Solar Anima Powers
The inherent powers of the Solar Exalted take three forms. Each caste has a great power they can draw upon in times of need. Each caste has a unique capability inherent in their peerless Essence flows. And each caste has a special privilege granted them by the ancient laws and pacts of the Celestial Bureaucracy.
- Inherent Excellence: Every Motion Kata. Warriors without peer, the Ascending Suns need no tiresome training to perform complex Essence-fueled maneuvers -- they naturally master the knack of flowing from one supernatural motion to the next. A Dawn Caste Solar may reflexively spend 1 Willpower to allow them to use two Charms in one turn. They may not use a Combo on a turn in which they use this power.
- Supreme Power: Master of the Spoils of War. All weapons and armor are as one to the Children of the Dawn -- worthy tools and rightful property. A Dawn Caste Solar may reflexively spend the attunement cost of a weapon or piece of armor he is touching, plus 2 motes, to immediately attune that item to him for the scene. The item in question may not be attuned to anybody else. He need not pay the double attunement cost for items of a magical material other than orichalcum, and he gains the special benefits of such magical materials as if he were the appropriate Exalt type. For the remainder of the scene, the item is considered his for all effects that reference ownership.
- Divine Privilege: Tiger-Generals of Heaven's Armies. The Swords of Heaven are the appointed and rightful leaders of the armies of Creation; Heaven's immemorial laws of conscription prevent their soldiers from lacking vigor in their service. When a Dawn Caste Solar leads an army into battle, ancient martial pacts prevent any Creation-tied creatures in his army from routing, slacking, or surrendering. To properly fulfill his responsibility as a general, the Dawn Caste must be a known Dawn Caste Solar in sole command of the army, in direct combat with his enemies, in control of his faculties and aware of his surroundings -- as long as these conditions are true, his soldiers will fight to the last man.
- Inherent Excellence: Golden Heart of Righteousness. The purest leaders of the Solar Exalted, the Resplendent Suns exemplify the power of a strong heart, even to the point of unconsciously reinforcing their efforts with Essence when the need is greatest. When a Zenith Caste Solar channels a Virtue, instead of receiving an additional number of dice equal to his Virtue, he receives additional automatic successes on the roll equal to his Virtue.
- Supreme Power: Invincible Armor of Faith. The Pillars of the Sun have the strength to endure any opposition in the name of their cause. When suffering health levels of damage, a Zenith Caste Solar may spend 5 motes and roll his permanent Essence. Each success subtracts one health level from the damage he would take.
- Divine Privilege: Anointed Priests of the Unconquered Sun. Each Zenith Caste Solar is a full-fledged priest of the Unconquered Sun, with the rights, powers and responsibilities pertaining thereunto. They intrinsically know all the rituals and sacraments of worship, and can call down the fire of the Sun to burn a dead body by spending 1 mote. They are aware of the proper addresses and prayers for all gods, and gain the full benefits of their priesthood whenever they seek divine guidance or assistance. Furthermore, they alone of the Solar Exalted are vouchsafed a personal experience of the Unconquered Sun upon their Exaltation, the better to spread the word of their divine benefactor.
- Inherent Excellence: Essence-Directing Will. The Descending Suns weave the flows of Essence with an offhand elegance, producing with the merest energy effects others must channel immense power to create. Each turn, a Twilight Caste Solar may reduce the combined costs of Charms he uses that turn by a number of motes equal to half her permanent Essence, rounded down. No individual charm may cost less than 1 mote. Constant flows require constant attention; reducing the committed cost of a Charm reduces the effect of this anima power by an equivalent amount until the commitment is released.
- Supreme Power: Thought Becomes Action. Applied knowledge is the cornerstone of the Twilight Caste; their peerless sagacity allows them to accomplish any design with a minimum of effort. Once a day, by spending 5 motes, a Twilight Caste Solar may complete in one turn any non-opposed task that would normally take no longer than a day -- the information she needs is already within her mind, the tools she has at hand can easily be made ideal for the job, and the work necessary is performed in a few simple motions. This effect does not and cannot actually speed up the Twilight's movement or actions; it merely allows them to see the best way to accomplish a certain goal. As an example, if this were used to deliver a message to a nearby town, in a few seconds, it would be there. It's up to the player to optionally describe some mechanism, such as catapult, flock of birds, or pneumatic tube, that did the job.
- Divine Privilege: Inquisitor-Kings of the Celestial Hierarchy. The Children of Twilight are tasked with the responsibility of gathering, sorting, and providing all the knowledge under Heaven. In pursuit of this sacred duty, they may enjoin any member of the Celestial Hierarchy to aid them by disgorging their hard-won information. Once a scene, a Twilight Caste Solar may ask a question in their official capacity as a Twilight of any member of the Celestial Bureaucracy; the person asked must answer to the best of their ability.
- Inherent Excellence: Noon at Midnight Display. This is the corebook Night caste anima-suppression ability, except that the cost is 2 motes, rather than doubling the motes being spent.
- Supreme Power: Unbroken Twig Step. This is the corebook Night caste perception-dulling ability, except that the cost is 5 motes, rather than 10, and the difficulty penalty is equal to half the Night's permanent Essence rounded up.
- Divine Privilege: Thrice-Bound Agents of the Gods Underground. The Daggers of Heaven occupy an intentionally undistinguished but essential role in Heaven: the secret police. Since their ability to serve in this position would be compromised by a free flow of information, injunctions laid upon Heaven allow them to keep their activities to themselves when they deem it necessary. No servant of the Celestial Bureaucracy, including unwitting pawns, may knowingly ask a Night Caste Solar to reveal any information about themselves or their actions except for the immediate superior of the Night Caste in question, unless the Night Caste deems it fitting; should an unworthy soul attempt interrogation of whatever sort, the Will of Heaven stops their tongues and ties their hands.
- Inherent Excellence: Ten-Thousand-Times-Masked Soul. This is the corebook Eclipse caste ability to learn charms of other supernatural, except that the cost is 2 extra xp and 2 extra motes, rather than doubling both.
- Supreme Power: God-King Bound Contract. This is the corebook Eclipse caste oath-sanctifying ability, except that the cost is 5 motes rather than 10.
- Divine Privilege: Crowned and Recognized Ambassadors Under Heaven. This is the corebook Eclipse caste diplomatic immunity ability.
As much as I've often disagreed with FourWillowsWeeping, I've gotta say, my life isn't complete without these. They fill a void in my soul, in their purity and completeness. And stuff. Very nice, very complete, and I like it. Of course, since I'm kindof a particular sort about clarity and ambiguity, I've got to pipe in with:
- Twilight: Supreme Power: Thought Becomes Action. - This could be much more mechanically worded, to save problems. There are two reasons. The first is that with things like CNNT in the world, what is a day's worth of work? Since CNNT lasts less than a day, you'd activate it multiple times throughout the day, consuming motes and such, but regaining them as well. At the end of the day, you'd be down some motes, but not all, and have done a lot of work. Now, in the morning, you'd activate this, and do "a day's worth of work", which could either mean your super-day, with CNNT, or just an average day. In one case, it still ups your rate, and in the other, it's kindof fallen by the wayside to the raw glory of CNNT, and is no longer useful. The second tricky situation is the fact that with some minor effort, and maybe a high strength, one of the non-opposed things you can do is to build a precariously high tower over an area, containing a large rock that falls when you pull a rope, as a form of man-trap. Easy enough to do in a full day, especially if you've got the appropriate charms. So, you're in the middle of combat, and you're like "Hey! I activate my Twilight ability to make that precarious tower right over my enemy's head (in one turn), then pull the rope, dropping a big rock on him." It just seems odd that you can use it for combat-timed actions due to it's turn-based length. My possible suggestions, then, include the following try:
- "Increase the character's rate of progress on any non-opposed non-movement action by a factor of the character's Essence. This counts as an increase in the actual base rate, and is thus cumulative with charms. This power may only affect tasks that would normally take at least one minute or longer. This increased work rate lasts for one full scene, allowing the character to complete (Essence) scenes of work with the application of only one scene-long charm."
- It's a little verbose, but then again, a lot of the stuff I write is. If you like it, feel free to trim it, or use it.
- Night: Divine Privilege: Thrice-Bound Agents of the Gods Underground. - So I can just walk up to everyone in my organization and say "Hey! Are you a Night Caste?", and the one guy that I can't really ask is the one? The way it's worded, it prevents people from asking, which, in and of itself, is a giveaway, and thus, it really only prevents interrogation. I'd suggest an alternate mechanic that prevents people from compelling the truth easily, allowing the Night Caste to lie his way to success, and resist interrogation easily by simply always answering, just with false information.
- Dawn: Divine Privilege: Tiger-Generals of Heaven's Armies. - While this is quite nice, you might want to consider expanding it (up to you, of course) to both specify that it affects "anyone under the Dawn's command", and to affect things other than combat. It would allow the Dawn Caste to make excellent morale-boosters for other things, as their mere presence would encourage a work force, and keep the supply lines running as well, as long as the Dawn was actively making an effort to help. It'd give the Dawn something to do other than fight all the time, yet wouldn't allow them to supercede the roles that the others have. In my head, I picture things like Naval Admirals, shouting to their crew through a storm, keeping the men under control and organized, no matter how dire the situation might be. It's not combat, but it seems Dawn-ish to me, so I thought I'd suggest it.
- Ehh, well, GregLink's point that, as - is, where every other caste ability remains useful as time goes by, so something should be done lest it become forgotten as the Solar advances (and hince, uncool.) - Dasmen
I like all of these a lot. The Inherent Exellence one for Twilights seems a bit much, but errm... yeah. ~ Seiraryu
- Thought Becomes Action: I do intend for it to work with CNNT up, so that doesn't bother me -- yes, with both CNNT and TBA, you can create the Mona Lisa in ten seconds with a broken bottlecap and a yeddim. Perhaps I should specify that it takes into effect other effects that are reducing the time to accomplish something. It doesn't perform a day's worth of work; it performs immediately one task that takes a day. "One day of work on this thing" is not a task, it's a piece of a task. As to the second point: I think "build a huge tower over that guy's head while he is right here" would in fact be opposed if you were to attempt to do it at normal speed. However, I also think it's a neat idea, and I don't mind the ability being at least a little useful in combat. There are almost certainly way better things you could be doing with it. I also totally didn't think of the SCS thing, but it's brilliant.
- Thrice-Bound Agents of the Gods Underground: This needs clarification, thank you. The Divine Privilege effects require that the people you're dealing with know you possess your office, as they're perquisites of rank. Also, I want it to be a PRIVILEGE, so the Nights can choose not to exercise it.
- Tiger-Generals of Heaven's Army: I do actually like this the way it is -- Dawns aren't necessarily good LEADERS at all! That's what the Zenith is for. However, I'm okay with including a fleet, or even a ship, under the banner of "army," as long as you can get into direct combat with the enemy.
- Essence-Directing Will: Made this less powerful with regards to committed essence thanks to discussion on #wod.
PassengerPigeon - I'm not sure how you felt about my comments on Thought Becomes Action, as I don't think they were really addressed. To me, the whole point of these augmented Anima Abilities is to add flavor and ability to the castes, further showing their differentiation, without totally breaking things. While it's fun and good to allow things like one-round solar circle sorcery, it's really game-breakingly powerful. Similarly, while it might be fun to allow you to, in one turn, build something, it seems like it's more of an instantaneous creation than the kind of work that Twilights are known for (which is staying late into the night, working). I mean, I know I'm tooting my own horn here, but it seems to me that some sort of long-term work enhancer is much more Twilight appropriate. -- GregLink, who liked the old Essence-Directing Will, and is sad to see that you think it should be changed. Perhaps you could add some of the highlights from the wod discussion?
- Here's one highlight: The "fast work" effect is intended to be like, "You called me in for this?" as opposed to, MUAHAHAHA REAL ULTIMATE POWER!!!!!1!11eleven! That is, it's trivialising various kinds of work, rather than serving as a power boost; I see Twilights as generally effortless artisans, rather than scholars burning the midnight oil, struggling to stay awake and finish their latest project under the deadline. That's the Earth Aspect. I suggest that some Essence processes are incompressible. - willows
- Thought Becomes Action can be summed up in one word: Macguyver. That's the image I'm shooting for with it; it's not that Twilights are just generally way faster at stuff, that's what CNNT and other such charms are for. It's that tasks that others find daunting they find trivial. That's what applied knowledge is all about. Tasks that others find impossible they too find impossible! They have to leverage all their abilities to accomplish them, instead of doing it with bubble gum. Luckily, they already have lots and lots of abilities that make extremely difficult long-term tasks easier. I am going to note that it doesn't work with rituals. I did so, in a really ugly and clunky way, but I will fix it later. (Willows basically said this better.)
- in re: Essence-Directing Will: Kraken pointed out that the benefits with regards to scene-long committed effects are unbelievably large -- a character with only a few scenelongs will quickly save dozens of motes. Feel free to lift the limitation in your own game or argue against it here! :)
Ah, I get it much more clearly now. The whole discussion of how it's supposed to represent MacGuyver, rather than a long-term effort makes sense, and I can respect where you're coming from. On that track then, and since I'm nothing if not a suggestion monster - why once per day? Why not (Essence) times per day, or even anytime you want, as long as you've got 5 motes to blow? If it's MacGuyver we're talking about, he does junk like this multiple times per episode, and I can see situations where multiple uses are key. Then again, with something like "I want to write my dissertation quickly". "You can't, that task takes more than one day." "Well then, I'll just write one chapter fast, then activate it again, and write the next chapter, etc.", multiple uses do get sticky. So, then, the thing that needs doing is clarification of the text, so that idiots like me don't get confused. Also, clarification of what counts as a 'task' is key, as I've had players try things like "I want to run from here to somewhere 25 miles away. That'll take a day, so I'm gonna activate that power, and teleport there." "You can't, that's not a task, that's just running." "Oh, then.. um.. Hey, other character - write a letter to someone in that town, and I'll go deliver it. Hey ST, now it's a task!" "That doesn't count. You're not doing anything." "Oh, then I'll ... umm... fix their shopkeeper's sign. That way, I'm doing a task, that I could theoretically finish by the end of the day." "Argh!" So yeah, I've had that, and it's annoying. (A character had an Alchemical character with Incomparable Efficiency Upgrade, and had then convinced me to allow a custom charm on top of that that accelerated extended physical actions to even faster. As you can see, it got annoying, real quick.) Since I'm not a bad man, I'll try something, and you can tell me if it stinks, or if it's what you're going for:
- Supreme Power: Thought Becomes Action. Applied knowledge is the cornerstone of the Twilight Caste; their peerless sagacity allows them to accomplish any task with a minimum of effort. Laughing at her slower compatriots, the Twilight accomplishes in seconds through luck, effort, and skill what others would waste their day doing. Once per day, by spending 5 motes, a Twilight Caste Solar may complete in one turn any non-opposed task that would normally take no longer than a day -- the information she needs is already within her mind, the tools she has at hand can easily be made ideal for the job, and the work necessary is performed in a few simple motions. This doesn't significantly affect the character's long-distance movement rate, nor does it speed up the Essence flows of the region, limiting the character's rate of charm and spell usage to that of a normal character. It does, however, allow for remarkable completion of small works, such as the digging of a ditch by cleverly redirecting water flow, the construction of a number of swords by making a quick mold of an existing one, or even the bandaging of dozens wounded by scattering cotton over the area into a strong wind.
As for the Essence thing, it's a tough call. I mean, even the base power will quickly save you dozens of motes, especially if you're using it with things like Reed in the Wind, Excellent Strike, et cetera. Those things are all in the low essence cost range, and will be quickly reduced to 1m per use, saving 2-3 motes per activation. Four rounds in, you're only four motes down. I don't see how that's much different than activating four low-cost scene-longs, other than the fact that in one case, you've got none committed, and in the other, you've got four committed. I think the bigger problem is that with scene-longs, you'd be able to activate a greater number of them, without completely tying up your essence pool, which can be semi-important in combat (especially for those poor sidereals). Perhaps a middle ground could be found, much as in a charm I created for the [[[MartialArts/FourFoldPathToReadinessStyle]]], where I used an effect similar to the following:
- "While this charm is active, the cost required for all charms is reduced by one-half (rounded down). The total number of motes committed to charms must still not exceed half of the character's normal pools, however."
Something similar might work here, as follows:
- "Each turn, a Twilight Caste Solar may reduce the combined costs of Charms he uses that turn by a number of motes equal to her permanent Essence. No individual charm may cost less than 1 mote. While the Twilight's ability to wield Essence is vast, his capability, however, is limited. As such, the combined sum of the normal unmodified essence cost of all committed charms may still not exceed his normal essence pool.
It fixes the problem of too much commitment, and might be what you're looking for. -- GregLink
- I think I found the big issue here. Thought Becomes Action doesn't allow you to do anything FASTER; it just allows you to get stuff done without having to work as hard. If the Twilight said "I use Thought Becomes Action to write my dissertation," I'd say "Okay, you scribble out half a page. It's the best half a page anybody has ever seen and easily qualifies you for the degree in question, and anybody who reads it has a great in-depth understanding of the topic you're writing about." If he said "I use Thought Becomes Action to get a message to that nearby town," I'd say "Great, in ten seconds the message is there. Do you want to describe a particular delivery mechanism? Cannon, flock of birds, pneumatic tube?" The reason I limited it to once a day is that, uh, it's incredibly strong! I don't think it's too powerful, but neither do I want the Twilight's ability to instantly solve problems to basically steal the spotlight for the entire campaign. I hope that the changes I made are good for you; I'm pretty happy with them at this point.
- I'm thinking about the Essence ability. Thanks a lot for your input!
Bumped up Zenith power. Weakened Twilight innate ability again. I have reliable reports that it is way crazy.
I moved a bit of your last post up into the ability description. I really think the example you gave is key, so I put it up there for future generations. Hope you don't mind! -- GregLink, who would like to point out that DeBroglie got his PhD with a four-page dissertation describing that "Hey, I think particles behave like waves. If they did, this is how I'd check. And I did. And they do. I'm smart, see?"
To clarify a little more on the essence thing, or at least explain my reasoning behind my objections to the orginal power. The big restriction on scenelongs is that you can only commit so many with your finite pool, and that you don't want to fill your entire pool with commitments anyway such that you can't bust out SSE when you need it to save yourself. By halving (or more than!) the mote cost of a typical at Essence 3, it allows a twilight to really stock up on scenelongs, with much less of a restriction. For example, an Ess 3 twilight who uses VBoS style, and activated all the charms up to and including the form would commit 14m (Assuming 5 dice added via BotBM). She can do this without leaving her personal pool. A dawn on the other hand, would commit 26m for the same charms. Which is likely 2/3 of his available essence. If they activate Flows Like Blood too, the twilight spends another 2m, bringing their total up to 16m which is still conceivably in their personal pool, the dawn on the other hand now has over 30m committed.
If they're using instant charms, while the twilight makes a saving, if they want to get a noticable benefit out of it, they're probably still spending noticable ammounts of essence, and because the essence flows are dynamic, something simple like Essence Gathering Temper can make the difference truely negligable. - Kraken