Hearthstones are orbs about an inch in diameter that are formed from strong deposits of Essence. Hearthstones only function when set into an Artifact slot. I’ve imported some helpful information which I will display below for your review and I can acquire more data if you’re interested through the Grid.
Hearthstones are formed in much the same way Elementals are. When enough Essence collects at a certain point, usually from a Demesne or a Manse, the Essence forms a solid orb which then spontaneously gives rise to a spirit contained within the stone. Hearthstones have different abilities and levels of power depending on a number of factors including the intensity of the Essence collection that formed them and the types of elemental Essence nearby. Once a Hearthstone has formed, it can then be removed from the location and usually another will begin to take shape in its place. Some Hearthstones are more powerful than others and take longer to naturally form but, assuming no geomantic interruptions to where they’re created and the Hearthstones are continually harvested, a site will indefinitely continue to produce Hearthstones.
One of the most interesting aspects of a Hearthstone is that, once removes from its location, it begins to absorb ambient Essence and the spirit continues to grow in power (which in turn makes the Hearthstone more powerful). This means that more powerful, not quite fully formed Hearthstones can be removed early from the place where they’re formed and “nurtured” into maturation. Also, less powerful Hearthstones will begin to develop new powers after they absorb enough ambient Essence. Typically Hearthstones develop faster in the presence of those that can wield Essence, such as enlightened humans and Dragon Blooded, since they have a greater concentration of Essence around them at any given time. Hearthstones must also be socketed in an Artifact since it’s the magical material that channels ambient Essence into the Hearthstone itself.
Hearthstone House Rules
Martin wants Hearthstone to be more like materia and no one puts baby in corner, so here’s what we came up with:
Hearthstones no longer provide Essence when socketed in an Artifact and Hearthstones must be socketed in an Artifact to confer their benefit. Further, a specific type of Hearthstone is required to power an Artifact (see below).
A Manse or Demesne will continue to produce Hearthstones indefinitely. Jury’s out on this one but I think Hearthstones will form at a rate of 1 dot per year. We’ll probably have custom Manse powers for forming Hearthstones faster.
Hearthstones earn experience when socketed in an Artifact that is used regularly using the following progression:
Level 1 – 0xp
Level 2 – 5xp
Level 3 – 10xp
Level 4 – 25xp
Level 5 – 45xp
Hearthstone experience is awarded separately and a Hearthstone is eligible for experience points when socketed in an Artifact which is actively used by a player for the majority of the game. We’ll probably award partial experience points for partial use.
Upon reaching Level 5, the Hearthstone spontaneously reproduces another Hearthstone at Level 1. If matured, this new Hearthstone will develop identically with more powerful abilities manifesting when the Hearthstone reaches the required level.
Manse and Hearthstone are now two separate Backgrounds. The good news is that Hearthstones can usually be purchased for their Rating +1 Resources when available (just like Artifacts) because they’re more common in this Campaign.
New Types of Hearthstones
Since we’re changing up how Hearthstones work to give the game a more fantasy tech field, I’d like to introduce a few new types of Hearthstones and encourage players to do the same.
The Hearthstone confers no benefit other than it has a powerful spirit contained within that can be summoned forth. The spirit is completely loyal to the Hearthstone owner and uses its own traits and Essence pools when summoned forth. Calling out a spirit requires the wielder expend (Hearthstone Rating x 5) motes as a diceless, Speed 6 Miscellaneous action which cannot be placed in a flurry and remain for the duration of the Scene. Spirits vary by Hearthstone depending on the aspect and can include anything from Elementals to Demons. Still juggling how I’m going to stat summoned spirits but they probably wont crest Essence 3 and be roughly akin to a Familiar of equal background rating.
Here are some additional Hearthstones to round out what we’re missing and give Exalted a little more of a FF7 feel.
These Hearthstones confer no other benefit than to allow the wielder to respire the Hearthstone rating additional motes every hour.
These Hearthstones confer no benefit other than to power the Artifact that they’re socketed in. Use their rating when the Artifact calls for a Hearthstones of a certain power rating. Otherwise the Hearthstone can power an Artifact with an attunement requirement of up to (its Rating x 2) motes.