Five Season Style
I designed a tree of "charms" for mortal martial arts loosely based on insane kung fu movies and stuff I saw the shaolin monks perform for their Wheel of Life tour...
My goal was to create a series of charms (fueled by mortal willpower) that let them briefly obtain supernatural capabilities -- now based on the design of the charms, if an exalt learned them he/she would be able to take the style far beyond anything any mortal could. They may seem broken if you think of them in terms of the average Solar performing them, but a mortal would be hard pressed to do more than a few in a scene and that would completely drain him, perhaps for days, when his spirit had renewed itself and his body had rested from the enormous strain the techniques put on it.
This martial art is a closely-guarded secret, since it empowers those with the dedication and inner strength to master it. However, in the hands of any Exalt, or even God-Blood, it becomes devastatingly powerful, since the charms can be fueled by essence (2x the listed Willpower cost). My goal was to create something that would make a duel between an Immaculate and a heroic mortal interesting for a turn or two, until the mortal is out of Willpower and the Immaculate smokes him (unless he activates the form Charm and gets initiative, then there's a chance he'll waste the immaculate.)
This style is incompatible with armor, and favors any "peasant weapon:" Bo staff, knives, etc.
Blossoming Flower Stance</b>
<b>Cost: 1 Willpower Duration: Reflexive Type: Reflexive Min. Martial Arts: 1 Min. Essence: 1 Prereqs: None
Knocked to the ground, the mortal can immediately reclaim his feet while performing a hooking leg sweep. This is a counterattack at his full pool and can be used in response to counterattack charms. This Charm may be activated up to the character’s Dexterity times per round.
Long Day Short Night Meditation</b>
<b>Cost:1 Willpower Duration: One action Type: Simple Min. Martial Arts: 2 Min. Essence: 1 Prereqs: Blossoming Flower Stance
Practitioners learn to perform feats of great stamina and endurance, like emulating the summer sun as it makes its ever-longer travel across the skies in a single day. By taking a moment to center himself, the martial artist can emulate this. Subtract martial arts from any stamina test difficulty to a minimum of one (this allows them to hold their breath for great lengths of time, resist the effects of fatigue even resist poisons and disease, etc.)
Crimson Leaf Meditation</b>
<b>Cost:1 or 3 Willpower Duration: Martial Arts in turns Type: Simple Min. Martial Arts: 3 Min. Essence: 1 Prereqs: Long Day Short Night Meditation
Named for the flush of color that comes to skin of those who use the technique, the martial artist can use biofeedback to control his flow of blood, softening blows. For great effort, the martial artist can even overcome the limitations of his body and protect himself from lethal blows.
The character ignores his martial arts in bashing damage (for 1 Willpower) or lethal(for 3 Willpower). This means that damage is taken off the top before soak is calculated, meaning some blows can be completely negated if the martial artists remaining soak more than doubles the damage to be rolled
Example: Sayla, the mortal, versus Vakken, the Wood Immaculate.
Vakken and Sayla both spend a round staring each other down and cracking knuckles (Vakken runs through Wood Dragon Form, and Sayla takes a deep breath and initiates the Crimson Leaf Meditation, for one willpower, since this was an honor duel to test the skill of a would-be acolyte [she seeks entrance for spying purposes])
Vakken, with the clear advantage, was, sadly, born with more personality than muscles, so he has str., dex., and sta. at 2/2/3, respectively, and a Martial Arts of 4. Sayla, a Notherner, has str., dex., and sta. at 3/3/4, and the short-lived-mortal devotion to have attained a Martial Arts of 5. Vakken is Init. 8, while Sayla has Init. 6. Seeing her brief contemplation of his stance, he bolts forward, in an effort to punch the girl, and lands a solid blow (scoring 4 successes). Sayla takes the blow to the ribs, as her flushed skin softens the impact of Vakken's blow. His damage pool is reduced from 5 dice of damage to 1 die of damage. This remainder is compared to Sayla’s natural bashing soak of 4, which completely consumes the remaining force, leaving her completely unharmed.
Vakken, completely surprised by the total ineffectiveness of his rather well placed blow, is forced to use his anima power to reflexively dodge her counter attack...
Gnarled Fist of the Naked Tree </b>
<b>Cost:1 Willpower Duration: Martial Arts in turns Type: Supplemental Min. Martial Arts: 3 Min. Essence: 1 Prereqs: Crimson Leaf Meditation
Character can parry lethal blows without a stunt, and open hand attacks deal lethal damage.
Cracked Ice Finger Technique</b>
<b>Cost:2 Willpower Duration: Instant Type: Supplemental Min. Martial Arts: 4 Min. Essence: 1 Prereqs: Gnarled Fist of the Naked Tree
The character strikes vital points and cracks bones, causing a numbing and tingling sensation in the target (like bumping your funny bone).
Compare the character’s Essence + Martial Arts (adding bonus dice for accuracy successes), and roll the opponent’s Stamina + Resistance. Net successes are subtracted from the opponent’s Dexterity-based pools
Five Season Form</b>
<b>Cost:2 Willpower, 1 Bashing Health Level Duration: Martial Arts in turns Type: Simple Min. Martial Arts: 5 Min. Essence: 1 Prereqs: Cracked Ice Finger Technique
Transforming into a perfect cycle of elements, the character’s "inner divinity" manifests, creating an "aura" that often is felt by the occult sensitive. It will scare animals and disturb leaves dust and sand. The character’s Essence is added to all physical stats, his attacks are lethal and he can parry lethal blows with his hands, he gains a lethal soak equal to 1/2 his stamina (rounded down), and he can make a Cascading Attack (Meaning, at the cost of all defense, he can make as many as ten attacks at a cumulative -1 die to each attack), though this effect is generally reserved for those making a "last stand."
This is the limit of mortal potential.
I'd argue that for the most part, Exalts can't convert this art to run on Essence, the style is purely based on mortal will. If if a mortal martial artist exalts, this art still require willpower, not essence.
That said, Mortal use and manipulate essence differently to most beings, so possibly a mortal with the 'Flow of Essence' Merit could swap the willpower requirements for essence ones, but again, if he exalted, he'd have to use the willpower costs again.Edward_Fortune