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A spirit can use sphere rules to make it easier for him to learn or perform a Charm; they are naturally more facile at performing narrow tasks related to their spheres than they are at the flexible, wide-application magics that characterise the Exalted. When he learns a Charm, the spirit defines the sphere rules that apply to it; unless some supernatural effect intervenes, or the Charm text explicitly permits it, this is the only version of the Charm he may learn.
Charms & Sphere Rules
A Charm must have at least one sphere rule. It may have any number of additional sphere rules; each sphere rule beyond the first confers one of several benefits:
- Reduce Essence prerequisite by 1.
- Reduce Virtue prerequisite by 1.
- Reduce Willpower activation cost by 1.
- Reduce mote cost by 2.5 (rounding down).
- Change a Charm prerequisite; in the place of one of the Charms that would ordinarily be necessary to learn the Charm, the spirit must know some other Charm with the same sphere rule. The rule need not confer the same benefit. Note that this doesn't reduce the number of Charms that the spirit needs to know before learning the Charm in question; it simply allows some additional flexibility in his learning route.
The efficiency of sphere rules is not unlimited. Sphere rules cannot reduce the Trait minima of a Charm below 1, and they cannot eliminate the mote or Willpower component of a Charm's activation cost.
Ambrosia & Sphere Rules
When activating a Charm, a spirit can spend 1 ambrosia coin to ignore a Sphere rule that restricts that Charm. He can spend as many coins as his permanent Essence on a single Charm activation, but cannot reduce the number of Sphere rules restricting a Charm below 1. They can never completely escape the strictures of their nature.
- You must use this Charm to support your Dominion.
- You must use this Charm to attack your Scourge.
- You may only affect exemplars of a Sphere with this Charm.
Example: Teodozjia can only Essence Bite sacred objects. Venus' Touch of Grace only functions on people who are coveted.
- Only beings that retain this Sphere as a Dominion or Scourge; i.e. spirits that are mystically aligned in relation to it, can be affected by this Charm.
Example: The Unconquered Sun has a little-known variant of Materialise which he calls Pinioning of the Unrighteous in Glory, which he can use to cause spirits of darkness to take material shape.
- This non-instant Charm's effect is ignored while the affected being performs a specific Scourge action. If the affected ceases to perform this action, the effect resumes.
Example: Myeyng Evaporating Pool, a god of light, has a form of Disguise that ceases to function when he steps into shadows.
- This non-instant Charm ends instantly when the affected being performs a specific Baleful action.
Example: Wayang has a version of Inspire Mastery that increases the beneficiary's Stealth, but the beneficiary is completely unable to speak, read, or write, or he instantly bursts into view.
- This non-instant Charm's effect only applies to Auspicious actions of a specific Dominion.
Example: Hanushkawayk, the patron diety of con artists, has a form of Principle of Motion whose extra actions only allow him to make Performance and Larceny rolls.
- Using this Charm in the absence of your Dominion raises the difficulty of any associated rolls by 2. If there is no roll required when using the Charms normally, then using the Charm in the absence of your Dominion requires a difficulty 3 Essence+Virtue roll. This rule may be chosen multiple times; each additional iteration increases the difficulty by 1.
Example: Jorst, the Linowan forest god, finds it much more difficult to Track creatures once they have left the borders of Linowa.
- You may only use this Charm in an area that's part of your Dominion.
Example: The tiny god Melenggan of Three Hills Collapsed Village may only use Hurry Home successfully when he has not strayed too far away from it.
- You may not affect exemplars of a Sphere with this Charm.
Example: Lytek, because of his Darkness Scourge, cannot affect creatures of darkness with Memory Mirror or any of its related Charms.
- You must use this Charm to generate Dominion-related effects.
Example: Agatae may only use Uncanny Prowess in order to appear lofty and inscrutable.
- You may only use this Charm when you are in a situation regarding one of your Spheres that justifies the channelling of the Charm's associated Virtue.
Example: Hu Dai Liang may use one version of Materialise only when the honour of one of her armies is called into question on the field. She calls this Charm The Scarlet General Turns the Tide of Battle.
- Using this Charm in the presence of your Scourge raises the difficulty of any associated rolls by 2. If there is no roll required when using the Charms normally, then using the Charm in the presence of your Scourge requires a difficulty 3 Essence+Virtue roll. This rule may be chosen multiple times; each additional iteration increases the difficulty by 1.
Example: Nearly all gilmynes are Scourged by the Saigoth Gates; in their presence, all their Charms are humbled.
- To use this Charm, you must first perform a Dominion-related action.
Example: Wayang in his mediator aspect may only use the various blessings and curses upon mortals between whom he has just resolved a conflict.
- You cannot use this Charm to perform Scourge-related actions.
- You may not use this Charm in an area that's part of your Scourge.
Example: Isune Kisarer, an elemental of the western salt breeze, finds enclosed spaces abhorrently grounding. She is unable to Change her form in a place where the air is still.
- This Charm's effect is accompanied by a side effect that makes one of your Spheres obvious to observers.
Example: Bloody Hands exhibit their murderous aspect in all their Shapechanged forms because of the blood that constantly wells up from their claws.