IsleOfJade/NewBackgrounds

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Below are three new Backgrounds for use specifically in the Isle of Jade game. The first thing one should note is that they are quite powerful and not really appropriate for a normal Exalted game. I am using them in this game because a) I want to emphasize Martial Arts and Martial Arts Charms above all other skills, b) I am de-emphasizing Artifacts almost to the point of excluding them altogether, at least for starting characters, and c) I wanted to allow a lot of charm diversity among player characters who will all invariably be martial artists.

New Background – Supernatural Martial Art (Terrestrial)

Master Li teaches his Apprentice level students to draw on essence by unlocking the secrets of the terrestrial martial arts. Characters with this background have trained in a terrestrial martial art style and have access to its charms.

Rather than spend his starting quota of charms on martial arts, a character may choose this background to automatically start with charms from a single style. These charms are in addition to his starting charms. A character may also purchase charms that are beyond his ability to use due to not meeting basic requirements of skill or essence. In such cases the character is considered to have trained on the fundamental katas and mysteries of the charm but is not yet good enough to accurately complete the charm itself. Training in the deficient areas that bring those deficiencies up to the required levels will permit the character to use the charm without additional expenditure of experience points.

This background is available only at character creation. This Background may be taken more than once.

o       The character has learned the fundamentals required to practice his terrestrial level martial art
        and has begun training on the most basic of the style’s secrets.  He knows one beginning charm from a
        terrestrial martial art style.

oo      The character has learned the basics of the terrestrial style and is now a user of the style’s
        fundamentals.  He knows many of the charms from his chosen terrestrial martial art style that lead up to
        the style’s form charm, although he has not yet learned the form charm itself.  In total he knows three 
        charms on the style’s charm tree, unless the form charm is the third on the tree in which case he knows 
        all but the form charm.

ooo     The character is now a practiced user of the style, and has achieved knowledge of the terrestrial style’s
        form charm.  He knows all the charms leading up to the form charm as well.  The exception to this is if
        the form charm is the sixth or later charm on the tree, he is limited to five charms on the tree.

oooo    The character has achieved knowledge of most of the style’s basic charms and is well on his way to mastery
        of the style.  He knows two charms beyond the form charm of his chosen terrestrial martial art style or 
        seven charms in total (whichever results in him knowing fewer charms).

ooooo   The character has become a master of the terrestrial martial art style.  In addition to knowing all 
        charms in the style (or nine charms, whichever is less), he has so specialized in it that he receives
        a +1 internal bonus to any dice pool associated with using a charm from the tree.

New Background – Supernatural Martial Art (Celestial)

Master Li teaches his best students—those who are most fundamentally sound and capable—the secrets of some of the greatest martial arts to ever grace creation. Characters with this background have trained in a celestial martial art style and have access to its charms.

Rather than spend his starting quota of charms on martial arts, a character may choose this background to automatically start with charms from a single style. These charms are in addition to his starting charms. A character may purchase charms that are beyond his ability to use due to not meeting basic requirements of skill or essence. In such cases the character is considered to have trained on the fundamental katas and mysteries of the charm but is not yet good enough to accurately complete the charm itself. Training in the deficient areas that bring those deficiencies up to the required levels will permit the character to use the charm without additional expenditure of experience points.

As this training is exceptionally difficult for most essence users, each dot in this background costs two background points at character creation. No beginning character may purchase this background more than once, and no character may start with both this background and the Terrestrial Circle Sorcery Background. This Background is available only at character creation.

o       The character has learned the fundamentals required to practice celestial level martial arts and has
        begun training on the most basic of the style’s secrets.  He may choose to know the charms Pasiap’s
        Humility and Moment of Daena’d or Tiger-and-Bear Awareness and Tiger-and-Bear Unity.

oo      The character has learned the basics of the celestial style and is now sound in the style’s fundamental 
        secrets.  He knows the basic charms from his chosen celestial martial art style.  In total he knows two 
        celestial style charms, as well as those permitted at one dot.

ooo     The character is now a practiced user of the style, and he knows all the charms that lead up to the style’s 
        form charm (limit four charms on the tree), although he has not yet learned the form charm itself.  He also
        knows the two automatic charms listed at the first dot.

oooo    The character has achieved knowledge of all of the style’s fundamentals, and is well on his way to mastery 
        of the style.  He has achieved knowledge of the celestial style’s form charm.  He knows all the charms 
        leading up to the form charm as well, and the two automatic charms listed at the first dot.  (The exception
        to this is if the form charm is the sixth or later charm on the tree, he is limited to five charms on the tree.)

ooooo   The character is an advanced practitioner of the style, although there is still some work to do before he 
        becomes a full master.  He knows two charms beyond the form charm of his chosen celestial martial art 
        style (or seven total charms, whichever is less), as well as the automatic charms listed at the first dot.


Comments

Post them if you want.

I have two comments as far as these go. First, I can't help but notice that you've increased the power of the Sorcery background, which was already by far the most devastating background ever devised. Similarly, the addition of Terrestrial and Celestial Martial Arts means that a character, by spending 7 bonus points, can begin play with double their usual Charm allotment, drastically increasing their power and ability compared to characters who do anything else (especially as the game progresses).
The second problem is that not all Martial Arts are the same length, and they don't all have their Form Charms in the same place. For example, a character with TMA 2 could have anywhere from two to five bonus Charms, depending on his style. This means a Background that favours later Form Charms (First Pulse Style springs to mind) and longer Charm trees in general (Golden Janissary Style has only seven Charms, whereas Crimson Pentacle Blade Style has 14.

My advice would be, rather than adding these Backgrounds, just give your players an extra five Charms, which must be spent on Martial Arts or Sorcery, and give Emerald Countermagic for free to anyone who buys Emerald Countermagic. Celestial Martial Artists gain the two initiation Charms, plus two Celestial Martial Arts or Sorcery Charms. - FrivYeti

In theory I agree with what you've said. And I did originally think about doing just what you suggested (just add a couple charms). The reason I made these backgrounds was that I wanted an emphasis in supernatural MA to take away from other background options, reflecting devotion to them above anything else. Keep in mind that I expect all my players will take advantage of these, and high powered MA is the style of game I want to run. I did take your advice, though, regarding variations on where the form charm can occur, and put in limits. I added in that sorcery costs double, which I intended but forgot to write originally. And finally, that fifth dot in any background costs double in my game. So to get these high you have to spend a lot of background and bonus points on them. Anyway, I do appreciate your thoughts. - Yeled.
Note: I removed the Terestrial Circle Sorcery Background, due to the extreme difficulty involved in making a character competent at both MA and Sorcery. I will replace it with a houserule making Thaumaturgy more available to Two Rivers School students. - Yeled.

- Created by Yeled
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