Opus of Antiquity (Grimoire/Dire Chains •••••)
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By TheUnsungHero

Starmetal Grimoire/Dire Chains, Artifact •••••

Orphene Sagastorm was one of the first twilights to ever grace Creation. Receiving her second breath at the end of the great war of the gods, she showed no talent for combat, and yet she loved war. She displayed no skill at politics, yet she never missed a debate. She claimed no skill in the Occult, yet she studied books and scrolls from every corner of the globe. Orphene loved one thing before all others: history. She wanted to witness and record every major battle, every sweeping decree, every fact of history so that it was never lost to the ravages of time.

It was to this end that she set down to forging her masterwork. Together with her Sidereal partner, a woman of limitless patience, who loved Orphene despite being forever second to her thirst for knowledge, the twilight set to creating a single central tome to record her work. She wove the pages from the silk of pattern spiders, the binding from thin filiments of Starmetal, and the cover bound in the leather of a rare god-blooded elk blessed with immortality by the moon and the stars. The book was then wrapped with chains of solid Starmetal and fixed with a lock of pure Orichalcum which bared no keyhole.

The pages would keep only the events recorded by fate in the purest form through the eyes and words of its author. The binding and cover would keep the words eternal and unravaged by time, while also allowing an infinite number of pages to exist within its confines. The chains would keep the knowledge and power of infinite history written within contained and safely channeled. The lock would ensure none but those worthy of the book could ever release its potent power.

The Opus of Antiquity is a Starmetal Grimoire wrapped in Dire Chains. It functions as a weapon when it needs to, but is primarily designed as a record of history. The book may be carried with one hand, but when the chains are active, it must be wielded with two hands to contain the powers of the book in the absence of its restraints. When not in use, the chains will retract to bind the book closed and the lock will snap shut, once again containing the power of the Opus.

Evocations of Opus of Antiquity

When a Solar or Sidereal spends the cost of 7 motes to attune to the Opus of Antiquity, the exalt can feel through the chains that bind the ancient tome. With but a thought, the unbreakable lock on these ancient restraints snaps open and the chains come alive. The Starmetal chains move in accordance to the will of the wielder and can extend beyond their apparent length to accomplish their goal within Close range. For all intents and purposes, these function as Dire Chains with the usual tags under the control of their wielder.

The exalt may substitute their Lore rating for Melee or Martial Arts to control the chains, but then the cap for dice added from charms is half the normal pool rounded up. Attacks with the chains may be enhanced as normal with Martial Arts or Melee charms, but must use the appropriate ability rating to do so.

Unbound Knowledge
Cost: 2m Mins: Essence 1
Type: Supplemental
Keywords: Uniform
Duration: Instant
Prerequisites: None

The chains that hold the Opus of Antiquity are attuned to knowledge, and can reveal it as easily as withhold it. An successful attack supplemented by Unbound Knowledge reveals a single piece of information about the target chosen by the exalt upon activating this evocation.

  • The highest rated combat ability and its strength (number of dots). If used multiple times, this evocation reveals the next highest combat ability, or the highest non-combat ability if none remain
  • An Intimacy that is actively being pursued or defended at the moment and its intensity. If used multiple times, this reveals another related Intimacy and so on until no applicable Intimacies remain
  • The target’s permanent Essence or Willpower score

Only 1 piece of knowledge may be revealed per attack. If the exalt knows at least 2 pieces of knowledge about a foe, they increase all defenses against that target by 1. This increase is a non-charm bonus.

Facts discovered through means other than this power cannot benefit Opus of Antiquity or its evocations and must still be revealed through this Unbound Knowledge. All discovered facts fade from the Opus’ knowledge at the end of the scene.

Primer of Yesteryear
Cost: 5m Mins: Essence 1
Type: Simple
Keywords: None
Duration: One Scene
Prerequisites: None

The Opus is a history book without peer and the words within it are a living document of the past. When the exalt faces a problem to be solved through Bureaucracy, Investigation, Lore, or Occult, they may attempt to use the Opus of Antiquity to help aid them.

When the exalt successfully introduces an original fact that explains a past event in history and how it tangentially relates to a current subject or problem, the wielder may open the Opus and channel the event through it. The historical event referenced then appears as a ghostly image before the exalt and any gathered. The display shows the event accurately, but the only sound that plays is the narration of the event as recorded by the original author. By spending a scene analysing this projection, the exalt gains a flash of insight into the current predicament and gains the lower of 3 or Essence non-charm automatic successes on a roll to learn or apply such knowledge. This event cannot be referenced for the same purpose more than once.

Special Activation Rules: Primer of Yesteryear only unlocks to an exalt who has spent either a season or a story studying the lessons and stories of the Opus of Antiquity. This means at least 8 hours of study a week for the duration.

Art of War
Cost: 4m, 1+A Mins: Essence 2
Type: Reflexive
Keywords: Counterattack
Duration: Instant
Prerequisites: Unbound Knowledge

The Opus of Antiquity contains knowledge of strategums and maneuvers from dozens of histories famous and infamous warlords. By channeling this knowledge, the exalt gains insight into how to counter the actions of their foes.

Once the exalt has gathered at least 3 pieces of knowledge about a foe revealed via Unbound Knowledge, they may reflexively activate Art of War in response to a gambit from that target. Declared after a successful attack roll but before the gambit is rolled, the exalt may spend the cost of the evocation and shed levels of their anima to increase the difficulty of the gambits being attempted by 1 per Anima level.

If the attacking gambit is unsuccessful after using Art of War, the wielder may reflexively attempt to counter with an identical gambit if they haven’t used their combat action yet this round.

Adversary Composition
Cost: 10m, 1wp Mins: Essence 3
Type: Simple
Keywords: Decisive-Only
Duration: One Scene
Prerequisites: Art of War

Through knowledge of a thing, one can begin to understand its nature. Through knowledge of nature, one can transfigure the understanding of a thing. When the exalt knows at least 5 pieces of knowledge revealed via Unbound Knowledge, they may unleash a special gambit attack against foe that warps a quality of their nature. This attack is a shaping effect and is subject to any rules that interact with such.

On a successful gambit at difficulty equal to the target’s Essence, the exalt chooses an aspect to alter in their target. For every 2 threshold successes on the gambit roll, the exalt may select an additional effect to inflict upon their foe.

  • Alter the emotional context of a Tie or swap the context (positive/negative) of a Principle
  • Swap the intensities of two revealed Intimacies
  • Swap the rating of a revealed combat ability with that of a revealed non-combat ability
  • Swap Personal/Peripheral essence pools
  • Swap Essence and Willpower ratings. Temporary Willpower above the new permanent rating is reduced by an equal number
  • Other effects may be negotiated with Storyteller. All effects must be a swapping of current states, never created or eliminated ones

All changes last for the rest of the scene before fading away and reverting to normal.

Doctrine of History
Cost: 10m Mins: Essence 3
Type: Simple
Keywords: None
Duration: 8 hours
Prerequisites: Primer of Yesteryear

For an exalt that has learned to truly harness their Essence, the Opus of Antiquity lies waiting for their contribution. The lorekeeper activates the evocation and then spends at least 8 uninterrupted hours recording every conceivable detail of a significant event that they have personally witnessed. The cost of this evocation is committed for the duration of the recording, and if the session is interrupted, the power deactivates and the words the exalt recorded evaporate from the pages as dust in a breeze.

At the end of this session, the Opus of Antiquity glows brightly with starry light as the words are committed to the tome forever. The recorded event is forever bound to the Opus and may be recalled in the future via Primer of Yesteryear. Additionally, the exalt who recorded it is granted a free permanent specialty pertaining to the subject of which they wrote. Finally, spending time recording events in the Opus is considered a magically accelerated training session. Training times for raising a single knowledge-based non-combat Ability, or Mental-based Attribute may be completed entirely during the duration of Doctrine of History.

This evocation cannot be used more than once per story unless reset by using Primer of Yesteryear to resolve another significant situation.

Special Activation Rules: Doctrine of History may only be learned after the exalt resolves at least 3 problems or situations thanks to the evocation Primer of Yesteryear, as learning to understand the function and flow of the recorded history and its powers is crucial to properly contributing to the volume.

Yarn of Battle
Cost: 10m, 1wp, +(5+m, 1+wp) Mins: Essence 4
Type: Simple
Keywords: None
Duration: One Scene
Prerequisites: Doctrine of History

The stories of many great and terrible battles are recorded in the pages of the Opus of Antiquity. At the decree of the lorekeeper, the armies of these battles stand ready to be commanded. Activating Yarn of Battle causes misty images of armies long forgotten to appear before the exalt. This army is not made of spirits, they are simply reflections of history and are very real to the foes of the exalt.

This evocation creates a Battlegroup of Battle Ready Troops. The context of their appearance is left at the behest of the wielder based on which battle they were summoned from, but their stats remain the same. Yarn of Battle creates a Size 1 group with Poor Drill, and Might 0. However, for every 5 additional motes spent on the activation, the exalt may increase the Size by 1. For every additional Willpower spent, they may increase the Drill by 1. By increasing the reset of this evocation to one Season, the exalt may Increase the Might to 1.

This Battlegroup is loyal to the wielder of the Opus and vanishes at the end of the scene. This evocation may only be used once per day unless extended to 1 season as written above.

Special Activation Rules: Yarn of Battle may only be learned after the exalt has contributed the story of at least 3 significant events to the Opus of Antiquity via the evocation Doctrine of History.

Saga Convocation
Cost: 15m, 1wp Mins: Essence 5
Type: Reflexive
Keywords: Decisive-Only
Duration: Instant
Prerequisites: Yarn of Battle, Adversary Composition

The greatest power of the Opus of Antiquity is its terrifying ability to absorb the heroes of past generations. Those upon death’s door who willingly submit to the will of the Opus may choose to become a champion of the book instead of dying. This power effectively removes the will of the subject (and removing their ability to be a PC) making them a slave to the book and records them as an echo within the pages of the tome.

Alternately, when a Decisive attack with the Opus of Antiquity successfully deals a foe’s last health level of damage, the exalt may reflexively activate Saga Convocation attempt to force the foe into the book instead of killing them. This functions as a contested permanent Willpower roll, with a bonus or difficulty of the difference between (exalt’s Resolve - target’s Resolve). On a failure, the target dies normally instead.

All such characters absorbed into the Opus are pulled in via the Soulsteel chains and are considered Retainers. Yarn of Battle upgrades upon learning Saga Convocation to allow the summoning of these champions for the base evocation cost with no ability to upgrade them. These champions are much more potent than the echoes of armies long past, retaining their charms, abilities, and other powers. However, the Opus struggles to contain such power, and using a champion in this manner releases it at the end of the scene. The tome may contain no more than 3 champions at a time.

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