Monday, July 9, 2018

Mystical Powers Recap

Today, I’m offering a quick recap of what we’ve done so far before forging onward to creating individual abilities. This post will serve as a reference for rules, power modifiers, power talents, and power descriptions.

Next time, I will begin building abilities whole cloth. My goal there is to sufficiently flesh out the powers with useful, playable abilities to be able to begin working on one or more mysticism-based templates. I’m not sure how long this process will take, and I may decide to break it up into more frequent, smaller posts. I’ll know more for certain as I write them.

If you are just joining us or want to walk the road to this post, check out the Mystical Powers Index.

In the meantime, here is what we have so far for Mysticism:

Mystical Powers

All mystical abilities are purchased as power-ups from within one of seven powers: Body Mastery, Projection Mastery, Perception Mastery, Dream Mastery, Fate Mastery, Telepathic Mastery, and Soul Mastery. Each of these powers consists of a list of abilities, a power modifier, and a power talent. The power modifier demarks an ability as belonging to that power and imposes the limitations inherent to all mystical powers. The talent adds to any skills necessary for using those powers.

Power Modifier

Each power has its own power modifier, typically named after the power and abbreviated as “PM” in the ability’s statistics block. This modifier is always the Mystical limitation described below and also, not explicitly stated, includes the fact that mystical abilities do neither work on everything and may be neutralized by certain supernatural means typically related to demons and Corruption.


Mystical abilities require the practitioner to maintain a close attunement to the world spirit Ananta. The user must take Disciplines of Faith (Meditative Reflection) for [-5] points to reflect this. Each day, roll 1d to determine the number of hours he must spend that day meditating; this is time that cannot be used for anything else, including sleeping, hiking, eating, standing watch, etc. If he fails to spend the necessary time in contemplation, he must take a full day to readjust his connection to Ananta. His power will immediately burn out for 1d days if he calls on it before doing so.


Each power has its own power talent. This talent gives +1 per level to any skills needed to use abilities in this power, to resist other mystical powers, and to a group of related skills; gives +1 per two full levels to Power Defenses (see below); and increases the FP cap on Extra Effort (see below). These benefits are in place of the normal benefits associated with talents, and no mystic may have more than six levels of a power talent. Each one costs 5 points/level.

The seven mystical power talents, their associated powers, and their skills are as follows:

  • Body Awareness (Body Mastery). Autohypnosis, Body Control, Body Sense, Breath Control, Esoteric Healing (Mystical).
  • Projector (Projection Mastery). Body Sense, Exorcism, Kiai, Mental Strength, Push.
  • Mystic Perception (Perception Mastery).  Blind Fighting, Body Language, Observation, Search, Sensitivity.
  • Dream Walking (Dream Mastery). Body Sense, Dreaming, Fortune-Telling (Dreams), Mind Block, Mental Strength.
  • Telepathic Talent (Telepathic Mastery). Detect Lies, Interrogation, Hypnotism, Mind Block, Psychology.
  • Oddsmaker (Fate Mastery). Finance, Gambling, Games, Sports, Zen Archer.
  • Soul Manipulation (Soul Mastery). Esoteric Healing (Mystical), Hidden Lore (Spirits & Undead), Pressure Points, Pressure Secrets, Theology.

How Mysticism Works

For the most part, the specific rules governing how a given mystical ability works are described within the ability’s write-up. This includes any applications of Abilities Enhancing Skills (GURPS Powers, p. 161), Power Techniques (Powers, p. 162), Skill Use (Powers, p. 175), Skills Enhancing Abilities (Powers, p. 162), and Temporary Enhancements (Powers, p. 172-173), as well. The rules that follow describe the ways every mystical ability works, regardless of power or underlying statistics.

Using Mystical Abilities

There are two broad categories of mystical powers that describe how they are used: active and passive. Active abilities must be consciously activated with the maneuver and often a related roll against a mental attribute, characteristic, or skill, as indicated in the ability’s description. Passive abilities simply function all the time, within the limitations of the power modifier.

The roll to use an active ability may take a number of modifiers:

  • Talent. +1 per level in the associated power talent.
  • Multiple Feats. -1 for active ability of the same power in use. Neither passive abilities nor abilities from other powers count toward his penalty.
  • Additional Contact. +1 for ranged abilities used while making physical contact, +1 for abilities that require touch if skin-to-skin contact is made, and +1 for blatant contact of a sort that requires 1d seconds and is obvious. These can be combined for up to a +3 bonus.
  • Situational Modifiers. Penalties for shock, stun, and so on apply normally to any skills used in conjunction with mystical abilities. Time Spent (p. B346) may, at the GM’s discretion, apply to non-attack abilities. Treat these as having a minimum base time of 1 minute.

Any success results in the ability taking affect normally, and critical success means that use doesn’t cost any FP. Failure usually results in nothing happening, but the FP cost must still be paid.

Critical failure results in not only no effect despite paying the usual FP cost, but also some additional inconvenient effect like being identified by the target of a mindreading attempt, being scried on by the target of a clairvoyant attempt, etc.

Furthermore, the practitioner must make an immediate Will roll with any failure means a moment of doubt that breaks his connection to the world spirit and counts as a violation of his power’s code. He will know this happened, so he can avoid complete burnout by not using that power again before meditating for 1d hours. Note that this applies to the specific power.

Passive skills do not require skill rolls to use and cost no FP. They simply work as long as the power modifier’s requirements are met, so they do not take any bonuses or penalties and do not result in potential power burnout. They do, however, stop working if their power does burn out, however.

Long-Term Use

Active and passive skills alike, regardless of FP costs to use, will still cause fatigue if used for extended periods of time. Assess these costs in addition to any costs already associated with a given ability.

  • Combat. Using abilities on oneself adds an additional 1 FP the cost of Fighting a Battle (p. B426), and using them on someone else costs an extra 2 FP.
  • Long-Distance Travel. Using mystical powers for long-distance travel incurs the same FP costs as hiking, minimum, and counts for journeys while projecting, too. Using abilities to increase the speed of hiking, climbing, swimming, etc. double FP costs.
  • Intensive Use. Extremely vigorous use of mystical abilities – e.g., using Fate Mastery to pull only cards of the same suit from a deck, one after another, for a minute straight, using Perception Mastery every couple of seconds to watch for flanking foes while marching, etc. – costs 1 FP per minute.
  • Long-Term Use. Low-intensity, long-term use of an ability – e.g., using a Telepathic Mastery to maintain continuous contact with your allies while skulking through a dungeon, using Body Mastery to stand watch atop a flimsy sapling, etc. – costs 1 FP per hour.

Getting Tricky

A mystic’s abilities are only limited by his talent, energy reserves, and willingness to take a risk. These options provide ways a mystic can stretch his powers beyond what his abilities suggest. A critical failure using any of these options has the same outcome as a critical failure on an activation roll (see Using Mystical Abilities).

Extra Effort

Any ability that comes in levels can be boosted through sheer force of will. First, determine by how many levels you wish to boost your ability, and then spend 2 FP per 10% increase in level, to a maximum of 3 x Power Talent level and make any necessary activation rolls for the ability. Passive abilities and active ones that can be maintained are boosted for 1 minute; after that, more FP must be spent to maintain the same power level.

Power Defenses

Mystical abilities can be used to defend against attacks in surprising ways. The following power defenses can be used in place of a normal active defense whenever the associated requirements are met. The usual restrictions for active defenses apply. Modifiers include the usual +1 for Combat Reflexes or Enhanced Time Sense and any penalties for Multiple Feats (see Using Mystical Abilities), plus those listed below.

  • Power Dodge. Basic Speed + 3 + Talent/2. Abilities that could allow the attack to pass around or through the user may let him completely avoid it. The usual Dodge modifiers apply, except for those related to Acrobatic Dodge, encumbrance, posture, relative height, retreating, shield DB, and terrain.
  • Power Block. 3 + (HT + Talent)/2 for physical abilities or 3 + (Will + Talent)/2 for mental ones. Abilities that can obstruct an incoming attack that requires a resistance roll or could interpose solid Damage Resistance provide double their usual protection or bonus. Abilities that use Control to dampen an attack provide DR 1 or +1 to resist per level, as applicable. Use standard Block modifiers, except those for posture, relative height, retreating, shield DB, and terrain.

Mystical powers also allow practitioners to trade 1 FP for +1 to resist supernatural powers. The mystic must declare that he wants to use this before any Quick Contests are made. The GM then makes the attacker’s rolls secretly, only relaying if it was a success or not. The defender must then declare how many FP he wishes to spend to boost his resistance roll, to a maximum of his highest mystical talent level. The Quick Contest is then resolved.

Treat any critical failure at a power defense or FP-boosted resistance roll as a critical failure at an activation roll (see Using Mystical Abilities).

Targeting Mystical Abiltiies

Those who know Pressure secrets can use it to target mystical abilities by striking a foe’s soul portal at -9 to hit. If this attack inflicts any injury, a Quick Contest of Pressure Secrets versus the target’s Will ensues. Victory by the attacker cripples the target ability for 2d seconds.

Detecting Mysticism

By default, mystical abilities are anything but flashy, but some abilities, like those that open gates to other planes of existence, can be quite obvious. That said, most casual observers won’t notice the use of mystical powers.

The target of a mystical ability may realize what is happening, regardless of his training with a successful roll against the better of Per-based Hidden Lore (Mysticism) and Per. No roll is ever required for an obvious physical effect like injury, but FP loss affords a roll at -2, plus +1 for every 2 FP lost. The GM sets the modifier for noticing other physical effects.

Mental intrusion is less noticeable: the penalty is equal to the victim’s Margin of Failure on his resistance roll with the mystic’s failure giving +0 to the roll. Finally, nonintrusive mental abilities simply cannot be detected without supernatural means; follow the rules for those spells and abilities.

Also, unless an ability’s effects are physical and obvious, non-mystics don’t get a roll to notice if someone is being affected by mystical abilities. At best, they can notice if the person is acting strange with a successful roll against Observation or an appropriate specialty of Psychology. Anyone with abilities that detect mysticism can use those abilities normally, of course.

If a person succeeds his roll to notice an ability’s use, he must still make another roll to determine if he understands what is going on. This is a roll against the better of Hidden Lore (Mysticism), Occultism-2, Theology, or IQ-4, all with the same modifier used for the roll to notice. If no roll was required to notice, the modifier is +5. On a success, he knows a mystic is using his powers on him, and on a critical success, he gets another resistance roll. Any failure gives no information, and a critical failure points the person at the wrong supernatural source.

The Powers

The following seven powers are presented in the usual stat block from Powers.

Body Mastery

Source: Mysticism.
Focus: The user’s body.

This power let’s a mystic exert extreme control over his own body. This lets him boost his reflexes, strength, and metabolism, as well as giving him control over his involuntary bodily functions. Thus, a mystic is capable of amazing physical and bodily feats.

Body Awareness

5 points/level

Body Mastery Abilities

Breath-Holding; Catfall; Damage Resistance, with Tough Skin (-40%), Limited, Mystical Abilities (-20%) and No Signature (+20%), or Ablative (-80%), Force Field (+20%), and No Signature (+20%); Enhanced Move (Ground); Hard to Kill; Hard to Subdue; High Pain Threshold; Lifting ST; Metabolism Control; Perfect Balance; Pressure Support 1; Protected Power; Protected Sense (any mundane); Rapid Healing; Recovery; Reduced Consumption; Regeneration; Resistant to any physical threats; Sealed; Silence; Striking ST; Super Climbing; Super Jump; Temperature Tolerance; Universal Digestion; Walk on Liquid.

Power Perks: Gecko Grip; No Visual Damage; Personal Awareness; Pressure-Tolerance Lungs; Striking Surface; and That Extra Inch.

Power Modifier: Body Mastery. The advantage belongs to the Body Mastery Power. This modifier is Mystical (-10%).

Projection Mastery

Source: Mysticism.
Focus: Other planes of existence.

This is the power to project yourself into or bodily travel to other planes of existence. It includes abilities that project the user’s consciousness to other locations, discorporate the user’s soul from his body, travel to other planes of existence, channel beings from other planes, or otherwise interact with other planes of existence mentally or bodily.


5 points/level

Projection Mastery Abilities

Acute Sense with Limited, Only to Offset Penalties to Sense One Specific Plane (varies); Alternate Form (spirit forms); Channeling with Specialized, Astral or Ethereal Entities, both (-50%); Damage Resistance with Limited, Specific Plane Only (-20%) or Limited, Extraplanar Only (-10%); Insubstantiality, often with Projection; Jumper (Spirit), often with Projection; Medium with Specialized, Astral or Ethereal Entities, both (-50%); Mind Block with Limited, Specific Plane Only (-20%) or Limited, Extraplanar Only (-10%); Resistant to Supernatural Attacks with Limited, Specific Plane Only (-20%) or Limited, Extraplanar Only (-10%); Spirit Empathy with Specialized, Astral or Ethereal Entities, both (-50%); True Faith with Limited, Extraplanar Entities (-20%) or Limited, Astral Entities or Ethereal Entities (-40%).

Some abilities only function while a practitioner is projecting or physically on another plane. Represent these with Clinging, Doesn’t Breathe, Doesn’t Eat or Drink, Doesn’t Sleep, Enhanced Move (any), Flight, Immunity to Metabolic Hazards, Invisibility, or Possession, all with either Accessibility, Only While Projecting (-10%); Accessibility, Only on Another Plane (-10%); or Accessibility, Only on a Specific Plane (-20%). Such abilities work only while using abilities with the Projection or Projected Form modifiers or while physically on another plane of existence.

Afflictions with Malediction and Advantage for Alternate Form (spirit forms), Insubstantiality, or Jumper are appropriate for people others to other planes with or without their consent. Innate Attacks should be either burning or corrosion attacks, depending on whether they destroy or disintegrate their targets, and have Malediction and one of Limited, Extraplanar Entities (-20%) or Extraplanar Entities from a Specific Plane (-40%).

Power Perks: Astral Awareness; Licensed Exorcist; Retractable Cord; Spirit Accessory; Spirit Badge; and Subjective Navigator.

Power Modifier: Projection Mastery. The advantage belongs to the Projection Mastery Power. This modifier is Mystical (-10%).

Perception Mastery

Source: Mysticism.
Focus: Knowledge and the senses.

This is the power to enhance or extend one’s senses beyond the natural. It includes supernaturally enhanced mundane senses, entirely new supernatural senses, the ability to tap into the Akashic Library for information, and the ability to assimilate all of this information into new knowledge.

Mystic Perceiption

5 points/level

Perception Mastery Abilities

360° Vision with Panoptic 2; Blessed; Combat Reflexes; Danger Sense; Detect; Clairsentience; Dark Vision; Discriminatory Smell; Enhanced Tracking; Infravision; Intuition; Medium; Night Vision; Oracle; Psychometry; Racial Memory; See Invisible (Ghosts); Sensitive Touch; and Vibration Sense with Sense of Perception.

Power Perks: Card Sharp; Dowsing; Dream Visions; Exposition Sense; Eye for Distance; Forecast; Rule of 14.

Power Modifier: Perception Mastery. The advantage belongs to the Perception Mastery Power. This modifier is Mystical (-10%).

Dream Mastery

Source: Mysticism.
Focus: States of consciousness.

This is the power to affect other states of consciousness, in particular, those who are dreaming. It includes the ability to visit and shape the Dreamlands, project oneself into others’ dreams, alter other people’s states of consciousness, and even meddle in their thought processes by infiltrating their subconscious via their dreams.

Dream Walking

5 points/level

Dream Mastery Abilities

Traits marked with an asterisk (*) also have Accessibility, Only on sleeping targets, -20%.

Animal Empathy*; Channeling, with Accessibility, Only While Sleeping (-20%); Charisma*; Clairsentience, with World-Spanning, Dreamlands Only (+0); Detect for dreams, sleeping people, etc.; Doesn’t Sleep; Fearlessness; Jumper (Spirit), with Limited Access, Dreamlands (-20%); Less Sleep; Mind Control, with Conditioning Only or Suggestion; Mind Probe*; Mind Reading*; Mind Shield (Limited, Dream Attacks Only, -40%); Oracle; Snatcher, with Creation and Accessibility, Only in the Dreamlands (-20%); Telesend*; Terror*; and Unfazeable.

Attacks are primarily built on Affliction with any of Coma, Disadvantage (Delusions, Flashbacks, Phantom Voices, Nightmare, etc.), Hallucinating (for daydreams or altered mental states), Paralysis (for sleep paralysis), Sleep, or Unconsciousness. Fatigue Attacks with Missed Sleep are equally appropriate, however. All should have Malediction.

Power Perks: Alarm Clock; Dream Trance; Dream Visions; Ping; Rule of 15; and Sleeping Beauty.

Power Modifier: Dream Mastery. The advantage belongs to the Dream Mastery Power. This modifier is Mystical (-10%).

Fate Mastery

Source: Mysticism.
Focus: Probabilities.

Fate Mastery lets the user manipulate the outcomes of seemingly random events by influencing the world spirit Ananta in subtle and minor ways. This lets a practitioner bless and curse others, always find just what he needs in his pockets, benefit from serendipity, and yes, cheat at cards and dice.


5 points/level

Fate Mastery Abilities

Abilities marked with an asterisk (*) are open-ended. The GM should set a limit for each, but reasonable caps are Oddsmaker / 2.

Combat Reflexes; Detect, for blessed or cursed items, reality-warping, wishes, etc.; Enhanced Defenses; Gizmo; Intuition; Luck, with Wishing; Protected Power; Serendipity*, with Wishing; Super Luck*, with Alter Reality and Wishing; Terrain Adaptation, with Active; Visualization, with Blessing or Cursing; and Wild Talent*.

Afflictions that bless or curse others can also fit. These have one of Advantage, Disadvantage, Negated Advantage, or Negated Disadvantage and only affect Cursed, Destiny, Luck, Serendipity, Super Luck, or Unluckiness. Additionally, these must also have No Signature and one of Malediction, Melee Attack, or Sense-Based. While the player is free to state what he would like to see happen, the GM ultimately decides the outcome. Abilities that allow the player to decide carry an additional Cosmic, +300%.

Power Perks: Doodad; Good Neighbor; Karma Bank; Loaded Dice; Moneyclip Magnet; and Shopper’s Blessing.

Power Modifier: Fate Mastery. The advantage belongs to the Fate Mastery Power. This modifier is Mystical (-10%).

Telepathic Mastery

Source: Mysticism.
Focus: Minds.

This is the power to sense and manipulate the thoughts and emotions of others. Practitioners can dig through the memories of others, alter their personalities, communicate directly via telepathy, and even turn them into slaves. This power overlaps some applications of Dream Mastery, but it does not suffer the limitation of only working on the sleeping.

Telepathic Talent

5 points/level

Telepathic Mastery Abilities

Animal Empathy; Detect sentient minds, sapient minds, etc.; Empathy; Enhanced Defenses (any) with Accessibility, One Target at a Time (-20%); Illusion with Mental; Medium; Mind Control; Mind Probe; Mind Reading; Mind Shield; Mindlink; Modular Abilities 3 (Cosmic) with Limited, Languages Only (-50%); Plant Empathy; Possession; Rapier Wit; Speak with Animals; Speak with Plants; Spirit Empathy; Telesend; and Terror.

Attacks are also possible. These are primarily based on Affliction with one of Incapacitating or Irritating Condition, but Advantage, Disadvantage, Negated Advantage, or Negated Disadvantage are also possible for traits like Absent-Mindedness, Confused, Versatile, etc. Fatigue Attack is also possible with Cannot Reduce Fatigue below Zero, (-10%).

All options above must also have Malediction, Melee Attack, or Sense-Based, and if a resistance roll is allowed, be modified as necessary to be resisted by Will.

Power Perks: Avatar; Call of the Wild; Gaze into the Abyss; I Know What You Mean; Ping; and Soothing Touch.

Power Modifier: Telepathic Mastery. The advantage belongs to the Telepathic Mastery Power. This modifier is Mystical (-10%).

Soul Mastery

Source: Mysticism.
Focus: Souls.

This is the power to directly affect a person’s soul. Practitioners can use this to remove accumulated demonic corruption, heal themselves and others, or syphon off the pieces of a person’s soul. It can also be used to repel spirits, forge unbreakable bonds, and directly scorch a person’s soul.

Soul Manipulation

5 points/level

Soul Mastery Abilities

Damage Resistance with Limited, Soul Mastery (-40%) or Corrupt (-60%); Healing; Protected Power; Regeneration; Resistant or Immune for soul attacks; Special Rapport with Transferable; and True Faith, with Cosmic.

Afflictions that either represent sickness – e.g., Attribute Penalties, Nausea, Coma, Retching, etc. – or can result in healing – e.g., Ecstasy, Sleep, Advantage with Rapid Healing, Regeneration, or Recovery, etc. – are appropriate. Burning, Corrosion, or Toxic Attacks are appropriate as long as they represent burning, annihilating, or poisoning the target’s soul. Lastly, Leech in its many forms is also appropriate. In all cases, attacks should have Malediction.

Power Perks: Controllable Lifebane; Efficient Esoteric Medicine; Efficient Surgery; Healing Bond; Life Support; Natural Doctor; Personal Awareness.

Power Modifier: Soul Mastery. The advantage belongs to the Soul Mastery Power. This modifier is Mystical (-10%).

Next Time...

...I will begin posting fully-worked individual abilities. Most likely, I will put each ability up as its own post, but do so more often than my current posting rate – especially once I get ahead of my current posting schedule. I’ll still post other stuff about once per week that pertains to other aspects of Starfall, with the ultimate goal of having enough material to start making characters as quickly as possible. This way the playtesting can begin.
As I currently see it, I still have a few things to do before a playtest is feasible:
  • Address divine magic users and holy warriors
  • Decide which existing Dungeon Fantasy templates fit Starfall
  • Determine if there are any niche gaps after pruning the master list and make templates to fill them
  • Make at least one template that centers around mystical abilities
  • Check the current gear lists against the feel of Starfall
There are probably other tasks that will arise as these points are addressed, and some of them will help further flesh out the setting, too. I also want to start creating monsters for the setting, too. I won’t be posting all of these because when I eventually run a game in Starfall, I want the less common creatures to be surprising and interesting. Instead, I’ll post stats for creatures any typical adventurer should already be familiar with – e.g., giant animals, common hybrids, some common spirits, etc.

I hope you look forward to this material as much as I do! As always, I’d love to hear your feedback on my work thus far. Please feel free to comment below!

< Last | Index | Next >

No comments :

Post a Comment