- by Telgar
The Lunar Exalted and their barbarian charges follow Songlines that lead from sacred place to sacred place, marking in memory with song. These songlines are twisted reflections of an ancient method of enlightenment called the Sacella. Sacellum are Artifacts carefully built into the fabric of Manses, spread between as few as two Manses and as many as twelve. Once a person embarks upon a Sacella, the journey must be completed or the risk is dire. At each step along the way, the journey can be broken off, but once travel begins, the traveler draws enemies like iron fillings to a lodestone and can not waver from his chosen course. Sacella are dangerous, but their rewards are great.
The Nature of Sacella
Each Sacellum is a single Artifact located inside a Manse. The Sacellum can take virtually any form, but most of them are massive crystalline constructs containing hundreds or thousands of lenses and mirrors that collect and reflect Essence. When properly charged and tuned, the Sacellum temporarily re-directs the Essence of the Manse, rendering the Hearthstone of that Manse inactive for as long as the Sacellum is the prime node of the Sacella.
Activating a Sacellum
In order to walk a Sacella, the traveler must first locate the beginning of the journey's path. The Sacella can only be begun from the first Sacellum in the link. Once this Sacellum has been located, it must be awoken. The traveler must attune to both the Manse and the Sacellum that represent the first stop on their journey. Once attuned to both, all motes of Essence not bound to other commitments must be channeled into the Sacellum. The dump of Essence as well as the fulfillment of whatever special rites the Sacella itself requires awakens the Sacella and activates the first Sacellum. Once the Sacella has been activated, it must be walked.
Walking a Sacella
The activation of the first Sacellum in the chain charges the appropriate dragon-line with visible motes of Essence, a glowing line in the ground and air that leads from the first Manse to the next. The walking of the Sacella is simply following the indicated dragon-line without deviation and activating each link in sequence.
While the traveler is walking, his Anima is permanently flared at the a level that would be caused by spending five times as many motes as he has activated Sacellum-nodes. This is caused by the charging of the traveler which each Sacellum reinforces. Once charged, the traveler attracts the ambient Essence around him, channeling it through the dragon-line and into his body. So charged, he radiates the Essence he is taking in from the dragon-line, often attracting fair folk, godlings and hungry ghosts to his location as they sense the massive power contained within him.
Such power often causes difficulty with lesser Exalted. Those Exalted who have an Essence score less then half the number of Sacellum they have activated are in danger holding the power of the Sacellum inside them. Such Exalted must make Stamina + Occult roll to hold the Essence in each time they activate a Sacella. This roll is made at a difficulty equal to the total number of Sacellum activated. Failure on the roll results in taking 1 die of lethal damage per Sacella activated.
Deviating from the path of the Sacella offers a similar risk, the journey can only be safely ended at a link in the chain of Sacella. Trying to end the journey without being at a Sacellum results in taking 1 die of lethal damage for each level of every Sacellum so far activated. Deviating from walking the path is defined as any travel that takes one more then 10 miles from the path, moves one in the opposite direction more then 5 miles or otherwise represents a significant removal from the path without intent to return as soon as possible.
Completing a Sacella
A Sacella is completed once all the Sacellum comprising it have been attuned and activated. When the final Sacellum is activated, the entire Sacella channels Essence into the last Sacellum and from there into the person who completed the network. The massive surge of Essence knocks even the mightiest being unconscious for one day. The resulting unconciousness is dreamless and timeless, but it does no physical harm. During the period of sleep, changes are made within the body and soul of the walker. These changes are the gift of the Sacella, the reason for walking it.
Each Sacella imparts unique benefits to those who walk it. One is said to allow Terrestrials to learn Celestial Martial Arts after walking it, another opens the initiation into Sorcery and third opens that into Necromancy. Completing a Sacella is not only a good reason to learn new Charms, but also to increase Essence. After walking a Sacella, the age requirements to increase Essence are temporarily lifted. Essence can be increased by one dot, provided the character has the required experience.
Generally, the benefit conferred by a Sacella grants a certain number of Experience Points to be spent only on certain Wyld Mutations, Merits, Flaws and Permanent-duration Charms specified by the Sacellum. Others may actually provide Charms, such as Martial Arts Initiations or Sorcery-Charms. More exotic Sacella may have totally unique rewards, designed by the Storyteller.
The formula to determine the Experience reward of a given Sacella is 10 X (Total levels of all Manses that comprise the Sacella). This experience is not spent freely. It may only be spent on the rewards of the Sacella, as determined by the Storyteller.
Thanks! I got the idea from the Briar King by Greg Keyes. It just seemed to fit so well, that combined with holy pilgrimages and ley lines. - Telgar