The Fists of Hellshai

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2Hands
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Hello, new to the Forum and a new Player for Exalted, nice to meet you all!

I wanted to creat oversized fists for brawling, inspired by the look of Warring Kingdoms VI from the League of Legends video game. What instantly formed in my head was some story of an ever hungry beast wich power grows, the longer a fight goes on. Probally heavily influenced by the chaining of Fenrir and punishment of Atlas. I also find Physics and Astrophysics (while not insanely knowledgeable on the field) very cool and build with the headcanon of binding some magical mini black holes to your fists. That leads to evocations and abilitys centering around gravity, time and space. I really like the idea of putting the Evocations in respective "trees" somewhat like Charms. Lastly it should be said I only played one weekend of Exalted. Starting right now with 3e and a group of people who also never played the System. We are familiar with WoD and now all very hyped for Exalted. ^^ What I really would love is some advice on the numbers and if I'm building everything correct, with the right Keywords etc. Having no real experience with the balance of the game. The Artefact is a WiP I will probally create more Evocations if i get a better understanding of the game and corresponding to how the story of the game playes out.

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The Fists of Hellshai

The Solar pacified Creation and created incredible miracles to do so. They mastered challenges that seemed impossible, formed alliances and brought Creation a golden age, the First Age. One of those challenges was a holdover from the time before the Exalted, a mighty beast. Imprisioned maybe from the Gods or some long forgotten power in a unfindable cave, hidden in the shade of a lonely tree. Only once a month in the shadow of the fullmoon the entrance to the cave appeared. So the Beast waited and whispered every fullmoon, to hopefully lure someone in. On one of those night‘s under the Moons brightest light, a Solar found the entrance and followed the bait. He explored the cave to never be seen again. A group of Solars who knew of him, investigated the disappearance of their companion and found the prisoned Beast. Its cage had been forgotten for too long and it wouldn't take many mooncylces before he would brake once and for all.
To powerful to be destroyed the Solar decided to bind the Beast with it‘s own power. They fought and forged at the same time. They formed Orichalcum with the quiver and roar of battle into the form of giant fists. Each time the Beast expended itself more, it gave the artifact more of its power. However, at some point the power of the Beast threatened too much and so the last resort was a Solar who tied himself to the fists. His essence was forged into the weapon like that of the Beast, the "Fists of Hellshai" were created. With the fists the Solar wrestled the Beast down and chained it, at the deepest point of the cave, to the heaviest thing around, the weight of Creation itself. Ever since then there has always been a Solar who tied himself to the fists and made sure the chains stayed tight….
Since the First Age a long time has passed for the beast to writhe, tremble and brace against the chains. And so Creation needs Exalts again, who fullfill the duty of the beasts jailer, more than ever before.

Systems:
Attunment: 5m; Hearthstone slot(s): 2
Era: The First Age
Type: Light (+5 Acc, +10 DMG, +0 Def, OVW 3)
Tags: Bashing, Brawl, Grappling, Smashing, Worn

In order to use the fists properly, a minimum strength of 3 is required, even if attuned. Once attuned the Fists of Hellshai still „feel“ lighter then they are. The essence of the Beast hungers for power and only respects the mighty, while the essence of the Solar only accepts thoose who understand the Duty the Fists represent.

[Forged from Destiny, Bound by Duty]
The spectral chains that bind the Beast are connected to the Fists of Hellshai's at all times. Once attuned, the Exalt must use the Fists of Hellshai in a ritual, to tigthen the Beasts "spectral" chains once a month on full moon. If the Exalt ignores this, the fists minimum Strength requirement increases by 1 until the ritual is performed.


[Severity of eternal Hunger]
When the Exalt channels his might, he draws the beast's full attention, lusting after his power, it strengthens the Fists of Hellshai. As soon as the Exalt power unfolds and his anima banner reaches glowing, the Severity value of the fists increases by +1 for each Combat Action. This is possible up to a maximum Severity value of Essence x Strength. The Severity value affects some values of the fists and some of their evocations, this is described in the table below and within the respective evocations. The artifact remains active in this state until the Exalt's anima banner falls back to dim.


[Pressure Overwelming]
Once awakened, the Exalt's enemies suffer the extreme pressure of the Fists of Hellshai. Enemies in close range lose initiative at the beginning of the Exalt's turn as shown in the table below.


Image

Core Evocations:

>Gravity Tree<
[Drag to Combat Technique]
Cost: 5m; Mins: Essence 1; Type: Simple; Keywords: Perilous; Duration: Instant; Prerequisites: None
The Exalt raises a fist above his head, channeling the beast's hunger into a power-consuming draft. Make a Withering attack roll, all enemies hit in short range, are pulled to the Exalt by one range band. At Severity value 11+ all enemies hit in close range, fall prone. This attack deals no damage.

Essence 3: The Exalt raises both fists, the ranges increase by one range band.

[Creation Gong-Slam Attitude]
Cost 6m, 1wp; Mins: Athletics 4, Essence 2; Type: Reflexive; Keywords: Perilous, Decisive-only; Duration: Instant; Prerequisites: Drag to Combat Technique
The Exalt brings the full weight of the fists against creation, she hits the ground with lightning speed. The impact vibrates through the ground with incredible force, creating a wave of solid soil. Everything in close range to the Exalt, except himself, is catapulted into the air. This is a special decisive attack, the rolled damage is dealt to no target. Instead, affected targets are knocked up by one range band for every 3 successes. The game master reserves the right to determine the effects of the attack on structures and the environment.

Essence 3: The Exalt smashes both fists on the ground, gain 2 bonus dice on the damage roll, targets can also be affected and knocked up in short range.
Special Activation: Creation Gong-Slam Attitude can only be activated in the same tick as Drag on Combat Technique.

>Time Tree<
[Defense of Weighted Time]
Cost: 2m, 2i; Mins: Ressictance 3, Essence 1; Type: Reflexive; Keywords: Decisive-only; Duration: One Tick; Prerequisites: None
The Exalt momentarily slows his own timeflow, largely avoiding damage. Gain hardness equal to half the Severity value rounded up or 5, whichever is higher.

[Time fleeing Exercise]
Cost: 3m, 1wp; Mins: Essence 3; Type: Simple; Keywords: None; Duration: Instant; Prerequisites: None
Pulling through the flow of time the Exalt unleashes more of the fists potential. The Exalt increases the Severity value by strength, but not higher than the maximum value. This Evocation can be used once per day, whenever the Exalt succeeds in a Stunt 3 involving the fists, he can use the evocation again.


>Space Tree<
[Shakled on Creation Method]
Cost: 3m; Mins: Brawl 4, Essence 1; Type: Suplemental; Keywords: Dual, Stackable; Duration: One Day; Prerequisites: The Exalted already performed [Forged from destiny, Bound by Duty] once
The power of the fists chains the essence of a being touched by the fists to Creation. The being cannot move more than close range from the point at which it was chained, without breaking the chains. To break free the being needs to roll Strength + Athletics (Difficulty = Essence Rating of the Exalt), this happens on any of its movement actions to change range band. For all strength rolls, except damage rolls, of the chained being dice results of 1 negate a success. For each additional chain attached to the being the difficulty to break free rises by 1. Forced movement against the chained being, of at least 1 range band, breaks all chains automatically.

The effects of Shakled on Creation Method can be caused by withering attacks, decisive attacks, and gambits that involve the Fists of Hellshai.


-- Space for more to come! --

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Last edited by 2Hands on Sun Mar 06, 2022 11:30 pm, edited 14 times in total.

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AutXAutY
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The chart has a column for decisive overwhelming, but never explains what that is, and overwhelming doesn't apply to decisive attacks by default.

If someone focuses on severity, they can get to 9 pretty much immediately - 1wp for +5, base 3, 1 turn. And 11 2 turns after that. That gives them a 2i drain on all enemies, which is pretty scare if the wielder has high soak, and Overwhelming 11, which is absurdly high.
OTOH, if you don't spend the 1wp, it would take 8 turns to get that high
I might remove the option to increase Severity by Str. At that point for most of a fight it's OVW 3-8, and drain 1i/round, which seems like a reasonable if fairly strong attunement bonus, with a fun boost if the fight goes for 8 rounds.

Drag to Combat Technique - fun, especially combined with the initiative loss aura. I'm generally nervous about effects that do things to hostile people without a roll, so maybe link this to an attack?

Creation Gong-Slam Attitude - Once again, the automatically hitting thing made me nervous, especially because decisive attacks are very much the sort of thing that needs an attack roll. Not dealing damage made that less so, but this isn't actually not dealing damage, this is dealing generally more damage. Rolling 3 successes throws them to short range, and the fall deals 3 levels, 5 dice of damage. 6 Successes becomes 4 Levels, 7 Dice of damage. 9 Successes becomes 5-7 levels , 8-12 dice. Maybe this should be either unblockable or undodgeable, but not both. Also, cost more than 6m - it's making a decisive attack area of effect, and hit more often, and arguably deal more damage though that's a bit complicated

Defense of Weighted Time - This on the other hand seems a bit weak. Severity generally won't go above 16, and <9 hardness will rarely accomplish anything. I guess it can let you get surprise hardness which is pretty good, especially since it lasts one tick so can totally cancel a multi-attack . So, maybe not weak - very strong for a certain use case, but not useful outside that use.
Five Fathoms Fall
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Forums somehow ate my post. This one'll be terse. AutXAutY said good things I won't repeat.

I really don't like the fridged Lunars. I also don't like that only a Solar can properly suppress the beast. It pushes others down instead of raising Solars up. Other than that, I like the idea of having a sealed-monster weapon where the seal-part is the useful bit, not the sealed-part.

Severity scales too hard, multiplying is probably the wrong approach. Ten OVW is absurdly high. Anything above that is just utterly ignoring Soak. It'll also fill too slowly unless WP is burnt.

Drag to Combat needs a roll. Doubly so once it starts proning people. Proning can't be done unopposed.
Evocations generally don't have Ability requirements, but including them won't hurt anything.

Gong-Slam is mega-busted. Even with just one target, it's an auto-hit decisive with bonus damage. Against multiple foes, it's just insane. It needs to require a roll, not bypass normal damage methods, and needs a damage divisor. Probably also merits a WP cost as an AOE.

Weighted Time is pretty useless until E3+ at which point it becomes potentially very good but still not that hot. Large surprise hardness is bonkers, repeatable large surprise hardness doubly so. But small hardness doesn't matter.
It also feels out of theme, being a defensive time thing on an artifact otherwise about power and exercising force. Feels like the beast's evocation, not the artifact's.

Shakled has too much synergy with Smashing and too much action economy to be a rider on other attacks. Should be a gambit, or weaker.
Also very vague as to what rolls the antisux 1s apply to.
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2Hands
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First and foremost, thanks for your help and the quick replys! So exited to dive into Exalted and having an activ Forum is a belssing. I'm really greatfull for the help on balancing and forging this artifact.

On to the topic:
AutXAutY wrote: Fri Feb 11, 2022 12:05 am The chart has a column for decisive overwhelming, but never explains what that is, and overwhelming doesn't apply to decisive attacks by default.
Yeah my GM already questioned me about it. I think I missunderstood because of something I read on reddit, maybe homebrew rules? I guess it would be better to just get +1/+2/+3 dice to your decisive Dmg since hardness works different from Soaking.
AutXAutY wrote: Fri Feb 11, 2022 12:05 am If someone focuses on severity, they can get to 9 pretty much immediately (...) And 11 2 turns after that. That gives them a 2i drain on all enemies (...)
Could be I missjuged this, because I look through the eyes of a new Character, who has some time before he can get such a "payoff".  But it also is an effect you can only achive with essence 3. For me it felt comparable to what for example Gorgon does.
AutXAutY wrote: Fri Feb 11, 2022 12:05 am (...) Overwhelming 11, which is absurdly high (...)
After my GM told me some soak values from some enemys I agree. How do you feel about Severity/2 +1 for the OVW. That would bring the maximum OVW to 14, only achievable by an essence 5 Character after he spend atleast 8 turns in combat, assuming he used the WP (more to that below) ability 2 times.
AutXAutY wrote: Fri Feb 11, 2022 12:05 am I might remove the option to increase Severity by Str. (...)
Now that I think about it, there is no reason the WP effect needs to be an artifact innate ability. I guess it woul fit far better as a simple evocation in the time tree, with an once per day limit and stunt 3 reset. That gives you a way to get there more often, but also encourages to save it for the big battle or an intense moment.
AutXAutY wrote: Fri Feb 11, 2022 12:05 am Drag to Combat Technique (...) so, maybe link this to an attack?
Seems fair! I first tought how do you "dodge or parry" beeing pulled by gravitation, but actually you could ram your weapon in the ground (parry) or get real low to gett a better ressistance (dodge) against the pull and that are just some examples, probally a million more to think of. ^^
AutXAutY wrote: Fri Feb 11, 2022 12:05 am Creation Gong-Slam Attitude (...) Once again, the automatically hitting thing made me nervous (...) should be either unblockable or undodgeable (...) Also, cost more than 6m - it's making a decisive attack area of effect (...)
Yeah unblockable seems logical and WP cost is something all AOE attacks I saw had, no reason to brake with that. Also an decisive AOE attack isn't something one should put into the hands of a essence 1 character, gonna move that to essence 2.
AutXAutY wrote: Fri Feb 11, 2022 12:05 am Defense of Weighted Time (...)
I feel pretty good about it, not the most amazing but it gets there with time... :? Also for the later/higher Evocations I thought about reversing some effects and it somewhat felt like a good starting point. However for an essence 1 character it really does nothing, maybe I could wirte that to (Hardness 4 or half Severity, take the higher value) to get atleast some use out of it early on.
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2Hands
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Five Fathoms Fall wrote: Fri Feb 11, 2022 1:36 am I really don't like the fridged Lunars. I also don't like that only a Solar can properly suppress the beast.
Yeah well about the Lunars, I'm really not a big fan of that myself, you caught me lazy writing here. On the other hand I don't want to make it to long. Maybe there really is no reason the Solars couldn't just find the Cave on their own. I wanted to make something like an introduction to the danger posed by the Beast, saying that doesn't really make it better... now I just redshirt the Lunars. :| I will get back to that part and find something I like a little more, hopefully you do then too. :)

About the Solars, I thought Orichalcum can only be attuned by Solars? If other can do that I wouldn't mind if they were to take on the duty of holding the Chains to the Beast.
Five Fathoms Fall wrote: Fri Feb 11, 2022 1:36 am Severity scales too hard, multiplying is probably the wrong approach. (...) It'll also fill too slowly unless WP is burnt.
The scaling is to good, the achievable value of Severity itself (25 max) I actually like. It's hard to reach your ceiling, but beware when you get there! However transitioning that to 25 OVW... but I had no idea about what soak values will achive in late game. :oops:
2Hands wrote: Fri Feb 11, 2022 12:49 pm How do you feel about Severity/2 +1 for the OVW
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Five Fathoms Fall wrote: Fri Feb 11, 2022 1:36 am Drag to Combat needs a roll. Doubly so once it starts proning people. Proning can't be done unopposed.
Evocations generally don't have Ability requirements, but including them won't hurt anything.
What do you mean with Ability requirements? // I guess you could make a check against the proning to Strength + Athletics difficulty essence.
Five Fathoms Fall wrote: Fri Feb 11, 2022 1:36 am Gong-Slam is mega-busted.
What do you think about the changes I mentioned to AutxAutY?
Five Fathoms Fall wrote: Fri Feb 11, 2022 1:36 am Weighted Time (...) It also feels out of theme, being a defensive time thing on an artifact otherwise about power and exercising force.
Thoughts behind it was about using that power, to bend spacetime and stuff like this. Hence the Severity scaling.
Five Fathoms Fall wrote: Fri Feb 11, 2022 1:36 am Shakled has too much synergy with Smashing and too much action economy to be a rider on other attacks. Should be a gambit, or weaker.
So I actually didn't think about smashing with this, but I feel like it wouldn't be possible. The idea behind the chains is that they build between the being touched and the point in space where the touch happened. Having a certain lenght, the chains allow you to move within close range of this point. Smashing someone a range band away would pull them back and achiev nothing or brake the chains, wich I like more. Thinking about it, since the Chains are magical and formed for the being allone, I like the idea that someone else can just break them for you. For someone else they don't exist after all. So we could clarify forced movement, of at least one range band, brakes all chains automatically.
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2Hands wrote: Fri Feb 11, 2022 12:49 pm Yeah my GM already questioned me about it. I think I missunderstood because of something I read on reddit, maybe homebrew rules? I guess it would be better to just get +1/+2/+3 dice to your decisive Dmg since hardness works different from Soaking.
Could be I missjuged this, because I look through the eyes of a new Character, who has some time before he can get such a "payoff". But it also is an effect you can only achive with essence 3. For me it felt comparable to what for example Gorgon does.
I think you're trying to push too much value into Severity.
Gorgon is a lot slower to turn on, because it requires decisive attacks. It's also only doing one thing. This is doing a lot of things off that one measure of activeness.
2Hands wrote: Fri Feb 11, 2022 12:49 pm After my GM told me some soak values from some enemys I agree. How do you feel about Severity/2 +1 for the OVW. That would bring the maximum OVW to 14, only achievable by an essence 5 Character after he spend atleast 8 turns in combat, assuming he used the WP (more to that below) ability 2 times.
At that sort of OVW, you're really just adding damage. I think any OVW above 10 is excessive.
2Hands wrote: Fri Feb 11, 2022 12:49 pm Yeah unblockable seems logical and WP cost is something all AOE attacks I saw had, no reason to brake with that. Also an decisive AOE attack isn't something one should put into the hands of a essence 1 character, gonna move that to essence 2.
I'm not fond of unblockable either - a character can't try to redirect the shockwave, prevent your fist from reaching the ground, dig their blade deep into the earth for purchase, thrust themselves downwards as fiercely as you're thrusting them upwards, etc? I'd definitely agree with "can't be blocked without magic", but I feel magic permits blocking this sort of thing.
I also really dislike unfooable attacks, because they're way too close to hard counters for my tastes.
2Hands wrote: Fri Feb 11, 2022 12:49 pm About the Solars, I thought Orichalcum can only be attuned by Solars? If other can do that I wouldn't mind if they were to take on the duty of holding the Chains to the Beast.
Any artifact can be attuned by any prospective wielder, subject only to the rules-free vagaries of personal compatibility. This artifact might refuse attunement from a radical abolitionist who seeks to free all that has been confined, but that'd be because it's incompatible with their implicit desire to free the monster and not because of their magical nature.
2Hands wrote: Fri Feb 11, 2022 12:49 pm What do you mean with Ability requirements?
"Mins: Athletics 4" et al. Most Evocations don't have those, though it's fine to include them.
2Hands wrote: Fri Feb 11, 2022 12:49 pm I guess you could make a check against the proning to Strength + Athletics difficulty essence.
I'd probably go for (Strength+[Athletics or Dodge]) because it feels to me like good footwork should help. If you're including an attack roll against defense, you definitely don't also need a "saving throw".
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2Hands
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First changes to the Artifact are out, thanks again for the help! I change some things in the Story and replaced Lawgiver with Exalt. The newest changes about the system's and crunch are marked for a better overview.
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