Iridescent Rivers of Essence Style - A Sidereal Martial Arts Style - The Sutra of Geomancy
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Streams of energy, invisible to the naked eye, course across the face of Creation, throughout Yu-Shan, and some say even throughout the Underworld. These energies, vast beyond most comprehension, affect the world around them in uncountable ways, shaping life, mood, and the terrain through a constant and unceasing process. Harnessed only in crude fashion by large-scale works, these rivers of essence provide fuel to not only Exalts, but also devices and artifacts of immense power. Through dedicated study and practice, the Martial Artist who masters the Sutra of Geomancy can harness the powers of the world around him, becoming a vessel of enormous power. Truly, a master of such a style is invincible!
Focusing on experience rather than simple repetitive dojang training, students of this style are known for their travels. Traversing Creation to learn and experience the flows of essence across it, students can often be found training in the midst of the dragon lines, or in demenses.
Weapons and Armor
This style requires energies to flow through the Exalt without impedence, preventing the use of armor with this style. Martial Artists studying this style have found that the fighting chain allows adequate emulation of the river flows themselves, while others have found the tiger claw suitable, due to the similarity of the rivers of essence around them, and the rivers emulated by the water-dragon style.
The Sutra of Geomancy
First, there was a Sutra...
Understanding of <Location's> Flows</b>
<b>Cost: 1m Duration: Indefinite Type: Simple Min. Martial Arts: 5 Min. Essence: 4 Prereqs: None
The first set of charms learned by students of this style, Understanding of <Location's> Flows can be bought at least two different times, once for Creation, and once for Yu-Shan. Many theorize that one could also master the essence flows of the Underworld, and perhaps even Malfeas, however the difficulty of training in such a region has prevented all but the most elder Sidereals from even attempting such a thing. Once learned, the student has learned the ways and characteristics of the ambient essence flows, increasing his capabilities, and improving his connection to the essence of the region. While in the appropriate plane, the character's ambient essence respiration is increased by (Essence) motes per hour, and the character's personal essence pool is increased by (Essence) as well. Finally, as the character's ability to feel and sense the essence flows around them has also been increased, the distance at which the character can sense Demenses and Manses is increased by (Essence), and the character can generally tell the 'color' or type of energies. Many of the charms in this style require the character to know the appropriate Understanding of <Location's> Flows for the region they are in.
<b>Cost: 5 motes Duration: Instant Type: Supplemental Min. Martial Arts: 5 Min. Essence: 4 Prereqs: Understanding of <Location's> Flows
Much as Essence flows as a river across the land, so does it flow through all beings. Armed with this knowledge, and their innate capability for essence manipulation, the student of this style strikes their opponent in such a fashion as to impede this river. Breaking through it's walls, the river of essence bleeds from them as water flows downhill, leaving them weaker. When an attack enhanced by this charm hits, the martial artist makes a n (Essence+Martial Arts) roll, opposed by his target, rolling (Essence). For every success the martial artist scores, the target immediately loses 3m from his essence pools, allocated as the target sees fit. If the target has no remaining essence to lose, he instead loses one health level (automatically, without soak) for every 3m he would have lost.
<b>Cost: 14 motes, 1WP Duration: Instant + Special Type: Supplemental Min. Martial Arts: 5 Min. Essence: 4 Prereqs: Essence-Disrupting Blow
Seizing upon the previous technique, the student now learns not only to force essence out of its natural patterns, but to seize it and manipulate it, much as a Manse manipulates the essence bleeding out of a Demense. When a strike enhanced by this charm hits, the target may resist this effect by engaging in a contested (Essence) roll with the martial artist, in which the artist gains a single automatic bonus success. If not resisted, the character ties the target's essence flows into their own, greatly increasing their power, and limiting that of their opponent. The character may now spend motes out of the target's essence pools, burning or stealing up to three motes per round for each success the martial artist rolled. The target may attempt to resist this flow once per turn, at the end of the round, by re-engaging in the contested (Essence) roll with the martial artist, in which the martial artist receives a single bonus success. The link is broken when the target runs out of essence, or wins the contested roll. The amount of essence stolen or burned per round changes each round based on this resistance roll.
<b>Cost: 12 motes Duration: One Scene Type: Simple Min. Martial Arts: 5 Min. Essence: 4 Prereqs: Essence-Tapping Strike
Taking his techniques to a new scale, the character need no longer exploit the simple essence pattern of other targets, and may instead draw energy directly from any region where he has obtained Understanding of <Location's> Flows. Pulling in as a vacuum, space and time seem to distort as ambient essence is pulled into the martial artist. Not only useful as a protection against harmful uncapped demense flows, this provides a source of fuel to the martial artist, as he may now use a dice action to actually pull the essence directly into his pattern. Rolling (Str+Martial Arts), the character gains 1m for every success. The character may split his die pool normally in a round in which this is employed, allowing a significant amount of essence to be gained in a short time. It is noted, however, that few regions can naturally support such a power drain, and drawing more than 5 to 10 motes per turn will result in the withering of local plants, dimming of lights, and even the crumbling of stone structures. This effect, while not actually destroying structures, or useful in a combat sense, does tend to severely reduce property values as the effect spreads across the landscape, leaving a place that at first glance might resemble a shadowland. This effect is less pronounced the closer the martial artist is to an uncapped demense or an attuned Manse, allowing practitioners of this style great leeway when given choice of battleground.
<Type> Manse Emulation</b>
<b>Cost: 12 motes Duration: While committed Type: Simple Min. Martial Arts: 5 Min. Essence: 5 Prereqs: Understanding of <Location's> Flows
Similar in many ways to the Demense and Manse form eventually adopted by the PAoC style, <Type> Manse Emulation allows the character to emulate the Essence flows found in and around various types of Manses. Available in types such as Solar, Abyssal, Sidereal, Fire, Air, etc., the character adopts the stance and grandeur of a Manse, bearing themselves as a vessel for the power of the region. At the time this charm is learned, the Storyteller and the player design a 4 or 5 point hearthstone appropriate to the type of Manse being emulated. When this charm is activated, this hearthstone appears on the character's body at one of the character's Chakra points, fully attuned. The various types of this charm can only be learned if the character has also learned the corresponding Understanding of <Location's> Flows, so a character wishing to emulate a fire-aspected manse must have first learned to understand Creation's flows, while learning to emulate a Celestially-aspected manse requires one to have mastered the flows found in Yu-Shan.
Iridescent River of Essence Form</b>
<b>Cost: 12 motes Duration: One Scene Type: Simple Min. Martial Arts: 5 Min. Essence: 5 Prereqs: All previous charms
Moving in a slow and circular pattern, the character moves his body along the turbulent flows of essence around him. Moving without resistance, his motions swept along by the rivers of essence, he gains in power and speed, flowing through combat as a river flows over the land. Always moving with the strongest currents, the character's peripheral essence pool is expanded by (2*Essence) due to the increased ambient energy. As his strikes hit, they are pushed along by the flows, doing an additional (Essence) damage per strike. Attacking the martial artist becomes even more difficult, as the charms employed by most worthy opponents disrupt these flows, pushing them away - and with the flows, so goes the martial artist. As such, attacks enhanced by charms are much less likely to hit the martial artist, with the difficulty of the attack increased by the number of motes spent on any supplemental or simple charms used to generate or enhance the strike. Even latent effects, such as those generated by scene-long effects or other martial arts forms can push the practitioner of this style out of the way, acting as a water-jet on his person, softening blows. For every non-instant combat-related effect used by an opponent, the martial artist may reduce the damage of incoming attacks by one success.
Unleashing the Dammed River</b>
<b>Cost: 10 motes, 1 WP Duration: Special Type: Simple Min. Martial Arts: 5 Min. Essence: 5 Prereqs: The form charm
With all the world around him flowing with unimaginable amounts of power, the practitioner of this style need only focus it, control it, and unleash it to ensure the destruction of his foes. He begins by sweeping out wide arcs, tracing a sigil that will halt the flows of Essence around him, and then begins calling out with his own essence, disrupting these flows, and building up a large well of energy around him. At first, this can only be seen as a shimmering in the air, quickly expanding first into a ball of energy near his hands, and growing in size. As the practitioner struggles to control these energies, he rolls Stamina+Martial Arts, at a difficulty equal to the number of consecutive turns he has activated this charm. If successful, he continues to build the energy around him, adding successes on this roll to an accumulating "Energy" pool. In the turn after this charm is activated, the character may unleash this essence pool as an attack, or may re-activate this charm to continue building the pool. When unleashed, the attack tears through the region in front of the character as a large, hissing cone-shaped beam, decimating and vaporizing all that stands in its way. This attack is treated as an unarmed martial arts attack using Dexterity+Martial Arts, that can affect a number of targets, based on their vicinity to the 'center' point of the beam. Narrow beams are easiest, and do not reduce the energy pool. For every factor of 2 additional targets included (all of which must be in front of the character, in range of the beam, and consecutively 'outward' from the central target), reduce the energy pool by one success. After determining targets, a single attack is rolled, with accuracy bonus equal to the remaining energy pool, damage equal to (Strength + Energy Pool), and range equal to (25 yards * Energy Pool). As the beam is composed of raw external essence, which naturally flows through all things, it ignores soak granted by purely mundane materials, however, warded or thaumaturgically protected materials do provide protection. This charm may only be activated if the character knows the appropriate <location>attunement prana.
Capping the River of the Soul</b>
<b>Cost: 13 motes, 1HL Duration: One day Type: Simple Min. Martial Arts: 5 Min. Essence: 5 Prereqs: The form charm
While those who study the Sutra of Essence may believe that they understand the intracacies of Demenses and Manses, they admit their lack of knowledge in that they only emulate these magnificent structures. It is the student of Geomancy who truly understands, and rather than attempting to force harmonic essence flows by changing their motion to emulate a Manse, they instead change the flows of essence themself, such that the body is inherently the perfect Manse for just such flows. First-time targets of this charm often have a near-spiritual experience similar to the second breath as the essence and the body share one rythm, unlocking the potential within. With a series of strikes and motions, the martial artist performs this manipulation, resulting in the following effects:
- The target's effective Essence is increased by one. This does not allow learning of charms outside of the normal purview.
- If this raises the target to Essence 2, the target gains the healing and disease-resistance abilites normally associated with Exalts. If the target was already Exalted, this reduces healing times by a factor of 2, and allows the regeneration of lost limbs.
- The target's peripheral essence pool is now 'capped' by the Manse that is their body, preventing anima flare unless the character explicitly desires it.
- With all essence in and around the target now precisely controlled, essence manipulation becomes much easier, with normally dissipated essence instead flowing back into the character's reserves. At the end of each round, for every four motes spent or otherwise lost, the character regains one mote.
Repeated uses of this charm over the period of months often have more lasting effects, as the essence flows in the target become 'used' to following these patterns, much as one's muscles and ligaments become used to moving in certain patterns. As such, this technique is often employed by the Bronze faction in the training regimens used to help Terrestrial Exalts surpass their own innate Essence limitations.
<b>Cost: 10 motes Duration: Instant Type: Supplemental Min. Martial Arts: 5 Min. Essence: 5 Prereqs: The form charm
Charging their body with raw essence, the character's unarmed strike becomes a brutal and destructive thing. Radiating energy, it deals not only the damage expected for such a strike, but also deals additional damage equal to the character's Essence in aggravated damage, which must be soaked separately.
Redirection of the Natural Flow</b>
<b>Cost: 10 motes, 2WP, 1HL Duration: Instant Type: Simple Min. Martial Arts: 5 Min. Essence: 5 Prereqs: Capping the River of the Soul
Defying the natural course of Essence flows, the character begins a formal Kata intended to force Essence flows to follows his will. As all normal Essence patterns in the local region are destabilized, local fauna scatter and other Exalts often describe a feeling similar to the calm before a storm. Completing these motions, the martial artist makes a single strike, and with it, permanently changes the natural flow of Essence in his target. If used on an Exalt, this is a single Martial Arts attack, defended against normally. If the attack hits, the target's Essence pools are totally disrupted, if just for a moment. As such, during the moment the attack is resolved, the target is essentially considered a mortal, as they cannot spend essence to activate reflexive soak charms, and their total lack of essence breaks attunement to artifacts, Manses, demenses, and hearthstones. Immediately after the damage is applied, the target's Essence pools snap back into proper alignment, allowing charm use again, but attunement is not automatically regained.
If directed against the local region itself, this can create fundamental and permanent changes to the essence rivers in the area, disrupting or eliminating local Demenses, and turning Manses into pointlessly ornate buildings sitting on perfectly mundane ground. At the time the strike is made, all Exalts attuned to any Manse or Demense within 8 miles is immediately (and often painfully) aware of the meddling martial artist's location, as his strike is felt as a rock falls in a still pond. The martial artists rolls his Essence, with a difficulty equal to the largest Demense (or Manse) within 8 miles. If successful, the martial artist may redirect the Essence flows of the region, allowing to alter the Demense rating of the area thus struck by one in either direction. If unsuccessful, the martial artist suffers feedback from the strike, taking a number of unsoakable lethal damage equal to the amount the roll failed by. If used again in the same general region before the next Calibration, this charm will still resonate, but have little lasting effect, as the local Essence flows have yet to stabilize into the new pattern.
Reconstruction of the Internal Flows</b>
<b>Cost: 20 motes, 1 WP Duration: One Scene Type: Simple Min. Martial Arts: 5 Min. Essence: 5 Prereqs: All other in-style charms
Acheiving total and complete control over his own internal essence flows, the master of this style can reconstruct and redefine them into ornate patterns. Rather than having simple circituous paths throughout his system, with a pattern of repetitious movements, he forces them into sigils, symbols, and tiny vortices, ensuring peak efficiency. While this charm is activated, the character becomes effectively immune to all non-perfect forms of external Essence-manipulation, such as the Water-Spider Bite, the Essence-Infecting diseases of the Citrine Poxes of Contagion Style, and even most of the essence-draining effects of the Abyssal Exalted. In addition, the character may designate a particular set of charms (by ability or by attribute) which will resonate particularly well with their Essence pools. Charms and costs related to this set of charms have their costs reduced by 2m per charm usage, or 25%, whichever is greater (to a minimum of 1 mote). When this charm is first learned, the character may only designate Martial Arts charms as so favored, and additional abilities (or attributes) may be purchased later, at the cumulative cost of 1XP per ability so available. Thus, a character who would like to be able to optimize either his Martial Arts, Occult (for spellcasting), or Dodge charms would need to pay 1 XP to be allowed to optimize Occult charms, then 2XP to be able to optimize Dodge charms.