World of Darkness – Upper Umbral Gifts

   These gifts are from Egyptian God-Spirits of the upper umbra or high astral, rather than nature spirits of the middle umbra or astral plane that most garou deal with. As such, they’re tied to the intellect, rather then to emotion and instinct. They must be consciously channeled and controlled. High umbral gifts require a skill roll of (Dex+Occult) to use, are prone to strange side effects, and sometimes draw the attention of faerie or other mythic spirits. On the upside, they’re all level one: user’s don’t need much renown to acquire them. Instead they must find or design an appropriate invocation, make contact with the spirit invoked, persuade it to let them tap into it’s energies, learn to channel and direct it properly (they start off with a -4 penalty on their skill checks, reduced by one per week) – and spend the necessary experience.

   Upper astral gifts tend to be quite powerful for level one gifts. Of course, they all have backlash problems, tend to cost a lot of essence, and have a smaller dice pool than other spells (they use Dex + Occult, other spells use Attribute + Skill + Path).

   Backlash problems usually show up when a spell is fumbled, but minor (rolled with a d4) side effects may show up whenever the GM feels like it. Some of the common side effects include

  • A minor “Splash”. Any faerie, magi, or sorcerers in the immediate vicinity will sense the effect.
  • A notable “Splash”. Creatures quite some distance away can feel it.
  • A bothersome chimaera (only you can see it) or some other spirit will pester you for a scene.
  • The casting is attended by minor special effects (gusts of wind, swirls of mist, odd lights, strange smells, etc).
  • A shockwave strikes the area. Physical ones shatter glass, knock things down, and attract attention. Magical ones may attract attention, foul up other spells, or cause random magical effects. Mental ones can induce bizarre emotional effects in anyone in the area, and can be quite dangerous.
  • Faerie dust covers the area. Everyone there is temporarily enchanted, and can be harassed by spirits and chimaera freely. They may also be transformed somehow for a time.
  • The magic goes wild. The user may either spend a willpower point to keep it under control or deal with whatever the game master comes up with – usually a severely twisted version of the original spell.
  • You aborted the spell in time. Nothing happens and you don’t pay any Essence or Willpower. Lucky you.
  • The user takes a level of normal damage.
  • The power you’re drawing on sends an emissary or wants you to go on a mission of some sort.

   Sample upper astral gifts include:

   Auric Sight: This is basically a “hypersenses” gift, capable of being used for simple sensory enhancement or for “seeing” into the upper umbra (allowing the user to see auras, appropriate spirits, and magic). Either costs one essence per scene. It can also be used to read the psychic impressions left on an item or area (GMO depending on the strength of the impressions. Extremely powerful “impressions” may force the user to roll willpower, or even spend a willpower point, to break away).

   Gift of Bes: You or your target enjoy amazingly good luck. You may simply opt to count “7’s” (“6’s” on an exceptional success) as successes for a scene for 1 Essence. Alternatively, you may attempt to cause some more-or-less spectacular coincidence. This costs 2-5 essence depending on how spectacular, and how specific, you want to get. Asking for “a momentary distraction” is easy – and dangerous: who knows what will happen? Asking for “something to set off a car alarm across the street” is safer, but might cost two points – and will fail (at a cost of one essence) if none of the cars across the street HAVE functioning alarms.

   Osiris’s Great Awakening: Likely the most dangerous gift on this list, this “spell” awakens latent, or inactive powers, entities, and forces… This can be used to arouse many things – including things like inactive volcanos. Unfortunately, it’s not reversible – and the exact results are rather unpredictable. 1-5 Essence, depending on the scale of what you’re awakening.

   Set’s Ebon Cloak: A relatively simple, and very useful, gift, invoking the powers of “elemental darkness”. As a general aura this makes an area extremely difficult to probe or “detect”. As a personal aura, it tends to intimidate people and makes it easy to deceive them. Annoyingly, this also limits the users senses – especially when used to substitute for invisibility. The darkness can also be “forged” more-or-less solid objects of pure darkness. The base difficulty depends on the size of your creation and it’s toughness depends on the number of successes… Larger creations thus tend to be somewhat tenuous. Generally one essence – two for really large effects, 0 to make your clothes black and add a cape.

   The Portals Of Ptah: Opens a gateway across space, realms, and possibly even time (costing 2/3/5 essence and requiring an equal number of successes). Extra successes indicate more precise targeting, larger, and more stable gateways. Sadly, such portals are notorious for opening in inconvenient places, letting spirits wander in and out of reality – and for dropping you directly into adventures – even when the user gets it right. Blowing your roll can be VERY hazardous, especially when if don’t have enough power to try again immediately.

   The Winds Of Shu: Blowing from the depths of the user’s mind, the psychic winds can carry thoughts from one mind to another, or can exert considerable physical forces in the immediate vicinity. The telepathic effect is extremely long-ranged – and is usually communicative, the difficulties depend on how much “searching” is involved, and how alien the mind to be contacted is. Checking up on your friends is relatively easy, communicating with animals is harder (if only because they’re really very bright), while trying to reach a spirit out in the umbra is pretty hard. An emotional link or personal item associated with the target makes it easier. The Telekinetic effect is somewhat simpler; The winds base Str is equal to the caster’s willpower plus successes. Simply throwing stuff around is easy, but trying to use this to do fine work requires extra successes. Generally 1 essence for communication (1 will if within visual range), 2 for telekinesis.

   The Strength Of Geb: Infused and surrounded by the power of the earth itself, the user may add his Occult skill rating to his or her strength and 1/2 of that to his or her armor (round up) for one scene per success for one essence. During this time the user is protected from noxious chemicals and need not breathe – and may extend these benefits to others as long as they remain in contact with him or her. The user may spend an additional essence point at any time while the aura remains to enhance it for a turn. While so enhanced the aura also protects anyone the user desires within a 5 ft radius and allows the user to accomplish some feat of speed and agility (+[Occult] dice, move at 10x normal speed and find secure footing in midair if necessary). By spending a point of willpower the user may employ a “power block” – adding his strength score to the “armor” provided by the spell to resist a single attack.

   Horus’s Illumination: Invokes the Light of Truth – an effect which can reveal a great deal, and often quite a lot more then is strictly comfortable. Oddly, this can be used as an “attack” vrs magi and changelings, rolling (Willpower) dice against their arete/glamour scores to inflict them with one point of paradox/banality per success. Less oddly, this can also be used to exorcize “dark” spirits – although this generally requires more time and a battle of wills. It normally costs one essence to invoke the “light”, but may cost 1-2 extra points if the target is actively attempting to conceal something, or if you’re trying to use it to purge various forms of “darkness”.

   The Healing Hand Of Hathor: A general healing effect that will heal wounds (one box per success), as well as the effects of poisons, overstrain, normal exhaustion, diseases, various dysfunctions and many disorders. It works on anyone. In general, minor problems can be healed for free, serious stuff costs a point of essence, lethal damage costs two, and really nasty stuff (terminal leukemia, aggravated damage, supernatural addictions, and so on), costs three.

   Passage Of Anubis: Opens doors, safes, collapsed passages, and so on. It will work on solid stone and even water, but that kind of stunt requires lots of power. 1-3 essence. “Opening” will not work on arcanely-sealed paths without a contest of wills – and will not work on mystic gates and such at all.

   The Heralds of Re: This gift allows the to user imprint a tiny “fragment” of his vitality on some photons – creating a number of quasi-sentient beams of light. Sendings can scout around for their summoner, shine lights in enemies eyes, shift their apparent form – and are very, very, fast. They’re commonly used to seek things out or to carry messages. The caster can create one “sending” per success at a cost of one essence per hour you want them to remain (1 minimum).

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