Month: October 2014

Ink Monkey Bones #25: New Infernal Hearthstones, Part 5

<2>Hearthstones of Kimbery

<3>Stone of Scorn (Manse 2)

<n>If the bearer of this many-faceted orange stone uses a social attack to compel someone’s behavior and the target spends Willpower to refrain from that behavior, the bearer immediately makes a perfect follow-up social attack to build an Intimacy—either of self-loathing, of shame regarding the objective of the compelled behavior, or of fear toward the bearer.

<2>Hearthstones of Malfeas

<3>Bloody-Handed General’s Stone (Manse 2)

<n>This warm, ruddy bronze orb guides its bearer toward the aggressive pursuit of battle, giving even the most peaceable of souls the necessary skills to crush an opposing army. Its bearer adds (Conviction) to all War rolls. The bearer also adds two dice to Conviction checks to avoid committing atrocities against civilians during or in the wake of a battle.

<2>Hearthstones of Szoreny

<3>Gem of the Labyrinth’s Master (Manse 4)

<n>This stone, a mass of dark crystals shot through with a silver thread, gives its bearer an instinctive grasp of complex mazelike environments—large buildings, cave networks, city streets, tangled swamps, etc. In such environments, she gains (Temperance) bonus dice on rolls involving navigation, tracking, concealment and surprise. These bonus dice become automatic successes within landscapes formed by Szoreny and his Third Circle souls.

Ink Monkey Bones #24: New Infernal Hearthstones, Part 4

<2>Hearthstones of Hegra

<3>Gem of Infectious Melancholy (Manse 2)

<n>Demon-Bound (Lypothymie)

A strange sadness comes upon those who gaze into this stone’s shifting pastel depths. Its bearer may spend 1wp to make it blaze with haunting colors; it then acts as a vector for the emotional disease Lypothymie (Compass of Celestial Directions: Malfeas, p.XX) with a virulence of 5 for the rest of the scene. Its bearer is wholly immune to Lypothymie.

<3>Mother of Dreamstones (Manse 2)

<n>Whenever the bearer of this dazzling green opal awakens from sleep, she disgorges up to five small dreamstones (Oadenol’s Codex, p. 156), each containing one of that night’s dreams. These stones are strangely pallid, such that they cannot be mistaken for ordinary dreamstones, and each evaporates into rainbow mist after a single use.

<2>Hearthstones of Isidoros

<3>Hammer-Blow Gemstone (Manse 2)

<n>The bearer of this horn-like stone can strike with awesome force. In Step 10 of a hand-to-hand attack, she may spend 3m to increase by (Essence) the difficulty of the reflexive roll to avoid knockback (see Exalted, p. 153).

<3>Stone of the Great Beast (Manse 2)

<n>The bearer of this brindled gem may spend 1wp to take on a shadow of Isidoros’ form for one scene. He grows larger and heavier, sprouting horns, a thick black pelt and a tail as his feet broaden into hooves. He gains the Fur, Hooves, Large and Tail poxes, the Horns affliction and the Creature of Darkness deformity as a Desecration effect. While in this form, the bearer gains two Valor dots (maximum 5).

Ink Monkey Bones #23: New Infernal Hearthstones, Part 3

<2>Hearthstones of the Ebon Dragon

<3>Gem of Poisoned Words (Manse 1)

<n>The bearer of this irregular salmon-colored stone may pervert others’ Intimacies. This functions as eroding an Intimacy, but instead of breaking, the Intimacy’s tenor changes to a related negative emotion. An Intimacy of love becomes hate or obsession, for example, while an Intimacy of respect becomes jealousy or contempt.

<3>Stone of the Night-Blade’s Song (Manse 3)

<n>Demon-Bound (Erembour)

A white streak blazes across this black gem’s face. A melee weapon set with this stone sings like a bird as it moves, trailing streamers of shadow. This song calls out to the bearer’s foes, drawing them into her embrace. While in shadow or darkness, the bearer may spend 1wp to reflexively make an unnatural social attack with two components: a Compulsion effect that induces its target to move into and remain within the bearer’s engagement range, and an Emotion effect that gives the target an Intimacy toward the bearer. It costs targets an additional 1wp to resist the effect while the Ebon Dragon blots out the sky or while Erembour’s silver horn can be heard.

<3>Shadow-Veil Jewel (Manse 4)

<n>A whorl of darkness dances endlessly inside this clear crystal orb. The shadows favor its bearer, obscuring his flaws so that one can only see his beauty. So long as the bearer is in shadow, he adds three to his Appearance, to a maximum of 7. Alternatively, if the bearer wills it, the shadows drape him in a mantle of horror, reducing his Appearance to 0. These are Desecration effects.

Ink Monkey Bones #22: New Infernal Hearthstones, Part 2

I’m sorry for not posting this past week. Life has been busy, what with heathen weddings and interviewing people about biotechnology, and I’ve had precious little time to think about Exalted blogging. Odds are good that this will keep up until the end of the month, though I’ll try to post a few things that won’t require in-depth research.

In the meantime, here’s a few more Infernal hearthstones:

<2>Hearthstones of Adorjan

<3>Thread-Body Movement Stone (Manse 3)

<n>Demon-Bound (Gumela)

When the bearer of this elongated blue-green gem hurls herself at a narrow opening—a grating, a crevice, a keyhole—her body stretches to impossible thinness, allowing her to flow through the gap like thread through a needle’s eye. This Shaping effect requires the ability to move freely, and cannot be used to escape from restraints such as manacles or grapples.

<2>Hearthstones of Cecelyne

<3>Desert-Drained Husk Stone (Manse 1)

<n>This dull, cracked brown stone is always dry. Its bearer’s flesh assumes a withered, mummified cast whenever he enters a place of desolation (Manual of Exalted Power: Infernals, p. 120). His Appearance drops by two (to a minimum of 1), but he neither needs nor craves food and drink. This is a Desecration effect.

<3>Impassable Guardian Stone (Manse 4)

<n>The bearer of this cylindrical ivory stone, speckled with dark iron, can halt even the most elusive foe. The bearer adds her Charisma to her Blockade Movement pool, and may use Blockade Movement against immaterial beings. These Charisma dice become automatic successes within the confines of Cecelyne or the landscapes of her Third Circle souls.

Melammu and the Exalted Anima

The anima, a mantle of divine radiance possessed by the Exalted in Onyx Path’s RPG of that name, is nothing original. Such glows form a mainstay of Christian iconography, appearing as either a head-crowning halo or a body-encircling aureole. Similar imagery appears in Buddhist, Hindu, and Islamic iconography over the past two thousand years. But such luminescence predates the Christian era. A prime example appears in Homer’s Iliad:

But Achilles dear to Jove arose, and Minerva flung her tasselled aegis round his strong shoulders; she crowned his head with a halo of golden cloud from which she kindled a glow of gleaming fire.

Another pre-Christian motif resembling the Exalted anima is the velificatio. This veil-like aura, its name derived from the Latin for setting sail, surrounds certain gods in ancient Roman art—as well as emperors who have been granted divinity.

We can trace the nimbus even farther back, however, to ancient Mesopotamia. There it took the form of the melammu, a light or fire granted by the highest of gods that denoted power and authority. This has long been an obscure concept; I’d never heard of it until I did some in-depth research into Mesopotamian mythology in 2011 for my home Scion game. There’s not a lot of information to be found about melammu online, but this paper appears to be a good resource. It includes a number of instances wherein Mesopotamian monarchs or mythic heroes are endowed with solar or lunar radiance, granting or embodying a measure of divine power and authority. It’s well worth a look!


Ink Monkey Bones #21: Hearthstones of Vitriol

In my latest search through my old Exalted files, I dredged up a draft of Infernal hearthstones written for inclusion in The Broken-Winged Crane. The draft included a number of stones that didn’t appear in the final book. I’ll post the previously-unpublished stones here over the next few weeks.

<2>Hearthstones of Vitriol

<3>Flesh-Rotting Stone (Manse 1)

<n>This waxy ocher gemstone has an unwholesome sheen. When set into a weapon, each attack that inflicts at least one health level of damage acts as a vector for leprosy (see Exalted, p. 351), requiring a (Stamina + Resistance) check at difficulty 1 to avoid infection.

A similar stone inflicts consumption (Exalted, p. 351). Various Yozi-aspected hearthstones serve as vectors for other diseases; more dangerous diseases have higher hearthstone ratings.

<3>Gem of Odium (Manse 1)

<n>Bright red-orange cracks spangle this dark green gem. It takes one scene less than usual for its bearer to acquire an Intimacy of hate (see Exalted, p. 173), with a minimum of one scene. Eroding one of the bearer’s Intimacies of hate takes one scene more than usual.

<3>Vitriol-Attunement Gem (Manse 2)

<n>This transparent silvery stone surrounds a core of dark, cloudy fluid. Its bearer gains an affinity for the element of vitriol. She is unharmed by contact with vitriol and adds half her Essence rating to Craft (Vitriol) rolls. Moreover, as with all vitriol, she becomes infused with the malice of the Yozis, reducing her Compassion by 1 (minimum 1). A Dragon-Blooded bearer’s anima exhibits dark vitriolic streaks; this is a cosmetic effect, but disturbing nonetheless.