A martial art form that focuses on time bending without cracking the basic metaphysical precepts of Exalted. Heavily inspired by Terry Prachett’s Monks of History. A very common first style for Sidereal Martial Artists.
Slicing Time makes normal interaction with the world dangerous. It is advised to wear only the lightest clothing possible, and impossible to use this technique with any weapons. Even normally non-armors, such as the Silken Armor or the Living Armor are too encumbering with the practicioner of the Hourglass Style to use.
Yes, that means that the Hourglass Style has no innate way of parry or dealing lethal damage, and is even more soak impaired than normal. Not accidental. - DariusSolluman
First Steps on the Journey</b>
<b>Cost: None Duration: Permanent Type: Special Min. Martial Arts: 2 Min. Essence: 1 Prereqs: None
The Path of the Hourglass is a long and complex one. It is a hard thing to picture time and history not as static, unchangeable forces, but as living and breathing entities- to separate the Potential from the Actual to the Set. But even those just beginning to walk the path quickly grow attuned to the living and breathing patterns of the world. An Exalt with the First Steps on the Journey always, instinctively, knows exactly what time it is. Teams of acolytes with this Charm can often use it to great effect in planning pranks against their elders. Additionally, they gain a permanent +1 bonus on all Initative rolls.
Laughter of the Ages</b>
<b>Cost:1 mote / +3 bonus Duration: Instant Type: Reflexive Min. Martial Arts: 3 Min. Essence: 1 Prereqs: First Steps on the Journey
Those who have seen the student of Hourglass are well aware that even the beginning students are marvelously adept at how quickly they can move and how tuned their reflexes are. It’s difficult to get the drop on them, and even more difficult to get a word or blow in edgewise once a bout has begun. Using Laughter of the Ages gives a character a +3 bonus to initative for every mote of essence they spend on the Charm, although they can spend no more motes that their Martial Arts score.
Deceiving the Watcher Method</b>
<b>Cost:2 motes Duration: Instant Type: Supplimental Min. Martial Arts: 3 Min. Essence: 1 Prereqs: First Steps of the Journey
Virtually everyone has heard the adage that the hand is quicker than the eye, but few understand it’s full implication. It is not that the hand actually moves at a speed too great for the eye to follow- it is that the magician leads the audience to look away from what they need to see. A good trickster can perform such a trick even when the audience is prepared for it- but they bow before the masters of this Charm. Through careful use of stance, word and posture, the Exalt is suddenly much harder to focus properly on. Any attempt at doing so (either to hit them or notice them doing something sneaky) is at an additional difficulty equal to the Exalt’s Permanent Essence. This is an environmental penelty, and negated by any Charm which negates such.
Echoing Blow Method</b>
<b>Cost:2 motes Duration: Instant Type: Supplemental Minimum Martial Arts: 3 Minimum Essence: 2 Prereqs: Laughter of the Ages, Deceiving the Watcher Method
With practice a practioner of Hourglass style can throw his punches forward slightly in time, so that the blow appears to land seconds after it was thrown. This tends to be disorienting to the targets, and can be used to kick someone in both sides of the head simultaneously.
Attacks made with this charm are delayed by 1 round. Figure the number of attack dice now, but the attack actually occurs and is dodged or parried in the next round. This requires no intervention by the martial artist, and occurs even if the target has moved out of range.
<b>Cost:7 motes Duration: One Scene Type: Simple Min. Martial Arts: 4 Min. Essence: 2 Prereqs: Echoing Blow Method
Time passes. It marches on, relentlessly, each sand falling as it inexorably must. There is a constance in the change, a certainty in the very nature of everything being created and destroyed at every moment of every moment. Time heeds no mortal concern, and the masters of the Hourglass Form seek to emulate it. Their stance is perfectly relaxed, every motion seeming to be precisely considered, measured, and to be found exactly as long or short as it needs to be. They move inexorably towards their goal. Further, he begins to process of slicing time- of changing his perceptions to see the flow of history through the world, and to take his own place in an existence of frozen light and sound.
While in the Hourglass Form, the user may reflexively full dodge every round, in addition to taking their normal action. Additionally, they gain a bonus to their initative equal to their Permanent Essence; this bonus supercedes the +1 granted from the First Steps of the Journey.
Hourglass Form is not compatible with any armor. A character may only have one Martial Arts Form charm active at a time.
Moment of Eternity</b>
<b>Cost:1 Willpower / hour Duration: Instant Type: Simple Min. Martial Arts: 4 Min. Essence: 2 Prereqs: Hourglass Form
True mastery does not simply come from great speed. It also may come from stillness and reflection. Many acolytes have seen the master clasp his hands and appear to meditate for a split second in combat- and after the clap, seen their master as refreshed as though long hours had passed.
Each point of Willpower spent on the Moment of Eternity frees the Exalt to meditate and rest for an hour. They treat this time exactly as real time. Any scene-long charms begun during the moment end when it does. Most followers of the Hourglass style use this time to simply rest and heal- using Medecine Charms, or meditating to regain Essence at the 8 motes per hour rate. When the Moment ends, the Exalt resumes exactly where they left off.
The Threshold to Forever</b>
<b>Cost:10motes, 1 Willpower Duration: One day Type: Simple Min. Martial Arts: 4 Min. Essence: 3 Prereqs: Moment of Eternity
The Threshold of Forever is what the masters of the Hourglass Style call the wall of blackness that exists in the deepest recesses of time. As seconds are sliced ever more finely into longer and longer hours. There is a crest, however, just before the wall. By entering this crest at the edge of forever, the Martial Artist can cover vast amounts of ground in virtually no time at all. They have to keep moving, however- once they've started, stopping is dangerous, as they'll run out of breathable air in short order. Touching anything in motion is a fatally bad idea, and so the Threshold can not be used in combat. But otherwise, it allows an Exalt to travel, in a single day, as far as they could in a month per point of Permanent Essence.
Slicing Time Meditation</b>
<b>Cost:1 mote cumulative Duration: Instant Type: Extra Actions Min. Martial Arts: 4 Min. Essence: 2 Prereqs: Hourglass Form
Advancing on the Hourglass’s Path is not an easy one, but those who do find the work well rewarded with the Slicing Time Meditation. These Exalts may take two Martial Arts actions per turn, for each turn they maintain the Slicing Time Meditation. The cost of such focus is extreme, however- they must spend an increasing number of motes to maintain the Charm per turn. The first turn it is used, the cost is 1 mote. The next, 2. The next 3, and so on. If the Slicing Time Meditation is not used for one turn, the cost resets to 1.
This cost is cumulative with the use of any similiar Charms, such as the Vision of Frozen Light. Thus, if a character used Slicing Time Meditation one round for 1 mote, they would pay 2 motes to activate Slicing Time Meditation the next round, or 4 motes to activate Vision of Frozen Light.
Vision of Frozen Light</b>
<b>Cost:3 motes cumulative Duration: Instant Type: Reflexive Min. Martial Arts: 4 Min. Essence: 2 Prereqs: Slicing Time Meditation
A refinement of the Slicing Time Meditation, the Exalt dives deeper into time. Some have likened the sensation to swimming at great depths- the world grows darker and dimmer, the sounds more and more muffled until suddenly, without warning, they burst through the wall of their own perceptions. They move with impossible speed now- no one seeing them can mistake it for anything else. The Vision of Frozen Light grants a character an additional normal action. This action and their original action may be used for any purpose- attacking, defending, movement, and so on. It must be maintained in the same fashion as the Slicing Time Meditation- the first turn is 3 motes, the second 6, the third 9, and so on. The Vision of Frozen Light may only be used once per turn.
This essence cost is cumulative with the use of any similiar Charms, such as the Slicing Time Meditation. Thus, if a character used Vision of Frozen Light one round for 3 motes, they would pay 4 motes to activate Slicing Time Meditation the next round, or 6 motes to activate Vision of Frozen Light.
The Flowing Reflex</b>
<b>Cost:7 motes, 1 Willpower Duration: One Scene Type: Reflexive Min. Martial Arts: 4 Min. Essence: 3 Prereqs: Hourglass Form
Agents of time and change, the Masters of the Hourglass Form are expert at moving at the last possible second. They act with the minimum of everything, knowing precise the Time and Place to be. The Flowing Reflex is the epitome of this nature- raising the difficulty of any attempt to strike the Exalt by their Permanent Essence for the remainder of the scene.
<b>Cost:3 motes Duration: Instant Type: Supplemental Min. Martial Arts: 5 Min. Essence: 3 Prereqs: The Flowing Reflex
How slow everyone must seem to these Masters. How like lightning them move to mortal eye. Which is the correct view? Both at once, and that is the great secret- time is invented in the mind, and by freeing the mind of limitations, you free the body of time. Using the Inexorable Force in combat allows a character to add a number of automatic successes equal to their Permanent Essence to any Martial Arts action.
Union with the Sands of Time</b>
<b>Cost:7 motes, 1 Willpower
Duration: Instant Type: Supplimental Min. Martial Arts: 5 Min. Essence: 4 Prereqs: Vision of Frozen Light, The Threshold to Forever, Inexorable Force
Imagine if the world would stop, just for you. Just for a second. Imagine how much you could accomplish, unfettered by the movement of stars and spirits. Imagine if the Hourglass would listen to your whispered wish, and suspend, for a moment, the fall of the sand. Mastering the Hourglass Path means just that. You wish, and for a moment, you have all the time you need to ensure your successes. The next Martial Arts, Dodge, or Athletics action you take is Perfect. If offensive, it may only be blocked or dodged with another Perfect Defense. If defensive, it is a standard Perfect Defense. Union with the Sands of Time does not trump applicibility- a blow made with it may be dodged with Seven Shadow Evasion, while it does nothing to help against an attack like the Godspear of the Five Metal Shrike.
This looks cool, and distinctive, but First Steps on the Journey seems a bit weak and uninteresting, and I don't think I can figure out what should happon if the effect is used in the underworld, when the grand clock is broken. Either limiting it to creation, or better yet, a personal sense of duration would be good, but it could use a small cookie on top of this. May I suggest a Permenent 1 pt initiative bonus? Speaking of which, this does strike me as a martial arts form that should give an init bonus.
Also Charm Idea: Ticking with the Times of the World. A Reflexive charm, usable vs. only one opponent each turn. Whenever the opponent takes an extra action(via any source), you may use the charm to get an independent action. -JustinS
Minor suggestion: Maybe when using Moment of Eternity with heartstones, they would lose one temporary dot per hour of eternal time, as they are tapped for essence while their manse literally doesn't have time to refill them. The lost dot would not affect abilities granted, just (possibly) their regeneration rate. The stones regain one dot per full day of normal time. A heartstone reduced below zero (below, as to make tapping 1-dot stones possible) is destroyed and must be re-grabbed back at the manse. Not seeking to nerf it particularily, I just think it's cooler this way. -Melle
It mildly boggles my mind that this Style gets the comments it does. Not that I'm complaining- just amused. Has anyone actually used it in their games? How well is it balanced? :)
Onwards- Re: JustinS. I was worried about overburdening the Form with too much coolness, trying to keep it balanced with other Celestial level Forms. The automatic Full Dodge seemed like a good way to go, in so far as that goes. More than that, and I'd risk overburdening. But then, compared to some other Forms (VBoS, Ebon Shadow) it could use a bit of buffing. Maybe add Essence as an Initative bonus; this also helps emphasize this style as a primarily Sidereal one. And I've added the permanent Initative boost to the First Steps of the Journey :)
As for the Ticking with the Time of the World... I'm kinda meh. That degree of Charm interaction strikes me more as a Secret Sidereal level thing to do, rather than a Celestial one. If I ever get really bored and right up the Silver Sands of Heaven's Timepiece Style, something like it will almost certainly make an appearance- but not for this Style.
Re: Melle and Hearthstones. Hm... I dunno. I can kinda see the thematics you're going for, but it seems to be a kinda cruel and pointless nerf. DS
(shrugs) Probably is, at that. As for the mind-boggling response, you have only yourself to blame when you execute Pratchett Geek Attraction Prana like that. ;) -Mellle
I think that the extra actions charm should maintain its duration but be allowed to combo. If not then who uses that charm will be handicapped defensively that turn. I have with my player using this martial arts already made that change, and yes it does add to the power of the style, but without it the style is hamstrung unless using the charm next on the tree. DragoonDrake
Holy crap! Someone's using this style? How's it faring to the canon charms? :)
Re: Change- yeah, those should be Instants, not 'While Maintained'. Just instants with... interesting costs. First style, first real attempt at making charms- I wasn't as familiar with Exalted then :) DS
DS, this MA is actually faring extremely well. The player made a combo using Echoing Blow and Slicing Time to land four attacks in one turn. The player fought and defeated an opponent well versed in the Ebon Shadow Style that used a combo involving Finger-Distraction and the stun/numb charm. Because of the extra action he was able to hold his own. The two of us decided that this is definetely(spelling) a style worth getting and then learning either a Sidereal Style or Five-Dragon Style to make the attacks do lethal damage and give a way to parry lethal damage. DragoonDrake
I have a question about the Echoing Blow Method, does the user get to say when the blows land or is it done after his actions next round? Example: I throw 3 attacks forward and end my turn (the guy I'm fighting does nothing, he's a DB so kinda slow). Next turn, I go first; now can I have my 3 blows from last round land before my attcks made this turn or would they fall after my actions? If I were to get second or hold my actions could my echoed blows then land before I even did anything? Sorry for such a long question but I can see being very sneaky with this based on when the blows land. Thanks in advance for the answer. Bel