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"Souls are a Disease!"

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  • amechra
    started a topic "Souls are a Disease!"

    "Souls are a Disease!"

    Kirce's Occult Sensoria

    Jeremy Kirce's Occult Sensoria is a seminal text on occult rituals in the Western world - a fat, 673 page book chock-full of notes on occultism written in a dry, academic tone. Anyone with at least one dot of Occult could, with sufficient study, reverse-engineer many of the classic rituals for dealing with Ephemeral entities (Exorcism and Warding, to be specific). Similarly, it acts as an excellent primer for Occult research, giving you the Informed Condition with regards to Occult research if you cross-reference Kirce while undertaking your research (due to being able to sort out the legitimate texts from the cranks).

    While it is out of print (the last printing was 30 years ago), Occult Sensoria can still be found in the libraries of many occultists, Many American and British occultists consider the book their profession's Bible, with annotated copies and CliffNotes versions popping up in the occult underground.

    Most occultists, however, don't know that their copies are short two chapters. Totalling a scant 50 pages, these chapters were cut from every edition except the first, and most copies of the first edition books have been burned, Oftentimes, those books were burned along with their owner, and the city block they lived on.

    Because those two chapters were about the human soul. More specifically, they described the rituals of a small sect in Kansas that believed that human souls are parasites, and who were concerned with "curing the plague". If you were to get your hands on a copy, and were to look up that Kansas town, you would find that no town by that name has ever existed - a little more digging would find that it is technically illegal to incorporate a town by that name under Kansas law.

    Of course, the problem is getting your hands on a copy - still, there are probably some floating around in the occult underground, right?

    Systems
    Studying the two lost chapters of Occult Sensoria allows you to purchase Unseen Sense (People with Human Souls) as a one dot merit. Unlike the standard version of the merit, you cannot choose to "focus" your Unseen Sense to pinpoint people with souls - you simply get an uncomfortable sensation whenever someone with a soul is nearby. Oddly enough, your Unseen Sense does not trigger due to people who also have the merit, even if they are not Soulless.

    Further study allows you to purchase any of the following for one XP:
    • Upgrade your Unseen Sense to the full version of the Merit, allowing you to pinpoint people with souls.
    • Once per chapter, you may accept the Spooked condition when looking in a person's eyes to determine what caused their last Breaking Point. If you spend one Willpower while doing so, you also learn one of their personal Breaking Points, your Unseen Sense digging up half-forgotten memories of old traumas. In both cases, you get vague images of the events surrounding the Breaking Point. This ability immediately fails if your target is using a Supernatural ability to shield their memories, or if they lack a human soul.
    • You may use Abjuration against human souls as if they were Ephemeral Beings, pitting your Resolve + Composure versus theirs. On a Success, they suffer a Breaking Point at a -3 penalty. On an Exceptional Success, you become a Bane for their soul for 24 hours - contact with you deals 1 Lethal damage each round as well as causing your Brawl attacks to deal Lethal damage against them. More sinisterly, they treat you as if you - and any action you take - were blatantly unnatural during that time; this provokes Breaking Points as normal.
    • You may use Exorcism against human souls as if they were Ephemeral Beings of Rank 2; add any dots of Anonymity they have to the Successes necessary, and subtract their dots of Fame. If you are successful, they take the Soulless Condition as your ritual severs the soul from their body. While the book does not mention this, the same methods work with Summoning, allowing you to remove the Soulless Condition with the proper rites and a free-floating soul.
    • You may use Binding and Warding against human souls as if they were Ephemeral Beings of Rank 2. Since souls normally lack a Bane, you may use a representation of one of their unique Breaking Points instead - this functions even if they are unaware that the object is a representation of that Breaking Point.
    Last edited by amechra; 10-23-2015, 02:49 PM.

  • Vent0
    replied
    Originally posted by amechra View Post
    ...and I don't know why.
    Quiescence?

    Leave a comment:


  • amechra
    replied
    The Soft Winds and Airs
    This rare collection of poems by an anonymous 12th century source are written in a shockingly modern form of Arabic. Each of the 67 poems follow traditional themes found in Islamic religious poetry, except that none of the words normally associated with divinity in the Islamic religion are used. Instead, the prayers are to the Khamsin, which are interchangeably used to refer to the dry desert winds and what appears to be a group of spirits associated with the wind.

    While the text itself is incredibly blasphemous, a few copies can be found on the shelves of North African occultists, though they will usually rebind them in less... noticeable covers. While the poems are rather beautiful (supplying the Informed condition related to writing devotional poetry if you reference them periodically while writing religious poetry in Arabic), there are... other reasons to own a copy of the poems.

    Systems: The benefits of The Soft Winds and Airs are lost if they aren't read in the original, idiosyncratic version of Arabic. Prolonged study allows the user to qualify for the Taste merit using Expression •• in place of Craft ••. - the speciality used to qualify must be related to either poetry or the wind. Anyone who possesses such refined tastes is capable of deeper analysis of the poems, allowing them to purchase any of the following for one XP:
    • You may purchase one of the options supplied by Psychokinesis (Wind); rather than rolling Resolve + Occult, they may use that option in place of asking a question when using their Taste merit. However, doing so requires that they spend one Willpower (which is sufficient to allow any number of such activations) and requires that their analysis be of Arabic poetry - while you are required to divulge the occult secrets you read between the lines, though you may do so beneath your breath. You may continue to purchase additional options; each purchase past the 2nd allows you to select two options instead of one, three purchases is equivalent to having Psychokinesis (Wind) ••• for the purposes of prerequisites, and are considered to have Psychokinesis (Wind) ••••• once you possess four purchases.
    • You may purchase the Language merit for the version of Arabic used in The Soft Wind and Airs. In addition to the obvious benefit of allowing easier interpretation of the poems, it also allows you to speak to Spirits of wind as if you shared a language.
    • You may purchase the Familiar Tell; the spirit attracted is always a Spirit of wind.
    • You may purchase the Horse Tell,; you may only invite Spirits of wind to speak through you.
    • You may purchase the Waystone Tell; however, the only Spirits that may Reach through you are Spirits of wind.


    North African Wind Sorcerers just feel indescribably right, and I don't know why.
    Last edited by amechra; 10-23-2015, 06:41 PM.

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  • Raistlin
    replied
    I like it. In fact, we should star creating concepts about Grimoires for mortal occultists and their benefits (maybe with some particular rituals for summoning nasty spirits or even abyssal ones).

    Leave a comment:


  • amechra
    replied
    My personal definition is "person with Integrity who is not Soulless", but I left it purposefully vague - are Mages human? I mean, their souls are interchangeable with a human one - does the mere fact that they signed their name on a Watchtower disqualify themselves from being a human being? In other words, I did it for the same reason that Hunter doesn't give a conclusive answer about whether monsters are people.

    But yeah, that should be Person with a Human Soul.

    I was actually considering including a ritual that renders you immune to stuff like Disquiet and Lunacy - I think I'll save that for the footnotes of Kirce's diary (tentative alternate title: How I Learned To Stop Worrying (And Love The Permanent Removal Of My Soul)). Turns out that there are all kinds of things you can shove in the gap left by a missing soul!

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  • StSword
    replied
    Okay, what are you qualifying as "human souls" here?

    People with no templates? People who still have integrity whether they have a template or not?

    Also, what do you consider constitutes a "person with a soul" here? My instinct would be to tie it to what qualifies as a human soul, otherwise say one of these guys might be confused why his ritual doesn't work on a werewolf or whatever.

    Is it evil of me that I want these people to be immune to disquiet so that prometheans can have friends who want to actively discourage the quest for humanity?

    Leave a comment:


  • amechra
    replied
    All it helps you detect are poor innocent people who have the misfortune of having a soul latched into their body.

    And I'm... unsure that Unseen Sense lets you pinpoint things that you can't otherwise sense, but if it can, that is perfectly acceptable.

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  • wyrdhamster
    replied
    I like it - a lot! Mine games Censoriums and Scelasti collections will now have first editions Occult Sensoria. I have only one thing to pin point...

    Originally posted by amechra View Post
    Systems
    Studying the two lost chapters of Occult Sensoria allows you to purchase Unseen Sense (People with Souls) as a one dot merit. Unlike the standard version of the merit, you cannot choose to "focus" your Unseen Sense to pinpoint people with souls - you simply get an uncomfortable sensation whenever someone with a soul is nearby. Oddly enough, your Unseen Sense does not trigger due to people who also have the merit, even if they are not Soulless.
    Should not simpler would be Unseen Sense (Souls)? Because "People with Souls" is much more limiting in usage, would pin point humans behind the walls and not taake in considerations Souls locked in things - like Soul Jar or the Soul Stones.

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