The fifth theme is Crystals.
Artifact • Crystalline smashfist Commitment: 4 (generic) Spd +3 Acc +0 Dmg +4L Def +1; Min. Strength 2 Spd -3 Acc +0 Dmg +6L Def +3 Rate 6; Min. Strength 2 (PowerCombat)
Although most Dragon King races boast dangerous claws, certain fighters among them felt the need to make their hands even more deadly; warfists were among the most common weapons used by these savage warriors.
In their inactive state, warfists look like large pieces of cut quartz. A harness of thongs or chains, fastened to holes drilled near the crystal's edges, are designed to be fitted over the hand, securing the crystal in the palm. The crystals are large enough to completely fill a man's hands, making it difficult for a human wearing it to perform delicate tasks (2-die penalty to any Dexterity rolls involving precise use of the hands); they are small enough to fit comfortably in a Dragon King's palm, offering no significant encumbrance.
When attuned at the cost of 5 motes, the warfist crystals become active. There is no outward change in the crystals, but when the wielder closes his fingers around them, they immediately grow, swiftly encasing his hands in bulky, faceted crystal sheaths. As long as he keeps squeezing the crystal, these stony gloves remain incredibly hard and durable, allowing him to inflict great damage with his punches, and to parry lethal damage without a stunt. As soon as the wielder releases his grip on the crystals, the warfists become very brittle; any sharp blow will cause them to shatter and crumble into glittering sand, leaving only the original crystals.
Due to special harmonic properties of the crystals from which they are constructed, warfists are only useable in pairs.
Artifact •• Commitment: 5
The Spirit Lanterns are one of the simpler pieces of Crystal technology. While obviously supernatural, hovering idly around the body and tracing patterns in the air, a Spirit Lantern is not an impressive thing. The process of creating one is draining, and a Lantern only works for the individual it is crafted for, though occasionally reincarnations of the soul or spark of Exaltation may use a previously held Spirit Lantern.
With a gesture, the wielder may send the Lantern to any point within her line of sight, and may channel a mote of essence wherever it is to make it light up, as though the crystal were a Solar Exalt lighting her banner at the 7-10 Essence level (this is most useful for characters who lack an anima banner, such as mortals, God-blooded, and Dragon Kings).
This is practically a side benefit. At any time, the bearer may take hold of the Lantern, and with a moment of complete concentration, invest it with a fraction of her being: either up to her permanent Essence in temporary willpower points, or one permanent willpower point. Temporary willpower is not considered committed, and is restored via rest and fulfilling one's nature as per usual. The Permanent Willpower point is considered committed. Temporary Willpower points may be taken back at any time via the same mechanism which they were taken in, although they may not be used to exceed the user's permanent willpower score.
If a character invests a Permanent Willpower point instead, she may likewise reabsorb it at any time, but as long as it remains in the crystal, she will never truly run out of willpower: while she may not spend that last point, she is never subject to Nature compulsion or other negative side effects of running out of willpower (with the notable exception of the Great Curse).
It is known that Lanterns grow more powerful with their wielder; savants in the First Age suggested that with the diet of will and Essence that feeds them over decades, centuries, and eventually millennia, the Least Gods of such objects grow to something resembling sentience and eventual power.
Crystalline Binding Matrix</b> (Miedvied)
<b>Artifact ••• Commitment: Special.
A handful of crystals, closely related to Yasal Crystal in nature, these shimmering azure stones each appear to be a small sphere of almost infinite facets. If gazed into for any long period of time, a black spark seems to be born within its heart, forming an orobouros of black sparks and smoke, which expands until the stone turns black. This has no mechanical effect, beyond having a tendency to scare the hell out of those that play with the stones.
Usually found in groups of five, the stones can not be charged with the essence of their bearer as usual. Instead, each stone must be used to capture and bind a Little God - if touched to a Little God of Essence higher than three, the Little God and the bearer of the crystal engage in contested willpower rolls (once per round of contact.) Every success which the bearer gains over the spirit drains the spirit of five motes of essence; if the spirit succeeds, the bearer is not drained of essence. If the Little God is not of Essence above 3, then each of the bearer's successes drain ten motes instead of five. When the Little God is completely drained of Essence (if he has not fled), it will be drawn into the crystal and bound there; its usual regenerative abilities will be bestowed on the crystal, allowing it to draw on ambient essence in the spirit's stead.
The crystal may be mounted like a hearthstone into a weapon; in such an instance, every health level of damage caused to a spirit (only if the crystal does not yet contain a spirit) causes an additional five motes of essence drain.
The purpose of catching these spirits is only to provide to the Binding Matrix with power; they are neither its purpose nor its special ability. Rather, once fully charged (each of the five crystals must contain a spirit in order to function), the bearer may at any time produce the crystals and throw them into the air. They will immediately begin to trail black flames and circle the bearer's body in a pattern so complex as to appear completely random. The crystals will attempt to interpose themselves between the bearer and any incoming melee or ranged (they have no ability to stop sorcerous) attacks.
The Crystalline Binding Matrix provides five groups of three parry dice each, which may be divided up throughout the round (in groups of three.) No more than one crystal (three dice) can be used to block any one incoming attack. The crystals cannot botch. The crystals cannot be used in conjunction with a parry used by the bearer on the same attack, but they can be combined with a dodge (the bearer may dodge and parry with a sword, he may dodge and parry with a crystal, but he may not parry with a crystal and parry with his sword.)
Crystal Mansion Seed</b> (TedPro)
<b>Artifact •••• Commitment: 10
Originally created by the Dragon Kings during a time of expansion, the Crystal Mansion Seed is a crystalline staff, eight feet high and strong as steel, with an indentation along the top. It can be used as a weapon, but is no better than an ordinary quarterstaff. Its true power is awakened when the Crystal Mansion Seed is planted into a hole in the ground and commanded by an attuned Exalt to grow.
The Crystal Mansion Seed grows rapidly, expanding and branching like a fast-growing crystalline vine. It can grow to the size of a small castle, taking any shape ordered. It can be used to create fortifications in a matter of hours. The structure created from the Crystal Mansion Seed is sturdy and stable, and the translucent crystal structure can be made with walls, arches, stairways, and chambers at the design of the creator. Hard, immovable furniture can be formed from the crystal, but other amenities must be brought in. The original staff remains where it was placed. Anyone attuned to the staff can grasp it and command the structure to retract back into the staff within minutes, leaving anything within the structure exposed. The Crystal Mansion Seed can be used to make a Manse when ordered to grow on a Demenses. The staff itself must be the center of the Hearthroom, with the Hearthstone growing within the staff's indentation. The crystal structure is ideal for the formation of a Manse - creating a Manse with the Crystal Mansion requires one-third the normal time for Manse creation.
The Crystal Mansion Seed can also be used to create walls, support structures, scout towers, bridges, stairways or piers - any immobile structure in the earth, but the growth of the crystal is not forceful and cannot displace other structures or cause damage.
Dragonfly Warrior Armor</i> (Ikselam)
Artifact ••••• Orichalcum and adamant armor 10B/9L, Mobility -0, Fatigue 1, Commitment 7 (orichalcum)
This heavy orichalcum breastplate, embossed with the image of its namesake insect, was the personal battle armor of a First-Age Solar. Attached to its back is what appears to be a large, diamond-shaped slab of adamant glass; when seven motes are committed to the armor, the slab separates into four, which detach from the breastplate and hover nearby, suspended by invisible Essence flows. In their default configuration, they strongly resemble stylized dragonfly wings.
The wings can assume several different configurations. In their default position, they operate as the wings they closely resemble, allowing the wearer to fly at speeds of up to 60 yards per turn. He has total control over his movement in the air, and can hover or change direction at will. He can move with but a thought; when flying, he may take any or all of his movement reflexively. This can be used as a hopping defense.
If the character commits five extra motes, the armor can assume a cruising mode. In this state, the armor's limbs lock, legs together and arms pressed to sides. The wings stop beating, and extend straight out to the side; blinding golden-white essence shines from them and streams behind the wearer as he accelerates to speeds of up to 150 miles per hour. This continues until the character decommits the extra motes. While in this state, precision maneuvering requires Dexterity + Athletics or Dexterity + Dodge rolls. The difficulty is usually 2, but may be lower or higher at the Storyteller's discretion.
When on the ground, the wings have a variety of uses. If folded on the back like a tortoise' shell, they provide the same protection as a tower shield, but increase the armor's mobility penalty by one die.
The wings can also be extended as Essence collectors. While they are fixed in this position, the character regains 4 motes per turn. This cannot raise him past his normal Essence pool maximum; any excess motes radiate from the wings in a dazzling display of golden light.
If the character commits five extra motes, the wings can detach and spin about him for a scene. If they are aligned vertically, they form a protective wall around him; this increases the difficulty of all ranged attacks against him by 4, and that of melee attacks by 3. By altering the distance at which the wings spin, he can also use them to protect his allies. Up to five of his friends can benefit from the spinning wing shield, as long as they stay within one yard of him. If more than two are inside the shield, the character himself does not have enough free space to make attacks against those outside.
If aligned horizontally, the wings become huge spinning blades. Anyone who makes a hand-to-hand attack against the character, or comes within three yards of him, is subject to a single reflexive attack. This attack uses the character's Dexterity + Athletics, plus a number of automatic successes equal to his Essence score. The wings have the same stats as jade daiklaves. The character's control over the wings is fine enough that he can have them dodge around targets; he doesn't need to worry about injuring nearby friends by accident.
Changing the wings' configuration is a reflexive action, but may only be performed once per turn. The Dragonfly Warrior Armor has settings for three hearthstones.
Kind of uninspired, but I figured someone needed to start things off. _Ikselam
Mied, that's too strong for a level 2, which you listed as level 1 (fixed that). It drains essence from spirits, traps them until released, can be used in a weapon to drain essence from spirits and gives you five free parries at 3 dice? The last IS minor, maybe a level 1 power. But still, together these make it level 3 or so. - Telgar
I wasn't thinking of the catching/draining as functions; they're only one-time-use effects, until the crystals are filled, in order to provide juice for the crystals to function. -- Miedvied
They are, however, VERY potent effects. Draining motes and holding spirits captive is a strong power. - Telgar
I'm not entirely sure how I'd rewrite it, then, except perhaps just change it to level 3 and leave it to someone else to write level 2. I included the requirement of draining and catching spirits as a limit on the artifact's power, not as a bonus. One tends to piss off the Celestial Bureaucracy when you go Little God hunting to power your new toy, after all. -- Miedvied
I think it would make a decent level 2 if the spirit-binding power (which is clearly the main purpose of this artifact -- a 3-die reflexive parry approaches worthless) were changed to only affect gods of Essence 3 or less. Compare to yasal crystals, which can typically only contain spirits up to Essence 2. You might also consider making the defensive effect suck less by changing it to a difficulty penalty to attacks (probably only melee attacks), like a shield. _Ikselam <i>also thinks there must be a cleaner way to work the binding power.
Maybe I was misremembering, but I was recalling that God-Bloods don't become spirits unless they have Ess. 3, so I suppose that I was thinking no God could have Ess. of less than 3. Especially given that Ess. 1 is mortal stature. If you found some text supporting the existence of Ess. 1-2 gods, I would easily change the artifact to only bind Ess. 1 or 2 gods; like I said, the binding was meant to be a limitation/flavor, not a bonus. As for the binding mechanics... I was pretty much looking at it as a way of "beating the spirit into submission." Maybe a cleaner way is just to knock them down to Incapacitated. -- Miedvied
- There are tons of spirits with less than 3 Essence. Example: Least Gods from "Games of Divinity". Etc. I'm pretty sure that the vast majority of gods with super-minor domains have very low Essence.
~ Shataina who thinks the level 2 would be fine if you eliminated the spirit-binding power completely, and that Yu-Shan tends not to care about those who can't bribe, and that another good limitation would be if it didn't work on demons
Eh. I'd rather make it level 3 and keep the binding than level 2 and have it be just another defense booster. I like the flavor of beating spirits up and taking their essence to fuel the Exalt's toys; and flavor's more important than mechanic, IMNSHO. Also, as for Yu-Shan caring... the Summon Elemental spell in the Exalted Core makes it clear that Yu-Shan doesn't like people running around randomly screwing over the Gods. Presumably because if you screw around the little guys, there's no one doing the work to earn the prayers to keep the ambrosia running for the big guys. -- Miedvied
- You could be right; I guess it probably depends more on the ST and the general flavour of the game. Most of the time I've found that STs tend not to bother with the Yu-Shan-getting-angry angle, but that could just be because I have exceptionally bitter STs who think that the higher-ups will only care if you give them a reason. Still, I think that exceptionally small gods, such as the god of Joe Solar's daiklave, are probably not going to be at all protected by your average 6-Essence censor.
- I guess it varies game-to-game; Sidereals would probably suffer much more than Solars, when it comes to pissing off the gods. But, in the core-canon setting, anyone would suffer from the bad rep. You're right, no one would care about the Least God of My Favorite Chair, but if you're using the LGoMFC, you're also not abusing it's essence-stealing abilities (which only work once; against the God you capture.) So either you use it's essence-stealing against a potent god (and piss off the big boys) and make the most of the essence-stealing, or you go for a lesser god which won't be held against you as much, but you lose out on your one opportunity for using it's essence-stealing powers. Either way, it seems to me the artifact sort of limits itself. ... Not that I thought it out /that/ far ahead of time. -- Miedvied
Added a level four. -- TedPro
This level 5 is kind of quick and dirty. I'm sure it can be improved. _Ikselam