World of Darkness: Tenebris Raptis

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 Sorcery: Ephemera

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Join date : 2010-01-30
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PostSubject: Sorcery: Ephemera   Fri Jul 02, 2010 4:26 pm

Since the days when flesh and spirit separated, mystics and spirits have longed to reach the other side. Talented people — mediums — can learn the Art of the Living Bridge — the Path that turns a sorcerer into a doorway between worlds. This Path allows you to reach across the Gauntlet or Shroud and contact spirits or ghosts. Since most people, even mediums, assume that all spirits are more or less the same (they aren't), this can be a risky proposition. Fortunately, this body of occult lore includes a number of safeguards so that when the worst does happen, you have something to fall back on.

Ephemera's learning curve is steep; the early steps of this Path are dangerous but unavoidable. Amateur mediums get themselves in trouble by confusing Banes with ghosts, or nameless Spectres for ghostly loved ones. Less of an art than a shot in the dark, Ephemera shows you the way, but does not teach you how to walk it. That knowledge comes only with experience.

If your talents lie in this direction, the Ephemera Path allows you to put them to good use. As a medium, you open yourself up to the spirits — becoming, in effect, their conduit into the material world. In story terms, you abandon most of your self-control and allow the entity to take over. In Wraith terms, you become a temporary Consort for a ghost with the Puppetry Arcanos; as long as you both stay in touch with each other, the ghost uses your body for its own purposes. In Werewolf terms, you make yourself available to a nature spirit with the Possession Charm (see Werewolf's Chapter Seven, Mage's Chapter Nine, or The Book of Madness' Appendix), lowering your effective Willpower by two points so that the spirit can have an easier time getting into your skin. Spirits have minds of their own, though, and many of them (especially angry ghosts) take advantage of the "arrangement."

Thankfully, this Path includes a few defensive Rituals in case the spirits get nasty. Wise mediums are versed in the practices of Warding and Forbiddence (Wraith, pages 287-289). Each of these counts as a Level One Ritual and has the following system effects:

* Warding protects an area from ghostly intrusion. By using some precautionary charm (an intricate chant, a prayer, painted sigils, iron nails, sprinkled salt, smudging with incense), spending a point of Willpower, and rolling same vs. difficulty 7, you can block wraiths from entering an area for a certain period of time:


Ward Successes Duration

1 succ - One hour

2 succ - One day

3 succ - One week

4 succ - One month

5 succ - Three months


* Forbiddance immediately drives a wraith from the area. By rolling successfully (Willpower vs. difficulty 7), you can push a ghost out of your sight. A willful wraith can oppose this Ritual by spending one of its own Willpower per success, but until you've left the area, he has to slay away himself. Nature spirits are more direct, if more problematic, to deal with. With the Banishment and Seal Rituals (Level Two), you can try to Forbid, Ward or, with Dolor (Level Three), actually harm a natural spirit. This last tactic uses your Willpower rating as a weapon. Each successful Wits + Occult roll takes a figurative chunk out of the spirit, subtract ing one point of your adversary's Power for each success you win. A strong spirit probably won't be impressed, but a weaker one may be wounded or even destroyed if your luck and Willpower hold out. Despite these Rituals, throw ing your weight around is not a safe proposition, as the spirits often fight back. Mediums tend to have high Willpower scores!

Persuasion is often more effective than force. To establish contact, roll your Charisma + Enigmas while calling out to the spirits in the area. A number of helpers (see "Teamwork") can lower the initial difficulty, too. If you're trying to reach a ghost, it helps to have a Fetter or Haunt nearby — you're more likely to reach your quarry if you have something precious to her nearby. Locating the ghost or spirit usually requires an extended roll (see below). Once you've found the spirit you're looking for (or at least think you've found her!), you state your case and try to win her over. There isn't anything special about the systems for this point of the game — simply roleplay out the talk. Such meetings ought to be a hell of a lot weirder than your average conversation, though! Spirits, even ones that began as people, have unsettling perspectives.

Many dead souls are beyond contact — they've passed on to places the greatest medium cannot reach. Those who can be called back may be summoned with an extended roll of as many successes as the Storyteller sees fit. Contacting your brother in the city where he died last year would demand less work than finding a Colombian bishop killed in the 1970s. The Storyteller should decide whether or not the ghost has passed beyond mortal reach, though the truth should remain a secret from the players. An ill-intentioned spirit might masquerade as the ghost the medium wanted to meet, and this could cause all kinds of fun.

Unlike other Paths, the difficulty of reaching across the barrier goes down with each level while your ability increases. A medium with one dot in Ephemera works against difficulty 9 and cannot actually communicate with anything other than human ghosts (and then only if they wish to be spoken to). This goes down by one step per dot, to a final difficulty of 5, but cannot go lower than 3. As a medium's skill grows, she can speak with natural spirits, see into the Penumbra (but not pass through) and seek out specific entities.

Several Traits are especially appropriate to medium characters. Enigmas and Spirit Lore are essentially required (although the latter cannot be bought during creation — it must be learned the hard way). Occult, Subterfuge, Awareness, Cosmology and Intimidation are very helpful. The Merit/Flaw Spirit Magnet is common, as are the Haunted, Guardian Angel and Spirit Mentor permutations. Characters with the Shapeshifter Kinfolk or Medium Merits reduce all Ephemera difficulties by one. Spirits, it should be known, make good allies — and terrible enemies! Behave.


Roll: Charisma + Occult

Cost: No Willpower cost


Effects

* You can feel the spirits moving and even get their attention with a successful roll. What they do is up to them. This is a dangerous but necessary phase in a medium's Path.

** You can distinguish between spirits, and may call up specific ones if you know how. If things get out of hand, you can try to dismiss what you have called.

*** When you speak, something always comes. With luck, you can address it, befriend it or dismiss it. If you want to personally address a particular spirit, you can try at this level.

**** You can pierce the veil between worlds and actually see and hear those ephemera around you. Most spirits respect you for your insight and ability. Some show up even when you don't call...

***** The spirits of nature and the dead know your name and often come when you call- You can hurt those who displease you and dismiss those who offend you.

****** You may cross the line in the other direction, entering the spirit world in an astral form. Leaving your body behind, your spirit travels into the Penumbra or Shadowlands; Physical Traits become Mental and Social ones — Wits replaces Dexterity, Manipulation serves as Strength and Intelligence serves as Stamina. Connected to your mortal form by a silver cord (which may be snapped by a spirit or wraith, stranding you in the spirit world), you traverse the Penumbra. Your Willpower rating becomes your Health Level rating; when you're dropped to 0 Willpower, the precious silver cord snaps.


Rituals

(Each type costs three points; until you reach the proper level, however, you may not buy a given Ritual. Example: Randi Marsellia, a medium with Ephemera 2, cannot acquire a Level Three Ritual until she reaches Ephemera 3.)

* Call Ghost, Ward, Forbiddence

** See Ghost, Call Nature, See Naturae, Seal, Banishment

*** Gossip (allows the medium to "spread the word" around her chosen contacts), Dolor

**** Grasp (medium becomes a Fetter for a chosen wraith for seven days), Command (medium can order a minor nature spirit to do one task and expect to be obeyed), Deny the Veil (allows medium to see into the Penumbra; actually two separate Rituals, as one grants a view of the Shadowlands and the other a look into the nature spirit world)

***** Distant Call (Medium can attempt to speak briefly to one who has passed on to some afterlife or punishment. This works within Storyteller's discretion)


Price of Failure

Dealing with the spirits (ghosts or otherwise) is always perilous. Letting them possess you is a major leap of faith, and a mistake can be eternal. Failed rolls still have bad consequences — the wrong spirits can and occasionally do answer fumbled calls. A botched seance might open the door for evil spirits — Specters, Banes, even minor demons. Remember The Exorcist?
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