Hellfire Ballet Style
Developed during the Shogunate by a Fire Aspect Akuma under the tuition of Ligier, Hellfire Ballet Style is a martial art born of burning hatred and gleeful fury, one that leaves none unmarked by its passage. It was designed to allow its practioners to combat the many injustices heaped upon them by a world that is inherently cruel and twisted, lost without its rightful ruler - in this respect, as with its form weapon, it is a dark and infernal mirror of the Righteous Devil Style, favouring frenzied spinning infernos over steady judgement and single shots.
Like all demon-created Celestial Martial Arts, Hellfire Ballet Style may be practiced by any demon of any circle who satisfies the relevant trait minimums. However, those who learn it within the Demon City often meet sticky ends if their strength is not enough to back their claims; seekers of justice, however twisted or vengeful, seldom live long in the anarchistic depths of Malfeas.
In the Age of Sorrows, Hellfire Ballet Style is taught in a number of dojos throughout Malfeas, and known to akuma and demons alike. It is particularly popular amongst demon enforcers, who appreciate its powers of immediate and brutal judgement, or those foolishly trying to appeal to the Green Sun, hoping that the use of a tool he helped create might catch his fancy. At least one Green Sun Prince has already come across this Style and begun to learn it; soon, Creation will burn with fires long since locked away. A number of Sidereals are also thought to have learned this Style throughout the years, though the only confirmed living Master is Jyon Tuist, who has long since abandoned it as irrelevant to his personal philosophy.
Weapons and Armor: This Style may be practiced in light armour, often a buff jacket. The Charms of this Style treat attacks made with hellwands, hellpieces, hellfire-tongue repeaters and similar Infernal flame weapons as unarmed attacks.
Complementary Abilities: Learning Charms of this Style requires an Archery rating of 2+. Its spiritual requirements are rather more esoteric; learning and using the Charms of this Style requires that the martial artist have at least one negative intimacy. Should he ever let go of his hatred and remove all negative intimacies, the Style closes off to him, and he cannot use or learn its Charms until he has acquired at least one negative intimacy once more. This restriction may be ignored if the martial artist has an Urge of Malfeas, or a Motivation that similarly revolves around violence and hatred. Characters who fulfill both of these requirements halve the normal training times for Charms of this Style.
:Hellfire Ballet Style is a Martial Arts Style developed by JiveX. The version recorded here is one edited by Revlid.
Ravenous Fiend Preparedness
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Cost: 2m; Mins: Martial Arts 2, Essence 2; Type: Supplemental
Prerequisite Charms: None
This Style was developed by two martial artists familiar with Malfeas Charms, and it shows. If the Join Battle action is also augmented with the First (or Second) Malfeas Excellency, the cost of this Charm is applied as a discount, reducing the cost of adding further dice or successes to the roll by two motes.
Blazing Green Scourge
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If this attack is made with a ranged form weapon, and its target has attacked the martial artist previously in the scene or is the subject of one of his negative intimacies, then he also counts 10s twice when rolling damage against them.
Violent Emerald Consumption
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If this attack is made with a ranged form weapon, and its target is the subject of one of the martial artist's negative intimacies, the damage type of the supplemented attack is increased by one degree; from bashing to lethal, or lethal to aggravated. In order to benefit from this bonus, the negative intimacy must have been in existence for at least one full day prior to the activation of the Charm; hatred should simmer like vitriol.
Hellfire Ballet Form
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While in Hellfire Ballet Form, the martial artist may use his form weapons to make hand-to-hand attacks, wielding the butt as a cudgel (these are still explicitly form weapons). The martial artist defines the traits of these close-combat weapons upon first learning this Charm. They use the same base traits as tonfas (Scroll of the Monk, p. 156), but benefit from a number of bonus trait dots equal to the martial artist's Martial Arts rating. He may divide these bonus dots in any way he desires amongst Rate, Accuracy, Damage or Defense. He may also decrease the weapon's Speed by one, although this costs two bonus dots per reduction. The only restriction on this customisation is that no trait can be raised (or lowered) by more than two points. The martial artist may reassign these dots only upon increasing his Martial Arts rating. It should be noted that these increased traits apply solely to close-combat applications of form weapons; they do not benefit the ranged attacks of those weapons at all.
As a final benefit of this Form, the martial artist increases his Dodge and Parry DVs by (Martial Arts/2), rounded up, against ranged attacks.
As a Form-type Charm, the first time the martial artist uses a Charm with a Flaw of Invulnerability during the same action Hellfire Ballet Form is activated, the cost of that Charm increases by two points of Willpower.
Dynamic Form Transition:
Hellfire Ballet Form may be reflexively assumed without a Charm activation in the following ways:
• If the practicioner makes a flurry of at least (Martial Arts) unarmed attacks, each with a different target. It does not matter if any of these attacks miss, only that they were made.
• If the practicioner uses an unarmed attack to successfully strike a character he has a negative intimacy toward.
Vengeful Titan's Prowess
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While the martial artist is in Hellfire Ballet Form, he may ignore offhand penalties for dual-wielding form weapons of the Style. In addition, he may reload such form weapons reflexively, rather than as a miscellaneous action. This does not provide him with additional ammunition for his weapons; he must still have a ready supply of algarel pellets at hand.
Laughter and Torment Counter
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This Charm may be activated in response to any attack the martial artist is aware of that was made by an opponent within his engagement range. Once activated, it allows him to respond to any attack that opponent makes against him with an unarmed counterattack against them, resolved in Step 9 of the attack in question. This includes the attack this Charm is first activated in response to. Only one opponent may be the subject of this Charm at a time.
If the martial artist's counterattack is made at close combat range with a form weapon (of any type) it gains a knockback effect if it hits, violently shoving its target a number of yards away from the martial artist equal to twice his Strength rating.
The free reflexive attack provided by Champion of the Baleful Sun cannot be used to target an opponent who is currently the subject of this Charm. However, the counterattacks provided by this Charm do not interfere with the operation of that Charm, allowing the martial artist to make the reflexive attack it grants while also counterattacking.
Gift of the Wrathful Deva
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The martial artist may pay two motes to use this Charm to enhance any ranged unarmed attack, provided it targets a specific part of the target's body (as a called shot, this provokes an external penalty of -2 to the attack roll). If the attack hits and inflicts at least two levels of lethal or aggravated damage, the martial artist may spend a further two motes in Step 10 of the attack to focus the beam further, punching through connective tissue. If he does so, the damage inflicted by the attack is altered to a single level of aggravated damage. The victim also suffers a Crippling amputation effect (see Exalted p. 152) on the targeted limb, as it is rendered useless by the piercing lance of hellish fire. This amputation effect renders the limb useless, but does not actually remove it unless the character in question is a mortal or an extra, allowing those with the capability to naturally recover from Crippling effects to do so once the inflicted aggravated damage level heals.
Champion of the Baleful Sun
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More importantly, while this Charm is active the martial artist gains a single free reflexive unarmed attack whenever he is attacked, or moves his maximum Dash or horizontal jump distance in a straight line. He may not gain this attack more than once per tick, and can have only one such attack stored at a time. In any case, such a stored attack vanishes whenever his DV refreshes.
In Damnation's Clutches
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In any case, until he releases his opponent this clinch allows the martial artist to use his victim as a human shield. Any attacks directed at the martial artist that roll even one success instead automatically hit his clinched hostage, who cannot defend himself (being inactive). The only way an attacker can circumvent this redirection is to make a called shot against the exposed portion of the martial artist's body, provoking an external penalty of -4 to their attack roll. The martial artist may defend himself normally against such attacks, though he may only use his Parry DV to do so unless he reflexively breaks the clinch to dive clear of an attack. If a parried attack would have failed against the martial artist's DV regardless of the external penalty, it strikes the hostage instead.
The martial artist can make rolls to maintain this clinch reflexively, with no need to flurry. Indeed, he can move, jump and act as normal, dragging the hostage with him, subject to only a few restrictions. While maintaining the clinch, he cannot take Dash actions, nor can he make attacks that are not considered unarmed for this Style. He cannot Crush the hostage, as he is using only one arm.
The martial artist can reflexively end this Charm whenever he likes, either by switching to an ordinary clinch, or by releasing or throwing the hostage (Hellfire Ballet Masters often hurl victims into the arms of their enemies, providing a few moments of fatal distraction). This Charm automatically ends if the clinch ever does, but does not automatically end if the victim takes control of it; the martial artist can wrestle them back into submission with the next opposed control check.
Judgement of the Maimed King
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This Charm can only be activated when the martial artist wins the roll to maintain (rather than regain) control of a clinch supplemented by In Damnation's Clutches. His lips curl back in malevolent glee as his monstrously hateful nature is revealed, eyes flashing green as though reflecting the flames to come. Emerald flame erupts directly above the martial artist and his hostage, a burning sign that spells out "Judgement" in Old Realm. This endorsement of his authority augments the martial artist's brutal sentencing, as he immediately makes an unarmed attack against the clinched victim. The victim is obviously Inactive, but in case it matters this attack is considered undodgeable and unblockable. The attack does aggravated damage and ignores all soak and Hardness, turning mundane materials to slag and ash, and even temporarily superheating the magical materials; armour offers no protection, and any mundane equipment is considered to have been completely destroyed.
The attack is utterly cruel and equally just, causing gruesome and disturbing deaths; bodies utterly dissolved into ash with only the screaming head left intact, or a clean-cut hole the size of a melon bored directly through the chest, or demented patterns of burns that spell out a litany of hatred against the unfortunate victim. Should the target survive being hit by this attack, they suffer the disfigurement Crippling amputation injury, reducing them to a horrifically burned Appearance 0. Any target who does survive this attack is immediately flung (Essencex4) yards from the martial artist in a direction of his choosing, as though he cannot bear to touch one who has defied the judgement of the mad. This throw automatically knocks them prone.
Should the hostage be killed by this attack, as is overwhelmingly likely, the horrific nature of their demise shocks or gratifies all who witness it. For some, it is not only nauseatingly gory, but also a reminder of the legitimacy of Malfeas' judgements. For others, it is a just punishment for the petty sins committed against them. Any character who witnesses a death caused by this Charm must roll (Stamina+Integrity) at a difficulty of (Martial Artist's Essence). If they fail, they must immediately roll their Compassion, losing points of Willpower equal to their rolled successes (to a minimum of one). If they bore a positive intimacy toward the victim, the difficulty of the initial roll is doubled. By contrast, if the witness has a negative intimacy toward the victim then they do not roll, instead immediately regaining a single point of temporary Willpower as their grievances are upheld by the court of a mutilated demon judge. The martial artist will never lose Willpower due to his own use of this Charm, but can still regain it if he had a negative intimacy toward the victim.