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The Zenith’s primary role is that of a priest. Despite this, the following Charms, which are concerned with priestly duties, are actually fairly uncommon in the Age of Sorrows, and while they were known in the First Age, they were rarely used. During the heyday of the Deliberative, before the Great Curse twisted the Solars into madness, the use of these Charms simply was unnecessary. Heaven and its bureaucracies were in order, as were (to a more limited extent) the Elemental Courts. As a result, there was little need to use Essence to enhance religious activities; Solars fit into such things smoothly, and as Princes of the Earth, their gaffes and minor errors were simply incorporated into the ritual.
During the decadent period these Charms were unused for a different reason. First, even though many of them depend on the majesty inherent in a Solar, they also all contain within them a necessary attitude of respect that the latter day Solars usually felt beneath their dignity. Second, after Sol Invictus turned from the Solars, in many cases, the Charms flat out would not work; his blessing was no longer upon the Solars. Finally, all of these Charms are either designed to aid the deity in question or to gently persuade. In the dark times of the Deliberative, such subtle methods were eschewed for direct and overwhelming assaults on the mind and spirit to compel obedience.
In the modern period, they are little-known both from disuse in past lives and from the lack of an organized body of Solar beliefs. While these will function for Solars who are priests of deities other than the Unconquered Sun, and even in the absence of knowledge of the correct rituals, their specific Essence-patterns incorporated acts of organized worship of Sol Invictus passed down from the Dragon Kings. Without a strong past life attachment, the aid of the Dragon Kings, or direct instruction from the Unconquered Sun himself, they are therefore rather obscure Charms to develop. On the other hand, a character who knows these Charms and is a priest will have an almost instinctive feel for the worship that master of Heaven loves best.
Many of these Charms will either not work or have horrible consequences for non-Solars if used or imitated, save by such means as Power-Awarding Prana. These Charms directly reflect the Solars’ standing as the personal emissaries of the Unconquered Sun, and the wrong Essence behind them may either be unimpressive to the gods so dealt with, or horribly offend them. Even Power-Awarding Prana cannot soothe the outrage that would be felt if an Infernal or Abyssal Exalt tried to use one of these Charms.
Generally, mortals and other Exalts aligned with the Celestial Hierarchy will simply waste Essence on these Charms, with at worst a +1 difficulty penalty if a deity feels affronted. Attempting to use them on deities specifically bound to the Unconquered Sun may cause active offense, as would the use of these Charms by outcasts such as Infernal Exalts or Moonshadow Caste Abyssals. In that case, the character receives a penalty equal to the benefit they would gain or whatever interaction they were attempting botches if there is no direct benefit. The exception to these rules, unfortunately, is A Thousand Voices As One, which was used by corrupt Solars at the height of their power to create their own cults.
<B>Cost:5 motes Duration: One Scene Type: Supplemental Minimum Performance: 3 Minimum Essence: 1 Prerequisite Charms: Masterful Performance Exercise
The character surrounds himself with the glory of the Unconquered Sun, wearing it like priestly vestments. The aura of respect will awe the less powerful spirits, and the implied approval and backing of Sol Invictus will smooth the way with the more powerful deities. For the remainder of the scene, add a number of dice equal to the Exalt's permanent Essence to any Socialize, Performance, or Bureaucracy rolls involving interactions with spirits. The character may also add a like number of dice to Presence rolls involving deities with less Essence than he has. While under the effects of this Charm, the character is acting as a direct representative of the Unconquered Sun, and any complaints or suspicious activities will be reported directly to the Bureau of Abstract Affairs, and are sure to reach the Censors promptly, and possibly Sol Invictus himself. It is therefore unwise to use this Charm to bully, bribe, or otherwise abuse Solar status and power. Use of this Charm causes the Exalt's anima banner to flare as though he had expended 8-10 motes of Peripheral Essence.
In Second Edition, this Charm is Combo-OK. It costs 8 motes and 1 willpower, and requires Infinite Performance Mastery and Performance Essence Flow.
Blessing of Grace</B>
<B>Cost:3 motes, possible additional cost Duration: One Year Type: Simple Minimum Performance: 3 Minimum Essence: 2 Prerequisite Charms: Solemn Investiture
Solars do not have any direct relationship to the Bureau of Fate or the Maidens, and cannot influence the Loom of Destiny. They simply cannot create the specific and detailed effects of the Chosen of the Maidens. However, as the Solars are meant to be masters of Creation, their words and choices can have great impact in the decision-making of the Celestial Hierarchy. This simple blessing marks a chosen individual (the Solar cannot bless herself) as having the Solar's personal approval and recommendation to Heaven.
This grants three distinct effects for all targets, and a fourth for mortals or Solar Half-Caste granted this blessing. First, the target is favorably considered by Heaven, and gets +1 die to all social interactions with deities and elementals, including Performance rolls for prayers. Second, her higher and lower souls are in states of relative peace; such a character will not rise again as a ghost or zombie unless their body is used by a nemessary or similar possessing entity, and even those must wait until the year is up or the Solar releases the committed Essence. Finally, the blessed is considered to have the protection of the Commission on Abstract Matters and Celestial Concerns while within Yu-Shan. This will usually guarantee the treatment of a mortal or Dragon-blooded as though they had the rights of a lesser deity while within Yu-Shan. Accommodations fitting to the station of the blessed will also be found while the character is in the Celestial City, although it is usually considered wise for Terrestrials and mortals who do not wish to sleep in a kennel to provide additional bribes. Celestial Exalts will be treated as honored guests by the Commission and will generally be treated very well indeed. In addition, a mortal or Half-Caste with a Blessing of Grace may permanently gain certain perks each time this blessing is bestowed (no more than once per year). If the Solar granting this blessing chooses, his target will gain a Merit with no greater cost in bonus points than the Solar's permanent Essence. This extra blessing costs the Solar a number of XP equal to its ordinary BP cost. The Solar may choose to permanently lift a mortal from Extra to Heroic Mortal status for 2 XP. If the Solar has Essence 6+, he may expend 15 xp to make the targeted mortal a Solar Half-Caste with Inheritance 1! Subsequent applications of this Charm will not raise the character's Inheritance, but may grant God-Blood/Half Caste Merits. Solar Half-Caste may always gain God-Blood/Half Caste Merits. This Charm may not be used to inflict Flaws.
There is a downside to this blessing, however. Like a character using Solemn Investiture, one who has a Blessing of Grace upon her is considered to be a direct representative of the Unconquered Sun. Any investigations and penalties accrued will land on both the head of the blessed and the Solar who used the Charm. Generally, if the Censors feel that the Solar used the Charm with a reasonable expectation of good behavior on the part of the blessed, they will invoke no more than a Severity 1 offense upon her, but will usually require that she carry out sentence upon the blessed. Frivolous or foolish use of this Charm will result in equal punishment being meted out upon the head of the Solar as well as the formerly blessed. The attempted use of this Charm by anyone other than a Solar will be immediately attract the attention of not only the Censors of the Bureau of Heaven, but of Sol Invictus himself. The resulting reaction will be extremely harsh at a minimum. If the Character transforms his subject permanently, he will not be considered responsible for the subject's actions past the initial year, unless he makes the subject into a Half-Caste, in which case he is considered to be that character's parent.
I'm still not sure about this one. I'm trying to create a blessing in keeping with the technical status Solars are supposed to have, but not stepping on Sidereal toes. Is this too much or too little, do you think?
In Second Edition, this Charm is Touch, Obvious, and Training. Although it is not directly a part of social combat, it has a Speed of 7 in long ticks.
Generous Soothing Spirit</B>
<B>Cost:Special Duration: Instant Type: Simple Minimum Performance: 4 Minimum Essence: 2 Prerequisite Charms: Solemn Investiture
One of the primary duties of the Solar Exalted is to serve as intermediaries between spirits (god and elemental) and mortals. However, if a Solar Exalted is not around to hear complaints-- as is so common in the Age of Sorrows-- or if a spirit does not wish Solar intervention, they may take matters into their own hands with a curse, such as Scourge. A Solar later discovering such a curse may attempt to smooth things out and lift the curse, or, if hit with a curse themselves, they may attempt to remove it.
The Solar must spend half (round down) the amount of Essence and temporary willpower used to create the curse, and then make a Charisma + Performance roll at a difficulty equal to the permanent Essence of the offended entity. This difficulty is modified by the severity of offense. A truly horrible act may be at +3, whereas a curse laid on spitefully and out of proportion to the crime may have the difficulty reduced by 3. No alteration can bring the difficulty of this roll below 1. If successful, the curse is lifted. The full costs of the curse are instantly refunded, in the form of Ambrosia in the sanctums of a god, or in special formations of the appropriate element nearby an Elemental. All permanent costs to the deity and effects on the cursed are reversed if they have not already been recovered, and any continuing effects are gone as well. This functions on Elementals, Gods, Ghosts, and Demons alike.
This Charm does not function on Exalted Charms, Sorcery, Necromancy, or Sidereal Astrology, unless the effects merely generate the conditions for a curse. For example, this will not reverse the effects of Shun the Smiling Maiden, but it will remove a spiritual disease such as Iphimedeia. The Essence that matters is that of the least god of the disease- which is generally relatively large, especially for Third Circle diseases, and the cost is 5 motes and 1 willpower per circle level of the disease. It has no effect on ordinary diseases or the Great Contagion. Attempting to use it on victims of the Great Contagion will produce strange visions and feelings of overwhelming death and oblivion. It will also bring the character to the attention of at least one Deathlord.
In Second Edition, this Charm is Touch and Obvious. It has a Speed of 4 and a DV penalty of -0. This Charm can be used on the Solar himself.
A Thousand Voices As One</B>
<B>Cost:8 motes, 1 Willpower Duration: One hour Type: Simple Minimum Performance: 4 Minimum Essence: 3 Prerequisite Charms: Blessing of Grace, Generous Soothing Spirit
Solar Exalted are tremendous focal points of power, capable of channeling mighty flows of Essence and concentrating them into broad-reaching effects. By means of this Charm, a Solar may focus external Essence as well as her own internal to increase the power of prayer. By leading a special hour-long ceremony with the most senior members of a cult, the Exalt can double the amount of Essence, Willpower, Quintessence, or Ambrosia produced by a Cult for a day. This requires a Charisma + Performance roll at a difficulty of 1 + the level of the Cult Background and cannot be used by the Exalt more than once every 30 - Permanent Essence days.
This particular Charm, like the Essence Prayer, is technically legal, but like most of the priestly Performance Charms, when used to benefit deities, it does attract the attention of Celestial Censors. During the First Age, under their Heavenly Mandate, the Solars could use this Charm with nothing more than a note or missive sent to the Deliberative to ensure that the Deliberative policed their own. Usually, it was used in order to boost the power of a god that the Deliberative needed help from or wanted to reward. In the current Age, without a central body of authority for Solars and with their legal status somewhat in dispute, matters are more complicated, and the result will often depend on the Censor to whom the influx of Essence is reported. Often, however, a mere cut of that which is sent is all that is required as a bribe.
This Charm can be used for any cult, including those benefiting other Exalts and themselves. Indeed, during the dying of the First Age, this was the primary use of this Charm; corrupt Solars used it to create tremendous influxes of power when they needed it. While this is completely outside of the Celestial Censors' purview, anyone with memories of the First Age will be at the very least suspicious of someone who makes a habit of using this Charm for such purposes.
In Second Edition, this Charm is Social. In order to use it, the character must have control of the social combat units corresponding to the senior priests of the cult, or have the agreement of whoever does control them.