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Monsoon Needles

From DivNull RPG

This artifact really exists to change the mechanics of lunar charm experience. Rather than just blatantly change the rules mid game, these needles allow a narrative reason why the game changes. These rules make extensive use of the Liberi Lunaris.

A close examination of these three-inch moonsilver acupuncture needles reveals a slightly different design than most such needles. Instead of a long pin capped with wider bulb, these needles are instead extremely thin cones, starting from the sharp tip and gradually widening into no more than half a millimeter.

In spite of their name and appearance, these needles are actually learning tools, containing the knowledge of the First Age lunar Iron Monsoon who, along with his solar mate Wyr’palja studied lunar charms more rigorously than nearly any others. Not long before the Usurpation, many of Wyr’palja’s terrestrial followers convinced Monsoon that his mate had grown out of control and needed to be stopped, which Monsoon eventually did, taking his own life immediately afterwards. Though convinced of the correctness of his own actions, he did not trust his terrestrial co-conspirators either, and hid these needles by injecting them deeply into his own body. Consequently, the needles were buried along with him and, while his body has since turned to bones and dust, the needles remain pristine. Guen recovered the needles, and carries them now.

There are nine needles in all, one containing Monsoon’s knowledge on each of the Attributes. When five motes are committed to a needle, the moonsilver begins to shimmer like water and the base of the cone begins to expand. As it does so, the needle grows shorter until, within a few seconds, the needle has transformed into an impossibly thin disk of moonsilver a yard across. In its expanded form, minuscule markings become visible on both sides. These markings are clearly some form of coded writing, looking similar to to a psychotic mix of Old Realm, Claw-speak and several other languages. This writing is impervious to deciphering by charms, but becomes crystal clear to the person who attuned motes to the needle is a full-blood lunar. Such lunars can read everything Monsoon knew about attributes, the nature of shape and lunar magic.

Any attuned user, even if they are not a lunar, immediately realizes that the needle is attuned to one of the attributes, and will know that it can help teach about that attribute. They also understand that they can return the needle to its original shape at will, along with vague notion that a needle is used by pushing into into the back of their own neck. Doing so immediately floods them with an awareness of what is possible with the attribute in question, how that attribute exists within themselves and ways they may make themselves better. This is a confusing jumble at first, but can be sifted through with concentration. If the user is also a lunar, this flood of information also contains truths about the nature of shape and secrets of how lunar magic expresses itself through this attribute.

Mechanics

The primary use of the needles is to reduce the experience cost of attributes and lunar charms. They can also reduce training time for both. To use them for training, 5 motes must be committed for the duration of the training. During this time, the student cannot regain Willpower naturally, all his focus going towards study. Only one needle may be active at a time and the needle must be inserted into the neck whenever the student is training. While training, the student is at -4 to do anything else, as sifting through the knowledge in his head is very distracting.

Anyone making use of these needles can improve the attribute associated with the needle as if they had a tutor. They also pay one less experience point to learn the attribute. Further, if their current score in that attribute is less than their Essence, they cut the training time in half and reduce the experience cost by another point.

In lunar hands, the needles are much more capable. They gain the same benefits others do when improving attributes; however, lunars always cut the training time in half, regardless of their Essence score. Note that the experience reduction from the needle stacks with the xp reduction for favored attributes.

Lunars also gain benefits when learning charms. When a needle is in place, charms of that attribute may be learned as if that attribute was favored (correspondingly reducing both the training time and the experience cost). If the attribute is already favored, the charm costs two fewer experience points.

The needles assume knowledge of certain charms, so do not act as tutor for learning general charms; however, Monsoon uncovered a number of secrets of lunar magic, and these are encoded in the needles. His basic breakthrough was the realization that certain known lunar charm techniques could actually be better accomplished by a process that evolved the capabilities of existing techniques rather than creating new charms for the purpose. While this isn’t always possible, these Evolutions make certain techniques much cheaper to learn. Monsoon encoded new charms in his needles as well.

Charm evolutions allow certain existing charms to be expanded as the lunar grows in experience and Essence. Evolutions function like charms on which they are based in terms of minimum requirements, activation cost and effect unless noted otherwise here. Evolutions, however, cost only six experience to learn.

Knowledge of both these Evolutions and some new charms are encoded into the needles. When using the needles to learn them, the needles act as a tutor. The net effect of the needles is to manipulate the lunar charm trees into a form summarized below and diagrammed here:

Strength

  • Knowledge in this needle is sufficient to prepare the student for changing her shape to fight. Any charm that has Body Weapon Technique as a prerequisite can be learned without it.
  • The needle provides a more complete understanding of Body Weapon Technique, changing it into a permanent charm allowing the lunar to reflexively make an unarmed attack lethal for 1 mote.
  • The new charm Embodiment of the Full Moon’s Strength.
  • Bow-Bending Method may be learned without knowing any other prerequisite charms.

Dexterity

  • Any charm that has Sensing the Deadly Flow as a prerequisite can be learned without it.
  • Golden Tiger Block may be learned as an Evolution of Steel Paw Style
  • Cat Paw Climbing Style may be learned as an Evolution of Tree-Dwelling Jaguar Claws
  • The new charm Embodiment of the Full Moon’s Dexterity.
  • Lightning Sword Method may be learned as an Evolution of Spinning Blade Attack
  • Flying Tiger Technique may be learned as an Evolution of Panther Stride Stance
  • Cat-Falling Attitude may be learned as an Evolution of Predator Grace Method
  • Silver Waterfall may be learned without knowing Two-Target Method. Knowing the Arrow’s Path is sufficient.

Stamina

  • Adder Fang Method may be learned without Knowing Claws of the Silver Moon. Deadly Claw Blow becomes sufficient.
  • Fire-Walking Prana may be learned as an Evolution of Heat Adapting Method
  • Will of the Stoic Warrior may be learned as an Evolution of Pain-Numbing Prana
  • Luna’s Fortitude may be learned without knowing Will of the Stoic Warrior
  • The new charm Embodiment of the Full Moon’s Stamina.

Charisma

  • Rabid Beast Bite may be learned as an Evolution of Adder Fang Method
  • Many-Faced moon Transformation may be learned as an Evolution of Shaping the Ideal Form
  • Blossoming Gift of Luna may be learned as an Evolution of Calling Luna’s Favor
  • Twisting Monkey Wrist may be learned as an Evolution of Surprising Gibbon Attack
  • Ally Concealing Method may be learned as an Evolution of Object-Concealing Method
  • Track-Sweeping Essence may be learned as an Evolution of Traceless Passage Technique
  • Fearful Luna Form may be learned as an Evolution of Imposing Presence Attitude
  • Crowd-Calming Pronouncement may be learned with only Emotion-Shaping Technique as a prerequisite.
  • Rushing River of Return may be learned as an Evolution of Pack-Calling Cry
  • The new charm Thousand Forms as One is specified by this needle.
  • The new charm Embodiment of the Changing Moon’s Charisma.

Manipulation

  • Favored Companion Feeding may be learned as an Evolution of Calling Luna’s Favor
  • Deadly Viper Strike may be learned as an Evolution of Adder Fang Method
  • Scimitar Claw Technique may be learned as an Evolution of Claws of the Silver Moon
  • Ossific Shard Shot may be learned as an Evolution of Cunning Porcupine Defense
  • Weapon-Snatching Coils maby be learned as an Evolution of Startling Tentacle Attack
  • Tentacle Spear Strike maby be learned as an Evolution of Startling Tentacle Attack
  • Weapon Clutching Method may be learned as an Evolution of Surprising Gibbon Attack
  • Gill-Breathing Technique may be learned as an Evolution of Whale-Breath Technique
  • Weapon-Shaping Prana may be learned as an Evolution of Weapon Fusion Method
  • Stunning Moonsilver Blow may be learned as an Evolution of Weapon Fusion Method. It may also be activated in the same turn as Weapon Fusion Method without a Combo.
  • The new charm Embodiment of the Changing Moon’s Manipulation.
  • Perceiving the Hidden World may be learned as an Evolution of Night Is Day
  • Courage-Building Address may be learned with only Emotion-Shaping Technique as a prerequisite.
  • The new charm Sympathetic Companion Transformation is specified by this needle.

Appearance

Perception

  • The new charm Embodiment of the No Moon’s Perception.
  • Wary Swallow Method may be learned as an Golden Tiger Block
  • Arrow-Breaking Shot may be learned as an Evolution of Finding the Needle’s Eye
  • Divining the Hidden Truth may be learned as an Evolution of Lore-Speaking Method
  • Heightened (Sense) Method may be learned as a single charm with three Evolutions: Sight, Hearing & Touch, Scent & Taste. One of these Evolutions is learned for free when first learning Heightened (Sense) Method at normal cost.
  • Truth-Scenting Method may be learned as an Evolution of Emotion-Revealing Scent
  • Wyld-Sensing Instincts becomes a charm called Sensing Instincts, a permanent with several Evolutions: Wyld-Sensing Instincts, Weather-Scenting Method, Unerring Earth Direction Sense. It also has changes its prerequisite to Sense-Sharpening Change.
  • Binding Companion Connection can be learned as an Evolution of Sense-Borrowing Method.

Intelligence

  • Regaining Breath Exercise may be learned without knowing any other prerequisite charms.
  • The new charm Embodiment of the No Moon’s Intelligence.
  • Cobra Eye Method may be learned as an Evolution of Burning Saliva Attack

Wits

  • The new charm Embodiment of the No Moon’s Wits.
  • Soporific Venom Attack may be learned as an Evolution of Burning Saliva Attack
  • River of Words may be learned as an Evolution of Wind-Speaking Method
  • Calls of the Human Prey may be learned as an Evolution of Comprehending Ears Meditation
  • Feral Ears Metamorphosis may be learned as an Evolution of Comprehending Ears Meditation

Charms

Embodiment of Luna

Cost: -
Duration: Permanent
Type: Permanent
Min. (attribute): 3
Min. Essence: 3
Prerequisite Charms: none

This is actually a set of nine charms that bring about permanent mental, physical and spiritual transformation in any lunar who learns them. There is one charm for each attribute and, when learned, the maximum rating of that attribute is increased by one, unless the attribute is favored, when it is increased by two. This does not alter the current rating of the attribute, only changes its upper limit.

If a lunar actually raises attributes past their normal maximums, this change subtly marks her as supernatural. For each dot above normal maximums, someone viewing the lunar in any form gains an additional die on tests to detect the lunar’s Tell.

For example, for lunars less than 100 years old, their maximum attribute rating is five. A full moon lunar who learns Embodiment of the Full Moon’s Strength and Embodiment of the No Moon’s Perception would change this upper limit on Strength to seven and perception to six. If he then spent the experience to raise both of these traits to six, someone trying to detect his Tell would gain two additional dice.

Binding Companion Connection

Cost: -
Duration: Permanent
Type: Permanent
Min. Perception: 4
Min. Essence: 3
Prerequisite Charms: Sense-Borrowing Method

Upon learning this charm, any time Sense-Borrowing Method is used on the lunar’s familiar, its effects are greatly extended. The range extends to 10 miles per point of the lunar’s Essence, and the difficulty for other actions is only increased by +1. In addition, the lunar automatically knows the exact direction and distance of his familiar while the charm is in effect.

Eloquent Stare

Cost: 1 mote
Duration: One turn
Type: Reflexive
Min. Appearance: 3
Min. Essence: 3
Prerequisite Charms: none

Not all forms a lunar can take are capable of language, but with this charm the lunar can be understood with just a glance. While this charm is active the lunar may “speak” through facial expressions, body language and, if desired, any sound producing ability her current form can manage. Any who can see the lunar to make out such expressions understand the lunar as if she was speaking, even if they do not share a language in common with the lunar. Any statements the lunar could make in human form within the turn can be made with this charm, but the charm does not convey any more information than speaking would. Any effects that rely on the lunar speaking may be used with this charm.

This charm may be placed in a combo, even though it is not of instant duration.

Favored Companion Feeding

Cost: 5
Duration: One scene
Type: Simple
Min. Manipulation: 3
Min. Essence: 3
Prerequisite Charms: Calling Luna’s Favor

With each invocation of this charm, the lunar may extend to her familiar one of her beastman gifts or her bonus to a single attribute from Deadly Beastman Transformation. These changes manifest physically on the familiar, usually in ways marking them as obviously non-standard for their type.

The lunar may apply this charm to her familiar up to her Essence times in a single scene, but must provide a different gift or enhance a different attribute each time. Gift prerequisites apply to the familiar so, for example, in order to be given the Impenetrable Beast-Armor, the familiar must first be given Rugged Hide.

Internal Geomantic Symmetry

Cost: -
Duration: Permanent
Type: Permanent
Min. Appearance: 3
Min. Essence: 3
Prerequisite Charms: Shaping the Ideal Form

Just as the proper geometry can make a manse less wasteful, a lunar can alter his internal structure to channel essence more efficiently. The degree of symmetry possessed intrinsically by the lunar acts as an upper limit on what can be achieved with this charm. Mechanically, since people with more symmetric features are generally considered more attractive, this innate degree of symmetry is measured by Appearance.

Upon learning this charm, the lunar permanently alters his internal structure to take advantage of his natural symmetry. This increases his maximum personal essence pool by his Appearance, simultaneously reducing his maximum peripheral essence pool by the same amount. In other words, you move Appearance “mote boxes” from your peripheral to personal pool.

This change carries over to any form the lunar takes. Adjustments to the lunar’s Appearance rating apply the effect of this charm only if the adjustment is explicitly due to a physical transformation or a permanent change to Appearance.

Rushing River of Return

Cost: 10
Duration: Instant
Type: Simple
Min. Charisma: 4
Min. Essence: 4
Prerequisite Charms: Pack-Calling Cry

The lunar’s connection to her familiar becomes so strong that the lunar can call it home in an instant. When the charm is cast, the air between the lunar and her familiar shimmers like quicksilver, no matter how far away the familiar is. This shimmering tunnel briefly forms a channel of Wyld energy that alters the rules of distance, allowing the familiar to travel immediately back to the lunar with a single round of movement, regardless of intervening obstacles.

The tunnel connects a roughly straight line and is immediately obvious to any who see it. Those with quick reflexes may be able to follow the familiar to the lunar’s location. In addition, the space inside the tunnel acts as the Deep Wyld, so may spawn creatures or phenomena that reach the lunar. All within the tunnel however, are exposed to the effects of the Deep Wyld, though the familiar itself is protected from its ill effects.

If the familiar is restrained in some way, they cannot travel through the tunnel. If the familiar is in a different realm than the lunar (e.g. the lunar is in the Underworld and the familiar is in creation, or vice versa) the charm fails. Travel is only possible from the familiar’s location back to the lunar.

Sympathetic Companion Transformation

Cost: -
Duration: Permanent
Type: Permanent
Min. Manipulation: 3
Min. Essence: 4
Prerequisite Charms: Deadly Beastman Transformation

Once the lunar learns this charm, any time they activate Deadly Beastman Transformation, their familiar undergoes a similar transformation into a “war form”. This will happen automatically, no matter where the familiar is, unless the lunar pays an additional five motes when activating Deadly Beastman Transformation.

When this charm is learned, the lunar’s player selects the war form of the familiar. Once selected, this form is always the same. The lunar adds a number of dots equal to her Essence to the familiar’s physical attributes, adding a dot to Stamina, then one to Strength, then one to Dexterity, then repeating that cycle until no dots remain. For example, a lunar with an Essence of five would place a dot into Stamina, Strength, Dexterity, Stamina, Strength, for a total of +2 to Strength and Stamina, +1 to Dex.

The lunar can also add one dot to Essence different abilities of the familiar. The war form also gains the lunar’s Essence in mutation points, usually including the Large or Huge mutations. Bonuses from these mutations stack with attribute and ability enhancements. If the lunar increases her Essence, an additional attribute dot, ability dot and mutation point are added to the familar’s war form.

Thousand Forms as One

Cost: 5 motes, 1 wp
Duration: Indefinite
Type: Simple
Min. Charisma: 4
Min. Essence: 4
Prerequisite Charms: Humble Mouse Shape
Source: Dorchadas

This charm allows the lunar to split their shape into a multitude of bodies, all of the same general form. The lunar could become a group of doves, a pack of cats, or even an enormous swarm of spiders. There are several limitations to this charm, however:

  • The total weight of the animals cannot exceed the Lunar’s weight in his human form. The lunar cannot, for example, become a pack of tyrant lizards using this Charm.
  • All of the animals must remain within a diameter equal to the lunar’s Essence * 10 yards. The Lunar cannot send the animals outside of this area—if they are forcibly removed, they die.
  • The swarm acts as one being for purposes of multiple actions, movement, and so on. Attacking multiple people requires splitting one’s dice pools as normal.
  • Naturally, the form chosen must be one in the lunar’s “library” of forms.

While in swarm form, the Lunar has his normal health level track, but all damage against him is halved after soak. He can perceive everything that any member of the swarm can, and can simultaneously process all the information provided by the members even when they are observing different incidents. The swarm also subtracts two from multiple action penalties (minimum of zero).