Balthasar's Ride Charms
Zealous Mount’s Aggression
Cost: 3 motes Duration: One day Type: Simple Minimum Ride: 2 Minimum Essence: 1 Prerequisites: None
The Abyssal exerts his control over the heart of his mount in a very basic way, pouring sickly sweet Essence into it until the beast will accept no other as its rider. For one day, the mount will buck and violently fight back against any other who tries to mount it. If pressed, it will even go to the extent of hurting or killing itself, if it cannot hurt or kill its rider. This Charm will not work on animals that are not already somehow trusting of the Abyssal.
Hideous Burning Bestial Skull
Cost: 4 motes Duration: One scene Type: Simple Minimum Ride: 2 Minimum Essence: 2 Prerequisites: Zealous Mount’s Aggression
With the investment of a small amount of necrotic essence, the Exalt casts a halo of pale fire about the head of his mount. This fire is an ever-flowing liquid light, which pours from the beast’s mouth and eyes, but is not hot and does not burn. However, all mortals who look upon the beast must make a Valor roll; anyone who fails this roll finds himself unable to adequately confront the horrible beast and its rider for the duration of the charm. All actions against the Abyssal and his mount are made at a –2 penalty. If this roll is botched, the mortal flees in terror; if it is successful, the mortal may remain if he so wishes, at no penalty.
Furied Bestial Stallion
Cost: 5 motes Duration: Varies Type: Simple Minimum Ride: 4 Minimum Essence: 2 Prerequisites: Hideous Burning Bestial Skull
Now expertly versed in goading his mount to anger, the Abyssal may pour his will into the effort as well, and push the bounds of his mount’s fury to new stretches. The beast rears, letting out a violent cry of rage, and starts to glow, like a potent and multihued spectral entity, as essence leaks slowly from its flesh. It will attack anyone it sees, so that everyone near it, save its rider, is imperiled. To assist in this scene-long frenzy, the beast gains a number of –1 health levels equal to the Exalt’s permanent Essence. Additionally, it may add the Abyssal’s Valor virtue to all of its attack and damage rolls while this Charm lasts. After the frenzy is finished, the mount is exhausted, and travels at half its normal movement rate until it can rest for an hour or so. If at any point the Abyssal dismounts, this Charm ends. Otherwise, the Charm ends after a number of turns equal to the Exalt’s permanent Essence.
Herald’s Pale Horse
Cost: 10 motes Duration: One scene Type: Simple Minimum Ride: 4 Minimum Essence: 3 Prerequisites: Furied Bestial Stallion
The Abyssal cuts his palm and places it upon his mount’s back, and floods the beast’s flesh and bone with death Essence, which scorches the blood even as it uses it for a conduit into the mount – leaving nothing but oily ashes. Once charged, the Abyssal witnesses his beast as it painfully transforms, blood and bone bursting out of its body in explosive gouts. When the red mist settles about it, it stands transformed into a nobler ghast of a war-mount, possessing of a sculpted and barbed pale exoskeleton. It gains a bonus to its bashing and lethal soak equal to the exalt’s Ride Ability. In addition, anyone except the Abyssal who directly touches the mount immediately suffers the Exalt’s Ride Ability in lethal damage as they are caught in the roiling, sharp bony plates covering the beast. While armored, the mount moves much slower than usual (about half-speed), and has a –2 mobility penalty while this Charm lasts.
Path of Hellish Hooves
Cost: 3 motes Duration: One turn Type: Simple Minimum Ride: 3 Minimum Essence: 3 Prerequisites: Hideous Burning Bestial Skull
In a flash of pale soul-fire, the Abyssal spurs his mount forward. Sparks strike the ground wherever its hooves land, and it bursts forward unbelievably fast. This Charm doubles the mount’s ground movement distance for one turn.
Inevitable Phantom Leap</b>
<b>Cost: 5 motes Duration: Instant Type: Simple Minimum Ride: 3 Minimum Essence: 3 Prerequisites: Path of Hellish Hooves
The Abyssal drives his mount forward at top speed towards a permeable surface, such as a wall of logs or stacked stone. Upon meeting the surface, the rider and mount both burst momentarily into a cloud of burning vapor, and instantly slip through the small imperfections of the surface to reform, at full speed, on the other side. This Charm requires the surface charged through be in some way imperfect – a solid sheet of rock or stone is impossible to leap through. However, if that stone has at least one porous hole that goes entirely through, this Charm allows passage through it.
Storming Furied Charge Method</b>
<b>Cost: 3 motes, 1 willpower Duration: Instant Type: Supplemental Minimum Ride: 4 Minimum Essence: 3 Prerequisites: Path of Hellish Hooves
Driven forward with unquenchable bloodlust, the rider and mount pulse briefly with licking soul-fire, then surge forward. At any point during a full-length charge, the Exalt executes an attack perfectly timed with the weight and momentum of his mount. Double damage from this attack after it has been rolled. This Charm is explicitly allowed to be placed in Combos with Charms of other Abilities. This Charm may not be used if not mounted, nor may it be used if for any reason the Abyssal cannot travel his full charge distance.
Nightmarish Transformation Technique
Cost: 15 motes, 3 willpower Duration: Permanent Type: Simple Minimum Ride: 4 Minimum Essence: 4 Prerequisites: Herald’s Pale Horse, Inevitable Phantom Leap
Over a period of months equal to twelve minus the Exalt’s Essence + Ride (minimum one month), the Exalt subjects a mountable beast to a strenuous regime of training and dieting, and slow infusions of necrotic Essence. The Exalt commits five motes to this Charm during that time. Over the extensive period, the beast noticeably weakens and changes, until at the end of the training, it seems to perish under the stroking, attentive hands of the Exalt. This is the most crucial moment of the Charm, and is when the listed motes of Essence and Willpower are actually spent.
Miraculously, the mount’s eyes open once again, yet newly alight with an inner soulfire incandescence. Its skin bulges horribly, and it is suddenly wracked with pains of transformation. In the final throes of metamorphosis, its skin splits like a gruesome cocoon. As if bloodied in the womb, a nightmarish, unreal version of the mount emerges, fleshless with visible musculature and bone, adorned by lapping soulfire and immense, powerful, bat-like wings. The beast also gains natural weapons – massive tusks and horns (both at Spd +3, Acc +2, Dmg +2L, Def –3), and lengthy barbed talons if it did not begin with hooves (Spd +4, Acc +2, Dmg +1L, Def +0). It gains a –2 health level for each level of the Exalt’s permanent Essence, and a permanent bonus to its bashing and lethal soak equal to the Exalt’s Ride Ability.
The mount may now fly as if it were riding on the wind beneath the Abyssal, though if it allows, anyone else may ride it as well. Wherever it gallops, trails of soul-fire linger momentarily. The nightmare will no longer fatigue at all so long as it is able to devour its weight in still-warm flesh once a week, nor will it need food or water. It is forever kindly disposed to the Abyssal that transformed it, and always seems to completely understand his verbal commands, seeing to them if possible. Additionally, its life is now tied to the Abyssal’s, and until the deathknight expires, the mount is forever at his side.
The Abyssal may not have more nightmare mounts in simultaneous existence than he has dots of permanent Essence. Nightmares are considered to be dead, though they traverse Creation and the Underworld just as freely as their Exalted master.
Relentless Burning Advance</b>
<b>Cost: 5 motes, 1 willpower Duration: Special Type: Simple Minimum Ride: 5 Minimum Essence: 3 Prerequisites: Inevitable Phantom Leap, Storming Furied Charge Method
Like an unforgiving juggernaut, the Abyssal lends his steed a flood of Essence, allowing it to march forward blindly against all assault, always closing in towards its target. When he activates this Charm, the Abyssal declares a target within (Permanent Essence x 10) yards of his current position. He and his mount burst into soulfire apparitions, and charge forward, riding directly towards the target. No barrier, man or weapon may stand in the way of this charge – all physical obstacles or distractions simply cause the Abyssal and his mount to melt out of the way in a flash of spectral fire. Upon reaching the target, this Charm ends. For the purposes of Combos, this Charm is considered to be of instant duration. This Charm is explicitly allowed to be placed in Combos with Charms of other Abilities.