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Judicious Revenant Style
Among those knowledgeable in the martial arts, the Righteous Devil Style has earned a reputation as a deadly and feared art, both because of its focus on firewands and because of the style's harsh judgment and lack of mercy. To wrong a Righteous Devil Style master is to face the wrath of Heaven itself -- yet, in the harsh Age of Sorrows, even the chosen executioners of Heaven are corruptible. Whether because of bloodlust, unholy vengeance, misadventure, or some strange kismet, it is not unknown for some Solar practitioners of the Righteous Devil Style to fall to the Black Exaltation, joining the ranks of the deathknights. Most have forsaken their old style, as focused on Solar glory and justice as it is, but not all have, and from a handful of corrupted Righteous Devils, a new and terrifying style has arisen, called the "Judicious Revenant Style" by those who know of it. Those few who have seen it in action and lived have called it the dark reflection of Righteous Devil Style -- similar in many techniques, but tainted by the Essence of death and Oblivion. Most Righteous Devil practitioners who know of this corruption of their own techniques hunt Judicious Revenant practitioners avidly, calling for their deaths and the eradication of this perversion of the Sun's glorious justice. However, what only a few can admit to themselves is how similar in purpose so many Judicious Revenant martial artists seem to their "brothers" of the Righteous Devil Style -- and the disquieting implications of this.
Judicious Revenant Style is technically a Celestial-level martial art, like Righteous Devil Style, but in practice it is virtually Abyssal-only. (If there are non-Abyssal practitioners of Judicious Revenant Style, they have hidden themselves very carefully.) Most of its practitioners are Abyssals who began their lives as Solar students of the Righteous Devil Style; when corrupted by the Deathlords, they retained a skewed sense of justice and developed alternate versions of their old style. Some Abyssals from other roots now learn the style, to mock their Solar "brethren" and to bring vengeance to their enemies.
(Note: This is not a mechanically new style! The vast majority of the Charms have mechanics identical to the equivalent Righteous Devil Style Charm, and where not noted, assume that all technical aspects are the same, including costs and prerequisites. However, the nature of the style has changed greatly, and thus the flavor of many charms are greatly changed.)
Cold-Hearted Void Consideration
As the Judicious Revenant meditates on the nature of his vengeance, he draws the power of just Oblivion into his hand and his firewand, tinging the blast of fire with the darkness of the Void and assuring that his target cannot escape from their fate. Cold-Hearted Void Consideration replaces Kiss of the Sun Concentration and is identical, except that, for each mote spent on the Charm, the deathknight may choose to either subtract one die from her target's first defensive action or add one die to the damage of the attack, up to a limit of her Dexterity + Martial Arts in dice. Both functions may be invoked in the same use of the Cold-Hearted Void Consideration, as long as the Abyssal can pay for each.
Example: The Snowblinded Justicar, hunting one of his former compatriots turned traitor, invokes the Cold-Hearted Void Consideration. His total Dexterity + Martial Arts score is 8; his player chooses to spend the maximum of eight motes of Essence on the Charm. She decides that, with these eight motes of Essence, she will subtract three dice from the target's defensive action and add five dice to damage. The Justicar brings up his plasma tongue repeater and fires a death-tainted round; his target had better have reserved a defensive action...
Invocation of the Hekatonkhire
The nature of the Labyrinth is to devour the living and the dead alike. It knows no justice, no reason, and no malice -- merely a hunger for nonbeing that drives all within it, even the blasted half-dead behemoths that wander its depths, keening. The Judicious Revenant knows the secret ways of focusing the Labyrinth's unceasing hunger and using it in the service of a greater, colder justice. The Revenant concentrates, building a field of dark, cold Essence around her firewand -- and when it fires, the bolt of flame turns cold and black, its flickering tongues in the shape of the yawning maw of some great dead behemoth. Mechanically, Invocation of the Hekatonkhire is identical to Blossom of Inevitable Demise Technique.
Mortwight's Swift Judgment
Like the dead, the Judicious Revenant's justice is inevitable; unlike the dead, the Revenant is faster than any mortal, and when his decisions are made, he wastes no time on second thoughts. With a crackle of grey-black Essence and one impossibly-smooth motion, the Judicious Revenant may draw her firewand and bring it to bear near-instantly, almost faster than mortal eyes can perceive. Mortwight's Swift Judgment is mechanically identical to Lightning Draw Stance, including that Charm's bonuses for "shooting from the hip."
Benediction of the Knowing Void Meditation
The Judicious Revenant may imbue her weapon with an awareness of its place in the world and her own -- the knowledge that she and it are truly one, both tasked with spreading the justice of the Void to a world and a hierarchy that has cast them away and would deny them. When invoked, the Benediction of the Knowing Void Meditation surrounds the deathknight's firewand in a pale grey-black corona of Essence, which persists until the weapon is fired. The Charm costs four motes of Essence, considered committed until the firewand is next fired. The Benediction is identical mechanically to the Blessing of Righteous Solar Spark Meditation except for the cost increase and the targets against whom the weapon's deadly knowledge is accurate; a weapon blessed with the Benediction of the Knowing Void Meditation has tasted the bitterness of a broken hierarchy, the hierarchy it as a weapon of death stands ostracized from, and strikes against it with force. In effect, all attacks against little gods, Sidereal Exalted, and other creatures of the Heavenly Bureaucracy deal aggravated damage. The Benediction of the Knowing Void Meditation also explicitly allows the weapon's blessed attack to strike dematerialized spirits, although it does not lend the wielder any particular ability to detect those creatures.
Spiraling Blackness Stance
Justice waits for no man, living or dead, and thus in the hands of a Judicious Revenant even the relative slowness of reloading a firewand can be greatly improved. When this Charm is invoked, spiraling tendrils of blackness speed the deathknight's hands impossibly, mingling with the black trails of firedust left as she rapidly reloads her weapon. This Charm is mechanically identical to Cloud of Ebon Devils, although at the Storyteller's option, the combination of firedust and Abyssal Essence may make any botch especially explosive and unpleasant.
Judicious Revenant Form
The deathknight who invokes the Judicious Revenant Form becomes still as death, every motion seeming deliberate and calculated -- time almost seems to dilate around the Revenant, as if to punctuate the inevitability of justice to those who have sinned against the Void, and around him blows the chill wind of the grave. His countenance is chill, a form of stark shadows and cold, knowing judgment. To look at the Judicious Revenant is to know that, if he hunts you, you shall not escape -- and if that if he does not hunt you, it is only because your indiscretions have not yet been brought to his attention.
The deathknight spends 10 motes upon invoking the Judicious Revenant Form. For the remainder of the scene, all those not being targeted by him are compelled to avoid him -- they must roll Willpower at a difficulty of half the Exalt's Essence not to move away, slowly and carefully, to avoid his wrath, and even if they succeed, they must spend a Willpower point to attack him directly. (This protection does not extend to any allies the Judicious Revenant might have, though.) For those directly targeted by the Judicious Revenant, his dread mien forbids their escape or their resistance; moving away from him is considered to be a dice action and cannot be undertaken unless the target succeeds at a Willpower roll, at a difficulty of half the deathknight's Essence. All attacks a target might make against the Judicious Revenant are also made at a difficulty increase of the deathknight's Essence unless the target spends a point of Willpower to nullify the effect.
This Charm replaces the Righteous Devil Form in the tree. It requires an Essence of 3, but otherwise it should be treated as identical in mechanics and prerequisites except in effect, as otherwise noted.
Certainty of Dead Hands
Vengeance knows no distance, and neither does the Judicious Revenant who chooses to invoke the Certainty of Dead Hands. Her grip on her weapon steadies, and for a moment she is perfectly still and silent, a black halo forming around her weapon and a chill breezer surrounding her for a moment of perfect silence before the shot. This Charm doubles the range of a normal attack and is mechanically identical to Phoenix Flies on Golden Wings Attack.
Infallible Calculations of Setesh
There has been much speculation about the Azure Abacus invoked by Righteous Devil martial artists and the meaning it has lost in the derelict Second Age, but few who have considered the problem have viewed the matching technique of the Judicious Revenant Style -- perhaps a blessing, as the power of the Abyss twists the judgment of the Abacus into a far more disquieting manifestation.
When a deathknight invokes the Infallible Calculations of Setesh, her Caste Mark breaks open and begins to bleed, surrounded by an ash-gray corona of smoky Essence. At the same moment, five ash-gray smoke-rings of Essence form around the target, moving slowly in a rhythm that seems random at first but that soon becomes obvious as possessed of a horrible, deliberate order. Those acquainted with the nature of time in the Underworld will recognize the pattern of the rings; they move in slow, deliberate time with the Calendar of Setesh and the Underworld sky, and in their pulses do the days and nights of the dead pass. Those loyal to the Void will feel a cold satisfaction at the sight, and those loyal to Heaven or Creation a creeping discomfort -- for Setesh and all his works now calculate the fate of the Judicious Revenant's target, a fate that will no doubt be unpleasant.
The deathknight fires, and the firewand blast shrieks towards the target with contrails of black-gray power in its wake just as the rings of the Infallible Calculations of Setesh lock into place. Within the circle, there is a terrible stillness -- the quiet of the judgment of all of the Underworld -- and the target is chilled to the bone with realization that the Void itself sees his fate and approves of it. He must make a Willpower roll, difficulty 2, to do anything beyond stand in stunned and terrified silence, and even if he can move, he remains constrained by the circles that bind him.
Mechanically, the Infallible Calculations of Setesh functions like the Azure Abacus Meditation; it cannot miss or be dodged, and it cannot be parried except by methods that can parry insubstantial attacks. The judgment of the Underworld is as certain and as merciless as that of Heaven.
Twinned Claws of the Po
While Twinned Claws of the Po is in effect, the deathknight's hands seem shrouded in gray- black smoke and shriveled, like the claws of a hungry ghost; she moves with an eerie coordination, as if her lower soul is driving her shots. Twinned Claws of the Po allows the Judicious Revenant to wield two firewands at once with no off-hand penalty; it is mechanically identical to Twin Salamander Fist.
Underworld's Insatiable Vengeance
Most advanced applications of the Judicious Revenant Style rely on the cold certainty of the death that the agents of Oblivion must bring; the technique of the Underworld's Insatiable Vengeance, though, returns to the earlier principles, that of the sheer hunger of Oblivion for the souls of those the Judicious Revenant has judged and found wanting. When the deathknight invokes the Charm, his shot takes the form of a swiftly-flying smoke from which materializes a shrieking, smoky phantom reminiscent of a particularly feral and hate-filled hungry ghost. This phantom lashes out at the Judicious Revenant's targets in a frenzy of ghost-smoke and blood, hungry for the lifeblood of the guilty. Underworld's Insatiable Vengeance functions identically in mechanics to Dance of the Howling Magma Sprites, allowing the deathknight extra attacks up to his Essence or until an attack misses.
Generosity of the Void
When a Judicious Revenant nears the pinnacle of his understanding of the principles of vengeance, he may reach out to the Void itself for assistance in his administrations of justice, and the Void will aid him, giving of itself to help him fulfill his role in the service of Oblivion. Upon the invocation of this Charm, the deathknight concentrates and conjures the Void itself into his firewand; he fires, and the shot he releases is not fire and dust but pure void-stuff, black and insatiable. This Charm functions identically to Phantom Flamebolt Prana and totally removes the need for conventional ammunition as long as the deathknight can invoke it.
Traitor's Glorious Funeral Invocation
When a Judicious Revenant finally reaches the upper reaches of mastery, he carries with him the touch of death itself. To wield a firewand has always been to carry death, but only now does the Judicious Revenant master understand the true ways of death, its flow through the world, and his and his weapon's place in bringing it to those judged guilty by the earth and the Underworld. Whereas before he had separated his justice and his hunger into separate techniques, now he understands their unity -- that his craving for unbeing drives his pursuit of vengeance, and vice versa, and that to bring a final justice to those deserving, he must unify both urges. When he understands this, he has achieved mastery of the Traitor's Glorious Funeral Invocation, and few will ever again stand against him and live.
Calling upon the Traitor's Glorious Funeral Invocation, the deathknight taps into the most primal forces of unbeing and sanctifies them in the pursuit of those who have wronged the order of death. Her Caste Mark breaks out in blood and glows faintly green, and the shadows on her face and figure lengthen and deepen in black. Her own shadow grows long behind her, a deep inky black surrounded by grey miasma, and as she raises her firewand to fire, it trails smoke and shadow in its wake -- but when the Judicious Revenant fires, all shadows recede as her weapon erupts in gouts of sickly pyre-flame, scourging her target and all around it. The target is caught alight, burning on the funeral pyre built from his own crimes and sanctified by the deathknight's judgment.
The Traitor's Glorious Funeral Invocation functions similarly to Caress of 1000 Hells, but several aspects are quite different. First, while the pyre-flames of this Charm are not true elemental pyre-flame, they have some of the resilience of their progenitor flames; as with Caress of 1000 Hells, the flames will burn for the deathknight's permanent Essence in turns, but before then they cannot be extinguished by any natural or supernatural means short of the target's death. If the target dies while the pyre-flame continues to burn (or from the initial blast of pyre-flame), the target's body will explode in a funeral pyre of sickly green flame, burning away entirely in a round; this will destroy the target's body and all of his mundane possessions, leaving only a fine ash. This process eradicates the target's lower soul along with his body, and so none who perish of the Traitor's Glorious Funeral Invocation will ever leave their po on Creation as a hungry ghost. Finally, if the target dies from the damage of the Traitor's Glorious Funeral Invocation, or while the flames continue to burn, the power of the avenging pyre-flame will drag his higher soul into Oblivion, delivering the final judgment of the justice-craving Underworld.
This "style" was born from a series of conversations with Will about the difficulties of Righteous Devil Style, particularly its heavy focus on solar iconography. As it happened, we both had a heavy interest in Abyssal gunslingers, and we found the themes of vengeance and judgment to be appropriately Abyssal in their tone... and so it was that Judicious Revenant was created.
Basically, this is intended to be a flavor-text change and a way of making Abyssals without totally straining the bounds of credibility regarding use of Righteous Devil Style by someone excessively unrighteous. It is only original content in regards to the flavor text, but hey, content is content, right?
If this sees any use, I'd certainly like to know. I intend to use it to scare the crap out of my tabletop players. Huzzah!
mwuhahahahahahahahahah nuff sed - Issaru
I second that statement ^_^ -- Darloth is going to be using this... hehehe...
I am, of course, going to be using this. Pending ST approval, Rain of Ashes will totally firewand the hell out of Creation with his eeevil gunslinger-fu. - Will
I'm going to start going through these things and look for little comments like that Darloth ;) ... ... well, if I could be bothered or wanted to spoil the surprise.. which I don't really :) - FluffySquirrel
- Surprise-spoiling bad -- one of my players managed to read this on the Wiki and promptly burst into a discussion of the Judicious Revenant Form with me at lunch the other day, which was an unpleasant surprise to me and may inspire me to houserule the Form in that game. Don't spoil yourself! -- AntiVehicleRocket was forced to improvise more unpleasant surprises
- I suggest leaving it the same and invoking the HandofGod rule for player who use OOC knowledge that the Character clearly has no access to. - Issaru
- Meh, I just don't like to spoil it for myself.. .. this is why I haven't even read through the charms of any of the other exalts but solars yet... hehe, it's always surprising when they use some weird new charm on you.. :) FluffySquirrel
- I suggest leaving it the same and invoking the HandofGod rule for player who use OOC knowledge that the Character clearly has no access to. - Issaru
Good stuff. - Jai
Very cool stuff. Really wanna make a Dusk with this now. - Caelene
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