Vermillion Sentinel Style
The Vermillion Sentinel Style was considered a lost martial art for a time, and until about five years ago was only practiced a small secret society within the Immaculate Order and one Chosen of Mars loosely attached to the Division of Battles. More recently, though, academic interest in the Style has developed, in hopes that perhaps some of the secrets buried in the flows of crimson Essence might lend some insight into dealing with the new Abyssal Exalted.
Practitioners of the style are properly referred to as Vermillion Sentinels, or simply Sentinels. The Vermillion Sentinel Style is almost as much a lifestyle as a fighting style, and students of the style often descend into intense, singleminded behaviors, focusing every effort on demon-hunting. This obviously can create social problems, both at work and in private, and true masters of the Style are often estranged from most everyone, and tend to carry themselves with a distracted aloofness.
The signature weapons of the style are shield and spear. These are most often decorated with red lacquer and brass ornaments, and when there was a true school of the style, it was common for Sentinels to attach scarlet tassels and bright brass bells around the edge of their shields, and add a red tassel to their spears each time they were victorious in combat with a demon. The Sentinels grew rare, and were for a time considered outdated relics.
Many Sidereal sifus have at least partial knowledge of the Style, though the majority do not know the pinnacle of the martial art. The style was even taught in the Realm for a time by a small secret society within the Immaculate Order. Dragon-Blooded who were taken into the fold of Vermillion Sentinels use the same initiation as other Immaculates, but these interact with the Vermillion Sentinel Style in a different way, as the Charms below indicate.
More often than not, Vermillion Sentinels learn other spear-wielding styles of fighting, as the Vermillion Sentinel Style is sometimes considered defecient in raw combat power. The most popular style to supplement it is Five-Dragon Style, for the obvious reason that most Sentinels are Dragon-Blooded.
For the purposes of these Charms, "demon" includes demons of all three circles and Infernal Exalted. Additionally, while there is no requisite Occult Ability for this style, it is invariably taught alongside detailed information about demons. It should be assumed that a master of this style will not teach a student a given Charm unless the student has an Occult rating (including specialties dealing with demons or Infernal Exalted) equal to or exceeding the Martial Arts requirement of the Charm in question.
All of the Charms in the Vermillion Sentinel Style are incompatible with armors that have a Mobility Penalty greater than -1 or a Fatigue value greater than 1, before magic is applied.
An Ill Wind Blows
Cost: 5 motes Duration: One Scene Type: Reflexive Minimum Martial Arts: 2 Minimum Essence: 2 Prerequisite Charms: None
The first technique the practitioners of Vermillion Sentinel Style develop is a supernatural sense for the presence of infernal taints. Any time the Exalt comes within (demon's Essence rating x 10) yards of a demon, the martial artists rolls Perception + Occult. Simple success pinpoints the demon, and informs the Exalt of the demon's circle. With three successes, the Exalt pinpoints the demon and the demon momentarily appears encircled by a crimson aura, visible even if the demon is immaterial, and the Exalt gains a vague idea of the demon's Essence rating. With five successes, the Exalt can percieve the crimson aura for the remainder of the scene, making combating the demon much easier, and making it quite difficult for the demon to hide from the Sentinel. Additionally, with five successes, the Vermillion Sentinel knows the demon's identity.
Cost: 5 motes Duration: Instant Type: Supplemental Minimum Martial Arts: 3 Minimum Essence: 2 Prerequisite Charms: An Ill Wind Blows or Spirit Sight
This manuever requires the martial artist to use her shield and move in very close to her opponent, negating the cover modifier the shield normally grants her for the turn. In return, though, her target suffers a difficulty penalty equal to the martial artist's Essence to any defense roll made against an attack assisted with Foe-Distracting Aegis.
Every Direction Spear
Cost: 3 motes + 1 mote per die, 1 Willpower Duration: One Scene Type: Reflexive Minimum Martial Arts: 3 Minimum Essence: 2 Prerequisite Charms: An Ill Wind Blows or Spirit Sight
When this Charm is active, faint streams of scarlet Essence visible only to those capable of seeing dematerialized spirits trace the movements of the martial artist's hands, feet, spear, and shield as the Exalt almost casually turns aside assaults on her person. For every mote spent beyond the base 3 mote activation cost, the character adds one die to any parry attempt she makes for the remainder of the scene, but the maximum number of dice that may be purchased is equal to the character's Martial Arts score. In addition, the character may parry lethal damage while unarmed without a stunt. Additionally, the Exalt can reflexively parry attacks she is aware of, using the dice purchased with this Charm, plus (or minus) the Defense modifier from the parrying weapon as the dice pool.
Vermillion Sentinel Form
Cost: 5 motes Duration: One Scene Type: Simple Minimum Martial Arts: 4 Minimum Essence: 3 Prerequisite Charms: Every Direction Spear, Foe-Distracting Aegis
The Exalt takes on a stern, battle-ready posture. Characters capable of percieving the immaterial will see wisps of scarlet Essence coiling up from the Sentinel, not unlike the distortion one might see rising from a stone street on a hot day. All attacks made against the Sentinel suffer a dice pool penalty equal to the Exalt's Martial Arts score. In addition, the Sentinel is capable of attacking immaterial demons, though not necessarily able to percieve them. Armor with a Mobility Penalty greater than -1 or a Fatigue value greater than 1 are incompatible with the Vermillion Sentinel Form. This is a Celestial-level Martial Arts Form-type Charm, and has all the attendant benefits and drawbacks of that status. (additionally, Dragon-Blooded must learn Spirit Walking to learn the Vermillion Sentinel Form)
Cost: Varies Duration: Indefinite Type: Simple Minimum Martial Arts: 4 Minimum Essence: 3 Prerequisite Charms: Vermillion Sentinel Form
Performing a brief ritual that can be as simple as lightly kissing the haft of her spear or as complex as wrapping her hands in prayer strips adorned with rich calligraphy while chanting in Old Realm, the Sentinel infuses her weapons or even her very body with the Essence of precise attacks, swift recoveries, deft parries, and deep cuts. This settles onto whatever it is that she has enhanced in the form of heiroglyphs glowing crimson. The full cost of this Charm is committed until the Charm is ended. No one statistic of any of the character's weapons (which includes natural weapons) may recieve a bonus greater than the martial artist's Martial Arts score or permanent Essence rating (whichever is lower) from this Charm. Dice added by this Charm do not count towards the limit to how many dice may be added to any roll through Charms any more than the Accuracy rating of a moonsilver dire lance would.
- Speed may be increased by one point for 1 mote
- Accuracy or Defense may be increased by one point for 2 motes
- Damage or Rate may be increased by one point for 3 motes
- Difficulty penalty imposed by the shield may be increased by one point for 3 motes
- Damage can be upgraded from bashing to lethal for 3 motes
Carmine Whirlwind Attack
Cost: 3 motes per attack, 1 Willpower Duration: Instant Type: Extra Actions Minimum Martial Arts: 5 Minimum Essence: 3 Prerequisite Charms: Scarlet-Tempered Spear
With a flourish, the Vermillion Sentinel erupts into a flurry of offense, peppering her foe with vicious kicks and savage spearthrusts. For every three motes spent powering this Charm, the martial artist may make an extra attack at her full dice pool. The martial artist cannot make more attacks than her Martial Arts score through the use of this Charm. Demons targeted by these attacks suffer a difficulty penalty equal to the Sentinel's permanent Essence rating to dodge or parry. The Exalt cannot split her dice pool in the turn she uses Scarlet Whirlwind Attack.
Unwavering Pursuit Method
Cost: 7 motes, 1 Willpower Duration: Until Released Type: Simple Minimum Martial Arts: 4 Minimum Essence: 3 Prerequisite Charms: Vermillion Sentinel Form
The Sentinel inscribes the name of a specific demon on a sheet of paper, using a very specific format of arcane symbols (requires successful Intelligence + Occult and Intelligence + Linguistics rolls, both at difficulty 3), then uses her shield as a censer to burn the paper and a small amount of incense. When the ritual is complete, the Sentinel gains perfect awareness of that specific demon's location, be it in Heaven, Creation, or the Underworld. If the demon in question is in Malfeas or Elsewhere, the Sentinel will be aware of this, but will not have an instinctive ability to pinpoint the creature. Furthermore, while this Charm remains in effect, the Sentinel adds her permanent Essence score in dice to any roll relating to the pursuit of the demon in question.
Disarming the Soul
Cost: 4+ motes Duration: Instant Type: Reflexive Minimum Martial Arts: 5 Minimum Essence: 3 Prerequisite Charms: Unwavering Pursuit Method
The Sentinel who invokes this Charm when attacking a demon or parrying a demon's attack can deny that demon some measure of his innate power. When this Charm is activated, the martial artist rolls her Occult + Essence, and the demon resists with an Essence roll. If the martial artist wins this contest with 3 or more extra successes, she may pay a number of motes equal to the demon's permanent Essence rating and steal one of the demon's powers and use it for herself for a number of turns equal to the Sentinel's Martial Arts rating. If the Sentinel wins the contested roll with less than 3 extra successes, the demon is denied a power for a number of turns equal to the Sentinel's Martial Arts rating, though the Sentinel cannot wield it against her foe.
Transfixing the Wicked
Cost: 5 motes, 1 Willpower Duration: Instant Type: Simple Minimum Martial Arts: 4 Minimum Essence: 3 Prerequisite Charms: Vermillion Sentinel Form
The Sentinel gestures harshly at an infernal foe and a crimson light flickers across her eyes, freezing the demon in place. The martial artist rolls Manipulation + Martial Arts, the demon defends by rolling Willpower. If the martial artist wins the contested roll, the extra successes on the roll become a dice pool penalty to all rolls made by the infernal target. This penalty persists for a number of turns equal to the Sentinel's Essence. Multiple applications of this Charm are not cumulative, and the total penalties levied on a single target cannot exceed the Exalt's Martial Arts + Essence.
Cost: 4 motes, 1 Willpower Duration: Instant Type: Supplemental Minimum Martial Arts: 5 Minimum Essence: 3 Prerequisite Charms: Transfixing the Wicked
With a swift strike to a specific chakra on the demon's body, the Sentinel places a ward that bans the demon from returning to Creation. This Charm may enhance an unarmed martial arts attack, and the attack so enhanced does no damage. If the martial artist successfully strikes the demon, she immediately rolls Willpower + Occult. If this roll gains even a single success, a summoner who wishes to call the demon thus affected in the future must succeed an Intelligence + Occult roll at a difficulty equal to the number of successes on this roll. Failing this roll means that the demon simply cannot be called forth, and remains in Malfeas. This ban on summoning persists for a number of summoning attempts equal to the Sentinel's Willpower rating.
Decisive Casting Away of the Unclean
Cost: 10+ motes, 1 Willpower, 1 lethal health level Duration: Special Type: Simple Minimum Martial Arts: 5 Minimum Essence: 4 Prerequisite Charms: Carmine Whirlwind Attack, Disarming the Soul, Gate-Barring Kata
The Vermillion Sentinel performs a ritual over a blank prayer strip, inscribing it with her own blood. When the ritual is completed, the prayer strip is inscribed in glittering, glowing crimson with a sutra unique to a specific demon, as well as a cartouche marked with a series of heiroglyphs. The prayer strip requires five motes of Essence to be committed to it to fix the magic; if the Essence is ever uncommitted, the writing is transmuted to dust the color of dried blood and flakes off. The Exalt must know the demon's identity (which requires an Intelligence + Occult roll, though a particularly successful use of An Ill Wind Blows will suffice), and must know the correct location on the demon's anatomy to affix the prayer strip (Intelligence + Occult, generally difficulty 3). The act of banishing requires the strip to be affixed to the right place on the demon's anatomy, normally via an unarmed Brawl or Martial Arts attack at difficulty 3, which can be dodged or parried as normal and does no damage. The banishment process begins, and neither the banisher nor the demon may take any actions until the process is completed. The Sentinel must spend 15 motes, and the characters engage in the same test of wills involved in a demon-summoning spell (Exalted, page 218, 220, 222), save that the Sentinel cannot limit the demon's dice pool by spending Essence. However, the Sentinel does gain a number of automatic successes on the Willpower + Essence roll equal to his permanent Essence rating. Terrestrial Exalted using this Charm cannot banish third-circle demons, and must pay an extra 5 motes to banish demons of the second circle. Similarly, Sidereal, Lunar, and Abyssal Exalted must pay an extra 5 motes to banish demons of the third circle. Demons can sense that a character knows this Charm with a Perception + Occult roll at difficulty 3, and generally are not fond of characters capable of casting them down into Malfeas with such relative ease.
The Immaculate Order
(crunchy fluff forthcoming)
Playing the Vermillion Sentinels of the Immaculate Order
Artifacts of the Sentinel
(fluffy crunch forthcoming, sure to include artifact spears and shields and robes and talismans and suchlike)
(Comments from the early stages of writing remain logged here.)