Burning. It’s all Mirabel could think about as she writhed in her narrow cot. Every inch of her burned as if flames danced along her too pale skin, despite the fact that she couldn’t see anything at all. She gasped with the pain, sure that at any moment she would succumb to it, certain that she was at the limit of her endurance, and yet somehow it continued. At first the young woman fought it, trying to draw breath into lungs that screamed with agony, somehow managing to toss herself to the floor but unable to go any further as the pain wracked her frame.
Finally, though, she welcomed it, welcomed the darkness, the end, the finality of pain and this strange pernicious suffering.
And in that moment of release she saw the stars and all they had to show her.
Those marked by the stars do not lead ordinary lives. The powers of a Seer often manifest in early adulthood and are marked by a painful transition from ordinary to extraordinary. What this transition is, specifically, differs from Seer to Seer. For some it is a simple fever that quickly leads to convulsions and strange visions as their minds struggle to take in the additional new sense that they’ve developed. For others, it is a great emotional trauma, the recovery of which opens up the eyes and mind of the person to create a seer. Many people believe that it is the act of immense suffering itself that creates a Seer, as though it was a prerequisite to gaining knowledge and insight deeper than the customary human experience. Every Seer has a story, an experience in which they felt themselves break upon the wheel of existence and were forced to find another way to look at the world. Not every potential Seer survives this trauma, and it is not uncommon to come out of the traumatic change with their minds or bodies somehow damaged by the process.
While every change is different, the one consistent experience that Seers have is that of feeling connected to the stream of time and perceiving guidance from the world around them. Some Seers firmly believe that the earth is speaking to them, others that the memory of those who have gone before whisper counsel in their dreams, and many feel a particular kinship with the stars- the ever-burning, ever-watching stars- encircling the world and revealing faint shadows in their dim glow. Thus Seers as a whole tend to consider themselves to be “Marked by the Stars.” Despite being fairly individualistic, most Seers incorporate celestial imagery of some kind into their decoration and markings as a kind of signal to others as to their natures.
There is no overarching order or organization for Seers, at least not officially. But it is difficult for a newly marked Seer to survive and fully develop their powers unless they find a teacher or mentor to offer some slight navigation aid through their trials, if nothing else. While they do possess storied powers, the experience of Seeing more than a person usually can or should tends to be painful, traumatic, and dangerous. The more a Seer pushes their powers to their fullest, the more they put themselves at risk for physical and mental damage. Too many people would like to abuse, own, or push the limits of the powers that Seers possess, no matter what it might cost them. As such, in most of the more populous areas of the world, one can find a Seer way-house if one knows how to look for them- marked by four eight-pointed stars- where those whom the stars have chosen can find others like themselves and receive guidance.
The Seers are often said to get their powers from one of three stars, although it is not unheard of for seers to follow multiple paths. These stars are:
Nahr: “Rivers End”
Those who See the Future
Nahr’s light is a shifting one, difficult to track with the eye, but those Seers who are marked by this star find that sometimes they are granted visions of what may come to pass. These moments are fleeting, and often unclear, but if the visions are read carefully then it is possible to change the very path of reality and avert oncoming disasters- or at least mitigate the damage. However, because the future is a constantly moving target, Seers who walk by Nahr’s light are often treated poorly; for they are held to task for disasters they did not foresee and receive no credit for those that they are able to avoid.
Tariq: “The Road Behind”
Those who See the Past
For those who follow Tariq’s blinding light, the past can sometimes seem more real than the present. These Seers have the ability to read what has happened before, but like memory, the past can sometimes rise up unbidden, the banks of the river of time overflowing. The powers granted by Tariq are often erratic and prone to going off without the Seer’s full control, and thus those who see the past tend towards a more solitary life, staying to those routes and routines where the past is known rather than branching off into new locations where they might be forced to see something they would rather not.
Tanin: “The Far Off Dragon”
Those who See the Stories of the Dead
The path of Tanin’s light is perhaps the strangest. Its unearthly rays illuminate not the things that will be or the things that have already come to pass, but rather those echoes and ripples that the dead have left behind in the living world. Those under Tanin’s light can See the shadows of the stories of the dead and hear their muffled whispers, in a fashion. But speaking with the dead can be like having a conversation underwater, and even for those who speak such a language, it can be difficult to decipher the meaning of the strange things they say. Even more unfortunate, the more that a Seer decides to bathe in Tanin’s light, the more they do understand, the farther open they throw the doors to madness.
Seers cost 3 XP and 20 glory to start play. Seers are born rather than created, and a character cannot become a Seer after character creation. They automatically start with their first ability, “Star Sense”, and after that, Seer abilities cost 3 times their level in XP. Abilities must be bought in order, and to buy a higher ranked ability from one of the three paths, you must have the lower level abilities below it in the same path. As most Seer abilities tend to be staff-involvement intensive, Seers should expect to work with staff by letting them know when they will be interested in using a Seer power.
Seer practices vary by culture and personal preference. Wherever it is noted that the Seer meditates, communes, or performs a divination technique, the player is given license to add their own roleplay flavor to the activity.
It should also be noted that any skill which indicates that physical contact is required should still take into account player preferences. A player should still always check in with other players to ensure that physical contact is acceptable or desired. If it is not, the player should simply roleplay as if physical contact has been established without touching the other player(s) in question.
As Seers regularly use their abilities to push through the boundaries of time and space, a traumatic backlash can result. Seers who find themselves using their abilities over and over throughout the day may be asked at any time to roll upon the below Trauma Table by a staff member. Additional abilities and conditions that trigger this roll are noted in the descriptions below.
|# On the D10||1-4 Seer powers used today||5 Seer powers used today||6+ Seer powers used today|
|1||Temporary Mild Insanity||Terror||New Permanent Mild Insanity|
|2||Temporary Severe Insanity||Black Out||New Permanent Severe Insanity|
|3||Traumatized Effect||Miserable Effect||Downed|
|4||Wound on one Limb||Bleed Condition on One Limb||Battered Torso|
|5||Black Out||Hallucinogenic Experience, Pleasurable||Hallucinogenic Experience, Terrible|
|6||Battered Limb||Temporary Severe Insanity||Temporary Blindness|
|7||Inflicted with a Disease||Under Pain Effect to the Torso for 1 Hour||Everything organic on you and within arms’ reach of you rots and spoils|
|8||Sleepless, gain Miserable||Begin Bleeding from the Eyes||Permanently Scarred as an Entity Carves a Word into Your Flesh|
|9||Paralysis for at least 5 minutes||Everything metal on you and within arms’ reach of you rusts and breaks||Cannot be Healed until the Sun Rises|
|10||Under Terror Effect for 1 Hour||Gain the Haunted flaw||Death|
The first thing every Seer learns from experience is a feeling of dread knowledge that danger is upon them. Once per hour, upon entering a scene in which their character is in sudden danger, they may gain a free use of dodge or a power strike that they can use as a defense. This means that there are few Seers who are killed in their beds or knifed suddenly from the shadows.
While holding an object during their meditations and inhaling the smoke of an herb with the hallucinogenic effect, the Seer can learn something important about it. If they are able to meditate on the object for no fewer than 10 minutes, a staff member can tell them the strongest recent memory associated with the item, although the details may be vague depending on the situation. However, this power occasionally can cause a backlash, and if the item has a traumatic past, the Seer may have to roll on the Trauma table with a staff member.
Tanin "The Far Off Dragon"
Those who See the Realm of the Dead.
Sense the Echo
Seers with this ability can sense the shadow of death lingering on a person, place, or thing, and determine if a Malefic entity is tied to it. In order to verify whether this is the case, the Seer must sit in meditation in the location or in the presence of the person or object uninterrupted for no fewer than 10 minutes while inhaling the smoke of an herb with the hallucinogenic effect. After that, they may ask a staff member if a Malefic creature is tied to the object of their meditation. Searching for the echoes of the dead is difficult, and if a Seer tries to use this power more than once an hour, they suffer from the hallucinogenic effects of their practice by taking a severe delusion as defined as staff.
Trace the Thread
Level 5 Skills
No one knows exactly when the memories fade from the dying. Many believe it is the last thing to go, long after the light has gone out of the eyes. If the Seer attends to a corpse that has not yet returned from the dead, she can experience the memories that the newly dead is losing in the process of their death. Lit candles must be placed around the body, and the Seer must take a shot of hard liquor they share with the corpse, along with whatever ceremony she deems appropriate. She must then force open the eyes of the corpse and stare into their unblinking eyes or empty eye sockets for the space of five breaths. Depending on the memory, the Seer may be asked to roll upon the Trauma Table.
This ability is one of the most dangerous and effective powers that a Seer of Tanin can achieve, for the Seer opens herself to be a conduit and mouthpiece for the dead. At least three other individuals must be gathered around a set of candles divisible by three and an offering of food. The group then holds hands and meditatively chants the name of a given spirit to summon by saying “<Name> we serve you gifts from life at death’s table. Be guided by the light of this world and visit upon us.” Once the spirit arrives, the people at the table can ask questions of it through the Seer. The manner of the spirit’s answers may vary, depending on its age or relationship to the audience. It may communicate through an oracular board, a series of knocks, whispers only the Seer can hear, or it may speak with the Seer’s mouth, but regardless of the manner it speaks, the longer the Seer remains within this state the more likely she is to be severely harmed. Her body becomes wracked with nausea, and she is wounded in a different limb once per minute, meaning that the maximum time a Seer can do this without being downed is four minutes. If she continues to five minutes, she is Downed. Once in a while, if the spirit is particularly forceful or malevolent, or the séance is interrupted, the spirit may remain behind, whispering and showing the Seer disturbing things until the next event. It should also be noted that if the wrong name is called during the séance, or the name is not known, the séance could result in nothing, or something far more dangerous could be called to.
At times the Seer may not know to which spirit she desires to speak, or she may wish to engage with the dead in private. In these cases, she may provide her hand and quill as mediums for the spirits’ use. After a period of writing randomly with either a Writing Kit or Paper and a Writing utensil of some kind, the Seer can invite a specific spirit to speak through her by writing their name on the paper. Or, she may choose to not write any name if she desires to speak with whichever spirits may be nearby. If a spirit is in the vicinity, it will write a message that it is interested in conveying. There is a danger, though, in opening one’s body and mind to forces that are not known or understood. If the spirit is malevolent or desperate, it may possess the Seer and take actions beyond simply writing. This possession could last for as short as five minutes or as long as a day.
Tariq “The Road Behind”
Those who See the Past
The body remembers what the mind and heart experience, and emotional trauma can leave a physical reminder in its wake for those who can see below the surface. After maintaining physical contact with a target for at least a minute, a Seer with this power is able to relive part of one painful memory from that person. He must maintain physical contact, and may seek specific information from the target’s mind by asking questions. However, this act of delving deeper into the waters of another’s mind to find particular memories or answers requires the Seer to lower his own defenses considerably. He must take a substance that lowers his Resolve to the Meek condition if he is seeking anything beyond the initial one painful memory of the target’s choosing. If a Seer uses this power for longer than one question, staff will roll on the Trauma Table for each additional question.
Remembering the Space
A room is more than an occupied space; it is also a holding cell for now-silent conversations, patterns from pacing steps, and emotional tracers. Seers with this ability can read the most recent activities in a room, going back about an hour. The Seer must pull out one of his divination tools (and alert a staff member) – this may be a deck of cards, a bowl of organs, tea leaves, or any number of techniques the Seer may prefer to employ. He must place this tool within the center of the space, and then must walk slowly around the entirety of the area he wishes to examine (up to ten square feet), while waving a bundle of three smoking herbs with the purgative effect. When he has encircled the whole of the area in cleansing smoke, he then returns to his tools and performs his divination technique in order to learn in general terms (and within reason of what staff has knowledge of) what has transpired in this room or immediate location. The more a Seer tries to explore these past memories of the space, however, the more they start to grow out of touch with the present. This sensation increases with use of this ability, and using it more than once a day will start to cause rolls on the Trauma Table.
Level 5 Skills
Sight Beyond Sight
With enough focus and training, a Seer can sink even further back into the ancient or distant history of a location or space. By consulting with a staff member he can, once per event, commune with or meditate within a space uninterrupted for at least 10 minutes and seek out a distant memory of that place. However, going back so far is a practice the human mind is not built for, and he will also have to experience many other traumatic memories contained within the location. This has the potential to break him apart mentally and emotionally. Insanities, perhaps even multiple insanities, are likely side effects, as is drawing the attention of Malefic creatures tied to the location.
We are so fleetingly in the present, and once a word is spoken, it is now in the past, along with the memories and emotional ripples associated with it. A highly empathetic and intuitive Seer can read a target’s most prominent emotion and tell if the target believes themselves to be lying. The Seer must maintain physical contact with his target in a ritually appropriate space or manner for at least 1 minute before the ability starts to work, and they must continue to maintain physical contact if they are to continue the process of detecting their emotions and intent to deceive. However, the connection becomes painful and every additional minute of contact results in a physical wound to the Seer. Thus, the Seer can only withstand five minutes of contact. If they go beyond that, they are Downed.
Sense the Light
Seers who have honed their abilities can tell more than just the emotions or memories of those around them. He can now see the core of their motivation, their reason for being, and the driving force behind most of their actions. The Seer must gather a part of the target- spit, blood, hair, etc. and perform a divination technique of their choosing upon it. He then presents the personal part of the target with an explanation of how it was harvested to staff, and he will learn the player or NPC’s specific devotion. This power can only be used once per game.
Nahr “Rivers End”
Those who See the Future
Walk the Path of Dreams
It is unclear if knowing the future changes it, or causes it to occur. Seers with a talent for seeing what is to come to pass may draw a symbol from their deck of choice, whether that is a set of cards, tiles, or bones, for a willing target. The deck must include the following symbols/concepts, although they may be artistically portrayed however the Seer prefers. The symbol drawn has the following effects on the target, negative or positive depending on which is drawn. This power may only be used once per game per target character.
- The Child – The Participant has 1 more one-time use of a Dodge
- The Sage – The Participant gains 1 to their Intellect Attribute for the following hour.
- The Explorer – The Participant gains 1 to their Fortitude Attribute for the following hour.
- The Bandit – The Participant will have one of their possessions go missing.
- The Magician – The Participant will find 1 Wyrd Material
- The Caregiver – The Participant gains 1 to their Resolve Attribute for the following hour.
- The Hero – The Participant loses one less memory if they die during the event.
- The Lover – The Participant is targeted by an enemy during this event (alert staff).
- The Fool – The Participant finds 1 Uncommon material
- The Peasant – The Participant gains 1 to their Strength Attribute for the following hour.
- The Martyr – If one of your companions dies during the event, you will die in their stead.
- The Emperor – The Participant will take the first injury dealt to one of their companions in their stead.
- The Maker – The Participant’s weapon cannot be broken by ordinary means (you may Resist 1 Sunder on your weapon)
Level 5 Skills
Deeper in the Dark
Some portends are brighter than others, beckoning to the Seer in the foggy darkness of the future. At the beginning of the game, the Seer may choose one card from the Enemy deck, the Plot deck, or the NPC deck to find out more about the role the subject of that card will play in the event. The Seer is assumed to receive this information in the form of a vision during the time and place of their choosing during the event, though the actual information is given to them at check-in when they draw their card. These visions represent one of the possible futures of the world and, while they may at times be open to interpretation, they provide important guidance.
Seeker of Storms
Time may fly ahead of us, but it leaves a shadow in its wake. An astute Seer can see the possible course and flow of events that are likely to come to pass. The Seer with this ability may, at the beginning of the game, receive a series of visions that pertain to the rough schedule of the event, or they may instead desire to see the likely future of the subject of their choice, such as plots involving them. The choice of which version of this power the Seer wishes to use must be submitted to staff before the downtime deadline.
Some believe that to undertake a serious endeavor without consulting with a Seer is to risk disaster. The blessings and guidance from a skilled Seer are widely sought after, and should one seek the voice of prophecy, they should be prepared to pay the Seer well for the gift of time. With this ability, the Seer performs a ‘reading’ for another character, utilizing the tools they are most comfortable with. After completing a fortune telling scene lasting no less than a half an hour, the Seer may give any one of the listed Personal Victory conditions to the target, independent of their actual devotion, that the target may complete in order to achieve a Personal Victory during the event.
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