Spirit abilities are not truly magical, and obey their own laws much as do subatomic particles or astronomical entities. There is a process that takes place, though the theoretical groundwork to explain the process is still in its formative stages. It is for this reason that they are known as Indescribed Mechanism Energy Manifestations: there is empirical evidence of their existence and function, but the reasons why and how these effects take place are unclear. The known laws that are universal to known IMEM function will be briefly outlined for the potential user.
Firstly, all living things, both animal and plant, are occupied by a spirit. This produces an aura around their physical body in which no spirit abilities function, extending one sixteenth of an inch from the skin. Spirit abilities that cause damage to a target generally do so by affecting the air near the target or directly damaging the target’s spirit, rather than contacting the physical body of the target. It is for this reason that all damaging spirit abilities can be used to damage ghosts. Ghosts are disembodied auras, generally slightly smaller than their human counterparts except in the case of powerful witches, wights, or poultergeists.
Secondly, spirit abilities require intense concentration, and cannot be used as reflexive actions by default. Several abilities change this restriction by making the concentration easier to attain through practice. Other than these two rules, spirit abilities function as listed below.
Binding is the means by which ”active elements” of the psychic environment, namely fragmentary ghosts and psychic residues, are anchored in the material realm to provide various useful service.
- First Tier: Basic binding practice allows you to bind minor elements to objects, causing spontaneous motion, temperature change, voltaic differential, and/or pressure differential. These abilities, while small in their impact and time-consuming in their application, allow the crafting of useful objects. Binding rolls are drive-modified and unopposed. Minor elements are available in graveyards and other places of death, whereas major elements must be taken from a defeated ghost, and provide a +1 modifier to the binding roll attempted using the major element.
- Second Tier: Lesser compact of service. You may bind a single manifest spirit or psychically sensitive cryptozooid to your service for the length of one year on a successful roll of your willpower against its discipline minus its sensitivity. On success, any creature from the creature list marked ”LC” in its statistics block may be bound in this fashion. Only one servant may be bound at a time, and it will follow all instructions to the best of its ability for the duration.
- Third Tier: Enchantment. You have grown sufficiently adept at binding rituals to place more significant active elements to objects, allowing you to enchant up to 5 items in your possession at any given time with an enchantment of the following kinds, or with additions as allowed by your Narrator: +1 armor to clothing or armor, +1 damage on strikes from a weapon in the form of either fire, extreme cold, or electricity, a shield against one Spirit ability once/day when activated on any trinket, a portkey, which allows the opening of any locked portal of any kind once/day when activated, on any trinket, or a trinket which grants its user the ability to breath water, go without food and drink, or see all spirits in the area as though through a successful spiritualism check, or deals one damage once a day in the form of a short burst of fire, cold, or electricity on a successful roll of creator’s drive vs. target’s discipline.
- Fourth Tier: True compact of service. On a successful willpower vs. discipline-sensitivity roll, you may bind a single manifest spirit or psychically sensitive cryptozooid to your service for one week. On success, any creature from the creature list marked ”TC” in its statistics block may be bound in this fashion. You may now keep two lesser compacts and one true compact at any given time.
Mesmerism is the study of Anton Mesmer’s animal magnetism. It can be used to overpower another’s will and implant suggestions, or to control another’s body processes, for aid or harm.
- First Tier: On a successful roll of your willpower against your target’s discipline minus their sensitivity, you may place the target in a trance after holding eye contact with them for one full round. While in this trance, they are unable to move or take any willful action. The trance is broken as soon as eye contact is broken, even by blinking, but for one round after emerging from the trance all rolls are taken at -1.
- Second Tier: When a target is in a trance, any spoken command must be followed to the best of the subject’s ability, with the notable exception that no target will take any action that directly injures themselves. A command spoken in this manner must be simple and able to be completed in the next ten seconds, or the command will be lost. +1 on all Mesmerism rolls.
- Third Tier: When a target is in a trance, you may use your animal magnetism to influence their body, providing them some comfort or pain. On a successful sensitivity roll to detect where to exert Mesmeric force, you are able to add or subtract one damage level to their resilience temporarily. The effects last twenty-four hours, after which the true level returns. A character that is at 1 damage level and loses the last level due to mesmerism is rendered comatose until the twenty-four hours expires rather than dead. Conversely, a character at 0 damage levels given 1 will function until the twenty-four hours expires, then die. This ability can only alter the resilience of the target by one damage level, and can not be reapplied except to change the modifier to +1, 0, or -1. +1 on all Mesmerism rolls.
- Fourth Tier: You may now issue orders capable of making a target directly harm themselves and apply 2 temporary damage levels to a target. Your commands may be carried out any time within the next 28 days. All of these fourth-tier abilities are attempted at -3. +1 on all Mesmerism rolls.
Spritualism is the skill to draw out and converse with spirits, to see them, and to interact with them. It is used by mediums, exorcists, and witches alike.
- First Tier: On a successful roll of your sensitivity against the ghost’s discipline minus its drive, you can detect any spirit in the area, and are able to see, hear, and, in some cases, smell the apparition with your normal senses.
- Second Tier: You are able to communicate clearly with ghosts that you are able to sense, both to send and receive emotional impulses, imagery, and information and to speak and listen out loud. +1 on all spiritualism rolls.
- Third Tier: You are able to call a ghost to you or send a ghost away from you, compelling the ghost to do as you say even against its will, on a successful roll of your willpower against the ghost’s discipline. You automatically succeed on rolls to detect spiritual presences.
- Fourth Tier: You can physically interact with immaterial ghosts and ghostly objects as long as you are able to see them through use of the first-tier ability. Objects you possess likewise function with respect to the spirits. +1 on all spiritualism rolls and interactions with ghosts. If you have a drive of 4 or greater, you deal +1 damage on all attacks made against ghosts.
Transmutation is a process long attempted by alchemists with little success, but finally mastered. With the new breakthroughs in the spiritual sciences, budding transmuters may convert matter readily and cause elemental effects which are wondrous to behold, akin to the claims of Merlin’s might.
- First Tier: You have learned how to, on a successful willpower roll, change any metal into any other metal, with noble metals rolling at -5 when attempting to change any metal to a noble metal or any noble metal to a regular metal. The noble metals are silver, gold, mercury, and platinum. The amount transmuted is one quarter of a pound per attempt, and each attempt takes one hour. Mass, rather than volume, is conserved.
- Second Tier: You may change dirt and sedimentary rock into iron on a willpower roll at -3, and change the phase of water spontaneously from solid to liquid, liquid to solid or gas, or gas to liquid on a successful willpower roll taking one combat action. On phase change rolls, one quart is converted on success, and an additional one quart is converted for every +2 over success on your roll. +1 to all Transmutations. Your transmutations now affect a half pound per attempt.
- Third Tier: By moving heat from one area to another, you may now attempt the following:
Fire and Ice. On a successful willpower roll, you create a fire dealing 1 damage per round it burns on anything flammable, up to 10 feet away from yourself, in a cube 3 feet on a side. For every +1 over success on your roll, you may place the fire an additional 10 feet away from yourself. When this occurs, you also produce an equally sized area of extreme cold of equal size within 10 feet of your fire target, which turns any water in the area to ice in an instant. Living beings caught in the chill are dealt 2 damage. The damage dealt is increased by 1 if your drive is 4 or greater.
Call the Wind. On a successful willpower roll, you create a zone of differential temperature that creates a steep air-pressure gradient, resulting in a gust of wind of tremendous strength over a roughly cubic area 100 feet on a side. This rush of wind may be in any direction of the transmuter’s choosing, and deflects all projec- tiles weighing less than 5 pounds in the direction of the wind. Furthermore, for acrobats in the area, it incurs a slow-twitch musculature check at -2 to cling to any exposed ladders, ropes, or beams, or else climbing, hanging, and swinging are abruptly interrupted by falling. Running with the wind increases speed by 10 mph, and running against the wind reduces speed by a comparable amount. The winds last for two rounds. The speed reduction and amplification is doubled if your drive is 4 or greater.
- Fourth Tier: All transmutation abilities gain a +2 modifier. Furthermore, transmutations may now be attempted from any substance to any substance, take one combat action to perform, and affect one pound per use. When attempting to transmute a living being, you must be touching the target and succeed on a roll of your willpower -7 vs. their discipline.
Umbrapedy is an application of spiritual transference research. Dr. Franz Schumaker, taking instruction from the doddering poultergeist of a professor of spirituality in 1929, developed methods Character Creation 37 for causing solid matter to exist solely in a spiritual phase temporarily. The so-called Shadow Walking has become popular among adventurers, thieves, and assassins.
- First Tier: Spirit Hands. On a successful willpower roll, you may pass your hand and arm through a solid object for a brief instant, allowing a single turn’s action to be taken through the object. Failure results in a banged hand, dealing no damage but causing you to drop any held objects unless you pass a slow-twitch musculature roll. Snake- eyes represent a hazardous partial success, resulting in phasing in with one’s arm still in a wall. This causes instantaneous amputation of the limb, which is often fatal without immediate medical attention. Attacks made while in the spirit phase ignore armor, but strike the opponent’s spirit rather than their body, making targeting specific body parts and assassination impossible.
- Second Tier: Ghost Step. On a successful willpower roll, you can move through a solid object if able to run through it in one second or less. Snake-eyes mishaps often result in a lost leg. When traveling in spiritual phase, velocity and force do not affect the traveler in the same way they affect a physical object. Though there is still gravitational attraction, when one enters the spiritual phase one’s velocity is negated, meaning that any distance covered must be sufficiently explained by one second’s worth of movement. Objects are only solid in this phase if the umbrapedist so chooses: one may walk across a floor or fall through it at one’s pleasure.
- Third Tier: Flicker. As a reflexive action, a successful willpower roll causes you to become insubstantial at the critical moment, fully negating any damage that would have been dealt by physical means from one source.
- Fourth Tier: Translocation. On a successful willpower roll, you may phase through space, causing what appears to others to be disappearing in one place and reappearing in another up to fifty feet away. This may be used as a standard or reflexive action. Additionally, gain +1 on all Umbrapedy rolls.