The seventh theme is Dynastic Pageantry.
Proud Herald's Trumpet (TedPro) Artifact • White Jade Trumpet Commitment: 2
Useful in war or in the halls and courtyards of the Blessed Isle, the Proud Herald's Trumpet announces the arrival of the great and famous. It is a large trumpet, over seven feet in length, with a banner hanging from its length, all polished silver etched with white jade. It cannot be played without being committed - indeed, it can barely be lifted. In the hands of an Exalt who has committed Essence, however, its notes are tremendously expressive. When blown, the player may make a Stamina + Performance roll at standard difficulty, and if successful, the notes played will suggest the person whose entrance has been announced. Anyone who hears the notes and knows the announced party will immediately recognize the reference, and those who do not know the announced party will get the distinct impression that an arrival is being announced, and a general sense of the rank of the welcomed party. The tone can be heard throughout a palace indoors, or for miles outdoors.
Resplendent Jade Emblem (Quendalon)
Artifact •• Jade mon Commitment: 3 (2 if the color of the jade matches the wearer's elemental aspect)
Each of these elegantly carved jade disks bears the mon of a Great House of the Realm. These emblems contain the majesty and authority of the Dynasty, and whosoever bears such a sign prominently radiates this same undisputed splendor. A character that wears an attuned Emblem adds three dice to all Presence rolls. If the bearer is a Dragon-Blood, she also adds one dot to her Breeding background. A character with Breeding 5 gains the Legendary Breeding merit (Exalted Player’s Guide, p. 28) for so long as she wears it.
The Eleven Great Houses value these items very highly. Possession of a Resplendent Jade Emblem by a non-Dynast is a crime punishable by death. Even for a Dynast, wearing a mon of a House other than one’s own, or of a color of jade not matching one’s Aspect, draws significant disapproval from one’s peers.
Dynastic Splendor Daisho (willows)
- Artifact •••
- Jade daisho
- Commitment: 4
These paired weapons are made of fine, translucent jade, not of weapons-grade material alloyed with metal. As such, they aren't enormously sized, nor should they be used in combat. Each House has several of these in jade matching their progenitor's Aspect, the actual weapons varying from pair to pair, but each pair has one great warrior's weapon and one smaller, similar weapon for craftsmen, assassins, or civilians. House Nellens' Dynastic Splendor Daisho are, variously, made of white jade dyed unlikely colours, multicolored mosaic-jade with pictures inlaid, or jade so refined it has become pearly and transparent like moonstone. Nellens Dynasts are said to prize these weapons much more highly than other Houses do.
A wearer attuned to one of these daisho exhibits enhanced and refined Aspect Markings, as though his Breeding and elemental Inheritance were both doubled. As this makes Aspect markings so much more intense than they are ever found in nature, Dynasts wearing them often display very striking elemental traits. A cautionary tale is passed around among the members of House Cynis of Cynis Bijan, whose feet would set root wherever he stood. Rather than give up the daisho, he had a mansion built around him, and died in the construction, as it turned out that it was sunlight that was feeding him, not the delicacies his servants were bringing him. For purposes of anima flare, use the new, higher Breeding rating.
The wearer adds his (natural) Breeding or Inheritance, whichever is higher, to Bureaucracy, Linguistics, Presence, and Socialize rolls which act specifically within Dynastic social strictures. This means that they apply both to actions within the hierarchy and those outside it, but performed under the conventions of Realm intrigue, but not to actions directed toward people who are outside the Realm culture or those who act counter to it, such as most Outcastes and heretical monks. By spending 5 motes to channel his anima through the daisho, the bearer can cause the weapons to glow in a manner that suggests that their bearer is especially honourable and trustworthy! This aditionally increases the dice pool of one action by the wearer's permanent Essence, but only in the case of actions that will reflect well upon the bearer's House.
Finally, these weapons can be used as exceptional weapons of their type, with the resiliency and Magical Material advantages of jade, though to do so is to dishonor the weapons.
Parade Warstrider (TedPro)
- Artifact ••••
- Jade-alloyed steel warstrider
- Commitment: 10, plus a Hearthstone level two or greater
Built in the Second Age in a rebuilt factory-cathedral in the Imperial City, headed by an enterprising Cathak, this Warstrider was designed first and foremost for pageantry. Effectiveness is sacrificed for low cost and grandeur, with extravagant curves and colors imitating a First Age style, with cheaper materials. Those who pilot true Warstriders cannot take these seriously - they are heavier than common warstriders and simultaneously less armored - but to the eyes of the masses, they are far more impressive than the simple, spartan design of the Shogunate style. Indeed, if one judged solely by appearance, the Parade Warstrider approaches a Royal warstrider in size, grandeur, and the ability to cause awe. Five such Warstriders have been built, and the waiting list for new Warstriders to be made is twice as long, as wealthy Dynasts seek a way to gather public attention, and to lead troops in career-boosting combats with very little risk to themselves.
Parade Warstriders are designed to hold many banners each, and the configuration of these banners can be controlled by the Warstrider's pilot. Enchantments placed upon the banners, combiend with the artful arrangement of the standards-presenting apparatus of the great armor, gives a +3 to Presence rolls involving the presentation or display of the banners. This can be used to intimidate enemies, rally troops, or impress bystanders during peacetime marches or occupational victory parades. Furthermore, the complex banner system allows a the pilot to replace up to five relays (in the Mail and Steel rules), and to act as a relay while also acting as commander. One of the more recently-built Parade Warstriders, at the request of the commissioner, also includes inbuilt drums, to provide further rallying power. The flags, standards, banners, and sigils borne by the Warstrider take a few hours to change and replace - most pilots display the banners of every family connection, ancestor, company, and society to which the pilot can legitimately claim status.
Parade Warstrider Statistics
Soak 18L/18B (Hardness 9)
Mobility Penalty -6
Fatigue Value 6
Auspicious Vaulting-Crane Aegis (willows)
- Artifact •••••
- Commitment: 10 (Jade)
This cuirass is made of fine jade, molded so it precisely follows the curves of the wearer's body, and so thin that it is slightly transparent. It is the centrepiece of an equally delicate suit of jade armour; floral figures and heraldic beasts decorate its surface. It offers no protection to the wearer. Conversely, it has no mobility penalty or fatigue values.
A number of retractible jade chains can be pulled from the armour's gorget, extending out to a maximum of five yards. Each chain has a dragon's claw at the end, which can grip a Hearthstone. The chains holding these Hearthstones are generally allowed to hang at some length, wrapped round the wearer's body; they can be used as fighting chains, with an additional damage bonus equal to half the level of the Hearthstone, rounding up.
For each Hearthstone of level 3 or greater hung from a chain, the wearer can commit an additional mote. If he does do, the armour generates a small ephemeral egg, which falls from one of its gauntlets as the stone is locked in. This egg can be placed in the Hearthstone socket of a warstrider, allowing the armour's wearer to control it. The wearer can only generate one egg per Hearthstone Aspect, so if he is only using Terrestrial Hearthstones, he can produce at most 5 eggs. He does not gain the benefits of any Hearthstones used to generate eggs.
When controlling warstriders in this manner, the wearer is unable to use Charms through them, and they cannot attack. In addition, they do not roll a die for initiative, using only their Speed ratings to determine initiative order. Each warstrider receives its own normal complement of actions and movement each turn.
Finally, the crested helm of the armour has a Hearthstone setting. It will accept any stone, but it can generate an egg if it is set with a rating-5 gem. This egg is peculiar: It allows the wearer to control the warstrider it is set in just as if he were in it. He foregoes his normal action to use this effect; otherwise the warstrider is piloted remotely as if by an ordinary egg. This additional egg is restricted by the Aspect rule just as an ordinary egg is.
Awesome artifacts, guys! I'm not sure of the Artifact rating of mine. - willows
I guess I'm on a warstrider kick lately. A common warstrider is 20/20 Soak, 12 Str, Mobility -6, Fatigue 6, Artifact 3. This one's stronger, but with less soak, and is an artifact level higher, but it's got the special relay and standard-bearing abilities, which I think balances it out. Comments welcome. -TedPro
I think it's appropriate, and I really like it. I may use one of these as a nice commander for a legion...
- Oh yay! Thank you! --TedPro
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