Artifact Concept

By York H. Dobyns (ydobyns@phoenix.Princeton.EDU)

**Flaming Feather**

I still can't make up my mind if this is munchkinizing or simply comic relief; I suppose it could be both, like K.K. Anyway, I thought I'd send it out to the list, so as to get it out of *my* head. This is, of course, a consequence of reading _Liber Reliquarum_.

Vapulan Essence Machines

Mortals have been known to say "You can't be too thin or too rich." The celestial version is "You can't have too much Essence." Even Superiors, with the ability to channel vast amounts of Essence, chronically need more than they have. One of the reasons Hell goes for quantities is that each individual being creates 1 Essence per day.

So naturally, the Demon Prince of Technology would love to mass-produce celestial artifacts that generated Essence and were themselves cheap to create. Failing that, if they turned some readily available corporeal commodity into Essence celestials could tap, that would be almost as good.

The first-generation product of this research effort is the Essence Machine, described below. The research project was halted after the first few Essence Machines were built, however: Vapula discovered the hard way that even with all their bugs and drawbacks these devices are enormously useful to Renegades, who are cut off from any Essence regeneration except their natural one and whatever artifacts may provide. Rumor has it, however, that the plans of the Essence Machine were stolen by a Renegade of Theft (or possibly of Dark Humor), and are available for a suitable price; it is one of the few artifacts that a solitary Enchanter, working alone, can create.

A typical Essence Machine is a box the size of an industrial microwave oven or dormitory-room refrigerator. It has a capacity of two Essence. It will fill itself after 24 hours of *uninterrupted* access to household line current or comparable electric power. It does not recharge while full -- the recharge time is exactly 24 hours from the last time it was emptied, or the last interruption of power, whichever is more recent. To get the Essence out, one must open the folding front panel and spend about 5-10 minutes adjusting the multitude of dials and verniers -- the gadget seems to be sensitive to every conceivable perturbing influence in the environment, possibly including rainfall rates on the third planet of Alpha Centauri A. One then grasps the two copper handles and uses a third hand to hit the big red "GO" switch. (A user interface designed for people with three hands is a *minor* nuisance by Vapulan design standards. A suitable Numinous Corpus, or the user's nose or forehead, will do in a pinch.) A substantial jolt of electricity zaps through the user's body, doing 1 hit of damage. If the controls were correctly set, it also deposits 2 Essence in the user.

Mechanics: Reliquary/1 (3 pts Base cost), +1 Essence Capacity (+2), Double Regeneration Rate (+5), Minor Regeneration Condition (-1) [LR notes that rate and conditions are separate categories], 5 minute invocation to use (-2), Does Body hits to user (-2) [1 point of damage as the base artifact is Level 1], Inconvenient Size (-2), Intelligence roll required for use (-1). Total cost 10 - 8 = 2; as this is more than half the base cost of 3, this is a legitimate application of Features as described in LR. If the Intelligence roll is failed, the user just takes the damage and doesn't get the Essence.

**Flaming Feather**

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