There is no force in creation more vast and destructive than the storm. One storm can encompass a city, a nation, or even an entire region. Not the works of humans or the landscape itself can escape its reshaping effects. For a purely elemental force, weather is an extremely powerful one. Therefore, this style can only redirect the force of a storm - for no power save that of the gods can master it.
The Dragon-Blooded sifus that teach this Terrestrial Style believe it is only a hundred or so years old, developed by a great master who vanished after completing the first several students' training. They believe that the great master plays some part with the Bureau of Seasons, and will sometimes still appear to test his students' students, or impart wisdom by leaving behind scrolls. Although not the complete truth, it is surprisingly close.
Rainfall Tempest Style was created by a Sidereal Exalt who sought an alternative method of initiation into the Sidereal Martial Arts. While it fails in that function, the creator did develop an unusual Terrestrial Martial Art Style. The identity of this Sidereal is not known, but it is thought to have been a Chosen of Secrets, a Chosen of Journeys, or a Chosen of Endings. No one has thus far come forth to claim creative responsibility. However, some Gold Faction members have noticed that certain Bronze Faction inner circle members keep a careful watch on the Dragon-Blooded who are able to master this style. Rainfall Tempest Style's Essence manipulations are extremely subtle and difficult considering its place at the Root of the Perfected Lotus. As such, the enlightenment a practitioner could gain by mastering it is equally subtle and potent.
Perhaps because it was created as an experiment in Essence manipulations, practitioners do not generally use this style for combat. This does not mean that the Charms are useless in combat, just that this martial art style does not represent a comprehensive method of attack and defense. Most practitioners will want to rely on other styles or abilities for greater versatility and power. Indeed, potential students generally learn another style to its completion before sifus of Rainfall Tempest Style will bother to test the students' worthiness. At the very minimum, a Dragon-Blooded must have learned up to a Form Charm in another Terrestrial Martial Art before they can master the first Charm. Celestial Exalts, or any Dragon-Blooded who have initiated into Celestial Martial Arts, do not bear this restriction. While Rainfall Tempest Style is not a Celestial Martial Art, it does require a sophisticated understanding of Essence before its potent Charms can be grasped. As such, and at the Storyteller's discretion, mastering Rainfall Tempest Style could suffice as an initiation into the Bulb of the Perfected Lotus (but not the Blossom of the Perfected Lotus, as it was originally hoped).
Students who learn this style typically find training to be more difficult than the other martial art style they learned previously. This is because spiritual training is more greatly emphasized than physical prowessâ€”no tiny being could ever hope to harness the speed of lightning, or the might of thousands of raindrops all falling at once. Instead, students must endure the harsh abuse of a raging storm while mimicking its unpredictable and subtle patterns by making tiny motions or taking imperceptibly slow steps. At the same time, students also attend closely to the ebb and flow of the unceasing storm to learn how to shape their physical movements and even their anima. Advanced students spend hours within the heart of a storm's fury, practically motionless, while causing their fully manifested anima banner to match the speed and direction of the wind, to redirect the falling rain in new ways, or to allow each and every raindrop to strike the earth without ever touching their anima's manifested elements.
Given the difficult and sometimes dangerous training methods, sifus are careful about the students they accept. Sifus also generally make an effort to measure a studentâ€™s morality and motivation for learning Rainfall Tempest Style. Many of the Charms have applications for social combat, so most sifus turn away those who desire social domination over spiritual enlightenment; one common test is to assign a demeaning, filthy chore and to watch the studentâ€™s reaction to jeers and taunts, and also how soon after the student attends to her grooming. Despite the difficulty of earning admittance to a dojo, or perhaps because of it, dozens of students arrive every year in areas where intense weather is frequent (e.g. the Storm Coast on the Blessed Isle, certain of the Western islands, or even the bitterly cold Northern tundra), because these places are where the dojos of the greatest sifus can be found.
Rainfall Tempest Style is very brief, consisting of just five Charms. Each of these Charms has a higher and a lower aspect, similar in form to the higher and lower souls of the living Exalts who practice this style. The lower aspect is the purely elemental force that manifests in a visually apparent manner while performing each Charm. The higher aspect is its essential focus and, like the Essence that comprises storms, is both compelling and subtle. When combined, these aspects create an exceedingly obvious, yet somewhat esoteric, Charm. Practitioners can also choose to perform just the higher aspect of the Charm, rendering it less powerful but more covert. Omitting the lower elemental aspect reduces the cost of the Charm by two motes but the practitioner does not gain the lower aspect's benefit. However, the obscure nature of the higher aspect makes attempts to either see or manipulate the Charm more difficult, adding the martial artist's permanent Essence to the difficulty to do so (or in cases where no roll would ordinarily be made, requiring an appropriate ability roll on the part of the observer with a difficulty of the martial artistâ€™s permanent Essence). This effect is similar to the way in which Essence is channeled for stealth Charms, and has been known to resist scrying, Charm redirection, and even Essence draining effects.
Learning the Rainfall Tempest Style focuses an artist's Essence in peculiar ways, impacting the character's personal Destiny in series where Storytellers use that optional background. Wherever possible, the improbable circumstances that Destiny fabricates for a character involve the weather, especially storms or their aftermath. For example, a character facing imprisonment for a crime might find that all the witnesses against her are delayed by a blizzard, or the soldiers who would arrest her cannot find the way when the road is washed out. Such incidents become commonplace for some Rainfall Tempest practitioners.
Weapons and Armor: The following weapons (as well as their magical material equivalents) can be used with this style as though attacking unarmed: scythe, kama, sickle, war boomerang, and spread-the-water knife. Each of these weapons consists of a curved blade that comes to a point, and each is gripped horizontally to the blade. Rainfall Tempest Style Charms cannot be used with any armor not composed entirely of wind and rain (as usual, Charms that provide natural soak are permissible).
Complementary Abilities: Practitioners of Rainfall Tempest Style train under harsh conditions and generally have Resistance of at least two. They must also have a sophisticated understanding of weather and its Essence patterns, requiring a skill in Occult of at least two and also in either Sail or Survival of at least two as well. Many sifus are qualified to teach weather-based thaumaturgy in addition to martial arts. Furthermore, due to their frequent contact with storms, many practitioners make alliances with thunderbirds and carry talismans to ward away storm serpents.
Dark Horizon Advent
Cost: 3 motes
Mins: Martial Arts 3, Essence 2
Keywords: Combo-OK, Obvious (unless not)
Prerequisite Charms: None unless Dragon-Blooded or mortal; for these individuals, any Form-type Charm from any Terrestrial Martial Art Style or initiation into the Bulb of the Perfected Lotus
A storm gathers and helpless eyes can only watch and wonder what will befall them. The thickness of the air changes, humidity rises, and hair stands on end with electric force; none can ignore the dire portents. And while preparations can be made to withstand the storm, nothing can be done to avoid it. This Charm is activated reflexively while taking a Join Battle or Join Debate action.
Students of Rainfall Tempest Style have watched the approach of countless storms during their training. They learn to adopt the elemental mien of an oncoming storm: the area around them darkens with thick humidity, a subtle breeze picks up, static electricity may increase, and even distant rumbling might be audible. These elemental manifestations warn everyone not completely distracted that the martial artist is ready for conflict. During the martial artist's first action following the Join Battle or Join Debate action, she ignores a target's dodge DV or dodge MDV for a social or physical attack. The martial artist may only benefit from this effect once for any Join Battle or Join Debate action and she cannot use it after her first action.
Believing that a storm could arrive at any moment is a side effect of the training methods for Rainfall Tempest Style. Nonetheless, this higher aspect allows students to be ready for danger sooner than others. The martial artist adds a number of automatic successes equal to her permanent Essence for a Join Battle or Join Debate action. When just the higher aspect is used to quicken the martial artist's reactions, the Charm is known as Heedless Behind Shuttered Window.
Brutal Salvation Mandate
Cost: 4 motes
Mins: Martial Arts 4, Essence 2
Keywords: Combo-Basic, Touch, Obvious (unless not)
Prerequisite Charms: Dark Horizon Advance
The storm rages in violent upheaval whilst its beneficial effects go unnoticed. Blemishes of land and sea are scoured away and the roots of tree and sedge are nourished by the life-giving waters. While practicing this Charm, the martial artist washes away impurities and restores a target's pristine qualities. Generally, valid targets are objects that have some manner of taint (e.g. poisoned wells, diseased wounds, weapons coated with toxin, or even raw ores that have yet to be smelted). With appropriate reasoning, living beings might also be valid targets. And if nothing else, someone subjected to this treatment receives a thorough washing. While activating this Charm, the martial artist drums her fingers lightly upon the object she wishes purified.
Having seen countless examples of the nourishing effects of storms, the martial artist utilizes the lower aspect of this Charm in the same way. Wind and water inundate the object or area the martial artist wishes to affect. Objects cannot be more than twice her size, but she may extend the effect to within an area equal to her permanent Essence in yards around her. In its beneficent aspect, the rainwater can do no harm to anything to which it is applied. It spiritually cleanses the target, reducing its taint by an amount equal to the martial artist's permanent Essence score. This quantity is generally equal to what a normal appropriate roll could accomplish with an equal success threshold. Using this Charm multiple times accumulates successes on the purification task. While it can slowly leech poison out of food, it would take years to purify all the walls in a fortress. This Charm can be used to supplement an actual Craft or other ability roll related to removing impurities and the like. When doing so, the martial adds twice her permanent Essence in automatic successes to the roll. Furthermore, Charms of non-related abilities can explicitly be placed in combos with this Charm for these purposes (e.g. medicine Charms when curing mental illness).
Knowing that flaws can simply be washed away gives the martial artist a callous and almost idealistic view of the flaws in the world and in people. The higher aspect also gives her an intimate and spiritual insight into others' weaknessesâ€”the target of the martial artist's gesture is left vulnerable and 'known' to the martial artist (as such, this Charm cannot be performed on people or things she has never seen before). All of a targetâ€™s DVs for either physical or mental attacks by the martial artist are reduced by the martial artist's Compassion score until the he next makes a 'damaging' attack. This attack is necessarily non-destructive; if a target would have been physically killed or mentally broken by an attack augmented by the higher aspect, they are instead rendered Incapacitated or Inactive, whichever is appropriate. The higher aspectâ€™s bonus is applicable for objects that benefit from a defense value (e.g. a carried possession of another), and for people who are tainted in some fashion (e.g. through infected injury, poison or disease, or the insane belief that the Anathema are actually the saviors of the world). When just the higher aspect is performed, the Charm is known as the Caress for the Beloved Foe.
Rainfall Tempest Form
Cost: 5 motes
Mins: Martial Arts 4, Essence 3
Keywords: Form-type, Obvious (unless not)
Prerequisite Charms: Brutal Salvation Mandate
The storm arrives. Some are caught entirely unprepared. Some are brave or foolish enough to face the peril. But in the midst of the storm, all are subjected to uncertainty. Sometimes the rains and winds diminish before returning in even greater strength. Sometimes the greatest fury yields to a soft drizzle. Sometimes the clouds break and calm settlesâ€”until the next wave begins.
When the martial artist mimics the storm's inscrutable motions in her soul, the lower elemental aspect manifests as waves of wind and rain. Varying between a fine mist carried on a gentle breeze and pounding hail hurled by massive gusts, she becomes a capricious force whose strength cannot be measured and whose goals cannot be divined. Any non-magical attempt to discern information about the martial artist by observing her characteristics automatically fails. This includes information about whether she is being truthful, her intimacies and motivations, what combat or social move she will perform next, her mental state or general physical health, or even whether or not she knows how to use the weapon she is holding. This effect does not prevent obtaining information based on her physical presence and actionsâ€”she can still be perceived, and deductions can be drawn based upon her actions and words, because these determinations are made internally by the observer. For example, if the martial artist stands in lone defense of a village against a Realm legion, it is clear that she is doing so and it can be assumed that she will probably lose; however, her motivation for doing so, her combat ability and strategy, and physical health are not known. Magical attempts to gain information about the martial artist do not automatically fail, but provide the martial artist a reflexive roll to resist the scrutiny of (Appearance + permanent Essence) at a difficulty equal to the observerâ€™s permanent Essence. This includes Charms such as All-Encompassing Sorcerer's Sight or Judge's Ear Technique, artifacts that grant Essence Sight, and other similar effects. If the martial artist performs just the higher aspect of another Charm in this style, it essentially turns attempts to discern the martial artistâ€™s Charm use into a contested roll with a difficulty of the otherâ€™s permanent Essence.
So closely is the Rainfall Tempest Stylist attuned to storms through the higher aspect of the Form, that she becomes one with the elements. She is no longer hindered by weather and its effects and ignores environmental and vision penalties resulting from weather; mist or snow no longer blinds her, buffeting wind no longer pushes her, bone-chilling hail no longer freezes her, and uneven footing due to snow or rain-soaked mud no longer cause her to stumble. Larger hazards brought about by weather such as floods, avalanches, and lightning strikes are the acts of gods and thus this Form provides no special defense against them. Additionally, the martial artist's soul is strengthened by storms, allowing her to regain an additional number of motes per hour equal to her permanent Essence when exposed to a moderately harsh storm or harsher. The benefits of the higher aspect of the Form are only derived by purely natural weather patterns. Storms brought about by sorcery, artifacts, and the Charms of spirits and Exalts affect the martial artist normally unless the description of the effect explicitly states that it is a natural one. Performing just the higher aspect of the Form greatly enhances a Rainfall Tempest Stylist's movements and actions in storms, and this is known as Becoming the Hurricane Avatar.
Zeal and Clamor Prayer
Cost: 5 motes
Mins: Martial Arts 5, Essence 3
Keywords: Combo-OK, Touch, Obvious (unless not)
Prerequisite Charms: Rainfall Tempest Form
Lightning strikes with tremendous force, scarring body and disrupting soul. In resounding testimony, peals of thunder echo everywhere. The message: a storm is here; and it is very angry.
The Rainfall Tempest Stylist dedicates a sliver of her soul to this prayer, and her soul becomes a little less each time the prayer is performed. Many wise sifus believe that frequent practitioners hollow out their souls unless they regularly expose themselves to rainstorms to replenish their spirit. While no records exist of a Rainfall Tempest Stylist actually suffering soul damage or dying through the use of this Charm, there is an apocryphal story of a rainmaker who desperately performed this Charm to combat a terrible drought. At the end, the martial artist was no longer able to commune with the storms or perform this style, and was last seen weeping and beating themselves and lamenting their undeserved fate. Sifus claim that the ghost of this practitioner still wanders the world, hating the very thing they no longer know how to love.
The low aspect of this Charm is the literal expression of its elemental nature. A brilliant bolt of light illuminates everything for a second, and is shortly followed by thunderous noise. As electricity must be conducted through a medium, this is not a ranged attack unless placed in a combo with Elemental Bolt Attack or another appropriate ranged Essence attack. The lightning adds an additional 3L to the martial artistâ€™s attack for every dot of her permanent Essence. This damage may be soaked normally by armor and natural defenses, but it ignores the target's hardness. The lightning may be an unexpected attack if delivered through an ambiguous contact, such as a handshake (but the bonuses for the hit and the martial artist's strength do not apply). The thunderclap spreads in a shockwave out to the martial artist's permanent Essence x 3 yards, inflicting knockback with no save on all unfortunate targets whose (Stamina + Resistance) is less than the martial artist's permanent Essence. Those actually struck by the attack must also roll (Stamina + Resistance) or be stunned (-2 dice on all non-reflexive actions until martial artist's next action; Exalted 2nd, pg. 153). If they would have rolled anyway due to the damage taken, the difficulty of the roll is increased by the martial artist's permanent Essence.
The high aspect of this prayer fully aligns the martial artist's soul with the Essence of storms, allowing the practitioner to draw upon this sympathetic link. Each performance of the Zeal and Clamor Prayer increases the chance that a rainstorm will occur, by five percent cumulatively. Such storms are inherently natural elemental events, so the timing of arrival and the severity depend upon the locale and the season. This Charm grants no special control over the storm beyond its summoning. When just the higher aspect of this Charm is performed, the martial artist strikes the ground instead of a target, and it is known as Mad Farmer Curses Barren Soil.
Faith in Storms Valediction
Cost: 6 motes, 1 willpower
Mins: Martial Arts 5, Essence 4
Keywords: Social, Emotion, Illusion, Obvious (unless not)
Prerequisite Charms: Zeal and Clamor Prayer
Its fury spent, the storm abates, and a banner of light brightens the sky. This rainbow is a symbol to all who behold it. It convinces them that the storm was truly good, or if not it suggests that at least all is well now, or if not it reminds them that danger can also sometimes reveal great beauty.
The lower aspect of this Charm may not be performed unless the martial artist has manifested a visible anima banner. For those Rainfall Tempest Stylists that lack an anima banner, natural weather conditions may be substituted (Exalted may do so as well, but rarely bother). In an exceedingly dramatic display, the lower aspect of the Valediction transforms the martial artist's manifested anima. For most Exalts, the typical anima displays of their kind are supplemented by rainbows, appearing as haloes, reflections, perverse highlights, or in a fashion appropriate to the Exalt and her anima's imagery. This in no way alters the icon or obscures the Exalt's spiritual identity, it simply incorporates new patterns into the martial artist's Essence. For Dragon-Blooded, the destructive nature of the anima is converted into harmlessly beautiful patterns of light. For the rest of the scene, the Dragon-Blooded martial artist's anima, manifested at any level, no longer inflicts harm on her surroundings. For many water and earth aspects, the colors of the rainbow are instead a shifting iridescence similar to mother-of-pearl.
All who look upon the anima rainbows dancing about the martial artist are moved by their beauty. The social effects that result constitute unnatural mental influence, and affect everyone who directly looks upon the martial artist. Those who see the rainbows immediately experience feelings of awe, admiration, and reverence for the martial artistâ€”spending a point of temporary willpower allows victims to make a Conviction roll with a difficulty of the martial artistâ€™s permanent Essence to force themselves to hate beauty, thereby shaking off the effect. Additionally, those who see the martial artist are subject to an illusion effect that creates the belief that all is wellâ€”there is no further need for violence, harsh words, or hasty actions. Taking any combative or unpeaceable action is not possible unless the individual spends a temporary willpower point and achieves a number of successes equal to the individualâ€™s Temperance on an Essence + Valor roll; after spending a number of willpower points equal to the martial artistâ€™s permanent Essence (reduced by one point for every dot of permanent Essence the individual has greater than the martial artist), the illusion is no longer believed by that individual. Finally, those who gaze upon the martial artist, and fail or botch a willpower roll, immediately believes that she, or a cause she suggests, is worthy of personal commit. If the martial artist is encouraging commitment to her or a cause by using other actions and Charms during that scene, she receives a bonus of one automatic success to do so. This intimacy must be discarded in the usual ways, and is impossible to do so during the scene it was formed (short of powerful magics).
Those who master Rainfall Tempest Style forever after hold a spiritual rainbow in their soul. Channeling Essence through this brightest aspect of storms holds back the drear. Creatures of darkness, entities that have never look upon real rainbows, and those who hold no cheer in their hearts (you know who you are) can do little to dampen the martial artistâ€™s spirit. Any attempt by such beings to manipulate the martial artistâ€™s emotions automatically fails. Furthermore, direct attacks against the martial artist by such beings are less effective, reducing the final damage inflicted by oneâ€”whether physical health levels, points of temporary willpower, or even steps of limit. When just the higher aspect of this Charm is invoked, typically when encountering the gloomiest of foes, it is known as Scintillating Heart of the Rainbow Warrior.