Continuum II: Mindsending Cantrips

   Here we have the next section of the Continuum II Cantrip list – in this case, Mindsending Cantrips. As it happens, Mindsending is the most powerful branch of Cantrip Magic (which isn’t necessarily saying much), since this group of cantrips draws on the user’s innate psychic strength as well as on his or her personal mana. Sadly, unless you’re a professional psychic or possess some major psychic talent, psychic strength is just as limited a resource as personal mana.

   Mechanically, using Mindsending cantrip requires the expenditure of both a point of personal mana and a psychic strength point. If the user has no psychic strength available, these cantrips will be ineffective.

   For those who haven’t been reading this series, here’s a repeat of the basic information on Cantrip Magic. For those who have been, it’s been offset for easy skipping.

   Cantrip Magic, drawing upon the modest reserve of magical energy which accumulates in any living creature, is the simplest and easiest of all forms of magic. That power is immediately to hand, focused, and attuned. It is inherently readily handled by the user – and the mere desire to use it is enough to get it partially shaped. Minor talents, basic magical training, or comparatively trivial talismans – such as the infamous “Cantrip Rings” – will suffice to channel it. Even more usefully, the simple instinct for self-preservation allows anyone with defensive cantrips available to use on of them per round as a reflex action, albeit at the cost of a “+2” on the user’s next initiative check.

   Unfortunately, Cantrip Magic is also the weakest form of spellcasting. The complexity of any given effect is moderate at most, and the personal mana which powers it is a very limited resource. Gods, fey, and spellcasters may build up substantial reserves – the residue of the energies they channel in other ways – but everyone else will only have a little based on their Endurance and the level of natural magic in the world they live in.

   On the other hand, Cantrip Magic is by far the most common form of magic in Continuum II. Minor mages, dabblers, and laymen use it, minor talismans and amulets produce and sustain cantrip effects for a time, embedded cantrips affect whatever inanimate object they’re embedded in permanently, and focusing talismans – such as those aforementioned “Cantrip Rings” – can focus their wearer’s personal mana into a list of up to seven cantrips whose patterns are embedded in item.

   The stuff is everywhere – and so a list of cantrips can be quite important. Their classification is somewhat arbitrary, but here’s the section on Mindsending Cantrips – spells which draw on both the user’s personal psychic and personal magical energy, and are thus somewhat more powerful than most other cantrips.

  1. Amplify: This cantrip clears the users mind, improving his or her focus and concentration. Using it before undertaking some small task gives the caster a “+2” bonus if he or she is undisturbed, allows him or her to ignore minor disturbances, and reduces the penalties for major disturbances. It also leaves the user slightly abstracted and far more vulnerable to surprise.
  2. Anticipations: Heightens the users innate ability to “read” and anticipate the reactions of any one being of a similar species within thirty feet for 2D6 minutes. During this time he or she receives a +2 bonus on attempts to evade or predict the target’s actions – including evading or resisting their attacks.
  3. Auric Massage: Allows the user to “feel” a “targets” aura, revealing the location and seriousness of disturbances resulting from injuries, strains, cramps, “major” illnesses, excited nerve clusters, energy imbalances, and erogenous zones, by their disruption of the targets aura. This also lets the user give amazing massages, therapeutic or otherwise. Expending an additional six points of psychic strength allows the user to gently manipulate a targets aura with results similar to those claimed for acupuncture and physical therapy, adding bonuses of up to +3 on any appropriate rolls. The charm works for up to an hour, but only on a single target per casting.
  4. Bardic Visions: Allows any listeners to “see” the images associated with a story, epic, or other work by broadcasting the users mental images. Any careful comparison between listeners will reveal that many of the fine details were provided by their imaginations however.
  5. Barrage: Telekinetically hurls one “rounds worth” of hand – propelled missiles such as; chakram, shuriken, daggers, darts, javelins, spears, or whatever. As the charm channels the force of the users own muscles into the attack, this is treated exactly as if the user had thrown the weapon(s) normally, save that it allows him or her to cast another cantrip during the same action. He or she may repeat this charm if he or she so desires. Sadly, using this charm on missiles larger then daggers costs three points of psychic strength, rather then one.
  6. Calm: This cantrip affects up to six levels of nonsapient higher animals, and lasts for up to ten minutes. While under the influence of this cantrip, such animals will not attack without good reason.
  7. Compensation: Lets the recipient use his own psychic energies to temporarily compensate for some “handicap” or disorder, such as paralysis, blindness, or even an old amputation. The cantrip remains active as long as the user can power it and desires to do so. The power required to maintain the charm varies drastically with the damage, “jumping” nerve signals past a spinal scar and such costs one point of psychic strength per hour, overriding grand mal epilepsy or “seeing” without eyes costs one per minute, creating a phantom limb to replace an amputation costs one per initiative count (about six seconds). Having “something to work with” such as a prosthetic limb or a glass eye makes the charm far easier to maintain, increasing the time factor by one level (counts to minutes to hours to days). Working against a curse or counterinfluence decreases the time factor one level, effects which would cost “per count” become effectively impossible. A specialized version increases the duration by one level.
  8. Dreamsending: Sends any acquaintance a brief message in a dream. The message is subject to normal dream -distortions and forgetfulness after waking, so many recipients don’t figure it out for weeks – even after many repetitions.
  9. Dreamvision: Lays the user open to a prophetic, clairvoyant, or meaningful dream described by the game master. It can only be used once per “situation” since, unless some major factor (in the opinion of the game master) changes, repeating the spell will only lead to repeating the dream. It has the side effect of leaving the user “open” to psychic disturbances, sometimes producing nasty nightmares instead of meaningful dreams if there is something going on nearby or if it’s used in an area carrying strong psychic impressions.
  10. Empathy: Allows the user to read and send emotions in a sixty-degree cone up to thirty feet long for ten minutes. While this allows the user to readily sense the general tone of the emotions of those in the area, and to effectively communicate his or her own emotions, it does not force the receiver to share them; you can tell if those in the affected area are frightened, let them know that you’re frightened, or suggest that they should be frightened – but you can’t actually force them to be frightened.
  11. Extend Sense: Lets the caster “displace” one of his senses, transferring his point of view to a psychic construct up to ten feet away. While the construct is basically invulnerable, it can transmit a watered-down sensation of pain if it encounters anything that would normally harm the user. The effect persists for up to 1D4+2 initiative counts (about six seconds each), but can only “transmit” a limited amount of data. This isn’t usually a problem for touch, scent, taste, and balance, but tends to limit the clarity of extended hearing (-3 penalty on perception checks) or (especially) vision (-6 penalty on perception checks).
  12. Focusing: There are many different “focusing” charms, but all of them rely on concentrating and projecting the users innate energies – making them probably the most potent of all cantrips. The strain manifests as temporarily reduced characteristics, which recover at one characteristic point per hour. If more then one is drained the total recovery remains one point per hour, applied to whichever characteristic is currently reduced the most (the character may break ties as desired). Resistance rolls apply normally and the “projection” range is about three feet unless otherwise specified, but touching a target is more efficient, gaining one “free” point of effect. Variants include, but are not limited to:
    1. Beguilement: Draws on Presence, allowing the user to “project his personality” so strongly that he can effectively enthrall his or her target for 1D6 rounds per point expended – although this effect is limited to targets of the same basic species.
    2. Bewilder: Draws on Intellect, channeling the users energies into a blitzkrieg of verbal logic. Any victim who can be drawn into conversation will be left utterly confused for 1D6 initiative counts (about six seconds per count) per point expended, or temporarily persuaded of almost anything – although a completely unreasonable notion permits a save.
    3. Bioelectrics: Draws on Dexterity, channeling the bioelectricity of the nervous system. Each point so used allows the user to do one point of electrical damage to his or her target.
    4. Deduction: Draws on Intellect, channeling it into an intense analysis of some situation or a particular set of facts. Every two points of intellect “expended” in mental exhaustion entitles the user to one helpful correlation, suggestion, or reminder from the game master – although the user may have trouble actually making effective use of such insights until after he or she recovers from the strain.
    5. Great Hurl: Draws on Strength, manifesting as a terrific shove, capable of hurling a target three feet per point expended as well as inflicting 1D4 damage per four points of strength or part thereof so used. A successful resistance check can reduce the distance, but will not affect the damage; being hit really hard is being hit really hard, no matter what you do.
    6. Great Shout: Draws on Strength and Endurance to project an earthshaking yell. While such a yell is audible for great distances, at close range it is loud enough to deafen and injure, causing one point of damage per three attribute points so expended to everyone and everything within a thirty foot cone. The yell will partially deafen everyone in a forty foot radius for 3D6 initiative counts (about six seconds each), and may do minor incidental damage (breaking glass, shaking down ripe fruit, snapping harpstrings, or even starting avalanches) at the game master’s whim. The “Sonic Lance” variant only affects a single target within thirty feet, but does structural damage to objects or twice the usual damage to living things. Note that the ratio of points drawn from Strength and Endurance is entirely at the option of the user.
    7. Orate: Draws on Presence to give great passion and emotional intensity to a speech or plea. For every three points expended the user’s effective presence is boosted by two above its base value for the purposes of the speech. The charm actually makes the user believe intensely in his own appeal for the duration, hence it has a side effect of evading most attempts to read his or her surface thoughts and common “detect truth” spells and effects. For the duration of the speech, the user truly believes in whatever he or she is saying.
    8. Psychic Lance: Draws on Wisdom, hurling a crude “bolt” of psychic energy. While this does little damage (1D4 per six points of wisdom expended) it will stun it’s victim for one count (about six seconds) per point expended unless they successfully resist. Those with active psychic powers may substitute Psychic Strength points for points of Wisdom at a ratio of two Psychic Strength to one Wisdom to a maximum of 48 (4D4 damage and stunned for 24 counts. There are usually better things to do with that much psychic strength).
    9. Search: Draws on Perception, channeling it into an intense search for anomalies, clues, and sensory cues. This allows the caster to reroll a failed perception check. Simply getting a reroll costs two points, each additional point of Perception expended on the roll reduces the number of dice to be rolled by one.
    10. Sprint: Draws on Dexterity, each point expended increases the users movement rate by 25% for one minute, although this charm alone cannot more then double the user’s base movement rate.
    11. Strength: Draws on the users Strength, allowing brief bursts of hysterical (rated at 21 for most humans, +3 if this would be higher than that) strength. A single action at this level costs one point of strength, a minute at this level costs three. Beyond that point both the cost and risk of serious injuries – such as breaking your own bones – increases rapidly.
    12. Thermal Pulse: Draws on Endurance and the heat of the users metabolism. While this will swiftly exhaust the caster, each point of endurance expended allows him or her to do one point of heat damage to his target.
      1. Focusing Cantrips can be quite powerful at lower levels, and especially in heroic-scale (lower vitality level) games; a character who is willing to cripple himself for a day or two may well be able to do quite a bit of damage or hold off what would be – at that level – a fairly serious threat. Of course, such activities rapidly become far less attractive at higher levels. A youngster with a high dexterity and access to the Bioelectrics cantrip may well be able to blast a normal human abductor into unconsciousness and crawl out to get help – but even a normal abductor may well resist and vocational character, or modestly experienced professional one, will simply shrug it off.
  13. Govern Mount: Creates a very weak mental link with a riding animal, giving the user a +3 bonus on timing jumps, staying on, maneuvering, and otherwise controlling the animal for up to eight hours. Sadly, the cantrip ineffective on undomesticated mounts which aren’t trying to oblige you and don’t care what you want and on sapient mounts, since their minds are too complicated and full of competing thoughts for such a simple link to be effective.
  14. Helots Tempestuous Tantrum: This charm turns loose an uncontrolled telekinetic storm affecting up to a thirty foot radius of the caster. The “storm” tends to target one specific enemy for special attention, but also affects all those within the radius. It sets up to twenty-five pound of randomly selected junk whizzing around madly, although no one item will mass more then a pound. While this is relatively harmless in reality, it’s very distracting, inflicting a -1 penalty on those within its radius. The actual target suffers a -2 penalty and takes (1D4-1) points of damage over the storms three-round duration. This may be modified or to applied everyone if the area happens to be littered with caltrops, shards of glass, or some other light-but-dangerous material. There is no practical effect if there’s nothing much to throw around; minor gusts of wind can be annoying, but won’t hinder anything but insects much.
  15. Hypnotism: The classical, noncombat, stage variety, or a slight improvement. Use can take up to tenminutes and is usually limited to a single target within ten feet. Still, if someone is cooperative, it’s easy to make them temporarily forget things, believe things well enough to fool most simple detection effects, and pull off similar tricks.
  16. Influence: Allows the user to telepathically suggest a “feeling”, simple thought, or slight sensation. It can be used to make someone feel a bit thirsty, itchy, apprehensive, safe, trusting, or nervous. Such subtle suggestions can affect any one being within thirty feet and allows no active resistance roll – but also have very limited effects. The target may act on such “feelings”, but is usually only slightly (+/-1 on relevant rolls, if any) influenced. Using this cantrip to “plant” a thought makes said idea occur to the target “in passing”, differing from a verbal suggestion only in that the target won’t be aware of outside interference
  17. Lastthought: Lets the user tap the last thoughts and /or sights of a being dead less then 24 hours. Use of this cantrip requires a wisdom roll to succeed and may – on a serious failure – result in various psychological disturbances or simply getting the wrong information. Final thoughts tend to be hazy, confused, and often agonized or terrified.
  18. Microkinesis: Gives the caster telekinetic abilities sufficient for the slow manipulation of items weighing up to a total of about twenty pounds for six minutes – although using this ability takes concentration. The basic version is somewhat “clumsy” and poor at fine manipulation, variant forms include; Waldo (includes enough feedback for the user to tie or loosen knots, write or type, and so on, but only lasts for 1D4+2 initiative counts), and Remote Playing (lets a musician play any instrument [or instruments, although only one at a time] within range for 2D4+2 minutes)
  19. Mindlink: Forms a mental link between the caster and a small animal for up to ten minutes. The link resembles, a “familiar link” – but is far less drastic. It is limited to sharing senses, basic communication, and influencing the animals actions.
  20. Mindscream: Lets the user project either a broadcast telepathic signal or a telepathic “yell” at any target within thirty feet. “Broadcasts” are limited to a simple image or word, but they are automatically received by any character within a mile who is fairly sensitive on the psychic level. Anyone who receives this broadcast can get a fair idea of the direction and distance to the sender with a perception roll. “Yells” are uninformative but startling; the targets next action will be delayed by 1D4 initiative counts barring a successful resistance roll. The Mindbolt variant is related to the various “focusing” charms given above (QV), it causes one point of damage to the target per point of intelligence “expended” (in neural fatigue) to power the bolt, as well as causing a delay of one count in the targets next action per point of damage it inflicts. Sadly, a resistance roll applies.
  21. Mistmove: Lets the user telekinetically manipulate mist, fog, gas, and so on. It affects such materials within anything up to a five foot radius within thirty feet and lasts for 1D6+6 minutes. It’s often combined with Alteration cantrips to make detailed moving shapes and displays.
  22. Moodweaving: Lets the user create a mood or “atmosphere” through some sort of artistic effort. The exact nature of that effort – storytelling, music, dance, or some similar activity – is irrelevant. The effect is subtle but quite pervasive, resistance requires a new check for each minute exposed and the effect can continue for as long as the artist can keep it up.
  23. Mori’s Orgami Animation: This charm channels a tiny portion of the casters own vital energy into any small figurine, giving it with a limited “life” of it’s own. Sadly, this is a terrible drain on the user – only the smallest and lightest figurines can be animated without great difficulty. The strain is measured in points of damage, figurines of up to a few grams can be animated for “free”, animating a man-sized statue might cost 40 points of vitality. The charm has a duration of (3D4 minutes plus one hour per additional point of vitality expended on duration). Unfortunately, like other forms of “shadow casting” those vitality points cannot be recovered until the charm ends – and even then must heal normally or with the aid of effects capable of healing spirit-level damage. The caster can control the figurines mentally at ranges of up to thirty feet, beyond that range they must be given instructions in advance. Figurines act like the creatures they represent within the limits of their construction; even the best paper origami “fish” will tend to fall apart in water unless you wax them first.
  24. Noise: This cantrip lets the user telekinetically vibrate air, albeit crudely and at low volume. It does allow the user to create any noise he desires, although the poor quality may make it unrecognizable. The charm has a thirty foot range, within which the user can produce faint, eerie, background music, various mysterious creaks, thumps, taps, footfalls, rattles, moans, groans, muffled “voices”, and so on for the next 2D4 minutes. Variants which produce only a particular type of sounds have the advantage of higher clarity, a charm limited to producing music makes fairly good music – provided only that the user can remember or imagine such music. Such variants remain effective for 2D4+2 minutes.
  25. Outreaching: Creates a psychic “extension” for the casters arm, allowing him to launch a blow at range, push, pull, twist, and otherwise make a nuisance of himself for the few seconds the charm lasts. The range is about thirty feet and the “extension” is still subject to the limitations of leverage; pushing and pulling is easy, lifting is very difficult.
  26. Persuasion: Allows the caster to sense his listeners reactions to his arguments, giving him a +3 bonus on persuasion and oratory while the charm lasts – a period of about ten minutes.
  27. Sending: Sends a brief (one or two sentence) tele-pathic message to any one being within sixty feet. This does not bypass language barriers, and requires a line of sight. On the other hand, it’s a lot more private then shouting.
  28. Sensitive: Gives a vague, generalized, ability to perceive magical and psychic forces, auras, entities, and residues. This sensitivity usually lasts for 3D6 hours, but may be, and often is, voluntarily negated earlier, as it leaves the user uncomfortably “open”. A variant form gives far more definite results, often extending to brief visions, hearing phrases, and reading psychic impressions, but lasts for only one minute and “scans” only a 20 foot radius of its casting point.
  29. Slumber: This charm can put to sleep any cooperative creature, be applied to any sleeping creature within 30 feet to keep it asleep (inflicting a -3 penalty on any rolls to wake up), or put to sleep 1D4 extremely minor (rats, sparrows, housecats) creatures or one larger (up to large-dog sized) creature. Sentient or hostile victims must not be actively resisting.
  30. Speech: Gets a basic message or short sentence (such as “where’s the bathroom” or “We need ten days worth of rations, how much ?”) across a language barrier as long as the target has a reasonably comprehensible mind and is within sixty feet.
  31. Speedart: Telekinetically “guides” missiles, giving the user a +1 AR (Attack Rating) and DB (Damage Bonus) with any he or she uses in the same round. Variants give +2 bonuses, but are specialized for use with particular weapons. Some variants produce trancelike concentration allowing an extra shot at the cost of a -2 penalty to the users DR (Defense Rating) and RR (Resistance Rating). Some either extend the range, or allow the user to make remarkable trick shots, such as shooting around a corner. Such variants are only “good” for one attack. Such variants include Slaying Blade (+2 AR/DB with daggers), Archers Trance (+2 AR, +2 DR, +1 attack), Tailwind (One arrow shot, +1 AR, +1 DB, +60 feet to each range category), and Daggerseye (+1 AR, +1 DR, Allows turns totaling up to 120 degrees).
  32. Subjective Time: Warps the users perception of time, allowing the user to either stretch a few seconds into subjective minutes or to make hours pass like moments. Stretching subjective time makes the world, and even the casters own body, seem to be moving in “slow motion”. This gives the user 3D4x6 subjective seconds to study a situation or consider something in a few seconds of real time. Compressing time makes it seem to pass at about five times the normal rate until something of significance happens to disturb the users reverie. This partial trance can allow the user to go without sleep or wavering of attention for quite a while, an effect especially useful when standing long, dull, late-night watches.
  33. Talespinning: Lets a storyteller virtually mesmerize his audience by subliminally augmenting his skills and talents. This gives him or her a +3 on any relevant rolls.
  34. Trance: Allows the user to sink go into a trance for up to (Endurance) hours, during this time his or her metabolism is drastically slowed, he or she is insensitive to pain, and so on. While the trance can be voluntarily terminated at any time the process requires 1D6-2 minutes. It’s best not to use this charm if you expect to have to spring into action.
  35. Trip: Forces any single victim within twenty feet to resist or stumble slightly, suffering penalty of -1 on his or her DR (Defense Rating) and AR (Attack Rating) for one combat round. Serious resistance failures indicate a fall, while a disastrous one may actually cause some damage.
  36. Unbuckle: Undoes one buckle, a knot, or up to six buttons, at a range of up to twenty feet unless the target is living – in which case a resistance roll applies.

One Response

  1. […] While most characters have relatively little use for it, anyone can learn to use a few specifically Psychic Cantrips or psychic versions of common cantrips. Characters may, if they are available,  get minor focusing […]

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