Forged by Dragon's Fire and M20 Book of Secrets, but can't find any firm rules on how to determine Freebie Point allocation for new Wonders (e.g. for a player that wants to make their own at character creation - the books are both exhaustive in terms of how one makes a wonder during play). Can you please point me to the correct page? I'm sure it's obvious, and I'm just not seeing it... Failing that, can you explain, Bluecho, the method you use for deciding how many "points" the Wonder is?


        • #19
          Originally posted by Cerulean Scream View Post
          These are fantastic, thank you. I've got Forged by Dragon's Fire and M20 Book of Secrets, but can't find any firm rules on how to determine Freebie Point allocation for new Wonders (e.g. for a player that wants to make their own at character creation - the books are both exhaustive in terms of how one makes a wonder during play). Can you please point me to the correct page? I'm sure it's obvious, and I'm just not seeing it... Failing that, can you explain, Bluecho, the method you use for deciding how many "points" the Wonder is?
          The problem with FbDF is that there isn't, like, a table listing point costs. All the costs are embedded in the text, and indeed every kind of Wonder requires you to refer to the section for it. For example, Artifacts have their point cost calculations (such that they are) on p. 20, under the "Quickening" heading. You'd need to go to a completely different part of the book to find the way to calculate a different kind of Wonder's cost.

          I said "such as they are" in an earlier aside, because the wording is sometimes unclear, at least for me. Artifacts, for instance, equal in cost to all their Effects' Sphere ratings combined (plus other modifiers). But I personally found it unclear as to whether it meant the value of all Spheres in an Effect, or just the highest Sphere in a given Effect. (Ex: for a bog-standard Forces 3 + Prime 2 Effect to create a fireball, does it cost 3 points, or 5 points?). Made all the more confusing because the descriptions of the Wonders in that book rarely, if ever, indicate what Spheres would be used in those Effects. As such, I can't easily verify which interpretation the designers were working from, without going in-depth to dissect the probably mechanics of an item. It's for this reason that I include a "System" portion in every entry on this thread, with the Effects in question spelled out in plain English. And why I'm tending to avoid loading the Wonders down with a bunch of extras, like Quintessence storage and Paradox Handling options. If the readers want those options, they can just add their cost onto the base I've described.

          (Further, my write-ups for point costs don't take into account any Flaws applied to the Wonders, which can lower the expense. Assume that whenever I list a Flaw or Flaws, they represent a option you can take, which can further alter the final product's cost. In most cases, by default, the Wonders I write up have no Flaws. Except maybe the drugs I lifted from Mister X, for which the Flaws are as accurate as I can get to the source material. High strength Insomnalin, in the original comic, most certainly does result in permanent coma if the user misses a dose. If you use it in your games, definitely adjust the cost to reflect this.)

          Getting back to the point, I must confess that I'm not 100% sure about the freebie point costs in my descriptions. I do my best to follow the book as best I can, and keep things uncomplicated. But take my judgments with a grain of salt.
          Last edited by Bluecho; 08-04-2017, 01:50 AM.


          • #20
            On another note, when I write for Talismans, I tend to have to make a judgment call about their Arete. It provides the base cost, +1 for each Effect, plus all other features. My judgment call is that the Arete should probably be equal to the highest Sphere rating in its most powerful Effect, since you would need that much Arete to cast the Effect normally. Technically, because you only really need to roll 1 success for the Effect to go off - the advantage of Wonders over spontaneous Effects - you don't need more than Arete 1, strictly speaking. But I figure having Arete match the strongest Effect on the Talisman to be a good rule of thumb. Keeps me moving, rather than agonizing over what it should or shouldn't need, which is otherwise arbitrary. Ultimately, a Talisman or Device costs exactly as much to purchase as a player is willing to buy with freebies. At least as far as FbDF is concerned.

            Then we have Fetishes, which I dread making concrete stats for. I've only got three on the thread right now - all part of the same set - and I did a cop out by using that as an excuse to label it "Special". With FbDF, the cost of a Fetish is purely determined by how powerful the Storyteller thinks it is. A metric which is massively subjective and unhelpful. It also doesn't take into account the Gnosis rating of the spirit powering the Fetish, which provides the difficulty for the Willpower roll to activate it. Makes designing Fetishes according to a consistent metric kind of daunting.

            While I'll try working the problem out (I'm very much open to suggestions), let's just say that Fetishes aren't a priority for me on this thread at the moment.


            • #21
              17) Crown for the Pretender Princess (5 pt. Talisman; Arete 2):
              A small crown, a little big for a child and just a tad small for an adult. Made from folded scrap metal (with corners and edges rounded) and set with "gems" made from colored glass, the crown is obvious handmade costume jewelry. Nonetheless, it is well constructed costume jewelry, with details and craftsmanship that betrays great care in its construction. Multiple enchantments were placed on the materials to guard them against damage and twists of fate, and a scan of resonance gives an impression of great, platonic love.

              Once upon a time, a mortal girl - innocent, and bereft of Enlightenment - fell in with a group of Awakened artists. Through study or independent work, she had discovered a talent for Linear illusions. Desiring to be accepted by the magicians, she passed herself off as a mage - a magical princess, or so she claimed. Surprisingly, her ruse seemed to work, and she became a member of their tiny chantry. Fate took a bad turn, however, and the girl's desire to belong resulted, in a roundabout way, in disaster striking. Everything worked out in the end - for this was not a sad story - but she confessed to her older companions that she was a fraud.

              Of course, the mages were not fools. They had known all along she had no Awakened power, and had played along with the charade. Not out of any cynical impulse or pity, but because they were fond of her. They loved her, and wanted to give the poor girl a taste of magic. If only for a little while. So, the truth out, the artists gave their junior ward a gift: a pretend Crown for a pretend Princess, endowed with very real magick. Power enough that she could stand on just a bit better of footing with them, this hedge wizard in the company of kings.

              No one knows how the story ended, or how the crown came to circulate among collectors of Wonders. Some say that the girl had been suffering from a terminal illness, that had motivated her ruse, and that after her death, the crown was stolen from her grave. Others claim that the girl Awakened, and so put the crown away when it was no longer required. Most agree that such an item probably did not leave the care of the girl or her friends willingly, for it meant so much to them all.

              System: Spirit 1 allows the wearer to see spiritual beings, while Prime 1 allows them to see signs of magic and the flow of Quintessence. Prime 2 creates a Body of Light over the wearer, making them appear as an idealized version of themselves.

              Flaw: The Crown for the Pretender Princess does not work when hidden. It must be worn on the head, displayed proudly. If it is covered, by hat or hood or whatever, it falters.


              • #22
                18) Cheat Coin (4 pt. Artifact):
                A normal quarter coin (though there are variants in most high value coins in circulation across the world), etched with a yantra corresponding to the goddess Lakshmi. Used by members of the Euthanatos and Sahajiya, though mages from other groups have started to employ them here and there (members of House Thig/Verditus etch the First, Second, Fourth, or Seventh Pentacle of Jupiter onto the coin's surface).

                The item has two enchantments. First, it will always land on the side the user desires. This Effect is coincidental. As a tool for informal gambling, it beats a double-sided coin. Sure, people may find the designs etched into the surface odd, but they won't have proof any cheating goes on.

                The second Effect makes the coin return to the user's hand, via teleportation. So long as the coin isn't seen leaving its location or arriving in the user's hand, it is coincidental. Because of this, the Cheat Coin is most useful to scam vending machines and other coin-operated devices. Since the coin disappears into the slot, the mage can simply put their hand in their pocket, and pull the same coin out again. Essentially, like a more magical version of the quarter on a string. One wandering Euthanatos virtually lived off vending machine snacks and drinks; he was also known to visit arcades, win a whole bunch of prizes from a claw machine, and hand them out to poor children. As this mage was born into poverty, such behavior is understandable.

                System: Entropy 2 swings luck in the user's favor, making the coin always come up according to the owner's will. Correspondence 2 moves the coin through space, ending up back in the owner's hand.

                Flaw: The coin's ownership - and thus who has the right to dictate its flips and call it back - transfers to the thief if the coin is ever stolen. The original owner cannot manipulate that which is rightfully stolen. Even attempts to use one's own, native magick to take the coin back fail. The original owner can either get the thief to return it, or attempt to steal it back through mundane means.


                • #23
                  19) Turtle Shell Bracelet (3 pt. Fetish):
                  A bracelet strung with small shells, and dominated by a clay turtle pendent. The loop is long enough that a person must wrap it three times around the wrist. Created by the Kopa Loei, as an emergency method for crossing bodies of water.

                  Contains a sea turtle spirit, its services bartered for by ensuring a clutch of hatchlings made it to the sea, without a single lost to predators or accident. When the bracelet is used by a body of water at least one meter deep, the spirit creates a buoying force beneath the user's feet, preventing them from sinking. When the user stretches their bracelet arm out, the force propels them in that direction, gliding across the water as if on an invisible jet ski or powered surf board. Some Kopa Loei obtain such items as insurance, in the event their actual method of conveyance is compromised or missing.

                  Flaw: The turtle spirit in the Fetish abhors heavily polluted water, and will refuse to carry a user across bodies of same. How heavily polluted a water source must be to incur the spirit's disgust is up to the Storyteller. But in general, murky =/= polluted, and neither, necessarily, does chlorinated (though the spirit still might not enjoy carrying a mage across a public pool).


                  • #24
                    20) Sword of Moonlight (3 or 6 pt. Artifact):
                    The exact origins of this type of Wonder are disputed, with both Verbana and Order of Hermes claiming to have invented it first. A dispute that gets harder to settle as no witch families can point to an exact inventor, and the Order's records - normally well maintained for the sake of giving proper credit - are silent on the issue. Some scholars present a compromise theory, postulating that the Sword of Moonlight was originally created by magi of House Bjornaer, or even House Diedne, before their successors migrated to the Verbana. The knowledge on how to create the Artifact, then, being split between those who went to the nascent Tradition, and those who stuck with the Order. If the theory is true, the designs have diverged significantly over the centuries.

                    The Sword of Moonlight usually takes the form of a sword hilt and guard, emblazoned with a symbol of the moon. (They are usually bladeless. Some members of Hermetic House Verditus have experimented with bladed versions in the past.). Verbana versions are carved from white wood, with a crescent moon at the crossguard. Hermetic versions are forged from silver, and share the crescent moon (this time its alchemical symbol). The purpose is identical between variants: when activated, a blade of pure moonlight erupts from the vacant guard, usually in the shape of a curved scimitar or shotel. The blade shines white, unless it has had the opportunity to sit beneath the light of the Harvest or Hunter's moon, in which case the blade is orange or red, respectively. This structure was no doubt chosen for the Artifact's compact design, which could be carried in a bag or hung from a belt at minimal encumbrance (and most people in the middle ages would be bemused by someone carrying a bladeless sword, and not bother worrying about it). Rarer versions of the Artifact apply a second power to its arsenal: when swung, it releases a sharp wave of moonlight energy through the air, cutting foes at a distance.

                    Both powers are, in the modern day, quite Vulgar.

                    System: Prime 3 is used both to generate a blade from pure energy, and to create a projectile of same.

                    Flaws: As it gathers strength from the celestial body, the Sword of Moonlight must be left out in view of the moon whenever possible, when not in use. Because of the moon's ties to madness, Paradox backlashes from the sword tend to manifest as Quiet.
                    Last edited by Bluecho; 08-10-2017, 02:17 AM.


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
                      (...) Mages and Vampires tend to avoid each other where possible. (...)
                      Can you give any books - M:tA or V:tM - where you think that there are solid, tangible reasons given for this attitude between the True Mages and the Kindred?


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Muad'Dib View Post
                        Can you give any books - M:tA or V:tM - where you think that there are solid, tangible reasons given for this attitude between the True Mages and the Kindred?
                        M:tA Revised core - Page 280

                        And of course individual Tradition points of view:
                        Akashic Brotherhood Revised - Page 32
                        Celestial Chorus Revised - Page 19
                        Dreamspeakers Revised - Page 24
                        Euthanatos Revised - Page 30
                        Hollow Ones Revised - Page 84
                        Order of Hermes - Ah, yeeeeah. Let's not go there.
                        Virtual Edepts - Page 38

                        And the reasons vary between Vampires being seen as something against the natural order, Vampires being a danger to Mankind, Vampires and Mages being suspicious of each other, Vampires and Mages being dangerous to each other, and 'Don't poke the beehive'. And in the case of Hermes, 'We fought two huge wars against them.'. And of course the most interesting one, 'You might just get down to deep into the rabbit hole with your curiosity about them'. The Vampires, funnily enough, give the same advice about Mages.

                        M20 continues the trend in the corebook - either Vampires are seen as a danger, or as something that is just *too* interesting and seductive...with all the danger of losing your Magick or life that comes with that.

                        And then there's the Technocracy, which doesn't need quoting, and varies between 'Leave the Camarilla ones just alone' and 'EXTERMINATE'. Depends on the convention. The Syndicate, as usual, loves 'em for their marketability. And because, interestingly, they actually tend to have a good sense of economy and collecting power.

                        Of course there have also been many famous exceptions from the partyline - sometimes working with the Vampires of a small town a chantry is in is just beneficial to keep the peace.

                        Some Mages on the flipside simply manage to make friends of individual Vampires (or vice versa) if not to deep into the politics. Some Euthantos death cult groups of ye olde have worked with vampires (See: The Nagarajah and the True Black Hand,) Thre is also the african bloodline "Impudulu" in 20th Dark ages Vampires whose very concept is one Vampire and one Witch bound and traveling together in pairs. But the *common* wisdom that is spread among Mages to the new kids on their block is to simply avoid them.
                        Last edited by Ambrosia; 08-10-2017, 04:05 PM.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Ambrosia View Post

                          (...) And then there's the Technocracy, which doesn't need quoting (...)
                          Why do you think that the Technocracy's attitude towards the Kindred doesn't need quoting? Can you give page numbers, like you gave for the Traditions?
                          Last edited by Muad'Dib; 08-10-2017, 04:08 PM.


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Muad'Dib View Post
                            Can you give any books - M:tA or V:tM - where you think that there are solid, tangible reasons given for this attitude between the True Mages and the Kindred?
                            I can, and this is only after a couple hours flipping through my books.

                            First and foremost, a lot of books (Mage Revised, M20, V20, Revised Storyteller's Handbook) agree that Fear of the Unknown is a major factor. Folks on both sides of the splat divide aren't even typically versed in all of their OWN lore, let alone the powers, influence, and motivations of the other. There's a reason the Revised Storyteller's Handbook suggested Lore traits for each respective group, to track a character's Knowledge of the other.

                            For Vampires, mages wield seemingly endless varieties of occult powers - able to craft spells on the fly - that put accomplished blood sorcerers to shame. And remember, vampires are disturbed and wary of those same blood sorcerers, so mages seem all the more foreign and intimidating. According to V20, "Elders speak of wizard-wars that destroyed towns back in the Dark Ages, and there is little to suggest that they have stopped in the modern nights" (V20, p. 381). Sure, mages have their hands tied by Paradox, but the vampires don't know that. Nor can they count on a mage just using their subtle spells (which are, in and of themselves, dangerous); a mage pushed too far may decide to cut loose and turn the vampire to stone or burn them with sunlight.

                            Incidentally, my post from earlier that you're quoting is, itself, perfectly good reason why vampires should fear mages. They can summon real, burning sunlight from a common torch. Even the rumor of such things existing would make your average lick dread an encounter with a mortal magician.

                            Mages can also look like anyone. While some play to stereotype, others can walk around in regular clothing. And they "read" as mortals to Auspex. A vampire might not realize they've been in the same room as a mage for an hour, the latter slowly weaving some curse on the lick. On a different note, not only are mortal magicians equipped with a wealth of strange powers, both subtle and overt, the mages themselves come in a dizzying array of styles, from the relatively familiar Hermetic wizard to the miracle-working priest, to the shaman or necromancer that truck with unearthly spirits even the Giovanni find alien, to the technomancers who push machines beyond the bounds of what a vampire thought possible, or even integrates tech into their own flesh (a fact that, according to V20, is "incomprehensibly terrifying to most Elders").

                            All of that makes mortal magicians, in general, more trouble to deal with than they're worth. So vampires who value their unlives have a vested interest in avoiding such entanglements. None of this even gets into the fact that mages sometimes hunt vampires for their blood (Vitae makes such potent, decadent Tass).

                            On the flipside, Mages have plenty to fear from vampires. Kindred, too, have a wealth of supernatural powers; not in as many varieties as a mage, perhaps, but nothing to sneeze at. More importantly, vampiric powers are not subject to Paradox. While a mage's hands are, again, tied by Reality, vampires suffer far less when they use their abilities. That, alone, would discourage many mages from getting involved with the blood-suckers.

                            Then there's the threat of mind control, blood bonding, and the Embrace, the latter of which can consign the mage to a parasitic existence, while stripping them of their Awakened powers. For what the book is worth, Blood Treachery is all about such dangers. Speaking of the Tremere, the first Massasa War - and the fall of a noble House that preceded it - is likely given as a cautionary tale to Hermetic apprentices, about the dangers of seeking power from vampirism.

                            This is what I've got thus far, but there's probably a lot more hidden in the books.


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
                              (...) This is what I've got thus far, but there's probably a lot more hidden in the books.
                              Why do you consider it to be "hidden" in the books?


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Muad'Dib View Post
                                Why do you consider it to be "hidden" in the books?
                                Why are you responding to every post with a question? Is this the Socratic method in action?

                                In all seriousness, "hidden" was a poor word choice. I should have said "it's probably there in plain sight, I just can't be bothered to research this anymore at the moment". When I said "hidden", I meant I was encouraging you to look at the books yourself.