Exalted: Ghost of a Chance
Manses and Demesnes
Rules for creating custom Manses and Demesnes can be found in the Books of Sorcery Vol. 3: Oadenol’s Codex, pp. 45-107.
The fief of Clockdust Reaches encompasses two things: The former is a treacherous stretch of water – the Reaches proper – filled with strong currents and hazards waiting to rip the hulls from all but the strongest-built ships. The latter is a massive stone tower, the memory of what had been a Solar-aspect manse and lighthouse in Creation before it was damaged in the Usurpation and destroyed by the Empress’s inexpert use of the Sword of Creation. No warning shines from Clockdust Tower nor has one ever; sailors navigating the coasts of the Underworld’s southern periphery must have charts noting the perils of the Reaches and avoid them or be lost.
Clockdust Tower is a curious place, shifty and unsettling to nearly all, though its owner likes it well enough to have given her title to it. She thinks she might have once owned its counterpart in Creation. And done things in it horrifying enough to have created the Reaches in Creation’s dark reflection. The lenses at the top of the tower are shattered, the glass turned to obsidian, the lamp empty and smashed beyond repair. Inside the tower is a collection of empty rooms and the mechanisms that connect them. Once there was a pattern to their movements that corresponded with the travels of the Sun and His Daystar but they have been damaged. Now the passageways between rooms are random and anyone trying to move about the manse must know the hidden ways or guess lucky.
There is the hearthstone room of course, but there are others such as the Red Iron Room, the Infinite Pattern Room, the Tarnished Mirror Room, the Hall of Doors, the Stairs to Where, the Cellars, the Library With No Books (the owner has made this room a bit more comfortable, bringing in cushions and rugs and lamps, and some few books, giving lie to the name now but there were none when she arrived), the Blue Tile Room.
Between the tower and the sea is a red beach, made not of sand or rock but of rusting ironworks. Gears predominate, from massive wheels hundreds of metres across to tiny things almost too small to see but still recognisable as gears themselves rather than shards of something else, but everything imaginable is represented somewhere. Pistons, pipes, boilers, pulley-blocks, snarls of chain and cable, leaf-springs and coil-springs and spiral-springs, valves and gauges and levers. Not a bit of it works or could be repaired. Some whim of the currents of the Underworld’s black sea has caused all this detritus of (mostly long-lost) industry to wash up here, and ships that wreck on the stone and metal reefs of the Reaches add their own hardware to the machine beach.
Hearthstone: Flawed Gem
This transparent, violet-blue hemisphere enables the bearer to make non-living substances decay at great speed. When the bearer touches an object for one minute and wills it to decay, cracks radiate from this point of contact and encompass are area up to two yards in radius. Over the next ten minutes, the object ages and crumbles. These flaws gradually reduce the soak of any item and reduce its health levels. After ten minutes, the object counts as damaged (see Exalted p. 154) and its soak has been halved (round down). The flawed gem does not affect any of the magical materials, hearthstones or any other magical or enchanted items.
Puzzle Manse: Each room in the manse is individually aligned to a current of Essence that’s been shifted, uprooted, and left to float. As a result, the manse’s layout changes. Opening a particular door can lead to different rooms, staircases going up can open onto lower floors, and even such features as windows or fireplaces might lead to new places within the manse.
The designer has various options. The Puzzle Manse might rearrange the access between its rooms according to Passwords, or a set schedule. For a complicated system, the key to understanding the manse lies in a pattern or trick of the eye: a successful (Wits + Larceny) roll at a difficulty of three is required to go to any specific room without using the hidden passages within the manse. Before Charm use, players cannot roll a number of dice greater than the number of rooms they’ve spent at least one scene in.
Occasionally, Puzzle Manses are built to be solvable only by characters possessing specific Abilities, powers or even Virtues, but these are rare, and normal rolls might still apply. Some schemes, however, might not need a roll—it’s something predetermined that observant players can figure out for themselves.
Hidden Passages: For those who know its tricks, it’s easy to get around the manse subtly; many of its doors are camouflaged. The secret passages open silently, and those who use them gain a +2 bonus to appropriate Stealth rolls. This power needn’t always indicate actual passages—sometimes “one-sided doors” simply don’t appear to have another side, for example. Noticing a secret door is a successful (Perception + [Awareness or Investigation]) roll, difficulty 2 if characters search deliberately or difficulty 4 if not. Hidden passages may include a secret escape route.
Well-Flavoured Aspect: Manses designed for a certain person can resonate with the core aesthetics of that individual’s Essence. Residing in such a manse is like dwelling in a universe tailored to one’s preferences. If the hearthstone bearer shares the manse’s aspect, everything about the manse subtly cooperates with her: she has dramatic lighting when she makes an important statement, nothing gets in her way when she’s in a hurry, shadows conceal her when she hides. While the character is in the manse, her player receives a +1 bonus to every dice pool for her actions.
Monastary of the Perfected Sky (Stone of Inhuman Beauty)
10 Creation Points (4 × 2 = 8 + 2 maintenance)
- 0pt Powers
- Attunement Recognition
- Basic Senses
- Cosmetic Displays
- Light filters through stained glass windows and dims or lightens to give the perfect amount of ambient light
- Each rooms resonates calm and warmth
- Well Favored Aspect (Solar)
- Sympathetic Dream Link
- Temple Manse
- Greater Veil of Shadows