This page is intended to show the sort of unique powers acceptable in the Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth game. If you are a new player, I encourage you to create your own, rather than regard this as a source of stock powers.

 

Shadow Sorcery -
Cost: Up to 30 points

Also known as Flux Sorcery. This form of sorcery is unique to those who have spent time in the spaces between shadows, known to them as the Flux. Flux permeates all of shadow, and in its raw state is highly susceptible to the will of those who know how to influence it. Adepts of Shadow Sorcery can shape and form the very stuff of shadow to their will.

Shadow Sorcery is similar in effect to Conjuration, but is much faster. It remains to be seen whether Shadow Sorcery will be as effective in a 'real' place such as Amber.

 

Blood Crystal Sorcery -
Cost: Up to 25 points.

Unique to the Royal Line of Powys in the shadow known as Sellyn. There is a crystal, blood red, about the size of a man's fist, which has the ability to store and focus power. Certain members of the family Powys have the ability to create power with the shedding of their blood. By bleeding directly onto the crystal, power is stored in the crystal and later mentally focused to do certain things, like keep at bay the Unmaking to the north (sort of a primal chaos), or heal, or ensure good crops.

The crystal is mostly a focus, having little power in and of itself. The Power really resides in the members of the family of Powys, and passed down from generation to generation. They can do great things through the shedding of their blood, by either direct application (such as in a healing) or greater things through elaborate ritual.

The power of the Blood Crystal seems to tend toward healing and fertility, and ranges from healing wounds to holding the land together.  The greatest of Sellyn's kings have even been able to carve new lands out of the looming menace of the Unmaking. Blood Crystal sorcery has a dark side to it, which is rarely invoked because of the heavy karmic burden it carries. But the power can be called up on to wound, to sterilize and to shake the land.

Endurance is the critical attribute for Blood Crystal Sorcery, but Psyche is also important, as a measure of empathic strength.

More on Sorcery

 

The Voice -
Cost: Up to 15 points

This is the power of the siren. The wielder of the voice can enthrall crowds with her song, or befuddle individuals with her words. When singing, the character can induce any desired emotion into her listeners. When speaking, she can convince the listener that she speaks the truth, manipulating their emotions, beliefs and even perceptions to suit her purposes. The Voice also does not permit the character to radically alter determined ideas, and is therefore an inefficient tool in combat. Antagonists will not cease their attack because of the Voice.

Voice power requires a Psyche struggle to be successful, though it can affect any number of individuals who can hear the character's unamplified voice. Those who resist the Voice will know that the character has tried to influence them.

 

The Glamour -
Cost: Up to 18 Points

The Fae are now long gone, but their descendants, both the pure races like the faeries and Sidhe, and the many individuals of mixed races still possess a fraction of their long ago power. That power that runs in the veins is called The Glamour. It is divided into three branches, each of which has three levels of power. Each Apprentice power costs three points, each Adept power costs four, and each Master power costs six. Adept and Master powers include those of lesser level.

The use of Glamor can be tiring, and so Endurance is the primary attribute for its use.

 

The Branch of Blessings:

Apprentice - The Blessing of Renown - The character will seem more impressive and positive to those upon whom he uses this Blessing.

Adept - The Blessing of Good Fortune - When invoked, fortune smiles upon the Adept. This is essentially a small burst of Good Stuff.

Master - The Blessing of Power - Reinforces one of the character's four attributes for a brief time.

 

The Branch of Enchantment

Apprentice - The apprentice can instantly change any one small item into any other small item. This change usually lasts for a full day.

Adept - The adept can instantly change himself into one of five forms: a child, a hag, a noble, an ogre or a peasant. Note that this is not shapeshifting, but a very convincing illusion.

Master - The master may enchant a building in which he dwells. Typical enchantments include:

  • I cannot die in my own house.
  • Nobody's magic but mine works in my house.
  • I always know where anything and everyone is in my house.
  • No one can enter my house without permission.
  • Nobody ages in my house.
  • The pantry is always full of food and drink.
  • I can instantly rearrange the inside of my house with a thought.
  • My house cannot be harmed.
  • The inside of it is 20 times larger than the outside.
  • No one can find their way to my house unless I let them.

 

The Branch of Abjuration

Apprentice - The Apprentice may sense the use of powers around him, and if experienced, distinguish the basic power (Magic, Pattern, etc.)

Adept - The Adept can analyze magical spells and power constructs in order to unravel or bypass them. This may not only require extensive time, but may depend on the skill of the person using the power.

Master - The Master can call upon the ultimate power of the Fae and prevent any power from being used within ten feet of himself. This power can be contested through a gruelling contest of Psyche and Endurance.

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Elemental Magic Basics
cost: 40 points

The following is a cut-down version, a summary, of the power, and not inclusive in it's scope.

Elemental Magic is the catch-all catagory for the various magical traditions that harness and manipulate one of the five elemental powers: Fire, Water, Earth, Air and Ether. Elemental Magic is not a traditional form of magic, and thus is not based on a strict set of rules and formalities. It is a loose, simple form of magic designed for anyone of any spirituality or religion. It is extremely flexible. Anything is possible with this unique look at psychic energy and natural magic.

Man is made up of four elements and floats within the fifth. The four base elements are Earth, Water, Air and Fire, while the noble and mysterious Fifth Element is Ether. Elemental Sorcerers, or Elementalists, are those who can manipulate one or all of these principles, either in their raw form or in their evolved manifestations in living beings. Elemental Magic and ordinary magic aren't mutually exclusive, and both forms of magic can interact freely. All spells are improvisational and begin with an idea and a description. Most spells are assumed to be either instantaneous or permanent, unless described otherwise. Elemental magic is the most destructive and magnifient magic, drawing its power from the elements of Nature herself.

Powers:

  • Earth Magic is the magic not only of soil and metal and rock, but also of the physical body, of plants, and of health and physical needs. Any attempt to reshape a body, directly alter health for good or ill, grow or kill plants, and so on is Earth Magic.

  • Air Magic is the magic not only of wind and lightning, but of the intellect and its creations and manipulations of the physical world. Spells involving electricity, technology, and intelligence are all Air Magic, as are magics related to mind control, contact, and reading.

  • Water Magic is the magic not only of water and other simple fluids, but of the soul and spirit. Spells that contact the soul and see it's state (revealing auras), and spells that summon and direct spirits, are Water Magic. Most weather magic is both Air and Water.

  • Fire Magic is the magic of flames, heat and cold, and of darkness and light, but is also the magic of emotion, passion, inspiration and creativity. While Air is the magic of design, Fire is the magic of creation. A painting is subject to fire magic; blueprints are subject to Air. Fire magic can inspire deep emotion.

  • Ethereal Magic is the element of mystery, time, and magic itself. Magic changes the perceptions or positions in time, space, or planar dimensions are Ethereal magic. This includes astral travel, divination, demon summoning, teleportation, and the creation of pocket realities. Spells involving raw magical force, or the manipulation of other spells are also Ethereal.

Levels:

  • Novice: Elemental magic is far more aggressive than other types -- it is active rather than reactive. But this makes it more difficult to control. Novice "spells" will make things more fun for everybody. Stuff that she could do herself if she weren't so darned lazy like: warm a beverage, open an unlocked door, tie shoelaces, or fill an ice-chest are for the Novice.

  • Acolyte: Now that they know how to turn their powers off, acolyte elementals can begin fine-tuning their abilities, and expanding their areas of learning. Unlocking a door, receiving divinatory insights and random clues, cleaning up a small building, summoning a brief summer rainfall (in the summer!), or a standard Fireball go here. Restoring a mouse to life, directing the growth of a plant requires Acolyte level.

  • Adept: An adept elemental is fairly proficient with his or her abilities, and can do things effortlessly that, as a novice or acolyte, would have taken them hours. Any attempts to shut off building power, extinguish a house-fire, feed a small army, teleport the adept long distances or a small party of people short ones, or manipulate the emotions of a small gathering is at the Adept level. Any attempt to create small animals animal intelligence requires her to be of the Adept level.

  • Artist: An artist has near-perfect control over his or her abilities. Most only reach this point after years of honing their skills. If an Artist wants to (directly) kill a dozen or so people, she could. She could also conjure up a machine gun and kill a lot more on her own, assuming that shadow allows whatever she conjures up to work (gunpowder is a case in point).

  • Avatar: An elementalist passes to the rank of Avatar perhaps once a millennia, and this is probably fortunate due to the sheer destructive force of their powers. Little is beyond their abilities, and they are more akin to gods than mortals. Any attempt to directly kill dozens of people goes here. Ditto for attempts to incapacitate hundreds. Any attempt to utterly wreck the shadow world or really screw up the GM's plotline goes here. Generally, most this stuff is Hail Mary material and at the discretion of the GM.
 
Psionics:
Cost - per power
Psionic ability allows the power of one's psyche to influence the environment. The influence can manifest by affecting the minds of living creatures (Telepathy), affecting the motion of inanimate objects (Telekinesis), or affecting the geometry of the environment (Teleportation). Each of the three disciplines has three levels of mastery: Novice, Adept, Master.

Telepathy - Novice (5 points)
At this simplest level of ability, the psion can transmit thoughts to other sentient beings. This is a simple thing if the beings are in physical contact, or in eye contact. Transmissions can be broad-band, to affect all beings in proximity to the psion, or tight-beamed to a specific receiver at a considerably greater distance if the receiver's position is known. Psions can even form tight-beam relays, so that those at the ends can communicate over a greater distance than the two of them could alone. Once such a communication link is established, the psion can also read the conscious thoughts of the linked beings unless they have sufficient psychic strength to prevent it.

 

Novices also learn a psionic hood technique, which masks their psyches from the awareness of other psychic beings: a person with a high psyche who scans a hooded psion would either detect a normal level of psychic ability, or, if the psion preferred, no psychic activity at all. In some cultures this is vital for survival, as rogue psions may be hunted down by other psions that have been "tamed" by the local government. The hood also shields the psion from unwanted psychic noise in the environment. The last effect of the hood is to shield the psion from telepathic contact, but such protection is not selective: both desired and undesired contact are prevented. A psion with a stronger psyche can batter down or even break though the hood, but the main advantage of the hood is in avoiding notice rather than resisting attack.

Telepathy - Adept (Novice level + 5 additional points)
Beyond the mere transmission of thoughts as a means of communication, the adept telepath can also influence the perceptions of other beings. Details of the environment can be fogged, so that they cannot be recalled later. A reasonably cautious telepathic adept can stand in the midst of a group of people and they will be unable to notice. Of course, this only applies to beings with mental processes in the immediate vicinity: robots would not be fooled, nor would certain unliving monsters, or sentient beings viewing the scene remotely via a telescope or video link.

 

Conversely, the adept can create the illusion of things that are not present, stimulating full-sensory hallucinations. These tend to have a dreamy quality that prevents them from being mistaken for reality unless the adept concentrates on a single recipient and has a significant psyche advantage.

 

In either case, the range of projection is the same as for telepathic communication. Sending hallucinations usually requires the adept to be nearby, simply because they cannot convincingly be integrated into a setting which the adept himself cannot perceive.
At the adept level a psion may also train a "familiar", a non-sentient creature to which the psion is closely attuned. The adept can control such a familiar remotely, as if he were there himself, or as if he had actually become the beast. These familiars are quite precious to their owners, who (accurately, perhapse) regard them as an extension of themselves. At best, the death of a familiar means investing months or years in attunement to a new creature; at worst, if the familiar's death occurs while under the psion's control, it could result in death to the psion due to psychic trauma. Attuning a creature as a familiar costs 2 character points.

Telepathy - Master (Adept level + 5 additional points)
At the highest level of telepathic training, the psion can dominate the thought processes of other sentient beings. Such influence must overcome the psyche of the subject, with greater psychic superiority required for more sophisticated influence. The master telepath can stimulate the brain's pain or sleep centers, close off all sensory input, or shut down voluntary motor control. If the psychic advantage is great enough, as with a non-sentient beast, the master can shut down the involuntary nervous system, effectively willing the creature to die.
 

After several days or weeks, if a master telepath practices on a given subject, he can become attuned and control the being as an adept controls a familiar. This is quite difficult if the being is sentient and has any desire to resist.


Telekinesis - Novice (5 points)
The simplest physical effects the psion can manifest are internal, influencing the processes of his own body. By meditating the psion can cause a wound or illness to heal more quickly, or suspend his bodily processes to eliminate pain or reduce the need for food or air.
 

The novice psion can divert the motion of air or small particles (those with no greater size or force than a typical hailstone) around or away from himself.

The novice telekinetic can move inanimate objects with the force of a human child. His level of control is poor, so he can only create force directly towards or away from himself.

Telekinesis - Adept (Novice level + 5 additional points)
The adept psion can has better control of his bodily processes than the novice. He can augment his natural strength and speed by adding his telekinetic strength to his muscles (in theory the novice could do this as well, but he'd be meditating while doing so and thus unable to take advantage of the augmentation!).  The adept can also suspend all bodily processes, entering a death trance in which neither food nor air is required. So complete is the suspension that the psion's mind itself is suspended, and the state cannot be left voluntarily: another being of sufficient psyche must slowly and carefully guide the practitioner back to awareness.
 

At the adept level, the telekinetic can affect the bodies of others as the novice can affect his own. Again, such effects must overcome the psyche of the subject, if the subject wishes to resist.

The adept telekinetic can divert all physical motion around or away from himself, protecting himself from projectiles such as arrows, stones, or bullets.
 

The adept can move inanimate objects with the force of a typical adult human and the coordination of a human child. Or, rather than moving the entire object, the adept may affect the motion of its particles, causing it to warm or chill: water at room temperature could be brought to freezing or boiling in a minute or so, and with longer concentration highly flammable materials can ignite.


Telekinesis - Master (Adept level + 5 additional points)
The master telekinetic can affect the bodies of others as the adept can affect his own. Again, such effects must overcome the psyche of the subject, if the subject wishes to resist.
The master telekinetic can divert energies around or away from his body, such as light (rendering the psion invisible) or gravity (allowing the psion to levitate).
 

The master can move inanimate objects with great force: his psychic strength is equivalent to level of his psyche attribute. His coordination is great, so that he can juggle small objects or shuffle a deck of cards in midair. He can ignite flammables in a moment, and after a few minutes melt steel.


Teleportation - Novice (5 points)
At the novice level of teleportation, the psion can extend his perceptions through space, giving him clairvoyant capabilities. Small objects, such as those that could fit entirely within the hand, can be moved between the novice's physical location and his viewpoint. If the object is in the grasp of another being, or to be put into contact with another being, the psion must overcome any psychic resistance from the being.

Teleportation - Adept (Novice level + 5 additional points)
The adept teleporter can teleport himself from point to point within his current shadow.

Teleportation - Master (Adept level + 5 additional points)
The master teleporter can open portals from point to point within his current shadow, large enough for spacecraft to pass through. He can alternatively teleport himself to a point in another nearby shadow.

Limitations of Psionics
Psionic effects require great concentration. Most psions must maintain a state of full meditation for several minutes before manifesting any effects at their current level of training. Effects at a lower level of training require less concentration, so that a master telepath could invisibly explore an enemy camp, or even telepathically communicate while in combat.
 

Psionic effects are physically draining. The more powerful the effect, the greater the toll on the psion. Most effects leave the psion fatigued and probably hungry too. A very powerful effect may render the psion catatonic.

 

Psionic powers are limited by the experience of the practitioner. Some experimentation and practice is required before the psion can reliably use telepathic effects on an unfamiliar species. Similarly, a psion entering a new shadow would require a period of adjustment before being able to manifest external telekinetic effects. For this reason psionic effects don't generally work across shadow boundaries unless the psion also has access to some additional shadow-affecting power (i.e., the Pattern or Logrus).


Attribute Tips for Psionics
Psyche is obviously the most important attribute for a psion: it provides the raw power for the effects, and also allows the psion to overcome resistance from unwilling subjects. Endurance, however, is also crucial, so that effects can be maintained, and to speed recovery after their use.

 

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Credits:

  • Shadow Sorcery by Earl Bailey

  • Blood Crystal Sorcery by Karen Klutzke

  • The Voice by Kat Lemmer and Scott Nolan

  • The Glamour by Felicia Olsen

  • Elemental Magic by Shannon Rose

  • Psionics by Carl Klutzke

 

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