The twenty-first theme is Herds
- Burn! BUUUUURRRN!!
- Dynastic Pageantry
- Reach for the Sky
- Bring on the NOISE!!!
- Unconventional Artifact Weapons
- Dark Beauty
- Unconventional Artifact Armour
- Clockwork Devices
- The Tepet Armory
- Gifts To Children
- N/A Artifacts
The Shepherd's Whistle by --nikink
Artifact 1 Commitment Cost: None Use Cost: 3m or 1wp per use
This bifurcated wooden flute is adorned with 3 blue jade rings and 3 white jade rings. It can be used as an exceptionally sweet sounding instrument to while away endless days watching over herds of animals, but it has a more useful property to those who know of it. By expending 3m (if an essence user) or 1wp (if mortal) this instrument sings out to all animals branded with the shepherd's mark and calls them all to gather, in calm docility,in a location indicated by the piper within sight. The animals must be marked somehow (a brand of some sort is traditional), and will remain calm for the duration of the music, often even if under attack. A number of guild slavers use this artifact to great extent. Mechanically, treat this as a 4 success Social Attack to gather with others marked with the same brand, and add 1 to the difficulty of all virtue rolls whilst able to hear the melodious tune.
The Huntsman's Horn by -- JohnBiles
Artifact 2 Commitment Cost: None Use Cost: 5 motes per use
Sometimes, you don't have time to go chasing your prey all over Creation; you need to make your prey come to you. The Huntsman's Horn is a Moonsilver horn studded with all five colors of jade in small animal head shapes. The user blows the horn and concentrates and the nearest herd of mundane animals of whatever kind he chooses will begin coming towards him. He can then do whatever he wants with them on arrival--hunt them, charm them with charms or spells, or whatever, by whatever means he has at his disposal. If he chooses to slaughter some for food, his hunt is facilitated by their urge to approach the horn, reducing the difficulty of any hunting task by his Essence.
The Herdsman's Crook by -- szilard
Artifact 3 Commitment Cost: 6
Carried by Solar leaders of nomadic peoples in the First Age who sought to protect and lead their charges, this artifact appears to be a simple wooden crook decorated with runes of inlaid orichalcum. The power of the Herdsman's Crook is only truly evident when it is used by one who is the leader of a group. On a successful Perception+Socialize roll with a difficulty equal to a target's Essence, a user attuned to the crook can determine whether the target has as an intimacy either to the user of the crook or to the social group which the crook's user leads. If the crook's user seeks to create an intimacy focused upon one of these two things in another, he gains two dice on all of his attempts to do so.
The Puppet-Master Ring by -- ArabianNinja
Artifact 4 Commitment Cost: 4
A ring made of burnished gold, but the markings of the Eclipse Caste being of blood-like red, leads many to believe it very well could be an Abyssal Moonshadow creation. The ring holds a relatively passive, however wholly powerful effect, in that it allows the user of the ring to speak through the mouths of others. In simple use, touching a target and spending a mote then may alter what they say for [Users Essence] minutes. However the truly tremmendous effect is to be able to alter what is spoken from the mouths of others on the scale of an entire room, upto [Essence] x 20 people at once by expending only 5 motes. However, due to scale of control, limited words can be used. The best example is to make an entire room of voting officials come to a single verdict, or a dead-locked verdict.
On the whole this effect may appear to be lacking, but due to the nature of the Ring, while its effect is in use, the target(s) will not be aware of the alterations in their speech, as above, when an entire room calls a single verdict, a target will know that they themselves said "Nay", despite the fact that all others heard him speak "Aye", while he himself will have heard others hear him say "Aye".
Other more mischevous users have known to abuse the Rings power by making entire rooms "Moo" like a herd of cattle, or yell the word "Cheese".
The Herdspire Totem</i> -- Darloth
Artifact 5 Commitment Cost: 5 motes
The Herdspire Totem is a five yard long rod of silvery starmetal, studded with many clusters of spheres, each a different colour of jade, and each representing a separate order of life (Birds-air, mammals-earth, fish-water, reptiles-fire, plants-wood). Flying from the top of the spire is a pennant, woven from orichalcum and moonsilver thread, depicting animals of all sorts herding togeather.
The spire is affixed to the mystic centre of a demesne, or else placed atop a manse where excess essence is flared off. Once it is so positioned, it draws from the reserve of excess mystic power at the location, and twists fate in a radius of 20 miles per point of manse or demense, splitting and reweaving the threads of mundane animals and plants into great multiplicity. It requires a commitment of only 5 motes from the owner to maintain this effect, drawing most of its power from the underlying demesne, but if the user is not already attuned to the manse or demesne, the spire's attunement will need to be renewed every day as usual.
Within the affected area, everything will begin to herd. Eagles will fly in formation, trees will grow in intertwined groups, and animals that were -originally- herd animals will naturally grow into much, much larger groups, splitting off into small squads of 3 or 4 when they would usually have been individual. Multiple births become highly common, and so the population of nearly every non-sentient species skyrockets to almost five times its normal size. This effect preserves the local ecology - as prey increases in number, so do predators, and vice versa. There is no noticable effect on the way the ecology works here, and the spire can be left to work without worrying about unbalancing anything. However, since the larger numbers of animals and plants are perfectly real, they can provide five times as much produce, food, or trade. Indeed, since you will be removing less (proportionally) from a herd at once, it will also have less impact on whatever you are culling or harvesting, and the area can easily support five times as much exploitation without any noticable effect, and often a great deal more if you're willing to temporarily reduce the populations of certain species somewhat.
The herdspire does not affect sentient or semi-sentient creatures whatsoever, and may at the storyteller's discretion fail on any magical or wyld touched animals. There is some evidence to suggest that twins and other multiple births are slightly more common amongst humans living within its effects, but this is not a strong effect and such things are still quite rare. Spirits are likewise not duplicated, so they will be rather overworked, but cannot (truthfully) complain that the natural balance has been upset.
I have an artifact, but I have utterly no idea where it should go. I don't think it should be art 2 though, so I'm not putting it straight in. I'm considering artifact 5, but I'm honestly not sure if it's big enough.
<i>The Herdstone</i> -- Darloth
Commitment Cost: 5 motes
The herdstone is designed to be placed in the hearthstone mount of a manse, or connected to a demesne with a suitable (low level) artifact. When this is done, it does not interfere with the hearthstone (or any effects of the demesne) but instead uses the connection to a pool of geomantic essence to resonate its effects over a much larger area than could otherwise be achieved. For each level of manse or demesne the stone caps, it extends its effects over a 10 mile radius. The only drawbacks to installing this in a manse are that the essence-regeneration multiplier for those actually within the manse is only Rating*3 instead of Rating*4, and the hearthstone will not reform if destroyed until the herdstone is removed, mainly because it's physically in the way.
Inside the area so affected, everything will begin to herd. Eagles will fly in formation, trees will grow in intertwined groups, and animals that were -originally- herd animals will naturally grow into much, much larger groups, splitting off into small squads of 3 or 4 when they would usually have been individual. Multiple births become highly common, and so the population of nearly every non-sentient species skyrockets to almost five times its normal size. This effect preserves the local ecology - as prey increases in number, so do predators, and vice versa. There is no noticable effect on the way the ecology works here, and the stone can be left to work without worrying about unbalancing anything. However, since the larger numbers of animals and plants are perfectly real, they can provide five times as much produce, food, or trade. Indeed, since you will be removing less (proportionally) from a herd at once, it will also have less impact on whatever you are culling or harvesting, and the area can easily support five times as much exploitation without any noticable effect, and often a great deal more if you're willing to temporarily reduce the populations of certain species somewhat.
The herdstone does not affect sentient or semi-sentient creatures whatsoever, and may at the storyteller's discretion fail on any magical or wyld touched animals. There is some evidence to suggest that twins and other multiple births are slightly more common amongst humans living within its effects, but this is not a strong effect and such things are still rare. Spirits are likewise not duplicated, so they will be rather overworked, but cannot (truthfully) complain that the natural balance has been upset.
So, there we go. I've no idea where to put an ecology-multiplying effect like this, or even how much impact it actually has. I'd say 3 to 5, but where in there, I don't know.
Oh, I forgot to state that as long as you're attuned to the manse/demesne in question, it will maintain the attunement to the herdstone for you from any range. If you're (somehow) not attuned to the manse/demesne, then I guess you need to go and poke it every day. Sounds a right pain.
- That's a Hearthstone, Darloth. - Telgar
- Maybe we should swap it with Sifu Bamboo Arms? While Artifacts using the centralisation of Essence at the heart of a Manse is an idea I like and would happily use, it being a stone does make it a bit ambiguous. - Trithne
Why is it a hearthstone? It doesn't affect the bearer, and you need to socket hearthstones into something to get them to do anything, they never work just by themselves. Also, it's not a stone, it's a gobbet of green jade with all sorts of orichalcum twiddly bits stuck onto it, which I forgot to mention for some reason. The name is because, well, people are bound to refer to it like that what with it sitting in a manse. If you'd rather call it an Ecology-Multiplication Harmonizer, then go right ahead, does that help? ^_^
- Hence "ambiguous". With that description, it's more clear. Now I'll say Artifact. Although Orichalcum "twiddly bits" might need a bit of work.
I could even give it an unconnected mode, where it works on one herd of animals no bigger than bearer's Essence*10, but of course, they'd need to be attuned to it and tend said herd every day. And most exalts aren't farmers. One last point - if I -were- to convert it into a hearthstone, how exactly would it work? Where would you put it?
- There's all sorts of tales of powerful gems that remain in temples creating effects. I tend to think of these as Hearthstones. I admit, I've also written stationary, manse-affecting Artifacts...it's an iffy line. As a compromise between Artifact and Hearthstone, I wrote the Bastion Background, large stationary structures with powers like Artifacts and+or Hearthstones. This would be a Bastion. But since that background isnt canon, I guess on reflection it fits either place.
Overall I like the item and I'd say as a Stone it'd be level 3-4 and as an Artifact a solid 4. However unless there was some sort of weird story involved, I would not generally charge that many points to a player because of its limited game impact. - Telgar
It is a nifty artifact. Personally, I'd say that you should give it power over a single herd while not connected to a manse. I'd also suggest that you see if you can come up with some Mandate of Heaven Rules for it, because that might let you codify exactly what game effects the multiplicity of growth has more easily.
Herdman's Crook added. I don't know about power level. It seems 3ish. There should probably be something about the magnitude of the group in there. -szilard
The Puppet-Master Ring, only a tangent relation to the theme, but I think its fitting in a way. - ArabianNinja<i>, Cheese!
The herdstone is a cool idea. I do think its area of effect should be larger. Most animals that are herd animals are also prey and herbivores. Even when not on a migration, they cover a very large area each day to stay fed. And of course the predators follow them. One main reason for staying on the move is that it tires out predators and makes it harder to be hunted. A side benefit is that they don't totally eat, trample, and destroy all the vegetation, otherwise next season, nothing would grow back, or at least there would be a lot less food. At a manse level of 5, the maximum area of affect is 25 miles. A herd of wilderbeast, zebra, buffalo, horses, cows etc, can easily cover that in a few days and be out of range. Same thing happens for other animals that are not mammals. Such as geese, lizards, and fish. I'll leave it to you to determine if you want to expand its range and if so by how much. Madoka
I upgraded the herdstone to 20 miles per point of demesne/manse, giving a total diameter of 200 miles in a rating 5 site. Also, would people prefer me to convert it into the Herdspire (or Herd Totem, if you prefer) which would work much the same except less stonelike, and perhaps would have to be attached to the top of the manse where essence is usually flared off, instead of directly placed in the hearthstone socket.
-- Darloth would in either case be making it a level 5 artifact.
That is more like it. That gives an area of over 7800 square miles for animals to travel. Herdspire sounds like a really cool name and idea. Madoka
Decided that if I'm going to do epic, I should do epic. Over 30,000 square miles for a level 5! Also rechanged flavour and posted. Will select new theme shortly. Darloth
Is it me, or has this topic been dead for almost a month? New theme, Darlin' Darloth! - Paincake
who would like to be corrected if he is wrong