Made of Dreams

You can tell that Wyld-Shaping Technique is a big deal from the fact that it takes up enough space for ten regular charms. Traditionally it’s been an important part of the setting, and a potential way for your characters to grab some territory of their own – possibly very powerful territory. It’s expensive and difficult, with some potentially great payoff.

It’s also a hazardous charm to use. You need to fight off Fair Folk, behemoths, and more while using it. Bring friends.

Character Creation

If you intend to use this charm near the beginning of the game, here’s how to do it. Set Intelligence to 5, Lore to 5, and take Lore Supernal with a specialty in “The Wyld”. Also, get some friends with enormous swords. Then take the following charms:

  • Harmonious Academic Methodology. Prereq. Thanks to your Lore specialty, get +Essence in non-charm successes for Lore rolls involving the Wyld, such as Wyld-Shaping.
  • Bottomless Wellspring Approach. Prereq.
  • Lore-Inducing Concentration. Prereq.
  • Truth-Rendering Gaze. Prereq.
  • Wyld-Dispelling Prana. Prereq.
  • Chaos-Repelling Pattern. Prereq.
  • Order-Affirming Blow. Prereq.
  • And finally, Wyld-Shaping Technique itself

You will also really, really want:

  • Wyld-Cauldron Mastery. +Essence successes on each roll.
  • Wyld-Forging Focus. Start on phase 2.
  • Demiurgic Suspiration. Refunds you essence after successful shaping, which helps fuel your Excellencies.
  • Heaven-Turning Calculations. +Essence non-charm dice on Wyld Shaping. Also on sorcery.

…and that leaves you with three charms left. Choose defensively. One should probably be sorcery, because you already get a bonus to it and because you’re seriously going to need the defense from Invulnerable Skin of Bronze. You can take Wyld-Called Weapon, but you can probably afford to wait a little while. You’ll likely have a few sessions of play before you get a chance to use Wyld-Shaping Technique in the first place.

Dice Pool

With all of this and a one-point stunt, you get a starting dice pool of 14 + 2 successes, with one die and one success as non-charm. If you can crank your Excellency into this, you can get another 8 dice, for a total of 22 + 2 successes. The question is, can you actually afford that much essence?

The answer is, strangely enough, probably yes. There’s no indication of how long a “phase” of Wyld-Shaping takes, beyond the minute of mental effort. It’s clear that phases aren’t intended to be immediately consecutive. The charm implies that you could get into a fight in the middle of each phase. Plus, if you couldn’t regenerate essence, the cost would be prohibitive – even an Essence 5 Solar would have trouble getting past phase 5. Presumably your character uses the charm, fights a few Fair Folk, recuperates, and repeats. The only real limitation on the length of time you can spend on it seems to be your ability to handle terrible creatures from beyond Creation, and your ability to stay awake (no getting incapacitated).

Since there are no rules about staying awake, we’ll assume here that you can’t spend more than 24 hours – which means no Willpower recovery. Perhaps a single point from an intimacy like “I sure do love Wyld-Shaping Technique,” or more from “I sure do love getting ambushed by the Fair Folk.” That’s sort of a bad idea for an intimacy, though. Maybe “I love when my circle-mates keep me from getting murdered by a behemoth” would work better. In any case, we’re assuming no willpower expenditure.

If you rest for two hours between phases (presumably with your allies protecting you from the Wyld and its creatures), you have more than enough to throw a full Lore excellency at your Wyld-Shaping roll on every phase. Heck, if you use the demon masseur you summoned with the sorcery I told you to take, maybe the Wyld will be relaxing enough that you can regenerate in just one hour. Probably not.

Risk/Reward

Now… how many phases should you attempt? There’s an XP cost, a rising risk of failure, increasing rewards, and effects that aren’t always easy to weigh. How can you decide?

To the spreadsheet! Follow this link to a Google Drive spreadsheet, or this link for the version you can copy into your own drive.

Let me explain the columns:

  • “Phase Success” is your odds of succeeding on that one phase.
  • “Cumulative Success” is your chance of succeeding on every phase up to and including that one – for instance, your chance of successfully making it through phase 6 is about 77%.
  • “Mote” gives the total mote cost, including the refund from Demiurgic Suspiration and the 10 motes you get back from resting for two hours.
  • “XP Cost” is the straight cost from using the charm.
  • “XP Overhead” is the average cost of failure – the XP you lose for pushing your luck to a certain stage, adjusted by the chance of failure. As you can see, it’s not so bad until phase 7.
  • “General” and “Specific” land areas are in square miles, with the radius of such an area also listed in miles. The assumption is that you’re not spending excess successes on area, since that gets you a really weak return.
  • There are also columns for the type of demesnes you can expect without spending excess successes, the amount of resources you could conjure up, and level of artifact you could get with Wyld-Called Weapon.

There’s no column for magical materials because it’s not worthwhile to conjure them up. Beyond the vagueness of the phrase “and so on” in that paragraph of the book, phase four will let you start calling up artifacts. That’s what most people would want magical materials for in the first place. Pick up Wyld-Called Weapon, shape yourself a bitchin’ magical airship, and fly around the world looking for magical materials with that instead.

What phase would I shoot for? Phase 6. It’s reliable enough to risk, the mote cost is within reach given a little extra rest (or Essence-Lending Technique from a friend), and the payoff is enormous. If you take Wyld-Called Weapon, you can pull a level N/A artifact from the Wyld. For 18 XP – well, 22 or so counting the average risk of failure – that’s pretty damn good. An island 54 miles across, with a major demesne on it, is also pretty great. After this point, the odds of failure increase to the point where you need to be higher-Essence to make the rewards worth the risk. Getting your hands on Sevenfold Savant Mantle and Power Beyond Reason will help you take on a additional phases as well.

So that’s Wyld-Shaping Technique. You need to buy a lot of charms to get it to work, so make the most of it. Camp out on the edge of the Wyld. Make some raksha enemies. Craft that all-jade warstrider you’ve always wanted.

Tomorrow: nothing scheduled. I’m in that phase where I’m working on new characters, so posts will be sporadic until Slumber’s Grasp is complete.

Ooh, that’s what I’m naming my fist-shaped goremaul now. Slumber’s Grasp. Yup.

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Fast-Casting

Let’s say you want to be the fastest spell-slinger out there. You really think of your character as a combat caster, throwing around deadly spells in the midst of combat. Is this doable? Is “combat sorcerer” in the D&D sense a valid character concept in Exalted?

Well, you need to gather essence using shaping actions in order to cast spells. You can’t dump your own essence into the spell to make it happen faster. How can you make it happen faster?

Occult Excellencies are the most obvious one. If you have a 10-dice pool for shaping, you’ll get about 5 Sorcery Essence per action, which means it takes 3 rounds to cast Obsidian Butterflies. Fortunately, you can use Excellent Solar Occult to buy more dice, so if you pour in 10 motes in the first round and 5 motes in the second, you’ll probably be able to cast Obsidian Butterflies on round 2, just like it used to be in previous editions. Interestingly (perhaps intentionally?), this makes the cost from your own pool the same as the Sorcerous Mote cost.

Shaping Rituals almost seem intended for this purpose, but they’re fairly weak. How weak? An starting sorcerer with the Ifrit pact casting from next to a burning building will end up with just one extra sorcerous mote per turn. At most these rituals store up 10 motes, and those tend to recharge once per story. They won’t save you more than one turn of casting, and they’ll only do that that once in a particular combat. The best use of these long-term-storage rituals is probably to make up the difference when you’re just one or two motes short.

Other Options:

  • As usual, specialties can give you an extra die, and willpower can give you an extra success.
  • Spirit-Drawing Oculus (an Occult charm) can draw in up to ten Sorcerous Motes for you once per day.
  • Breach-Healing Method (a Medicine charm) can give an ally a non-charm bonus to Occult, as long as the person using it is trying to repair an object or treat an injury. It’s small early on, but it could be a big deal later in the game.

And that’s about it! Sorcery is not well-supported by other charms, especially in terms of casting faster. Here are a few other charms that will help reduce costs or improve power:

  • Heaven-Turning Calculations (a Lore charm) adds non-charm dice to spell effect rolls, but not shaping actions. It’s still incredibly useful, but it helps you cast better rather than faster.
  • Ancient Tongue Understanding (an Occult charm) will give you auto-successes (probably just one) on sorcery actions at the cost of alienating every spirit around you. In addition, these are regular charm successes, which means this is just reducing the cost of your Excellency, not actually increasing the average number of motes you get per turn.
  • Likewise, Supernal Control Method (an Occult charm) will let you use a full Occult excellency for free once per scene, so you can get things done more cheaply.
  • Spirit-Draining Mudra will let you draw some of your Sorcerous Motes from a bound spirit, but it won’t help you get any extra motes.
  • All the charms that deal with Wyld-Shaping technique seem to give a bonus to rolls with that charm in particular, but not to shaping actions in general.

So, in short, it’s really hard to cast faster. If you want to throw around blasts of power, sorcery is actually a really slow way to do it, and you’re probably better off reskinning the Thrown or Archery trees.

Next time: How to get the most out of Wyld-Shaping Technique.

Being the Artifactory

Here’s how to create a five-dot artifact as a starting character, without spending any white XP.

Craft is a massive, complex subsystem in Ex3. It may not be obvious at first that maxed-out stats and a full Craft excellency will barely get you a 50-50 chance of making even the most basic of artifacts. Creating a 5-dot artifact needs a lot of successes. It involves rolling an average of 22 successes on each of six rolls – and if you want reliability, you want to be able to get more than that when you need them. You need to pick your charms carefully.

First, choose Craft as your supernal ability, and set Craft (Artifacts) and one other Craft of your choice both at 5. (You’ll need Lore and Occult at 3+ as well.) Make sure you start with a craft attribute at 5 as well, probably Intelligence or Dexterity. And what the heck, take a specialty in crafting whatever you want to make most often.

You need the following charms. You could buy others, but they don’t generally seem worthwhile in terms of the number of successes they generate.

  • Excellent Craft (free with any other Craft charm)
  • Flawless Handiwork Method. For right now this is just a prerequisite, but see the note below.
  • Supreme Masterwork Focus. Buy this twice to get the double-8s effect on your Superior projects.
  • Experiential Conjuring of True Void. Since you have Craft Supernal, you get the upgraded version: +1 non-charm success and +6 non-charm dice.
  • Unbroken Image Focus. Buy this so you can purchase non-charm successes. This charm is your insurance policy.

(I should note that you can actually get all of this stuff at Essence 2, if you want to pick a different Supernal ability and just hold off on artifacts for a while.)

You should also build up a really big store of gold craft points. Like at least a hundred and twenty to be safe. You’re going to need them. You can either do this the long way, with at least 20 major projects, or pick up a couple charms to help you along. Arete-Shifting Prana and Sublime Transference are a good call, as the latter of which allows you to shift silver points into gold points. You should also take an Intimacy like “Man do I ever love crafting things” because you get more silver and gold points when your project upholds an intimacy.

Here are the steps for the crafting process in gameplay, along with how much they’ll cost you:

  • Gather ingredients (it’s sidequest time!) and draw up blueprints for your masterwork. Might as well define your blueprints as a major project and earn some gold points for it.
  • Make yourself a superior crafting slot in some way: perhaps 10 silver points and another 3 gold, perhaps a couple of other Craft charms.
  • When you are able to roll for completion (see time note below), spend 10 gold points as the rules require.
  • Start with a dice pool of 29 + 1 success: 11 from your attribute, ability, and specialty, 2 from a stunt, 10 more from a full Excellency, and 6 more plus the success from Experiential Conjuring of the True Void. [14 motes, 4 gold points]
  • Use Supreme Masterwork Focus to get double-8s on this roll. You will now get an average of about 21 successes on your roll. 1 of those is bonus, 14 of them are regular, and 6 are from the double-8s effect, which is important for the next charm. [5 motes, 1 willpower, 1 gold point]
  • Use Unbroken Image Focus to buy successes. You can buy up to 15 more successes on average (14 rolled + 1 for Essence), and you should buy more early in case you roll poorly later. We’ll assume for simplicity you buy just the one that you’ll need on average to get up to 22 successes total. [3 motes, 1 gold point]
  • You have now spent 22 motes, one willpower, and 16 gold points on this roll. As a starting Solar, this eats up only half of your mote pool.  Wait the five hours until your essence regenerates, then repeat. Rest to regain willpower, then continue the next day. It’ll only take you three days to finish.
  • Profit!

As mentioned, this eats up a lot of gold points. A minimum of 60 if you roll impossibly well; 96 on average, potentially more. You might want to get a couple Craft charms that help you pick these up faster, because running out means waiting until you can pick up more before you roll again – or worse yet, failing and wasting them all. If you can finish early, you’ll get ten gold points back per unused roll, so that helps a little bit.


 

A note on Flawless Handiwork Method: If you buy this a second time, it becomes much more worthwhile. You’ll get an extra +3 successes per roll from removing sixes, and +3 for the “cascading” tens. At that point it’s worth spending the motes on this charm. It won’t increase the amount you can get from Unbroken Image Focus, though, and the cascading effect is too unreliable to count on.

A note on time: Normally, you need to do downtime-type crafting for two years before rolling to complete a five-dot artifact. If you want to do this faster (YES), you should pick up Thousand-Forge Hands, which requires Craftsman Needs No Tools. Thousand-Forge Hands will allow you to start rolling after five months. If you only want to make a four-dot artifact, you can roll after five weeks. Plus, you also get to have Craftsman Needs No Tools, which you want anyway because it’s awesome and because it will help you stockpile tons upon tons of craft points.

Thanks to Lanaya, SoulGambit, Sanctaphrax, and TGUEIROS at the Onyx Path Exalted forums for helping to improve this!

Tomorrow: How to cast sorcery faster. Spoiler alert: it’s not gonna happen.

Done with Red Jade Canyon

That’s it for Red Jade Canyon! Over the next few days I’ll link all the posts together so you can skip between them more easily.

There will be a bit of a break while I work on the next batch; hopefully only 2-3 weeks. Setting #3 is in the North, in the space between Fortitude and Whitewall. It’s called Slumber’s Grasp. It’s a more European-flavored fantasy setting, with a royal family and a castle and a witch and a young man who wants to take over the kingdom his father could never rule. I’m doing it partly just because it was easy to find clip art for, and partly for some variety in my settings, but I also feel like it fits nicely into the North. One of the things I love about Exalted is the great variety in locations and cultures. This is my token “traditional fantasy” setting before I go back to the non-traditional and the strange, which I generally enjoy better. Of course, there will still be some oddball things thrown into Slumber’s Grasp. The blog isn’t named “Typical Creations.”

In the meantime, I’ll have a few other posts with random things that have been floating around my head as I read and absorb the corebook. Tomorrow: how to make 5-dot artifacts as a starting character.

Baltana Vaspasian, Guild Representative

Background

The Vaspasian family owns mercantile interests across the southeast. This cements them as an invaluable part of the Guild. This relationship works in both directions: the Guild ensures that the Vaspasians have a place to sell their wares, and the Vaspasians ensure that the Guild gets the best prices and that their interests are safe. Right now that duty falls to Baltana.

Baltana has been working with the Guild for some ten years. Before that he tried his hand at many different tasks – blacksmith, horse-trainer, yeddim-driver, ship-builder, sand-sailor, and more – before finally realizing that he actually did want to go into the family business. Since then he’s been happier and more fulfilled than in his journeyman days.

Most of the people around him know this story, because Baltana is always happy to talk. It’s what makes him so good at his job. His parents always said that he was “born with a parrot in his mouth,” which he always thought was the funniest expression he’d ever heard, so he started collecting similar sayings.

Recently Baltana found his mind wandering toward Red Jade Canyon, wondering if there might still be some way to make a profit there despite the collapsed mine. Perhaps he could even find the right people to repair it! He left Ember to travel south, convincing the guild to allow him “only a small entourage” of fifty or so, with a few new-hired guards and some expert engineers. They arrived in Red Jade Canyon just ahead of an unexpected complication: Lady Shafallika‘s desert cavalry.

Appearance

Baltana Vaspasian 500

Baltana’s family is native to the south. He has medium-brown skin with sepia undertones and brown-red eyes. His hair is well-groomed salt-and-pepper on both his head and his beard. He wears a perpetual smile.

Demeanor

Baltana is both genial and business-oriented. He can work and talk at the same time, and forgets that not everyone wants a little happy chatter in their lives. He’s always nice about it, but it usually takes him two or three tries to actually be quiet. Baltana is also highly optimistic, thinking the best of others. He even has a little difficulty bringing himself to believe that someone has hurt him intentionally.

Baltana is a little sad that he doesn’t have someone to share his life with yet. All the time he spends on the road for the Guild makes it hard to find that special someone. He’s hoping to get assigned to a caravan one of these days – their large population makes it more likely that someone find him to their liking.

Abilities

Baltana is very charming, and fairly attractive. Only the most dour introverts can keep a scowl on their face when he’s around. He knows how to work a crowd and how to make friends one-on-one. He can keep his feet after downing a surprising amount of liquor. He keeps his own books, knows the price of goods all up and down the southeastern mountains, and has a tremendous store of aphorisms and obscure sayings that turn out to be surprisingly accurate.

He’s been assaulted a handful of times, and while he primarily relies on his elite bodyguards, he has also learned how to dodge blows and where to hit someone to make a quick getaway.

Baltana has no control over his own essence.

Supporting Characters

  • Tyrael Vaspasian, head bodyguard and a distant nephew. Diligent, friendly, courageous.
  • Unter Pelaver, the entourage’s scout and Baltana’s best friend on this journey. Industrious, adventurous, eccentric.
  • Orala Dirtmind, the best engineer in Ember, recruited to examine the mines. Ambitious, skilled, unkind.
  • Three-Hands Rendo, the local Guild representative in Red Jade Canyon for when the caravans aren’t here. Nervous, penny-pinching, ambitious.
  • Note that Baltana would make an excellent employer for any player characters entering this setting. Feel free to augment or replace any of his entourage with one of the PCs.

Questions

  • How will Baltana extricate himself from the situation in the canyon? What will he do if he can’t?
  • Where might Baltana find profit in this situation? Will he look for that, or will he try to act for a greater good?

Eight-Ways Ready, Chosen of Battles

Background

Let it be known that the Bureau of Destiny sees fit to appoint a representative in the southeast this season.

The representative is to travel to Sounding Sands Province, therein to Renzenkalteth Prefecture, therein to Ieska‘s Bastion, known to the local populace as Red Jade Canyon.

Close examination of the Loom of Fate has revealed unexpected weft in the tapestry indicative of active external presences or imprudent shaping of local reality. The representative is to take all measures necessary to ensure the continued integrity of the tapestry, including:

  • Personal investigation of the matter
  • Moving Wyld Hunt assets and other Realm interests toward the target
  • Alerting local embedded operatives, to the extent that their discretion allows
  • Filing such paperwork as may be required

These measures alone should be considered a sub-minimum effort. Additional measures are to be undertaken at the discretion of the representative.

Be aware that Silver Pact representatives have been active in the local prefecture in recent decades. Be alert for societal infiltration and the potential of activated opponents. Be aware also that local spirit courts may not look kindly on attempts to recruit them into the investigation, and that this matter is currently in arbitration at the highest levels.

The Bureau of Destiny has elected Eight-Ways Ready as its representative in the southeast for this season. Zero additional representatives may be assigned to this prefecture as warranted by circumstances.

Thus it is known.

Appearance

Eight-Ways Ready 500

Eight-Ways Ready is a guard. She must be a guard – she has a sword like a guard, wears the uniform of a guard, spits and grumbles like a guard, slouches in the sun like one, salutes like one. Clearly she is a guard. Her skin color? Oh, just like the rest of them, I suppose – hired in Ember before Vaspasian’s entourage turned south for the winter. Her face? Stop asking me about the guards – what are you, sweet on her? Gah. Pay attention to your work.

Demeanor

In her cover identity of Nameless Guard #3, Eight-Ways Ready is respectful in the presence of authority, and slouched and crude in its absence. There is little to say about her that has not been said about every guard.

Underneath that, beneath layers of carefully cultivated mystery, Eight-Ways is a mid-level bureaucrat forced into a secret war between impossibly powerful operatives, with all of reality as its stakes. She would rather be retired – she should have been retired a lifetime ago, were she mortal. As a hereditary historian in Sijan, she would have been happy to live out her life learning about past wars rather than participating in them.

But Mars herself decided that Eight-Ways’ life should instead become interesting, a word uttered as a curse in the Bureau (and by Eight-Ways herself). Her birth name was buried for her protection. She never became a historian like her mother and her grandmother before her. She used to see glimpses of this life from time to time, in her dreams – quiet, calm, full of hope. Of course, that life and that world also ended, definitively and painfully. She no longer sees glimpses of the horrible fires and consuming maws of emptiness that consumed that world decades ago. She knows the price that the world would have paid for her quiet, calm life, and so when her great-grand-nieces and -nephews play in the streets of Sijan, sometimes she takes a little time to appreciate that. They live because of her sacrifice.

Eight-Ways Ready tries to be a little detached from the wars and skirmishes and atrocities that she is sometimes called on to witness – or even to initiate. She finds that role difficult.

Intimacies: “I serve so that others may live” (Defining), “Creation’s enemies are my enemies” (Major), “A good book” (Positive), “Any mention of the word ‘interesting'” (Negative), “Baltana Vaspasian

Abilities

Eight-Ways Ready is perpetually alert, with excellent attention to detail. Her memory is augmented by the presence of a few spirits that conceal themselves in her clothing and scabbard, and who whisper hints and names to her when she might otherwise forget. She is also a well-learned historian with access to records that go back near to the creation of the world. What she isn’t is particularly inclined to politics or socializing. She prefers a quiet night with a book to a loud night on the town.

While not yet prepared for the highest mysteries of the Sidereal arts, Eight-Ways Ready is a superb martial artist, practicing both Single Point Style (her preferred form) and Crane Style (when caught unarmed). When armed with a sword, she is unbelievably swift and deadly, as if her blade had a mind of its own. Her strikes go directly to the heart and throat. When unarmed, she fights defensively, protecting herself and others while striking back instantly against those who would seek to harm her. In either style she is capable of handling multiple attackers.

As Chosen of Battle, Eight-Ways is also familiar with the arts of war, and knows multiple patterns in which troops may be deployed to sap the strength of different supernatural foes. She can see and trap spirits, strike them or drain their power, or cajole them into service for a time. Some of these spirits are particularly good at inserting ideas into a person’s mind, though what they do with these ideas is their own matter.

Supporting Characters

  • Falta Imbeth, a fellow guard that Eight-Ways finds trustworthy. Kindly, secretive, decisive.
  • Yetsanikonti, a local woman who is actually a small god serving the Bureau in deep cover for a past misdeed. Overbearing, compassionate, mysterious.
  • Fastidious Pen, Eight-Ways’ supervisor in the Bureau of Destiny. Courteous, efficient, overwhelmed.

Questions

  • What will Eight-Ways Ready do if she discovers Multaniko‘s presence?
  • Is Eight-Ways Ready of the Bronze Faction, or the Gold Faction?
  • Is Eight-Ways Ready on this mission as a rest from her other work, or as punishment?

Multaniko, Chosen of the Moon

Background

The Silver Pact takes different approaches in different directions. In the North they are vicious and brutal, waging open warfare on the frozen plains. On the Blessed Isle they are circumspect – they run often, and hide constantly. In the South, they seek connection and fellowship and use it to their advantage against the Realm. Multaniko is an exemplar of this approach.

Many years ago, when he was young, Multani’s mentor Shikareth founded the desert cavalry. She set them, not against the Realm, but against creatures of darkness, for the desert of the South contained many secret pathways to a desert infinitely larger, and the city of horrors beyond it. Shikareth then left to continue her work elsewhere, bringing Multani with her. He and she eventually parted, as is proper for teacher and student to do, but he bore a great respect for her in his heart for dozens of years afterward.

More recently, Shikareth died in battle, slain by the hated Scum of Heaven. The leaders of the southern Silver Pact asked Multani to check in on her mounted warriors, left for so long to their own devices, while they sought for her reincarnation. He agreed.

Multaniko was stunned to discover that his mentor’s distant descendant Shafallika, now Lady of the nomads and Master of the cavalry, had made a bargain with forces from beyond Creation. This charismatic, invincible warrior had forged the nomad clans into a fearsome army… but at what cost? Bound by honor and morbid fascination, Multani insinuated himself into her war-camp, and worked his way quickly up to become her trusted advisor. It was he, informed by sources within the Silver Pact, who brought her the news of Red Jade Canyon’s infestation.

Now he travels with her as she and her cavalry ride, and tries to see into her heart. How far will she take this army? How strong a hold do the Fair Folk have on her? What has hardened her heart so, that she turns from mercy so often? Were she a fellow member of the Silver Pact, Multani might find this mindset inspiring. In a mortal, and one to whom he feels like an uncle, he find it worrisome. He has put his mind to the puzzle of The Thousand Tales of Shafallika, hoping to eke out the truth, and worries that he might be too late.

Appearance

Multaniko 500

In his natural form, Multani’s skin is an umber brown. His eyes and hair are black. His beard is kept trimmed short and neat. Naturally, as a shapeshifter, Multani can take on many appearances, but he wears his true form among the desert nomads. Nearly everyone mistakes the numerous black scales on the back of his head for short-cut hair.

Demeanor

When he’s in his element, Multaniko is the extrovert’s extrovert. He’s friendly, jovial, and so smoothly manipulative that people don’t even realize he’s done anything until he’s gone – and often not even then. He’s also a perfect infiltrator – Shikareth used to tell say that whereas most Lunars changed their bodies, Multani changed his mind. She warned him not to change his heart the same way, and he listened… for the most part.

Multaniko came here hoping to find an ally against the Realm in their time of weakness. Now that he has one, he genuinely doesn’t know what he should do. He’s more withdrawn than he’s ever been. As Shafallika’s advisor, he constantly counsels caution – gather more information, wait for someone else to make a move. He’s talking at least half to himself.

Intimacies: “Be at the center of things” (Defining), “My mentor’s legacy” (Major), “The Silver Pact” (Positive), “The Scum of Heaven” (Negative), “A little lie never hurt anyone”, and see “Abilities” below.

Abilities

Multani is a charismatic and shrewd individual, with over a hundred years of practice blending into every society in the South. He’s a smooth-voiced fast-talker with a real dedication to the cause of the Silver Pact. Multani’s skill with people extends to animals as well, and he’s yet to find one that he can’t convince to bear him as a rider.

As a Changing-Moon Lunar, Multani’s essence is perfectly suited to missions of infiltration, stealth, and adaptation. His eyes are sharp, and he can feel vibrations in the ground through his sensitive feet. He can see through the eyes of animals, and speak to many of them as well, through gentle noises, gestures, and eye contact. He has a dozen or more desert-adapted forms, as well as some more common on the South’s shoreline. Multani’s shapeshifting talent has also been turned inward, allowing him to take on an Intimacy appropriate to whatever role he’s performing.

Multaniko’s totem is a desert lizard. He is capable of taking on a war form, but rarely does so, preferring to stay out of combat and let others fight. He’s best after a fight, where his understanding of bodies and minds allows him to heal wounds and help his allies recover spent energies. If cornered, he transforms and flies, runs, or burrows for freedom.

Supporting Characters

  • Flora Softwing, the Silver Pact scout who learned of the demons. Perceptive, shrewd, distractible.
  • Waiid Tenstone, the servant assigned to Multani in Lady Shafallika’s camp. Large, intimidating, friendly.
  • Bey Denscraith, a fellow advisor that Multani has befriended. Frustrated, emotional, considerate.

Questions

  • What will Multaniko do if he finds out that Eight-Ways Ready is here?
  • Is Multaniko ready to kill Lady Shafallika if she becomes possessed by the Fair Folk? Is he capable of it?