Guest Posts

Tomb of Dreams index card teaser

Stephen Lea Sheppard just posted this picture on his Twitter feed, showing notes for the Tomb of Dreams quickstart adventure for the upcoming Exalted Third Edition release:

Notes from the upcoming Tomb of Dreams quickstart adventure for Exalted Third Edition

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Ink Monkey Bones #8: Modern Infernal Charms

Today we have another guest post by the inimitable Robert Vance. He’s assembled a congeries of old, unpublished Infernal Charms for the Modern Age shard from Shards of the Exalted Dream. These are compatible with Exalted 2e/2.5e. Enjoy!


These are some more Charms written after-the-fact for the Exalted Modern shard, where the Infernal Exalted are the secret rulers of the world, while the Yozis take the background, so this sort of mixes “guns and cars and modern tech” Charms with “secret masters” Charms. Despite the change in setting tone, the nature of the Infernal Charm set should make it pretty easy to import these into almost any setting, with the exception of those couple that specifically manipulate computers or modern infrastructure. Have fun!

Malfeas

Blazing Hellstar Turbo

Cost: 8m, 2L of vehicle damage; Mins: Essence 2; Type: Supplemental
Keywords: Combo-OK, Obvious
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: Green Sun Nimbus Flare

Green fire surges from the Infernal’s anima to circulate through the engine of his vehicle as a blazing nimbus, radianting an unhale glow through even a metal chassis and spewing miasmatic exhaust in his wake.
The vehicle’s top speed is multiplied by the Infernal’s (Essence) for a single movement action, granting non-Charm bonus dice as usual when used in a chase scene (see Shards of the Exalted Dream, p. 138). Using Blazing Hellstar Turbo to successfully Close In on an enemy in a chase scene inflicts an additional point of hazard on her, as the Infernal’s sudden burst of speed and power makes it easier to force rivals towards dangerous or unstable courses.

Each invocation of this Charm deals two levels of damage to the Infernal’s vehicle (or potentially, mount), as it reaches speeds far beyond what its physical form was meant to sustain. A vehicle that is destroyed melts into metal slag or cinders at the end of the movement action, generally sending the Infernal and any passengers flying, while a slain mount crumbles to ashes beneath its rider. A vehicle armored by Brazen Hell-Chariot Carapace (see Shards of the Exalted Dream, p. 182) is sufficiently reinforced so as not to suffer any damage from the use of this Charm.

In settings that lack automobiles, this Charm generally manifests as a wind of green fire that propels a ship forward or scourging lashes of flame that whip at a steed or oarsmen, and is known as Incinerating Radiance Advance.

Steel and Asphalt Dance

Cost: 4m; Mins: Essence 2; Type: Reflexive
Keywords: Combo-OK, Obvious, Shaping
Duration: One scene
Prerequisite Charms: Beauty Without Malice

As long as the Infernal is an area that has been deliberately developed for habitation or use, he gains benefits equivalent to Graceful Crane Stance and Spider-Foot Style (see Exalted, p. 222-225), as well as ignoring any environmental penalties to his speed or Athletics-based actions. He achieves these effects not by supernal grace, but by Shaping his surroundings to serve his will. Cracked or uneven sidewalks level themselves beneath his feet, while skyscrapers rearrange their walls to form platforms or steps if he needs to scale them. These Shaping transformations last only as long as the warlock has need of them before reverting to normalcy, and can never benefit another character.

In settings that lack modern levels of urban development, this Charm is known as Wayward Devil-Vista Dominion.

Molten Lead Corona

Cost: 8m; Mins: Essence 3; Type: Reflexive (Step 2)
Keywords: Combo-OK, Counterattack, Obvious
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: Pathetic Distraction Rebuke, Rebuking Impudent Arms

Bullets melt and boil in the face of the hateful radiance that spills from Infernal’s scorn, falling to the ground in a splash of superheated metal. That this cast-off slag burns his enemies only increases the warlock’s pleasure. When the Infernal comes under a ranged attack that has a material projectile, he may use this Charm to roll (Charisma + Resistance), converting any wound penalties on the roll to bonus dice. Each success subtracts one success from the attack roll against him before comparing it to his DVs. If the attack fails to hit him, mundane projectiles burst in a spray of liquid melt of burning fragments, creating an environmental hazard that is applied against all other characters within (Essence) yards of the warlock in Step 9. The hazard has Trauma equal to the Infernal’s Essence and (Charisma/2)L Damage. If the Infernal’s activation roll received more successes than the attack roll, each extra success is added to the damage of the hazard.

In settings that do not feature guns or other firearms, this Charm is known as Arrow-Shattering Rage, and creates hazards that are typically the shattered metal shrapnel of arrowheads and the cinders of ignited shafts rather than molten lead.

Burning Edict Brand

Cost: — (+5m, 1wp per brand); Mins: Essence 4; Type: Permanent
Keywords: Compulsion
Duration: Permanent
Prerequisite Charms: Magnanimous Warning Glyph

The Infernal burns his commands onto the very bodies of his enemies, marking them for whatever punishment he finds fitting and watching from his hidden throne as his loyal subjects enact them. Whenever the Infernal marks a character with Magnanimous Warning Glyph, he may pay five motes and a point of Willpower to imbue the brand with an unnatural Compulsion that affects anyone who sees the marked character, compelling them to treat him in a certain way—”Kill this man,” “Report her to the police,” or “Cause him no harm” are all valid orders. The Infernal rolls Charisma + Performance to determine the strength of the edict, adding (Essence) automatic successes if the command is intended to bring harm to the character who carries it. Anyone whose MDV is beaten by the successes must carry out the Infernal’s orders upon seeing the branded character, though they do not understand why they suddenly feel it is so important they must do so. Resisting this influence costs one Willpower per day.

Burning Edict Brand can also be used with the marks created by Fealty-Acknowledging Audience, using one roll to inscribe the same edict on all characters branded. When he does so, he must pay a point of Willpower for each brand he empowers this way, in addition to the five mote surcharge.

Demon Core Meltdown

Cost: — (1lhl or 1ahl); Mins: Essence 4; Type: Permanent
Keywords: Native, Obvious, Overdrive
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: Skyfire-Seizing Repast

The tide of progress has covered Creation with veins of power. When he has need of it, the Infernal may draw this abundant energy into his own anima, swelling with Essence ripped from power lines or drained from nuclear cores. This Charm grants an empty Overdrive pool with a capacity of 10 motes. While the Infernal is within at least one mile of infrastructure related to an electric power grid, he may use this Charm to drain energy from it, rolling ten dice and gaining one offensive mote for every success. He can do so no more than once each scene. Double the motes gained if the Infernal draws directly from a power plant, rather than peripheral infrastructure like power lines or a building’s wiring, or triple them if he drains an unshielded nuclear reactor core or a similarly volatile energy source. The influx of power causes the Infernal to take a level of lethal damage, which becomes aggravated if he gains more than five motes. It also disrupts anything powered by the targeted infrastructure, generally resulting in a blackout of commensurate scale, baffling mortal technicians and engineers.

Cecelyne

Gridlock Labyrinth Trap

Cost: 3m, 1wp ; Mins: Essence 2; Type: Simple
Keywords: Combo-Basic, Shaping
Duration: Indefinite
Prerequisite Charms: Swallowed in Eternity

One of the easiest ways in which the Infernal Exalted maintain their secrecy is to keep their pursuers at bay, denying them access to the hidden sanctums and secret meeting places of Creation’s demiurges. By unfurling the fabric of space in her wake, the Infernal may warp the world around pursuers, putting impossible distance between them and her. While the warlock is traveling, the overland speed of any character attempting to follow or pursue her without her permission is halved. If her pursuers are moving through an area of desolation, it is divided by the Infernal’s (Essence + 1) instead. This delay is accomplished by Shaping the space that the pursuer moves through. Effects such as Integrity-Protecting Prana offer no remittance from it, but magic such as Chaos-Repelling Pattern that stabilizes reality in an area can allow a character to move unimpeded. The spatial warping of this Charm plays out over too long a span for it to have any immediate effect in combat.

In a chase scene where the Infernal is trying to outrun other characters, she can pay three motes at each interval to unspool space in her wake, denying pursuers any ground by increasing the distance they must cross to catch her. Each time she does so and succeeds on her roll for that interval, all pursuers lose one of their accumulated successes. In a chase through a place of desolation, any pursuer who fails their roll also gains an additional point of hazard, which often manifests as the environment warping to repel them with waves of scourging sand, eruptions of flesh-eating scorpions, or similar manifestations appropriate to the aesthetics of the Endless Desert.

In settings that lack automobiles, this Charm is known as Paths Beyond Pursuit.

Hell-Rider’s Cobalt Key

Cost: 8m, 1wp; Mins: Essence 3; Type: Simple
Keywords: Combo-Basic, Touch, Shaping
Duration: Indefinite
Prerequisite Charms: Hellscry Chakra, Sand-Slip Trick

The Princes of Hell command vehicles worthy of their titles, taking to the roads like hell on wheels. As the Infernal touches a willing demon of the First Circle, she may invoke this Charm to transform it into any mundane vehicle with a Resources value of three dots or less, such as a car, motorcycle, or speedboat. The vehicle retains some of the aesthetics of the demon it was created from—a pick-up truck born from a blood ape might have a dark red paint job, headlights that suggest predatory eyes, and a steel-fanged grille. The vehicle has the usual traits for one of its kind, but adds +1 Maneuverability, which increases to the Infernal’s (Essence) in places of desolation, a bonus that counts as dice added by Charms. Its health track is completely separate from that of the demon’s physical body.

The transformed demon remains animate and aware for the duration of its metamorphosis. While it cannot take normal actions, it may still act to activate any of its Charms as long as they make since for the form it has been given—for example, a teodozjia (see The Roll of Glorious Divinity II, pp. 87-89) that has been transformed into a motorcycle could still use Weather Control to overcast the sky with dark clouds, or Words of Power to attack one of its master’s enemies with a roar of its engine.

In settings that lack automobiles, this Charm is primarily used to transform demons into small sailing vessels, caravan wagons, or similar, and is known as Devil Chariot Prana.

Unholy Cabal Covenant

Cost: —; Mins: Essence 4; Type: Permanent
Keywords: None
Duration: Permanent
Prerequisite Charms: As You Wish

The Infernal Exalted snare would-be world leaders, billionaires, and superstars with puppet strings of debt, ensuring that those who rise to the thrones of political, economic, or social power will be indented to the true masters of Creation. Any organization that is led by a character who owes the Infernal an outstanding favor from a prior use of Verdant Emptiness Endowment is counted as part of the Infernal’s personal cult, as long as its overall agenda does not directly oppose the law of putting the strong above the weak—a test passed by most capitalist corporations and modern governments. While the group’s members do not consciously realize it, their corporate culture comes to echo the hellish kingdoms that the Primordials reigned over in ancient times, while workplace language and interaction slowly begins to take on the structure of a catechism of prayers offered up to the warlock. In addition to increasing the Infernal’s Cult rating, this also allows her to listen in on any official meetings of the organization as though they were prayers with Penitents Like Scattered Grains, and to potentially answer any desires expressed with As You Wish.

If the Infernal ever calls in all debts owed to her by the organization’s leadership, it slowly begins to revert back to normal over a span of time equal to 10 x the amount of time the debt was left outstanding. The Infernal still retains the Cult benefits of the organization up until this time has passed fully, although the Storyteller may gradually reduce them as the group’s culture breaks free of her malign influence. An organization that has labored under the Unholy Cabal Covenant for ten years or more is warped permanently by it, and will never revert even if all outstanding debts are called in.

Binding Word Fulfillment

Cost: —; Mins: Essence 5; Type: Permanent
Keywords: None
Duration: Permanent
Prerequisite Charms: Verdant Emptiness Endowment

It has always amused Infernal wish-granters to create mortal pawns to place in self-indulgent games or relish the tragedy of one who finds his wishes fulfilled far beyond what he had imagined. While they once played god or devil with spoken words, answering prayers and twisting thoughtless words, the proliferation of the Internet has created a forum for such pleas and demands beyond what the Green Sun Princes could ever have imagined. The Infernal may use Verdant Emptiness Endowment in response to reading a written statement of desire, rather than a spoken one, granting the wish from afar. There is no limit on the distance from which the Infernal may grant wishes, even across different realms of existence. However, once she has granted a wish based on a written request, she cannot provide that character with any more of the benefits of Verdant Emptiness Endowment unless she meets him in person.

She Who Lives in Her Name

Crystal-Fire Servitor Coding

Cost: 20m, 1wp; Mins: Essence 3; Type: Simple (Dramatic action)
Keywords: None
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: Analytical Modeling Intuition

The computer networks used by the Infernal Exalted benefit from the best security software and encryption that money can buy, but that is only the beginning of their defenses. Accursed spirits haunt the highest echelons of their digital infrastructure, bringing down measured retribution on anyone foolish enough to trespass on their virtual domain. This Charm is a dramatic action to code a demonic artificial intelligence into exist within a computer or a computer network, generally taking an hour to complete. The demon exists as a dematerialized presence within the computer it inhabits, incapable of materialization, and is loyal to the warlock who created it as though sorcerously bound. While its traits are left to the Storyteller to the assign, the demon’s vigilant presence imposes a -2 external penalty on any rolls made to hack into the system it inhabits, and almost always possesses one or more curses that it can use regardless of range against hackers who fail their roll to breach the system (see The Roll of Glorious Divinity I, pp. 165-166).

The demons created by Crystal-Fire Servitor Coding die if the system they inhabit is physically destroyed. Additionally, if a character successfully hacks the demon’s system and knows Ghost-Eating Technique or similar magic capable of kill spirits permanently, he may activate it to destroy the demon.

Drone-Imprinting Engrams

Cost: 10m, 1wp (+2xp); Mins: Essence 3; Type: Simple
Keywords: Touch, Training
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: Will-Crushing Force

Once the human shell has been emptied of its troublesome free will, it can find true purpose as a vessel for the agendas of the Infernal Exalted. Drone-Imprinting Engrams can be used to fashion any mortal human whose will has been broken with Will-Crushing Force, Mind Spider Curse, or any similar Charms of She Who Lives in Her Name into a powerful servant. The Infernal defines a role she wishes to shape her drone to serve, such as “bodyguard,” “data analyst,” or “secretary.” As a training effect, she may grant that character ten dots distributed across any Abilities that suit that role, though no Ability can be raised above 4. Alternatively, she may exchange a granted Ability dot to train the character in three relevant specialties. The imprinted character gains an Urge to dutifully fulfill the role assigned to it, in addition to any shred of a Motivation it may still possess.

If the Infernal pays an additional two experience points, she may awaken the Essence of her drone, granting it a personal pool of fifteen motes and training it in (Essence) spirit Charms to help it serve in its assigned role, with restrictions approved or assigned by the Storyteller. A drone imprinted as a bodyguard might be able to use Essence Bite, but only against enemies that pose a threat to the Infernal, while one programmed as a secretary might know Call and Dreamscape, but only be capable of contacting the Infernal with them. The Storyteller should feel free to lower the Essence minimums of Charms to make them accessible through this Charm as long as the restrictions placed upon their use limit their power enough to make them appropriately powerful. The drone may increase its Essence and continue learning spirit Charms as though it were Demon-Blooded, if it is significant enough of an NPC to track experience for. If an awakened drone dies, the Infernal recovers the experience points she invested in it.

A character can only ever benefit from Drone-Imprinting Engrams once in its life.

Automaton Override Exertion

Cost: — (1m per reflexive action); Mins: Essence 4; Type: Permanent
Keywords: None
Duration: Permanent
Prerequisite Charms: Mind-Hand Manipulation

The technological infrastructure of the modern age bends obediently to the Infernal’s will, serving her more perfectly than any living limb could ever hope to do so. The Infernal may use Mind-Hand Manipulation to operate vehicles or machinery as though she were present at the controls from a range of (Occult x 100) yards, the passive receptivity of such inanimate engines allowing her to manipulate them from much greater distances than she could other matter. If she would normally need to take a miscellaneous action to perform an operation, such as maneuvering a ship or swinging a wrecking ball mid-combat, she may pay one mote to do so with only a reflexive though, although she is limited to one such reflexive action per turn. If another character is attempting to operate the targeted machine manually, then the Infernal must oppose his roll with (Willpower + Occult) roll in order to successfully exert her influence.

An Essence 5+ repurchase of this Charm requires Hollow Mind Possession and allows the Infernal to broadcast her will along networks of mortal technology, treating any material intelligence composed of a cluster of network computers (see Shards of the Exalted Dream, p. 183) as being a manse MI for purposes of Charms that require her to be in or controlling a manse MI, or to transmit to them. For example, she could use Noumena-Seizing Assimilation wfrom a terminal of a commandeered computer network to take control of computer-based MIs within range, unleash the Mind Spider Curse from the computer network of an office building, or open channels of communication through a technological MI rather than a possessed manse MI using Broadcast Announcement Prana.

Adorjan

Howling Lead Devils

Cost: 5m; Mins: Essence 2; Type: Supplemental
Keywords: Combo-OK, Velocity
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: Thousandfold Typhoon Hand

The Infernal looses a deadly storm of gunfire, scything down victims as she fires on the run. When the Infernal makes a Strafing Attack (see Shards of the Exalted Dream, p. 140) against enemies at close combat range while dashing at full speed, she ignores the increased multiple action penalties and DV penalties of the Strafing Attack. She may also target any three enemies that she moves within melee range of over the course of dashing, rather than being limited to targets within five yards of each other. Howling Lead Devils can alternatively grant the Strafing tag to a weapon that does not possess it when the Infernal attacks in this way, although this does not provide penalty reductions. Strafing Attacks normally count as three attacks when determining the cost of Charms used to enhance them, but Howling Lead Devils is exempt for this—its cost only needs to be paid once to supplement the strafe.

In settings that lack guns and other firearms, this Charm is known as Hundred Needle Storm.

Contrary Dharma Toys

Cost: 1m, 1wp; Mins: Essence 3; Type: Simple
Keywords: Combo-OK
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: Rapacious Virtue Respiration

Creation has grown littered with the piled-up detritus of virtue and vice, like invisible towers reaching to the heavens. It amuses the Infernal Exalted to topple these towers and the illusions of meaning they stand for. The Infernal can use Contrary Dharma Toys to determine whether a Virtue was channeled in the creation of something she perceives, such as a sculpture whose creator channeled Compassion for the paramour he modeled it on or a forum post whose author indulged his Valor in spewing anonymous vitriol. Upon ascertaining the traces of a channeled Virtue, the Infernal may then breathe it in to gain a channel of the opposing Virtue, as per Rapacious Virtue Respiration. Mundane objects or writing are destroyed when the Infernal inhales the Virtue from it—the statue crumbles to dust, the forum post is erased beyond any hope of retrieval. Structure-scale construction, artifacts, or anything magically protected is immune to this destruction, but can only be tapped for a Virtue once ever with this Charm.

Screaming Electric Maelstrom

Cost: 1m, 1wp; Mins: Essence 3; Type: Simple
Keywords: None
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: Hateful Wretched Noise

Honing her sense of hearing painfully far beyond the mortal register, the Infernal opens her mind to the invisible waves and electric pulses of data that swarm across Creation, finding meaning in the vast sea of digital noise. This Charm is an Intelligence + Awareness roll to hear an electronically transmitted message, receiving the benefits of Hateful Wretched Noise and any similar sensory enhancement Charms. The Infernal has a wide range of options in how she chooses to use this Charm—she could eavesdrop on a telephone conversation from a building over, get a sense of the public’s reaction to an event by rapidly scanning both public and private communications, or trace an individual machine’s transmissions to pin down its location. The difficulty of eavesdropping on electronic communications carried out over ordinary, unencrypted devices is generally only 1, while well-secured devices used by government agencies or other secrecy-minded individuals may be difficulty 3-5. Attempting to process signals from multiple machines might increase the difficulty by +1 or +2 if the Infernal is only listening in on a few dozen, depending on the nature of what she is trying to discern, up to +4 for trying to process the communications of an entire city for fairly surface-level information.

Use of this Charm has a short-term residual effect on the Infernal’s sense of hearing, leaving it sensitive to electronic transmissions even if it cannot parse meaning from them. Being in close proximity to anything broadcasting or receiving electric signals, such as trying to use an Internet-connected computer or being in a lobby full of people on cell phones incurs the -1 penalty from Hateful Wretched Noise. This sensory backlash lasts from between a few minutes to an hour, rising in duration with the difficulty of the task the Infernal attempted.

Crimson Orphan Abandonment

Cost: — (1wp to absorb an orphan); Mins: Essence 4; Type: Permanent
Keywords: Training
Duration: Permanent
Prerequisite Charms: Splintered Gale Shintai (x2)

The world’s Infernal rulers abide no limits on their reign, not even those of their own thrones. When the burden of the crown grows tiresome, they may cast off shards of their selves to wander the world unknowing, experiencing a thousand lives—beggar, housewife, soldier, whore, hero—before returning “home.” When the Infernal uses Splintered Gail Shintai to create a duplicate, she may waive its mote cost to create a replica that is not aware it is a construct, with false memories of a life authored by the Infernal. She picks the duplicate’s Motivation and Intimacies to match with the “life” she chooses to provide it. For the first five days after its creation, the “orphan” is incapable of perceiving the Infernal, as the clinging web of its newly-knit memories excludes her from the duplicate’s senses. If it meets her afterwards, it assumes that it is the first time the two have met. Initiating telepathic contact with an orphaned duplicate creates a completely one-way link. The warlock may tap into any of its senses and skim its surface thoughts without revealing any hint of her presence, making these orphans excellent as deep-cover spies.

Because the Infernal commits no motes to the creation of the orphaned duplicate, she cannot end or absorb its existence by voluntarily deactivating this Charm, although countermagic can still unmake the orphan. Instead, once a duplicate has achieved a heroic Motivation, the Infernal becomes aware of its triumph, receiving a pulse of shared sensory experience. She may pay a point of Willpower to destroy and reabsorb the orphan from afar, gaining a channel of the Virtue that most closely corresponds to the fulfilled Motivation. She may also draw on the internalized experience to teach herself one Infernal Charm as a training effect, if she is not already in experience debt. The Infernal’s player and the Storyteller are encouraged to work together to pick a Charm that is representative of the reclaimed orphan’s Motivation, but if the alien nature of the Infernal’s Charms makes this difficult, this guideline can be compromised. The Infernal also gains one to three Intimacies representative of the orphan’s personality, experience, and memories, chosen by the Storyteller.

If an orphaned duplicate Exalts, this counts as fulfilling its Motivation for the purposes of this Charm, allowing the Infernal to gain a Virtue channel and a Charm that resonate with whatever action or circumstances led to the duplicate’s Exaltation. However, while she may reap the reward, she does not absorb the orphan, which attains its own unique independence. Worse, an Exalted orphan realizes the falsehood of any memories implanted in it by the Infernal, gaining full self-knowledge of its duplicate nature.

Shattering Truths Sutra

Cost: —; Mins: Essence 4; Type: Permanent
Keywords: None
Duration: Permanent
Prerequisite Charms: Broken Soul Wisdom

The Infernal turns language and reason against itself as she pens a sanity-destroying diatribe, a gibbering tract that rails against the falsehood of linear time, reveals hidden fifth-dimensional enlightenment, or raves through other insane arguments with a dangerous eloquence. In time, these tracts can spread through electronic communication systems like a plague, spreading madness and enlightenment in their wake. Shattering Truths Sutra allows the Infernal to convey Broken Soul Wisdom (see The Broken-Winged Crane, pp. 29-30) through writing, rolling Charisma + Linguistics to compose her mind-breaking text. The derangement inflicted by the Charm and the trait which receives an experience point discount from it must be chosen at the time of writing. Characters who read the text oppose the Infernal’s roll with (Willpower + Essence) as usual, succumbing to the derangement if they fail. However, the written form of this Shaping is less powerful than direct exposure—victims may pay three Willpower or use Charms that would allow a perfect defense against unnatural mental influence to resist it, and do not lose any Willpower on a successful roll. Any character who does fail their roll forms an Intimacy of desire to spread the message to everyone they care about, in addition to the usual derangements inflicted by Broken Soul Wisdom.

The Ebon Dragon

Unforgivable Wickedness Pardons

Cost: —; Mins: Essence 3; Type: Permanent
Keywords: None
Duration: Permanent
Prerequisite Charms: Cracked Cell Circumvention

Not all Infernals can resist the allure of fame and celebrity. Those who do cultivate an uncanny talent for shaking off scandal, walking out of courts with nothing but a slap on the wrist and coming out of it even more beloved by the public. The Infernal may use Cracked Cell Circumvention to escape from legal or social sanction in addition to physical confinement, applying its usual benefits to any roll that would allow the Infernal to escape the legal consequences of a crime or any public outrage over his actions. If he were to run over an innocent pedestrian on a drug-fueled joy ride, he could avoid being convicted by using Cracked Cell Circumvention to enhance the (Charisma + Presence) roll to bribe the trial judge, then avoid public outcry by using it on a (Manipulation + Linguistics) roll to write a convincing online apology.

Warped Truth Lens

Cost: 1m, 1wp; Mins: Essence 3; Type: Reflexive
Keywords: Combo-OK, Shaping
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: Golden Years Tarnished Black

Human memory has long been known to be a fallible thing, given to omission or fabrication even without the corrupting influence of a Fiend. The development of electronic recording devices has provided a far more reliable alternative—or at least, so the Infernal Exalted like for the general public to believe. Warped Truth Lens can be used as the Infernal is touching an electronic recording such as a videotape or a computer that contains audio recording of his voice on it, or at the end of any scene in which he is aware of having been recorded using such devices. He rolls (Manipulation + Lore) against the highest Integrity rating of any character included on the recording who would be opposed to the distortion of its facts. If successful, he warps the recording so that it portrays events far worse than they actually were, while simultaneously minimizing any blame that could be assigned to him. Security footage of a retail store might display customers savagely attacking each other with bare teeth, concealing the Infernal’s shoplifting behind a spray of gore. A taped confession might play back as though it were being beaten and tortured out of the Infernal, obviously false. No mundane technological skill is sufficient to detect the alteration enacted by this Charm, and even magical prowess must succeed on a roll at a difficulty of the Infernal’s Manipulation + Essence at the time of the alteration.

An Infernal who knows Glories That Never Were may distort recordings in the opposite effect, making everything seem much better than it actually was. A smartphone video of him murdering a child might be distorted to show him trying but tragically failing to save them from an oncoming car, while audio of him making death threats to an estranged spouse might be twisted into a beautiful, poetic statement of his love for her.

Your Little Problem

Cost: — (+4m, 1wp); Mins: Essence 4; Type: Permanent
Keywords: Combo-OK
Duration: Permanent
Prerequisite Charms: Our Little Secret

Infernals of darker appetites conceal their culpability by grooming hapless dupes to play the part of suspect when the law demands its feeble due. The Infernal may pay an additional four motes and a point of Willpower to make the target of Our Little Secret believe that she perpetrated the censored act of depravity, rather than simply making her unable to speak of it, changing the influence from a Compulsion to an Illusion. The victim fabricates memories explaining how and why she perpetrated the deed, and while she may still remember the Infernal as having some involvement in the act, any new memories are skewed towards portraying him as innocently as possible. This unnatural mental influence also spreads to other characters who witnessed the act or whose investigations turn up evidence that would implicate the Infernal or rule out the target as a suspect. If their Dodge MDV is lower than the Infernal’s (Manipulation + Essence), then their memories are similarly warped unless they resist for three Willpower.

Your Little Problem is incompatible with the evidence-enchanting variation of Our Little Secret, the Charm The Face in the Darkness, and similar effects.

Kimbery

Consuming Hatred Dissolution

Cost: 1m; Mins: Essence 2; Type: Reflexive
Keywords: Combo-OK, Emotion, Poison
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: Spiteful Sea Tincture

When the Infernal discerns an Intimacy of hatred possessed by another character, or sees him act in a way is clearly motivated by hatred, she may use Consuming Hatred Dissolution to catalyze a caustic transformation from that droplet of malice. She rolls Charisma + Presence against that character’s Dodge MDV. Success turns that character’s blood to poison within his veins, inflicting him with a dose of the poison created by Spiteful Sea Tincture. The victim suffers a penalty equal to his own Conviction on any rolls made to resist it, as the strength of his hatred feeds the poison within. Each interval of the poison counts as a scene spent strengthening the Intimacy if it has been eroded or has yet to be formally established as an Intimacy, and that Intimacy’s MDV penalty increases to -3 for the duration of the poison.

Heart-Controlling Tides

Cost: 3m, 1wp; Mins: Essence 3; Type: Simple (Speed 3, DV -0)
Keywords: Combo-OK
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: Consuming Hatred Dissolution

When venom flows through the veins of her enemies, the Infernal may manipulate their blood as easily as any other liquid, turning them into puppets of her own malice. The Infernal rolls (Charisma + Presence) opposing the (Stamina + Resistance) of any character within (Essence x 10) yards who is currently under the effects of a poison created by one of her Kimbery Charms. If she succeeds, she may dictate what actions he takes on his next action tick, controlling his physical motion by manipulating the blood that runs through his body. She cannot force him to take any social or mental actions, nor can she render him Inactive—if she forces him to refrain from acting, it simply counts as a Guard action. She can force him to use Charms, but must pay their cost herself, seeping tendrils of control into the depths of his anima.

While Heart-Controlling Tides not a form of mental influence, if a character is forced into taking an action that directly opposes an Intimacy, Virtue, or Motivation, they may pay Willpower to fight off the Infernal’s insidious control, rejecting the order action and becoming immune to this Charm for the rest of the scene. This costs three Willpower in defense of an Intimacy, two in defense of a Virtue, or one in defense of a character’s Motivation.

Mother Knows Best

Cost: 8m, 1wp; Mins: Essence 3; Type: Simple
Keywords: Combo-OK, Compulsion, Emotion, Social, Sorcerous
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: Intolerable Burning Truths (any two variations)

The whims of the world’s Infernal masters dictate what is loved and what is hated. A jeweled ring glinting on the Green Sun Prince’s fingers as she lazes among Creation’s elite ripples throughout markets until wars are fought over diamond mines; a caustic reply to a probing reporter leads to his death at the hands of an enraged mob. Mother Knows Best is a (Charisma + Performance + Essence) roll to spread one of the Infernal’s own Intimacies towards a loved or reviled object to her audience. Characters must pay a point of Willpower per scene to erode the Intimacy, or allow it to be weakened or altered by other mental influence. The warlock does not need to speak to make this social attack, but can convey it through actions that uphold the Intimacy—presenting a gruesome portrait of a hated foe to an audience, conspicuously paying an immense sum of money for the products of a favored company, or similar. If this action is compatible with Kimbery’s Excellency, the Infernal converts the (Essence) rolled dice to automatic successes.

If the Infernal knows any variations of Intolerable Burning Truths that would apply to the Intimacy created by her social attack, she may taint that Intimacy with them as a sorcerous effect, conferring both their power and restrictions on a character for as long as they retain that Intimacy. For example, if an Infernal with the Hate Springs Eternal variation gave another character an Intimacy of hatred to the poor, that character would be unable to help any characters she despises, but would also become able to sustain limitless negative Intimacies and gain its DV and MDV bonus against reviled characters. Victims may resist this as usual for Intolerable Burning Truths by paying Willpower equal to the Infernal’s (Essence) to become immune for one day, or permanently escape it either with an application of countermagic or by completely eroding the tainted Intimacy.

Wound-Drowning Metamorphosis

Cost: 20m, 1wp; Mins: Essence 3; Type: Simple
Keywords: Desecration, Shaping, Touch
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: Sea Dissolves Herself

The Infernal washes away the wounds of suppliants in the ocean of her benevolence, bidding them rise in new flesh. The tainted mutants and monstrous prodigies born from her mercy are found in the retinues of well-heeled Infernals, serving loyally for fear that the warlock’s generosity might be reversed. Touching a willing character, the Infernal rolls (Wits + Medicine) to heal them, adding (Compassion) bonus dice if she is targeting a beloved character or herself. Every success can heal a level of bashing or lethal damage or convert a level of aggravated damage to lethal, dissolving the beneficiaries wounds before solidifying their flesh in a new, altered form. Every level of damage healed or downgraded inflicts one point of aquatic-themed mutations chosen by the Infernal on the patient, up to a maximum of (Essence + Medicine) points of mutation from one application. The warlock cannot choose to grant less than the maximum amount of mutations (even to herself), unless her target still retains this amount of mutations from a prior use of this Charm. Once a character has been subjected to this flesh-warping Desecration, they must receive a full night’s rest before they can be healed by it any further.

Those whom the Infernal have healed live at her mercy, and should be mindful of this fact lest they incur her spurned wrath. She may reflexively pay a point of Willpower to withdraw her healing from any recipient of this Charm she can see, removing all mutations granted by this Charm and inflicting a level of lethal damage for each point of mutation removed. A character who is killed by this reversion dissolves into an organic sludge, unable to regain any semblance of solid form.

The Willpower cost of using this Charm to heal a character or to withdraw mutations from a previously healed character is waived if they are submerged in water.

Ink Monkey Bones #5: Modern Lunar Charms

I found a happy surprise in my inbox yesterday. Fellow freelancer Robert Vance had some 2e material that he’d gotten approved by the developers, and he wanted to know if I’d be willing to post it on my blog. Would I? Of course!

Please enjoy the following guest post. Take it away, Robert!


Sometimes, material get cut because of the restrictions of word count. Other times, they are cut because of the even crueler restrictions of linear time! This is the case of the latter—a whole bunch of Charms that I wrote for Lunars in the Exalted Modern shard, but way after the final draft for Shards of the Exalted Dream had been sent in. While they’re geared for the Modern shard’s world of intrigue, gunplay, and car chases, a lot of them should fit nicely into other shards or the default Creation.

Dexterity

Crossfire Guardian Vigilance

Cost: 2m; Mins: Dexterity 3, Essence 2; Type: Reflexive
Keywords: Combo-OK
Duration: One action
Prerequisite Charms: Golden Tiger Stance

Coming between the sights of a Lunar marksman spells death for his enemies–but for his allies, there is no safer place to stand. The Lunar can parry attacks with Archery, Firearms, or Thrown until his next action. His Parry DV is equal to ([Dexterity + appropriate Ability + Accuracy] ÷ 2). Crossfire Guardian Vigilance is compatible with the Defend Other action, and extends their range to (Dexterity x 2) yards.

In settings that do not feature guns or other firearms, this Charm is known as Arrow Sentinel Technique, in honor of Beloved Cattalesta.

Moon-Graced Gunplay Method

Cost: 3m; Mins: Dexterity 2, Essence 2; Type: Supplemental
Keywords: Combo-OK
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: Any Dexterity Excellency

Lunar marksman excel over their enemies in both dexterity and cunning, outwitting foes mid-battle with impossible trick shots. Honing their aim with Essence, they can ricochet shots off of walls, shoot the weapon out of an enemy’s hand, or spell out their initials with bullet holes left by a fatal spray of lead. Moon-Graced Gunplay Method negates any called shot penalties to a ranged attack (see Exalted, p. 158). Environmental penalties are also negated, allowing the Lunar to fire in the middle of a howling gale, while balancing on slick ice, or in the middle of a skydive at no disadvantage. The impossible trajectory of the Lunar’s projectile imposes a -2 penalty to any DV applied against it. Mortals are unable to block the attack, and the DV penalty to Dodge rises to -3 for them.

In settings that do not feature guns and other firearms, this Charm is known as Winged Volley Marksmanship.

Charisma

Everyone’s Tongue Storyteller

Cost: — (+1wp); Mins: Charisma 4, Essence 3; Type: Permanent
Keywords: Compulsion
Duration: Permanent
Prerequisite Charms: Instinct Memory Insertion

Urban legends and rumors follow after the Lunar Exalted like loyal dogs. More often than not, the sensational stories told about the Moon’s Chosen were started by one of them. The Lunar may pay a point of Willpower when he uses Instinct Memory Insertion to attach an unnatural Compulsion to the information he conveys with that Charm. Any character who hears it and has a Dodge MDV lower than the Lunar’s (Charisma + Essence) is compelled to relate the information to anyone whom she thinks would find it interesting. This unnatural mental influence is explicitly compatible with written social attacks.

This Compulsion is subtle enough that the affected character’s behavior seems natural, rather than the result of an obsessive fixation or mind control. She’ll bring it up casually in conversation, post about it online, and use it to start conversations with friendly strangers. As a general rule of thumb, the Magnitude of people who hear about the information second-hand will be equal to the (Magnitude of affected characters + 2) under normal, modern-day circumstances. Resisting this influence costs three points of Willpower, but it passes even without being resisted once the Lunar’s (Charisma) in days has passed.

With Essence 4+, characters under the effects of the Compulsion spread it to anyone they communicate the information to. This secondary Compulsion is weaker than the original: it only affects characters with a Dodge MDV lower than the Lunar’s (Charisma), costs only one Willpower to resist, and only lasts a day. The contagious Compulsion typically increases the Magnitude of characters who hear the information to (Magnitude of affected characters + 3).

Manipulation

Memory-Spinning Gossamer Couture

Cost: 8m, 1wp; Mins: Manipulation 5, Essence 4; Type: Simple
Keywords: Combo-OK, Illusion, Social
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: Lost Mirror Flight

Memories are pliant as clay in the hands of those who have walked through time and nightmares. The Lunar makes a (Manipulation + Presence) social attack against a character, weaving a story that will become a false memory in her mind. The extent of the new memory may impose penalties on the Lunar’s roll. Success inflicts an unnatural Illusion on the victim that weaves the Lunar’s story into her memories as though it had actually happened.

However, characters receive MDV bonus based on the scope of the memory the Lunar attempts to create:

• Characters receive no bonus against memories limited to a recent time frame, such as “You were attacked by a rogue Dragon-Blood last night.”

• Characters add +1 MDV against a false memories that would make one large change to an extended portion of their life, such as “You grew up in Meruvia.”

• Characters add +2 MDV against false memories that totally change a period of up to five years of their life or effect similar changes.

• Characters add +3 MDV against memories that rewrite their entire lives, or other similarly substantial alterations.

Note that extensive changes to people’s minds may also oppose Intimacies, Virtues, or Motivations if they would cause a character to believe that she has taken actions contrary to them or alter memories that strongly resonate with those traits. Victims confronted with proof that their memories are false may pay a point of Willpower to resist this unnatural mental influence for one scene, snapping back into the delusion at its end. Once they have spent a total of (10 – MDV bonus based on the implanted memory) points of Willpower this way, the Illusion is broken permanently.

Appearance

Digital Phantom Distortion

Cost: 4m; Mins: Appearance 2, Essence 2; Type: Reflexive
Keywords: Combo-OK
Duration: Indefinite
Prerequisite Charms: None

The police are baffled. Security cameras show nothing. Recording devices play back nothing but static. A laser alarm system, installed at an undisclosed cost, is proved worthless. And somewhere, a Lunar is smiling. Digital Phantom Distortion makes the Lunar incapable of being detected or recorded by any form of electronic or technological device. He is effectively invisible and inaudible to any kind of sensor device, and is imperceptible to advanced technology such as thermal imaging goggles, metal detectors, or the senses of automatons.

The precise nature of the obfuscation can manifest in one of two ways, chosen by the Lunar. It can either remove all traces of his presence from the recording, as if he had never been there, or distort and garble the recording so badly that nothing at all can be recovered from it.

Living Cipher Incarnation

Cost: 8m, 1wp; Mins: Appearance 5, Essence 3; Type: Simple
Keywords: Combo-Basic
Duration: Indefinite
Prerequisite Charms: Digital Phantom Distortion

A Lunar’s mastery over his personal identity does not end when it crosses over into the online realm. Weaving obscurity and anonymity around himself, he becomes unknown to the world. Living Cipher Incarnation renders any electronic or digitally stored information on the Lunar totally inaccessible. Online searches for him return only error messages. Pictures of him on a smartphone now appear glitched beyond recognition. Any news channel that tries to play footage of him experiences inexplicable technical difficulties. A dedicated character can attempt to recover a specific piece of obscured information by making an (Intelligence + Lore) roll at a difficulty equal to the Lunar’s (Appearance + Essence).

Should the Lunar wish, he may have this Charm only conceal depictions or descriptions of him in forms other than his human true shape, allowing him to hide any evidence of his shapeshifting powers without interfering in his ordinary online life or media presence.

Intelligence

Argent Saga Upload

Cost: —; Mins: Intelligence 3, Essence 2; Type: Permanent
Keywords: Touch
Duration: Permanent
Prerequisite Charms: Counting the Elephant’s Wrinkles

Shaping protean Essence into a shimmering duplicate of one of his own memories, the Lunar sends it off into the invisible world of information. The Lunar can use Counting the Elephant’s Wrinkles while touching a computer or similar digital storage medium to transfer the recalled memory onto it as a file of whatever format he chooses, if the roll succeeds. He could turn memories of an event into a video file, transcribe his recollection of a conversation into a text file, or create crystal-clear images of anything he has ever seen. Images and audio created by this Charm appear entirely genuine, with no signs of post-recording manipulation.

Digital Dreamer Hacking Methodology

Cost: 1m, 1wp; Mins: Intelligence 3, Essence 2; Type: Supplemental
Keywords: Combo-OK
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: Any Intelligence Excellency

The Lunar’s fingers tap out a drumbeat of random keystrokes, his eyes slowly closing before the glare of the screen. He is not hacking, not as mortals understand it. His mind has gone into the web, wandering the meridians of Essence and spirals of geomantic power that weave together the countless computers of the world. Digital Dreamer Hacking Methodology allows the Lunar to hack a computer through a hallucinatory vision quest, entering into a digital spirit realm of data gods and screaming machine-devils. His mental projection transcends the limitations of mundane computer networks, halving any external penalties he suffers due to hacking at a distance (see Shards of the Exalted Dream, p. 131).

Within the vision quest, the Lunar must evade traps, solve puzzles and outwit guardians that represent digital security, retrieving encrypted information in the form of jewels or treasure or sabotaging systems by shattering idols or slaying sorcerer-kings. Computer hardware plays no role in this mental challenge, denying him any equipment bonuses he would receive from it. Instead, he adds the highest of his Dexterity, Charisma, or Wits to the hacking roll as non-Charm bonus dice, as he struggles to overcome these symbolic challenges. Once the vision quest ends, the Lunar awakens from his trance. Any attack, harm, or jarring movement will wake the Lunar from his visions prematurely, causing the action to fail.

Wits

Steel Falcon’s Wings

Cost: 5m; Mins: Wits 3, Essence 2; Type: Reflexive
Keywords: Combo-OK
Duration: One scene
Prerequisite Charms: None

Whether it is on the wings of falcons or the supersonic engines of cutting edge military aircraft, the Chosen of the Moon take to the skies as if born to them. The Lunar’s incredible reaction time adds +3 Mobility to any Sail-based vehicle he pilots, and negates penalties for maneuvering around obstacles or through tight surroundings. His skillful maneuvering imposes a -2 external penalty on attacks against the ship, or a -3 penalty on attacks made by significantly larger vessels or enemies. In a chase, Steel Falcon’s Wings negates the increase difficulty for taking the Close In action.

In settings that do not feature modern aircraft or spacecraft, this Charm is known as Iron Kraken Admiralty. The prowess of Lunar pilots extends even to the storm-tossed waves and the depths of the sea.

Concrete Jungle Instincts

Cost: –; Mins: Wits 3, Essence 3; Type: Permanent
Keywords: None
Duration: Permanent
Prerequisite Charms: Lodestone Reckoning Manner

Only fools believe that the Lunar Exalted are simple savages to be confounded by traffic lights or city grids. While using Lodestone Reckoning Manner, the Lunar intuitively senses the presence and shape of roads, alleyways, sidewalks, and similar urban pathways out to a range of (Wits x 100) yards, effectively giving him a “mental map” of his surroundings. He also gains a feeling for the tenor of urban areas, giving him a general sense of what each area is used for. This intuition counts as perfect equipment for navigating through urban environments or tracking other characters through them, adding three automatic successes instead of a dice bonus. It also negates any penalties to those actions from being in a strange or unfamiliar area. In a chase through urban surroundings, the bonuses of this Charm also apply on Cunning Maneuver or Hide actions that are stunted in a way that takes advantage of the Lunar’s mental mapping.

In settings that do not feature modern or futuristic city environments, this Charm is known as Scurrying Rat Wisdom.

Metal Moon-Beast Awakening

Cost: 8m, 1wp; Mins: Wits 4, Essence 3; Type: Simple
Keywords: Combo-Basic, Merged, Obvious, Touch
Duration: One scene
Prerequisite Charms: Pumpkin Chariot Prana

Wisps of silver Essence flare out from the Lunar, coalescing into a hazy outline of his spirit shape before entering into a vehicle he owns, awakening it as a great machine-beast. Metal ripples and warps as the vehicle takes on a hybrid form, combining elements of the original machine with aspects of the Lunar’s spirit shape. Vehicles animated by this Charm do not become independent characters with their own traits, but act semi-autonomously under the Lunar’s control. The transformation has the following effects:

• The Lunar can make piloting rolls to control the vehicle in combat as a reflexive action.

• The vehicle’s monstrous hybrid features grants it an attack with the statistics of a moonsilver daiklave. A car’s grille might split open into a fanged maw; a jet fighter might grow razor-sharp metal talons; a submarine might extend numerous mechanical tentacles. The roll to attack with the vehicle is (Wits + [Drive, Ride, or Sail]).

• The Lunar does not actually need to be in the vehicle in order to make piloting rolls or have it make attacks with its weaponry, as long as he is within (Essence) yards of it.

• The Lunar’s Tell obscures the machine-beast from recognition. Any character whose Dodge MDV is not high enough to see through the Tell is unable to perceive that the vehicle has been transformed in any way. While they still notice any unnatural capabilities the vehicle exhibits, such as steering itself or attacking, they rationalize these away as mere coincidences, high-tech capabilities, or mistaken impressions on their own part.

Knacks

Argent Memoriam Repast

Prerequisites: Ash and Tears Banquet, Prey’s Skin Disguise, Essence 5, Intelligence 5

Before the Infernal demiurges sealed the gates of the Underworld and created the Abyssal Exalted to reign over it, their Lunar mates hunted the dead side-by-side with the Green Sun Princes. The secrets of stealing power from the dead have not yet been forgotten to Luna’s Chosen. Whenever the Lunar successfully performs the sacred hunt to gain a ghost’s shape, he may also add the form that ghost possessed while alive to his Heart’s Blood library. Non-human ghosts may require the Lunar to possess the appropriate Knacks before he can access the forms they had in life.

Machine-Heart Integration

Prerequisites: Essence 3, Intelligence 4

Peerless skinwalkers even in an Age of gleaming steel and intricate circuits, the Lunar Exalted may take on the forms of automatons, constructs, and other forms of mechanical life. These become valid targets for the sacred hunt with the same default time as human targets. The Lunar rolls (Intelligence + Craft [Earth]) in place of (Wits + Survival) to complete the hunt, identifying a core component that he can consume to claim the form. The Lunar does not gain access to any magical or Essence-based powers of automaton forms.

In settings that do not feature modern or futuristic robotics, this Knack is known as Golem-Body Transmutation.

Primordial Scion Shape

Prerequisites: Essence 3, Stamina 4

Mankind is not the only race to walk Creation, only the most prominent. The mysterious Alaun that guard the slopes of Mount Meru, the Dragon Kings that menace civilization from the East, the subterranean Jadeborn—these things are known to the palates of the Lunar Exalted. This Knack makes all of the non-human sapient races of Creation valid targets for the sacred hunt, with the same default time as human targets. The Lunar does not gain access to Charms, Paths, or other magical powers.