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Majestic Totem Aspect

Lunars, as master shapeshifters, have the ability to blend together the original form that they possessed as mortals (that of humanoids, for the most part) and the form of the beast that they felt the Essence-ladden connection to. These two forms are considered True Forms, and thus the form that is created when they combine their aspects together is also considered such. All Lunars possess the innate ability to merge their two favored forms to create this third amalgamation and need not buy any Charms (save Finding the Spirit's Shape) to use it's rudimentary aspects; it is an unnatural characteristic of their unfathomed shapeshifting mastery. The level of power gained by taking this form is directly relevant to the Lunars force of will, virtuousness, and of course, Essence mastery. A Lunar in this form cannot be mistaken for what she is: a majestic combination of humanoid ingenuity and skill with the feral and instinctual magnificence of her totem beast.

Needless to say, however, the combination is not just physical. Lunars do not simply take on aspects of the true beasts they are espousing, they take on the traits those beasts are mythic for. When Luna bestows their Exaltation, they gain the ability to, through the magic of their exaltation, achieve the magical prowess that is rumoured, believe, or true (in very rare cases) of their totemic animal. Thus an Owl-totemed Lunar may be incredibly wise, or a Fox-totemed Lunar astute and tricky beyond comprehension. This should dictate to an extent the Attribute point distribution that the player applies to her character.

When a Lunar Exalted takes this form, she suffers several modifications to her body, depending on the amount of power she can muster and how much of her totem animal suffuses itself with her mortal shape. For starters, the Lunar can automatically (without any Gifts) grow a number of feet taller equal to her permanent Essence. Alternatively, she can also reduce her size by that same amount (though no smaller than half her humanoid height).

There are two different aspects to this ability that must be carefully taken into account: Attribute enhancements, which are the amount of dots the Lunar can add to her Attributes while in her hybrid form; and Gifts, which are specific powers and abilities that the Lunar is granted (and which should serve to better show the Lunar's connection to her totem beast).

When shapeshifting into hybrid form, weapons and armor worn by the Lunar in human form are present in hybrid form as well, magically adjusted to fit the character's new size and shape. The statistics of weapons or armor are not altered, however. Gifts that add to soak stack with armor worn by the Lunar.

Attributes

Attributes, for the purpose of enhancing them, either cost 1 point to raise or 2, depending on the Caste the Lunar belongs to and the Attribute she wants to raise. First and foremost, a Lunar can always raise Attributes pertinent to her Caste at 1 dot per point spent. Thus, Full Moons raise all Physical Attributes at 1 point per dot, Changing Moons raise all Social Attributes at 1 point per dot, and No Moons raise all Mental Attributes at 1 point per dot.

There are three Attributes that should be discussed seperately however. Dexterity, Manipulation, and Intelligence. If the Lunar is not of the Caste that favors these one of these Attributes, he must pay 2 points per dot.

Dexterity, while clearly governed and possessed at high levels by an immense variety of beasts, is difficult to master due to the subtlety often needed to truly master it. A dexterous Lunar can do much more than a Lunar who's forte is simple strength or physical stamina. It is an Attribute which must be treated with due appreciation and value, and thus is harder to raise for those that do not directly favor it. Changing Moons and No Moons pay 2 points for each increase in Dexterity.

Manipulation, unlike Charisma and Appearance, is the one Social Attribute that one does not often find in members of the animal kingdom (even those who are Wyld-touched). It requires a subtlety that is more internal than external. It's uses are less obvious than those applicable to Charisma and Appearance, and thus it is more costly to raise for those that do not directly favor it. Full Moons and No Moons pay 2 points for each increase in Manipulation.

Lastly, Intelligence is, like Manipulation, more of a humanoid trait. It requires an active consciousness which the large majority of theanimal kingdom lack. Of course, the argument can be made that many beasts possess a high level of Intelligence, but it is much more feasible to attribute their "instinctual intelligence" to the Wits Attribute. Since it is not as naturally adaptive by beasts, it costs more to improve one's Intelligence for those Castes that do not favor it. Full Moons and Changing Moons pay 2 points for each increase in Intelligence.

Casteless Lunars are, of course, an exception. Until they are tattooed and their Caste is fixed, they pay 2 points for all three Attributes (Dexterity, Manipulation and Intelligence).

This part of the Majestic Totem Aspect system is made to amplify the fact that each Caste is (potentially) best at what they do. Full Moons will always have the greatest potential for the battle, Changing Moons for trickery and social mastery, and No Moons for the accumulation of knowledge and mental mastery.

The traits that govern the amount of points the character may spend on Attributes are Essence (which puts a limit on how far the Lunar can go), Willpower (which determines the initial amount of points the character gains to spend on Attributes), and finally Virtues, which periodically (as the character ascends in Essence) add a number equal to their rating to the amount of points she can add to her Attributes. While Essence has a rather simple function when it comes to Attributes (the higher the Lunar's mastery of it, the more she can improve herself, as described in the table below), Willpower and Virtues (the latter in particular) merit more explaining.

Willpower: This trait's value has never been questioned, however for a Lunar it becomes even more important. The more force of will the Lunar has within her, the more she can tap the core of her Essence to improve herself. Tempered by her Willpower, the Lunar can reach a higher state in her hybrid form and best merge her totem animal's feral nature with her original, humanoid shape.

Virtues: As the character increases in Essence, she can tap into the different aspects of her morality to better her hybrid shape. The player chooses qhich Virtue to add first, regardless of the highest or lowest (though logically it will probably be from highest to lowest). Once the character chooses a Virtue to add, that Virtue predominates over the others. A player cannot switch between adding Compassion and Temperance to adding Temperance + Valor simply because her character's Valor rose over her Compassion. Compassion governs the character's connection to her mercy, Conviction to her dedication, Temperance to her moral fiber, and Valor to her unwavering animalistic courage.

Thus, put plainly, the more the character masters her Essence, fortifies her will, and virtuous she becomes, the more majestic her hybrid form can become. However, there is one other limit to consider: a character can only become so powerful without more mastery of the Charms that allow her to manipulate her shape. Truly physically powerful Lunars must grow to possess the strength and resistance that they wish. Characters may not raise their Strength or Stamina above 10 without taking the Charm Towering Beast Form.

Additionally, Attribute points that have been spent may not be rearranged or switched, they are fixed in their place. However, a player may choose to "save up" attribute dots if an advancement in Essence allows him more points to spend, but he wishes to buy something that is not available (i.e. the character gains 1 additional point due to raising a Virtue or Willpower, but is a Changing Moon who wants to spend points to add to her Dexterity). Players are adviced to think over their spendings.

Attribute bonuses are only available while the Lunar is in hybrid form.

Gifts

Gifts are powers and abilities that the Lunar is granted by her taking her hybrid shape, be it rapid supernatural healing, incredibly strong physical resistance, extra arms, vicious natural weapons (such as claws, talons and damaging teeth), wings and other animalistic aspects. The Lunar's player and the Storyteller should work together to make sure that the Gifts taken are appropriate representation of the beast that the Lunar merges with her humanoid shape.

A Lunar may take a number of Gifts equal to their Essence + 1 [for a total of 11, should the Exalt live long enough (and the player play her long enough) to reach Essence 10]. Gifts may only be taken once unless otherwise specified in the Gift's description. If the Gift has a prerequisite, the Lunar must possess the prerequisite before purchasing said Gift. Gifts, like the Attribute bonuses, are only available in the Lunar's hybrid form. If the Lunar wishes powers like her Gifts in her human or totem animal form, she must learn Charms with similar effects, or else use the Charms Calling Lunar's Favor or Blossoming Gift of Luna.

Modified Gifts

This section is still unfinished.

  • Horrifying Might: A Lunar with this Gift becomes unparalleled in his physical might. He may receive the benefits of a bear's strength, a cat's nimbleness or a lion's resilience. The character gains 2 Attribute points to spend on Physical Attributes. All dots purchased with this Gift are obtained on a 1 to 1 basis, regardless of the character's Caste. Thus, a Changing Moon who attains this Gift may buy a dot of Strength and one of Dexterity, or even two of Dexterity. Changing Moons, No Moons, and Casteless may not purchase this Gift until they have reached Essence 4. This Gift may only be taken once.
  • Majestic Presence: A Lunar with this Gift gains the regal bearing and instinct-driven presence of the beasts in the Wyld. She may attain an imposing regal bearing, cunning beyond reckoning or the sheer beastial beauty that is unmistakable. The character gains 2 Attribute points to spend on Social Attributes. All dots purchased with this Gift are obtained on a 1 to 1 basis, regardless of the character's Caste. Thus, a No Moon who attains this Gift may buy a dot of Charisma and one of Manipulation, or even two of Manipulation. Full Moons, No Moons, and Casteless may not purchase this Gift until they have reached Essence 4. This Gift may only be taken once.
  • Instinctual Cognizance: A Lunar's psyche is a delicate thing--it must balance between the humanoid pattern and a beastial one. The combination sometimes drives Exalts mad... others learn to harness it with this Gift. The character gains 2 Attribute points to spend on Mental Attributes. All dots purchased with this Gift are obtained on a 1 to 1 basis, regardless of the character's Caste. Thus, a Full Moon who attains this Gift may buy a dot of Perception and one of Intelligence, or even two of Intelligence. Full Moons, Changing Moons, and Casteless may not purchase this Gift until they have reached Essence 4. This Gift may only be taken once.
  • Enhanced Senses: The character gains powers of perception reminiscent to those of her totem beast. Pick one of three: sight, scent and taste, or hearing and touch. Whenever the character must make a roll regarding the group of senses chosen she adds her Essence to the roll. A Lunar can purchase this Gift once for each group of senses, though the senses should have at least a passing connection to her totem beast.
    • Spirit Sense: This Gift replaces Ghost Sight. The character must possess at least one version of Enhanced Senses. The character can superficially interact with dematerialized beings. If the character's version of Enhanced Senses is sight, she can see dematerialized beings; if it is scent and taste, she can smell dematerialized spirits (but not taste, as it is beyond this Gift's capabilities); and should she have touch and hearing she may listen to spirits (but not touch them, though this is no guarantee she will understand the spirits--she'd need to know the language being spoken first).
      • Spirit Touch: While Spirit Sense allows a Lunar to sense immaterial beings, Spirit Touch allows them to freely interact physically. They may now see, hear, smell, touch, and even taste (ooh) immaterial beings freely. A character must possess Spirit Sense to buy this Gift.

|||||| The Obligatory Table || || Essence || Attribute Points || Gifts || || 1 || Willpower (maximum 5) || 2 || || 2 || Willpower || 3 || || 3 || Willpower + 1 Virtue || 4 || || 4 || Willpower + 1 Virtue || 5 || || 5 || Willpower + 2 Virtues || 6 || || 6 || Willpower + 2 Virtues || 7 || || 7 || Willpower + 3 Virtues || 8 || || 8 || Willpower + 3 Virtues || 9 || || 9 || Willpower + 4 Virtues || 10 || || 10 || Willpower + 4 Virtues || 11 ||

Shapeshifting

To take her Majestic Totem Aspect, a Lunar must spend 5 motes of Essence if she is in one of her True Forms (her humanoid or totem beast shapes). If she wishes to take the shape while in a shape other than one of her True Forms she must spend 7 motes of Essence. It is quite simply much easier to shift from one True Form to another than it is to shift from a less familiar and accomodating shape to a True Form.

The same is true vice versa. If a Lunar wants to shift back to one of her other two True Forms from her Majestic Totem Aspect, she must spend 3 motes of Essence. If she wishes to take a shape other than one of her True Forms directly from her hybrid shape, she must spend 5 motes.

The reason it is more difficult to shift to and from hybrid form than others is because it is much more difficult and taxing to shape and dismantle the complex combination between shapes, than to assume one simple shape from another simple shape.

The Tell

This section is under construction.

The system governing The Tell remains unchanged in much of its entirety. However, there is one change as to how to determine how easy it is to spot a Lunar's Tell. The three "levels" of the Tell are eliminated, since they will not apply under the new system. This is done to make things simpler.

The difficulty to detect a Lunar's Tell when the Exalt is in one her True Forms is 10 - (Lunar's Permanent Essence + 1). Thus a character meeting a Lunar with an Essence of 3 in one of his True Forms would roll at difficulty 6, while someone meeting a Lunar of Essence 7 would roll at difficulty 2. The Tell of a Lunar of Essence 9 or 10 is unmistakable while she is in one of her True Forms. This, of course, is the unmodified difficulty. Charms such as Masking the Brilliant From would affect these difficulties. See below for information as to how.

The difficulty to detect a Lunar's Tell when the Exalt is Shapechanged (that is to say, not in one of her True Forms) is 10 - (the Lunar's Permanent Essence - 2). Thus, someone meeting the Essence 3 Lunar would roll at difficulty 9 (a nigh impossible task without the assistance of Charms, and thus incredibly unlikely), while someone meeting the Essence 7 Lunar would roll at difficulty 5.

In order to even roll, the person must be suspicious of the Lunar herself (and not by simple rumour). There must be a reason for the suspicion. Charms that allow someone to view the flows of Essence (such as All Encompassing Sorceror's Sight) subtract their Essence from the difficulty and do not have to be suspicious of the Lunar as long as the Charm is already activated. This last ruling is not applicable to Lunars of Essence 9 or 10, since their Tells are unmistakable.

Modified Charms

Deadly Beastman Transformation: This Charm is obliterated, eliminated, anihilated, and every other destructive verb ending in -ated.
Hide of the Cunning Tiger: This Charm now has the prerequisite of Finding the Spirit's Shape.
Masking the Brilliant Form: This Charm adds 2 to the difficulty to seeing a Lunar's Tell (whether the Lunar is in her True Form or not). Hide of the Cunning Tiger is replaced as this Charm's prerequisite by Finding the Spirit's Shape, so that Casteless may hide their Tell (since no Casteless would really need or even know about Hide of the Cunning Tiger).
Calling Luna's Favor: This Charm remains unchanged other than its prerequisite, which is now Finding the Spirit's Shape.
Heightened (Sense) Method: These Charms is eliminated. Any Charm that had one of them as a prerequisite now uses Sense-Sharpening Change.

Design Examples

To facilitate the comprehension of this system, examples will be provided below as to how different Majestic Totem Aspects could be designed for different Lunars. There will be an example of each Caste (including one for Casteless) with the relevant traits presented (Attributes, Essence, Willpower and Virtues) and an example of Tell.

Full Moon

Delightful Jaws is a Full Moon Lunar with the Hyena as her totem. Hyenas are pack animals, highly social and, mythically speaking, a very sinister sense of humor. Delightful Jaws' instincts picked this beast because it complimented her nature.

The Full Moon possesses an Essence of 4; Attributes of Strength 4, Dexterity 4, Stamina 5, Charisma 3, Manipulation 3, Appearance 2, Perception 3, Intelligence 3 and Wits 4; her Willpower is 7 and her Virtues are Compassion 2, Conviction 4, Temperance 2 and Valor 3.

Delightful Jaws' Hybrid form is a vicious amalgamation of hyena and woman. Her back grows twice as thick and fur that stands on end grows along her entire body. She possesses vicious jaws that can rend any flesh and has claws on each hand. When in hybrid form, she not only possesses an added power to her physical Attributes, but her presence and senses are augmented as well. When she reached Essence 3, she chose her Virtue of Conviction to add to her Willpower for the purpose of her Attribute count for her hybrid form. Her hybrid Attributes and Gifts are as follow:

Attributes (Willpower 7 + Conviction 4 + 2 (Mental) = 13): Strength 8 (+4), Dexterity 6 (+2), Stamina 7 (+2), Charisma 5 (+2), Perception 5 (+2), Wits 5 (+1)
Gifts (Essence 4 + 1 = 5): Terrible Beast Claws, Resilience of Nature, Wound-Knitting Power, Fearsome Appearance, Instinctual Cognizance.

Thus, the Full Moon has immesurable physical prowess, an impressive presence (due to her enhanced Charisma combined with Fearsome Appearance), natural weaponry and is incredibly hard to kill (or even damage for any significant length of time). She also possess quicker mental reflexes and superior senses. All these things make her the epitomy of the social-scavenger that her totem animal is.

Her Tell are hyena-type spots all over her skin, covered only by her tattoos in some parts of her body. In any of her True Forms, anyone who suspects of her being a Lunar must roll Wits + Awareness at difficulty 5 to detect the Tell. While shapechanged, this difficulty is 8.

Changing Moon

Under construction.

No Moon

Under construction.

Casteless

Under construction.

Comments

Here go all those ruthless critiques that completely deflate my sensible ego. Yay!

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