This is a list of skills which I originally created for a campaign on a medieval world without magic or supernatural powers (yeah, right). My players ended up liking them so much that they demanded I introduced them on other campaigns as well. I usually charge a 10 point unusual background for each of these skills that a player wishes to purchase. Even so, most of the skills are worth the cost.
These skills deal with subconscious manipulation. They are evidently four-color or cinematic, but if you stretch reality a bit, you can find out an explanation for most of these effects.
Please, note that these skills are FICTITIOUS! I am not advocating any of these things are in the least probability feasible. Thank you.
Attention Control (M/VH) No default
Pre-requisite: Symbolic Language 18+
Cannot be greater than the Symbolic Language level
When a person focuses its attention on something, it can become so wrapped up in one only issue, that the most improbable things may go by right in front of him and he won't even notice. Just the same, a person which opens up his attention may perceive elements that others would take too long to notice.
People's attention is defined by their interests. An accountant will most certainly stop to hear a talk about financial market, but would be easily distracted in a lecture about new cirurgic techniques, something that would naturally involve a medic. A person's attention is directed by the implicit meaning that is hidden on words and images, and the relation that this meaning has with them.
When someone knows the language of the symbols, he can discover symbols that call on the attention not by any logical feature, but because they subconsciously relate the viewer to something that interests him. Just as well, some symbols may go by undetected, by the same reason.
This is the basis for attention control. With this skill, a character may use symbols that catch someone's attention to one thing in specific, while other people may go by without realizing that the symbol is even there. He could, for instance, make a guard look aside while he passes through his watch, undetected, simply because the guard is not paying attention to him. Or he could, also, catch an entire audience's attention for a specific speech about butterfly reproduction.
In a success, the target will perceive or ignore what the user defined. There is no resistance roll, except a counter roll of attention control.
The user must do something like gestures, words, or show a drawing for the target: something that will serve as a symbol. With a -3 penalty, skill targets will not even realize what was the symbol used.
This skill can be used to hide something from other people using ITH or Behavioral Foresight on the user. Treat it as a simple resistance.
The skill can also be used on a long term basis. For instance: to prevent your friends from realizing that you are sick or some dark secret. It can also be used in abstract things like: making two people realize they love each other (in case they do and do not know I yet), or an audience not realize what is the exhibitor's sex.
This skill cannot make new perceptions, such as to make two people think they saw something else, it can only control the people's focus of attention. For this effect, see the "Halo Effect" skill.
Halo Effect (M/VH) No default
Pre-requisite: Acting 18+, Performance 18+
Cannot be higher than the smaller level between Acting and Performance
When we first meet someone, there is a subconscious tendency to judge the whole of the person for one single, preemptive element of its personality. Thus, we judge a strong person as being daft, and an ugly person as being evil. This is known as the "Halo Effect".
This skill allows someone to alter his own conduct so as to let people see what he wants them to see in him. With it, the user could make others believe that he is extremely intelligent, capable, shy, or anything else he wants. He could also combine various elements to form a clearer picture. For instance: he could make someone believe that he is a king just by the way he moves and talks, or make a very powerful mage believe that he is even more powerful.
In essence, the skill allows the user to create for himself the subconscious illusion to be whatever he wants (from a king to "the Dark One").
The skill can also be used to make people believe that the user is someone else. Even though they see and listen to the user, the subconscious impression on the target's minds will be that of someone else, so much that they will believe that who did what the user did and said what the user said was someone else. This effect is made at -7 for simulating a generic "someone else", and -15 to simulate a specific other person.
With -10 the user can make people think that he is an animal.
With -20 the user can make people think that he is not even there.
Uses of ITH and Behavioral Foresight on the user will work but will not show that the user is using Halo Effect.
Destinology (M/VH) No default
Pre-requisite: Symbolic Language 20+
Cannot be higher than the Symbolic Language level
Everything follows a pattern. There are patterns for all things, and, with a deep enough knowledge over a certaing field, we can predict what is about to happen with the observation of simple signs.
Thus, a doctor can tell a patient is about to have a heart attack. A mecanic can tell that a car is about to break its gear. When the birds fly low, we know that it is about to rain, and an abnormal silence heralds the coming of enemies.
With the observation of the signs that nature offers, we can form patterns through which we can predict what is about to happen. That is the study of destiny: Destinology.
Destinology allows for a user to watch a person/ situation/ people/ object for a time and tell what is about to happen to it/him/her. This means, yes, that once made the prediction, it can change. In fact, just knowing it alters everything, and people "can" change their destinies just as a person about to have a heart attack can change his diet and start jogging every morning. However, when you are tied up to a car at 80 miles per hour at the brink of a precipice, there is little you can do to prevent the fall.
The higher the observation time, the better the prediction's definition. A user that beholds a city for a day can say "a great disaster is about to happen", but the same user with a month of observation could say that "there will be an earthquake on month such, day such, which will strike the castle and leave most citizens homeless".
This ability cannot predict what someone is about to do, use behavioral foresight for that, but only what is about to happen to the target. This prediction may change, but the use of the ability is safe enough to assume that, unless something is done to specifically counter that prediction, it will come true.
Many times, a person unconsciously chooses his destiny. For instance: in mistreating his wife several times, a person may have "chosen" his divorce, even if, consciously, he did not wanted it. Many destinies are chosen in such fashion. This ability cannot tell what will your life be IF’, but only what is about to happen. In the given example, it would not predict the divorce the moment that the husband was born, because he was a completely different person back then, but it could predict the divorce when he got married, because the roots for it were already laid out.
This ability can be used always before a combat to know who is going to win. The more successes the user has, the greater the detail of the victory.
Indirect Though Hipersensitivity (ITH) (M/VH) No default
When someone thinks, this thought is not confined to its brain. All of a person's body is affected by its thoughts in subtle forms, with slight muscle contractions, subtle looks, legs crossing, etc.
This is the ability to read someone's thoughts by reading the signs that the body shows, and deduct from them the general idea of the thought.
A person may try to hide his thoughts with Acting -4, Performance -5 or another use of ITH, but if he doesn't know any of these skills, there is no resistance against this. Even with these skills, a person have to know he is being "probed" to hide the thoughts.
In a good roll, the user has an idea of the current thought going about someone's mind. He cannot catch names or numbers, but he may read facts and feelings. If the target is thinking on a phone number, for instance, this skill will find out to whom it belongs, how the target intends to call, what's the importance of that person to him, etc, but not the phone in itself.
For this ability to work, the user MUST see the target. This skill cannot be used in the dark or in a tape recording, for instance. The GM may (please do) impose heavy penalties if the target is using armor or some other heavy clothing which blocks the sight of most body features.
Philosofical Fast Talk (M/VH) No default
Pre-requisite: Fast Talk 16+, Philosophy 16+
Cannot be higher than the smaller level between Fast Talk and Philosophy
This technique combines the cunning of the fast-talk with the fundamental knowledge of philosophy creating an unbeatable logical structure which can take the target into believing (and doing) anything the user wants.
People being targeted by a philosophical fast-talk can resist with their IQ or Fast Talk at -5 ONLY if the user is trying to induce them to do something against their code of conduct. Otherwise, there is no possible resistance.
This skill depends on the target following the user on a logical argumentation, and, therefore, is considerably slower than fast-talk, therefore being unsuitable for combat or tense situations, and not working at all in someone who refuses to talk to the user (the user needs a feedback to drive his argumentation).
This ability can be used on crowds with a penalty of -3. Every person will be affected individually. This can create entire armies simply by fast-talking them into a coherent logic.
This ability can be used to answer any question on a cryptic fashion, but mysterious and impressive enough to make it seem that the answer was completely and perfectly given, when in fact it said nothing at all.
If the target also has Philosophical Fast Talk, he will not be affected by other uses of this skill unless the user won a contest of skills by more than 5. The target can, in this situation, resist with his skill at +7.
Symbolic Language (M/H) No default
There is a hidden meaning in every symbol which comes from an unshakeable and well grounded logic. With this ability, for instance, a horizontal line means passivity while the number five means energy, and so on.
Everyone which studies the language of symbols from a solid and true logical basis will reach the same results, and may, therefore, interpret one symbolic message on the same way, regardless of culture, language or age, adapting it to his own circumstantial reality.
With this skill, a person may pass a message by images and symbols, and this message will only be readable by someone with the same level of skill. To all others, the message will be hidden.
A person may code a message and associate this message with a level of skill smaller or equal to its own. Only people with that given level (or greater) will be able to read the message. To all others, it will be hidden. No roll is needed.
Any message can be coded in symbols.
With a penalty of -5, a person can code a message within alphabetic symbols, thus writing a phrase that means something when read properly, and something else entirely when read symbolically.
This skill does not have to be used in written or drawn messages. Two people talking can communicate though symbolic messages hidden in their hand and arm gestures in such a way that no one else may decipher their talk.
Logic (M/H) No default
Logic is the study of the argumentation lines and reason processes. Its knowledge includes the study of the known "figures of logic", which, like figures of speech, are logical artifices used to validate a reasoning.
One of the best uses for logic is to destroy someone else's arguments. Against logic, only an absolute reason can hope to win, once it allows the student to see through argumentation flaws in any reasoning.
Logic can be used to resist any attempt of "Symbolic Prison" and "Philosophical Fast Talk". This contest is made with the user's level in logic against one third of the margin of success of the attacker.
Scientific Method (M/A) No default
Usually, when a person studies on its own, it must spend 800 hours per character point. However, with an appropriate method of tries and retries, this period can be greatly reduced.
This skill allows a user to reduce the hours needed to gain a character point in a given skill when studying on its own by (NH - 10) x 20 hours. It has no effect over level 50, when the user spends 200 hours per point.
Behavioral Foresight (M/VH) No default
When a person intends to do something, all of his body shows signs of this intent. When you know the movement of this signs, you can know what he is about to do even before he think about doing it.
This is the skill which explains no only how a person behaves, but what is the natural movement of a behavior and a mind. With it, you can watch a person for a time and state what she will do next, even if the person is not thinking of doing it yet.
This skill cannot predict fatalities, or events beyond the target's control. A prediction may well fail because something unexpected happened to the target, and, thus, all of his line of actions were changed. However, under normal conditions of behavior, it works always.
If the target is warned about the prediction, he may well change it freely, because predictions by this skill take in account that the target do not know what was predicted.
You cannot use this skill to predict what the target will do IF this skill depends on direct observation, and not behavioral analysis.
The time in the future which this skill can reach is equal to the margin of successes plus one in minutes.
This skill can be used in combat. If the user concentrates on one single opponent, and assumes total defense, he will have a +3 in all of his active defense rolls against that opponent, and +4 in his next attack when breaking the total defense.
This skill, like ITH, depends on observation to work, and is useless in the dark or merely with voices.
Contextual Foresight (M/VH) No default
Pre-requisite: Behavioral Foresight 20+, Strategy 20+
Cannot be higher than the smaller level between Behavioral Foresight and Strategy
Once a person can perceive the subtle signs that someone shows and, with this, predict its behavior, then, with enough information, it may be possible to see a pattern forming in a multitude or society and, from there, predict what this mass of people will do.
This skill allows the user to predict what a group of people is about to do.
If the user is predicting what a city or kingdom will do, then he needs to watch this city or kingdom intently, usually with lots of rolls of "Politics". Once the needed information is gathered, then the prediction can take place. However, this skill can be used in battle to predict what an army will do without much previous information.
The reach of this skill in time is variable. An army just assembled could be predicted in (the margin of successes considered in) hours, while a city could be predicted in days. Assume that if the group of people considered is a brief gathering (an army or a crowd gathered by chance) the prediction is given in hours. When the group is larger and more consistent (a city, for instance), the prediction can be given in days, and if the group beheld is very big (a kingdom or country), it can be given in years. States would be predicted in months.
This skill reveals the most probable tendencies of a folk, however, the very use of it may implicate changes not thus predicted. However, it is, as a rule of thumb, VERY difficult to change the disposition of an entire crowd in time.
Symbolic Prison (M/VH) No default
Pre-requisite: Symbolic Language 20+
Cannot be higher than the level of Symbolic Prison
This skill allows a user to create a series of symbols and patters whose disposition will take certain beings into follow a specific behavior, unconsciously. It is an advanced form of Subliminar Message.
This skill has a penalty in its roll depending on the kind of attitude and the reach that it is desired of the affected being(s):
Cause a penalty in one's every actions -3 per penalty
Paralise a being (resisted by will minus the margin of successes of the user) -10
Cause a fright check (with a penalty equal to the margin of successes of the user) -8
Turn the target running away from the symbol. -7
Stop the target from passing by the symbol without overcoming a contest of skills with its willpower. -4
Prevent the target from stop looking at the symbol without overcoming the symbol's creator's successes with its willpower. -8
Compel the observers into a trivial action: Vote for Joe, drink Goka Gola, etc. -8
Compel the observers into a significant action: go to a certain church, give part of its money to charity, etc. -16
Compel the observers to a very significant action: join the army, change city, etc. -24
Compel the observers to a radical action: Give away their children to adoption, assassin the president, etc. -32
Affect a great number of being: All males, all felines, etc. -4
Affect a very big number of beings: All vertebrates, all intelligent beings, etc. -8
Affect anyone capable of seeing the symbol -12
The ability works as follows: The user states the effect he wishes to achieve with the symbol and rolls with the appropriate pelanty. In a success, he knows how to do that symbol with that number of successes. In a failure, he does not know how to do that symbol and may not try again. Therefore, only ONE roll is required for every different symbol the user tries to make. For any other symbol he tries to produce to achieve the same end, use the previous roll as the result.
A person who knows this skill can resist symbols made by it with his level instead of his willpower. When a person resists a symbol in this fashion once, then he will always resist that one symbol for the rest of its life (save memory losses). Case he fails, he can only try to resist again if someone warns him about the symbol. If the symbol is obvious (like a symbol to prevent someone from passing through a door), then it is resisted at every attempt.
This ability needs a specific roll for every different kind of being targeted (humans, canines, elves, etc). It does not reaches EVERY living being unless the appropriate penalty is paid. In its predefined state, it affects one race in specific, or one entire species, in the case of irrational animals.
This ability is EXTREMELY DANGEROUS to games!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Associative Remembering (M/VH) No default
The brain has very specific means of storing information, and is very able in optimizing space and function, so that it is theoretically possible to remember extremely remote facts, if we have the appropriate motivation.
The technique of Associative Remembering allows a user to remember anything he wants through the use of associations that call forth emotions connected to one specific event. With it, it is theoretically possible to remember anything one has lived, even in the most remote and unlikely past.
Beyond being very useful to write reports, this skill allows the user to reduce the learning time of any skill. Being capable to remember the details of any class, one can take a much greater benefit from them. The user is able to learn new skills spending 200 x (8 / NH) hours per character point, down to a minimum of 50 hours (NH = 32).
If the user is growing a skill he have learned with books or a teacher, and he have at least 4 points spent in that skill, with this ability he can raise his points in that skill without going to further classes, just by remembering the details of a class (he can spend the time remembering instead of studying, but still must spend the time).
With this skill, the user can place a "mark" on any memory he wishes. With that, he can access that memory in particular at any time, without having to roll this ability.
Eideticd Memory does NOT affects this skill level. Instead, count every point spent into this skill as also being spent on Eidetic Memory, and vice-versa (consider that only if the character has access to the training of this skill).
Transcendental Philosophy (M/VH) No default
Pre-requisite: Symbolic Language 20+, Logic 20+, Contextual Foresight 20+, Scientific Method 20+
Cannot be higher than the smaller level among Logic, SymbolicLanguage, Contextual Foresight and Scientific Method
There is a higher reason, there is an unshakeable Truth and an Intelligence superior to all things. Its knowledge is the knowledge of death, and the possession of this science, the True Science, allows the student the transcendence over all things mundane.
Transcendental Philosophy explains all things. And, what it does not explain, it teaches how to find out. With this knowledge, any question can be answered, and the greatest problem of a student in progressing is exactly thinking that he knows everything already.
Transcendental Philosophy explains the reason and the law of formation of Magic. Therefore, it can be used to replace the user's IQ in resisting any spell or supernatural power. Also, he can explain magic as a master magician as can use his knowledge to develop new spells and powers much easily (I have no such rules for that, though).
Transcendental Philosophy also explains the reason behind all mundane sciences, being used to replace any skill that does not depend on circumstantial data, but natural phenomena, with a certain penalty. For instance: Physics is a study based on natural phenomena, laws that are always the same, therefore, can be replaced by Transcendental Philosophy with a penalty. However, streetwise is a knowledge deeply connected to a society and code of behavior, and, therefore, does not depend on natural laws, and cannot be replaced by Transcendental Philosophy.
Transcendental Philosophy replaces M/E skills with -3, M/A skills with -4, M/H skills with -5 and M/VH skills with -6, even if those skills have "no default" listed on them.
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