The sixth theme is "Burn! BUUUUURRRN!!"
Urn of Hesiesh's Pragmatism (Arafelis)
Artifact • Waste bin Commitment: N/A
These small metal urns, possessing a ring of red jade around the lip and in the bottom, are used in rooms of bureaucratic import. They were first developed by the Immaculate Order, as the name suggests, but quickly spread to the Thousand Scales. Any non-living organic matter placed within the urn is immediately consumed by the residual inner fire of its former life, and disintegrates into a pile of fine ash. This includes things such as dead rodents, paper scrolls, discarded food, et cetera. Non-organic matter withdrawn from the urns is slightly warm to the touch, but suffers no damage (though an intricate construction of metal and wood would be reduced to its metal components), and living matter (a hand, for instance) thrust inside becomes uncomfortably warm, but is not harmed.
Laughing Fire Mask (TedPro)
Artifact •• Mask Commitment: 3
A mask of red jade etched with ivory, the Laughing Fire Mask depicts a face like a mad fire elemental. The bearer of the mask feels a sense of wild giddiness whenever seeing fire. In rare moments, the bearer may need to make a Temperance check to resist setting a fire, but this does not happen often. When the wearer is in an area completely engulfed in fire, the giddiness becomes an ecstatic glory - the wearer cannot fail Valor checks, will never become fatigued, gains +1 to all Physical Attributes, and gains +2 to Brawl, Dodge and Athletics. These benefits fade when the bearer is no longer surrounded with fire. The fire must cover a majority of the nearby area - a housefire would count, but a bonfire would not, even if the wearer were standing in it. While the mask is completely fireproof, it confers no such benefit upon its bearer.
Hungry Flame Rod (DODurden)
Artifact ••• Orichalcum and Red Jade Rod Commitment: 8
The smooth, thin cylinder of Orichalcum is lined with veins of red jade, interrupted only by two hearthstone settings on opposite sides of the middle of its length, and at each tip is a spike of red jade, with three thinner, shorter spikes of Orichalcum in a triangle pattern around it. The rod is not intended as a melee weapon, though it can be used as such, in a pinch (+5,+1,4L,+3 w/orichalcum bonus). The Hungry Flame Rod has several powers.
By investing a mote of essence, a roaring bonfire can erupt at the tip, burning magically for a round, before burning like a normal fire. This can be a supplimental effect when used as part of an attack.
For ten motes of essence, a 3 yard wide, 50 yard long line of flames erupts in a straight line from the bearer, doing 10L, but halving the soak value of metal armors (includes MM).
for twenty motes of essence, the bearer can shatter lesser armies at a word, and this was the true purpose of the rod, to break formations of troops. A high wall of flame appears in a 90 degree arc in front of the user, and then surges forward, covering 200 yards of ground before finally burning out. These flames do 13L, halving the soak value of metal armors. Mass troop formations without magical leaders have little protection, and these flames do 30 Lethal to any formation using Mail and Steel rules, halving soak value of metal armors.
One or both of the stones set into the Rod may be used to fuel its might, subtracting two motes per dot of hearthstone from the cost of the first two abilities, and one mote per dot of heathstone from the cost of the third ability
The rod grants the user invulnerability to its flames, and subtracts three from the post-soak damage dice of other flames, which can bring this damage to 0.
Artifact ••• Red jade and brass firewand Acc +2* Dmg 16L Range 15 Rate 1* Acc +2* Dmg 16L Range 15 Rate 1* (PowerCombat) Commitment: 6 (jade), Repair rating 1.
The personal weapon of the outcaste Forex Jen of Gem, this heavy brass-and-mahogany firewand, decorated with red jade inlay, lacks an obvious firing mechanism, or even a place to load firedust. Opening its breech reveals three small blocks of red jade slotted into a brass housing inside the stock. Via a cunning arrangement of levers and gears, pulling the trigger causes the three jade pieces to spin about, rubbing against one another. When the wand is unattuned, this doesn't do anything except produce a faint rasping noise; however, when the wielder commits six motes to the weapon, pulling the trigger causes it to discharge a massive blast of fire as the friction of the magically-charged firing blocks ignites the air inside the weapon's barrel. This jade-powered fire burns hotter than regular firedust, and produces a more focused bolt of flame.
Early models of the Brass Dragon's Roar could only be fired once per round; attempting to pull the trigger more rapidly has a tendency to cause the firing mechanism to jam. The current version still carries this limitation for normal firing, but its ever-resourceful creator has devised a way around this. Behind the firing assembly, the stock contains a brass spiral spring, wound by a hexagonal key inserted into a socket in the weapon's butt. When a toggle on the stock is thrown, the trigger no longer directly spins the firing blocks; instead, it causes the spring to start unwinding, spinning the blocks faster and more steadily than would otherwise be possible.
When in spring-driven mode, the Brass Dragon's Roar is capable of emitting a continuous stream of blazing death. Its damage and range stay the same, but its Accuracy increases to +15, and its Rate to unlimited; the only thing limiting the number of targets it can hit is how fast its wielder can sweep it around to play over them. However, no single target may be attacked twice in the same turn, barring Charms.
Unfortunately, continuous fire quickly heats up the barrel of the weapon; after only seconds, it glows red-hot, on the verge of melting. The Brass Dragon's Roar cannot be fired continuously for more than three turns in a row without melting down and exploding. Fortunately (from a safety perspective, anyway), the spring winds down after a total of three turns of continuous fire; winding it back up takes two turns, counting as a dice action requiring no roll on each turn. After each episode of continuous fire, the weapon needs to cool down for one turn per turn it was fired.
Over the course of hundreds of shots, the jade blocks powering the firewand wear down and need to be replaced. This happens about once a year for light or normal use, or once a month for heavy use. Replacing the firing blocks takes about an hour and requires Lore or Occult 3, Resources 2 worth of red jade, and a difficulty 2 Intelligence+Craft roll.
Herald of the Consuming Pyre (Moxiane)
Artifact •••• Soulsteel, bone and red jade fighting chain Commitment: 7 (orichalcum)
This weighted fighting chain was gifted to the Abyssal Exalted known as the Priest Who Scourges the Faithful by his Deathlord master, Walker in Darkness. Approximately 8’ in length, constructed from bone, soulsteel and fragments of tainted red jade, and forged in the strange heat of pyreflame, it has the ability to inflict the ravening hunger of that pale green fire on its targets, burning them down to their very souls. The weights at either end are 6” skulls made of pure soulsteel, and when held by the Priest baleful green lights can be seen burning in the eyes of the skulls – the last things that many of his victims have seen are two arcing trails of viridian flame, exploding across their field of vision as they are consumed.
Any attuned Exalted who grasps Herald of the Consuming Pyre can flood it with Essence – this reflexive action costs 4 motes and covers the chain with green fire for the remainder of the scene, increasing the damage it inflicts by +4L as the vicious flame licks out at its victims, scorching flesh and skin. Its second power is far more insidious, and it is for this that the weapon and its wielder are truly feared in the Underworld. By wrapping Herald of the Consuming Pyre around a victim (increasing the difficulty of the attack by +3) the Exalted can infect them with pyreflame. Mortals and others without awakened Essence are doomed by this attack – burning away over the course of the next three turns as first their flesh, then their bone and finally their souls are consumed by the fire. The Exalted and other magical beings, while not automatically doomed, are still in extreme danger, as the inimical fire tries to eat away at them – inflicting 8L damage that bypasses any armour soak for a number of turns equal to 5 minus the target’s permanent Essence (a minimum of 1 turn). This vicious attack costs the Exalted 4 motes per use – and the character can choose to inflict regular weapon damage on his target or not when wrapping the chain around them.
Herald of the Consuming Pyre requires a commitment of 7 motes for the Exalted who wishes to use it, and it has mountings for two Hearthstones – special chain links approximately one-third of the way in from each end have connections to fit those useful stones.
Speed Accuracy Damage Defence Rate Minimums Herald of the Consuming Pyre +10 +3 +6L* +5 4 D••• MA•••• *drains Essence as normal for a soulsteel weapon.
The Dust-Blazing Runner</b> (LeumasWhite)
<b>Artifact ••••• Red jade noble warstrider Soak 22/22 Str 14 Mobility Penalty -3 Fatigue Value -3 Commitment: 10 (red jade)
Duster: a word synonomous in the Heptagram with massive and unpredictable failure, usually resulting in widespread destruction. The source of this idiom, the young Ragara Calel, was merely enthusiastic about his work; he didn’t deserve to be mocked for his love of burning! Setting out to prove himself, Calel called in favours owed to his family, importing vast quantities of jade and firedust for a project that would surely impress even the cruelest of his tormentors. Working from half-complete plans (but running mostly on feverish inspiration), Calel managed to assemble his creation in the space of a decade, crafting a towering humanoid with firedust for blood and murder in its eyes!
Which is when it exploded, of course.
The blast from the activation test nigh-vaporized the field on which it was conducted, not to mention poor Calel and his team, and even managed to set fire to portions of the main tower. After a rather hurried summoning of water elementals to help fight the blaze, it was discovered that the warstrider chassis was perfectly fine; not even touched by the devastation it had caused. The Heptagram elders decided to lock the thing away regardless; a vehicle that kills its pilots, and scorches everything within a fair area, could hardly be considered a success.
All this was fine, except that an immensely skilled (and somewhat foolish) Lunar snuck into the vault and stole it. How he managed to get it back to the Threshold without activating it is a mystery, and likely one that will go unsolved, since the moment he did activate it he suffered the same fate as Calel. The current owner is unknown (you’d think a weapon this visible would be easier to track), though the last recorded blast was somewhere near Paragon.
Mechanically, any pilot who attunes the Runner must figure out a way to resist the 30L damage blast that occurs when Essence begins running through the firedust-imbued vehicle, and to protect those people within 30 feet of the warstrider, as they will also be subject to the explosion. Assuming he manages to do this, he now has a rather powerful weapon on his hands; any close range attack by the Runner unleashes a similar blast at the point of impact, in addition to any damage from the attack. This blast affects anyone within 10 feet, instead of 30, with the exception of the strider's pilot. Apart from its capacity for destruction, the Runner grants the wearer a number of other benefits… the warstrider multiplies the user’s movement rates by 20 (instead of the usual 10), has a hardness equal to its total soak (instead of the normal half), and doubles the period for maintenance, ie. 1 hour of repairs for every 20 hours of use. It has two hearthstone sockets, and requires a fire-aspected stone of level 2 to keep it running, in addition to the 10 mote commitment.
I kind of played off the exuberance of the topic's name. It's not just burning - it's enthusiastic burning. --TedPro
That artifact is level four, its definantly too strong for 3. Especially since 5MM isn't even special against it. That's a VERY strange rule. 5MM is almost always exempt from "affects metal" or so on rules, or at least gets bonuses against it. Also, you don't give stats for damage from the "roaring bonfire" unless you mean to refer to the "bonfire" in the corebook, in which case you need to say so. That happens to do a good bit of damage and should cost considerably more then 1 mote. 5/10/20 would be my progression. Also, you don't SAY the damage is rolled, and you need to. Generally it is, but just saying "this does 10L" lets some people think "insta-doom!" and that's bad. Further, that is NOT a bad weapon. It's comparable to several mortal blades, statwise. So you have a sword that has four extremely useful powers, all at level 3? Er, you got some tuning to do man. - Telgar
Yeah, I'd be inclined to call the Hungry Flame Rod level 4 or even 5. I agree with Telgar that one mote is way too cheap for the bonfire ability, especially since Hearthstones can drop that easily to no cost. (Incidentally, do the Hearthstones ever run out of energy or require recharging? As it stands, socketing a level 3 and a level 2 Hearthstone in this thing will make the first two abilities free indefinitely, which seems very broken to me.) The fact that this also halves 5MM and its invulnerability bonus make this way too good for a level 3 Artifact. -- AntiVehicleRocket
I like the Hungry Flame Rod, weather it's overpowered or not. I am sorely tempted to write up a character who has this. He will introduce himself with, "There are some who call me... Tim." :D -Sparrowhawk
The artifact should do one level of rolled (unsoakable) bashing damage when used for the first power, one level of automatic bashing damage for the second power, and one level of automatic lethal damage for the third power to its wielder as it sucks heat through his body and its handle becomes burning hot. If you really wish to allow Hearthstones detract from the cost, cut the reduction rate in half (to 1/1/.5 round down) and/or the user gains no benefit from being attuned to the Hearthstone(s) while they are socketed. Mote costs to 6/15/30. Orichalcum and red jade alloy, at the very least, should not half-soak against this object; soulsteel, sucking all warmth into itself, may or may not soak at full. These changes would bring it in line with a four-dot artifact. Arafelis
Actually, Arafelis, that's a crippled Artifact right there. Level 1 maybe. If it REQUIRES socketed stones and does that little wimpy damage? Yeah..level 1 weapon with minor benefits and I'd have it cost..3/4/5 motes. As a level 1, mind. - Telgar
- I think Arafelis means that it should do that damage to the wielder -- the Rod becomes burning hot and burns the hand -- and that the attacks stay big. This seems reasonable, although it clashes with the "invulnerable to flame" thingy. -- AntiVehicleRocket
- It's primarily the chill of your blood's warmth passing to the celestial fire that does the damage- even an anima-active Fire Terrestrial would still suffer the damage. Beings of pure cold might have an essence surcharge to use the item, which would end up damaging them the same way as they more-or-less literally 'burn' the power. &Arafelis
- Okay, that's sensible. I'm still not sure about the "invulnerable to flame" bit of this artifact, and I think it would be more thematic if the wielder wasn't automatically immune to its effects (visions of "I light up the entire battlefield and run away, yay!" dance through my head), but my misgivings have nothing to do with your revision. -- AntiVehicleRocket
- Heeh. I don't know that that's thematic for Solars, but it sure is funny. Also, thanks. &Arafelis giggles while re-wording his original comment for clarity.
I think it would be more elegant to forget the parts about halving the soak of metal armor, and just have the flames be an environmental effect. I also agree that the HearthStone discount is too steep for the first two powers. Perhaps only Fire-Aspected stones provide a discount? Or perhaps instead of lowering costs, socketing Fire-Aspected stones into the staff increases the power of its flames, either in terms of damage dealt or (if you switch to environmental damage) difficulty of the Resistance roll. _Ikselam
Let's put discussion of this one artifact on the back-burner (har!) and continue with the relay, shall we? _Ikselam
It's not the most inspired or original artifact, but hey, there it is. Someone else do the archiving and theme-picking; I've come down with a sudden bout of Lazy. - LeumasWhite
A back-to-the-top comment: I want to have such an urn! No more overflowing wastepaper bins! -- MadFreddy