Ink Monkey Bones #9: Unofficial Infernal Relics Errata

So, true story: When I was tapped to write the infernal relics chapter for Manual of Exalted Power—the Infernals, I hadn’t played Exalted for years. I’d just gotten interested in the setting again, however, and I got in touch with John Chambers (on a former freelancer’s recommendation) just when he needed a pinch-hitter. Everyone knows how that turned out: a list of gear with gorgeously elaborate descriptions whose mechanics couldn’t back them up.

That’s not fair to you, the reader. Players and Storytellers need mechanics that work. Four years ago, I got together with a few fellow writers and fans to put errata together for the Ink Monkeys blog. Unfortunately, the blog was canceled while we were working on the project, and between other late 2e assignments and the advent of 3e, we got sidetracked away from finishing the errata. With 2e going away, this seems as good a time as any to publish what we did put together.

To be clear, no one involved in working on this errata has looked at it for years, and even if we had checked it out recently, we’re all in the 3e headspace, so we’re not up on 2e mechanics anymore. So while it’s probably better than what was published in Infernals, “better” doesn’t necessarily mean “good.” Likewise, there are guaranteed to be rules problems in the chapter that we never got around to fixing. Still, I’d like to think that everyone would rather than we keep working on 3e development rather than dedicate our limited writing time to a previous edition’s errata.

In any case, I hope this helps!

– Eric Minton


Dragon-Smothering Elixir: The damage interval for this poison is 1 minute.

Hellwand: Smaller versions of the hellwand exist; these use the same statistics as the flame piece (see Exalted, p. 373)

Relic Templates: Several artifact weapons and armors in Manual of Exalted Power—Infernals function as templates that are applied to standard artifacts such as daiklaves or breastplates. Artifacts built with these templates are not made from the Magical Materials and the benefits provided by the templates take the place of Magical Materials bonuses. The following relics are actually templates:

• Caustic Weapon
• Shadow Weapon
• Acid-Rime Weapon
• Mist Razor
• Twining Leaf Armor

Shadow Weapon: The modifiers to Parry DVs only apply while the weapon is in shadow—that is, when it is neither clearly and directly lit nor in total darkness. Any amount of indirect illumination or incomplete darkness will allow the shadow weapon to provide its benefits.

Acid-Rime Weapon: Replace the current text of this relic with the following:

Kimbery’s brood crafted the first of these weapons, which resemble certain Lintha artifacts from before the Primordial War. Each consists of an inexhaustible core of seething caustic fluid encased in a flinty shell of unmelting indigo ice. A strong blow shatters the ice, releasing a spray of acid and corrosive vapor; the acid then freezes back into the weapon’s original form. A variant weapon, the acid-rime sling, consists of a cord and pouch of demon shagreen that creates missiles of acid-filled ice when swung. Likewise, acid-rime bows of coral and behemoth gut conjure ice arrows whose tips swell with vitriol.

If an acid-rime weapon’s attack is successfully parried or if the weapon successfully strikes a target with Hardness, it cracks and exposes its acid core, spraying the target with corrosive liquid. The cracked weapon seals and refills itself at the end of the tick; until then, it cannot crack and spray acid on any other targets. Acid from a cracked weapon sears the character or object that parried or was struck, inflicting an environmental hazard with Damage 3L/instant, Trauma 3. This environmental hazard is negated when the accompanying attack is successfully blocked or soaked by an appropriate Charm with a Flaw of Invulnerability. See Exalted, p. 131 for more on environmental hazards.

Acid-rime versions exist of all standard artifact weapons. They have the same base characteristics as the standard versions. Attunement costs and artifact ratings for these weapons increase by one.

Acid-rime bows and slings create no more than one acid-filled projectile per action. Such a weapon may only be fired at its full rate if these projectiles are interspersed with other ammunition.

Emerald Spider Gauntlets: The damage interval for the gauntlets’ poison is 1 minute.

Rod of Verdant Minerals: The wielder may spend a point of Willpower when activating the rod in order to create material that is both real and permanent. Otherwise, created material shrivels away to nothing at the end of the scene.

[BEGIN BOXED TEXT]
Revised statistics for the Rod:

Speed Accuracy Damage Defense Rate Minimums Attune Tags
5 +0 +8B +2 2 Str •• 5 —
[END BOXED TEXT]

Noon-and-Midnight Cauldron: This device has a Repair rating of 4 and the Artillery tag. It uses Archery, not Lore, for the attack roll.

Twining Leaf Armor: The listed soak bonus of +2L/+1B is incorrect. The soak bonus should be +3L/+3B. In addition, the armor’s -1 mobility penalty adds to that of the base armor; it does not replace the base armor’s penalty. The clangor of the armor’s metal leaves imposes a -2 external penalty to all of the wearer’s Stealth checks that involve remaining silent.

Topaz Vapor Mantle: This armor’s listed mobility penalty is incorrect. Its mobility penalty should be 0.

Chaos Targe: Ignore the reference to “baffling perfect attacks.”

Hauberk of Bells: Replace the current text of this relic with the following:

Infernal artisans forge these suits of mail from black iron alloyed with the gold of Vitalius, the Forest of Chimes, where those who most fear the Silent Wind conceal themselves from her wrath. Each is a long-sleeved coat of fine links of black and gold metal. Bound to each link is a tiny golden bell that tarnishes like silver. Every bell has its own unique tone, and they ring gentle glissandi even without being touched.

The bells ring constantly, forming a song that mirrors the wearer’s movements—a light step calls forth a sprightly tune, for instance, while abrupt gestures evoke an angry discord. This jingling imposes a -2 external penalty to all of the wearer’s Stealth checks that involve remaining silent. But there is more to the ringing of the bells than mummery. Their melody has a preternatural quality, such that moving in accord with the bell’s song immeasurably improves the wearer’s agility and grace.

While the wearer coordinates his movements with the song of the bells, he may substitute Performance for any Ability check or static value involving supple full-body movement that could plausibly be incorporated into dance. This includes Dodge and Parry DVs, Athletics checks to maintain one’s balance, physical attacks, and the like. It does not include an increase in the wearer’s movement rate.

This ability may only be exercised if all of the following situations apply:

• The wearer must hear the bells clearly. This requires a successful (Perception + Awareness) check at the start of each action if the wearer’s hearing is impaired by loud or distracting noises, partial deafness or the like. It becomes impossible if the wearer is completely deafened or if some magic nullifies all sound in his vicinity.
• The wearer must dance freely. This requires broad movements in an area with sufficient head-room to stand upright and sufficient lateral space to stretch out one’s arms and legs.
• The bells must be able to ring unobstructed. This requires that none of the bells are muffled by any sort of covering—a cloak, a net, a grappler’s arms, et cetera—or clogged with anything that blocks their clappers.

Adorjan hates the sound of bells. As with the singing of her most distant progeny—the demjen and katalinae, the gyorgike and jazon, the fulope and angyalka—she will not silence the hauberk’s wearer with her touch unless she must. But she is a Yozi, and if needs compel her to touch the wearer, the hauberk’s music offers no protection.

[BEGIN BOXED TEXT]
Revised statistics for the Hauberk of Bells:

Soak Hardness Mobility Fatigue Attune
9L/8B 5L/5B 0 -1 (Performance x 2), minimum 4
[END BOXED TEXT]

Path-Carving Boots: Replace the current text of this relic with the following:

These calf-high boots always feel warm and pliant, and careful examination reveals pulsing veins beneath their leathery surfaces. Once attuned for a cost of two motes, any unworked, inanimate surfaces they tread upon turn to basalt. This creates a layer of stone one yard wide and one inch thick. The wearer cannot turn this ability off without breaking the attunement.

In addition to transmuting such substances as rock, sand, soil, grass, wood and ice, the boots will extend a path across any calm semi-solid or liquid surface, such as quicksand, mud or still water. Such a path can also be laid across choppy surfaces—such as storm-tossed water or roiling mud—or even thin air, but such a path can be no longer than the distance the wearer crosses with a single Dash action. The boots only resume their function once the character has once more set foot on solid ground. Paths across non-solid surfaces are sustained by magic, remaining intact unless deliberately destroyed by attacks. Otherwise, they crumble to black gravel at the end of the scene.

If a roadway created with path-carving boots actually forms a connection between two or more habitable or well-used locations, then the area is considered to be developed for purposes of the Imperfection of the Demon City. This only applies if the path is actually usable. A path squiggling around in the middle of nowhere provides no benefit; neither does a section of roadway that has been completely destroyed.

Shadowlight Caul: Donning or removing the caul is a miscellaneous action.

Key to the Infernal Gates: As a traveler steps through a doorway opened in this way, she may appear to observers to undergo spatial or temporal distortions, seeming to shoot off over the horizon or to bend sickeningly into a spiral shape. However, the traveler herself experiences only the sensation of stepping over a threshold. There appears to be no passage across an endless desert, but as always, it takes five days to reach Malfeas. If First Age savants had any theories, they do not survive into the Time of Tumult to explain just where one goes in the intervening time.

Travel by means of a Key to the Infernal Gates is one way only. Once in Malfeas, the sojourner cannot turn around and head back to Creation.

Weapon Ward: This categorization of weapon types is metaphysical rather than physical, and the metaphysical is in large part defined by language. (Blame Elloge.) As such, if a weapon might reasonably be associated with the name of the weapon type repelled by the ward, then the ward functions against that weapon. So a sword ward will block both a short sword and a great sword with equal ease, a javelin—being a small throwing spear—is subject to a spear ward, and a khatar—also known as a ‘punch dagger’—is susceptible to the power of a dagger ward. When in doubt as to whether a weapon ward will function against a given weapon, assume that the ward will function against that weapon.

A weapon ward must be defined to function against a specific type of weapon. Axe wards, chain wards, seven-section staff wards and whip wards are all viable options. Edged weapon wards, projectile wards and harmful-object wards are not legitimate weapon ward types.

For purposes of a weapon ward, it is the weapon’s type that matters, not how it is used. For example, a sword ward will protect equally against blows delivered with a daiklave’s edge, flat or pommel.

Compliant Umbral Panoply: Constructs created with the Panoply are treated as creatures of darkness.

Soul-Refracting Shadow Prism: If the prism’s owner withdraws the motes committed to a shadow double while the double is within (Essence) yards, she inhales the shadows of which the double is composed, absorbing its memories in the process.

The Scarlet Bridge: As with the Key to the Infernal Gates, crossing the Scarlet Bridge seems instantaneous from the traveler’s perspective but takes five days of real time. Thus, traveling from Malfeas to Creation and then coming right back results in a loss of ten days.

The bridge’s owner can only maintain the connection between worlds while standing on one side or the other. The portal collapses the moment he traverses that threshold.

As a clarification, note that the first half of the Scarlet Bridge is physically present as a tangible object in Malfeas at all times. If you activate the Bridge in Creation, you travel to the half of the Bridge that’s physically in Malfeas, wherever it happens to be at the moment—though colossally heavy and bulky, it can be moved by a sufficiently powerful labor force. The second half of the Bridge is in Elsewhere at all times except when the Bridge is activated, at which point it appears in Creation.

Infernal Grafts: Dice granted by an infernal relic graft are treated as bonus dice from Charms (Exalted, p. 185). An automatic success added by a graft counts as two bonus dice for this purpose.

Any character with an infernal relic graft is a creature of darkness.

Demon Ink Tattoo: Replace the current text of this relic with the following:

Infernal artists use needles of brass and bone to insert chalcanth beneath a recipient’s skin, inscribing a tattoo made from a demon’s living Essence. Such a tattoo takes on the semblance of the demon as it was in life. So incredibly lifelike is a well-formed demon ink tattoo that it seems to move as onlookers watch, while it does move when hidden from sight.

Each demon ink tattoo is a hellforged wonder (see Manual of Exalted Power—the Infernals, pp. 196-198). It is affixed to the bearer’s flesh rather than to a base artifact. As such, while it is treated as an artifact for purposes of magics that affect artifacts, it does not require the purchase of the Artifact Background. Instead, its owner purchases one to three dots of the Sapience Background without accompanying Artifact dots. The tattoo functions as a normal hellforged wonder in all other respects.

Attunement to a demon-ink tattoo costs (Sapience x 2) motes.

Common tattoos and their benefits follow. These are only examples; a specific erymanthus tattoo, for example, might award different Charms and/or special abilities than the one given below.

Surgery: 10/1 hour/2/2

[BEGIN BOXED TEXT]
Chrysogona, the Crying Woman, a tragedy mask splaying spidery wooden fingers over the shoulder

Urge: To inflame the ambitions of others, stirring them to intemperate action.

Sapience *: Spice of Custodial Delectation (feed on the ambition of a court the wearer is advising)
Sapience **: As above, plus Harrow the Mind (target believes something that fuels her ambitions), Stoke the Flame (stir up ambition)
Sapience ***: As above, plus Essence Bite (ignite fires by touch: 5L, Elemental keyword), Landscape Travel (extend and ignite fingers like a chrysogona, allowing the bearer to spiral straight upward at his normal movement rate—no lateral movement is possible, though the bearer may hover), Thick Skin blight (wooden flesh, +2L/2B soak)

Erymanthus, the Blood-Ape, a grotesque simian shape scribed upon the arm

Urge: To battle and kill and consume the blood of enemies.

Sapience *: First Martial Arts Excellency
Sapience **: As above, plus Second Athletics Excellency, Landscape Travel (brachiation)
Sapience ***: As above, plus Bane Weapon (against mortals), Principle of Motion, Talons blight (Retractable claws deal lethal damage and add two damage dice)

Neomah, the Maker of Flesh, an androgynous lavender figure sketched suggestively along the thigh

Urge: To exchange services for flesh and weave that flesh into unique creatures.

Sapience *: Weaving of Flesh (see Exalted, p. 311)
Sapience **: As above, plus Second Presence Excellency, Shapechange (change appearance and/or gender to meet the needs of a prospective sexual partner)
Sapience ***: As above, plus First Athletics Excellency, Harrow the Mind (seductive and sensual illusions), Principle of Motion
[END BOXED TEXT]

Green Sun Tattoo: This relic has an attunement cost of 1m.

Ebon Shadow Hand: Instead of granting a generic bonus to all Dexterity rolls, the hand adds one automatic success to (Dexterity + Larceny) rolls when directly and clearly illuminated or in absolute darkness, or three automatic successes in all other circumstances—that is to say, when it is in shadow. It provides no bonuses to other Dexterity rolls.

The ebon shadow hand has an Artifact rating of two and an attunement cost of two motes.

Fourfold Demon Arm: Replace the current text of this relic graft with the following:

Dark and leathery, this protean limb is composed of synthetic flesh grown from a matrix of infernal ivory, crimson silver, demon tissue and seawater. Once attached to the stump of a hand or arm, it changes its shape at its owner’s desire (a reflexive action that costs one mote of Essence). Each limb has four forms. One is appropriate to the recipient’s species, such as a human hand on a mortal-born akuma or a simian paw on an erymanthus. The other three are unique shapes that spontaneously flow from its owner’s nature. In all its forms, the arm’s inhuman aspect—whether subtle or overt—gives a non-demonic wearer a -1 penalty to his Appearance unless he somehow conceals it.

The recipient’s player defines the structure of each of the arm’s three remaining shapes. Each could be almost anything: a hand, paw, claw or tentacle, or even a sword, hammer or axe of hardened demon-bone. Each limb-shape is defined as a weapon with a Resource cost; an ordinary arm (including the first, basic limb-shape) is considered to be a zero-Resources weapon for this purpose. Mutations may also be applied to a limb-shape. The (Resources + mutation points) total for each limb-shape may not exceed 4. Mutations purchased in this way must be appropriate for application to a single arm. All shapes are treated as Fine equipment unless bought up to be Exceptional or Perfect (Exalted, pp. 365-366).

Example: Chwen-Screaming-Curses wears a fourfold demon arm. His first limb-shape is an ordinary human limb. As it is effectively Fine equipment, it automatically gains a single specialty; in this case, it is especially dexterous at picking locks (Larceny Specialty: Lock Picking +1). The second, a chitinous sword-appendage, acts as a perfect chopping sword (Resources 2 for a chopping sword, +2 Resources for Perfect quality). The third form is a mass of groping tendrils. This uses the Tentacles mutation (4 mutation points for a blight), and its Fine equipment bonus makes it invaluable for grappling (Martial Arts Specialty: Clinch +1). His fourth limb-shape is an angyalka’s many-fingered hand. Its preternatural sensitivity is represented by the Enhanced Sense (touch) mutation, while its Perfect quality gives it two additional dice when playing musical instruments. With the Storyteller’s approval, he rounds out its abilities by giving it a Third Eye in the center of its palm.

Attuning a fourfold demon arm costs four motes of Essence.

Tongue of the Serpent Prince: This graft imposes a constant Compulsion toward dishonesty on its bearer, so that he never speaks the complete truth. Every non-phatic statement he makes must, in part or in whole, be a lie of omission or commission. He must spend one Willpower to resist this unnatural mental influence for one scene.

Green Iron Heart: Replace the current text of this relic graft with the following:

A whirling clockwork masterpiece of glittering vessels and gears, this mechanism of radiant green iron replaces the fleshly heart in its owner’s chest. Its owner lacks a heartbeat, and those who listen for it may discern that the heart whirs and ticks like a clock, its pace never changing even in the thrall of desire, wrath or terror. Replacing a living heart with this cold apparatus has a powerful metaphysical effect on the recipient. She becomes like a machine herself, as strong and unfeeling as iron, without pain or fear or love.

The Green Iron Heart provides the following benefits:

• +4 bonus dice to all Strength and Resistance dice pools and static values;
• Immunity to wound penalties;
• Dampens the character’s emotional responses, removing all numerical MDV bonuses and penalties due to Intimacies and providing a +4 bonus to MDVs against Emotion effects. The Willpower cost to ignore an undesired Emotion effect decreases by one, to a minimum of one point of Willpower.

If a character with a Green Iron Heart either receives at least one success on a Compassion roll or channels Compassion, she reels with the dissonance between her human empathy and the icy drive of the machine. For the duration of the scene, she gains no supernatural benefits from the Heart and suffers a non-cumulative -2 internal penalty to all non-reflexive actions as she struggles with its harsh and unrelenting will. (If this effect is triggered by a Compassion channel, these penalties do not kick in until after the Compassion-enhanced action is complete.)

Attuning to the Green Iron Heart costs six motes of Essence.

Surgery: 30/5 hours/5/4

Hellforged Wonders: Tainted fragments of demonic volition lurk just beneath the surface of a hellforged wonder, waiting to take hold of someone’s life and direct them as best it can toward its own ends, at least until a better vessel comes along. Any Essence user who spends a miscellaneous action physically interacting with a hellforged wonder may get a sense of the predatory sentience within it if she succeeds at a (Perception + Occult) roll against difficulty 5, or difficulty 3 for gods and Exalted. If any character, mortal or Essence user, attempts to attune to a hellforged wonder, she reflexively and automatically succeeds at this roll the instant before the attunement is complete, giving her a chance to recoil from the invading Urge and halt the attunement.

Opposing a wonder’s Urge imposes an external penalty, not an internal penalty.

The more powerful the hellforged wonder, the greater the strength of the abilities it can contain. A hellforged wonder can only provide Charms whose minimum Essence ratings do not exceed the wonder’s Sapience rating.

A hellforged wonder may, if appropriate, provide mutations instead of, or in addition to, Charms. Each mutation takes the place of one Charm. The wonder must have a Sapience rating of at least 2 to provide an Affliction, 3 to provide a Blight, and 4 to provide an Abomination.

Hellforged wonders have a mission and some discernment in how to carry that mission out, but they are purpose-built and not fully characters within themselves. They cannot rebel against their natures and they are too sly or too simple (or both) to be tricked by attuned wielders. While a character can bargain with them, every single thing the wonder does is for the purposes of best fulfilling its Urge. A character who can restrain his hellforged wonder with a bargain is always in the position of asking the thing for its favor, rather than pulling one over on it. The attuned user and the wonder are therefore privy to one another’s intimate feelings. They benefit from the effects of Judge’s Ear Technique (Exalted, p. 213) for the purposes of examining each others’ statements when bargaining, as well as any banter that may come up over the course of the story.

A hellforged wonder can be both boon and curse, but it can never simply be ignored. The thing’s Urge insinuates itself into its user’s life as long as she remain attuned to it, and neglecting the Urge or the wonder weighs down on the soul. A character who spends too much time away from her hellforged wonder(s)—not physically interacting with them—accrues a cumulative -1 internal penalty to all non-reflexive actions per week of such neglect. For hellforged wonders rated Artifact 4+, this penalty accumulates at a rate of -1 per day. This penalty can never exceed (Artifact rating ÷ 2, round up), and only the highest penalty among all neglected wonders is applied.

A day during which the attuned character makes significant progress towards “completing” the wonder’s Urge, gaining a point of Willpower as for pursuing a Motivation (Exalted, p. 89), does not count towards time spent away from the wonder. (A character cannot “bank” multiple scenes of pursuing an Urge from a single day to avoid future penalties.) Willpower regained in any other fashion does not count as progress toward completing the Urge.

Sapience Background: This may be purchased as a normal Background. Buying a sapient relic requires one to spend points on both the Artifact and Sapience Backgrounds. Hellstriders may not have the Sapience Background.

As a clarification, sapience does not increase a hellforged wonder’s attunement cost. The price of such power is the bearer’s vulnerability to the wonder’s Urge.

Mist-Demon Tattoo: This is now a standard Demon Ink Tattoo as per the errata above. It no longer requires the purchase of the Artifact Background, nor does it provide Specialties or bonuses to Attributes or Abilities. Increase the tattoo’s Sapience to 3 and replace its list of benefits with the following:

Essence Bite—Aura of penetrating cold inflicts lethal damage

Fruit of Living Essence—Feed on a sleeping mortal’s dreams, gaining Essence and leaving the target dreamless for one night per stolen mote

Harrow the Mind—Confusion and misdirection

Paper Tiger Arrangement—Crafts illusions of terrifying sounds and shapes within the fog; includes comprehensible voices

Weather Control—Spreads a creeping fog

Tentacles (Blight)—The tattoo extends tendrils of solidified fog from its wearer’s flesh, manifesting them as real limbs for the duration of the scene

Scorn: This hellforged wonder has an attunement cost of six motes.

Wedding Band of the Scarlet Bride: A character using an attuned hellforged wonder in service of its Urge gains a dice bonus equal to the relic’s Sapience rating, but N/A wonders are unique and should be handled individually. In the case of the Sapience N/A Wedding Band, its wearer gains 5 bonus dice when acting in support of its Urge.

The Wedding Band grants access to the Ebon Dragon’s Native Charms.

Hellstriders: The hearthstone mounts required to operate a hellstrider are automatically added to the package at no cost. The ancillary hearthstone mounts purchased with Charm slots are in addition to these default hearthstone mounts.

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