Past the instinctive and basic uses of the three Codex skills – Phasing, Shifting, and Tempus – there are a variety of more advanced powers that are only available to those with monotalents or actual Codex skills.
Shifting is the art of playing with probabilities and timelines. In many ways it’s the most tenuous of the Codex powers; most of it’s effects are relatively subtle. Still, like most things to do with the Codex, there are always exceptions.
- Assess Odds is the simplest skilled application of Shifting; it simply allows the user to survey the myriad timelines of the future and quote the odds. The better the user rolls, the more precise he or she can be. Sadly, the same detached viewpoint that allows the user to survey a huge number of timelines makes it impossible to focus on any one of them, including the one the user currently occupies – so while Assess Odds may tell you that there’s a 40% chance of finding Darth Cheesy on the ship’s bridge, it’s telling you that “in 40% of the nearby timelines surveyed where you went to the bridge, you found Darth Cheesy was there”. It’s still possible that, in YOUR timeline, Mr Cheesy took a shuttle down to a bar fifteen minutes before you asked. That’s why, as a rule, Assess Odds works best with simple, immediate, plans; any future that looks really probable, and is more than a few hours out at best, is usually an indication that something is massively meddling anyway. On the bright side, using this particular discipline takes no time at all and is almost perfectly safe; only a truly catastrophic and unlikely check can cause problems – usually of the “psychic exchange with a counterpart” variety.
- Hexcraft is the art of causing a locally temporal divergence – splitting off a private or near-private timeline – and then patching it back into normal reality before it expands very far. This is one of the most dramatic possible shifting stunts; you can use it to momentarily vanish into a divergent reality of your own, move, and snap back into existence – or to cause wildly improbable events, such as the molecules of a metal door abruptly crystallizing. Hexcraft is awesomely powerful, but is also perhaps the single most dangerous Codex technique; causing wildly improbable events is bad enough – but at least you’re carrying everyone in the immediate vicinity along for the ride, and their presence will help re-anchor you to your original timeline or provide a little company if you fail to do so. Splitting off a private timeline and then trying to re-anchor it into the original is a feat that even masters of the codex treat with great caution, as even a “success” is quite likely to amount to simply vanishing from your original timeline to reappear in a very similar one – often one where there’s a vacancy to be filled.
- Navigation is essentially the art of forced prophecy – constantly nudging events towards a desired outcome. Unlike the more dramatic arts of causing unlikely events, Navigation constantly tips the odds just a little towards a desired end result. Unfortunately, Navigation takes the path of least resistance; if you want to “stay in town safely overnight”, you probably didn’t have “get arrested and be put in solitary confinement to await a trial next week” in mind as the method – but if that’s one of the easiest ways for you to get what you set your mind on, it’s one of the options that events will tip towards. Fortunately, the “Monkey’s Paw” effect can be easily minimized; try to push towards “all of us surviving this battle” or “doing well in the tournament” or any other relatively generic, short-term, goal – and you and your friends will enjoy some good luck (in the form of small dice pool bonuses – or perhaps a single larger one for very short term goals, such as “laying in a good course”.
- Optimization is the fine art of scanning related timelines looking for things you can do that will improve your odds of success in an endeavor. The trouble here is the same as it is with Assess Odds; you’re scanning related timelines that are ahead of yours, not the actual future – and so you may wind up with complete misinformation. You want to get to Alderaan? Your powers might tell you to (1) tuck an oxygen mask in your pocket, (2) spend the trip taking an art course, and (3) pick up a complete “Military History of the Fifth Sith War”. Because, in some timelines, those things helped. Perhaps in one group of alternate timelines you were killed by lack of oxygen during a pirate attack, in another the art class led to an assignation in a lifepod with a budding young artist of your species during an orbital collision, and because in another that book collection convinced an official that you really were just a collector of antique weapons. There’s no guarantee that any of that will actually happen to YOU, but the cost is usually pretty small and such things do come in useful often enough to make the discipline worth using. Pulling out just the small item you need can be pretty handy.
- Overlay is the art of showing people the things that might have been if they had taken another course – momentarily pushing their minds into contact with the greater universe. This can be used as a kind of stunning attack (although this is not especially wise, as “victims” may gain useful insights), but is principally useful as a method of changing someone’s beliefs and attitudes. You may not know how they’ll react – but if they’re being a giant pain in the ass at the moment, you don’t have a lot to lose.
- Temporal Perception allows the user to project his or her consciousness across timelines, briefly sharing in other lives and witnessing what might have been. Sadly it is one of the easiest Codex powers to interfere with, since it relies on some very delicate adjustments indeed. Still, if an opponent is NOT actively interfering with it, Temporal Perception can be used to continue thinking while in stasis, to tap into skills and information to which the user has no normal access, and even to help guide a controlled departure via Phasing for another world which has caught the user’s fancy. Unfortunately, Temporal Perception is one of the few Codex powers which tends to directly undermine the user’s sanity: interacting with dozens of other realms that are not there, hearing their voices, and seeing visions of what might have been – especially when timelines split or merge – tends to disrupt the user’s ability to interact properly with the timeline he or she is actually on.
- Star Wars – Basics of The Codex from Emergence Campaign Weblog (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Skilled Codex Powers I: Phasing Techniques (ruscumag.wordpress.com)