MartialArts/HarmonyOfTreesStyle

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Harmony of Trees Style

A Celestial Martial Art by DeadManSeven.

Introduction

This style was sitting in my brain for a long time. I knew I wanted to make a style based on the different parts of trees (leaves, branches, roots/trunk), but whenever I tried to map out the Charmset, it just didn't want to work. Then, while hanging around my local arcade one day, I reached an epiphany while watching someone play Tekken Tag. I was wondering how to incorporate juggling into Exalted, maybe make a very arcade-y sort of fighting style, and it hit me that I could put this idea into that tree style thing that never worked. The three sub-forms and the pinnacle combining them just grew out of that.

Background

This style was created by a First Age Zenith monk who, if record is to be believed, gave up all of her possessions, including her own name, to better understand her role as the chosen of the Unconquered Sun. For many centuries after the Ursurpation, Sidereals believed this style was three separate sets of Charms, used by the now-nameless Zenith to train her students. However, a First Age scroll was uncovered that revealed the lost final Charm, unifying the three proto-styles into one unified martial art. Because of this, many Sidereal tutors that pass on knowledge of this style often teach the three sections of this style separately, saving the pinnacle wisdom for their students when they feel they are ready to receive it.

Harmony of Trees Style allows for weapons that are chiefly constructed of wood. Generally this means limiting weapons to clubs, (seven-section-)staves, and bows, although some practitioners of this style have been known to use ornately-carved wooden swords. To make a wooden version of a regular weapon, it must be made from exceptionally sturdy materials and specially treated to withstand the rigours of combat. This can add between one and two points to the resources cost of the weapon, depending on the complexity of the work. All wooden weapons can only deal bashing damage. In a similar vein, while bows are weapons for this style, the arrows they fire must be made of wood, limiting martial artists to target and fowling arrows. Artifact weapons must be specifically constructed with this style in mind, and rarely contain Magical Materials other than green jade.

Charms

Drifting
 Auburn
 Leaves
    \`
     \    Falling
      ---- Leaf
     /     Form
    /           \`
Lifted           \`
on the            \`
Breeze             Scattering
                     Leaves  \`
Springs-like-         Steps   \`
Sapling Method                 \`
    \                           \`
     \     Bowing     Entwined   \    Fruits of
      ---- Branch --- Branches ------- Wisdom
     /      Form       Strike    /      Kata
    /                           /
   Wood                        /
  Butcher              Shedding
Meditation              Bark
                    Technique
Roots-Run-Deep     /
   Approach       /
    \            /
     \   Hardened
      ---- Root
     /     Form
    /
Life
From
Soil

(For a non-ASCII Charm tree, click here.)


Drifting Auburn Leaves
Cost: none
Duration: Permanent
Type: Special
Minimum Martial Arts: 1
Minimum Essence: 1
Prerequisites: none

The martial artist falls to earth with the grace and weightlessness of a shed leaf. She will never take any damage from a fall, no matter how great the distance, although a Dexterity + Athletics roll may be required in the case of unstable (thin ice, soft mud) or dangerous (spiked pits, scattered shards of broken glass) surfaces to avoid further peril.



Lifted on the Breeze
Cost: 2 motes
Duration: Instant
Type: Reflexive
Minimum Martial Arts: 2
Minimum Essence: 1
Prerequisites: none

Catching the breeze and riding with it, the character may greatly increase her jumping distance. For every two motes spent, the multiplication factor increases by one (eg. two motes doubles the distance, four motes triples, six quadruples, etc.), up to a limit of the character's Essence. The number of times this Charm is used to multiply jumping distances also affects how long it takes the character to complete their jump; each use adds one turn to the length of the jump. Thus, a character spending four motes to be able to leap three times as high as she would be able to ordinarily will reach the apex of her jump in three turns. This Charm is incompatible with armour.



Falling Leaf Form
Cost: 6 motes
Duration: One scene
Type: Simple
Minimum Martial Arts: 4
Minimum Essence: 2
Prerequisites: Drifting Auburn Leaves, Lifted on the Breeze

Drawing on the prior mastery of movement like drifting leaves, the martial artist is now able to impart the same motion upon her enemies through her attacks. While this Charm is active, any opponent who is struck and damaged is lifted up into the air. At the end of the turn, any enemies struck suffer an additional automatic attack, doing the character's Essence in raw damage (perfect defences may be applied to avoid this effect), either from falling, colliding with nearby scenery, or a strike from the martial artist as she effortlessly incorporates the blow into her movements. Also, opponents will have to succeed at a reflexive Dexterity + Athletics (difficulty 1), or be knocked prone.

This is a Martial Arts Form Charm. Only one Form Charm may be active at any time. This Charm is incompatible with armour.



Scattering Leaves Steps
Cost: 5 motes
Duration: Instant
Type: Reflexive
Minimum Martial Arts: 4
Minimum Essence: 3
Prerequisites: Falling Leaf Form

Emulating fallen leaves picked up and thrown asunder by gusts of wind, the character moves to avoid blows. She is able to dodge one attack she is aware of without the need for a dice roll, and move up to [Essence*3] yards away to avoid her attacker. This is not a perfect defence. This Charm is incompatible with armour.



Springs-like-Sapling Method
Cost: none
Duration: Permanent
Type: Special
Minimum Martial Arts: 1
Minimum Essence: 1
Prerequisites: none

Bending her body like a young sapling, the character may instantly spring to her feet from the ground. Rising from being prone becomes a reflexive action instead of a dice action, provided the character is able to get to her feet.



Wood Butcher Meditation
Cost: 3 motes per wound penalty
Duration: One scene
Type: Special
Minimum Martial Arts: 2
Minimum Essence: 2
Prerequisites: none

Trees may have their branches severed, yet the tree continues to flourish. Contemplating this, the martial artist is able to act similarly. She enters into a deep trance from which nobody can force her to emerge from. This trance state commonly lasts between ten minutes and a half hour, although some masters of this style have been observed in meditation for over an hour.

For every three motes the character spends, and every ten minutes she spends meditating, she may reduce her wound penalties by one for the remainder of the scene. This includes wound penalties she is currently suffering, as well as any she may incur later on. The character can only negate up to her Essence in wound penalties, regardless of how long she spends in meditation. This Charm cannot reduce any penalties past zero, although it is able to counter other Charms that may increase dice lost from wound penalties. This Charm is incompatible with armour.



Bowing Branch Form
Cost: 6 motes
Duration: One scene
Type: Simple
Minimum Martial Arts: 4
Minimum Essence: 2
Prerequisites: Springs-like-Sapling Method, Wood Butcher Meditation

Like a tree swaying and moving with the wind, the martial artist effortlessly avoids blows from her enemies. While this Charm is active, she may make a reflexive dodge from any attack with her Essence rating in dice. These extra dice cannot be added to an existing Dodge action, but they may added to the character's Dodge pool when declaring a full dodge.

This is a Martial Arts Form Charm. Only one Form Charm may be active at any time. This Charm is incompatible with armour.



Entwined Branches Strike
Cost: 3 motes per attack
Duration: Instant
Type: Extra Action
Minimum Martial Arts: 4
Minimum Essence: 3
Prerequisites: Bowing Branch Form

A tree's branches split and fan out in all directions. By studying the growth of trees, the martial artist learns how to direct her attacks in the same fashion. For every three motes spent, the character may make an additional attack, up to her Essence in extra attacks. Each of these attacks must be against a different opponent.



Roots-Run-Deep Approach
Cost: none
Duration: Permanent
Type: Special
Minimum Martial Arts: 1
Minimum Essence: 1
Prerequisites: none

The martial artist is imbued with the strength of ancient trees who's roots run deep through the earth. Her Stamina is considered double its rating for the purposes of knockdown and knockback.



Life From Soil
Cost: 1 Willpower
Duration: Indefinite
Type: Simple
Minimum Martial Arts: 3
Minimum Essence: 1
Prerequisites: none

While her bare feet are in contact with the ground, the martial artist can draw Essence from the soil in the same way a tree draws its sustenance. While this Charm is active, the character can siphon [Essence] motes every minute, regaining them in the same manner as if they returned naturally. The Willpower point spent to power this Charm remains committed for the length of its activation. The character must keep her feet in contact with the ground while this Charm runs its course; actions more complex than walking at a calm pace (such as combat) will require rolls of Dexterity or Wits + Athletics or Martial Arts in order to keep the Charm functioning. Difficulty should be assigned by the Storyteller; as a guide, something like holding a jogging pace should be difficulty 1, engaging in hand-to-hand combat should be difficulty 3, and dodging through a hail of arrows should be difficulty 5.



Hardened Root Form
Cost: 6 motes
Duration: One scene
Type: Simple
Minimum Martial Arts: 4
Minimum Essence: 2
Prerequisites: Roots-Run-Deep Approach, Life From Soil

Like the roots that support the tree, the martial artist is capable of great feats of endurance. She adds her Martial Arts rating to both her bashing and lethal soak, and is able to parry lethal attacks barehanded.

This is a Martial Arts Form Charm. Only one Form Charm may be active at any time. This Charm is incompatible with armour.



Shedding Bark Technique
Cost: 1 mote per bashing level, 3 motes per lethal level, 1 Willpower
Duration: Varies
Type: Special
Minimum Martial Arts: 5
Minimum Essence: 3
Prerequisites: Hardened Root Form

Old growth must make way the new and the strong. The martial artist learns to renew her body in the same way a tree renews its bark. She spends the motes to power this Charm, and then feels the need to sleep. The motes remain committed until she wakes. The character will sleep for half an hour for every level of bashing damage healed, and two hours for every lethal level. This Charm cannot heal Aggravated damage. When she rises, she will also look subtly different; while she is still recognisable, her facial features and skin tone will alter slightly. Over time, repeated use of this Charm can make her look like a very different person, although it will never cause her Appearance score to change.



Fruits of Wisdom Kata
Cost: none
Duration: Permanent
Type: Special
Minimum Martial Arts: 5
Minimum Essence: 4
Prerequisites: Scattering Leaves Steps, Entwined Branches Strike, Shedding Bark Technique

The martial artist realises the final wisdom this style has to offer: all things in nature must exist in balance and harmony. Drawing on that lesson, she makes the three Form Charms mesh and cooperate like a living organism. She is no longer able to use any of the three separate Forms, as they have become one Charm. This is the Harmony of Trees Form, replacing the prior three Forms in the Harmony of Trees Style. Activating it is at the same cost as activating any one of the previous Forms, but it benefits from the advantages of all three Forms at the same time.

Comments

I'm not seeing a compelling reason to make Fruits of Wisdom Kata a wacky sort-of permaCharm. I suggest following the precedent of Four Magical Materials Form and make it a 6m, one scene Charm that explicitly says the user gets the benefits of all three previous Form Charms. ~ WaiyaddoNoDan

I did think about aping 4MMF, but I wanted the three sub-Forms to combine and become the proper Form of the style, not just have a Charm that lets a number of previous Charms be active at the same time. The way I see it, Fruits of Wisdom Kata is a classic kung-fu movie schtick where the student realises that they've known the skills all along, having been taught by their master in a round-about way ("Wax on, wax off..."). It's not the cleanest way to write the Charm, I know, but Martial Arts are supposed to be different and odd. I might tighten up the wording on the pinnacle though, maybe, make things a little clearer. - DeadManSeven
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