Lonesome Heirs of Ash Path - Greymane
Unlike their ghostly sires, the grave-born straddle the line between life and death. They are creatures of the mortal world and the realm of the dead at once, walking in both and accepted by neither. Many are abandoned by relatives both living and dead, cast aside as unwanted. Forced to walk the world alone from far too early an age, some of the ghost-blooded look for companionship in objects and likenesses. The toys and dolls of children take on greater meaning, their place as companions to the grave-born extending well beyond an abandoned childhood and into a friendless adolescence and a lonely adulthood. The games of imagination and make-believe played with such toys grow into fantasies more complex until some part of the grave-born reaches out and passes them from fantasy into reality.
The Lonesome Heirs of Ash Path is a series of Arcanoi most ghost-blooded stumble across by accident and few are aware of. It is an outward extension of their solitude, an essence fueled reflection of the lengths one might go to avoid feeling alone and a desperate cry for safety and comfort in a life that often has little of either.
False Life Infusion Method
Cost: 2 motes per Doll
Minimum Compassion: 1
Minimum Essence: 2
Perquisite Charms: None
Infusing them with a portion of their own half-living Essence, a ghost-blood with this Arcanoi can animate any object within his sight that bares at least superficial resemblance to man or beast, of a size and weight no greater than a shin-high toy made from tin and no lesser than an origami swan, for 2 motes. The motes remain committed until the doll is destroyed or the ghost-blooded chooses to rescind it.
These dolls possess three health levels, all of which are considered -0. Any action they take has a dice pool equal to their creators Compassion + 1 die for every extra mote invested, up to a number of motes equal to the characters Essence. They possess 2L/3B soak and will deal 2B damage if they strike anyone in combat.
Animated dolls cannot speak and cannot engage in truly intelligent communication, but can perform dances or other playful activities. Those capable of producing noise, such as the canned bark of a clockwork dog or the air-pouch squeak of a stuffed lion, can and will use it to attempt crude, clumsy sorts of communication.
Sweet Friend's Sacrifice
Cost: 1 mote
Minimum Compassion: 2
Minimum Essence: 2
Perquisite Charms: False Life Infusion Method
A doll is not merely a companion, it is an emotional crutch, a friend who will always be there to ease the weight of the world from your shoulders. As paramount in this role as they perform in younger days, as time wears on, they're left behind to wilt away string by string in the darkness.
A character may activate this Arcanoi in response to any incoming blow. Any doll that the character has animated who are near by will hurl themselves unhesitatingly into the path of the attack, imposing their bodies before blow. Any damage successes on a roll are applied first to the doll, before they can be subtracted from the characters own health levels. A doll which looses all of it's health levels is destroyed, ruined beyond repair, and the essence which animated it vanishes into the air with a sigh of fulfillment.
Fortress of False Comfort
Cost: 1 mote per Doll, 1 Willpower
Duration: One Scene
Minimum Compassion: 3
Minimum Essence: 2
Perquisite Charms: Sweet Friend's Sacrifice
As a child afraid in bed builds himself a castle of blankets and toys and huddles behind these warm, familiar, and ultimately flimsy fortifications, so too can a grave-born call forth his companions to swaddle him from the harms of the world.
For each mote spent upon this Arcanoi, one of the grave-born's animated companions will leap upon him and hug tightly to his body, giving up their loving grip for nothing short of their complete destruction. For the remainder of the scene, the character may add the dolls soak to his own. For every three dolls however, the character increases the difficulty of any Dexterity based action by 1, as the layers of swaddling fluff constrict him tighter. The additional soak counts as armored soak, rather than natural, and can be bypassed as such by Charms or weapons that deal piercing damage. At the end of the scene, every doll affixed to the characters body will simply fall dead and inanimate to the ground around him.
Claws of Tattered Courage
Minimum Compassion: 4
Minimum Essence: 2
Perquisite Charms: Fortress of False Comfort
Tiny hands begin to twist as they clutch their toys for comfort. As if trying to wring courage from their companions, a child will tear a toy to pieces trying to claw out that shred of safety lurking within each one.
This Arcanoi is an improvement of Fortress of False Comfort. Whenever activating that Arcanoi, the character may spend an additional mote of Essence to exchange his standard unarmed attack for one with a pool equal to his Brawl or Martial Arts + Dexterity + Compassion and which deals damage equal to his Strength + the number of animated dolls clinging to his body. This attack can deal lethal or bashing damage.
If this Arcanoi is employed, strands of thread and bits of metal will gather around the grave-born's hands, twisting and tying together into long scything claws. These multi-colored spirals of mismatched thread and sharpened bits of metal are knotted around the faces of child-like dolls and the malformed limbs of tattered cotton-filled animals.
Weeping Child's Want
Minimum Compassion: 5
Minimum Essence: 3
Perquisite Charms: Claws of Tattered Courage
A child's last defense against fear is to cry. Each tear a prayer for safety. They soak into the plush toys and bring rust to tin soldiers. The outpouring of fear threatens to drown child, toy, and terror at once and it becomes only a game to see which breaks first.
This Arcanoi is an improvement of Fortress of False Comfort. Whenever activating that Arcanoi, the character may spend an additional point of Willpower to cause all unarmed strikes he delivers to ravage his target with a child's sickening terror. On any unarmed attack he makes which deals at least one health level of damage, the target must succeed in a Valor + Resistance roll with a difficulty equal to the ghost-bloods Essence. Failure in this roll fills the target with an overwhelming fear. Their body shakes uncontrollably as the world around them seems to grow into something impossibly huge and unknowable, dread making them sweat from every pore. For a number of turns equal to the ghost-bloods Essence, the target must spend a point of Willpower to engage in any action beyond cowering and weeping or fleeing from any threat. Even those that do suffer a penalty to their dice actions equal half of their Compassion (rounded up) and add one to the difficulty of any roll related to resisting fear.
If this Arcanoi is employed, liquid begins to pour out of the eyes of the toys clinging to the ghost-bloods body and the eyes of the ghost-blood himself. It wells up in the cracks between them and spills out over his body. Blood, black ooze, milk; the liquid is never harmful, but never ceasing, trickling out over the grave-born endlessly.