Artifacts have four important properties that determine their rating. They are generally rated on a scale of one to five for most artifacts. This chapter will detail them all.
An artifacts strength is perhaps its most important and complicated attribute. It heavily influences two of the others. An artifact of a given Strength level provides a number of tokens Listed Below that can be used to buy powers for the artifact. Vehicles and the like follow slightly different rules. Strength replaces the old Power attribute.
||Strength level||||||Number of tokens|| ||1||1|| ||2||3|| ||3||9|| ||4||27|| ||5||81||
A power 1 power costs '1' token. A power 2 power costs 3 tokens. A power 3 power costs 9 tokens. A power 4 power costs 27 tokens. A power 5 power costs 81 tokens.
Powers follows the same directions as in S&S, with the following changes clarifications.
Multiple powers can generally not be stacked to generate a higher bonus. An ST might allow this in rare casers, however.
A Power can, instead of a stat boost, provide an artifact with a special ability. This is essentially what S&S calls charm duplication, But since it has been the source of much controversy, I will discuss it a bit.
First off all, the side bar says “use solar charms as a base line”. This is important, as it implies to me, that not only solar charms can be used as guide lines, but rather, that when diagnosing a Power, one could look for to any charm for guide lines (that’s what they should be used as) and then ask one self “what tier would it be, were it solar”. This can indeed lead to some lousy artifacts if the practices suggested below are not followed.
Weapons, armour and power
Weapons and armour follow slightly different rules from normal artifacts. In addition to everything else, a normal model if the artifact must be constructed (that normal model is a normal corresponding item and follow the normal craft rules). The artifact is then based around this, and the power of enchantments is added to its stats. To calculate the power of an armour or a weapon, Average the production cost of the model with the Power of the enchantments. For example, a Dire Lance Constructed with 81 tokens (Power 5) is based on a spear (Resources 1) would be Power 3 ((5+1)/2=3) for all intents and purposes. Because of this, it is possible for a weapon to have a non-integer Power (i.e. 2,5). Round these up for the purpose of Drawback and components. The appropriate commitment and such is listed later. When dealing with paired weapons, two options present themselves. The artificer can make a paired artifact, such as those in the core book. In that case, use the listed cost and add 1 to the weapon's commitment cost. He can also choose to apply enchantments to a single object (I.e. a single Tiger claw). In that case, Halve the listed Resources cost and proceed as normal. For the purpose of adding stats, most weapon values are considered abilities, though Damage and soak have their own listings. A weapon's Overwhelming Damage is always equal to about 1/3 of its base damage, and is improved along with it. The same goes for an armour’s Hardness, which is always about 2/ of its soak. It should be noted that weapons almost never have any value above 6 except for damage, and the higher level weapons should have special powers, not just increased stats.
Hazards of this system
There are two major hazards of this system. One will be represented by “ring of intelligence +3”, a typical and boring non epic stat booster.. The other will be represented by “Coat of body mending”, a coat that simply provides Body-mending Meditation whenever worn. Very un-Exalted and boring. It is artifacts like these that have given S&S its bad reputation. The solution to these problems is two-fold.
A general theme should be decided for the artifact when it is conceived. Exactly what makes sense as a theme is up to the story teller, but what should probably be avoided is a “Grab bag/ Swiss army knife”, collection of stat boosts,though some artifacts can do this well. The closest one get should to a grab bag is probably power armours, since they provide a myriad of benefits and rightly do so in my opinion. So, when ever assigning a stat boost to an artifact, try to keep in theme.
An example of this is the effective Dex granted by “Wings of the raptor” to Dodge and Athletics. Raptor wings are about mobility, flight and speed so it makes perfect sense at) least to me).
Also, when making an artifact, decide the effect you want, including mechanics, then look for tier guide lines in charms. This way you should be able to avoid out right replicating charms, which is a bad thing to do.
An example of this is when I wanted a regenerating power for an armour I made in first edition. I wanted it to heal 1 bashing HL each turn, 1 lethal HL each 5 turns and one aggravated HL every 5 hours. After deciding that, I looked up charms for guide lines and arrived at the conclusion that is was similar to the Alchemical charm Body Reweaving Matrix which is Essence 3 so I decided it was power 3 (various other factors, such as prerequisites and my power stacking with other charms balanced out).
I hope these examples are helpful.
Token idea courtsay of GL
Durability is a trait that measures a personal Artifact’s sturdiness. Most Artifacts have durability equal their Strength, but some may have higher or lower, depending on circumstances. I introduce the durability trait because I feel that it is sometimes too easy to break artifacts. Durability replaces "Script immunity".
||Durability level||||||Effects|| ||0||At this level, the artifact’s magic does not protect it. It can be broken by mundane violence. Unless otherwise specified, assume it is a breakable as a normal object of similar nature.|| ||1||This is the standard durability of most artifact weapons. Artifacts like this can be used to parry mountains, First Age Weapon of mass destruction and Primordial attacks without impaired performance. At this level, destruction is impossible without specially designed magic.|| ||2||The artifact is more durable then usual. Any magic used to break it must be of at least Essence 3 level., and even then the difficulty is increased by 2|| ||3||Artifacts this durable are exceedingly sturdy. Any magic used to break it must be of at least Essence 5 level and the difficulty is increased by 4|| ||4||Artifacts with this level of durability can only be broken by beings of extreme might. Artifacts this durable were common standard for most Celestials in the First Age. Any magic used to break it must be of at least Essence 6 level, and the difficulty is increased by 6|| ||5||Artifact this durable are as close to unbreakable as it gets. They posses durability of behemothian level. High Essence perfect effects may be able to break it, but in such case, use the unstoppable fore-immovable object rules and add 10 successes in favour of the artifact.||
Usefulness is the most abstract attribute. It measures both how generally useful the abilities of an artifact is from standard rules perspective, as well as some extent of its expected impact on the game. “One use per story”-artifacts reduces their usefulness by 1 to a minimum of one, and “One use only”-artifacts reduces their usefulness by 2 to a minimum of one.
||Usefulness level||||||Effects|| ||1||An item this useful is practical but not very influential, at this level, and artifact basically mimic various fairly low-tech devices. Examples might be Glow Orbs (light bulb effect). A shaving device, an essence powered oven, a pen with infinite ink supply, all would fit in here. Artifacts like these were common in the First Age, and are the most plentiful today.|| ||2||This is the standard usefulness for items dedicated to a specific task for which they are useful an through winch they will exert a significant influence. Daiklaves and most other standard artifact weapons fit here, since they are good at what they do, but are simply improved gear.|| ||3||This is the level where artifacts start to become esoteric in the sense that they really raise eyebrows. Also, at this level, an artifact often possesses additional powers. Examples may a spear with a ranged attack option such as a fire lance this is generally the last level of utility artifacts.|| ||4||Artifacts this useful are very harmonized with the user and augments many abilities. The Custom made artifacts of the First Age have a usefulness at this level, as did most of the artifacts favoured by Celestials. It is still dependant on its wielder for function but is useful in most circumstances. Flexible items such as celestial power armour fits here.|| ||5||As above but the artifact has some form of sentience or is automated somehow and can activate independently of a user. Artifacts this useful can affect a game deeply and should always be useful unless circumstances are very exceptional.||
Just as the powers of an artifact varies, so too does the magnitude of its effects. This is represented by Scope. A Scope 1 item affects only the user, while a scope 5 item might have profound effects on entire populations.
||Scope level||Effect|| ||1||Scope one items only affect the user and their effects are almost always internal or external in a very minor fashion. Hearthstone amulets and Bulb of Demise and Renewal fit here.|| ||2||Scope 2 items act as an extension of the user and aids him in affecting targets in his vicinity. This usually concerns a single individual, but it can involve a few (generally less then 5) most standard weaponry such as daiklaves or power bows fit here. || ||3||Scope 3 items can affect small groups with a general maximum of Magnitude 2. Items with a decent blast radius such as essence cannons or implosion bows fit here|| ||4||At this level and artifact can affect large units of people or large areas. Generally any group with a Magnitude of 8, sometimes even 9, can be affected in a single activation. Example include troop protecting force fields and Haze Shields and weapons such as the Glorious Scythe|| ||5||At this level of scope, an artifact can generate an effect with a magnitude similar to solar circle sorcery. Effects a re generally mile wide. Military examples include weapons of mass destruction such as the Soul Breaker Orb or the Storm hammer. Other examples could be powerful mechanism of Weather control or an artifact tower the infuses landscapes with fertilizing essence.||
Drawback and Disadvantages
All artifacts need a collective minimum of Drawback dots equal to their Power-1 (I modified this due to the inclusion of components in the default assumptions). Each additional dot of Drawback contributes to reducing the Artifact rating in a manner described later. The three Drawbacks described here are not necessarily the only ones, but they are the most common. Drawbacks are 0-5 traits while Disadvantages have a set dot level.
Essence: All artifacts require Essence in one fashion or another, even if the amount is so small as to be negligible. The default amount of Essence required to function is dependent on its Power attribute. As a general rule, artifacts with an indefinite function, such as daiklaves and armour, require committed Essence, and artifacts with a short-lasting or instantaneous effect require expenditure. Exceptions to this rule exist, and some artifacts, such as engines, require a constant influx of Essence, and apply the expenditure value on a per time unit basis. At a story teller’s discretion, an artifact’s power can be “split” between committed and spent Essence. This should only be done where appropriate, and generally should not be done unless the expenditure is at least 1 mote (barring doping or outside power sources).
||Power||Commitment||Expenditure|| ||1||1||0|| ||1,5||3||1|| ||2||5||1|| ||2,5||8||3|| ||3||10||5|| ||3,5||12||7|| ||4||15||10|| ||4,5||20||15|| ||5||25||20||
The values listed above are for items of normal efficiency. Extra work on the artifact can reduce the effort somewhat. Each mote of reduction adds 10 to the collective difficulty of the artifact’s construction, and no more than 50 successes may be used for this purpose. The extra work normally represents elimination of impurities in the material. To further increase efficiency requires outside power sources or special components.
However, very few artifacts constructed today are good enough to even be normally efficient. These items suffer from Essence drawback and require more Essence than the value listed. How much is detailed in the table below. Artifacts with a high level of Essence drawback are often highly lacking in the discretion department and their activation is obvious.
||Essence drawback||Level of efficiency||Extra Expenditure|| ||1||Slightly Inefficient: The artifact needs a little more Essence (1-3 motes) than normal.||1-3 motes|| ||2||Inefficient: The artifact requires 50 percent more Essence than normal, with a minimum of 5 motes.||5motes|| ||3||Highly Inefficient: The artifact requires twice as much Essence as normal. Some minor telltale signs of Essence bleed, such as a corona of light or a smell of ozone are mandatory at thislevel.||7 motes|| ||4||Massively Inefficient: The artifact requires five times as much Essence as normal. Obvious telltale signs are associated with this level of inefficiency.||10 motes|| ||5||Essence Glutton: The artifact requires 20 times more Essence than normal.||15 motes||
At the story teller’s discretion, Essence Drawback may instead be applied as a separate expenditure. In that case, use the Extra Expenditure column in the table above.
Upkeep: Some artifacts of magitechnical nature, especially those crafted during the era of the Shogunate, require constant upkeep to function. How difficult and costly the refits are, is determined by the artifact’s Repair rating, as described in the table on page 9 in WotLA. However, the required Frequency of the refits varies from item to item. As such, the Upkeep Drawback is a function of two traits: Repair and Frequency.
||Frequency Level||Hours between refits||Activations between refits|| ||0||N/A||N/A|| ||1||500/100||200/40|| ||2||250/50||100/20|| ||3||100/20||50/10|| ||4||50/10||20/4|| ||5||25/5||1/0,2||
The value before the slash represents the time it takes the artifact to shut down completely. The value after the slash represents the time it takes for the artifact to diminish in capability. This might lead to the loss of an ability or a dot of bonus, as is the case with most power armours. Alternatively, it might lead to a risk of misfire, as is the case with Lightning Ballistae or Storm Hammers.
An item with a Repair rating, but no Frequency rating, only requires repair if it is actively broken or destroyed. An item with a high Frequency but low Repair rating requires small but constant refits. The actual dot value of this drawback is determined by averaging the two traits. For example, armour with a Repair rating of 4 and a Frequency of 2 would have an Upkeep Drawback of 3.
Component: All artifacts require a minimum number of components equal to their Power (this is a minor alteration to the rules in the core book). Each extra component counts as 1 dot of drawback. This drawback is special in that it is exclusively for construction purposes and may not be used to lower an artifact’s rating for the purpose of Background purchase. The components are often represented by supplementing chemicals such as catalysts and conduction enhancers that facilitate construction. Among the exotic components, they are often the most generic ones. The unique components that act as Power Seeds for an artifact are represented by the components that the artifact actually needs. Under no circumstances may more than 5 extra components be used to facilitate the process. Magical Materials count as components.
Notority: Artifacts do not look like normal items. A daiklave inevitably arouses more reaction then would a normal sword. It is obviously magical and when facing warriors magically armed, wise people are wary. In short, most artifacs are <i>not discreet and the few that are often contains exotic components, uses extra essence, or elements to hide their magical nature. Notoriety counts as one dot of Drawback.
The Artifact rating
Determining the artifact rating is a fairly simple process. Add up the four attributes and subtract any drawback dots in excess of the artifacts Power, then divide the number by four and round up. The result is the Artifact Rating,
This also has the problem of a level 5 artifact being able to contain 81 level 1 artifacts. Or 9 level 3 artifacts. In linear artifacts (a stupid idea, but they exist) like Jade Hand, a level 5 Jade Hand actually contains nine level 3 Jade Hands, far more potent then should be allowed. - Telgar
Isn't that disallowed by the phrase "Multiple powers cannot be stacked to provide a higher bonus" along with the various discussions on not making a grab bag artefact? Thus preventing (assuming sensible usage) both the 81 jade hands and the 81 separate art 1 effects, one would hope.
- Hmm, I may have overlooked that. But I'm not sure it covers that entire idea of layering powers to create stronger effects is still possible. I'm just always suspicious of point-based artifacts. - Telgar
Beside the fact that that sentence is a little weird, I do see your point. However, the intention of the text Darloth mentions is to prevent layering. To me, the problem is: How do I convey that intention? That's a bit tricky. - Azurelight
Two comments for ya: First up, the 'layering' issue is most likely best described by an example. Perhaps a running example (in italics, I'd imagine) throughout might help. Take something simple - perhaps one of the already-designed artifacts described on the wiki, at Strength 3? Then note that you can't use 3 tokens to buy 3 individual "Dexterity +1" choices - you must buy the less-efficient single Strength 2 "Dexterity +2" - in any situation, you must choose the least efficient means of purchasing something. Second is that you're missing a key statement, that is vital: Just because a canon artifact is rated at X, doesn't mean that it is of Strength X. In particular, note that a Level 1 Jade Hand does not necessarily provide a Strength 1 power! After all, Jade Hands have ridiculous drawbacks, are made of crazy-mad materials (the core of each Jade Hand is made from the happiness of 10,000 babies, you know), and are totally obvious to anyone who sees them. Thus, the Strength 2-3 effect that a level 1 Jade Hand provides is countered by high drawbacks, keeping the purchase-price down. If you assume that canon artifacts have Strength = to their rating, you'll go nuts in a heartbeat. -- GreenLantern
Indeed that is true, Although the jade hand is a bad example. (It measures sucky with the system on numerous accounts). I planned to note that, but to do so in the heading were I describe how to determine the artifact's rating. Before I write that section, I want a third viable attribute, and I am having trouble making one up.
Also, I should note that you may of course write and contribute yourself. Even though I host it and have a bit too much time, we still said we'd do this together, and unless I've taken it in a direction you do not like, feel free to add what ever you want. Just wanted to make that clear, no pressure. -Azurelight
GL, do you think you could write an example? I tried, and I realised I suck at making understandable ones. If you have time, I would appreciate that. -Azurelight
Just got married yesterday, and heading out for honeymoon today - it'll be a week or so till I'm back around, really. -- GL
What can I say man, you are excused :) Azurelight
While I might not be the best in the rules department, I do have access to many sources of information that might help. In the book Adventure! by White Wolf their is a system called super-science. This is basically the pulp version of Exalted Artifacts. In that book they have a system for the development and construction of artifacts. Each innovation (as their version of Artifacts is called) contains a number of diverse but useful traits.
- Some of the traits are:
- Effect - basically the magical power that they have.
- Usability - Who can actually use the item. This would translate as Type Exalted, All Exalted, and Mortals
- Durability - Who tough the item is.
- Warranty: Basically the repair rating. At higher expense this could describe those Solar-build permanent items.
- On the other hand I have some other ideas.
- Power Capacity - This could describe what kind of battery it has. Some ideas would be: External (spend motes directly to power artifact), Internal Battery (has a battery, but cannot replenish it, needs others to fill it), Internal Self-sufficient (rare item that has its own Essence). You would need two other levels to make it a complete five level trait.
I had these ideas and I thought I'd share them. I like where this is going and think that a new and better system for creating Artifacts is needed.-Heru
I will defiantly look int0o that. Sounds cool. Also, GL. any chance you have time to whip up an example now? My effektive time is running out.-Azurelight
I added Scope, the last (hopefully) attribute. -Azurelight
I realised I hade made an error. I wrote "The closest one gets to a grab bag is probably power armours, since they provide a myriad of benefits and rightly do so in my opinion"´wen I meant to say "The closest one should get to a grab bag without over doing it is probably power armours, since they provide a myriad of benefits and rightly do so in my opinion". that must haver been part of the problem, at least -Azurelight