Paean of Tumultuous Gears is one of a very small handful of Alchemical martial arts. Unlike traditional martial arts, this style requires Attribute minimums and installed components; unlike traditional Alchemical charms, it requires competence in an Ability. Eclipse Caste are almost certainly able to learn this style, but it is up to the Storyteller's discretion whether or not others may. Likely, Lunar Exalts of all castes can, thanks to their protean and resilient nature; of course, they would adopt this style with moonsilver components if they were somehow to discover it, and might require another Lunar-style Charm to shift these physical additions. Sidereals are likely to be frustrated and jealous, since it is probable they cannot.
This style embraces a sort of mysticism among the Alchemicals, recalling times when their god was the forge of faith in Creation. It recalls his efforts of setting out the nature of the world, and showing humans how their bodies interacted with tools. It is considered heresy among non-Exalts to embrace its teachings, yet they are expected to nod and agree when an Exalt attempts to instruct them of the basic nature of the body and soul; a dangerous balancing act. As such, many Alchemicals who implement this style are rather quiet about it, but their potency- at least at higher stages of development- is fairly obvious. Alchemicals who advance far in this style possess a lot of internal machinery, and when their anima is active, the normally inaudible hum of these devices amplifies and resonates. It becomes a soft harmonic some have described as a sound like a voice vibrating in tune with the omnipresent hum of Autochthon.
Atypical Martial Option 614ACO (Alpha Chakra)</b>
<b>Cost: 2 motes, 1 willpower Installation Cost: 3 motes Duration: 1 scene Type: Simple Min. Stamina: 3 Min. Martial Arts: 1 Min. Essence: 1
This Charm is a small gyroscope installed at the base of the spine, with wiry tendrils affixed to its major axes reaching upwards to encompass the entire column. When active, it casts red light, creating a glow at its primary node that is visible through the Exalt's skin at some angles; her anima also gains a ruddy tinge at its furthermost edges and gains iconic patterns reminiscent of the whirling arcs of a gyroscope. Activating the Charm focuses the Exalt's localized reality, and is typically considered primarily theoretical exercise and 'root' for the advanced Charms of this cascade in Autochtonia. It has the clearly beneficial effect of making the Exalt unable to lose her balance. However, it has a secondary set of effects that would be considered valuable indeed in Creation; its wearer is immune to the physical effects of the Wyld on her person and gear; in fact, the Wyld recedes in a small sphere around her (equal to her Essence divided by 2 in yards) until she has passed. It has no effect on deformations that are the result of activities of Creation; the Exalt can still lose limbs, have her body mutilated or warped by magic or Charms (though some Fair Folk Charms requiring Wyld energies will dissipate), et cetera, but the Storyteller may adjudicate other situations in which it applies.
Lathe of New Cradles (Beta Chakra)</b>
<b>Cost: 1 mote, + 1 per point (see text) Installation Cost: 1 mote Duration: 1 turn/1 scene Type: Reflexive Min. Appearance: 3 Min. Martial Arts: 2 Min. Essence: 2 Prereqs: Atypical Martial Option 614ACO (Alpha Chakra)
This device is a rotating cylinder that is installed within the Alchemical's gut, roughly on the level of where a navel might be. Tendrils from the Alpha Chakra are wrapped around it, and it reverses directions after exhausting their length; Alchemicals not used to this sensation are slightly off-balance, but compensate with the Alpha Chakra until they acclimate. This magnetic Charm disrupts the electrical impulses of her foes; for targets with lower or equal Essence to her own, the difficulty of an opposed roll against the Alchemical increases by the difference in Essence plus 1. Besides making it difficult to dodge or parry her attacks, this means characters have a hard time resisting her arguments, seductions, or even her notice as they woozily attempt to sneak by. The Alchemical may choose to focus this ability, increasing its effects by 1 per mote spent against one target; this decreases its effects by a like amount against all other potentially affected entities in the area, and cannot be reduced below 1 (that is, the Exalt cannot spend enough motes on this Charm that it would have no effect on an Essence 1 foe, even if none are around). It is limited to a radius of the Exalt's Appearance plus half her permanent Essence in yards. If the Exalt does not engage in combat, she may commit one mote per point of permanent Essence she has to extend this Charm over the scene, but these effects end immediately after the first attack she makes or attack made upon her as the Lathe overloads and must be re-initialized for heavy-duty application. In either case, the use of this Charm with an active anima generates a subtle, crackling orange glow near the periphery of its owner's display.
The name of this Charm device is considered subtle humour among the Sodalites, and biting irony by the sterile Alchemicals.
Applied Essence Collector/ Distributor Unit (Gamma Chakra)</b>
<b>Cost: NA Installation Cost: 2 motes Duration: NA Type: Permanent Min. Strength: 3 Min. Martial Arts: 3 Min. Essence: 2 Prereqs: Lathe of New Cradles (Beta Chakra)
Alchemical Exalted sometimes have a problem with identity. They have memories of a human life, a human body- but they are living golems with metal bones and manufactured minds. Those who have studied this martial art to the level of preparation required for the Gamma Chakra, however, are often able to escape this flaw. What mystery they have unlocked is difficult to describe, but they are self-confident and capable. This Chakra improves the metaphysical circulatory system of its bearer, and it is a rare sort of device. It taps some of the living essence of Autochthon in a method that even its crafters find difficult to understand; it was designed by an Alchemical savant who spent much time deep in the Reaches observing the Custodians, and its blueprints are carefully preserved and frequently studied, but rarely grasped. It consists of a yellow sapphire in the shape of a slightly flattened sphere which is set inside a complex blossom of metal (installed in a fashion similar to a soulgem setting into the Alchemical's solar plexus). Within the sapphire is a perfectly triangular hollow, filled with an alloy of mercury and the appropriate Magical Material. Most of the installation period of the Charm reflects the time that this alloy takes to spread outward from the gem, growing into a network of hair-thin metal capillaries that traverse the entire body in a fractal pattern. Despite the complexities and mysticism of the device, its effects are very obvious; the Alchemical becomes immune to derangement, may re-roll up to his Essence in failed Virtue checks per story, and cannot have his Essence- even peripheral- drained from him without his permission. Further, the gem acts as a Hearthstone attuned to a level 2 manse, and grants the Alchemical the ability to roll his Strength once per day (he may channel Temperance on this roll if desired). Successes on this roll can be spent throughout the day to reduce the Essence cost of a Charm by 1. Multiple successes may be used on any single Charm, but cannot reduce its cost below 1.
This cascade will have 6 Charms when I'm done, one for every Chakra except the Crown chakra, which is the domain of the soulgem. The Third Eye Chakra will likely be installed in the back of the neck. Each will use a different stat. I am aware I am not making the tree difficult enough to acquire; I will likely up the minimum Essence costs (perhaps Essence +1 per Charm, though that may be a little *too* steep), and once I calibrate the installation costs, I'll see what I can do about balancing them. However, the min. ability of 3 for each Charm will ensure that it's not an easy cascade to suck dry. I feel that Alchemical Charms are allowed the leeway of being more powerful (or rather, compressing more effects/aspects of one effect into themselves) than regular Charms, thanks to the inherent comitted Essence cost. However, I wouldn't mind suggestions that reduce the overall power of each Charm while maintaining the theme. $.02 &Arafelis
It seems slightly tone-breaking to create Charm modules for Alchemicals based off of an Ability. These would work fine as a seperate thing, but making them directly rely on Martial Arts just seems.. wrong. -- Will
Here's an idea to make these things a little more thematic and address Will's concern. What about giving these modules weaker effects, then requiring a runtime Attribute + Martial Arts roll to activate the stronger effects you've described here? In essence, the module itself is based on an attribute, but owing to the universal nature of the martial arts, a talented Alchemical can kung-fu his parts into better harmony and effectiveness. LordAuran notes that this would also mimic the weak pre-form/strong post-form convention suggested for MA styles.
That sounds interesting, but given the nature of some of the effects, it's difficult to figure out how to impliment; for instance, would you suggest rolls be taking place every turn for the Alpha Chakra's Wyld resistance? I included the Ability minimum because it seems to be pretty universal elsewhere... even Lunar martial artist require the Martial Arts skill minimums; that's the reason they're considered Martial Arts Styles. I considered the Gamma Chakra to be the Form-type Charm... hmm. Perhaps
Alpha: Requires a Martial Arts roll to activate properly (if it fails, the motes and Willpower are not spent, as per Dragon-Blooded Forms?).
Beta: a Martial Arts roll is required for the 'focused' version of the Charm
Gamma: May attempt to resist Essence drain effects with a Martial Arts roll (One success negates? Each success reduces by 1? 2? 20%?).
I feel a little blind because I'm not sure what their schticks and power level are going to be, exactly; there are a lot of them, but it seems like they're slightly more powerful than Dragon-Blooded. I figured things like Wyld resistance, etc, will be easy for them because of their nature as creations of the Machine God. Thanks for the comments- how's the power level/thema seem thus far elsewise? &Arafelis
I agree with Will -- I like them in theory, but I don't like them actually branching from the MA ability. The Lunar example doesn't fit, exactly; even if they use different system, Lunars are still Celestial Exalted and obey the same basic tendencies, while Alchemicals should be a thing wholly other. (Also, even Lunars who don't take official Martial Arts Charms get Charms that affects Martial Arts rolls; Lunar Charms are tightly tied to Abilities even though their prerequisites are Attribute-based.)
The problem is that right now we really don't have examples to consider for unorthodox Alchemical Charms and have no idea as to whether the Martial Arts principles that exist in Creation hold true for the Chosen of Autochthon. Nobody can say how thematically-appropriate an Alchemical Martial Arts style is until we actually get the fatsplat; the information in Time of Tumult is remarkably fragmentary, and the example Charms don't help much. While I think the idea is interesting (and I approve hearily of the idea of Alchemical Charm-apparati installed at the chakra points), I'm not sure how workable it is. -- AntiVehicleRocket (who notes quietly that "tumult" is spelled with one 'm')
Thank you, Moxiane. Eh, as long as it's *cool*, and it doesn't seem to break anything, I'm happy! I'm sure I'll revise the style when the Alchy book comes out- maybe I'll even have it finished the first time by then. I'll think more about dual-prerequisite Charms... again, with limited data, it's hard to really decide. I'll do the DB-esque thing for now, at least. &Arafelis
Book is out, and Alchemicals handle MAs with a plug-in module... That said, it would be a shame to lose what's here, they're cool. Maybe they could be adapted to some weird dual effect/prereq tree branching off the Lotus Root wossname that alchies plug their MA into?
I hope to see many versions of this charm tree. I like the first two charms, but the third seems unseemingly powerful for a charm. We're talking hearthstone, free slot, AND an additional effect? Everybody and their mother would want this charm, and for the wrong reasons. - DODurden