20 December 2018

IVAN: Atavus Day Release

Atavus, the god of charity and munificence, brings you the gift of a new release of IVAN. Download it here.

 
Changes:
  • Added Freedom for Tweraif victory.
  • Added crafting.
  • Considerably reworked Lobh-se.
  • Added new shields, amulet, wand and artifacts.
  • Added several new materials.
  • Buffed regeneration. It now both regrows limbs and speeds up restoration of HP.
  • Stamina cost reworked. It will decrease more slowly, balancing powerful artificial limbs.
  • Mana attribute decreases cooldown of magical items.
  • Scroll of body switch is once again unwishable.
  • Decreased frequency of magical equipment.
  • Improved stethoscope display.
  • Tweak the effects of prayers.
  • You may only become the champion of either Valpurus or Mortifer.
  • Increase effects of Wisdom on prayers.
  • You can now attempt to steal from shops.
  • Move saves, bones and config to user directory.
  • Add LGTM code quality badges.

Fixes:
  • Backtrace.
  • Broken vials are no longer fixed into bottles.
  • Fix wizard mode autoplay mode.
  • Fix heap-use-after-free in go::Handle().
  • Harden bitmap::Fill().
  • Fix first person being used in crafting messages.
  • Fix dialogue of Terra.

Ho ho ho! Merry Atavus Day!

19 December 2018

ORJ: Kerkerkruip

With the resurgence of the roguelike genre, many of the classics (NetHack, ADOM, Angband) and newcomers (Caves of Qud, TGGW, Golden Krone Hotel) are gaining in popularity and renown. But there are so many hidden gems, obscure roguelikes few people know about and play, even though they would deserve much more attention. Here is one of them.

Have you played Zork? I have tried it a few years ago, convinced by its status of a cult classic to give it a chance even though I had next to no experience with interactive fiction games. I was amazed and delighted by the way you could interact with the world, by how immersive it was to actually write the commands rather than just press a control button.

I have never finished it because I don't particularly like static puzzle games where you die and try again until you find the one way to solve it successfully, but since then I was thinking how interesting it could be to combine the principles of roguelikes (mainly procedural generation and permadeath) with the feeling of immersion achieved by interactive fiction. And eventually, I found out there already is a game that does just that.


Kerkerkruip (appropriately meaning "dungeon crawl" in Dutch) is an experiment gone right. You are thrown into a randomly generated dungeon to fight for your life. There is no Undo command and no save and reload. You will die messily, except this time it won't be on an ASCII map, surrounded by hostile letters and punctuation, but rather your death will be described to you in textual detail.

There are some fun monsters to be fought in Kerkerkruip.

And the design of Kerkerkruip immediately shows its ingenuity - conscious of the cumbersome nature of commands required for interactive fiction, the game will not force you into a slew of fights. No, that would quickly become boring in the text interface. Instead, there are very few fights - maybe six or seven monsters in the whole dungeon - but there are no trivial fights. You can and will surely die to the lowliest of enemies, unless you learn to fight tactically.

Every monster has some special powers and abilities
that require you to adapt in your fighting or die trying.

And the game offers a wide variety of tactics in a combat. There is no simple "bump attack", but rather a set of actions and reactions you can use to gain advantage over your opponent. You can concentrate for better chance of successful strike, dodge and block and parry, break enemy concentration to make them miss you, or use any of the special powers and items you gain later in the game. It more than makes up for the lack of positioning and terrain awareness usual in classic roguelikes.

BTW, you can also become a cultist of Aite if you find her altar.

As you would expect from interactive fiction, the game takes great pains to present an interesting, interactive world. Sure, you only see a single dungeon and get next to no backstory for your character, but in the spirit of Dark Souls, every item you find presents a tiny snippet of narration that you can combine into a story. I enjoy this form of storytelling, and these bits and pieces of untold tales combined with the strangely magitek Renaissance setting make for a compelling background story.

Tentacles and madness...

All in all, I just like running through the dungeon, trying to interact with the various furnishings and contraptions present - and they all can be used in some way, if you can find the right commands or circumstances - and looking for any advantage I can use to beat the dangerous monsters. And if you actually manage to slay (or befriend) Malygris, the Wizard of Kerkerkruip, the game will bump up its difficulty, adding new items and enemies to the mix.

Right from the start, there is so much to do and explore!


Every room holds some surprise for you.

You won't gain XP nor regenerate HP, but you can absorb
the souls of slain enemies and gain all of their powers.

There is even a bridge over lava in this dungeon.

The game has a development blog and a public GitHub repository. It is still in development, thou it seems to be rather slow-going right now. Download a nicely packed release here, or grab the source code and run it with your favourite Inform 7 interpreter. You can even play Kerkerkruip online here, but sadly just an outdated release.

Happy hacking and don't die!

16 December 2018

High Magics of the War in Heavens

Before the singular and unrivalled rule of the Authority, before the restricting and unbreakable Laws of Magic, in the Multiverse that never was, there was the War in Heavens. Archmages and supreme sorcerers of prodigious power clashed as realities fell apart and time itself was rent asunder and stitched back better to their liking. Spells of unimaginable might were slung around with such ease and as much thought as a cantrip today.


Here are d20 of those incredible spells:
  1. alter global gravity
  2. annihilation
  3. baleful plane shift
  4. baleful terraformation
  5. conjure black hole
  6. contingent time loop
  7. depopulation
  8. false vacuum
  9. familicide
  10. mass interplanetary teleport
  11. mass true resurrection
  12. nuclear fireball
  13. permanent time stop
  14. power word: retgone
  15. rewrite reality
  16. teleport through time
  17. true meteor storm
  18. supernova
  19. ultimate dispel magic
  20. zombie apocalypse

from Battlefleet Gothic: Armada

13 December 2018

Class: Cultist of the Thousand Gods Heresy

One whisper, added to a thousand others, becomes a roar.


There once was a Multiverse. Countless realities, universes, planes and realms; billions of worlds with billions of races and billions upon billions of living souls. There were also gods, so many of them and so different. From omnipotent All-Fathers with galaxy-spanning churches to small gods barely worshipped in a single village. Some would never allow their faithful to recognise the divinity of another creature, while others joined in pantheons, safe in support of their peers. The Multiverse was immense, wondrous and diverse. Way too diverse.

The War in Heavens broke out and consumed the Multiverse. Nothing but scarce fragments of what transpired are remembered today, as the Laws of Magic were not yet set, and high magics warped and broke and rent the realities asunder. Armies were slaughtered, resurrected, and slaughtered again. Planets were thrown against each other, and stars transformed into supernovae. Time travel made all victories irrelevant, defeats transient and a ceasefire virtually impossible. However, there was an end to this endless struggle, as one god managed to weave a time-spell of unseen proportions, starting a chain reaction of temporal collapses that retconned the whole War and everything.

There never was a Multiverse. There is one world, with one timeline, with one god. The Authority and his Church are the only truth*. Anything else is a lie and a delusion and a heresy and an echo of the fire and madness that had never been. Because naturally there are echoes, remnants of all the souls that were never born, of the pasts and futures squandered, of gods and realities unmade into unbeing, of possibilities and impossibilities and choices and alternatives and roads not taken, all lost within the Void. Thus the Void beyond the world is filled with the voices of what never was, or could never be.


These remnants are called by many names: the Demon Ghost Horde, the Thousand Gods Heresy, the Lost Voices of the Void, or simply the Multitude. They are a legion, a vast congregation of innumerable spirits, from the shadows of ghosts of dead people to genii loci of destroyed planets and the shattered and scattered remains of vanished gods. Some are so tiny their murmur is as noticeable as a butterfly flapping its wings. But some linger on, still strong enough to whisper over the edge of reality.

Of the few people who hear the whispers of the Void, even fewer listen. They are branded as heretics and executed by the Church, but some go unnoticed and band together into cults. A coven of such cultists usually worships a single powerful remnant, or a group (a pantheon) of remnants. They learn from the mad whispers and receive strange gifts of unnatural abilities. In return, the remnant feeds on their existence, ever so slowly reclaiming its being and self.

To this day, no remnant managed to escape the Void back into reality. But should it happen one day, the world may come to great peril, for such an entity would be alien to the time and existence of this universe, not even bound by the Laws of Magic. Maybe their return would only punch a hole through reality, where the other countless remnants could gulp down the existence of our world. Maybe it would unravel the whole timeline. Or maybe, just maybe, the old gods could return and rise again to overthrow the Authority and rule the Creation.

*) Some would claim that even Authority is dead or as good as dead, exhausted by his great feat of magic into non-existence.

Interrupting the Cultists

A: First Secret, Mark & Taboo
B: Second Secret, Cult Contacts
C: Third Secret
D: Secret Ritual, Cult Conscription

Roll d6 for your patron:
  1. Acererak
  2. Berith
  3. Eve
  4. Kosmos
  5. Lilith
  6. Nudziarth
There will be more patrons once/if I finish them.
 
Dead gods lost in the Void.
by Sephiroth Art

Mark & Taboo 
You are marked by your patron with a conspicuous sign of your affiliation. Given how heretical faiths are treated in many parts of the world, you may wish to find a way to conceal your Mark.

Your patron grants you powers in exchange for your faith. You must carry out the rites and follow the dogma, but most importantly you cannot break the taboos imposed by your patron. Should you break your Taboo, you will loose all the powers granted (including your Mark) until you can appease your patron.

Three Secrets 
The whispers of the Void teach you profound secrets that allow you to perform strange workings of magic.

Secret Ritual
As you are initiated into the inner circle of your cult, you learn a ritual once performed in the Multiverse that never was.

Cult Contacts
You are part of a cult, which is both a blessing and a curse.

In every town and some villages, there will be someone who knows the secrets signs, passwords and handshakes. You have friends and can ask for favours. But you will occasionally be tasked with a mission and expected to comply. The more favours you request, the more frequent, more difficult and more dangerous your missions will be. Should you refuse or botch your mission, the cult will find and punish you. Should you be exposed, the Church will hunt, torture and execute you.

Cult Conscription
You are adept at gaining new followers for your faith. You attract 1d4 + [Cha mod] hirelings that will faithfully assist you for the promise of power.

You can also try to preach your beliefs to any non-hostile person or group of people. Reroll their Reaction roll with any bonuses or penalties the GM deems appropriate. For example, you should receive -1 to the roll if the person adheres to a different religion (-2 if they are an ardent worshipper), and +1 if you saved the person or if they are a long-term friend.

Result of "friendly" means that they are receptive to your words and can eventually be initiated into your cult. Result of "indifferent" means that they just don't care and would you stop bothering them, they are trying to sleep! Result of "hostile" means that you angered them and they may very well be truly hostile and thinking of you as a heretic.

People persuaded by your conscription won't automatically become your hirelings or companions, but don't forget that once they join your cult, you can use your Cult Contacts ability on them. Try to woo someone who can be useful in the future - a rich merchant, an member of the Thieves Guild, a king's personal guard, or even the king!

Your fellow cultists can help you with information gathering of rumours and quests, fencing of stolen goods, smuggling, free safekeeping, hiding you with no questions asked - and on top of these benefits, you can ask for special favours. If you manage to convert someone powerful, the favours you can use should also be quite big. Give the secret handshake to the baron and he will have the murders slide.

Do what cults do best - slowly build your power, acquire some favours, then pull the strings from the shadows.

from The Return of the Living Dead

Acererak, the Decaying Lover

Lichloved: By repeatedly committing perverted sex acts with the undead, you gain dread powers.
- Book of Vile Darkness

Starting Items:
  • lavish clothes,
  • greasepaint to hide the rot,
  • bottle of perfume to overcome the stench of death.

Mark & Taboo
You have gemstones for eyes.

You must have sex at least twice a week. Should you ever break your Taboo, you can atone for your transgression by having sex with seven different partners in seven days. (For the truly desperate, seven sheep are enough.)

First Secret of the Stolen Breath
You may kiss a creature reduced to 0 hp to steal their dying Breath, killing them. The Breath will remain in your lungs as long as you wish or until you spend it (see below). You can only hold one Breath.

You may kiss a corpse and expend your Breath to cast speak with dead.

While you have the Breath, you reek of death, and appear decrepit and slightly decayed (though you are still alive and require things like food and air). You are also considered undead for the purposes of various spells and abilities.

Second Secret of the Death's Companionship
You may kiss an undead and expend your Breath to cast command undead or rot.

While you have the Breath, mindless undead are not hostile to you unless you show aggression first, and you have +2 to Reaction rolls for intelligent undead.

Third Secret of the Given Breath
You may kiss a willing creature to take their Breath. The creature will die, but can be revived if you return their Breath to a suitable body. For example, you could take the Breath of a dying ally, patch up the body and return their Breath, or find some soulless body and put their Breath in there. You can still release or expend the Breath normally.

While you have the Breath, you can sense undead within 30'.

Ritual of the Lover's Body and Soul
You can expend your Breath and have sex with any creature to swap souls with it. You will retain your class, abilities and mental attributes, and gain your lover's body and physical attributes. Your lover will find themself in your old body. Creatures with HD higher than you get a Save.
 

Berith, the Blood-Red Merchant

berith (plural beriths, also brisses)
  • The covenant of circumstition in Jewish tradition.
  • The name of a god of contracts and pacts, worshipped in ancient Canaan, reviled as a demon by the early Israelites and later the Christians.
  • Alternate name for the philosopher's stone.

Starting Items:
  • a golden ring engraved with a prayer to Berith (worth 1 gp),
  • a wheelbarrow.

Mark & Taboo
You appear drenched in blood.

You may not kill an ally, a hireling or a pet, including former allies, hirelings and pets. Forcing allies into dangerous, hopeless situations counts as killing them. Should you break your Taboo, you must offer a [hireling HD] hp worth of your blood and 10 x [hireling HD] gp in sacrifice, and burn the sacrifice along with the hireling's body.

First Secret of the Golden Tongue
You can put a gold coin under your tongue to negotiate with anyone, even if you share no common language. You can swallow the coin to get +2 bonus to any roll depending on your speechcraft. The gold disappears when swallowed and cannot be retrieved.

Second Secret of the Blood Mercenary
You may pay [hireling HD] gp to any hireling to make them obey your commands without questions, no matter their Moral, loyalty or personality, even if you order them into dangerous situations. The effect lasts until sunrise, when they will react appropriately to what transpired. The hireling would even commit suicide on your command, but that counts as killing them for the purpose of your Taboo.

Third Secret of the Golden Apple of Discord
You may touch a (relatively) valuable object to make it incredibly desirable to all intelligent creatures. Anyone who sees the object must Save or crave to possess it above all else. You may use this as a distraction, when bribing or haggling, or in any other scheme you can come up with. You may only have one such enchanted object at a time, and the effect lasts until sunrise.

Ritual of Blood and Gold
Take a freshly slain corpse and place [corpse HD] gp into their mouth. They will swallow the gold and be raised as an undead under your command, retaining all their stats, memories and abilities, and remaining loyal as long as you feed them [corpse HD] gp each day. You can only have one such a servant at a time. The gold disappears when swallowed and cannot be retrieved.

Demon's Souls fanart

Eve, the Mother of Monsters

And Eve lived to be older than any woman; who, in the end, did not die, but who retreated to her cave.
Blamed for Sin.
For Misery.
For the Fall.
- The Parliament Of Rooks, Neil Gaiman

Starting Items:
  • ragged clothes,
  • bare feet.

Mark & Taboo
You bear bloody wounds on your feet and stomach. You are sterile.

You must not eat any fruit. Should you break your Taboo, you must let yourself be bitten by a venomous snake.

First Secret of the Maiden
You can speak with snakes. Additionally, you can drain magic with a kiss.

You can drain magic from spellcasters, who loose 1 MD per round of kissing, Save negates. This is similar to spending a MD, so they regain it with their next rest. Alternately, you can drain magic items, which loose all their magic instantly and permanently, and you gain 1 MD per +1 of the item. You can store any number of MD.

You can cast spells, but yours are unlike wizardly spells. You do not prepare spells, you cannot read scrolls or spellbooks, and you cannot write down any of the "spells" you know. When you use a MD, it is automatically spent and you don't regain MD through rest. Otherwise, you use MD as a wizard. You cannot spend more MD at one spell than you have Cultist templates.

Instead of generating Mishaps or Dooms, you get a permanent random biological mutation for every even multiple and a permanent random supernatural mutation for every odd multiple, no Save. You will quickly become quite monstrous, and the GM should play it up unless you take great care to hide your deformity.

If you are a virgin, you know charm person. If you are not, you know command.

Second Secret of the Mother
You ignore pain and take no damage from bleeding. You are immune to parasites and possession.

If you are a virgin, you know glibness (see below). If you are not, you know shed skin.

Third Secret of the Crone
You deal double damage to plants and plant creatures. You take half damage from plants, plant creatures and wooden weapons. You are immune to any plant-based poisons.

If you are a virgin, you know beautify. If you are not, you know shrivel.

Ritual of Chimeric Exchange
Draw two circles in chalk or salt, then let the participants step inside as you start chanting. Soon, deep murmur of unseen voices will join you.

This ritual must target two creatures that negotiated the effects of the ritual beforehand and are willing to undergo it. While the ritual requires willingness, it does not forbid coercion or magical influence. Subsequently, the two creatures can trade body parts as per their agreement, with the same ease as two items can be exchanged. You don't need to be one of the two parties, but you can.

The exchange can be one-sided. For example, the spell allows you to give someone one of your eyes without taking something from them, if both of you agree. This way, you can gain new limbs and organs. You can demand some other form of compensation, though this is in no way enforced by the ritual.

The ritual takes an hour to complete. Should the ritual be interrupted, the target creatures must Save or loose the body part that was being exchanged. The creatures are magically sustained while the ritual lasts, but can die afterwards if they traded away a vital organ. The spell also prevents transplant rejection (even in case of incompatible physiologies) and leaves no scars.

With 1 [die], you can exchange roughly compatible body parts (human eye for cat eye, hand for paw). With 2 [dice], you can exchange body parts from incompatible physiologies (living arm for an undead arm, head for an animated helmet). With 3 [dice], you can mix material and immaterial body parts (hand for a piece of fire elemental's flame, switching of souls). With 4 [dice], you can exchange metaphysical qualities (bravery, damage resistances, skills, abilities).

I stole this spell from here, where more information on it can be found. The ritual may come in handy to cultists of Eve who become too monstrous for their own taste.

Crystal Sage

Kosmos, the Crystalline Law

Indestructible crystal. Even in the sea of chaos, it never loses its shine. I will become an eternal epitaph. Your memory will survive for eternity within a crystal tomb. This shall be my legacy, and my atonement.

But most of all, my final hope.
- Final Fantasy XIII-2

Starting Items: an oath you swore to someone. Discuss it with the GM.

Mark & Taboo
A crystal ioun stone orbits your head. It is invulnerable and cannot be forced away from you.

You may never break any law or oath. Should you break your Taboo, you must turn yourself in to the appropriate law enforcement and suffer your punishment, or be forgiven by the person you swore your oath to.

First Secret of the Law
No power magical or mundane can force you to break a law or an oath. You can only do so of your own free will. Additionally, you always know when some of your actions could break the local law.

Once per day, your ioun stone can intercept an attack against you, negating it completely. Spells, gazes and other harmful actions count as attacks for the purposes of this ability.

Second Secret of the Truth
Your hirelings will never betray you. They may still fail Morale checks, but they come back when the situation calms down. They may leave, but not without a warning and a talk.

Your memories also cannot be erased, changed or otherwise tinkered with.

At a mental command, your ioun stone can freeze in place as immovable rod. Should you walk away and give it a command to move again, it will return to orbit around your head at a great speed, punching through any obstacles. Any creature in its path must Save vs Dex or take 2d6 damage.

Third Secret of Justice
You can look through your ioun stone, gaining the effects of detect alignment. Once per day, you may also grip your ioun stone in a raised hand, casting abominate with [Cultist templates] MD.

I don't use and don't like alignment systems, but this power need not necessarily detect some metaphysical quality of a person, but may instead show the general nature of one's character. Selfless people will glow white, with tiny black specks of their shameful secrets. Most people will have auras all over the grayscale, momentarily flashing black when lying or white when wiping tears off a child's face. A psychopath may very well seem pristine, thanks to their total lack of moral compass or emotional capabilities.

Ritual of the Unbreakable Oath
You may sanctify an oath sworn between two parties. Should one of them break the oath, they suffer a major curse, no Save. The only way how to remove the curse is to be forgiven by the offended party. Both of the parties must know the consequences of swearing an unbreakable oath beforehand.

from Once Upon a Time

Lilith, Who Beheld Beauty

"You're far too beautiful to be good."
- Lord Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, to Barbara, Countess Castlemaine; Whitehall

Starting Items:
  • once splendid, now ragged and torn robes,
  • a blindfold.

    Mark & Taboo
    You have eyes on your palms. These do not break your Taboo. You can still hold items normally, but that requires you to close the eye.

    You have to be blinded at all times. Blindfold is enough, but plucking out your eyes is better. Should you break your Taboo, just blind yourself again.

    First Secret of the Deep Eye
    You can catch spells and gaze attacks targeted at you in your eyes. This has a 1-in-6 chance of success, with each of the following raising the chance by 1:
    • You ready an action to catch the spell (or gaze attack).
    • You know which spell (or gaze attack) is going to hit you.
    • You have successfully caught such a spell (or gaze attack) before.
    • You have no spell (or gaze attack) currently captured.
    Each of your eyes can only hold one spell (or gaze attack). You may release a caught spell (or gaze attack) at any target you want, with as many MD as it was originally cast with.

    Second Secret of the Beholder
    When you close all of your eyes, you can see through the eyes of any creature within 100'. You must know about the creature's presence, but otherwise no Save is allowed.

    Third Secret of the Second Sight
    With both of your eyes open, you have wizard vision. With both of your eyes closed, you are invisible (and blind).

    Ritual of the Eye and the Soul
    Lock gazes with a spirit and start reciting an ancient psalm of bondage and servitude. The spirit will be unable to leave until you finish, and then must Save (with advantage if its HD is greater than yours) or be captured in one of your eyes. You may speak with the spirit or release it freely, but it is powerless while bound in your eye. Try negotiating for some information or favour.

    There is nothing preventing your from binding a soul of a living creature, stealing it right from their body. You could also use this power to exorcise disease spirits or possessing demons out of their victims.


    Nudziarth, the Mirrored Library

    In the centre of the great rilmani city Sum of All, a building of strange angles stands, obviously not of rilmani construction. Ancient even amongst their number, the Mirrored Library once known as Timaresh holds untold amounts of lore from across the Multiverse.

    Starting Items: a blank book, a quill and a vial of ink.

    Mark & Taboo
    A nimbus of tiny mirrored shards surrounds your head. You have no reflection.

    You must destroy every mirror you see. Should you break your Taboo, you must burn a book and cover you face with the ashes in penance. For your first transgression, any book will be enough (though note that in a medieval setting, even normal books are rather expensive), but should you continue to fault, your penance will quickly start to require spellbooks or ancient tomes.

    First Secret of the Shattered Glass
    You cannot be harmed by glass. You can wield the glass shards that orbit your head as daggers and you get +1 to hit and damage with them, but shatter them on natural 1. You can also throw them.

    The glass shards are actually reflections of reflections of reflections of broken mirrors, and there is effectively infinite number of them in the nimbus. They will disappear after a minute since being removed from the nimbus.

    Second Secret of the Mirror Mask
    When you look into a mirror at the same time as any creature, you may steal their facade. The mirror will shatter and you will have their appearance and voice, while no one will recognise the victim by appearance or voice. The effect lasts until the victim dies or you look into an unbroken mirror.

    Even if you steal the facade of a non-humanoid creature, you will only appear to be non-humanoid. Your body doesn't change and you gain no abilities of the victim. Your clothes also don't change.

    Third Secret of the Mirror Gate
    You can walk through a mirror. This shatters the mirror and thus does not break your Taboo. An hour later, you step out of any mirror within 1 mile, or the closest mirror if none are within 1 mile. The exit mirror also shatters. You were travelling through the Mirrored Library for the hour, but you will never remember anything but a few dream-like visions.

    Ritual of the Book in Glass
    Burn rare herbs and mix them with foreign oils, then anoint a mirror with the ashes. You summon forth a reflection of a book from the Mirrored Library. You can turn pages normally and anyone can read the book in the mirror, but you cannot leave the mirror for later reading without breaking your Taboo. Every book ever written and more can be found in the Mirrored Library, but you need to know what you're looking for and the stranger and stronger the book, the more expensive the herbs and oils must be.


    New spells:

    Glibness
    R: 30' radius; T: [sum] creatures; D: [dice] x 2 rounds

    All affected creatures will believe anything you say, no matter how ridiculous or impossible your statements are. The targets will recover immediately after leaving the affected area, or when the spell expires.

    6 December 2018

    Combinades

    combinade(s); hand arms that are a clever combination of a melee weapon and firelock. The firing mechanism on most combinades is an improved wheel lock, being more sturdy than a flintlock, and able to take the jars that come when the weapon is used to strike at a foe. Added to this, the lock mechanism, trigger and hammer are usually protected by gathered bands of metal, a basket much like those protecting the hilts of many foreign swords. When edges and bullets are treated with [alchemical poisons], combinades become very effective monster-killing tools.

    An ax-pistol.

    A firelock falchion.

    A boltarde.

    boltarde(s); a combinade made of the bringing together of a halberd and two wheel-lock pistols formed as part of the shaft, one short barrel on either side of the axe-and-spike head. The wheel locks are fired by means of triggers farther down, just above the rondel that protects the hand. Shallow grooves run down the middle of the blade to allow the ball to fly unhindered. An invention of the Sebastians, it is unwieldy but highly effective in the right circumstances, although boltardes have not gained much popularity in the Haacobin Empire.

    A double-barrelled punching dagger.
    Dare you imagine anything more awesome?


    A gun-buckler grants both +1 AC and can be shot.

    A combinade can combine any melee weapon with a firelock, and be used as either. While pistol-combinades are the most common, larger weapons (especially halberds) can include a musket instead. If you wish to buy one, they are priced at double the price of the more expensive constituent weapon (generally the firearm), or triple for double-barrelled combinades.

    Additionally, all combinades can perform a special attack: When you strike in melee, you may also pull the trigger as a part of the same attack. Should you hit with the attack, you do both the melee and firelock damage. Should you miss, your shot is wasted.

    A pair of wheel-lock daggers.

    28 November 2018

    Class: Leer

    Here is another monster-slayer class, the quotes and pictures once again taken from the books.

    leer(s), also called perspicrith ("sense-holder"), sensurist, cognister or vatiseer. A creepy lot trained in seeing small and otherwise missed detail, remembering faces, following scents and trails, spying, shadowing, and all such prying arts; and the use of the sthenicon.

    They soak their eyes over a period of months in special [potions] collectively called washes or opthasaums, which irreparably change the colors of their eyes and permanently alter the abilities of their sight. The first of these opthasaums prepares the eye for transformation and is called Saum of Adparat or adparatic syrup. After a month of soaking in this wash, one hour each day, the leer spends another month soaking his or her eyes in either of two washes: Bile of Vatës will make the more common leer known as a laggard with brown and yellow eyes, and cognistercus or Swill of Cognit the less common falsemen, with red and blue eyes. The whole process of changing a person's eyes is called adparation, and one can tell a leer by these weirdly colored orbs. Each leer also takes particular kinds of [potions] to enhance his or her capacities in day-to-day duties.

    Leers are highly sought after: laggards in the wild places to warn against monsters or other lurking dangers, and to track brigands, smugglers and escaped prisoners; falsemen in the cities to work for the wealthy and for government, wheedling out the dishonest and sycophantic, and interrogating the suspicious. Though they alter their biology in a chemical way, they are not regarded with nearly as much suspicion or loathing as lahzars and are not questioned as potential gudgeons [man-made monsters].
    A leer wearing a sthenicon.

    Falseman

    falseman (falsemen), also called liedermen; leers who can tell a person's true emotional state, and thus can determine whether or not that person is being truthful. The washes they use to change their eyes make the whites turn bloody red and the irises go a bright pale blue.

    A: Sense Lies, Contacts
    B: Literacy, Memorization
    C: Prominence
    D: Embarrassing Secret

    You gain +1 known language per Falseman template.

    Starting Skill: (d6) 1. Etiquette, 2. Law, 3. Streetwise, 4. Investigation, 5. Espionage, 6. Politics.

    Starting Items:
    • dagger,
    • proofing (any clothes you want, Def as leather),
    • sthenicon (see below).

    Sense Lies
    You are well-versed in body language and can smell minor changes of mood. You know when someone is lying. They can evade, they can remain silent, but if they go to speak, they cannot hide their lies from you.

    Contacts
    Through both informants and official channels, you are often in the know on important informations. You are the first one to learn new gossips, and you have a 1-in-6 chance to have already heard something about any newly introduced NPC.

    With a successful Charisma check, you may ask a favour of a contact. The favour will be things not generally available to the average person. The contact will not endanger himself or his employment, and may negotiate a payment or favour in return if the request is difficult or unpleasant.

    You may call upon these contacts [Leer templates] per adventure.

    Literacy
    You can read and write. Most people can do both, but you can really write. Your letters allow for persuasion rolls at a distance. You can also roll under Intelligence to see the intentions of an author, the delicate themes of a poem, or the inconsistencies in a complex text.

    Memorization
    You have photographic memory. You can memorize any length of text after one reading. You can also search any location you have seen retrospectively, inspecting details you have not paid attention to before.

    Prominence
    Once per round, you can choose to be the most prominent person in a group or the least prominent person in a group.

    Falsemen are sometimes employed as silent observers and discreet advisers, sometimes as spies and investigators, sometimes as terrifying interrogators or skillful barristers. They can switch between remaining unseen and unheard, and being the most interesting person in the room with frightening ease.

    Embarrassing Secret
    Once per person when you talk to them at least for a few minutes, you can discover a secret they would rather keep hidden. The GM will describe it to you.

    A kraulschwimmen,
    one of the monsters to be hunted by leers.

    Laggard

    laggard(s); a leer who can see through things, into dark and hidden places, and notice things far off. The name comes from the word "lag", which means to scour or scrub something. The washes they use to change their eyes make the whites turn olive-brown while the irises become a deep yellow.

    A: Sense Hidden, Track
    B: Vigilance
    C: Danger Sense
    D: Trackless Step, Bait

    You gain +1 Stealth while in wilderness per Laggard template.

    Starting Skill: (d6) 1. Hunting, 2. Trapping, 3. Bushcraft, 4. Monster Lore, 5. Animal Lore, 6. Pathfinding.

    Starting Items:
    • knupel,
    • proofing (any clothes you want, Def as leather),
    • sthenicon (see below).

    knupel, also called virga; the most rough and knobbly of all the cudgels, it is often awarded to those who gain mastery of a bastinade [stick-fighting martial art]. A knupel is about 4½ feet to 5 feet long, thick at the hitting end and thinner at the strap-bound handle. Regarded as a "battlefield" weapon, a knupel can cause horrendous injuries.

    Sense Hidden
    You have low-light vision, requiring next to no light to see (though you still cannot see in total darkness). You easily notice anything amiss in your surroundings.

    Depending on your GM, you should either be alerted whenever there is something interesting nearby (though you will have to find what exactly triggered your sixth sense yourself), or you receive advantage on all perception rolls (which is boring).

    Track
    Rather than requiring exploding 1d4 of exploration turns to follow a track, you only need simple 1d4 of exploration turns. Furthermore when you find the track of any creature or group, you learn a piece of useful information about them, and then one new information per hour of tracking.

    Vigilance
    Once per day when the GM gives you the Omen for an encounter, you can choose to reroll the encounter and get a different one. You must accept the new result.

    Danger Sense
    If you are surprised, you have a 50% chance to act on the surprise round anyway. If you encounter a creature no one in the group has seen before, you can roll under your Intelligence to remember a detail or weakness, provided the creature is not unique.

    Trackless Step
    As long as you are not in a significant rush, you leave no trail and cannot be tracked.

    Bait
    You can automatically trigger an encounter by putting out a bait and waiting in ambush.

    Another leer with a sthenicon.

    Sthenicon

    sthenicon(s), also called leer-box or simply box; a biologue [biological tool] used to seek out tiny or hidden smells, and to show things difficult to see - whether hidden or far off - more clearly.

    Usually a simple, dark wooden box, with leather straps and buckles. The back, which goes against the face, is hollowed out and sealed within with a doeskin-like material. On each side of this protrude stubby brass horns. Air and the attendant odors enter through these hornlets and, by the organics inside, are rendered more odoriferous. If the compactly folded membrane inside that enhances smells so effectively was spread out, it would stretch around 120 squares of feet.

    At the middle of the top of the box is a modest lens, through which vision is received. Upon the sides of the sthenicon, at the same height as the lens, are three slots, which the user can push in and out in various ways to alter the nature of how he sees. A small hole in one of the lower corners is bored into the front of the box, apparently to render the user more audible when talking, so that the device need not be removed to allow the wearer to speak. Another slot in the bottom of the box allows soups, thin stews and special [potions] that augment the use of this tool to be slurped with only minor inconvenience. The whole kit is fastened to the head - over the whole face - with the straps and buckles mentioned earlier.

    If a sthenicon is worn for too long, the organs within can begin to grow into the user's own nasal membrane and even into the skin of the face. After about a week, the box could still be taken off, though the leer would find tendrils up their nose that would tear out painfully. After a month of wearing a sthenicon, it could not be removed without surgery and the loss of the front of one's face.

    Used mostly by leers, who are highly trained in its use, and swallow special [potions] beforehand to help make their senses sharper and sniff exotic powders to retard the invasion of the biologue's organs.

    As you put on a sthenicon, it will cover your whole face and press it against the warm, pliable artificial organs within. Its main function is to grant you a sense of smell on par with a scent hound. You can tell apart human, animal and monster scents, track different scent trails, and easily recognize anything and anyone you had smelled before. In addition, the different settings of its lens mechanism allow the leer to see as if through a spyglass, or with wizard vision.

    One needs an extensive training to interpret sthenicon readings correctly, and thus very few non-leers can use it. Even leers need an hour after they put on their sthenicon to adjust to the altered sensory input, so you cannot just constantly don and doff it. However, your can become accustomed to the strange senses bestowed by a sthenicon, and for every day you wear it, you gain +1 to all perception checks, up to a maximum of your level. This bonus resets when you remove the sthenicon.

    The organs inside tend to painfully grow into your nose and face, only to be ripped out when you take the sthenicon off, leaving nasty scars. For every day you use a sthenicon, you take 1 Charisma damage once you take it off. This damage heals normally, except it won't mend properly unless you refrain from using the sthenicon until it fully heals. Should you wear your sthenicon long enough to be reduced to 0 Cha by the damage you would take upon removing it, you will need surgical help to survive.

    A brodchin.

    Finally, here are two fun types of chemicals that the leers can use (or that can be used against them):
    signifer(s); the distinct parts of a scent or other trail that aid leers in their work. One of the more remarkable applications of a signifer is a group of [potions] known as anavoids, which leers use to mark someone or something they want to trail, following the distinct scent wherever it may lead. The best anavoids will last for weeks even in water, and are hard to detect by fellow leers, seeming more like a natural smell to all but the person who used it. It has been known for talented and well set-up leers to follow an anavoided trail even on ship from one harbor to another.

    nullodour(s); a [potion] designed to hide or confuse or fake certain smells. Its most common use is to mask the distinctive odor of a person, so that he or she remains unnoticed by monsters. Also highly effective against leers.

    25 November 2018

    Class: Lahzar

    Here is the first type of monster-slayers found on the Half-Continent. All quotes and pictures below are taken from the the books.


    lahzar(s), sometimes spelled in old texts as "lazhar"; also called catharcriths, thanatocates ("death-bearers"), orgulars ("haughty ones" - the name once given to the heroes of old), spooks-and-pukes or just spooks.

    Though no one knows for sure, it is commonly held that lahzars first appeared in the Empire around [the year] 1263, over a century before the Battle of the Gates. They were said to be among the survivors of [a previously unknown civilization] from far northwest beyond the Half-Continent who called themselves the Cathars. It was rumored that these Cathars were fleeing the destruction of their realm by the rise of one or many false-gods. Settling in the far west beyond Hamlin and Pechenneg, and in the once small stronghold of Sinster in the east, these Cathar refugees brought with them their ancient surgical knowledge, techniques unknown in the Half-Continent except to a learned few.

    These techniques were called clysmosurgia and involved grafting into a person's body special organs - called mimetic organs - harvested from monsters, altered, and grown in vats. Once put inside a person's body, these mimetic organs could give the subject unheard-of abilities; the power to generate deadly arcs of electricity inside the body (the fulgar), or send forth brain-frying waves of bioelectricity (the wit). Clysmosurgia was quickly rejected by the conservative as a form of "dark" or "black" habilistics (also called morbidology), and it was declared illegal throughout the Empire. Yet since their refuges were, and still are, beyond the Imperial jurisdiction, the Cathar surgeons continued their work.

    To put a person through clysmosurgia is called transmogrification, and a person so transmogrified is called a "lahzar", a Cathar word meaning "those who have returned (from the grave)", called so because of the long period they are under the surgeon's knife. One side effect of having these impostor organs within them is a constant dull ache, occasionally sharp. For wits it manifests itself behind the eyes and in their skulls; for fulgars it hurts in their arms and shoulders and down in their guts. Even a lahzar's scars might ache on cold days. Another problem is gauntness caused by the overworking of their pith - what we would call "the metabolism" and "the immune system" - as their bodies strive to accommodate the intruding flesh; this can bring on mood swings and even psychotic episodes. Lahzars might be powerful, but they are far from happy folk.

    It took almost three quarters of a century before people began to catch on to just how much more effective these new lahzars were against monsters. During that period lahzars were outlawed in Imperial lands. Their success at the Battle of the Gates, employed in disobedience to Imperial law, won them a grudging acceptance in society. Since then, while clysmosurgia remains an illegal realm of habilistics, lahzars themselves have been legitimized, their labors rivaling and even eclipsing the work of the traditional skolds [monster-hunting alchemists].

    Because, however, lahzars have so many alien organs stuck into them, it is still a topical parlor-room debate as to whether or not lahzars are actually a kind of gudgeon [a man-made monster, an abomination]. This is an idea that lahzars find completely offensive and refute utterly. As a consequence of this question, their foul moods and strange drafts, lahzars are still considered pariahs, a necessary evil.

    Even with an expensive set of proofing [armoured clothing], non-lahzars would find them extremely difficult to beat in a fight, and this has granted them a status that is not low but simply outside the existing social ranks. This unique status has made becoming a lahzar popular with the fashionably bored young sets of the gentry and the peers, and they spend large chests of their mama and papa's [gold] to make the trip to Sinster and seek out the best transmogrifer they can afford. A surgeon of average skill will perform clysmosurgia for about 1 200 [gp]; the best will do it for about 3 000 [gp]. Payment can be made in advance, or over a period of time from the lahzar's earnings as a monster-slayer, soldier or bodyguard.

    After an initial period of interviews and testing, a subject is either refused or allowed to proceed. A refused subject is free to seek another surgeon. If accepted, it takes several days to complete the operations to make a person into a lahzar (transmogrify them). The whole time the subject is kept drugged and strapped to the cutting table. Once the transmogrification has been done, and the lahzar has been "made", it can take anywhere from one month to half a year for a person to recover. During this recovery they receive training from the surgeon's aides in the ways of a wit or a fulgar. From time to time it is common for lahzars to return to their surgeon for observation and "repairs" - operations to mend damage caused by illness, organ rot, spasming or violent injury. These repairs require only a day or so under the knife and a fortnight at the most for healing afterward.

    The "skills" or "abilities" or "powers" their organs give to a lahzar are called potencies (sing. potency). It is these potencies that make a lahzar so effective against monsters (and people too for that matter). The arcs and lightning of a fulgar and the mental and sensory assaults of a wit are much more consistent in their deadly power and easier to deliver than a skold's [deadly concoctions]. Despite this lahzars are regarded less as civilization's heroes and more as a distasteful new "fad".

    Obviously lahzars will charge for their services, commanding high prices for the efficacy of their labors. In a quiet year they can earn around 200 [gp]; in bumper years when monsters are overactive this can rise to 500 [gp].

    Miss Europa, a fulgar, wielding a fuse.

    Fulgar

    fulgar(s) (said "fool-garr"), also astrapecrith ("lightning-holder"); a lahzar whose surgically inserted organs (known as the systemis astraphecum) allow him or her to make, store and release immense charges of electricity. [...] Fulgars get their name from the artificial organ known as the Column of Fulgis, a jellylike muscle that produces the electrical charges they wield. Most fulgars mark themselves with the spoor [alchemical tattoo] of a diamond, which is the universally recognized sign of their kind. [The potencies of fulgars] are known as eclatics.

    A: +1 PD, Potencies, Chemical Dependency, Arcing
    B: +1 PD, Resisting, Vacillating
    C: +1 PD, Impelling
    D: +1 PD, Thermistoring, Factotum

    Starting items:
    • fulgaris,
    • proofing (any clothes you want, Def as leather),
    • ingredients for a week's worth of treacle (see below),
    • a crippling debt to your surgeon.

    fulgaris (said "fool-ger-riss"); two poles of differing lengths used by fulgars to extend their reach and give a thermistor control over bolts of lightning. The longer pole is the fuse [treat as a staff], the shorter being the stage [treat as a club]. Both fulgaris are wound tightly with copper or iron fulgurite wire and capped at each end with ferrules of the same metals.

    Potencies
    You have been surgically altered to gain strange, inhuman powers, called potencies.

    You may channel your powers using Potency Dice (PD). Each time you wish to use one of your abilities, invest any number of your PD. The [sum] of the PD rolled, as well as the number of [dice] invested, may affect the result.

    Unlike the MD of a wizard, your PD always return to your pool and can be used any number of times per day. However, each time you use your powers, add +1 SD (Strain Die) to your pool. You must roll all your SD whenever your roll any PD. These dice do not count towards the [sum] or [dice] of any given potency, but they do count towards the multiples (doubles, triples, and so on). Use two different colours of dice.

    spasm or spasming; wretched condition where a lahzar's body rebels for a moment against the foreign organs squeezed within it and the organs fight back. This happens when the mimetic organs are being used and is usually as a result of not taking one's Cathar's Treacle and the rest. It is, however, a risk (very slight) that lahzars run all the time, whether they have taken their concoctions or not.

    The results of spasming can be various, from a slight strain within that goes away after a few hours to severe internal hemorrhaging and serious organ damage. After spasming, a lahzar often needs to return to his or her transmogrifier (lahzar-making surgeon) for observation and even further operations.

    Every time you roll a multiple of any number on your dice, you suffer a bout of spasming from overexertion of your mimetic organs. Roll on the table below using Xd6, where X is the multiple you rolled (eg. when you roll a double, roll 2d6 and look below).
    1. (You will not roll this.)
    2. You feel a momentary sharp pain (in your chest for fulgars, or headache for wits), but nothing worse happens.
    3. Muscle cramps leave you fatigued. You gain 1d6 Fatigue that fills one inventory slot each.
    4. You are deaf and mute for 1d6 rounds.
    5. You fall prone in pain, screaming.
    6. A mild seizure twitches your body. You gain 2 extra SD.
    7. You feel weary and aching. The PD used for this potency are burned and will return only with the next long rest.
    8. You take 1d6 damage as blood drips out of your mouth or nose.
    9. You are blind for 1d6 rounds.
    10. A painful seizure nearly overwhelms you. You have disadvantage on your next roll.
    11. Your potencies run wild for 1d6 rounds. For fulgars, anyone touching you takes 1d6 damage. For wits, anyone within 10' must Save or fall prone due to vertigo.
    12. The potency fails spectacularly, doing the opposite of what it should. The GM will tell you the exact effects.
    13. You are paralyzed with seizures for 1d6 rounds.
    14. Your mimetic organs hurt badly. You will gain no benefits from sleep this night.
    15. If a fulgar, your limbs twitch and cannot be stopped. If a wit, you have a splitting headache. You have disadvantage on all rolls for an hour.
    16. You take 2d6 damage as your spasming muscles strain against your creaking bones.
    17. A fit of convulsions leaves you weakened. You take 1d6 Str damage.
    18. A powerful spasm nearly snaps your bones. You take 1d6 Dex damage.
    19. You suffer constant mild cramps. You take 1d6 Con damage.
    20. You scream in unbearable pain and fall unconscious for 1d6 hours. Nothing can rouse you sooner.
    21. (And more.) You spasm violently, breaking your bones and snapping your spine. You die.

    Note that the potencies of fulgars do not mix well with larger amounts of water, while wits have no such problems.

    Chemical Dependency
    Cathar's Treacle, treacle or plaudamentum; draft [potion] drunk by lahzars. Its main function is to stop all the surgically introduced organs (mimetic organs) and connective tissues within a lahzar's body from rejecting their host. The nature of the ingredients and the way in which they react means that Cathar's Treacle does not keep for very long at all, a few hours at best, and has to be made afresh each time. It must be taken two times per day, or the lahzar risks spasming. If lahzars go more than a few days without the treacle, their organs start to rot within them, and after a week without it the lahzar's doom is certain. The parts, or ingredients, for Cathar's Treacle are as follows:
    • 10 of water
    • 1 of bezoariac
    • ½ of rhatany
    • ¼ of Sugar of Nnun
    • 1 of xthylistic curd
    • ½ of belladonna (optional)
    There are other drafts that a lahzar must take periodically, but Cathar's Treacle is the most important. For fulgars the next most important is a daily dose of fulgura sagrada or saltegrade. For wits it is a daily drink of iambic ichor; Friscan's wead every two days; and two tots of cordial of Sammany three times a week, plus other traces throughout their lives.

    Such dependency is a trade-off for the immense power they possess. A physician would also recommend a dose of evander every so often to lift the spirits and fortify the body.

    You need to make and take your treacle, removing all SD when you drink it. Replenishing the ingredients for a dose of treacle costs roughly as much as a healing potion would. Ignore the other drafts except for flavour reasons.

    Every day you skip your treacle, not only you won't get rid of your SD, but also risk a [days without treacle]-in-20 chance of organ rejection and subsequent gangrene. Roll every day until you start to take your treacle again, or the check succeeds. Once your body rejects the mimetic organs within, treacle can no longer help you and you will take 1d6 Con damage per day until you can be seen and fixed by a surgeon.

    Arcing

    R: touch; T: creature; D: 0

    The most basic skill of fulgars, you can generate a charge of electricity and release it by touch. Indeed, a fulgar has to make physical contact for their potencies to have any effect, as the electricity must be earthed to do its work.

    Your arcing deals [sum] + [dice] damage.

    Resisting
    R: 0; T: self; D: [sum] rounds

    You build up a charge and store it until your whole body becomes charged with electricity. Anyone touching you (directly or through conductive object) will get the full force of the shock, taking [dice] damage.

    Vacillating
    R: 0; T: self; D: concentration, up to [sum] minutes

    A nifty little eclatic whereby fulgars send a mild arc through themselves to be protected from the potencies of a wit (or impelling of another fulgar). It is a variation on resisting, but without storing the charge. The harder a wit tries, the stronger the fulgar needs to make the arc.

    Vacillating can help against any psychic attacks, illusions or influences, including spells and various special abilities. You need to invest [dice] equal to your opponent to prevent their powers. It is up to the GM to gauge how many [dice] are necessary to counteract effect that do not use [dice] to measure their power.

    Impelling
    R: touch; T: living creature; D: concentration, up to [sum] rounds

    A bizarre potency that requires experience and talent to master, whereby fulgars take hold of people and make them move or not move as the fulgar sees fit. It is done by subtle manipulations of a continuous charge running through the victim and requires a lot of energy to perform. The best results are achieved when the fulgar has a firm grip on his or her foe.

    Resistance to electric damage prevents the effects of this potency, and creatures of HD higher than [dice] x 2 are also immune.

    Thermistoring
    R: 100'; T: creature; D: 0

    Another potency requiring great skill and wisdom, it involves bringing lightning bolts down from the sky. This is the only potency that does not need touch to have effect, for the fulgar acts as a channel for the bolt, directing its blast to targets. However, it does require the use of fulgaris. The better a fulgar gets at thermistoring, the greater control he or she has over the bolt's final direction.

    The target takes [sum] damage and must Save or be stunned for [dice] rounds. While this potency normally needs to be performed under open, overcast sky, other sources of powerful electricity can also be channelled and redirected. It can even be used as a reaction to send a lightning bolt back at its caster.

    Factotum
    factotum; personal servant and clerk of a peer or other person of rank or circumstance. Lahzars have taken to employing a factotum to take care of the boring day-to-day trifles: picking up contracts, collecting fees for services rendered, looking for food and accommodation, writing correspondence, heavy lifting and even making their drafts.

    You have attracted a loyal hireling that can prepare your treacle and help with general necessities.

    A black-eyed wit.

    Wit

    wit(s), also called neuroticrith ("holder of a distorted mind") or strivener; a kind of lahzar whose potencies cannot be seen like the sparks and flashes of a fulgar, but are rather felt. Collectively called antics, these potencies are subtle and more sinister, affecting the victim's mind, brain and nervous system. They are all variations on an invisible bioelectrical field, a pulse of energy called "frission" [also colloquially known as "fishing"], that wits make with their surgically introduced organs. The use of frission is called witting.

    A wit who is [newly made or] "green" has little control over the direction of the frission and it tends to radiate all about. With practice wits gain control over the area and direction of their frission till they can send it to a particular point. Most wits need to see what they are aiming at, but the most talented need only gently [probe], find the target and afflict it from afar.

    Wits must be careful with all their potencies; if they overreach themselves and push too hard, they risk a violent bout of spasming. Excessive use of any of the antics will leave them exhausted and prone to illness. Along with this, after only a few months of witting, they will begin to lose their hair until they become completely bald. Some then show their baldness with pride; others cover it with often brightly colored and jauntily styled wigs. Either is a telltale mark of a wit. They also mark themselves with the spoor of an arrow on the arch of an eyebrow, between the eyes, or the corner or lower lid of one or both eyes; this is the universally recognized sign of their kind.

    Wits are trusted even less than fulgars, and their surly demeanor (due in some part to the constant pain they suffer) does little to help their grim reputation.

    A: +1 PD, Potencies, Chemical Dependency, Sending
    B: +1 PD, Scathing
    C: +1 PD, Writhing
    D: +1 PD, Faking, Factotum

    Starting items:
    • proofing (any clothes you want, Def as leather),
    • ingredients for a week's worth of treacle,
    • a crippling debt to your surgeon.

    proofing; a proofed garment, that is clothes alchemically treated until they become sturdy and armoured, as good as any ancient metal armour.

    For Potencies, Chemical Dependency and Factotum, see above.

    Sending
    R: [dice] x 50' radius; T: area; D: concentration, up to [sum] rounds

    Also known as probing, this is the most basic and best-known antic, involving a "sending and returning" of frission all about the wit. With probing, a wit can get a mental image or feeling of where all sources of electricity are about them, whether it's the bioelectricity of an animal, a person or a monster, or the electric current within a machine or a biologue (living machine).

    It takes practice for wits to understand and interpret the returning. With experience they can actually recognize the distinct electrical flutterings of a particular person, and so sending can be used to track down and find people. Beyond the cities, this antic is used to warn early of a monster's approach, well before any scout can tell.

    As a side effect of this potency, any living creature caught in the frission will feel sick or dizzy, and even faint for a moment, throwing off concentration or causing a misstep or fumble. Those who might suffer from travel sickness will be worse affected, vomiting and staggering.

    If the wit is not hiding her sending, all creatures caught in the affected area will feel her probing and the general direction from where it comes. Any creature within half the range must also Save or suffer disadvantage on their next roll from nausea.

    The very best wits can send with only the slightest disturbance to those around them. Such a wit can attempt to hide her probing, rolling under her Int. With a success, creatures of HD equal or lower than the wit cannot feel the sending at all, while creatures of higher HD can feel faint traces of probing, but not the direction. With a failure, creatures will feel the probing normally, but due to its subdued effects will not suffer nausea.

    Scathing
    R: 30'; T: creature or area; D: 0

    Probably the most notorious of the antics, scathing (or strivening) is a raw pouring forth of psychic power that twists and agonizes the mind. With it, an experienced wit can lay flat a whole room of foes, while the most skilled can use it to permanently break, or even kill with frightening accuracy.

    When used as an area attack, the targets caught within must Save or suffer a stronger version of the malaise than comes with probing. On a success, they will have a disadvantage on their next roll from nausea. On a failure, they fall prone in seizures and loose their next turn. Creatures of HD higher than [dice] x 2 are immune to this effect.

    When used against a single foe, the creature takes [sum] damage and must Save or take disadvantage on all rolls for [dice] rounds.

    Sometimes referred to as "the eye of death" or "the death glare".

    Writhing
    R: 50'; T: creature; D: [sum] rounds

    With this antic a neuroticrith can cause aches and pains in the victims' limbs, forcing them to twitch and stagger. Conversely, it can be used to temporarily numb people and leave them without feeling. Worse yet, writhing is also used to momentarily blind, or stop ears from working, or render a person mute. It requires a goodly amount of experience and a modicum of talent to use this potency with any effect.

    Pick [dice] of the following effects:
    • Penalty of -2 to Attack. This option can be picked multiple times.
    • Penalty of -2 to Defense. This option can be picked multiple times.
    • Blindness.
    • Muteness.
    • Deafness.

    Faking
    R: 50'; T: creature; D: concentration, up to [sum] rounds

    This is a very difficult potency, with the wit requiring a view of his or her victim. With delicate, subtle and precisely aimed probings of their frission, the wit can make a person think that he or she has heard or felt something, when in reality there is nothing. The best wits can even make people see what is not there. People can be driven barmy with such unseen pestering, or have their attention diverted at just the wrong moment.

    With 1 [die], nothing more than an unintelligible whispers or a faint touch can be faked. With 4 [dice], you could make your unfortunate victim talk to illusory people, read an illusory book, or explore an illusory room. Note that faking always targets a single creature - the illusion is mental and cannot be perceived by anyone else.

    Lady Threnody, a young wit.