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Artifact Relay

The seventeenth theme is Intricate Clockwork or Mechanical Devices

Honest it is. Really. But anyway, anything complex and fiddly, with lots of moving parts, can be magical or steampunk or whatever you wish.
-- Darloth

Previous Rounds

  1. Medicine
  2. Ignorance
  3. Flexibility
  4. Ritual
  5. Crystals
  6. Burn! BUUUUURRRN!!
  7. Inquiry
  8. Dynastic Pageantry
  9. Reach for the Sky
  10. Bring on the NOISE!!!
  11. Unconventional Artifact Weapons
  12. Betrayal
  13. Dark Beauty
  14. Artistry
  15. Circles
  16. Unconventional Artifact Armour

The Varang Sphere by Scrollreader

Artifact •
Activation: 2 motes

This small sphere is a compicated array of spheres and geared hoops of the magical materials, mostly jade, with slight traces of the others, along it's complicated surface, filled with tiny and precise gears. The entire sphere is small enough to be held in the palm of one hand easily. When the exalt who is holding it spends two motes while concentrating on it, it attunes itself to the flows of ambient essence, as it whirls and ticks softly into a complicated configuration representing the current essence flows, and continuing, so long as these motes are commited. Anyone with a little time to experiment with the sphere's use can look at the activated sphere to determine the time of day. With a Wits + Lore roll (difficulty 3) and previous exposure to the area, the exalt can figure out their rough location and level of existence. (ie, In the Labyrinth. In the far South-East. In a sanctum or Yu Shan.) With an Occult+Intelligence Roll (diff 2 + desmense level), and some time to study the sphere, the exalt can discover the strength and boundaries of a desmense, and which aspect it inclines toward. One further power the sphere has, though the user normally only discovers it after a painful lesson is this: When the sphere enters a Wyld Zone, or the bordermarches shift over it, it whirls chaotically, never finding rest until the sphere is back in solid reality again.

Maw of the Dragons. by Trithne

Artifact ••
Commitment cost: 6 motes

The Maw of the Dragons is an unusual weapon favoured by a handful of the Wyld hunt's more eccentric hunters. It is a daiklave built out of black and white jade, with a complex mechanism running over the blade. It functions like a normal daiklave, except for one alternative use: It doubles as a mancatcher. The Maw of the Dragons, unlike most other Daiklaves, lacks a HearthStone setting, because of the mechanical system taking up most of the room.

The Maw can be opened and used to make a clinch attack as a simple action. The daiklave splits and segments, the blade forming a mouth, the mechanism pulling on the sections. Releasing the grip causes the Maw to snap shut, gripping the foe tightly and crushing slightly. Using the Maw in this way makes it count as a clinch enhancer with the following profile:

Spd +1 Acc +0 Dam +2L Def +3 Rate 1

The Coffin of Heaven by FourWillowsWeeping

Artifact •••
Attunement: See below (starmetal)

Some of the Varang, dissatisfied by the rigid caste system imposed on them by society, use the Coffin of Heaven to be reborn. This device consists of two tidejade plates; one, affixed to the floor, is a square six feet to a side. The other is a circle with precisely the same area; it is affixed to the ceiling, centred above the square. The circle is inlaid with starmetal patterns that diagram the sky; it is actually composed of many interlocking circles inlaid against one another, which rotate with a subtle ticking to display the heavens precisely as they are. The square has an inlay of the Essence circulatory system of the body and subtle anima.

The user of the Coffin must lie down to sleep on the jade slab, committing 10 motes of Essence, or spending an appropriate amount of Willpower (as if with thaumaturgy). As he drowses, the ticking of the heaven jade echoes in his mind, aligning him to a hypnotic pulse, and the circuits of the earth jade intrude his body with starmetal needles which reshape and purify his Essence. This allows the user to experience a transformation, in which his body and mind are bent toward satisfying the role of a particular Varang caste.

When lying down to sleep, the user chooses a caste he wishes to exemplify, and rolls Perception + Lore. If attuned to it to benefit from the special resonance of starmetal, then he may use the Craft(fate), Larceny, or Stealth Abilities instead. He chooses a Varang caste; in his sleep, he selects a talent of that caste to exemplify, and when he awakens, he retains this talent, and furthermore his astrological and physical identity has been altered; in all respects, he is and behaves like a member of his new caste. The successes on his roll determine how long he benefits from the caste's special talent, but the identity alteration is permanent.

Effect duration:

  • On failure, the talent does not express itself.
  • For one success, the talent persists for a day.
  • For three, it lasts a week.
  • For five, a month.
  • For each additional 2 successes, move the effect down one row on the "Duration" table for Sidereal Astrology (Sidereals p.219), starting at "One Month" for 5 successes.

Here are a few sample castes to play with:

The sage lives in a tower and rides a crane; he carries a bag of jade bits, and his face cannot be seen.
The sage may channel his virtues at no expense, when he is investigating a mystery or revealing knowledge to another.
The lookout sits in the crow's nest of his ship, and birds of all kinds bring him secrets.
The lookout may channel Temperance to subsist a day without nourishment, suffering no ill effects.
The bearer stands at the head of the army, carrying water, a banner, or a torch.
The bearer may channel Valor to stand fast against any threat.
The mourner locks the gates of the burial-ground after the guardians have been set in place.
The mourner may channel Compassion to percieve, converse, and physically interact with with the dead for a scene.
The charioteer fights with a bow that is also a harp; sometimes he carries messages in his quiver.
The charioteer may channel Conviction to goad an animal on past exhaustion; it fights without wound or fatigue penalties for the scene, but then suffers an equivalent amount of levels of bashing damage at the scene's close.

Variable Matrix Gyro-Locus by Darloth

Artifact ••••
Commitment: 9 motes

The Gyro-Locus is crafted from a thousand and one intricately etched metal bands, each exactly an inch and three quarters in width, and thinner than a human hair in thickness. Each band has a separate etching, carved out of the essence-pattern of the metal and so thin as to be translucent, although this effect is difficult to see, with the width of the etched lines usually equivalent to that of a human hair. The patterns etched differ from band to band, sometimes mathematical lines and arcs intersecting seemingly at random in beautiful but meaningless designs, and sometimes intricate scenes depicting the first age. Some even contain entire scriptures, written in tiny yet beautiful and intricate old realm script. To all intents and purposes, the metal used in creating the bands appears to be some form of steel, although it never rusts and tarnishes, and even unattuned the construct is not as heavy as it would imply. This leads most savants to conclude that the metal used is some magical varient of feathersteel, modified and processed by methods now unknown to any living artificer.

In an unattuned state, all of the bands are aligned with one another, and the artifact appears as a solid metal disc an inch and three quarters thick, with a diameter of one and two thirds feet. In the centre of this disc is a crystal or gem of some kind, most commonly a flawless star sapphire two inches across and shining with a pure sparkle as if it were lit from within. This is not always the case, but the crystal is always of similar size and lustre, and always seems to have some sort of impurity that shines from the very centre.

Anyone can push the bands so that they slide over one another, the artifact shifting to form various almost-spherical shapes, but no use comes of this, and since they are so thin, it is extremely easy to cut oneself quite badly like this. The true nature of the device only becomes apparent when it is attuned by an essence-wielder. As the attunement is completed, the inner bands begin to move, slowly rotating around the crystal, and slowly the outer bands begin to move as well, the entire artifact shifting and dancing wherever it has been placed. The inner rotation continues to speed up, and the Locus is unpredictable and quite dangerous in this stage, which lasts for almost an hour. At the end of the hour, the outer bands have begun to slow down, and cease their movement to form an outer casing, usually displaying an auspicious selection of images and patterns which can be read by an astrologer or diviner as if they were a perfectly appropriate set of divination materials for the task at hand. The inner bands have accelerated yet further however, and now the orb hums continuously, a low and strangely reassuring noise that resounds on the edge of hearing.

From now onwards, the attuned orb will follow its owner, a thousand tiny vibrations and oscillations moving it in miniscule but significant steps towards wherever it is most appropriate for it to be. It usually hovers in mid air slightly behind its bearer, but will adjust its position to ensure it is not in the way, yet is to hand if required. In this state it grants several powers. Noone touching the orb (which feels strange and judders in an unease-causing way) is ever required to make any sort of balance test, and can never lose their balance through any effect. This is a perfect defense against knockdown, knockback, and a fair number of other things. These effects always apply to the attuned bearer, even if they are not touching the Gyro-Locus, and although for obvious reasons this power cannot be used for others in any other state, the bearer is still able to access it. The Locus may support a theoretically infinate amount of weight without becoming unstable, although without special construction, most things will simply slide off. Obviously, noone touching the sphere will ever fall off, since they succeed automatically at balance rolls, and the bearer may exploit this to gain limited and ungainly flight capability, although only at a speed of (bearer's Essence) yards per turn, or (Ess * 2) miles per hour should anyone really want to travel long distance while perched uncomfortably on a humming vibrating sphere.

At any time, the bearer can mentally command the locus to open as as reflexive action, causing it to expand in size slightly as the outer bands begin spinning to match the speed of those within. It is highly dangerous in this state, and causes an automatic 5L levels of damage to anyone that touches it (or was touching it when it expanded). This is treated as a combat attack for which no damage is rolled, and uses the bearer's Perception + Lore as the pool should it be required. Only a perfect defense will stop the damage for anyone actually touching the orb at the time it expands. The bearer may even command the orb to relocate itself into an enemy while in this mode, although it has no accuracy bonus and does not travel fast, and so it makes a rather unwieldly weapon. The orb may never be more than (Essence x 10) yards away from its bearer, but innovative users have been known to utilize the whirling maelstrom of razored edges for digging tunnels and breaking through walls, since the sphere causes a minimum of 1L damage every turn to inanimate objects, even if the soak exceeds 5L.

This is in no way the true use of this mode though. In the first age, the damaging side effects were viewed more as a nuisance that came with the elegant form of the device rather than an additional utility. No, the true function of the sphere when commanded to expand is much more cerebral. Anyone looking through the whirling locus of edges and patterns is granted essence sight, so long as they can trace line of sight through the sphere to whatever it is they are inspecting. This also replicates the abilities described in All Encompassing Sorcerer's Sight, such as being able to see demesnes and manses and inspect charms and other weaves. This effect is granted even to mortals, as the designs and patterns inscribed on each band combine to form at any one time a tiny segment of translucent visibility which bends essence emanations into the visible spectrum. With the amazing speed of the bands, this means the Locus appears as a flickering, haloed vortex of strange light, a translucent and steely-gray view of whatever is beyond it overlayed with blurred yet distinct lines and weaves of colour. At the centre, the crystal glows softly, suffusing the entire artifact with whatever colour it holds.

Since the bearer has reflexive control over the location of the sphere, it can be assumed they have access to essence-sight wherever and whenever they desire, but other people's access to this is entirely up to the decisions of the storyteller.

Finally, the bearer can command the Locus to contract instead of expand, at which point the bands slide over one another and spin in ever increasing velocity until it has collapsed to the size of the original crystal. In this state, it appears as a blurred gray object with an indistinct border, and physically feels half an inch wider than it visually appears to be. It is not dangerous, and can be held without injury, but the massive gyroscopic forces contained within make holding it a most perculiar experience indeed. It may grant the perfect-balance effect to one person other than its bearer in this form.

If the contracted sphere is socketed into a hearthstone socket in an attuned artifact, the vibrations suffuse the item in question. If it is a melee weapon, this has two effects. One, any parry by this weapon can block perfect attacks (although not unblockable ones) as long as sufficient successes are achieved. The vibrations disrupt the essence-flows of perfection enough to destabilize such effects, and they typically dissipate in cascading mandala-like arcs of light. Two, any attack by this weapon that is parried may be treated as a reflexive disarm attempt with (bearer's Essence) successes against the parrying weapon, as unexpected vibrations seek to tear it from its wielder's grasp. This can be parried or dodged as per normal, if the victim has an action or can create one. However, attacking or defending with a vibrating sword that seems to want to hang in space at rest or continue moving at constant velocity once you finally get it moving is a demanding experience. Any attacks or parries made by a weapon with this artifact socketed into it suffer a +2 difficulty penalty, which is counted as environmental.

If socketed into armour, the vibrations negate up to (bearer's Essence) of soak reductions from any source, making the armour slightly indistinct and fuzzy to normal vision, as it is vibrating at a speed beyond measure. This has the drawback of making the armour uncomfortable to wear and highly difficult to move in smoothly. It adds +1 to the fatigue rating and an extra -3 to the mobility penalty of any armour it is set into.

(If set into a different type of artifact, it is unlikely to have a specific effect, although exceptions may be found, depending on whether the storyteller deems intense and magical vibration to be useful. Any effects will come with drawbacks, however.)

The Most Inevitable Armor of the Death Dragon by Scrollreader

Artifact •••••
14L/14B, Str +3, -0, 0 
Commitment Cost: 10 motes

This suit of armor is designed as a mockery of the suits of armor favored by Lookshy and some other dragonblooded by the Dread Wright, a deathlord with a somewhat ... unhinged sense of humor. Like them, it is a complicated and composite entity, made of several complex processes and mechanisms, which few, if any, understand in this age. Made of bone, soulsteel, obsidian, and other, darker materials this suit of armor offers the following benefits: All the normal benefits of dragon armor, (including a lens to focus the blasts of death enegy much like an elemental lens). For 3 motes, the armor allows the wearer to call on the untiring energies of death itself, ignoring all wound penalties for a number of rounds equal to his essence. This allows the wearer to fight normally while incapacitated until dead. For 5 motes, the wearer may focus the entropic energies of the void into a blow. This blow doubles damage on a single attack after it is rolled, Against inanimate objects it ignores the soak such objects have unless the object is made of the five magical materials, or similarly tough first age materials (such as first age warships or skyships). The most Inevitable Armor of the Death Dragon has no repair. The Dread Wright is known to have at least a handful of these suits, which his deathknights and favored warghosts ocassionally wear. Thus far, he has been content to leave them in reserve, responding to Dragon Armor or Warstriders with them, though of late, he has considered going on the offensive with them, and trying to blame Lookshy for the lightning fast and well executed raids these suits of armor can pull off.


Hmm... Flowers might fit better as a SpellRelay, I'm not sure. Clockwork or Intricate Mechanical Devices would be great fun too... *sigh*
-- Darloth

Decided it would.
-- Darloth

The sixteenth theme was the armour. This is the seventeenth theme. Stop trying to confuse the people Darloth. - Trithne, who'se got nothing clockwork like so far.

Wasn't me... I just added one to the text at the top, and it said the 15th theme was armour. Admittedly, I didn't check to see whether that was true or not, so thanks for fixing that.
-- Darloth

The Coffin of Heaven is pretty cool. I hope I can come up with something neat to add. I love Magitech.

It is indeed really cool. Everyone seems to love magitech, but it also seems to be hard to think of artifacts for... I've been trying, but nothing that really fits just yet.
-- Darloth

Aha. An idea, most interesting and intricate, with so many uses I had to remove some. Yes, it used to do even more. I think this is better, though.
-- Darloth may write too much, sometimes

DeathBySurfeit is yet to see any indication that this is the case

Well it seems that Scrollreader beat me to the edit. Which is fine because I wasn't sure that my device counted as five dot artifact anyway. I moved the Clockwork Conveyance over to my level four artifacts page. Take a look, let me know what you think.-Ambisinister

Shove it in here as well anyway! There's no reason we can't have two level 4s, and it's cool!... Well, I suppose a link is as good.
-- Darloth

So, Scrollreader makes the new topic? Good thing too, I was starting to think Darloth had killed the Relay.