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Eldritch

Briana Blake is an example Eldritch.

Eldritch are Mystics who are born with one or more Gifts, which run in family lines. Though they can benefit from training and practice, individual Eldritch are able to work magic intuitively and many begin to do so even as children. Many Eldritch only ever demonstrate a single Gift, but an Eldritch might have two, three, or perhaps even as many as five (though it would be thought exceptional). Over the long course of history a rare few Eldritch have been documented as having more than five Gifts, though not in recent decades.

Eldritch have existed since prehistoric times, distributed and variegated among most cultures of the world. As Gifts run in family lines, over time certain Gifts became more common among various cultures due to the success of specific lineages within those societies. Thus seers, stormcallers, and skinshifters have been more common among Nordic peoples, while illusionists, conjurers, and mesmerists are more common among descendants of people residing in Asia Minor and the Indian subcontinent, and so on. Higher concentrations of Eldritch per capita appear among people descended from cultures that valued or at least tolerated Eldritch individuals, while cultures that persecuted them have many fewer or even none.

Due to this cultural diffusion as well as the sheer variety of different kinds of Gifts, there are many specialized and language specific terms for different sorts of Eldritch, but they may also be imprecisely referred to via broad umbrella terms such as "witch" or local equivalents such as "strega" or "dayan" which might encompass other types of Mystics as well.

It is worth noting that for unknown reasons, while there are male Eldritch, female Eldritch are at least five times more common. Thus this type of magic tends to be associated with women in many cultures.

When using their Gifts, Eldritch are not 'casting spells' or the like, and don't require incantations or gestures or components or any other crutches. Though some Eldritch at various places and times have adopted such theatrics and chicanery for purposes of trickery or entertainment, it is entirely unnecessary. Rather, some Eldritch use their Gifts subconsciously or casually as it is as natural to them as breathing, while others do so as a conscious act of will or via a process of intuitive enlightenment.

Eldritch can also learn other sorts of magic if they so choose, and enough lineages of Eldritch have a secondary tradition of herbalism and alchemical pursuits to make that a recognizable stereotype. But most Eldritch find more rigid practiced or learned forms of magic to be awkward and counterintuitive, and instead focus on honing their own natural Gifts.

Vocation

The basis of Eldritch practice is represented on a character by taking the Eldritch Vocation at a step appropriate to the character's level of mastery of their personal Gifts and also their raw potential power. Unlike most Vocations this has nothing to do with age or experience; a powerful youth might have a d10 while a wizened but weakly Gifted elder might only have a d4.

Eldritch

Practitioners of a hereditary form of magic, those who have the so-called Old Blood manifest strange Gifts spontaneously...often even as children. Unlike Sorcerers, Wizards, and other 'spellcasters', Eldritch simply will magical effects into being, bending reality in various ways depending upon which Gifts they happen to have. Learning to master their inclinations and apply them to practical magic takes practice, introspection, and patience.

The Eldritch Vocation allows the following special Exploits:

  • Exploit: If your Eldritch Vocation die rolls a 1 you may change the die to a 4; it does not count as an opportunity if you do (you should use a easily identifiable die to represent your Eldritch Vocation when adding it to a dice pool if you intend to use this option).
  • Exploit: You may double your Psyche trait on an action or reaction in a dice pool that includes at least one of your Eldritch Gift Ability traits.
  • Exploit: When using an Eldritch Gift Ability trait during a Transition Scene you may treat that Ability trait as being 1 step higher for one action, allowing you to justify an action that is normally beyond your capability.

Vocational Variations

Eldritch can take one or more Signature Exploits for their Eldritch Vocation (as normal for any Vocation), but this is not as typical for them as it is for some other types of Mystics. More commonly an Eldritch character would spend their Advances to improve a Gift or take an additional Gift. However some Eldritch take Signature Exploits that are thematically relevant to one or more of their Gifts.

Ability Sets

The bulk of a Eldritch's capabilities are defined in Ability Sets. Most Eldritch have a Mystic Ability Set and all Eldritch have at least one Eldritch Gift Ability Set.

Mystic Ability Set

Eldritch are Mystics, however an Eldritch with only one Gift is not required to have a Mystic Ability Set. An Eldritch that does not have a Mystic Ability Set must take the Supernatural Aura Limit common to all Mystics in their Eldritch Gift Ability Set instead. For those Eldritch that do have a Mystic Ability Set, the most common basic set up is provided below.

Mystic

Senses: d6
Stamina: d6
Willpower: d6
Warding: d6

Limit: Supernatural Aura: You have a supernatural aura that is detectable by those with special senses. Gain one (1) Plot Point when this becomes a Complication for you.

Eldritch Gift Ability Sets

At the core of this type of magic are Eldritch Gifts, each of which is represented by a separate Ability Set (an Eldritch with three Gifts would have three Eldritch Gift Ability Sets), each containing at least one Ability trait, zero or more SFX, and zero or more Limits; all of which must be thematically relevant to the concept of the Gift.

Normally each additional Ability Set after a character's first one costs a cumulative +1 Advance to open; for instance a character's second Ability Set costs one (1) Advance to open, their third Ability Set costs two (2) additional Advances to open, and so on. However Eldritch Gift Ability Sets are exempted from this general rule and do not cost any additional Advances to open. Thus an Eldritch with three Gifts, each represented by a separate Ability Set, does not have to spend the cumulative +1 to open each one of them. For purposes of determining the cost of opening other non Eldritch Gift Ability Sets on a character, simply calculate the cost as if their Eldritch Gift Ability Sets don't exist.

There are some mild restrictions on this exemption from the normal rules, however. An Eldritch Gift Ability Set must be named using the convention of 'Eldritch Gift: [Name of Gift]'; thus 'Eldritch Gift: Skinshifting' is compliant with this naming convention, while 'Gift of Skinshifting' or simply 'Skinshifting' is not. Additionally, an Eldritch Gift Ability Set cannot include the Spells trait. Finally, there is a non-mechanical catch; each additional Eldritch Gift Ability Set a character has after the first makes their supernatural aura about twice as noticeable and twice as difficult to conceal (which can be quite inconvenient or even actively dangerous depending upon who or what is nearby).

Other game elements may refer to Eldritch Gifts or Eldritch Gift Ability traits, which collectively covers all Ability Sets following the above restrictions and the Ability traits contained within them respectively. This can be for benign reasons (such as some Eldritch Vocation Exploits), or to satisfy a targeting restriction or similar criteria.

Eldritch Differentiation

The primary way in which Eldritch characters are differentiated from one another is by which Eldritch Gift Ability Sets they each have.

Some Eldritch Gifts are more common and others less so; a few Gifts that were known in antiquity are now thought to be extinct or lost. Among the most common Gifts that have survived to the modern era are Foresight, Conjuring, Stormcalling, Skinshifting, Bewitching, Cursing, and Enchantment (of objects). Less common but still well represented Gifts include Healing, Illusions, Transmogrification, Hexerei, and various Elemental affinities. Rarer Gifts such as Necrosis, Corpsetalking, Nullification, and Weavewalking are seldom seen and in some cases are hidden even when possessed. Additionally, players and GM's are encouraged to be creative and define whatever Eldritch Gifts inspire them, drawing from mythological or fictional sources or their own imaginations.

While some Eldritch Gifts might map very strongly to a specific Ability trait, generally speaking two or more Eldritch with the same notional Gift might represent the relevant concept in different ways. For instance compare the following two Eldritch Gift Ability Sets belonging to Aleph and Alfonse, twin brothers who both happen to be "Stormcallers":

Aleph's Stormcaller Ability Set

Eldritch Gift: Stormcalling

Weather: d10

SFX: Fast: One or more of the Ability traits in this Ability Set are normally slow to use, but you are able to use them about twice as fast. You may spend one (1) Plot Point to do it about four times as fast for a given single use.

Limit: Outside Only: This Ability Set's traits and SFX can only be used while outside.

Alfonse's Stormcaller Ability Set

Eldritch Gift: Stormcalling

Flying: d6
Lightning Bolt: d8
Air: d6

Limit: Outside Only: This Ability Set's traits and SFX can only be used while outside.

Both of these "Stormcaller" Ability Sets are thematically appropriate to the concept; in this case they even both happen to cost the same number of Advances. But which is correct? Trick question; both of them are valid...as would be some other similar Ability Set that represented the idea of a "Stormcaller" in yet another way, as long as it was conceptually on point.