Elemental Physics, Dimensional Traits, Paths, and Techniques

   Dimensional Traits complicate the otherwise-simple structure of elemental-physics worlds. Characters who are linked to another, nearby, dimension become infused with it’s energies, although the strength of that infusion may vary in accordance with the nature of the dimension in question, circumstances, time, and the actions of the character. Beneficent dimensional traits can usually be increased by actions which more closely attune the user to the dimension being tapped – and decreased by opposing actions. Malign dimensional traits tend to be easy to increase and extremely hard – or nearly impossible – to decrease. They also tend to have nasty side effects as their level increases.

   In general, Dimensional Traits are limited to one-half the systems usual attribute maximum (plus up to .9) unless the dimensions in question are abnormally tightly linked. Unlike most attributes, in order to allow them to increase or decrease slightly, the values of Dimensional Traits are carried out to one decimal point – thus yielding values such as 6.3 and the possibility of gaining – say – .4, “four points”, or “four tenths”. When you actually use a dimensional trait for something, always round it’s value down.

   Any character with a Dimensional Trait above level 0 has at least some ability to evaluate whether or not another character has that trait – and roughly how strong it is if they do. A check to do so is normally allowed on first meeting another character.

   Any character with a Dimensional Trait above level 0 may tap into it to enhance relevant rolls. Malign dimensional energies may be tapped up to once per roll, but each such use will slightly (by one point) increase the trait in question – and malign traits are generally extremely difficult to decrease. Beneficent forces may only be tapped once per game session – and if the roll still fails, will notably deplete the trait in question (usually by 1d10 points) to a minimum of .1. If such an attempt succeeds, the trait will usually increase by 1-2 points. In general, depending on the nature of the trait in question, such augmentation will provide either a bonus to the roll – usually increasing the effective value of the attribute or skill used if used in advance – or allow a reroll with the dimensional trait replacing the attribute or skill used if used after an initial failure. Beneficent forces may also be tapped when failing the initial roll would result in a reduction in the relevant dimensional trait. For example, a character linked to the Wylds – a realm of beasts – might have a beneficent Instinct trait. Being soothed from a rage, or acceding to some violation of natural behavior patterns may reduce that trait. Ergo, the character may opt to tap his or her Instinct to resist, without it counting against the once-per-day limit.

   Techniques and Paths are less general than Elemental Physics and Dimensional Traits, although they can be found in a variety of worlds. Mechanically they’re simply a variant on “Classes”: a character progresses along one or more relevant paths as he or she gains experience and grows in power – picking up new abilities along the way. Each level of a Path offers one Technique, made up of either 10 or 20 points worth of abilities.

   Obviously enough, 20-point techniques are much better – but they cost 25 points to actually buy, instead of a mere 10. When you’re trying to reach a particular high-level effect quickly, or want to conserve points for other reasons, this is occasionally worthwhile.

   Techniques are may be mental, physical, social, mystical, or something in-between, but they’re all methods of manipulating situations to be more to your liking. Their secrets are the centerpieces of the various Paths – whether those Paths are taught by temples, schools, bizarre (and usually ancient) masters, lost kung fu manuscripts, or guilds.

   Perhaps fortunately, there are limits to what can be incorporated in a single Path. While there are rumors that full-out deities can create Ultimate Paths containing six Techniques, Major Paths are normally limited to a maximum of five Techniques, Minor Paths can only teach a sequence of three, and Least Paths contain only one.

   Secondarily, Paths are usually associated with particular sets of skills – normally about eight to ten of them – which their practitioners must be at least familiar with. Techniques are based on many things.

   Major Paths are inspired works of genius, of years of dedicated effort, and of the expenditure of lots of experience points. Consequently, they’re relatively rare – and tend to become the core of mystical orders, of family and clan traditions, of schools and temples, and of various other groups, as well as major features of the setting and game. Gaining access to one often difficult.

   Minor Paths are still difficult to develop – and it still requires a fair chunk of experience points to do so – but either genius OR hard work suffices. Thanks to that, there are innumerable minor schools – allowing the players to design them to suit themselves. While this still requires Game Master approval, it’s a wonderful way to create customized specialists. Most magical Paths are Minor – or even Least – Paths at best: their practitioners have magical things to spend their experience points on anyway.

   Least Paths can be developed with relative ease, but – of course – never offer access to the most powerful techniques.

   Regardless of the nature of the Path, some Techniques refer to “Path Rank”. This is the number of techniques in the series that the referencing technique is a part of which the user has mastered.

   While there are an endless array of special Techniques, some of the more common components for building them are listed below. Advantages – at least in point-buy advantage systems – may also be learned as Techniques, in which case they are purchased at their base costs.

   Finally, while some Technique Components can, in theory, be restricted enough to wind up with a net cost of “0”, the minimum cost is normally “5” – although the game master may opt to waive this requirement for a component if the Technique you’re creating is otherwise highly specialized or relatively weak.

Technique Components: Adding Attributes, Skills, and Dimensional Traits:

  • Add a specified Attribute, Dimensional Trait, or your Path Rank, to your Attacks, your Damage, your Armor Class, or to a limited Group of Skill Checks (e.g, those related to a chosen trait or in a particular group, such as “path skills”) (5). Doubled for (10), Tripled for (20), +5 to allow it to be switched around, -5 to total if restricted to a limited situation (e.g, not while wearing armor, only versus ranged weapons, once missed, when facing multiple opponents or one with a higher rank). Malign dimensional traits may be added to both Attacks and Damage at the base cost OR take a -5 cost modifier.
  • Add a specified Attribute, Path Rank x2, or a Dimensional Trait rating x3 to a very limited type of roll, such as Initiative, to rolls to resist poisons and diseases, to rolls against harmful spell effects, or to rolls against attempts to control or influence your mind (5).
  • Add a Specified Skill to Attack Rolls, Damage Rolls, or Armor Class (10), +10 for x2, another +10 for x3. -5 per level if severely restricted (say, you must have a specialized knowledge skill relevant to the fight or it only works once per turn in a path that grants multiple attacks).
  • Add a Skill to a very specific type of roll, such as Initiative, to rolls to resist poisons and diseases, against harmful spell effects, etcetera (5). This may be taken up to three times with cumulative effects.
  • Raise your Armor Class, Magic Resistance, TN to be Detected, or Social Defenses by up to (Attribute x3) (5), (Attribute x5) (10), (Attribute x7) (15), or (Attribute x8) (20), but take the amount you raise it by as a penalty to all other rolls save for those made to evade notice, to directly increase the relevant defense, or to get away. +10 to halve the penalty, +5 to get two kinds of defense at once, +10 for all four, -5 if all rolls except those made to increase the appropriate defense are penalized.

   There are no techniques which add to each die rolled. Such effects are only available as spells.

Dimensional Traits Technique Components:

  • Dimensional trait Techniques all require that the user be acting in accordance with the nature of the dimension being tapped to work.
  • You may tap a beneficent trait as often as desired (10). -5 if you must spend a c’hi point to do so, +5 if you may do so on behalf of another character nearby.
  • You may interfere with another’s use of the same (20) or an opposing (if any, 15) trait, causing the use of it to fail automatically. -5 if restricted to a particular group of rolls or to a limited situation, -5 if this costs a C’hi Point to activate.
  • Opponents who force you to gain points in malignant traits or to lose points from beneficent ones suffer similar penalties themselves. (10) for all dimensional traits, (5) for any single dimensional trait.
  • When you tap a particular dimensional trait, it is always treated as if it was at it’s maximum possible value. (10, and a minimum Path Rank of 3 for half-cap traits), (20 and Path Rank 5 for full-cap traits), +10 if applied to multiple traits.
  • You may use a trait that normally provides rerolls to provide bonuses or vice versa. (10) if you may either boost a roll or reroll, (20) if you can do both. +10 if applicable to any such trait you possess, rather than a single one.
  • You may reroll dice which are under (Trait Rank + 1) on particular sets of rolls, but must keep the new result. The roll type must be related to the trait in question. In general, (5) for lore, artistic, knowledge, or other occasional checks, (10, minimum Path Rank 2) for social checks, intelligence-based checks, or similar noncombat sets (15, minimum Path Rank 3) for damage or perception checks, and (20, minimum Path Rank 4) for attacks or limited sets which include combat skills.
  • You may expend a c’hi point to channel your energies into another, nearby, character who is making a check and who possesses the same dimensional trait at 1+, forcing them to replace either the skill or attribute value involved with the dimensional trait in question. This will not directly alter the trait involved. (10).
  • Attackers with a beneficent trait will lose points from that trait equal to your score in it the first time they engage you in any given day (5, minimum Path Rank 4 for a single trait), (10 minimum Path Rank 5 for all beneficent traits).
  • You may reduce a malign dimensional trait with a moderately difficult check or regime by 1 point per month (or per kill of a another creature with the trait above 0) if it is normally near-impossible to remove, by 1 per week or per banishment/sealing of a spirit from the relevant realm if the trait is normally hard to get rid of, and by one per day if it’s normally just annoying (10), -5 if there’s a limit to how far it can be reduced, +5 per additional point of reduction, +5 to add a bonus to the roll or to reduce its difficulty, +5 to be able to treat someone else, -5 if the killing/banishment/sealing methods also require a check to succeed, -5 if this can only be used to counter the rising of malign dimensional traits due calling upon them.
  • You gain (Rank – 4) (5), (Rank – 2) (10), or (Rank) (15) x 5 Magic Resistance to spells cast by characters carrying an opposing dimensional trait (check with your GM to see if there is one before taking this). Thanks to the greater load, +5 if the opposing trait is common in the setting, +10 if it’s very common.
  • You may voluntarily take any amount of damage to add the same amount (10) or twice as much (15) to the damage you inflict when you strike an opponent with a particular dimensional trait. If this kills said opponent you may opt to lose two points of the trait in question. Thanks to the load variance, -5 if the trait is malign or quite uncommon,+5 if it is very common in the setting.
  • You may gain any available dimensional trait at a rating of .1 (10), .5 (15), or 1.0 (20).
  • You may spend a C’hi point when an opponent rolls to lower all of his or her dice by (Trait Rank) (20). -5 if restricted to a limited set of rolls, -5 if you must be making an opposing roll at the same time.
  • You may raise your target numbers without limit when opposing someone with a particular dimensional trait (10). +5 if the trait is particularly common in the setting (due to the load variance), -5 if it is extremely rare (for the same reason)
  • You may use a Trait that normally provides physical bonuses to provide mental bonuses or vice versa (10).
  • You may add a malign dimensional trait to the relevant attribute for unarmed attack checks (10), all melee attack checks (15), or for all attack checks (20).
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