Soak: Special(See below)
The base appearance of this artifact is a thin, cloth-like bodysuit, which is tinted slightly towards the colour of it's material. Studs of the appropriate material adorn it in various places, appearing to be designed to allow the attachment of armour plating. However, they are small and have incredibly complex connectors, and not even the most skilled of artificers will succeed in attaching anything to them.
However, if the suit is attuned for the cost of 7 motes, all will become clear. As the light (or lack of) associated with the armour hits it, armour plates and links will begin appearing on their own, as the armour channels essence to reinforce itself.
Soak is variable. Most suits, when attuned (for a cost of 7 motes) start with 0 soak. They then recharge 1L/1B per day, at a time appropriate to their type, up to Stamina + Resistance + Essence, or 15L/15B, whichever is lower. The plates formed by this armour start around the chest area, and slowly spread outwards and thicken as more form, until the armour eventually ends up looking like a varient of articulated plate. However, due to the inefficiencies of the method, it will always be slightly bulkier than a similar set of armour at the same soak rating (and that's before material bonuses, so orichalcum and soulsteel armours tend to be very much bulkier.) This is reflected in the statistics below.
Magical Material bonuses needed to be changed slightly for Soulsteel and Orichalcum. As such, these types of armour regenerate 2 per day, instead of the normal one.
Armour up to 5L/5B is counted as Light, and has no mobility or fatigue penalties. It could concievably be hidden underneath a cloak or something at this level.
Armour up to 10L/10B is counted as Medium, and has -1 mobility and 1 fatigue (modified by material as normal). It is bulky at this level, and suspicious bulges will show under even the most voluminous cloak. Magical concealment is still a possibility.
Armour up to 15L/15B is counted as Heavy, and has -2 mobility and 2 fatigue (modified by material as normal). At this level, the armour is huge, with many plates and sections, and really, nothing can be worn over it at all. A cloak will simply make the wearer look like someone stupidly attempting to cover a huge suit of armour with a cloak which is too small. Magical concealment should probably suffer a penalty, this is up to the GM, and depends how expensive/effective the concealment magic is.
After damage is rolled against them, the wearer of the armour can(but does not have to) sacrifice 1L/1B soak to deflect a single damage success. They may negate up to Resistance + Essence damage successes in a single roll... of course, they are also limited by exactly how much soak they have accumulated on their armour. This does not count as charm use and isn't an action, it's counted as an activation cost, so nothing can save that soak. The outermost plates reconvert to a burst of essence that deflects the force of the blow or otherwise prevents the damage.
If attunement to the armour is lost, then the armour degrades at a rate of 2L/2B per day.
It should be noted that the wearer does not HAVE to increase the soak of the armour every day, they may choose to keep it at whatever level it currently resides at, or in the case of orichalcum and soulsteel armours, increase it by only a single point. The armour always counts as being made of magical material for all intents and purposes, even when it has no actual soak, because of the materials woven into the cloth.
Styles depend on material:
- Orichalcum is the most common, and as long as the armour has been exposed to direct sunlight for at least an hour per day, new plates of shiny and translucent golden armour will crystallise on top of the old (Taking an hour, and starting whenever the sunlight hits the armour, typically at dawn). They will eventually fade to opaqueness after a few days.
- Moonsilver ablative armour is exceedingly fluid, and as long as it has been exposed to direct moonlight for at least an hour per night, beautiful, petal-like buds and leaves of moonsilver will begin to grow and flow from the studs. They will blossom and interlock into impressive spiral patterns near the end of the hour, and solidify into discs of armour.
- Jade ablative armour is very rare, as the magics that create this armour are usually too complex for terrestrials. However, some suits have been made, mostly by twilight castes creating personalized and effacious armour for trusted underlings. Jade armour must be suffused with a high concentration of the appropriate element for an hour, at the end of which time, the element will be drained, and the appropriate colour of jade will have crystallized around the existing nodules, in whatever style is appropriate (interlocking flames for red, twined vines and flowers for green, swirling whirlpool-discs and lamellar like waves for black, delicate translucent hexagons containing snowflakes for blue, and faceted natural appearing crystals for white.) The element must be in motion (except for earth, where the armour must be buried at least 5 feet deep) so just dunking black jade armour in a pond is not acceptable.
- Starmetal armour of this type is formed from solidified stardust, and as long as the armour is exposed to an hour of starlight, tiny pinpricks of light will begin to swirl about it. As the hour progresses, these will stick to already existing starmetal, slowly cooling to form tiny bead-like spheres of starmetal, all woven together with even smaller iridescent threads. As a result, heavy starmetal armour of this type begins to approximate chain swathing rather than articulated plate, although the stats are identical.
- Soulsteel armour is slightly different, as instead it relies on not being exposed to direct sunlight. If is it kept in the dark, however, then lengthening shadows will draw about it at dusk, and weave themselves into translucent but dark veils. Slowly, over the course of an hour, these veils will trap the dying spirits of a myriad of tiny things (rats, mice, vermin mostly, but anything that dies nearby and isn't important) and they will thicken, dripping with a dark black liquid almost like tarry blood, and stick to the current layers, thickening them and increasing their effectiveness.