The Scepter of Danaa'ds Authority
Scepter of Danaa’d’s Authority
The origin of this peculiar black jade baton is shrouded in mystery. The Immaculate Order claims it was made from jade that Danaa’d herself recovered from the ocean floor, and blessed to be used by her Water Aspected brothers and sisters, signifying her authority over the creatures of the sea. It bears the nickname “Ocean-Goad” for its mastery over the sea, and it may be that the artifact is far older than the Shogunate. What is certain is that gods and spirits of the sea respect the Scepter, seeing it as a symbol of authority over their kind.
The Scepter of Danaad’s Authority is a light artifact weapon with the Smashing tag; it may be used with the Melee Ability. As a weapon, it is relatively unremarkable, but the power over the ocean that imbues it makes it formidable in the hands of a seagoing captain, enterprising merchant, or priest of the ocean – so long as that wielder can earn the powerful Evocations locked in its unassuming form.
Siaka’s Harsh Lesson
Cost: 1m; Mins: Essence 1;
Like a master’s whip, the Scepter cracks down on those who disobey the ocean. Against anyone who carries a positive Intimacy tied to any body of water – a river, an ocean, a lake, and so forth, the wielder may invoke Siaka’s Harsh Lesson. When striking such a target with a withering or decisive attack, the target suffers the Intimacy’s rating in extra dice of raw damage. If the target is a god or spirit tied to the body of water, Siaka’s Harsh Lesson adds the Intimacy’s rating in successes, instead.
Those who travel the ocean are also subject to its authority, albeit indirectly. Anyone with an Intimacy towards a ship or other seagoing vessel, such as the Denzik City-Ship, or a city or nation with strong ties to the sea, such as Wu-Jian, is also subject to Siaka’s Harsh Lesson, though they suffer one less die or success of damage. If they only have a Minor Intimacy, they are immune.
Finally, for purpose of Siaka’s Harsh Lesson, all creatures of the sea count as having a Defining Intimacy toward their habitat, such that the Scepter can punish even the mightiest monsters of the ocean.
Goading the Ocean
Cost: 5m; Mins: Essence 1;
The Scepter goads the ocean like an oxen, calling it to pull the master’s ship. Raising the scepter aloft, the wielder calls for the gods and elementals of the ocean to pull him forwards. So long as the wielder stands on deck and is pointing the Scepter in the direction he wishes to go, the vessel may sail against the wind and against any currents. The ship is treated as having a favorable current rated at +3, in the direction the wielder is pointing. The wielder cannot direct the wind, only the ocean, so if sailing against the wind it is usually helpful to take down the sails, as they will only slow the ship down.
If the wielder leaves the deck, or uses the scepter for anything other than directing the current, this Evocation immediately ends.
Battered Cork Retreats
Cost: 6m; Mins: Essence 1;
Whenever the wielder of the Scepter successfully parries an attack with the weapon, he may activate this Charm to take a reflexive Disengage action, adding (Essence) non-charm dice. As the opponent strikes him, waves of water appear around the wielder’s feet, and he safely surfs backwards on them to safety using the momentum of the attack.
If the wielder of the Scepter attacks the same target he just disengaged from on his next action, he enjoys (Essence) extra dice to his attack, as the waves carry him back towards the target with great speed. Like a cork bouncing up from water, he strikes with the opponent’s momentum.
If the wielder already has water at least up to his ankles, this Evocation costs four motes. If he is swimming, it costs two. The wielder may also reduce the cost to four motes by invoking an appropriate stunt, such as describing how the surf from the ocean splashes over a ship’s deck, briefly catching him and carrying him away.
Palanquin of Currents
Cost: 3m; Mins: Essence 2;
Duration: One scene
Prerequisites: Battered Cork Retreats, Goading the Ocean
The wielder of the Scepter may travel borne aloft by a palanquin of currents. Though he cannot actually walk on water, anything that floats – no matter how small or unbalanced – becomes a perfect vessel for the Scepter’s master. A tiny raft carrying him and his Circlemates is acceptable, as is a simple board or something as humble as a bucket. If the item could float on its own, and fit at least one of the wielder’s feet, it will carry him. Canny wielders of the Scepter have even used their own boots, as they technically qualify as “vessels” for purpose of this Evocation.
The wielder will never lose his balance while standing on an item carried by the Palanquin of Currents. It counts as a ship for purposes of Sail Charms or other Evocations, such as Goading the Ocean. He can additionally make Rush and Disengage actions across bodies of water, but he must have something suitable to stand on.
At the end of the Evocation’s duration, the wielder may reflexively reactivate it to stay afloat. He can keep “sailing” until he becomes unable to maintain this Evocation, such as by falling asleep.
Ocean Dragon Dictum
Cost: 3m; Mins: Essence 2;
Prerequisites: Siaka’s Harsh Lesson
All under Heaven have their duties, and all creatures of the ocean have their role. This Evocation reminds Danaa’d’s subjects of their place in the order of things. To use this Evocation, the wielder must brandish the Scepter of Danaa’d’s Authority and point it at a creature within comfortable speaking distance. This Evocation supplements a persuade attempt, which must draw upon an Intimacy that could be targeted by Siaka’s Harsh Lesson. The wielder might remind a creature of its duty, its affection to the sea, or its patriotism for a coastal nation, but it must be an Intimacy that could reasonably apply to the order issued.
Firstly, the persuade attempt gains bonus dice equal to the Intimacy rating (in addition to the Intimacy lowering Resolve, as usual). Second, however, any creature who attempts to spend Willpower to resist the wielder’s command immediately takes damage as if struck with Siaka’s Harsh Lesson for 0 base damage – that is, a number of dice equal to the Intimacy’s rating, or if the target is a spirit, an equal number of successes. This damage is always bashing damage. In mortals, it manifests as a brief sensation of drowning, before the target violently spits up seawater. In any case, the target has a few moments to change their mind before the damage manifests.
The damage dealt by Ocean Dragon Dictum counts as environmental damage, and so is subject to the same rules. For example, a Solar who knows Diamond-Body Prana could simply activate it to swallow the seawater, foiling this Evocation.
Rebellious Straits Corrected
Cost: 10m; Mins: Essence 3;
Prerequisites: Siaka’s Harsh Lesson, Palanquin of Currents
If the ocean dares disobey one who has mastered the Scepter of Danaa’d’s Authority, it will soon regret it. This Evocation is not used lightly, for it angers the elemental courts, and only those with the authority of a Solar Exalt could safely use it without fear of repercussion. The commander of the Scepter issues an order to a battle group or other unit of people he commands (which may be as few as his own Circlemates, so long as they would qualify for a battle group of at least Size 1) to symbolically demonstrate his authority over the sea by castigating it. The commanded troops may whip the water, throw chains into it, strike it with their fists or curse and scream at it – anything that visibly and violently demonstrates the master’s displeasure will do.
Any gods or elementals responsible for the body of water affected suffer pain, and hear the shouting of the soldiers in their ears. For each day of castigation, they suffer damage as if struck by Siaka’s Harsh Lesson with raw decisive damage equal to the Size of the battle group (taking extra damage from the Evocation), which they cannot heal until the castigation stops. In addition, each automatically gains a Minor Intimacy of fear and respect of the Scepter’s wielder, and the wielder may speak to them directly via the affected body of water, exploiting this Intimacy or strengthening it further. If they suffer any Wound Penalties due to castigation, they suffer an additional -1 penalty to Resolve and Guile, distracted by the barrage of punishment.