Ink Monkey Bones #1: An Infernal Charm

Back in 2010, when Exalted‘s survival was in doubt and it looked like the upcoming Return of the Scarlet Empress book might be the final publication in the line, a few of the game’s writers—Michael “Neph” Goodwin, Eric Minton, John Mørke, Holden Lee Shearer, Dean Shomshak, and Robert Vance—received permission to publish additional Exalted material on the White Wolf blog. Called the Ink Monkeys, this blog collective produced 48 blog posts packed with setting and rules material that’s still used by the community to this day.

When the Ink Monkeys closed their doors to start work on Third Edition, there were still a few approved blog posts queued up for publication. While some of that material has been shared with the community, much has been kept in reserve in case the 3e developers wanted to revise it for future books. But some changes in setting, system, and tone have been so significant that they’ve left bits of Ink Monkeys material unusable in 3e in any form. I’m negotiating with the developers to publish that material now for use in 2e/2.5e games.

Here’s the first approved Ink Monkey Bones release—the last piece of Infernal writing that I’ve done in the past three and a half years.


<2>She Who Lives in Her Name Charms

<3>Ectopsychic Crystal Matrix

<n>Cost: 1m; Mins: Essence 3; Type: Simple (Speed 3)

Keywords: Combo-OK, Sorcerous

Duration: Indefinite

Prerequisite Charms: Mind-Hand Manipulation

Much as the lesser spheres of She Who Lives in Her Name whirl in intricate cycles around her central fire, the Infernal may integrate an attuned hearthstone into her Essence pattern without crude physical contact. Glowing from within, the stone takes up an orbit around the Infernal’s head amid rippling mandalas of esoteric forces and twisted space. A hearthstone set in the Ectopsychic Crystal Matrix provides enhanced Essence respiration and special powers as though it were set into an attuned artifact. An Infernal may have up to (Essence) stones orbiting her at any given time.

This configuration of orbiting stones also functions as a cognitive array, amplifying the Infernal’s intellect and increasing her psychic sensitivity. She gains a pool of orbital dice equal to ([sum of the Manse ratings of all orbiting stones] / 2), rounded up. As a reflexive action, she may withdraw up to (Essence) orbital dice from this pool and add them any roll that involves a Mental Attribute. These count toward the Infernal’s dice cap. Her pool of orbital dice refreshes at the start of every scene. (Adding another stone to the matrix mid-scene does not add more dice to the pool until the pool refreshes.)
Hearthstones may be dislodged from the Ectopsychic Crystal Matrix by a disarm attack (Exalted, p. 158). Removing a hearthstone from its orbit ends the Charm with respect to that stone. This also disrupts the matrix, removing a number of dice equal to the dislodged stone’s Manse rating from the Infernal’s orbital dice pool.

[BEGIN BOXED TEXT]

<4>On Ectopsychic Crystal Matrix

<n>”Jack Vance’s ‘Dying Earth’ stories, with their colorful sorceries, rich post-apocalyptic environments and utterly amoral characters, have always had an influence on Exalted. I couldn’t resist a reference to ‘Morreion,’ one of the finest and darkest tales in his oeuvre. Rest assured that any connection to another popular fantasy RPG is indirect and unintentional.” —E

[END BOXED TEXT]

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