Crimson Temple Style
Pulsing Heart Observation</b>
<b>Cost: 3 motes Duration: One scene Type: Simple Min. Martial Arts: 2 Min. Essence: 1 Prereqs: None
This Charm is known only by the martial artist who has gained understanding of the first step to sanguine mastery. He becomes aware of the throbbing flow of life within all beings, mortal, celestial and animal. With a small investment of Essence, he tunes to this harmony of life. All vitality becomes visible, red veins painting themselves in phantoms, hung in midair and superimposed upon their hosts. Additionally, even if it goes unseen, the presence of life is easy to detect, giving the martial artist a dull throbbing sensation strongest towards the direction in question.
The martial artist immediately feels the presence of all living things within his permanent Essence in yards, and cannot be surprised by them. Additionally, he perceives past any non-magical form of stealth automatically, should the subject be living.
Disciple’s Sanguine Sigil</b>
<b>Cost:1 mote + 2 motes per –1 penalty Duration: Instant Type: Supplemental Min. Martial Arts: 3 Min. Essence: 1 Prereqs: Pulsing Heart Observation
Calling a spiral of crimson Essence into his palm, the martial artist harnesses the energy, wreathing it about his strike. This Charm may only be used to aid unarmed blows. When he achieves contact, the disciple’s palm of crimson energy explodes into the blow, splashing onto the flesh of the target and rupturing capillaries beneath its skin in a searing wave of agonizing heat. Within moments, a random but haunting blood-red sigil rises to the surface of the target’s skin, leaving a crimson mark which stays for the artist’s permanent Essence in days before fading into a sickly bruise. For every two extra motes invested in this Charm, the sigil inflicts a –1 action penalty with the blow. This penalty diminishes at the rate of –1 per turn.
FourWillowsWeeping suggests: If a victim is already marked with a sigil, it only takes the investment of a little Essence to reactivate it, reducing the total cost of this Charm by 1.
<b>Cost:3 motes Duration: Instant Type: Supplemental Min. Martial Arts: 3 Min. Essence: 1 Prereqs: Pulsing Heart Observation
Of vital significance to this style of martial arts is the surveying of the nature of blood in the mortal frame. It is understood that, in due time, the disciple will be entirely familiar with the nature of blood and its gathering points. With this Charm, the stylist delivers a thundering blow to one of these gathering points, and relies on simple physical nature to do the rest. In addition to the pain of this strike – which deals lethal damage – the wound explodes in a spray of gore moments after the stylist has dealt his blow. The Charm’s namesake is obvious, then, as the blood gushes from the wound in a bright red fountain. This bleeding continues for the Exalt’s Essence in rounds, doing an additional level of bashing damage every round until it is staunched or the Charm’s effect ends. This attack is made at +2 difficulty for the disciple. If this Charm is used in a Combo with other Charms that increase the attack’s difficulty, all difficulty modifiers stack.
Crimson Temple Form</b>
<b>Cost:5 motes Duration: One Scene Type: Simple Min. Martial Arts: 3 Min. Essence: 2 Prereqs: Disciple’s Sanguine Sigil, Blood-Fountain Crush
After a series of preparatory motions, the artist pulses with light, his anima flooding with deep, roiling red Essence. His eyes also glow the same hue, and his posture takes on a subtle menace that all living things dread. Assumption of this form motivates the humours within the Exalt’s body, using these fluids to guide his motions in a graceful and somewhat terrible way. He moves like liquid, his blows land like thunder, and every wound he deals results in a gruesome red spray. The Exalt adds his permanent Essence to all dodge rolls made while this form is active. His unarmed attacks deal lethal damage, almost always resulting in a gushing fountain of blood. If so long as one blow lands, then the target is enveloped in agony, doubling his present wound penalty. The final benefit of the Crimson Temple Form is also the most horrific: the blood from his unarmed strikes hovers in the air, before collecting upon the artist’s wounds (if any) and sealing them up. For every two levels of lethal damage the stylist inflicts on a foe due to the effects of any Crimson Temple Charm, he heals one level of his own lethal damage. Characters may not have more than one Form Charm active at any time. This Charm is incompatible with the use of armor.
Scarlet Sheathe Technique </b>
<b>Cost:8 motes, 1 willpower Duration: Instant Type: Simple Min. Martial Arts: 4 Min. Essence: 3 Prereqs: Crimson Temple Form
Life’s blood is the frightening focus of this mystic art, and through the combination of Essence and discipline, the Exalt practicing it may supply himself with a weapon that he may flow with as easily as he does his own humours. Steel does not work, nor do any of the five magical materials supply the proper feel and balance. No, the answer to the artist’s weapon problem is simple – the weapon, too, must come from the blood. This Charm begins with an unarmed attack, dealing lethal damage, and results in a customary fountain of blood associated with this art. However, when his hand pulls back from within the blood-cloud, it draws forth from the wound a vicious looking weapon shaped of crystalline blood. This Charm is identical to the Abyssal Charm, Resplendent Shadow Blade (the weapon’s distributable statistics are based on Martial Arts, not Melee), except that it is the product of a successful attack and the Exalt is still considered to be unarmed for the purposes of Crimson Temple Charms. This weapon does not aid in the attack that birthed it, though the process of drawing it from the victim’s wound is an excruciating one. This weapon is always some sort of hand-to-hand weapon; it lasts for one scene, or until it is discarded by the Exalt, whereupon it shatters.
Tormenting Blood Echo</b>
<b>Cost:5 motes, 1 willpower Duration: One scene Type: Simple Min. Martial Arts: 4 Min. Essence: 3 Prereqs: Crimson Temple Form
For the remainder of the scene, all individuals marked by the Disciple’s Sanguine Sigil Charm suffer dice of lethal damage equal to the artist’s Martial Arts ability whenever they come into contact (under any circumstance) with him through an unarmed attack, a hand-to-hand attack, or simple skin-to-skin contact. This damage ignores armor for the purposes of soak, as the Sanguine Sigil lights afire and scorches the marked character mercilessly.
Crimson Downpour </b>
<b>Cost:5 motes Duration: Instant Type: Extra action Min. Martial Arts: 4 Min. Essence: 3 Prereqs: Crimson Temple Form
Motivated by the rapid flow of his own blood, the Exalt unleashes his essence even as his life escapes him. For every level of lethal damage suffered in the round before this Charm was activated, the artist may make one additional Martial Arts attack this round, regardless of whether or not the damage has been healed already. In example, if the Exalt used Magnificent Scarlet Storm and sacrificed three health levels to it, this Charm would grant him three extra actions the next round.
Magnificent Scarlet Storm </b>
<b>Cost:5 motes, 1 willpower, 1+ lethal health levels Duration: One scene Type: Simple Min. Martial Arts: 4 Min. Essence: 4 Prereqs: Crimson Downpour, Scarlet Sheathe Technique
With a profound level of focus and strain, the artist flares in a powerful, bright tower of swirling red anima-light. With a howl of pain, wounds open on all major arteries and blood gushes out in controlled streams, and then the wounds seal over – preventing further blood-loss, although the injury remains. This blood is caught in the light of the anima, and hovers in weightless droplets around the artist for a moment, before coming alive and swirling around him in blinding, gory patterns, alternating between snowstorm patterns and a thin, translucent red wall. For every health level sacrificed to this Charm (minimum one), the difficulty to hit the Exalt with hand-to-hand attacks increases by one, as assailants are caught in the gruesome whirlwind of blood. The Exalt cannot sacrifice more health levels into this Charm than he has permanent Essence.
Scorching Blood Infliction</b>
<b>Cost:8 motes Duration: Instant Type: Simple Min. Martial Arts: 5 Min. Essence: 3 Prereqs: Tormenting Blood Echo
With a calm and detached air, and a quiet burst of red Essence, the Exalt gestures towards any subject within (Martial Arts * 2) yards that bears the markings of the Disciple’s Sanguine Sigil Charm. Like a blood-red wave, a cascade of Essence departs the disciple’s palm and arcs towards the target, hitting it unfailingly. This attack cannot be dodged, only blocked, and does dice of lethal damage equal to the Exalt’s Strength + Essence.
Red Legion Method</b>
<b>Cost:8 motes, 1 willpower Duration: One scene Type: Simple Min. Martial Arts: 5 Min. Essence: 4 Prereqs: Magnificent Scarlet Storm
The lone-wolf nature of a Crimson Temple disciple is burdensome, at times, but not so burdensome as some imagine. As their dominion is life and blood, a unity of the two – even in the shadow of death – is frequently possible. By touching the brow of any still-warm corpse which has suffered more than three levels of lethal damage, and tracing a symbol of meditative script upon its brow in the corpse’s own blood, the Exalt assuages his lonely status. Within one turn, an apparition shaped like a grotesque red crystal human climbs out of the body, howling its birthing pains in cacophonous alien noise. This creature has stats equal to an elite soldier extra, except that it regenerates one health level every turn if not slain outright, and it may only be slain by a weapon forged of one of the Five Magical Materials. At the end of the scene, all Red Legion creatures splash to the ground in a puddle of inert, congealing blood.
Red Monarch Shape </b>
<b>Cost:10 motes, 1 willpower Duration: One scene Type: Simple Min. Martial Arts: 5 Min. Essence: 5 Prereqs: Red Legion Method, Scorching Blood Infliction
This is the highest known Charm associated with the Crimson Temple techniques, and it expands the potency of the core Form Charm, to the extent that the disciple may only activate it by continuing the preparation of the Form Charm itself and activating this Charm immediately the turn after the Form itself is activated. The shape of the Exalt becomes entirely sanguine, dissolving into a gory skeletal shape packed beneath a translucent red gel. This Charm improves the Crimson Temple Form in many ways, letting him flow in impossible and grotesque ways – around blows, and even through blows. It grants an additional number of free dodges at the Exalt’s full dodge pool per turn equal to the Exalt’s Martial Arts ability, and utterly immunizes him to bashing damage. Also, the master finds that he easily recovers from even effective blows, healing lethal damage at a rate of half his permanent Essence (rounded up) per turn, as his un-congealing shape seeps back to normal proportions even after the mightiest of attacks or mishaps.
I really, really like this style. It's vividly described with over-the-top special effects, and seems a perfect counterpoint to Hungry Ghost Style. The blood-absorption element of the form charm is particularly grotesque. Now I have to design a deathknight to use this style!
One question: where the form charm states that unarmed attacks inflict double the usual wound penalty, does this indicate that the raw damage is doubled? I can't see how you'd calculate doubled wound penalties for specific wounds. Likewise, I'm not sure it's appropriate to define the action penalty from the Sanguine Sigil as a wound penalty. - Quendalon
Blame it on hastily defining Charms at the workplace. *grins* As of this post I've clarified those two things. Thank you very much for your input. I'm glad someone out there can put my work to use, too! Balthasar
I have to agree with Quendalon here. This is a great style for imagery. I've just got a few questions about the power level of the form charm and ultimate charm.
My question about the form charm is the damage healing. It just feels like 2 damage to heal 1 lethal completely is a bit too powerful. Maybe if it was 2 damage to scale it down... 2 to go from lethal to bashing, and another 2 to take it from bashing to nothing.
My question with the ultimate charm is similar but a bit more significant. Making yourself totally immune to bashing seems extreme. Invunerble Skin of Bronze doesn't even do that. Bones can bruise too. Maybe you're immune to anything your "natural soak" and under? And healing half your Permanent Essence in lethal a turn... I'm not too sure about it, but nothing better comes to mind. But, let me say again, I love the imagery. - haren