A Shield and Manse of Mirrors

Want to share your artifacts and evocations, show them off here

Moderator: Epiphany

Post Reply
User avatar
Sunder the Gold
Posts: 91
Joined: Sun May 23, 2021 11:12 pm
Has thanked: 18 times
Been thanked: 35 times

So, I wanted to create a moonsilver Artifact, and I think I ended up creating a starmetal one instead. A very Sidereal weapon for a Chosen of Battles who really wants to live up to the sobriquet of "Shieldbearer".

This isn't complete, so please give me your opinions.


THE MIRROR SHIELD



When I starting thinking of where to go with my initial concept, I remembered this scene of the Dark Souls II trailer... where I misinterpreted what was going on. I thought the player was trapped in the shield's reflection by that slamming attack and then the player character was fighting to get free. Still valid for an Evocation concept, though. But to start, I figured that taking some inspiration from Legend of Zelda's mirror shield was a good idea.

Why do I think my final product is starmetal? Well, "it looks like top-quality steel, with an unusually reflective and polished surface", according to the corebook, whereas moonsilver is described as "a silvery metal, harder than steel in its unworked state, with a liquid, quicksilver sheen when viewed in dim light."

Moreover, the very conceptual theme of "reflections" fits with the themes described for starmetal, with none of the wild, protean, and very physical effects attributed to moonsilver magic.

If you have different opinions, please explain.


Evocations of the Mirror Shield
Whoever attunes to the Mirror Shield gains Foiling Reflection at no cost.


FOILING REFLECTION - The life-like clarity of the image reflected by the Mirror Shield draws an attacker's focus away from the movements of the shield's owner.

?m; Reflexive, Instant; No Keywords; Essence 1 – No Prerequisites

Against an enemy at close range, impose a -1 penalty on any action taken against the user. When attempting to Disengage from multiple opponents, [this Evocation may be activated for each individual / only one may be penalized in this fashion?].

The penalty is increased by an amount equal to the Resolve penalty of any Intimacy the target bears towards her own personal appearance. It doesn't matter if those feelings are positive or negative – if positive, the attacker is distracted by looking into her reflection, and if negative, the attacker is hindered by looking away from the mirror entirely.

Alternatively, whenever the sun (or any light source at least as bright) is above or before the owner, he may angle the Mirror Shield to reflect that light into the eyes of any single opponent, imposing a -3 penalty (as per the Blindless Flaw) to any sight-based action when facing the user's general direction, as well as a -1 penalty to Defense against attacks from that direction. Targeting an opponent at Close range is entirely reflexive, so multiple enemies at that range may be freely hindered in a single tick. An enemy at Short range can only be targeted with a miscellaneous action and ceases to be affected once the target is changed or if the user fails to use another miscellaneous action on her next turn. Targeting an enemy out to Medium range requires an Aim action before the first miscellaneous action.

Instead of the reflexive or miscellaneous action, the user can make a (Dexterity + Thrown or Archery) Decisive attack with a difficulty 3 Gambit. This represents using attention-grabbing glints and flashes to lure the target into looking directly at the Mirror Shield for a precisely-timed beam of blazing light. This blinds him more thoroughly, stealing away his sight until he spends a turn rubbing his watering eyes with a miscellaneous action which cannot be placed in a flurry.

Spoiler
Lots of little situation-dependent effects which can be really potent, but only in the right circumstances or against the right opponents. Not a bad start, especially with a minor benefit that works all of the time against anyone. Not sure about how to use that minor effect for Disengagements, though.

Moving on, I added a little bit of magical mirrors from other stories.



RECALLING REFLECTION - The Mirror Shield can recall any scene that it has reflected before, allowing others to view (but not hear) the events of the past one more.

No Cost; Permanent; No Keywords; Essence 2 – Foiling Reflection

This Evocation may be used at any time, but cancels and prevents any use of Foiling Reflection while it is in effect.

As always, the images reflected in the mirror are so life-like that showing anyone the subject of a fear or phobia will provoke their terror as though it were really present. Using the sight of a loved one's last, bloody moments has also proven effective at inspiring one's opponents into foolish actions. There are really as many applications of this Evocation as a player can imagine and their Storyteller permit.

Mastering this Evocation also allows the master of the Mirror Shield to use the blinding light techniques of the Foiling Reflection Evocation, even without any external source of light to reflect.

Spoiler
"Cool!" I think to myself. More tiny little situation-dependent powers which can be memorable and super-useful, but nothing too powerful on its own. And I loved how I was able to "unlock" the blinding techniques.

Now, someone once wrote up the Purifying Mirror shield weapon from Okami for me, back on the official boards, and I was constantly double-checking it to see if there was anything I wanted to add. Now seemed like an excellent place to use it! Of course, it's another trick from Link's Mirror Shield as well.



REFLECTING HOSTILITY

Special Cost (+1wp); Reflexive, Instant; Counterattack; Essence 3 – Recalled Reflection

As a Counterattack effect following a successful parry Defense, the Mirror Shield can absorb and immediately return a projectile attack to the original attacker, at the same range, with the same number of successes, and all the same effects.

The master cannot copy the effect of a Charm whose minimum Essence exceeds the master's Essence rating, and must pay the mote costs (but only the mote costs) of every separate Charm or effect he wishes to copy.

Additionally, the shield's master may attempt to direct the counterattack at an enemy other than the one who originally attacked her, as long as her chosen target is within the maximum range of the original attack and in the same general direction as the original attacker. Doing this requires the shield's master to pay a point of Willpower and succeed on a reflexive (Dexterity + Melee) roll with a difficulty of 2 (for someone at close range), 3 (for someone at medium range), 4 (for someone at long range), or 5 (for someone at extreme range). For each additional extreme range band, increase the difficulty by 1.

Spoiler
Originally, the cost was a flat 5 motes, but then I questioned if being able to hurl a Total Annihilation-type attack back at the sender with just five motes was appropriate. Thoughts?

Also, should this Evocation only work against Decisive attacks?



MIRROR REFUGE

?m; Reflexive, Indefinite; No Keywords; Essence 3 – Reflecting Hostility

The master of the Mirror Shield may permit another person to touch their own reflection and then fall into it. Characters may willingly perform Take Cover actions to enter the shield as passengers, allowing the shield's master to protect them more thoroughly and easily than even a Defend Other action would allow.

The master may also use a Take Cover action to hide within the shield, but cannot take the shield inside itself; she must leave it behind in the real world to serve as her exit point. But an artifact shield alone can survive circumstances unscathed where its master would have perished where he stood.

Passengers can see and be seen by the outside world, but cannot hear or by heard by it. They may leave the mirror-world on their next turn with a Move action, or be ejected from it at any time by the shield's master. If a character starts combat within the shield and emerges with the intent to fight, she rolls Join Battle in that moment.

Inside the shield, immaterial beings become material. [Other details about the world, such as how many range-bands large it is, and what it looks like.]

While this Evocation is in effect, Foiling Reflection and Recalled Reflection cannot be used (as the mirror refuses to display anything but the images of its passengers), and the effects of Reflecting Hostility are changed. Any attack absorbed with Reflecting Hostility would be applied anew against a character hiding inside as if they were the original target. If the attack would only affect one target, or at least fewer targets than are trapped within the Mirror Shield, the Storyteller chooses who suffers the attack. Passengers defend themselves as normal, and may even protect other passengers with Defend Other actions.

Spoiler
Having decided to include the "return to sender" Evocation, I now had the perfect place to put "trap someone in the mirror!" Because I rejected the idea of the mirror shield projecting hologram copies of your enemies for the momentary purpose of repeating their Close-range attacks against them.

But then the "trap someone in a mirror" Evocation started gaining too many secondary effects, so I split it in two and this effect came first!



MIRROR PRISON
5m; Reflexive, Indefinite; Decisive-only; Essence 3 – Mirror Refuge

As a Counterattack effect following a successful parry Defense against a physical attack at Close range, the user can make a (Dexerity + Melee) Decisive attack with a grappling Gambit. Alternatively, the shield's master may use this Evocation's gambit after a successful Slamming Decisive attack that replaces the Initiative damage roll with a grappling Gambit roll.

Succeeding at the gambit means that the attacker enters the Mirror Shield. As this happens, the shield's master makes a (Dexterity + Melee + Essence) control roll. Even if he only achieves one success on the roll, he may choose to Restrain the attacker until the beginning of his next turn. An opponent Restrained by this Evocation imposes none of the usual grappling-related penalties or restrictions upon the shield's master. The shield's master may reflexively Release or Throw them at any time before the clinch ends. Savaging actions are not possible.

Prisoners can become willing passengers after the duration of the clinch against them has expired. Nothing prevents prisoners from attacking passengers, or vice versa, save for the master's ability to eject passengers.

Spoiler
Finally, the effect I originally had in mind.



MIRROR MAZE

No Cost; Permanent; No Keywords; Essence 4/5 – Mirror Prison

This Evocation allows the shield's master to manipulate the reflected world inside the mirror, enabling him to:
  • use Reflecting Hostility normally, and use Foiling Reflection and Recalled Reflection at all, even if there is someone inside the shield; the image of them disappears from the mirror's reflection while these Evocations are in use
  • choose which of multiple characters inside the shield are affected by an attack absorbed with Reflecting Hostility, without Storyteller input, allowing the shield's master to kill or spare whomever he desires
  • reflexively and indefinitely separate any prisoner from any other prisoners, denying them the ability to communicate, cooperate, or defend each other; separated prisoners may instantly be reunited to suffer an attack together
Spoiler
This is just because I wanted to push the concept as high as it could go.



The last effect needs more timing limitations, I think.


Even before I started thinking about whether or not this shield was actually made with starmetal instead of moonsilver, I was already considering the example of Volcano Cutter. I LOVE the idea of a manse completely dedicated to empowering a singular artifact, with its own attendant spirit to function as a Lady of the Lake who retrieves the artifact once the master dies and waits for the next master to appear to claim it.

So, a mirror manse! A labyrinth of mirrors and reflections that serves to expand upon the mirror-world within the Mirror Shield, allowing the shield's master to travel across Creation by falling into the shield and walking out the manse's gates. Also a place where he could imprison his enemies more permanently.

As a starmetal weapon, naturally the manse would be a Sidereal-aspected manse, perhaps constructed in the safety of Yu-Shan.

The manse would have various functions: Just like the Mirror Shield, it can recall anything reflected in its mirror-surfaces, so it functions like a visual archive -- any book or painting or dance is captured in its memory and can be replayed at any time. But it can also serve as a prison, not only trapping people within reflections, but within its funhouse maze of mirror-walls. Beyond that, the mirror-maze-manse might have abilities relating to concealment from the outside world, increasing its safety as a refuge and security as a prison or archive of secrets.


The spirit of the manse would have no automatic loyalty to any master, being created only to serve the Mirror Manse and the Mirror Shield. But the spirit is amenable to forming mutually beneficial relationships with masters of the shield, allowing you to gain the spirit as an Ally who can be persuaded to lend his tricksy Charms to your cause.

Notably, the spirit may travel through any mirror or reflective surface to Hurry Home not only to the manse, but also to the Mirror Shield, and it may also take the shield's master and his allies with him when he retreats. More subtly, the spirit may simply spy upon events through reflections, using its Measure the Wind Charm against anyone caught in the Shield's reflection. The spirit can also share visions with the Mirror Shield that it hasn't actually reflected.

The spirit has few to no direct combat Charms, except for the ability to summon forth mirror-copies of others to fight in its stead, paying for their Charms from its own mote-pools.

Alternatively or additionally, that could itself be an Evocation the shield's master can learn, especially when someone is already trapped inside the Shield or the Manse.

Tags:
User avatar
Sunder the Gold
Posts: 91
Joined: Sun May 23, 2021 11:12 pm
Has thanked: 18 times
Been thanked: 35 times

Obviously I really wanted to make a moonsilver weapon, but I'm really happy with how damn QUIRKY this shield is and how that expresses starmetal and Sidereals.

Right at the start, the shield isn't actually any better at being a shield, though its tricks are very helpful for defending you regardless. What's more, reflecting blinding light into someone's eyes allows you to metaphorically shield someone else from a distance without a Defend Other action, by blinding someone who is trying to attack someone you want to protect. Very removed and supportive, very Sidereal, very Shieldbearer.

The next Evocation still doesn't do anything to directly help you with defending yourself or others. But it's very good for presenting a legal defense by showing how events REALLY happened, or protecting you from enemies who have crippling phobias for creatures you know about and have reflected. Also, it unlocks the blinding light techniques in a way similar to how Inuyasha was able to unlock the Tessaiga's "Scar of the Wind" wind attack, allowing you to use it whenever and wherever you liked, but according to a reason that made sense.

The third Evocation speaks for itself. What self-respecting Mirror Shield wouldn't let you reflect attacks?

The fourth Evocation is a very Sidereal solution to Take Cover and Defend Other actions -- you or the person you want to protect simply aren't physically present in the area anymore. This comes with its own set of problems, such as your ward being unable to see anything you don't reflect, unable to hear anything at all, and unable to contribute to the fight, but then they're probably only using it if they have no business fighting at all.

Plus, what's more Sidereal than "Surprise! You thought I came alone, but my shield is actually a clown car!"

The shield's grappling Evocation is fairly worthless for harming an enemy, but sometimes you just need to quickly REMOVE one threat from a fight to make the battle easier; by the time your prisoner emerges, you might have successfully killed or driven off his ally.

Plus, if you use the shield to trap an immaterial spirit, everything's material in the shield. You might have allies waiting inside to beat it up, or your allies might pour into the shield to inflict violence.

Alternatively, there's how you can use Reflecting Hostility to turn Mirror Prison into a death trap; "stop hitting your buddy, stop hitting your buddy, lol!"


My efforts sort of break down in regards to activation-costs, whether Foiling Reflection should only work against one opponent to a Disengage, should there be a limit to how many people you can contain in the mirror, should Reflecting Hostility have clauses for dealing with sustained attacks or environmental hazards, should Reflecting Hostility only work against Decisive attacks...?

And there's the ambiguity of how much the shield and the manse should be interconnected. Should the shield have its own mirror-realm, or should it transport you into the manse's mirror-realm?


Another nice thing is that this artifact doesn't NEED a related manse or spirit. If you want to trim it down (or only buy into the artifact without seeking out the manse or forming an alliance with its spirit), you can. But the concept can also keep growing, at least a bit farther.
Post Reply