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Thread: Grail Works, Ltd: A Royal Mess (F/SN, P5R, E3E)

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    Kamen Rider fan-writer Xamusel's Avatar
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    No, no, I actually want you to include Persona 5 Strikers in this story. I also want you to write the true end of Persona 5 Royal. I really don't know how you got from me saying "reach the bitter end" to "write the bad​ end."
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    Hmm... this is a bit of a surprise these days.

    An archive of my works on the forum that's pretty accurate.




    Note that I don't wish to be seen as an idiot any longer. I can't always promise better works than before, but I can sure as hell try, alright?

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    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    "The bitter end" does not usually imply a happy one - and since I do know this game has several bad ends . . .
    “Love will be cruel to who it entices — love will have its sacrifices.”

    — Carmilla Theme




    "Evil isn't the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as Evil, maybe more so, and it's a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against Stupid. That might actually make a difference."

    ―Jim Butcher, Vignette




  3. #23
    Kamen Rider fan-writer Xamusel's Avatar
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    Kieran, sorry about the confusion I caused... what I was trying to say was "write this story to the very end of its journey, okay?"
    Xamusel's Fanfiction Profile

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    Hmm... this is a bit of a surprise these days.

    An archive of my works on the forum that's pretty accurate.




    Note that I don't wish to be seen as an idiot any longer. I can't always promise better works than before, but I can sure as hell try, alright?

  4. #24
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Chapter 3 – Character Creation (and Destruction)

    DISCLAIMER: Tsukihime, Fate/Stay Night, and all related characters and concepts are the creation and property of Kinoko Nasu and the staff of TYPE-MOON. Persona 5 Royal, the Persona series and all related characters and concepts are the creation and property of Atlus. Exalted, Scion and all related characters and concepts are the creation and property of White Wolf/Onyx Path Publishing.

    This is a not-for-profit, just-for-fun project.


    Writer's Note: Certain dialogue sequences in this story are lifted from Persona 5 Royal, but I trust in the intelligence of my readers (and the availability of the game) to recognise them when they see them.





    Avalon Castle, Phantasmagoria Island (Grail Works. Ltd. Headquarters)
    Beyond the boundaries of time and space
    (But more-or-less simultaneously)









    Ilya blinked as the senses gifted her as the Holy Grail picked up on something.

    “Huh,” she remarked. “Well, the Clock Tower and/or Holy Church is going to have a time explaining that . . .

    “What?” Shirou demanded in a sullen tone, apparently still angry about Ruler’s intervention—her Onii-chan was so childish, sometimes . . .

    Then again, it had only been a few minutes ago, so maybe he was entitled.

    Choosing to answer his question, however, Ilya replied, “Someone just activated a Noble Phantasm.

    Which shouldn’t be possible for anyone besides Onii-chan, with his copies, or a very few individuals on Earth—most of whom were not using the Phantasm’s full potential. This, however, was an all-out activation, on par with an actualisation, rather than the ephemeral copies created for summoned Servants . . . As such, Ilya looked a little closer—and got more astonished with every detail she uncovered.

    “From space, somewhere,” the Grail spirit continued, “and—the planet let it through . . .?

    That last part really had her puzzled, so she zeroed in on the site of the Noble Phantasm’s target, winding back a little in time—and gasped.

    “OH! We were looking for that!”

    Operating on the logic that “hole = passageway = door,” Ilya linked the forming crater of what used to be Snowfield, Nevada with the castle—and a tricoloured longsword of unusual design tumbled through, showing no signs of undergoing the bombardment it had been the target of mere seconds earlier.

    “Ta-daaah!” Ilya said triumphantly. “One ‘Sword of Atli,’ Onii-chan, now transformed into the Sword of Mars—and see? This is why we need paradigm shields—and presently locked away from anywhere or anyone it might cause trouble for . . . Eh?”

    As if on cue, the weapon chose that particular moment to glow, the light coalescing into—

    “Help me, Rin-chan Kenobi—you’re my only hope!”

    A one-quarter-scale image of the Wizard Marshal, grinning like a loon.

    “Sorry, I couldn’t help myself,” the image chuckled. “I hope that by the time you see this, you’ll actually have watched the movie—if not, I’ll have to see if I can arrange a field trip for you . . .” He shook his head. “Regardless, the playing of this message indicates that you’ve tripped the hidden functions built into the replacement Grail I swapped in prior to the Fifth War, and the time paradoxes relating to your merry little band of friends are all now resolved. As such, the full functionality of this Greater Grail can now be opened up to you . . .”

    “What’s he talking about?” Shirou demanded, even as Ilya’s eyes slowly began to widen. “Rin?”

    “I have no idea, and I’m afraid to speculate,” the Tohsaka heiress muttered with a groan, even as the Grail spirit began cursing under her breath in German.

    “You see, the replacement I got wasn’t quite right,” Zelretch said, eyes twinkling, “so I had to adjust its functionality to make it fit the events of your War—and the closest blueprint I had was a bit more functional than that . . .

    Onii-chan?” Ilya said. “I just had eight new Class slots open up. One of them is hardcoded as ‘Ruler,’ but basically, we can summon up to thirteen Servants, fourteen if we include Ruler, without triggering a Grail War now—and up to two per Class Container.”

    (She did not mention that this meant that she could technically grant two wishes at a time, now. Because, of course, to do so required the energy of a dozen Servants, and unless Arturia or Medousa were sacrificed, that would trigger a Grail War—well, unless they summoned a Ruler before the last one was summoned, but still . . .)

    Of course, they still had a scarcity of available Masters. Shiki and Akiha had the capacity, but were currently using most of their energies in maintaining familiars of their own, Arcueid was probably unsuited, given her nature, and the twins . . . Well, given their nature, they might actually be suited despite the lack of proper Magic Circuits, but that was a question for another time. Still, the expanded options weren’t actually all that useful at the moment, however they might turn out to be in the future—though Ilya supposed that it was nice to have them.

    Rin, for her part, brought her palm to rest over her face. “He used Trifas’ Holy Grail as a blueprint—of course he did . . .”

    “In any case,” Zelretch’s recording continued, “that seems to be good enough for me to declare you as officially passing my assigned task, so I’ll be contacting you later for a teaching session—much later, as right now, I have an overwhelming urge to go out and drink until the memory of the headache I’ve been dealing with goes away . . .”

    There was a not-quite-intelligible response from “off-screen,” indicating that “headache” was as much a descriptor of an actual person as Zelretch’s physical or psychological condition.

    The Wizard Marshal smirked. “Until next time, my apprentice—ciao!

    The image faded, leaving the assembled personnel in stunned silence.

    “. . . I loathe the idea of agreeing with him in any fashion, after what I just went through because of him,” Rin muttered, “but I am so tempted to follow his example right now.”

    “Tohsaka, NO!” Shirou protested in horror. “Alcohol is terrible for you—besides, you’re underage!”

    “And I’m not liable to get past that point if his idea of ‘errands’ and ‘tests’ is throwing me into Holy Grail Wars!” Rin exclaimed bluntly.

    From there, the exchange devolved as Rin left the room, apparently intent on seeing if Taiga had anything stashed in the Emiya home—or, failing that, if the Tohnos kept anything on hand—and Shirou was equally intent on stopping her. Ilya stared after them for a moment, bemused.

    Nee-san wasn’t exactly subtle,” Sakura said critically, causing Ilya to jump as she spoke up (as the Grail spirit had honestly forgotten she was in the room), “but that was an effective distraction, wasn’t it?”

    Ilya tilted her head, parroting, “‘Distraction?’

    “To keep Shirou-kun from noticing that Zelretch-sama did not mention whatever might’ve happened to our client,” Sakura said politely, even as her expression said just as clearly, “Who do you think you’re kidding here?”

    Mentally ranking Sakura a notch or two up on her “most dangerous rival” list, Ilya nodded.

    “No,” the Grail spirit said neutrally. “He didn’t.

    Sakura looked placidly at her. “. . . Is there something you ought to mention, Ilya-chan?

    Ilya looked at her, considered responses for a moment, then sighed.

    “. . . I wish, if you’ll pardon the irony—the balance of energies in that place is was so fully and forcibly reset to ‘normal’ that it’s impossible to read traces of him. Granted, that also means there are no lingering foreign elements that might cause problems later, and that it’s impossible to trace us or our involvement—which was probably the whole idea—but it also means that any trail or trace he might’ve left behind was erased.

    “. . . Could we interrogate Ruler?” she asked curiously.

    Ilya shook her head. “Part of the ‘scale-balancing’ took Laeticia Delacroix home, to wake up in her bed with the whole experience nothing more than a dream, much as Jeanne d’Arc originally promised her. Astraea’s gone back to the Throne, or the Reverse Side—or wherever Divine Spirits that can be Servants go in their off-time.”

    Ilya glanced at the weapon currently gracing their floor. “He might be back, if he’s still alive—and if there’s anything to the ‘Fatebinding’ stuff, and it’s applicable to this sword . . . But short of that, or his performing another summoning to catch my attention, to the best of my knowledge, he’s just gone.

    Sakura frowned. “Sempai will be sad . . .” A faint, sly smile crept over her face briefly as she admitted, “So am I, actually—I can’t tease Rin about wedding planning, now.”

    Ilya’s eyes gleamed at the idea. “You’re right, it’s a terrible waste! OK, I’ll keep looking—you start collecting bridal magazines . . .”








    Quarantine Cell, the depths of Mementos
    The Metaverse
    Time unknown









    For all that Igor was better-known in the modern games for leaving a good deal of the Persona summoning and fusion work to his assistants, the proprietor of the Velvet Room had been known to do the work himself, initially—and his skills hadn’t atrophied. And while the raw potential Frid found himself carrying around wasn’t exactly in-line with the metaphysics of Persona, Igor’s skills weren’t limited to manifest elements of the human unconsciousness. He created his assistants, after all, who were physical beings in addition to being powerful Persona users in their own right—and stupidly powerful Persona users, at that.

    (A brief flashback of trying to fight Elizabeth had Frid repressing a shudder.)

    Regardless, while what Frid was carrying around wasn’t the medium he usually worked in, Igor proved surprisingly adaptable. Particularly when Frid realised that the “inner character sheet” that the Works had helped him build to bind his initial transformation to his identity had somehow remained intact.

    “My,” the old hunchback had remarked, seeming positively delighted at the sight, “what a fascinating manifestation of human potential . . .”

    Granted, this almost certainly would’ve been impossible outside of the Metaverse. But in a realm that was a literal manifestation of humanity’s collective unconscious, where prop weapons functioned because the denizens believed they should, looking as they did like the genuine article? Summing up his existence in a few slips of paper that could be filled in with appropriate details, and thereby give him the appropriate abilities, made a kind of sense, he guessed.

    Certain things had been locked in stone: his name, certain skills (presumably reflecting his “core self,” or as close as the “rules of the game” could quantify what he knew and could do), and the fact that he was an Exalt. Presumably, because he was still due to meet up with Mysterious Heroine XX (or just “X,” then) at some point in the future, so whatever forces were running things were trying to keep things consistent so that the paradox didn’t break things—like, say, existence . . . All of which promised to not only be another massive headache but was also not an absolute guarantee that he’d actually survive this. After all, Persona 5 as he knew it had numerous potential “bad ends” throughout the game, despite being told as an extended flashback that would’ve been negated by hitting them . . .

    But that was a trade paperback—the term “issue” was just too massive an understatement, frankly—for another time.

    Regardless, in a very literal sense, on paper he was a Lunar Exalt, and the design of the sheet looked like it operated under Third Edition rules, which Frid apparently now knew. Whether it was a gift of Astraea’s judgement somehow, a natural consequence of his having a Third Edition gift before (Erik had had issues with dealing with the evolving rulesets, he remembered), or the universe just settling on that as being the least aggravating possibility to deal with, he had no idea.

    What had surprised Frid, on the other hand, was the existence of experience points on the sheet—and a large amount of unspent experience points, at that. Granted, he knew adventuring allowed characters to gain more than just day-to-day life (the “standard” rate in Second Edition had been 10 per year), but that much?

    Oh, Frid had realised, as a newly-known fact asserted itself, Third Edition has Lunars gain five per session, plus possible bonuses—well, that’s a hell of an increase, given that five used to be a “standard-plus-bonus” amount per session on a really good night. . .

    As much as he didn’t like the implications of having experience points (namely, that he was a piece in someone’s game, when the protagonist’s goal was to overcome exactly that situation), it was better to have it, he supposed. If nothing else, applying them in the Metaverse—where cognition was reality—ought to mean that he could gain the benefits of spending them instantly, rather than having to spend weeks or months in training to learn or improve his Attributes or Abilities. This was excellent, because depending on where in the game’s timeline he was, Frid wouldn’t likely have sufficient opportunity to do so.

    And if he had usurped Morgana’s place, however unintentionally, then there were capabilities Frid needed that he didn’t presently have; skills that the Phantom Thieves were meant to learn from him, for example. And the fact that Morgana was also their primary mode of transportation in the Metaverse was also an issue. Just off the top of his head, Frid could recall at least two situations where the “Morgana-mobile” had just barely enabled them to escape in time—trying to go on foot would’ve killed them.

    (Fortunately, he thought he at least had a workaround for that much; it might even be an improvement, in some ways . . .)

    Although, Frid had mused, looking them over, some of these stats make no freaking sense. Like, why the HELL do I have a Charisma of 3?! Stats in Exalted actually mean things—experienced professionals who regularly use their training tend to have Ability scores of 1 or 2 in the appropriate skills, and the same applies to Attributes. A “3” means I should actually be fairly good at attracting and inspiring people, and there’s just no way. I can almost see the Manipulation of 3, given that I’ve been doing a lot of it lately and Exalts tend to just be higher-spec than mortals, period, but Charisma?!

    . . . And why isn’t there any notation—or even section—for how the Great Curse affects m—?!

    A recent memory hit him then, of coughing up crystal-blue water flecked with gold . . .

    No—not “gold,” but “Evergold” . . .

    In the lore of the Forgotten Realms setting, the Evergold was the sacred pool and realm of Hanali Cenali, the elven goddess of love and beauty. It was also a realm she shared with her human counterpart—or progenitor, depending on the edition—Sune Firehair, and the Norse goddess of love and beauty, Freyja. While he’d never seen actual game statistics for the stuff, it was noted on the wiki to be capable of granting charisma boosts—and, in Realmslore, to have freed the goddess of cats and pleasure, Sharess (an alternate identity of Bast) from the influence of the primordial goddess of darkness, Shar.

    Primordial—the same title given to the entities that had enacted the Great Curse on the Exalted in their setting.

    . . . I don’t know if it was intentional, but I’ve managed to luck my way into something every other Exalt in existence would maim for, Frid mused. Thanks, Lady Celanil.

    The other major oddity Frid had seen was having a ranking of 2 in “Artefact” in his Merits. This made no sense because the closest thing Frid was aware of having to one, the soulsteel whip—should’ve counted as a 3; all artefact weapons were, at minimum. So why was it—?

    An act of will had summoned forth broken chain links and shattered pieces that had once been a sword.

    . . .Oh.

    Frid had known the sword was a wreck; it had channelled all of Nero’s power, and all of a Kaleidostick’s power, to let him pull the stunt he had in Trifas. And it hadn’t actually been a Relic—i.e., more or less indestructible—and likewise, neither was the whip. Both items were divinely forged, yes, but not divinely empowered. But in any case, neither should’ve qualified for an “artefact” ranking; they were basically just pieces of magical materials—soulsteel for the whip, and probably starmetal for the sword (given that Nero Bride noted hers as being forged of “meteoric iron”).

    And ironically, even if they’d been intact, they wouldn’t have been all that useful to Frid. While Third Edition rule changes meant that he could’ve used a weapon not forged of the Lunar Exalted’s specific magical material without risking a backlash (unless it was “dissonant” to him), he’d still have been barred from using their full potential. While not dissonant in regard to any magical material, the highest level of an artefact’s powers required their wielder to be “resonant” with them—and Lunars were merely “neutral” to anything but moonsilver. And while Frid did know how to make the stuff, he had neither the time nor the resources to . . .

    The Exalt had paused as an idea struck. Considering the sheet for a moment, he took up Igor’s pen and added an extra dot to the listing, with a parenthetical addendum:



    Artefact *** (Frost-Thorn Knuckles)



    As he and Igor stared at the page, his pool of experience points had decreased—and before them, the two piles of material melded into a singular, new form.

    “Remarkable,” Igor had said. “I’ve never known Fusion to be used quite that way before . . .”

    “It was a bit of a gamble on my part,” Frid had admitted. “The rules say that existing Merits can be increased with experience points—and since the ‘Artefact” wasn’t actually named or detailed . . .”

    (That the Frost-Thorn Knuckles were cold-based weapons, and thus tying into another of Hel’s domains, would hopefully keep the goddess from being too wroth about it, should she ever learn of it, Frid hoped.)

    The hunchback had laughed. “Very clever—I hope you can impart some of that cunning to the Trickster . . .He will need it.”

    I’ll do my best, Igor,
    Frid promised to himself, even as he shook off the recollection and reoriented himself on the here and now.

    Once they’d finished adjusting Frid’s capabilities, escaping Igor’s cell hadn’t been hard; however thoroughly protected it was, it was meant to contain a human form, not one as inherently fluid as a Lunar Exalt’s. Getting into the open had been even easier, since the Shadows patrolling the place largely stuck to human forms and limitations unless triggered—meaning, among other things, that like humans, they rarely looked up. From there, Frid made his way into the wider realm of Mementos—the “collective Palace of humanity”—keeping aloft, and thereby out of sight and (mostly) range of its denizens . . .

    Which did nothing to tell him where the hell he actually was. Mementos, and the Metaverse as a whole, was a shadowed space, tinged in red; it kind of resembled reality, in the same way a dream might. Only Palaces—those psychic constructs of massive negativity and self-delusion—had any solid definition, and Frid had no intention of going anywhere near one without knowing when and where he was in Persona 5’s chronology. There were just too many ways for things to go wrong.

    Looks like I’ll just have to risk it, he decided.

    Picking a deserted-looking spot—which should be equally deserted in the real world—Frid focussed his Essence into shaping one of his newer Charms.

    [Silver Curtain Parted]

    Reality rippled against his will, dissolving . . .









    Somewhere in Tokyo (presumably)
    Time unknown









    “. . . And it’s raining,” Frid sighed to himself, hunching against it. “Lovely.

    There were Charms he could invoke to shield himself against it, but someone might notice the effects—such as, say, a transparent membrane to protect his eyes. Besides, the one he had invoked had eaten a fairly large chunk of his personal Essence Pool; while he didn’t anticipate needing to use more, why run the risk of pushing himself into an anima banner flare?

    “You can survive a drenching, you big baby,” he muttered. “Now, where the hell am I . . .?”

    A moment’s observation turned up nothing but “somewhere in a Japanese metropolis,” but it did highlight the need to actually use another Charm, after all.

    [Scent-of-All-Nations Attitude]

    A new Charm, but perhaps essential here; to all he encountered, he’d appear as one of their own, despite his looks—those being that of a six-foot white guy who weighed close to a hundred and ninety pounds. (And yes, he was Canadian but thought in imperial measurements; it was a by-product of living with American media.) It was a subtle effect, but it basically was meant to cause people to overlook all that, and just assume that he was one of “the people,” whoever those were, and see his presence as not especially remarkable.

    And given that I’m walking around with no valid ID or documentation, that’s going to be an absolute must.

    Cautiously, he made to step onto the street—

    And immediately drew back as somebody with a blue umbrella came dashing past, a flash of black, yellow, and red.

    The runner was pursued by another—a blur of black, yellow, and brown this time, under a pale-yellow umbrella—but this one cried out in a feminine voice, “Hey, wait up . . .!”

    Lousy timing—

    “Look where you’re going! The light’s red!”

    Icy adrenaline shot through him.

    [Excellency: Perception, Dexterity, Wits]

    “Hey!”

    Supernatural focus snapped in the direction of the runners, and in his overclocked state, Frid could see it happen before it happened. The heedless runner, hurtling into the traffic patterns, too fast for most drivers to compensate; the pursuing runner who was just as fast, but not quite fast enough to stop her . . .

    “Sumire, wait—!

    And the oncoming truck.

    “Sumire, stop—! Listen to me!”

    [Instinct-Driven Beast Movement]

    “SUMIRE!”

    The pursuer moved, as quickly as her quarry, pushing her out of the way; just as fast as her quarry, but not fast enough—not enough to save herself—

    A Solar Exalt could have saved her with a display of honed-beyond-perfection athleticism, their natural authority as Lawgivers making reality bow to their will. A Sidereal Exalt could’ve rewritten Fate so that neither she nor her sister were ever there at all, though potentially someone might’ve suffered her death instead. As a Lunar, Frid had neither of those options . . . But he was still a Celestial Exalt, and if the Lunars were oftentimes but pale reflections of their Solar mates, what they were reflections of was still incomparable puissance. And their mastery of their own bodies—and their potentials—was second to none.

    The outside world blurred at the edges of his vision—and to an observer from it, he himself was a blur if he was visible at all. Bone and muscle surpassed the mechanical limitations of the human frame, internally and externally shifting, down to the molecular level, to gain the advantages of faster species without losing the outward appearance of humanity, powered by the supreme force that was Essence. But despite the poetry of such a description, there was no sense of aesthetics in his movements; only raw, furious action, like a predator's frenzied attempt to bring down prey—

    In this case, the distance between himself, the girl, and the truck.

    He leaped, the winds rising . . .

    His shove was not gentle; it was a coiled spring manoeuvre, with all of his momentum behind it, to get her away from the incoming impact. At the same time, it was still less force than the actual truck would’ve imparted, because it outweighed him by an order of magnitude and several further multipliers—

    All of which he became immediately and agonisingly aware of . . .








    Sumire had a glimpse of Kasumi’s face—her wide-eyed, horrified expression, framed by droplets of water, hanging in the air. There was a horn, a screech of brakes—a glimpse of her umbrella, flying through the air—and then . . .

    Sumire’s eyes opened slowly, and as her vision cleared, she saw the sky, and became aware of the murmur of voices. She raised herself to her hands and knees slowly, and lifted her head—

    Her sister was there, some distance away. Lying still in the road—lying in a pool of blood . . .

    Kasumi . . .

    The name escaped her lips almost unconsciously; Sumire was too busy staring at her sister (her too-still sister) to really register—

    Owww . . .

    As if responding to Sumire’s call, Kasumi let out a groan. slowly curling in on herself—but she was moving! ALIVE!

    But—all the blood . . .
    whispered a traitorous corner of her mind.

    “Sumire—SUMIRE!” Kasumi sat bolt-upright, calling for her, eyes wide with panic.

    “Yes!” she responded unconsciously.

    Kasumi’s eyes locked onto her, and immediately softened. “Oh, thank goodness—are you OK . . .?”

    Me?” Sumire spluttered. “You’re the one covered in blood . . !

    Seriously, half her face was streaked with it. . .!

    “I am?” Kasumi glanced down, seemingly confused. “I . . .” She stiffened, eyes going wide again. “Oh, no—where is he?”

    ‘He?’” Sumire echoed.

    “There was a guy—he pushed me out of the way—!” Her head swivelled around frantically. “Where’d he go . . .?

    Sumire didn’t respond—but she stared at the blood, which was spreading under the pounding of the rain, and didn’t think there was a good answer . . .

    I nearly killed Kasumi, the thought echoed in her head. She would’ve died saving me . . . And someone did die, saving her . . . All because of me.

    The world really would be better off if I never existed . . .










    Additional Writer's Notes: This took far too long - and apologies that the last scene doesn't have the appropriate music, but apparently "You and I" is only available on Spotify, which I don't have access to.

    EDIT: Music issue fixed, thank you RanmaBushiko!


    . . . Anyways - with all the setup out of the way, maybe now I can finally get things moving . . .!
    Last edited by Kieran; September 21st, 2022 at 10:40 AM.
    “Love will be cruel to who it entices — love will have its sacrifices.”

    — Carmilla Theme




    "Evil isn't the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as Evil, maybe more so, and it's a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against Stupid. That might actually make a difference."

    ―Jim Butcher, Vignette




  5. #25
    Kamen Rider fan-writer Xamusel's Avatar
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    Thanks for the chapter, Kieran. I am quite certain that everyone will enjoy it, man.
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    For those that don't necessarily care if my fics aren't all Type-Moon related.




    Hmm... this is a bit of a surprise these days.

    An archive of my works on the forum that's pretty accurate.




    Note that I don't wish to be seen as an idiot any longer. I can't always promise better works than before, but I can sure as hell try, alright?

  6. #26
    死徒(下級)Lesser Dead Apostle
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    Oooh fun. Adapted epilogue, a totally new setup segment, and the second snippet. Good to place that in the timeline, I assumed it was happening early. Since Frid was already worrying about Anima Banner flare, he's definitely going to look interesting after intercepting that truck.

    I greatly appreciate the reference to both the soulsteel whip and Aestus Estus; I remember I missed the latter being destroyed a while back. Frost Thorn Knuckles are also Moonsilver, so that seems fitting.
    I recall Hanali's blessing from the Fate/Anarchy epilogue, so I guess that's a dot of Charisma.

  7. #27
    後継者 Successor RanmaBushiko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arbitrarity View Post
    Oooh fun. Adapted epilogue, a totally new setup segment, and the second snippet. Good to place that in the timeline, I assumed it was happening early. Since Frid was already worrying about Anima Banner flare, he's definitely going to look interesting after intercepting that truck.

    I greatly appreciate the reference to both the soulsteel whip and Aestus Estus; I remember I missed the latter being destroyed a while back. Frost Thorn Knuckles are also Moonsilver, so that seems fitting.
    I recall Hanali's blessing from the Fate/Anarchy epilogue, so I guess that's a dot of Charisma.
    He hasn't had me pre-read most of it, to be honest, but the interesting segments are still interesting.

    As for the whip and Aestus Estus? It's especially interesting with how Erik remade Estus Aestus to reform itself to suit the wielder's needs...
    I'm starting to suspect that talking with Kieran influences my rolls on Fate/Grand Order Heavily. How else can you explain me talking with him, then rolling for 30, only to get 3 Archer of Shinjuku on my second ten roll?

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  8. #28
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xamusel View Post
    Thanks for the chapter, Kieran. I am quite certain that everyone will enjoy it, man.
    So it seems - and given how little actually new content is in it, I appreciate it.



    Quote Originally Posted by Arbitrarity View Post
    Oooh fun. Adapted epilogue,
    Well, it felt silly to be so many chapters into a Grail Works story, and not actually feature them (yet).


    a totally new setup segment, and the second snippet. Good to place that in the timeline, I assumed it was happening early.
    In theory, I should've dived right from the interrogation to the scene with the Yoshizawas - but again, context, particularly for any new readers.


    Since Frid was already worrying about Anima Banner flare, he's definitely going to look interesting after intercepting that truck.
    Yeah - I'll have to recalculate the expenditures, which is one of the reasons I cut it where I did; he may actually be glowing, at this point.

    (Another is that I'm double-spacing as I write, with this one, so I don't have to waste time doing it as I post - but it throws off my internal page-count, so I'm never sure how long each chapter actually is . . . )


    I greatly appreciate the reference to both the soulsteel whip and Aestus Estus; I remember I missed the latter being destroyed a while back.
    Which is why I included it.


    Frost Thorn Knuckles are also Moonsilver, so that seems fitting.
    I thought so. As weapons, they run off Brawl rather than Melee (which Frid does have, albeit at 1; but that still beats a Melee score of 0), are concealable, and have a number of elements that seem fitting. Like being both curved blades (albeit slightly), which are Morgana's weapon type, andresembling Wolverine's claws - which, as a fellow Canadian, I wholeheartedly approve of.


    I recall Hanali's blessing from the Fate/Anarchy epilogue, so I guess that's a dot of Charisma.
    And a cure to the Great Curse - which was actually entirely accidental; I just wanted an excuse for comedic romantic shenanigans. Reading the description of its effects, however . . .



    Quote Originally Posted by RanmaBushiko View Post
    He hasn't had me pre-read most of it, to be honest,
    Well, as we aren't co-writing, you don't need to know about every detail ahead of time.


    but the interesting segments are still interesting.
    Thank you.


    As for the whip and Aestus Estus? It's especially interesting with how Erik remade Estus Aestus to reform itself to suit the wielder's needs...
    Again, entirely accidental.




    . . . And as a side-note, part of the reason for the delay was, as noted in the Dossier thread, a temptation to recreate Frid as a second-edition Scion, despite my hatred of the system mechanics, thanks to the new Masks of the Mythos sourcebook. I'm not a major fan of Lovecraft, by any stretch, but many of the things I've described Frid as doing or being are accounted for in the text. Cause a brain-melting effect on people who attempt to read his mind? There's literally a Knack for that. Meta-awareness that causes him to need to concentrate and not see people/the world around him as anime images? It's not only an effect described in the book, it's an outright core mechanic.

    It would certainly explain Mysterious Heroine X's shift to a Foreigner, of all potential classes. And given the nature of the Metaverse - to say nothing of certain elements of Persona 5 Royal in particular - it really is tempting . . .
    Last edited by Kieran; September 12th, 2022 at 09:35 PM.
    “Love will be cruel to who it entices — love will have its sacrifices.”

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    "Evil isn't the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as Evil, maybe more so, and it's a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against Stupid. That might actually make a difference."

    ―Jim Butcher, Vignette




  9. #29
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    A note on the present delay - first, my apologies. I really, really, REALLY would've preferred to be (able) to be on time with a new chapter, but circumstances have conspired against me.

    To begin with, most recently I've had a minor (and presumably non-threatening) health scare. The actual condition is embarrassing, so no details, but dealing with has taken up my attention over the last few days, and may continue to take a while longer to deal with.


    More relevantly to the story, I seem to have somehow accidentally deleted Frid's character sheet - which has required me to rebuild him from scratch. While this has been a good thing, in some ways, it's time-consuming, as well; and also required a slight alteration in Kasumi's rescue, since he no longer has the requisite abilities to perform it as originally depicted. I've also decided to try and build a "sorcery path" for him shaped around Social Links, because I think it might be fun - but again, it's from scratch, and therefore time-consuming.

    Note that it will not involve the Major Arcana (far too many characters to deal with then, and Ren has it covered). My current plan is for the Court Cards of the Minor Arcana - i.e., the King, Queen, Knight and Page of the Cups, Pentacles, Wands and Swords suits (can we guess which one could be Shirou? ) - unless I break down and use one of the paths from the actual books. Because while it seems like a VERY terrible idea, there are elements to more than a few of them that might fit all too well . . . For example, he might tap some of the energies of the Wyld, chaos incarnate, to power his sorcery; or bargain with the hooved Mara, the Shadow Lover, a Demon of the Second Circle (which calls to mind a certain "Dark Sakura" type or a particular fairy) - there's also a path that involves bargaining with an "Ifrit Lord"/fire elemental that might serve, or even a plant-based path that might serve as a nice callback to Frid's former druidic incarnation . . .

    As you can see, there are a lot of interesting options - as always, opinions welcome.
    Last edited by Kieran; September 21st, 2022 at 10:39 AM.
    “Love will be cruel to who it entices — love will have its sacrifices.”

    — Carmilla Theme




    "Evil isn't the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as Evil, maybe more so, and it's a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against Stupid. That might actually make a difference."

    ―Jim Butcher, Vignette




  10. #30
    Kamen Rider fan-writer Xamusel's Avatar
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    Er, Kieran, you forgot some of your text at the bottom... sorry to say that.
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    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Whoops - fixed, thank you!
    “Love will be cruel to who it entices — love will have its sacrifices.”

    — Carmilla Theme




    "Evil isn't the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as Evil, maybe more so, and it's a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against Stupid. That might actually make a difference."

    ―Jim Butcher, Vignette




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    You're welcome.
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    Character Sheet: Godafrid Úa Súilleabháin (3rd Edition)

    True Name: Unrevealed
    Aliases: Kieran Holt, Kurai, Godafrid Úa Súilleabháin
    Caste: No Moon (Lunar Exalt)
    Spirit Shape: Owl
    Tell: Casts the shadow of his animal form


    Attributes (/indicates Beastman stats, * indicates Favoured Attribute)


    Strength 5/10 Charisma 3 *Perception 5
    *Dexterity 5 Manipulation 3 Intelligence 3
    *Stamina 5 Appearance 3 *Wits 4

    Abilities (* indicates Specialty): Athletics 5, Awareness 3, Brawl 1, *Dodge 3 (unarmoured) , *Integrity (stubbornness) 4, Investigation 2, Larceny (Misdirection) 1, Linguistics (French, Japanese) 2, Lore 3, Medicine 1, *Occult 5 (sorcery), Resistance 4, *Socialise (White Lies) 1, Stealth 2


    Charms/Knacks: Bear Sleep Technique, Bone-Mending Technique, Changing Plumage Mastery, Deadly Beastman Transformation, Demon-Drinking Fang, Devil’s-Restraining Grip, Emerald Grasshopper Form, Halting the Scarlet Flow, Hybrid Body Transformation, Instinct-Driven Beast Movement, In the Teeth of Madness, Laughing in the Face of Madness, Many-Faced Moon Transformation, Night’s Mercy Panacea, Ox-Body Fortification (x5), Penumbra Witch Mastery, Perceiving the Hidden World, Plague-Swallowing Kiss, Prey’s Skin Disguise, Rugged Beast Endurance, Scent-of-All-Nations Attitude, Scent of Midnight Dweomers, Silver Curtain Parted, Spirit-Rending Fury, Squirrel’s Cunning Technique, Subtle Silver Declaration, Terrestrial Circle Sorcery

    Sorcerer’s Path: Arcana of Human Nature

    Spells: Death of Obsidian Butterflies, Infallible Messenger, Peacock Shadow Eyes, Bonds of Strength (shaping ritual) Stormwind Rider (control spell)

    Essence: 4 (Personal/Peripheral Essence Pool: 19/50)

    Excellencies: Appearance, Charisma, Dexterity, Intelligence, Manipulation, Perception, Stamina, Strength, Wits

    Intimacies: “I will do better, be better, than I have been” (Principle, Defining), Grail Works Limited (Tie, Admiration, Minor), The Phantom Thieves (Tie, Protectiveness, Minor), “I hate people who abuse others” (Principle, Major)

    Limit Break/Trigger: None (Great Curse broken)

    Merits: Artefact *** (Frost-Thorn Knuckles), Backing ** (Grail Works Ltd.), Heart's Blood *, Language ** (French, Japanese), Natural Immunity **, Resources *, Stolen Faces *, Strong Lungs *, Toxin Resistance ***

    Willpower: 6



    Combat


    Join Battle: 7 (Wits + Awareness) + 3

    Unarmed Attack: 6 (Strength + successes damage)

    Frost-Thorn Knuckles: 11 (10 if thrown) (Strength + 10 + successes damage; withering minimum 3)

    Defence: 5/4 (Evasion 5, Parry 3)

    Guile: 3

    Resolve: 5

    Soak: 5/10

    Hardness: 0

    Armour: None


    Equipment: Frost-Thorn Knuckles, 15 ounces of silver (approx. 10 290 yen value), wallet and identification of "Godafrid Úa Súilleabháin" (contains $1000 USD)


    Health: [0] [-1] [-1] [-2 (x12)] [-4 (x11)] [Incapacitated]









    Writer's Notes: Chapter is about 1/2 done, I think - it took longer than I wanted to finalise this. But it is, and since you deserve something - consider it a preview of coming attractions.

    (Also, I went with the "Persona sorcery" idea because no one seemed interested in the other suggested options.)
    Last edited by Kieran; September 25th, 2022 at 06:20 PM.
    “Love will be cruel to who it entices — love will have its sacrifices.”

    — Carmilla Theme




    "Evil isn't the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as Evil, maybe more so, and it's a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against Stupid. That might actually make a difference."

    ―Jim Butcher, Vignette




  14. #34
    Kamen Rider fan-writer Xamusel's Avatar
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    This looks surprisingly good, Kieran. I approve of it immensely.
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  15. #35
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    I'm less-familiar with a lot of Exalted rules, particularly in 3e, so I don't entirely know what a Sorcery Path is. I presume, from your description, it's the way an Exalted learns Sorcery. Social links definitely seem like a flavorful solution here.

    I assume Essence 4 has roughly the same meaning as previous editions (3 being the max you can start with at character creation), so Godafrid is seasoned, but not absurdly powerful. Also very durable, if I'm reading that correctly, so I'm not entirely surprised he survives getting hit by a truck. Stormwind Rider is presumably your Morgana Van replacement, especially as a Control spell. All the Excellencies, some useful defining Intimacies, and... I'm assuming some custom stuff.

    "Bonds of Strength" is from his (custom) Sorcery Path, and I'm guessing yields Sorcery Motes based on the strength of social links?

  16. #36
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xamusel View Post
    This looks surprisingly good, Kieran. I approve of it immensely.
    Thank you.



    Quote Originally Posted by Arbitrarity View Post
    I'm less-familiar with a lot of Exalted rules, particularly in 3e, so I don't entirely know what a Sorcery Path is. I presume, from your description, it's the way an Exalted learns Sorcery.
    Essentially. I'm still learning the system myself (and obviously, Frid will expound in detail, in-story), but its not unlike a warlock's patron in 5E Dungeons and Dragons, if that helps . . .?


    Social links definitely seem like a flavorful solution here.
    I thought so. It also forces him to socialise, to a point; the drawback being, as previously-noted, that I have to build the thing mostly from scratch.


    I assume Essence 4 has roughly the same meaning as previous editions (3 being the max you can start with at character creation), so Godafrid is seasoned, but not absurdly powerful.
    It's actually calculated somewhat differently here, being based on experience. These days, every character starts at Essence 1, going to 2 when they've spent 50 experience points, total; to 3 after spending a further 75, and so on. The cap is still 5, with a note that going beyond that requires Storyteller permission - but I don't see that being an issue here.


    Also very durable, if I'm reading that correctly, so I'm not entirely surprised he survives getting hit by a truck.
    Yup. I always prioritise defence/survivability when character building; it's a strategy that's served me very well over the years, as RanmaBushiko can attest.


    Stormwind Rider is presumably your Morgana Van replacement, especially as a Control spell.
    Specifically . . .


    Stormwind Rider

    Cost:
    15sm, 1wp
    Keywords: None
    Duration: One hour

    Bending the winds to her will, the sorcerer creates a servile dust devil to ride. The Stormwind Rider is treated as a flying mount (p. 202), although it cannot take the sorcerer to more than short range above the ground. (Wits + Occult) replaces the usual rolls for all combat movement actions. The whirlwind can carry up to (Essence x 2) additional characters, or one hundred pounds of cargo in place of a single passenger. While it cannot soar as high as the Cirrus Skiff, the Stormwind Rider can travel at nearly 100 miles an hour and maneuver through forests or cities. In a race with other characters, the sorcerer rolls (Intelligence + Occult + current temporary Willpower) for each interval.

    In combat, characters within the Stormwind Rider are treated as having light cover against attacks made from outside of it, and vice versa. A passenger who is crashed or hit with a decisive attack is knocked out of the whirlwind, and suffers falling damage if applicable.

    A sorcerer who knows Stormwind Rider as her control spell is buffeted by winds whenever she is beset by strong emotions. Sudden movements cause a small vortex powerful enough to scatter papers, upset furniture and topple someone caught off-guard. Her vertical leaps are buoyed by wind, allowing her to leap upward a single range band as her movement action; she can do so up to (Stamina) times before needing to rest.

    In addition, characters with an Essence pool gain access to the following powers while this spell is active:

    • Enduring Tempest (5m; Reflexive; Instant): Once this spell’s duration has elapsed, the sorcerer may use Enduring Tempest to extend its duration for another hour. She may do so for as long as she has Essence to continue using this power.

    • Zephyr Rush (1m, 1wp; Supplemental; Instant): The sorcerer whips the Stormwind Rider into a sudden frenzy of speed, allowing her to move up to two range bands with a single movement action in combat or doubling 8s on one interval of a race.


    All the Excellencies,
    Which are actually granted automatically when your Attributes are at a certain level; they're not nearly as puissant as before, but hardless useless.


    some useful defining Intimacies, and... I'm assuming some custom stuff.

    "Bonds of Strength" is from his (custom) Sorcery Path, and I'm guessing yields Sorcery Motes based on the strength of social links?
    More or less, yes - as I said, the exact specifics are still under construction. A sample Sorcery Path is as follows:


    Bargain with Mara

    You have met the demon Mara, the deer-footed creature of shadows who pursues lovers marked by dark destinies and feeds them stolen souls. You may have met her as she sojourned through Creation, or seen her lovely, wicked face in dreams—perhaps you even summoned her yourself to make your bargain. Through cunning, charisma, or pleasing offerings, you have made a pact with her, taking the power of the Shadow Lover for your own.


    Shaping Rituals

    Like Mara herself, the sorcerer draws power from those who love her. The Essence of their adoration is clay in her hands, taking form in her sorcery. Whenever she takes a shape sorcery action while within medium range of a character with an unrequited Tie of love (or a similar emotion) towards her, she may reap additional sorcerous motes equal to that Intimacy’s value (for example, four motes from a Defining Tie). Intimacies can only be tapped for motes in this fashion once per day, and the sorcerer cannot harvest power from love she reciprocates. Normally she may only drain one Intimacy to fuel the casting of a spell, but she may draw power from any available Intimacies when casting her control spell. She cannot draw more than ten sorcerous motes per scene with this ritual.

    When the sorcerer seduces and sleeps with a willing mortal, she may choose to draw the soul out of his body, leaving it an inanimate husk that soon dies of deprivation. The extracted soul lingers invisibly around her, tethered to her by umbral chains. As a miscellaneous action, the sorcerer may offer up one of her bound souls to Mara in exchange for power once per scene, rolling (Essence + Willpower) and gaining that many sorcerous motes. She
    retains these motes until the end of the scene, and may spend them towards any spells she casts. Additionally, a bound soul may be reflexively expended in place of a point of Willpower when paying the cost of the sorcerer’s control spell. She cannot have more than (Essence + Occult) souls bound to her at one time.

    The sorcerer draws power from shadow and darkness, weaving it into her spells. Whenever she begins a scene in darkness or shadow heavy enough to qualify as concealment for attempting stealth, she gains three sorcerous motes, which last until the end of the scene and can be spent towards any spells she casts. Additionally, whenever she takes a shape sorcery action to shape a spell while in stealth, she gains an additional sorcerous mote as long as the spell’s target is unaware of her. She also receives these benefits while under the night sky during the new moon or Calibration, even without being concealed.

    Other Benefits

    Infernal Nobility (Merit •):
    Demons recognize the sorcerer as one favored by Mara. First Circle demons are treated as having a Minor Tie of terrified awe towards her, while Second and Third Circle demons have a positive Minor Tie of respect, or some variation suited to their nature.

    Dark Paramour (Merit ••): Mara appears in the sorcerer’s dreams, feeding her with fragments of stolen souls. Once per story, the sorcerer’s player may declare that she is visited by Mara in a dream while sleeping. She does not recover Willpower from that sleep, but receives some significant benefit determined by the Storyteller—tutelage in a new spell in a single night, double 9s on all shape sorcery spells for the next day, the service of a First Circle demon as a gift from Mara, or something similar. She also wakes with a Minor Principle of “I take pleasure in death and suffering,” or
    strengthens that Intimacy if she already possesses it.

    Demonic Tattoos: Mara has marked the sorcerer, taking one or more of her own souls and rendering it down into a midnight-black tattoo that spirals around her chakras. The sorcerer may unlock Evocations from these tattoos that allow her to manipulate or gain power from shadows or darkness, alter her control spell to incorporate elements of darkness and subversion, or manipulate or empower summoned demons, such as by turning them into living shadows.



    . . . Seriously, this one sounds so much like a (Dark) Sakura path . . .
    “Love will be cruel to who it entices — love will have its sacrifices.”

    — Carmilla Theme




    "Evil isn't the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as Evil, maybe more so, and it's a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against Stupid. That might actually make a difference."

    ―Jim Butcher, Vignette




  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kieran View Post
    It's actually calculated somewhat differently here, being based on experience. These days, every character starts at Essence 1, going to 2 when they've spent 50 experience points, total; to 3 after spending a further 75, and so on. The cap is still 5, with a note that going beyond that requires Storyteller permission - but I don't see that being an issue here.
    I should probably re-calibrate slightly then. Sounds like Essence 4 is very strong; that does explain the strong attributes and variety of charms.

    More or less, yes - as I said, the exact specifics are still under construction. A sample Sorcery Path is as follows:


    Bargain with Mara
    [...]
    . . . Seriously, this one sounds so much like a (Dark) Sakura path . . .
    I'm not quite sure she benefits as much from "unrequited ties", but benefits in shadow, life drain, demonic tattoos etc are allvery on-point. That definitely seems like a path best suited for villainous characters.

  18. #38
    Kamen Rider fan-writer Xamusel's Avatar
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    ...can I just say two words that sum this up?

    "Oh, SHIT!!"
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  19. #39
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arbitrarity View Post
    I should probably re-calibrate slightly then. Sounds like Essence 4 is very strong; that does explain the strong attributes and variety of charms.
    *Nods* And you get a minimum of 5 per session now, so I could've been really ridiculous in my calculations (yes, there is a system I'm using, here) - but I kept to a lower score, this time. Still, it's roughly equivalent to his prior form, with enough versatility (I hope) to play mentor/protector to the kids, without being utterly overwhelming - he does have a year to learn things, after all.


    I'm not quite sure she benefits as much from "unrequited ties",
    Depends on which route, I suppose (Rin and Shirou would qualify . . . Or Shinji, if you want to be gross)


    but benefits in shadow, life drain, demonic tattoos etc are allvery on-point. That definitely seems like a path best suited for villainous characters.
    Which makes it well suited for Dark Sakura - especially given the potential "Beast III" connection. Otherwise, Baobhan Sith seems a reasonable substitute, as she is described as "hooved" . . .



    Quote Originally Posted by Xamusel View Post
    ...can I just say two words that sum this up?

    "Oh, SHIT!!"
    Yeah, it's one of the nastier potential paths. Others include bargaining with an "Ifrit Lord," an alchemy-based path that would be lovely if I was rewriting Trinity's Takara as an Exalt, something based on exposure to the Wyld (which I did consider using), a plant-based one called "Root-Lore" (which I considered as a nod to his former druid persona), and about half a dozen others across the books I have. Each has benefits and drawbacks, and can provide Merits (which I will have to think of, for this path - after all, Frid doesn't have a Persona to evolve).
    “Love will be cruel to who it entices — love will have its sacrifices.”

    — Carmilla Theme




    "Evil isn't the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as Evil, maybe more so, and it's a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against Stupid. That might actually make a difference."

    ―Jim Butcher, Vignette




  20. #40
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    Kieran, could you possibly find us a more heroic Sorcery Path for us to look at, and to see if that would fit your SI better that way?
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