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The Yozi Cytherea, The Essence Of All Things
(Author's Note: My first draft of Cytherea can be found at Cytherea (Friv Yeti).
Cytherea is the Divine Ignition, and the Mother of Creation. In the time before time, her solitude and loneliness gave voice to the Primordials, helping them to form their shapes and design their worlds. Together with Gaia and Autochthon, she shaped the form of Creation, and she lent her power to her siblings so that they would craft great wonders to amuse her. She clung to her creations and to her siblings, and she helped the other Primordials people the world with their own children and whims alongside hers.
Cytherea was proud of the world which had been shaped from the stuff she had granted the Primordials, and she imagined that it loved her for her selflessness. This may or may not have been true. Whether the gods invited Cytherea into their rebellion has been lost to time - the only ones who still know the truth are the Incarnae, and Cytherea herself. Did they beg for her aid, only to be rebuffed as she chose her siblings instead of them? Were they consumed by the need to surpass her, and struck her from surprise? Was Luna jealous of Cytherea, or Cytherea of her creation? Whatever happened, Cytherea has seen fit to conceal it, out of shame, embarrassment, or love.
Cytherea avoided fetich death during the Primordial War, but she was badly scarred nonetheless. Many of her souls were slaughtered, transforming and shifting into new shapes, and the Mother who ended the war was not entirely like the one who had entered it. She believed that she had discovered her error - although she must give her power to others, to shape them correctly, they were ungrateful, obsessed with being free. Preserving this illusion was important, Cytherea thought, and so she wrapped herself in mystery and lies, fading away from her fellow Yozi and living in the background. Many of her souls likewise vanished, and the Mother of All became as secretive as she had once been open, without ever losing the divine spark at her core.
In modern times, Cytherea lurks in the background of Yozi politics and of life in Malfeas. Her jouten are never seen walking the streets, and few can point to any action and say that it is her doing. Instead, she takes part in a long plan, an expansive plot to secure freedom that she does not share with her fellow Yozi. No one knows what she is planning, but everyone knows that she has not surrendered. Cytherea is one of the few Yozi who do not hate the gods, or even the Exalted - she instead regards them with a loving sort of frustration. They may have scorned her, spurned her, sent her away, but she knows that, deep down, they don't understand what they've done. And, ideally, they never will. Let the other Primordials seek to force the Sun to bow his knee. It is enough for Cytherea if she knows that she is needed, and the rest of the world carries on oblivious.
Cytherea and the Reclamation
Cytherea is not, to the best knowledge of its architects, a member of the Reclamation. And just as well. Malfeas scorns her, for she gives only the barest nod to his authority, as though indulging in a child's whim. Cecelyne fears her, for the ease with which she subverts and circumvents her authority. She Who Lives In Her Name is more accepting of Cytherea's nature, but has few points of interest with her, certainly not enough to bring her into this conspiracy. And Adorjan... some admit that it is possible that Adorjan secretly involved Cytherea. Adorjan walks the secret places, and if anyone has had a true conversation with the Mother of All, it is likely that the Silent Wind would be that person. When asked, however, Adorjan merely laughs and changes the subject, and in truth it is not likely. Cytherea and Adorjan are nearly opposite in nature, barely able to converse with one another.
The Ebon Dragon, on the other hand, is perpetually frustrated by Cytherea. It is maddeningly difficult to corrupt someone when you have no concept of their wants, their hopes and fears. Alone among the Primordials, Cytherea rivals him in secrecy, but hers is unmarred by spite, without even the deceit at the core of Szoreny. The others assume that he would thus want to keep her at arms' length of his great plan - but who can judge the logic of two beings composed of secrets and lies?
If Cytherea is a part of the Reclamation, she has not admitted it. If she has taught her Charms to Infernals, they have not boasted of it. Indeed, if she is a part of this, she has worked quite assiduously to keep her role in the coming events a secret. This is not a tremendously comforting train of logic for those who think about it.
The Cytherean Urge: The Urge To Support
If Cytherea is a part of the Reclamation, it is likely that a few Infernals are bearing her Urge, rather than those of their supposed patrons. If this is the case, those marked by Cytherea would be filled with the desire to help others achieve their potential - not their desires, for Cytherea recognizes that those are fleeting things, but their perfect place in the world. Most commonly, this involves raising someone to greatness, always in a manner that requires that others not achieve that greatness (for example, placing Tepet Fokuf on the Scarlet Throne would qualify, while making Ledaal Kes a perfect spy would not). Other times, it involves raising an organization or nation at the expense of another (for example, desiring to have Gem conquer Paragon).
Cecelyne's Torment involves inflicting terrible lassitude on her servants, such that they can no longer bear to face their own goals or activities. Mechanically, this functions identically to the Torment of the Ebon Dragon, except that the imposed Limit is Heart of Tears (rather than weeping, the character will simply sit vaguely, unable to focus enough to take actions). As with the Ebon Dragon, those who attempt to interact with the character are likely to fall prey to the same melancholy.
Charms of Cytherea
- First Cytherea Excellency (FrivYeti)
- Indulgent Ear Attitude
- Gift Of Hope
First Cytherea Excellency
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Cost: 1 mote per die; Mins: Essence 1; Type: Reflexive
Prerequisite Charms: None
Characters may apply this Charm to actions in which someone else benefits directly from their success, regardless of whether such a benefit is desired, or to trick others into taking part in the character's plans. Cytherea's Excellency also assists any actions her Exalts take to hide their natures from those around them in order to blend in or simply go unnoticed. The Cytherean Excellency may never be used on a flashy, showy action, or one that will make the character the center of attention in the current encounter (if they are already the center of attention, they may only use their Excellency on attempts to escape that state).
Cytherea Mythos Exultant
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Cost: —; Mins: Essence 3; Type: Permanent
Prerequisite Charms: First Cytherea Excellency
Indulgent Ear Attitude
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Cost: 1 mote; Mins: Essence 2; Type: Reflexive
Prerequisite Charms: None
Upon using this Charm, the character chooses any Intimacy she possesses, and shrouds it behind a false Intimacy that she creates, which must be positive. Any attempt to read her motivations, either mundane or supernatural, will return the false Intimacy as one belonging to the character, and no attempt may return the true one. If opposed by a perfect Charm, the character adds her Essence in automatic successes to the roll-off. If the character takes actions demonstrably against her supposed Intimacy, onlookers will assume that she is simply acting against a desire, which people do sometimes do.
At Essence 3, the character may expand the scope of this effect. By spending 2 motes instead of 1, she may have the above effect apply to any Virtue, causing it to read as though it were a totally different rating than it is. At Essence 5, the character may spend 4 motes in order to do the same with her Motivation.
This Charm may be purchased a second time at Essence 3. At this time, a character activating this Charm may commit an additional one mote to conceal up to (Essence) Intimacies at once (or a mix of Intimacies, Virtues, and Motivation if she has spent the additional motes required to conceal those). Alternately, she may spend an additional four motes to conceal all of those traits behind a false shell.
Stepping Between Moments
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However, stepping out of the world requires one to actually step out of the world. If the character takes any action that has an impact on the world, from attempting to open a door to speaking to someone, the Charm instantly ends, and cannot be activated again in the scene. If the Charm is cancelled, it also cannot be activated again in the scene. Actions taken that cause the Charm to end do not gain any benefits of either the character's mundane or magical stealth.
Soft Words Whispered
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If a character is under the effect of Stepping Between Moments, she may pay one Willpower when activating this Charm in order to have her mental influence not count as affecting the world.
Embracing Dreams Prana
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This Charm cannot implant positive Intimacies that counteract or further support existing Intimacies, or which contradict the character's Motivation. Only new concepts may be implanted by Cytherea's divine spark.
At Essence 4+, the character may spend an additional two motes when activating this Charm to fortify her Intimacy. If she does so, it applies double the usual bonus and penalty to MDV for as long as it remains magically charged.
Click Charms:Reality-Evading Defense to go this Charm page
Imperfection of the Mother of Creation: At her core, Cytherea still believes that her children love and want her, even when presented with all evidence to the contrary. As such, any Charm bearing this Imperfection may not be used to defend against a character to which the user has a positive Intimacy, or one who is a positive focus of the Infernal's Motivation or Urge. If the Infernal has an Intimacy or Motivation towards an organization, only critical people are affected. This applies equally to mystically imposed Intimacies (such as the one created by the Solar Charm Husband-Seducing Demon Dance.
In addition, if the character does not have any positive Intimacies or Motivation towards an individual or group, she may not activate this Charm. If she possesses only one or two such Intimacies or Motivations, she must spend an additional two motes to activate it.
Note that this limitation is based on the Infernal's perceptions, not the truth. If the Infernal believes she is fighting a loved one, she cannot defend, even if the 'loved one' is a stranger in disguise. Similarly, if fighting a loved one disguised as a stranger, she may defend normally.
Danger Passes Unnoticed
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If the character possesses other upgrades to Reality-Evading Defense, she may activate them as though her target was herself, but doubles the mote cost of these upgrades.
Activating this Charm does not count as affecting the world for the purpose of Stepping Between Moments.
Between Illusion and Truth
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At Essence 5, the character may enhance this Charm further. By spending an additional four motes and a Willpower, instead of three motes, she may reflexively activate Stepping Between Moments as a part of Reality-Evading Defense.
False Negotiation Approach
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Perfected Affection Attitude
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This Charm may be purchased a second time at Essence 5. At that point, any mental influence designed to weaken or remove a positive Intimacy that a character possesses is also considered an unacceptable order. However, if the character ever loses a positive Intimacy, she gains a point of Limit.
Lost To The World
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The character chooses one fact about herself when activating this Charm. This can be something as simple as "I am skilled with swords", or as complex as "I was present at the Blue Lotus Inn in Gem on the 17th of Resplendent Wood, R.Y. 767." Whatever the fact that the character chooses to conceal, she reaches into the fabric of the world, and causes it to vanish.
All beings with an Essence rating lower than that of the character forget the information in question. This is a mental Shaping effect. In addition, any physical evidence of the information is muddled, lost, or altered, with the exception of that contained within artifacts or similar magical devices with ratings equal to or greater than the character's Essence (for this purpose, consider Artifact N/As to be Artifact 8). Any attempt to learn the information fails automatically. If this effect is opposed by a perfect effect, the Infernal adds her Essence in automatic successes to conceal the effect.
There is, however, a major weakness to this power. If the Infernal does anything to reveal this hidden fact (engaging in swordplay while claiming to be unskilled with a sword, expressing familiarity with a location she should not have been to), the effect shatters with regards to everyone who witnesses the revelation. These beings can spread the information in question without penalty, and anyone they spread it to also becomes immune. This immunity is permanent - the Infernal may never conceal this fact from those people again, even by using other applications of this Charm that overlap. Furthermore, this Charm cannot be casually dismissed. If the charm is dispelled, it is still considered to be in effect for one week, during which time there is no mystical protection over the knowledge, but the contagious immunity to reactivation of others learning it still linger. As such, those who learn this Charm are generally very, very careful about what they hide, and how they stop hiding it.
Gift Of Hope
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Cost: 2 motes; Mins: Essence 1; Type: Reflexive
Prerequisite Charms: None
If the character has a positive Intimacy towards her target, the cost of this Charm drops to 1 mote, and she may reflexively give the motes to her target as long as she is within (Essence x50) yards of her.
Consumption Of Purpose
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The character may use motes from her Overdrive pool to power Gift of Hope as though it were an offensive Charm, with all benefits thereof.
What Doesn't Kill You
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If used against a target that the character has a positive Intimacy towards, this Charm has no Willpower cost. If the Infernal inflicted the wounds herself, or if they were inflicted by her allies while she was in battle with the target, the Charm costs double the usual number of motes. The Infernal may not heal more than (Essence) levels of damage from a single target per day. A child can only learn so much.
A second purchase of this Charm at Essence 4 allows the healing of aggravated damage at a cost of 5 motes per level.
Dreamers Take Flight
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After each roll, the winner of the roll applies up to (half the Infernal's Essence) points of mutations to the target, after which the loser must apply a single mutation point to the target. At least one point of mutations must be negative, and no more than half of the mutations (rounding up) may be negative. Mutations may not be added that contradict previous mutations, nor may mutation points be used to remove mutations from previous rolls. If a target has prior mutations from another source (such as size mutations), mutations from this source may counteract them one for one.
At Essence 5+, the character may purchase this Charm a second time. If she does, she may spend an additional Willpower when activating this Charm to make its Duration Instant, and its mutations permanent. Doing so applies a -2 die penalty to her Essence + Willpower rolls to control the outcome of the Charm.
Infliction Of Learning
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Unity Of Desire
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Heroic targets may choose to spend 1 Willpower per action to resist their new Motivation. If so, spending a total of 5 Willpower causes the effect to end.
Geomantic Body Understanding
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However, when a person reshapes their soul according to geomancy, they run certain risks. Essence buildup is far less devastating to the character than it would be to a true manse, but it still has risks. Whenever the character gains or loses an Intimacy (including magical ones), raises or lowers her Virtues, or alters her Motivation or Urge (including through completion of it) she takes (Demesne rating halved) levels of Bashing damage that cannot be prevented by any means, and cannot recover motes until the next day. The character can only take such damage once per day - once her geomancy is disrupted, it does not disrupt her again.
Nurturing Essence Shintai
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Upon activation of this shintai, the Essence patterns in the character's body expand outwards, infecting her surroundings with terrible might. The character spontaneously forms a Cytherean demesne with a rating equal to her Geomantic Body Understanding, stretching (Essence x100) yards in all directions. All beings within that radius may recover Essence normally from the demesne. Furthermore, the demesne is terribly mutational, creating changes at a pace that outstrips the staid demesnes of Creation by an order of magnitude. When the character activates the Shintai, she chooses what order her mutation packages will apply in. The first applies after one scene in the Infernal's presence, the second after one day, and all future packages two days apart until targets are fully mutated. These mutations are considered to be permanent Training effects, which apply as normal demesne mutations (and thus are not considered Wyld mutations).
Targets who do not wish to be mutated can resist instinctively. This requires a (Stamina + Integrity + Essence) roll, at an external penalty equal to the character's Essence rating - if the target has a positive Intimacy towards the subject of the Infernal's Motivation or Urge, this external penalty is increased by 1. If successful, mutation does not occur - but must be tested again each interval. Intervals do not increase in time until the subject fails (so a character would have to test every scene until she was mutated once).
The character's demesne is Obvious, but she is not Obvious as the source unless some form of Essence-sight is used against her. Essence sight does not gain any bonuses to find the character.
Starting at Essence 5, the character can develop more flexibility. She may pay an additional two experience to create a new mutational set, giving her more options when this Shintai is activated. The character may have up to (Essence + positive Intimacies) worth of mutational sets, and each new one must be tied to a specific Intimacy. If that Intimacy is lost, the mutational set cannot be used until a new Intimacy is formed that approximates the old one.
If the character possesses Stepping Between Moments, Nurturing Essence Shintai does not count as an action that affects the world for the purposes of the limitations of Stepping Between Moments.
Subordination Of Dreams
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This Charm enhances a Crafts-based roll made by anyone within (Essence x5) yards of the Infernal at the time that they begin crafting. It exerts unnatural mental influence on the target to change her project to suit the Infernal's needs. The Infernal rolls (Charisma + Socialize), adding bonus dice equal to her Essence if she has a positive Intimacy towards her target. If the target resists the effect, the Charm has no further effect, and may not be reactivated targeting the same crafting project.
If the Charm succeeds, it has three effects. First, the target may accomplish (Essence) hours of work for each hour that passes. Secondly, she must spend two Willpower for every day that she does not work on the project. Finally, the project twists and warps to the desires of the Infernal. Upon activating this Charm, the Infernal names exactly (Essence) minor differences between what the target intended to create and what will be created, or fewer major differences.
- Minor differences include a single point of a weapon or armor's statistics, a single cosmetic feature, a slight change to an object's magical function (such as altering a sword to require regular bathing in wine instead of blood), a single dot of Resources worth of value from a mundane item, or similar changes.
- Major differences include a modification of one dot of Artifact in the object's effect, a massive change in what a magical object will do within its existing category (constructing a daiklave instead of a grimcleaver, for example). Each major difference requires the expenditure of four minor differences.
Targets may resist the changes, but only by committing one Willpower per minor change or four Willpower per major change for the duration of the project, but each Willpower spent in this way reduces the character's effective Essence when determining construction speed by 1. Instead of adding more changes, the Infernal may require the same change multiple times, effectively increasing the Willpower cost to resist including it.
If targets of this Charm have their own effort-speeding Charms, this Charm increases the total multiplier by (Essence -1) rather than multiplying it. Multiple Infernals may not use this Charm on the same target.
A second purchase of this Charm allows the Infernal to spend an additional mote to allow the target to use the Infernal's own die pool for the crafting, if it is higher than the target's. If she does this, and is able to activate an Excellency in conjunction with this Charm (through Combos or effects that render the Excellency not a Charm use), the Infernal may also use her Excellency to enhance the target's Crafting rolls, using her own die limit or the target's (whichever is higher). These dice count as dice granted by Charms for the purpose of any die adder Charms the target possesses.