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Theme 12: Betrayal

Lens of Eternal Vigilance - Haku

Starmetal lens
Artifact •
Commitment: 3 motes

This artifact is a simple toy, but it is one frequently used by the Sidereals in Yu-Shan. A Lens of Eternal Vigilance helps keep the attuned Exalt ever vigilant against betrayal from his subordinates.

Its power is fairly simple and clear-cut. It allows its user to reflexively roll Perception + Bureaucracy whenever he interacts with his subordinates. Three or more successes lets its user know if the metaphorical knives are being sharpened or not.

This does not reveal the subordinates' plans in any way. It merely alerts its user that at this very moment, bureaucratic betrayal is being planned or is in the works.

Ahatha's Black Cup - EdwardFortune

Black jade, soulsteel and orichalcum cup
Artifact ••
Commitment: 3 motes minimum

Ahatha was a Dragon-Blooded general during the First Age, and is considered a martyr in Immaculate Doctrine. He lead a revolt against his Solar master 100 years before his brethren and is either a visionary or an idiot, depending on your source.

His cup is a beautifully carved black jade goblet, carved with the images of the elemental dragons. Each dragon is finely picked out in oricalchum, and the goblet itself is fairly large and must be carried in both hands. The centre boss, which lies in the bottom of the artifact, is a screaming face made of soulsteel. Red wine tastes especially nice when drunk from the cup, although it always leaves a bitter aftertaste.

The effects of the cup are two fold. Firstly, any mortal or Terrestial who regularly drinks from the cup automatically passes their first Valor roll of the day when in the presence of the person who the cup is attuned to.

Secondly, those who drink from the cup often find their loyalty swinging toward the person attuned to the artifact, but at the cost of their loyalty to those of a higher rank than the bearer. Victims of the black cup begin to trust he who owns the cup, seeing others as some kind of threat. Mechanically, the bearer gains up to +3 dice to appropriate manipulation rolls, where as others suffer a +3 difficulty on the same. This is a gradual effect.

The cup's effects work on one Terrestial or ten mortals per mote of essence commited. A minimum of three motes is required. Any combination is allowed, e.g., 2 Terrestrials and 10 mortals for 3 commited motes.

Harmonic Disruptor - Ambisinister

Starmetal and special
Artifact ••+ (minimum 3)
Commitment: Special

Sidereals in favor of the Usurpation sought to grab every edge they could against the powerful Solars, and the Harmonic Disruptor was developed as a result of this. The intent of the Disruptor was to provide assassins with a small window of time to strike, during which an Exalt would lose access to his artifacts.

The device is composed of two parts: a starmetal sphere about the size of a billiard ball and a small, starmetal sliver which would be built into another artifact. Someone wishing to utilize the Harmonic Disruptor would keep the sphere and give the modified artifact to someone else. The modified artifact is identical to an unmodified artifact of the same type. Its secondary function is all but hidden within the essence structure of the artifact. The Disruptor was most commonly hidden in gifts by a Solar's Sidereal advisors. A skilled artisan (mechanically, one with at least four dots in the appropriate Craft and Lore) may be able to detect the secondary function of the modified artifact by making a Perception + Craft roll, difficulty 10. If they employ All Encompassing Sorcerer's Sight to aid them, the difficulty drops to 5.

In order for the Disruptor to affect its target, the target must attune themselves to the modified artifact. Once the target is attuned, the bearer of the sphere can activate the Disruptor at any time, so long as he is within 50 yards of the modified artifact. Activating the Disruptor is a reflexive action which costs 10 motes and counts as the activator's charm use for the round. Upon activation, the sliver embedded in the modified artifact sends out what amounts to a high-frequency essence pulse which grounds itself through the artifact's wielder. This essence pulse temporarily knocks the target out of phase with his attuned artifacts and disorients him. Mechanically, once the Disruptor is activated several things occur simultaneously: The target immediately loses attunement with the modified artifact. Furthermore, any hearthstone set in the modified artifact instantly shatters. The target's attunement to all other artifacts is temporarily disrupted for a number of rounds equal to (7 - the target's permanent essence). Finally, the target must make a Wits + Essence roll at a difficulty of (2 + the number of artifacts he temporarily loses attunement to) to resist the disorientation of the essense pulse. If he fails he suffers a -4 penalty to all pools. If he succeeds the penalty is reduced to -2. In either case the disorientation lasts for (7 - the target's permanent essence) rounds.

Because the target loses his attunement to the modified artifact, the Disruptor can only be used once. In order for it to be applied again the victim would have to re-attune himself to the modified artifact.

This Gentle Heart - OhJames

Gossamer spear
Artifact ••••
Commitment: 7 motes

It is a cage. The bars are made of gold and lust. A single point of light gleams in the center of the cage, humming in seven-part harmony. You can hear a heartbeat, overpoweringly loud, echoing in your ears. If you listen hard enough, you can just make out the screams that float, ghostly, beneath the pulsing, horrifying sound. But it is more than a cage. As your eye adjusts to the perspective, it becomes obvious that it is a spear. The blade has a hold punched in it, from which dangles the cage and the bird and the heartbeat, suspended by the woven veins of a young man. An endless, hungry void winks, perched on the spear's tip, smiling at you. The void is colorless and shaped like an hourglass. It is very cold.

This Gentle Heart is, by its nature, a hunting weapon. It was built by an Ornament of old, who desired that her court be graced by the presence of one of the Unconquered Sun's Chosen, and wielded by a warrior-poet in her employ. The spear is made to ensnare its prey, to deafen her with its heartbeat and hold her in its gilded cage. This Gentle Heart loves those that it hunts, and they come to love it in return, but never so much as to deter their ultimate fate. Because, although This Gentle Heart loves its prey, it is a hunting weapon, by its nature. And one cannot change one's nature.

Used as a weapon of the Cup, This Gentle Heart has the following statistics: Speed +7, Accuracy +3, Damage +4, Defense -1, and Rate 5. It inflicts piercing damage. As an added bonus, for the cost of 5 motes, spent before an attack is rolled, This Gentle Heart can be made either unblockable or undodgeable for the remainder of the scene. If used in Creation, This Gentle Heart can enrapture and ensnare a mortal target. When fed one point of gossamer, This Gentle Heart can cause a single mortal target to immediately become either the raksha's Ally, Follower, or a member of her Cult, whichever is appropriate. Then, at any time and for a further three points of gossamer, This Gentle Heart can capture said mortal's soul in its cage. The raksha attuned to This Gentle Heart must roll her Cup Grace + Essence, at a difficulty of the target's Essence. Should the raksha succeed, the mortal's soul is ripped from its body and transported instantaneously to the cage of This Gentle Heart. If the mortal succeeds, no effect takes place and they immediately learn of the raksha's betrayal. The raksha may converse with the captive soul or feed from it. Feeding in this fashion does not require a roll or even knowledge of the appropriate Charm; it is a simple action that can be performed as long as the raksha has This Gentle Heart in hand.

If an Exalt's soul is captured, the shard stays with the soul until the soul has been completely devoured, at which point the shard bursts forth, destroying This Gentle Heart and dealing 6L to all characters within ten yards. The second effect is a work of glamour. Any mortal whose Perception + Essence exceeds the raksha's Manipulation cannot be ensnared; any mortal whose Willpower + Essence exceeds the raksha's permanent Willpower cannot have their soul taken.

The Vengeance of Dialahai-Jin ~ Shataina (italics by OhJames)

Starmetal long powerbow
Artifact •••••
Commitment: 10 motes

Stretching ten feet tall and thick as a dragon's talon, this bow is made almost entirely of kravelt, strung in scarlet. Detailed, expressive reliefs of wyrms, done in starmetal and garnet, coil up and down its length. Its history (like that of all good artifact weaponry) has mostly been lost since the Usurpation, but those who have studied it have been known to say that the kravelt used in its construction came entirely from the mine at Old Jin. Although the maker's glyph, centred on the forehead of the wyrm whose head forms the middle portion, has been warped into unrecognizability, the bow still seems to function.

When used ordinarily, the bow works well, but isn't anything particularly special (mechanically, I'd treat it as a starmetal long powerbow). However, when used by a traitor against one who truly loves and trusts them, the garnets ignite with brilliant Essence, the centre wyrm's head roars and tilts back in seeming agony, and the target is inevitably hit in the heart. As the arrow begins its terrible journey, it slowly transmutes. For each moment the arrow spends in flight, its target will relive one memory of tenderness between her and her betrayer, even as the arrow itself begins to dissolve into scraps of dream. When the head finally makes contact, it has lost all but the slightest of forward momentum, having just enough speed to gently kiss the betrayed's breast. The target, however, has already had their heart broken. Mechanically, this means that the attack is both unblockable and undodgeable and always hits; this is a perfect effect. In addition, it does not actually count as an attack; all damage is inflicted by the target on herself, through the terrible pain of reliving each memory. Targets killed in this manner remain standing, every drop of their blood transmuted into tears and bitter cinnabar.

The betrayed, pierced by the arrow of their beloved, will always have time to realize who killed them before they expire.

Should a researcher seek to consult the oldest and rarest of records and rumours, they may hear two things:

  • Those killed by the bow always come back as vengeance-seeking ghosts.
  • Should the betrayed Dialahai-Jin ever achieve her own vengeance, the bow's greatest power will fade.

Peanut Gallery

A simple artifact one item... with limited use. But I can see it leading to much blood-letting. ^_^
~ Haku

Cool artifact, Haku. I'm having some trouble coming up with a good level two. I've got some ideas for three and four, but two is giving me trouble. -Ambisinister

Harmonic Disruptor is a working title and I am by no means sold on it. Let me know if the text of the artifact seems a little awkward. -Ambisinister

    • Heh, fixed some spelling errors I missed on the first read and cleared up the text a little. -Ambisinister

- Thoughts on the Black Cup? Edward_Fortune

My first attempt at a grand artifact. Any comments welcome; provided its kosher, I'll get working on the theme for the next Relay...DeathBySurfeit

Wait... why'd you take it down? That's a freaking awesome artifact, man. -- OhJames

It's, um, well, I, uh, wrote it for the wrong theme. I, eh, thought we were still on 'Unconventional Artifact Weapons'. Glad you liked it, nevertheless; I shifted it to Artifacts/DeathBySurfeit. Ahem...DeathBySurfeit

Wow, this is an awesome theme ... I'm glad I didn't miss it entirely. Anyway, I guess this weapon is rather more flavour than statistics (and where would I be without an excuse to sneak in a Lexicon-advertisement?). If you want to come up with statistics for that power, go ahead ... it's probably just as well that I didn't try to do it myself.
~ Shataina hasn't even read ExaltedTheFairFolk yet ... she's a bad fangirl. ... She also just realized she gets to make up the next theme, eee!!11111eleventy!

My suggestion is in italics; for a level five artifact, I intentionally made it a super super effect, since it's really the only thing it can do. I find the flavor lovely, incidentally -- OhJames
Thanks! I like it.
~ Shataina