Endless Coil Of Vengeance
- Jade scabbard
- Artifact ••
- Commitment: 4 motes
Built (and named) for grandeur over function, the Endless Coil Of Vengeance was popular in the days of the Shogunate but, since the decline of First Age stockpiles, has declined in popularity to little more than a collector's item. The artifact is a vast circular construction of marble, inlaid with runners and settings of polished jade and adorned with brightly coloured streamers. The entire edifice is styled in the manner of a coiled dragon, its maw open at the centre and sinuous body forming the perimeter's length. Fully five feet in diameter and with weight befitting its size, the Endless Coil is nevertheless near-weightless when attuned; positioned behind the bearer's back, it hangs in midair of its own accord and follows them wherever they may go.
The Endless Coil is a scabbard, but no conventional one; when a weapon is placed into one of the many fittings and the artifact activated (a reflexive action costing no Essence), the marble-and jade components wheel about one another with a blur of motion - by the time they halt, the weapon has gone Elsewhere, although the transition is difficult to mark. Another reflexive action and the Endless Coil spins, placing the weapon in hand once more. The Coil can store an infinite number of weapons of any kind, but only weapons - Storyteller's discretion dictates what constitutes a weapon for this purpose. Attuned artifacts remain attuned (and the Essence committed) whilst sent Elsewhere in this fashion.
Orb Of Heavenly Passage
- Ball and chain (various materials)
- Artifact •••
- Commitment: 8 motes
Of the handful made, most of these bizarre artifacts are still within the grasp of their fallen First Age wielders. At first, it appears to be an inlaid ball of one of the Magical Materials clasped within the gauntlet of its ancient owner; inspecting further, one finds it is attached firmly to the glove in which it is set, although the means are not clear.
Upon attunement, the full nature of the sphere becomes clear; with a slight flex of the fingers the sphere spools away from the palm, an ornately-marked circular panel at its base spooling out wire thinner than the threads of a spider, composed of the same Magical Material as the globe itself. This wire, visible only where an arc catches the light of the heavenly body it represents, weaves through the spidery insets of the orb and away, leaving a trail to the gauntlet’s palm. A practised flick of the wrist is all that is necessary to retract it, the orb falling obediently back into place.
It takes some time to master the techniques necessary to use an Orb Of Heavenly Passage, but it soon becomes clear that it is a supremely versatile weapon; with the wire bound around the gauntlet’s fingers, the orb can be spun as a flail, its weight sufficient to break bones and the spinning wire behind it cutting sharp as any sword. Masters of its use can swing the ball around one foe or several, snapping back one hand to sever limbs as the unbreakable thread acts like cheesewire.
Owing to the manual dexterity, keen awareness of balance and sweeping movements necessary to use the Orb properly, it uses the Thrown ability in order to attack, effective equally in melee and at range. Its Essence-conductive wire allows it to work with Thrown Charms normally. It comes in several varieties, each marked with the symbols and named after a different heavenly body.
Orb Of Heavenly Passage
Init +0, Acc +0, Dam +6L, Def +0, Rate 3, Range 10 yards, Min Str O, Min Dex OOO
Orbs of Heavenly Passage are notoriously as difficult to defend against as they are to wield; all dodge or parry attempts against their attacks are at +2 difficulty.
Orb Of Sun’s Passage: Crafted of orichalchum, these sunburst-decorated spheres are flexible beyond measure; they add one to their accuracy and three to their initiative bonus as a result. Orb Of Moon’s Passage: The panels of these moonsilver weapons slide over one another to allow it to be collapsed to the size of a marble or expanded to full size as a reflexive action. Their weight, heavy in both forms, adds one to their damage. Orb Of (Maiden)’s Passage: Formed of starmetal and touched with a glint of shimmering colour that mirrors that of its namesake, Orbs of Maidens’ Passage strike with even greater inevitability. The difficulty of parrying or dodging an Orb Of Maidens’ Passage is increased by 3, not 2.
Orrery Of Immaculate Infusion
- Blue jade chakram generator
- Artifact •••
- Commitment: 8 motes
Taking form as a light gauntlet ornamented with blue jade banding, the Orrery bears a prominent circular crest behind the wrist. There is a setting for a hearthstone here, and another clasped within the palm of the weapon. When activated (a reflexive action), the panel rises and emits a blue glow from the gap within; this slowly illuminates five interlocked circles of cobalt Essence, each marked with Immaculate texts in glowing Old Realm calligraphy and turning in slow orbits around one another. Centred on each of these glowing bands is a further five, marked by a fainter phosphorescence; each of these has a further five attendants, their presence little more than a nondistinct form in the coiling sapphire glow, and so on. By reflexively spending one mote of Essence, these spectral loops to flare to life for a turn - bands burn ever brighter and orbit ever faster, before being released to streak away from the artifact at its bearer's command. These discs are treated as chakrams in all respects save their quality, and their tendency to leave burn marks reflecting passages of the Immaculate text before dissolving away. Chakrams generated with the Orrery have the following statistics:
Spd +3, Acc +2, Dam +3L, Rate 5, Range 50 yards.
- Soulsteel harp
- Artifact ••••
- Commitment: 10 motes
Those Abyssals who can find words to describe the sussurating whispers of their Malfean overlords almost inevitably describe them as subtle, disjointed, maddening, incohesive... and yet they are not always this way. Some lucid inspiration formed the harmony that would later be captured in this artifact, a creation of utter beauty and clarity. It settled in the mind of a Deathlord, and there it devoured her, for within it was spoken all her memories, everything she coveted, and described in such surpassing excellence that the prosaic experiences of the day were as ash and dust - all true splendour had passed.
Tormented even as the Deathlords would term the word, she used powerful necromancy to pull the dark inspiration from her mind and, binding it to a frame of soulsteel strung with gods' hair, torn off in grief, she captured it. The soulsteel fell silent, the strings unmoving, for such was its appeal that none touched by The Reminscent could think of anything but release from the mundanity of their lives. Now, it makes music only in the deliberate hands of her servants, and whilst its melodies are not the horrific lure they once were, the Malfean taint in them is strong still. Every Deathknight in whose hands the artifact has been placed has become as much a possession of the harp as the harp is theirs, growing more bitter, nostalgic and resigned with every harmony they coax from its strings.
In the hands of an accomplished and creative musician, The Reminiscent may be used to oppose anything. Its artist need but sing of the epic struggles for justice of old for fresh appeals to sound sour in the ears of judges; a verse on the legendary prowess of the ancient heroes is enough to cause a combatant's heart to falter, and so on. Its bittersweet music is frequently accompanied by flashbacks, and time itself seems to slow to allow it to reach its conclusion. Mechanically, its wielder may, with a successful Manipulation+Performance roll and an appropriate stunt, directly oppose any dice roll of another, gaining a bonus to their pool to do so equal to their permanent Essence. This counts as a normal dice action, which may be part of a split action as normal (particularly talented players can confound multiple efforts at once).
- Cloak (multiple materials)
- Artifact •••••
- Commitment: 6 motes
From the adamant-inlaid choker at its crest, this artifact separates away into a panoply of three articulated plates, resting gently over each shoulder and down the small of the back of its bearer. Suspended from each of these hangs a featherlight weave of starmetal and silk fibres, shimmering gently across the spectrum as the moonsilver matrix upon which they are inlaid ripples and twists with cold instinct.
Whilst imposing in this form (and acting as a shield, increasing the difficulty of rolls to attack the bearer by 1), the artifact is at its most potent with an influx of essence. The moonsilver buckles to wrap over its wearer, gouts of energy plume briefly from the capacitors set into each of the plates and down through the starmetal weave, illuminating it into a brilliant kaleidoscope. The weave unravels, dissipating into a maelstrom of glowing particles - along with its wearer, who appears instead as an amorphous blur of colour. For a brief moment (the length of a single attack, defence or non-extended roll) they are considered immaterial, before coalescing into material form once more nearby (no farther than a yard). This costs 5 motes to activate, spent reflexively.
The cloak also has a secondary function; by spending the same amount at the beginning of their turn and privately declaring a location they can perceive, the Exalt's cloak twists to envelop its owner and spirals, diffusing slowly from the bottom upward into apparent nothingness. They are considered material (unless activating its primary function as well), but may not take any non-reflexive actions without cancelling the effect (swirling back into existence, having wasted the motes). If they retain their focus, they appear at their destination in a blur of colour at the beginning of their next turn.
If the Exalt is under any camouflaging effects when the Metastate Cloak is activated, the momentary flash and swirl of colour will give away their presence, but not their exact location. Whilst this gives no statistical benefit, it can certainly be incorporated into stunts.
Celestial Dias Of Precipitory Vengeance
- Martial weather platform
- Artifact •••••
- Commitment: 10 motes
This first appears as a small but ornately decorated shrine to Mela, the Immaculate of Air. No more than fifteen feet in diameter, its numerous marble platforms are adorned with blue jade and inscribed with glorious affectations to the dragon's perfection of body, mind and soul. They spiral up toward the highest, a plinth large enough for a single priest. From small grooves about its perimeter, whose conjoined etchings read "Lo, The Majesty Of The Skies, That Her Will Surrounded All" in Old Realm, a continuous ebb of heady-scented incense seeps forth. Its core is a solid slab of starmetal inlaid with the Immaculate's symbolic likeness.
Standing upon the plinth and commiting 10 motes of Essence to the artifact (20 for those that do not attune naturally to starmetal), the Dias's capabilities are awakened. The seams of blue jade set through its construction are illuminated a brilliant, swirling cobalt, and a sudden geyser of incense bursts from underneath the control plinth. Brief winds upon which echoing chants can be heard circle in from all sides and the platform is bouyed away with them, ascending to a hundred feet heigh, where it remains. The underbody of the shrine, a pillar of crackling blue jade at its core, slides across itself and opens in numerous places. Long banners of sanctified parchment fall from them, their tips ten feet from the ground, and intricate mechanisms of steel and brass run up and down their length, writing precisely calligraphed prayers as they do so. The top of the dias reveals itself in a similar manner as a vast organ constructed of finely tuned strings that surround the operator.
It is a martial weather platform, one of the handful constructed for the Bureau Of Nature's own ends. The countless harps are intertwined with prayer strip writers and instruments of divine worship, in turn bound by the Tapestry through the Heavenly Bureaucracy to give precise messages, instructions and offerings to the appropriate gods at the precise times desired. Whilst any may operate it, its use leaves a long paper trail in Yu-Shan, and those that have no rightful claim to the device may have to work hard to keep it.
Anyone attuned to the Celestial Dias may control all weather within a radius of one mile per dot of permanent Essence, to within a yard's accuracy. It takes five motes and a successful Perception + Performance roll (difficulty 5 to one unexperienced in the device's use, 3 to one that has taught themselves and 1 to one who has been taught by a certified official from the Bureau Of Nature) to change a given aspect of the weather in any area. Suggested aspects are given below, although more may be possible at the Storyteller's discretion.
Clouds: The difficulty to perceive the presence of anyone within the thick clouds summoned by this aspect are increased by the number of successes on the Performance roll, and ranged attacks into them are considered to have nil visibility.
Rain: Beyond setting mood, heavy rain can impose a +1 difficulty to ranged attacks within its area and eventually flood vulnerable regions, given enough time.
Hail: This is treated as a supernatural ice storm, save that the lethal damage taken on failure is equal to the successes of the Performance roll.
Wind: The difficulty of all knockback and knockdown checks within fierce winds, as well as the difficulty of all ranged attacks passing through them, are increased by the successes on the Performance roll.
Lightning: A single bolt of lightning strikes at a target, with attack successes equal to the Performance roll, dealing 10L raw damage that ignores mundane armour. This attack may not be parried.
The platform itself, once activated, can move at 10 yards per turn by mental direction (a reflexive action) and is invulnerable to any attacks that do not affect items made of the Magical Materials. Otherwise, it has 24B/18L soak, requires 40 health levels to render it inoperational, and the same again to destroy it entirely.
Glittering Pearl Rain by DeathBySurfeit
Artifact ••••• Commitment Cost: 25m from captain, five hearthstones with a minimum total rating of 10 Dimensions:: 400 feet length x 200 feet width x 200 feet height (+100 foot width and height including unfurled sails)
Pride and joy of the Tepet fleet, the Glittering Pearl Rain is an ancient skyship of First Age design. Its single hull is constructed of ivory harvested from behemoths of the deeps below and the skies above, inlaid with adamant panelling and fluid moonsilver supports. Above, a panoply of shifting wings threaded with silk rise high and spread wide, bearing it aloft for as long as Essence remains committed to the craft.
Performing as well upon the sea as it does in the sky, the Glittering Pearl Rain is named after the many crystalline growths that appear to adorn its underside. Accessible from within its spacious bowels, these adamant-glazed pods are fitted with complex Essence drives that charge from the ship's own grid, and house five fully armed soldiers apiece. All told, they can accomodate a full talon (125) of soldiers, a fifth of the skyship's capacity. Upon their release, they burst away with brilliant cobalt trails marking their swift descent - when the ship is aloft, these are used to seed troops and deliver messengers across the battlefield; when seaborne, they are used to pierce enemy ships' hulls and burst open to reveal crack squads of Water-aspected marines. Should the ship's captain spend another 25m, the Glittering Pearl Rain is surrounded by a distant white halo that will retract all fired pods over the course of the scene (pods fired subsequently will last about five turns before returning); this also renders the craft immune to the deleterious effects of local weather, suspending it in place.
These are hardly the sum of the skyship's arsenal; it bears a full dozen adaptable mounts for essence cannons, implosion bows, lightning cannons and similar devices. Further, reports dating from the First Age talk of a 'lightning fulcrum generator', although this function was apparently lost as a consequence of battle damage sustained during the Usurpation. To aid coordination of it all, the spacious bridge is replete with crystal displays that can be used to plot navigation routes (its onboard map is remarkably accurate, and documents many landmarks that may come as a surprise to contemporary pilots), as well as maintain ongoing diagrams of ship and personnel movements within a ten mile radius. Escaping the notice of the ship's essence scanners requires supernatural assistance, although they only detect the presence or abscence of intelligent life; it is up to the crew to attach appropriate labels to these.
The Glittering Pearl Rain is a First Age warship, experiencing all commensurate bonuses (see Savage Seas, p.62. Battle damage has necessitated some imperfect repairs, though the structure has been modified to conceal these points of weakness. If a character succeeds at a Perception + Sail or Craft (First Age Weapons) check at difficulty 5, he may thereafter negate these benefits when attacking the ship. The Glittering Pearl Rain requires an hour's drydock maintenance for every four spent airborne, or twenty-four spent seaborne, and cannot surpass twenty such increments without suffering increasing damage to its systems. Needless to say, the materials required are demanding of even a noble house; this goes some way to explain House Tepet's reluctance to field the craft in anything but the most dire of situations.
Pattern Spider Egg by - DeathBySurfeit
Starmetal wire egg Artifact ••••• Commitment Cost: 12 motes
Crafted by Autocthon as undying agents of Fate, the pattern spiders have little need of mundane concerns like reproduction. Yet, to the surprise and delight of their celestial attendants, one every millenium deigns to suspend its duties and seclude itself deep in the Loom. There, it tethers together choice elements of causality with starmetal spun from its own carapace to form a glistening, unique and unequivocably well-crafted wire egg, the size of an ostrich's. The spider, having exhausted its internal reservoirs, is then taken apart by its kin for repairs.
Once attuned, a pattern spider egg acts as a channel for the experiences of the world, tethering them together through its intertwined strands of fate until they are familiar to its bearer. In exchange for a near-constant sense of strange familiarity and intimacy with their surrounds, the bearer knows instinctively the solution to every problem - physical, mental or social - that confronts them, as though they had done it many years and times before. Mechanically, this manifests as a flat -1 to the dice number needed to score a success, to the normal minimum of 4.
By focusing on the egg for a moment, its bearer can cause it to unravel, extend and near-invisibly encompass a mile around her with hair-thin arcing strands, impalpable and invisible (except to essence sight). Everything within this radius is considered to be a resident part of Fate. Further, any astrology applied to the area counts only the highest Essence resident for the purposes of difficulty, ignoring all others (and their number). When used in this form, the egg no longer provides the -1 target number bonus.
It is uncertain why Autocthon built in this functionality to his loyal automatons; some conjecture that it was a feedback mechanism, others that it was a way to expand Creation's borders, and still others that it is a deliberate fault instilled by greedy Sidereals. Only communion with Autocthon Itself would reveal the truth behind the matter.
Ring Of Little Spiders
- Starmetal keyring
- Artifact N/A
- Commitment Cost: 10 motes
This relic of the greatest of First Age artisans is simple in both design and application, though phenomenal in its potential. Its present whereabouts are unknown, but several reports place it in the hands of Chejop Kejak - other accounts claim the Maiden of Secrets possesses it, although stranger rumours persist of its use by the most unlikely of figures.
The artifact, as its name suggests, appears as a loop of polished starmetal approximately half a foot in diameter. Around this length, five spiderlike icons of variously-coloured jade and orichalchum ornamentation hang, their legs extended or retracted to different lengths to form a variety of different conformations. The overall effect is very decorative, well fitting of the Ring's original use as a staffhead.
When its bearer slides one of the icons into a keyhole as though it were a key, they will find it a perfect fit - the spider in question has already divined the person's intention and the conformation of the door they will eventually use. The character then spends 5 motes and makes an Intelligence + Occult check, to communicate their intended destination most effectively to the Pattern Spiders with which the artifact is linked. The difficulty for this roll is 1 for previously visited locations ("my office"), 3 for scrupulously described locations ("Mnemon's private sauna, at the north side of her estate at the foot of the Imperial Mountain"), and 5 for very vague accounts ("that place with an eagle head statue I saw in my dreams").
Success opens the door to that location with an adept twist in the Tapestry; when closed, the door then returns to its original state. Failure brings the user to a similar but not identical locale, whilst a botch can lead them to a tangentially related place in the depths of the Wyld, the twisting halls of Malfeas or the chambers of the Labyrinth.
Metastate Cloak - my rendition of an Alchemical equivalent to the Cloak of Flipping Back In Again or whatever it's called from Caste Book: Night. Comments entirely welcome...DeathBySurfeit