HERE MEN FROM THE PLANET EARTH FIRST SET FOOT UPON THE MOON
JULY 1969, A.D.
WE CAME IN PEACE FOR ALL MANKIND
The classroom of an inspirational teacher. A humble yet gifted artist's studio. The best, hardest working hospital in town and the underfunded free clinic opening against the odds in the most deprived area. A truly welcoming and tolerant church. The laboratory tirelessly working on the latest disease to evolve and the library that preserves wisdom of ages gone by. These are the Blessed places, they stand on a legacy of the very best of humanity.
Anyone touched by the Light - any Beacon, Sworn, Shikigami or Noble - feels her heart lift when she arrives in a Blessed area, though she may not realize why. The Storyteller rolls a dice pool of her base Sensitivity + the Beauty of the place; if the roll succeeds the character notices the Light-touched quality of the place she enters. If something is close to diminishing its Beauty, the same sense tells the character that there are Shadows on the place (on which, see below.)
Creating a Blessed PlaceEdit
Blessed places are formed when attempts to improve the world are performed with true passion and great skill. This can be as general as making something beautiful simply for the sake of beauty or as specific as helping one single person. A single but extraordinary act can create a Blessed place all by itself while others are formed by gradual accumulation. A Blessed Place has the following traits:
The Size of a Blessed place is measured on the Sanctuary scale. It's determined by the scale of the acts that created it - roughly, the number of people directly affected by them. Blessed areas can grow larger, if deeds inspired by those that made it are done close by.
Rated from 1 to 5, and determined by the level of excellence demonstrated by the acts that created the Blessed place. Their excellence may be aesthetic, intellectual or moral. The fame of the acts also influences Beauty; spreading the tale of a great deed far and wide often makes the Blessed place formed by it stronger.
To determine a Blessed Place's Beauty, find the class of the deed that made it in the table below. To determine its Size, estimate the number of people affected by it and consult the table.
|Class of deed||Beauty||People or area affected||Size|
|Minor: Creating beautiful art, original and useful research, successful humanitarian works||0||One person||0|
|Significant: Creating a masterpiece, a discovery that shapes a discipline, risking death to save others||1||Neighborhood||1|
|Multiple deeds accomplished over a long period||+1||Small town||2|
|Deeds required overcoming personal demons||+1||City||3|
|Deeds are accomplished at a great risk of ostracisation or social censure||+1||State, small country||4|
|Deeds are accomplished at great risk of injury or death||+1||Continent or world||5|
A Blessed place has from one to three Aspirations, the types of deeds it inspires people to imitate. These should be generally phrased, and reflect the people responsible for the place's creation - an artist motivated by his love of art? A scientist dedicated to discovery? A good Samaritan? It's unusual for a Blessed place to have more than one Aspiration, however great its Beauty; when it happens, it's generally thanks to a complicated history in which several people were doing very different things, which were nonetheless connected. A Blessed place must have at least 3 Beauty to support two Aspirations, and 5 Beauty to support three.
While they remain within a Blessed area, any mundane characters treat its Aspirations as their own - they gain a Beat if they fulfill one, their presence may add or open Doors in social maneuvers, and so on. Light-touched characters can do the same, while Dark creatures can't benefit at all; other supernatural beings may be swayed, at the Storyteller's discretion. Since the Aspirations belong to the place, they don't disappear when fulfilled - the place never loses its power to inspire - though each character may fulfill each Aspiration only once a session.
Furthermore, any action taken within the bounds of a Blessed place that directly opposes the fulfilling of any of its Aspirations takes a penalty equal to the place's Beauty rating. Conversely, any action that directly furthers one of the place's Aspirations takes a bonus equal to its Beauty. This effect applies to all characters: mundane, Dark, Light-touched, or other. Students feel inspired in the great artist's workshop, while bratty children feel guilty and hesitate in their boasts of one-upmanship within the tomb of past heroes.
Some Blessed places go beyond inspiring their visitors; they actually create subtle supernatural effects. A Blessed place may forgo one of its Aspirations to confer a Blessing on people of good will who enter it. Each Blessing is a permanent environmental Tilt that affects all characters in the area, except creatures of Darkness and the Tainted. These are a few Blessings that the Nobility have discovered:
- Calm: Characters with good intentions feel calm, alert and confident in the Blessed area. Any character who meditates in the Blessed area gains the Steadfast Condition [CofD 291], if they didn't have it.
- Defense: The Blessing turns aside violence. All characters gain +2 to their Defense.
- Health: The Blessing aids recovery from wounds. All characters heal damage in half the usual time, if they remain in the Blessed area.
- Integrity: The Blessing protects from psychic stress. All characters gain +1 to breaking point rolls not caused by their own actions.
- Resistance: The Blessing suppresses hostile magic. When a character resists a supernatural power, add +1 to the Attribute he uses.
- Willpower: The Blessing bolsters the will to act. All characters gain one temporary Willpower dot while in the Blessed area. Characters who have lost their souls [CofD 290] and Princesses who have fallen to Belief 0 have the Enervated and Thrall Conditions suppressed while they remain in the Blessed area; both Conditions return in full when a soulless character leaves.
Moments of GraceEdit
Those who spend time in a Blessed place often find their thoughts turning to things they could do to spread Light in the world. Any character (mundane or supernatural, it makes no odds) who remains in a Blessed place long enough may take a Vocation; a Princess may take one on top of the Vocation she already has. Such a Vocation, once accepted, remains until the character fulfills it, or either gains or loses a dot of Integrity (or the equivalent, for a supernatural being.) Vocations from Blessed places aren't replaced when fulfilled or lost. The Vocations given by a Blessed place match its Aspirations, or come as close as the character's nature allows.
The time a character must remain in a Blessed place until he may claim a Vocation from it depends on the Beauty the place has. Leaving the Blessed area for a little while is fine, but if a character leaves the area for longer than he's spent in it, the clock resets and he has to start over.
Corrupting a Blessed PlaceEdit
Every Blessed place is a treasure, and any nakama with knowledge of one is sure to do their best to protect it. So what do they need to protect it from?
- Taintings: Whenever an act generates Taint within a Blessed Place, the Blessed Place gains Shadows equal to the Severity of the act. If the evil that has been done can be mended in some way (the murderer found and brought to justice, for instance) before the end of the current story, then the Shadows dissipate; however, each Shadow left on a Blessed Place when a story ends reduces its Beauty by 1. If a Blessed place drops to 0 Beauty in this way, it is immediately destroyed. Any excess Shadows are lost, the last remnants of Light at least preventing a Tainted area from forming in its stead right away.
- Symbolic Opposition: Every Blessed place has a cause, some beautiful thing people did that has left its mark on the area. Actions which directly oppose this cause can make the beauty decay. Actions opposed to a Blessed place's Aspirations that nonetheless succeed may leave a Shadow on it, though only one Shadow can form in this way during a story. Like Shadows from taintings, this Shadow will reduce the area's Beauty unless removed by the current story's end.
- Example: Harriet is a true artist whose only motivation is to make the world a better place by creating things of beauty. Her dedication turns her studio into a small Blessed place. If her studio passed on to another artist who saw art merely as a way to get money and prestige - going against everything Harriet believed in then this could degrade and ultimately destroy the Beauty of her studio.
- Physical Destruction: The power of a Blessed place is held in its physical form. It is in the ancient stonework of a university whose scholars have added to mankind as a whole. It is in the trees of a forest where generations have found peace and strength. Destroying such things will damage a Blessed place. Every time the physical form of a Blessed place undergoes massive changes, enough that it is no longer recognizable as the same place, roll its Beauty. The number of successes on that roll becomes the new Beauty rating.