Viva la Vida
[ 1 ] Smoldergrip ( Lords Of Summer — Page 59 )
Items left long in the sun collect deep and terrible heat: a steering wheel in a hot car, a plastic toy left on a desiccated lawn, the rubber grips to sun-scorched pruning shears. With this clause, the Summer courtier may force any object of Size 3 or smaller to burn turn after turn, as if left in the hottest noon-time sun. The object must be in sight for this clause to be successful. A courtier might use this on a foe in battle, hoping to force the adversary to drop that deadly revolver, or might instead use it to help stall pursuers reaching for that now-scorching doorknob.
Cost: 1 Glamour
Dice Pool: Strength + Wits – the object’s Size
Catch: The character sports a real sunburn (not artificial).
Dramatic Failure: The character’s own hand suddenly suffers a terrible sunburn; the skin grows blistery red. She takes one point of bashing damage.
Failure: The changeling fails to manifest the heat needed, and the object remains at its extant temperature.
Success: The object gains the heat of an object lying in direct summer sun. Any attempts to touch the object fail unless the target succeeds on a Resolve + Stamina roll. This roll is penalized by a number of dice equal to the Mantle (Summer) score of the changeling who invoked Smoldergrip. If the target is able to touch or use it, prolonged use is still difficult: he must succeed on that same roll every turn he touches the item. The terrible heat lasts for a number of turns equal to the changeling’s Wyrd score.
Exceptional Success: As with success, except any time someone touches the object while it’s hot, he suffers one point of bashing damage.
Suggested Modifiers: The changeling fails to manifest the heat needed, and the object remains at its extant temperature.
[ 2 ] Battle Bright ( Lords Of Summer — Page 59 )
Fighting with the sun in one’s eyes is no easy task. Depth perception is weakened as a fighter squints to see his foe. Is that his target or his target’s shadow? The bright light blinds. While using this ability, a changeling makes himself radiate with the white, searing light of the summer sun, a hot bright mote that burns in the eyes of all who see it. The exception to this is those who possess any dots in Mantle (Summer). Summer courtiers who wear the Mantle of the Court remain unaffected by the bright light since the fierce light is their ally, not their enemy. This ability can only be used once per day.
Cost: 2 Glamour
Dice Pool: Presence + Wyrd versus the highest Wits + Composure of those within sight of the changeling.
Action: Instant and contested
Catch: The changeling holds a real, burning torch aloft.
Dramatic Failure: The changeling must’ve missed a detail in fulfilling this clause of the contract, and the summer sun rebukes him for it: His vision becomes filled with bright “floaters,” causing him a -3 to all sight-based Perception rolls for the rest of the day.
Failure: The character fails to draw on the summer sun’s intensity.
Success: The changeling becomes a supernatural beacon of intense light. Any who can see the changeling suffer the following: Defense halved (round down), any rolls to attack are made at -2 dice, and all sight-based Perception rolls are complicated by a -3 penalty. This ability lasts for up to one scene, with one exception. Use of this clause necessitates that the changeling remain still. If the changeling moves more than one inch, the clause ends prematurely. Note that any characters who possess one or more dots in the Mantle (Summer) Merit are unaffected by this power.
Exceptional Success: Targets affected by this clause continue to suffer from the Perception penalty (-3) even after the clause ends. The penalty remains for one hour after completion of the clause.
[ 3 ] Crown Of Clashing Fire ( Lords Of Summer — Page 60 )
Woe to those chosen to do battle with a courtier of Summer in the Crown of Clashing Fire. With this clause, a changeling chooses a foe on the battlefield with a simple point of the finger. When the two are within 10 yards of one another, a ring of thorns rises up around the two of them and in the next turn those thorns catch fire. The duel is on.
Cost: 2 Glamour, 1 Willpower
Dice Pool: Resolve + Wyrd minus opponent’s Stamina
Catch: The changeling has one or more scars from his last battle with this foe.
Dramatic Failure: The fiery thorns rise up and encircle only the changeling. Trying to leave the crown of fire is as per a success, below.
Failure: The thorns and fire fails to manifest.
Success: A ring of thorns about two feet high rise up and, in the subsequent turn, catch fire. The fire burns high with hot, red flames. At the time of the circle’s inception, any other characters within the fiery circle who are not part of the duel hear a deafening, crackling roar in their ears: The sounds of surrounding conflagration. Remaining within that circle is difficult, demanding one Willpower point per turn. In addition, those not part of the duel but lingering in the circle also suffer -3 to all Physical rolls while within the fiery borders. In leaving the circle, the flames do not burn any of these nondueling characters. The same cannot be said for the two individuals locked in skirmish. If either try to leave the circle before the flames burn out, that character suffers two aggravated levels of damage automatically upon exit. (And he can be dragged back into the circle by the other opponent.) The fire burns for a number of turns equal to twice the changeling’s Wyrd score and only ends prematurely when one of the opponents is either knocked unconscious or killed (thus resulting in an “end” to the duel). Otherwise, the changeling cannot end it until those turns expire.
Exceptional Success: As with success, but the changeling who initiated this clause gains the spent Willpower back.
[ 4 ] Baleful Stroke Of Summer Sun ( Lords Of Summer — Page 61 )
With a close strike of a deadly weapon, a Summer courtier with this ability infects the target with a debilitating poison that simulates the effects of sunstroke and heat exhaustion. As the seconds pass after the strike, the victim begins to feel the effects take hold. He is no longer able to sweat. His tongue turns to cotton. The target’s heart race accelerates, he suffers splitting cramps, and he gets dizzy with fatigue.
Cost: 3 Glamour
Dice Pool: Stamina + Wyrd versus opponent’s Stamina + Composure. Note, however, that the changeling must first make a successful close combat attack (with Brawl or Weaponry) and do at least a single point of lethal damage. The moment of the attack’s success occurs when the reflexive roll takes place.
Action: Reflexive and contested
Catch: The changeling strikes with a weapon featuring metal that the changeling himself forged. It must be a substantial part of the weapon: the pommel and quillons of a sword, the blade of a knife, the bludgeoning end of a mace.
Dramatic Failure: The effect does not occur and the changeling loses his Defense in the subsequent turn due to the invested (and failed) attempt.
Failure: While the attack may have been successful, the effects of the clause fail to manifest.
Success: One turn after the successful lethal attack, the target begins to suffer the effects of sunstroke and heat exhaustion. This cursed effect lasts for a number of turns equal to the Resolve score of the changeling who used this clause. However, the victim does have a choice as to how this curse manifests: She can choose to accept cumulative dice penalties equal to one die of penalty per turn (thus she chooses to let the heatstroke potentially affect her actions) or she can choose to instead internalize the effects and eschew taking penalties, but in doing so she takes one aggravated level of damage every turn she makes this choice. The choice can be made on a turn by turn basis. If the changeling’s Resolve was 3, the effect would go for three turns. On the first turn, the target might choose a -1 die penalty, on the second turn she might take a point of aggravated damage, and on the third and final turn might take another penalty, which becomes a -2 penalty (as those dice are cumulative until the effect ends). Alternately, she could just choose to take three full aggravated (with no penalties) or -3 dice (with no damage). Penalties occur at the beginning of a combat round, and thus are in play when the target opts to make a roll. Penalties from the curse fade once the effect’s turns are completed (in the above example, starting on the fourth turn) at a rate of one die of penalty per turn. (So, 3 penalty dice after three turns becomes -2 on the fourth turn, -1 on the fifth, and no related penalty on the sixth.)
Exceptional Success: As with success, but the affected target cannot spend Willpower while the curse is active.
[ 5 ] Scorched Earth ( Lords Of Summer — Page 62 )
This clause represents the ultimate punishment of summer: With it, a changeling curses an area to bake in blistering heat, blighting the plants, incurring drought, possibly even invoking the death of pets, older adults, or children. Many Summer courtiers have been known to invoke this clause in the midst of battle. While it runs the risk of harming those who fight for the freehold, one hopes that they are prepared to fight through such scorching weather. There is a variant version of the Scorched Earth clause that features not the dry, blistering weather of summer, but the punishing monsoons common in certain parts of the world. The effects on individual characters remain the same. Water, however, is not scarce; quite the opposite, as flooding becomes a certainty. Plants don’t necessarily die from drought, either, though many will either die from over-watering (yes, plants can drown, too) or are broken and diminished by ravaging hurricane-like winds.
Cost: 5 Glamour
Dice Pool: Strength + Wyrd
Action: Extended (10+ successes; each roll represents a turn of uninterrupted meditation)
Catch: The changeling meditates beneath a Summer Court pennon or battle-flag that she helped to create.
Dramatic Failure: The changeling grows warm, then hot, then the air is sucked out of her lungs in a vacuous rush of heat. She falls unconscious for a number of turns equal to 10 minus her Resolve score.
Failure: No progress is made.
Success: The character makes progress toward the end result. Ten successes are required for every half-mile radius of effect. The character must decide the radius of effect before beginning to evoke this clause. Effects plaguing a character end as soon as that character leaves the area of effect. The Scorched Earth curse continues for a number of days equal to the changeling’s Wyrd score. It can be ended prematurely, but requires that the changeling spills a pint of his own blood (necessitating him taking one point of lethal damage) on the ground of the affected area. Note that this effect can occur even in winter. While it likely baffles meteorologists and is surely an extraordinary experience, it doesn’t necessarily appear supernatural. Once the Scorched Earth curse is active, the following effects occur: (A) All of those within the radius of effect find the following stats halved (round down): Stamina, Strength, Composure, Resolve. (The loss of these dots while in the radius of effect also affects related traits such as Speed, Health, Willpower, etc.) (B) Bashing damage does not heal while one is in the area of effect and Willpower cannot be regained. The heat truly saps one’s internal energy and spirit. © All plant life within the radius of effect begins to die. Death can be forestalled by some measure of preventative care (usually necessitating Wits + Science rolls). (D) Water turns to steam. Faucets and hoses only trickle water. Puddles turn to vapor. Rivers run thin and muddy while streams dry up entirely. Water is not impossible to get, but it’s always warm and in far scarcer supply than it had been.
Exceptional Success: If the character achieves an exceptional success on the extended roll (gaining five successes in total beyond what was necessary to activate the clause), she may add a stipulation to the clause that allows for those with dots in Mantle (Summer) to remain unaffected by the Scorched Earth effects.
Suggested Modifiers: Meditative Mind Merit (+1); Spring or Autumn (-1).