Living Armor Style Terrestrial Martial Art

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This martial art style was developed by the akuma Thousand Torments, a Lunar Exalt who in the madness of descent into Chimeradom sold her soul to She Who Lives In her Name. She discovered solace, of a sort. Now she exists as the Principle of Hierarchy’s principal tool for forging new weapons in the war against Creation. Taking the forms of all the first circle demons as her own, Thousand Torments has created new weapons from those demons.

The Living Armor Style is one of the more successful of Thousand Torment’s inventions. As the title suggest, the style was designed to be taught to the Peronelle, transforming the normally docile demon from a simple suit of protection into a powerful ally. The training necessary to teach the normally sluggish demons this style is not undertaken lightly: not only must the demon master a fighting style it is little inclined towards, it must also increase its permanent Essence in order to master the style. Only about one in ten Peronelle subjected to this training survive it. While this style has spread to virtually all Malfean dojos, it is virtually unheard of in Creation. Even knowing this style exists is Obscurity (5/5), though locating a specific Peronelle to summon probably requires a journey to Malfeas. Player characters may designate they know such a demon as a one dot ally and one who has mastered the style as a two dot ally or may gain the identity of a demon through a four dot Backing or Mentor from a demonic source. Player character Infernals may choose to have their Demonic Familiar know this style if they select the Familiar (Demonic) Background at four dots or more.

This style takes advantage of the naturally semi-liquid state of the Peronelle, but primarily focuses on the Peronelle’s ability to cover its hosts in its own body to offer protection. The keyword Encasing means that the Charm may only be used while the martial artist is coating someone else as a suit of living armor. This style is otherwise considered a Terrestrial Style.

Weapons and Armor: None. The Peronelle acts as its owner’s armor, and can wield no weapons.

Complementary Abilities: The harsh training of this style demands the subject have at least four dots of Resistance with at least one speciality in Withstanding Damage. Additionally while anyone with those skills and the proper enlightenment could theoretically learn the style, only those who can encase a subject as living armor in the same way a Peronelle can use any Charm with the Encasing keyword.

Death Denying Protection
Cost: 1m/hl Duration: Instant Type: Reflexive (Step 10)
Keywords: Combo-OK, Encasing
Mins: Martial Arts 2, Essence 1 Prereqs: None

When a Peronelle is struck while protecting its master, both itself and its master take damage from the attack. This may lead to the demon perishing while its master still fights, and that is simply unacceptable. The demon draws on its inherent nature to ward off death so long as its master lives. This Charm allows the Martial Artist to buy down health levels of damage during Step 10, costing 1m for each bashing or lethal health level so negated. This Charm has no effect on aggravated damage.

Sacheverell’s Armor
Cost: 2m Duration: Instant Type: Reflexive (Step 8)
Keywords: Combo-OK, Encasing
Mins: Martial Arts 3, Essence 1 Prereqs: Death Denying Protection

A Peronelle failing to protect its charge causes a minute rumble in the sleeping of Sacheverell, barely enough to even be noticed. But this rumble can echo down to the demon through their connection to Lucien and grant them increased fortitude in a critical moment. Activating this Charm adds (Martial Arts) to the demon’s Bashing and Lethal soak and (Essence) to its Hardness. This bonus stacks with all other sources of soak and hardness. As usual, the demons total soak and hardness is added to that of its wearer. This Charm also allows the demon to parry lethal attacks unarmed until its next action.

Threat-Sensing Awareness
Cost: 2m Duration: Instant Type: Reflexive (Step 2)
Keywords: Combo-OK, Encasing
Mins: Martial Arts 3, Essence 1 Prereqs: None

Normally a Peronelle’s protection is useless against attacks it cannot see coming, which means its purpose will go unfulfilled. Sensing the quivering flicker of Sacheverell, the Peronelle may expend two motes to make any attack upon its master expected to its senses. This may even apply if the Peronelle has not manifested any sense organs.

Pseudopod Shield Technique
Cost: 2m Duration: Instant Type: Reflexive (Step 2)
Keywords: Combo-OK, Encasing, Obvious
Mins: Martial Arts 4, Essence 2 Prereqs: Threat-Sensing Awareness

The Peronelle moves beyond being a passive defense as it develops this Charm. In a swirl of vaguely unsettling organic motion the mass of the Peronelle forms into a shield-shape psuedopod that intercepts an incoming attack intended for the Peronelle’s current master. When the Peronelle activates this Charm, it instantly takes a Speed 0/DV -0 Defend Other action shielding its current wearer. This Defend Other is always a Martial Arts-based defense. Because it detaches enough of itself to form a distinct mass, an attacker who bypasses the Peronelle’s DV may attack the demon instead of going on to try and bypass the wearer’s DV as normal. If the attacker does choose to continue to attack the wearer, the Peronelle’s soak still protect the wearer as normal.

Living Armor Form
Cost: 5m Duration: One Scene Type: Simple (Speed 3, DV -1)
Keywords: Form-Type, Encasing, Obvious
Mins: Martial Arts 4, Essence 2 Prereqs: Sacheverell’s Armor. Psuedopod Shield Technique

It is the ultimate nature of the Peronelle to protect its charge. When this form is adopted, the demon’s body begins to visibly shift and writhe across the body of its wearer, forming more into ropes and tendons than its normally singular and amorphous mass. When a non-Infernal Exalt displays any level of anima banner, their essence leaks through the demon as wispy streamers of green essence.

While this Charm is active, the Peronelle gains a number of “phantom” health levels of damage equal to its (Martial Arts). Whenever it or its wearer takes any damage, the Peronelle may choose to mark off these health levels on these “phantom” health levels first. These Health levels, once gone, may not be regained by reactivating this Charm until one hour has passed. Additionally, the Peronelle may activate the Charms Sacheverell’s Armor and Psuedopod Shield Technique without them counting as Charm activations.

Rending Tendrils Enhancement
Cost: 5m Duration: One Action Type: Reflexive (Step 1)
Keywords: Combo-OK, Encasing, Obvious
Mins: Martial Arts 5, Essence 2 Prereqs: Living Armor Form

Far from being a passive observer in the fight, a properly trained Peronelle is a weapon in its own right. Whenever its wearer makes an unarmed martial arts attack (this charm only works on truly unarmed attacks – not while using any weapons, nor can it enhance a Clinch) the Peronelle swirls itself around the attacking limb, forming a biting maw or vicious bony spurs at the point of impact. This effectively grants the wearer a weapon adding (Martial Arts) to the wearers Accuracy, (Strength) to their Damage and (Dexterity) to their Defense with that Unarmed attack, which becomes lethal if not already. The Peronelle must activate this Charm separately for each limb it wishes to enhance.

Vicious Entangling Mouths
Cost: 3m, 1wp Duration: Until released Type: Reflexive (Step 9)
Keywords: Combo-OK, Encasing, Obvious, Counterattack
Mins: Martial Arts 5, Essence 3 Prereqs: Rending Tendrils Enhancement

The Peronelle awakens an aggressive instinct most would find horrifyingly unexpected if they were familiar with a normal member of the species. Whenever its wearer is engaged in a Clinch (either as an initiator or a defender) the demon may activate this Charm. Doing so causes thirteen bone-barbed tendrils to erupt from the Peronelle’s mass, each ending in a small but vicious fanged maw. These tentacles wrap around the opponent, tearing into their flesh and biting down.

This counts as an Unblockable, Undodgeable attack that occurs during Step 9 against the other person in the Clinch. On the attack it prevents a response during Step 9, on the defense it is a counterattack. This attack does (Essence) lethal damage to the opponent. As well, the opponent suffers a -(Martial Arts) external penalty to all attempts to control or escape from the Clinch if this attack hits.

Fang and Sinew Carapace
Cost: 5m, 1wp Duration: One Scene Type: Simple (Speed 6, DV -3)
Keywords: Encasing, Obvious
Mins: Martial Arts 5, Essence 3 Prereqs: Living Armor Form

The Peronelle may only activate this Charm with the explicit consent of his wearer. When he does so the writhing mass of the demon sinks minature claws into a variety of chakra points around his hosts body, and forms into a suit of artificial musculature around the host. This process costs the host one lethal health level, which cannot be healed so long as this Charm is active. However, in exchange the Peronelle adds its power to the wearer’s, effectively raising its host’s Strength and Stamina by (Essence).

Meat Puppet Escape
Cost: 6m, 1wp Duration: Indefinite Type: Simple (Speed 3, DV -1)
Keywords: Encasing, Obvious, Combo-Basic
Mins: Martial Arts 5, Essence 3 Prereqs: Fang And Sinew Carapace

This Charm may only be activated if the master wearing the Peronelle has been rendered Incapacitated by bashing, lethal or aggravated damage. First this Charm moves the mass of the Peronelle over the wounds, clamping them down with needle-like teeth; this prevents the master from degenerating or dying except via deliberate further damage inflicted by an outside party. Also, while this Charm is active the Peronelle may operate its master’s body like a puppet, moving their limbs using the demon’s own strength and agility. All actions taken use the Peronelle’s stats, with a -1 internal penalty for operating via puppetry.

Activating this Charm also creates a supernaturally enforced Intimacy towards Escape. Any attempt to bypass this Intimacy become an Unacceptable Order. The Peronelle will flee any sources of potential danger for its master by the fastest means available to it, and seek a place of refuge. If it is aware of a location where its master can receive medical attention, it will bring the master there. Sorcerers would be wise to inform summoned Peronelle where they wish to be taken in such an event – if left to their own devices, most Peronelle consider Malfeas a place of refuge…

Transcendent Purpose Achievement
Cost: – Duration: Permanent Type: Permanent
Keywords: None
Mins: Martial Arts 5, Essence 3 Prereqs: Vicious Entangling Mouths, Meat Puppet Escape

Learning this Charm is not simply due to study: it is a matter of spiritual dedication of the highest ideal. A Peronelle may only learn this Charm after discovering a single master whom it is willing to dedicate the rest of its life to beyond all others, even Lucien. Needless to say, earning the trust of a demon to the degree it is willing to go past its creator to serve you is no easy task. Once accomplished, however, the benefits are manyfold.

First, the Peronelle gains a magical Intimacy of loyalty towards the master. Any social attack which would make the demon betray this Intimacy is an Unacceptable Order. Second, whenever the demon activates Living Armor Form while being worn by its single chosen master, it reduces the cost of all Living Armor Style Charms by 2m (to a minimum of 0m).

All content unless stated otherwise is ©2021 Chris McNeil. He can be contacted here. The banner picture is courtesy of Jason Heavensrun. You can find more of his stuff at Checkmate Studios.