Minor Arcana

Minor Arcana are minor supernatural effects that Arcane Background characters learn from their initial training or along their travels. Arcane Background characters get a number of Minor Arcana equal to half their Smarts die + the number of powers they start with. Certain Arcane Backgrounds may not have access to these (Weird Science, Super Powers), GM’s option.

All Minor Arcana have the following standard rules:
Rank: Novice
Power Points: 1

Air Manipulation

Range: Smarts
Duration: Instant
Trappings: elemental, spirit, a few simple gestures
Can do the following:
  • Remove surface moisture from an object or from a small burst template area.
  • +1 to a “smoke inhalation” Fatigue roll.
  • Blow a small air current.

Alter

Range: Smarts
Duration: 1 (1/round)
Trappings: morph, change, mind alter
Change a non-living object (hand held-sized or smaller) into something else, though, it will not change its size or volume. Thus, a piece of parchment may be altered to a colored square of cloth or a sword may be made a simple walking stick.

Arcane Mark

Range: Touch
Duration: Permanent
Trappings: mystical tattoos, invisible sigils, arcane runes
Create an arcane mark can be visible or invisible. Casting Detect Arcana will reveal a concealed arcane mark, while Dispel Arcana will permanently remove it.

Blessing

Range: Smarts
Duration: 10 minutes
Trapping: prayer, bless an item
Give +1 to a skill check once during the duration.

Clean

Range: Smarts or Touch
Duration: Instant
Trappings: unseen servant, magic cleaning tools, floating hands
Remove heavy soil, dirt, rust, tarnish and bring luster back to a touched material from a floor, a wall, dishes, windows in a room, a pair of boots, a piece of furniture, or a suit of leather armor, may be affected.

Cold Manipulation

Range: Smarts
Duration: Instant
Trappings: elemental, spirit, a few simple gestures
Can do the following:
· One cubic foot of non-living liquid or solid matter become about 40º cooler.
· +1 to a “heat and cold” Fatigue rolls.

Conceal Arcana

Range: Smarts
Duration: 1 hour
Trapping: waving hands, whispered words
Conceal a single supernatural item, being or effect from being detected automatically with Detect Arcana. Instead, they must roll their Arcane Skill against ½ your Arcane skill die. If they fail this they may not attempt to find it again.

Distract

Range: Smarts
Duration: 1
Trappings: mental feedback, daze, twitch, force to look away
The target’s trait rolls are at –2, a successful Spirit roll resists this effect.

Drowse

Range: Smarts
Duration: 1 minute
Trappings: sprinkle sand, lullaby,
The target gains a “sleep” Fatigue level for the duration; a successful Vigor roll resists this effect. They can only gain a maximum of one level from this effect.

Earth Manipulation

Range: Smarts
Duration: Instant
Trappings: elemental, spirit, a few simple gestures
Can do the following:
· Dirty and dusty up all surfaces within range.
· Open a one foot square hole in earth (1/2 that in stone).
· Spray earth or sand up (+1 to a Trick roll).

Embarrass

Range: Smarts
Duration: 1
Trappings: force bodily function, inappropriate action
The target has a –2 Charisma modifier; a successful Smarts roll resists this effect.

Fire Manipulation

Range: Smarts
Duration: Instant
Trappings: elemental, spirit, a few simple gestures
Can do the following:
· One cubic foot of non-living liquid or solid matter becomes about 40º hotter.
· Causes a single flame to appear, the flame will ignite combustible materials if capable.
· Urge an existing flame to spread (+1 to see if the fire will spread rolls).

Groom

Range: Touch
Duration: 1
Trappings: Unseen servant, personal robot, flying shears
Clean, shave, haircut, and bathe the target.

Guidance

Range: Smarts
Duration: 1
Trappings: north, city, holy site, your home, ocean
Reveal the direction of the trapping. The trapping has to be a large and specific location.

Helper

Range: Smarts
Duration: 1 minute
Trappings: disembodied hand, helping spirit, unseen servant
Create a force that can lift up to five pounds. It can grasp objects, gather objects, tie and untie knots, open or close a door. The caster must use an action to control the hand. If the hand leaves the range it vanishes.

Life

Range: Touch
Duration: Instant
Trappings: prayer
Bring new life or freshness to food and drink items, as well as cut flowers, vegetables, and herbs. It will improve a slight taint of spoilage, restore drooping flowers, and so on. It will also remove a fatigue level of the “bumps and bruised” condition if used within an hour of sustaining the condition.

Light

Range: Smarts
Duration: 10 minutes
Trappings: glow globe, enchanted staff, glowing palms, floating light
Creates a cone, small, medium, or large burst template of light and the globe is static unless cast on an object, it can be of any or many colors. All is dependent upon its trappings.

Message

Range: Smarts x2
Duration: 1
Trappings: mental contact, whisper
Pass a message of up to ten words to a target.

Pyrotechnics

Range: Smarts
Duration: 1
Trappings: smoke puff, flash of light, darkness
Cause a small burst template that obscures line of sight. It is of sufficient size to obscure a normal human.

Repair

Range: Touch
Duration: Permanent
Trappings: magic words, molecular bonder,
Make minor repairs to simple objects. All of a broken object’s pieces must be present to be effective. Thus, a torn piece of parchment or a broken bottle could be made whole again; a broken wheel on a child’s toy could be repaired, or a cracked mirror made functional. The GM is the final arbiter of what can be repaired.

Sense

Range: Smarts
Duration: 1
Trapping: poison, undead, disease
Sense the presence of the trapping.

Sound

Range: Smarts
Duration: Instant
Trappings: illusion, ventriloquism, spirit voice
Create any sound, other than a specific voice, the caster is familiar with.

Speak Language

Range: Self
Duration: 10 Minutes
Trappings: tongues, intuition, ancestors
Read, write and speak another language

Swarm

Range: Smarts
Duration: 1
Trappings: bugs, magic, frigid air, floating rocks
Summon a small swarm of something. They appear around a target and will attempt to harass the target. The target’s actions are at –2, a successful Agility roll resists this effect.

Trick

Range: Smarts
Duration: 10 minutes
Trappings: visual, auditory, smell, taste
Can do one of the following depending on the trapping:
· Change the color or restore faded hues of a non-living item.
· Envelop an area equal to a medium burst template with a normal odor the caster is familiar.
· Change the perceived taste of something, for good or bad, the taste of a single serving of food.

Water Manipulation

Range: Smarts
Duration: Instant
Trappings: elemental, spirit, a few simple gestures
Can do the following:
· Permeate an area of up to one cubic yard with a fog-like dampness that leaves all material within it damp to the touch.
· Create a pint of water.
· Purify a gallon of water of toxins, salt water or bacteria.

Wound

Range: Touch
Duration: Instant
Trappings: curse, zap, drain, singe
May be used to curdle food and drink items, wilt vegetable matter. It can also be used to deliver a “bumps and bruised” fatigue level; a successful Vigor roll resists this effect. They can only gain a maximum of one level from this effect.

Novice Powers


Chameleon

Rank: Novice
Power Points: 1
Range: Instant
Duration: Vigor minutes
Trappings: Fading and blending effect.
The skin of the caster changes with its surrounding background, providing effective camouflage. If the caster is wearing items that cover most of their skin, this power adds +1 to Stealth; otherwise, this power adds +2 to Stealth. If a raise is scored when activating this power, double the appropriate bonus.
by TeknoMerk

Change Size

Rank: Novice
Power Points: 1/Size
Range: Touch
Duration: Vigor minutes
Trappings: Shrinking or expanding morphing effect.
Whoever is touched, the caster determines their change in Size factor. The subject must be a willing target. This is useful for getting into small places or overcoming obstacles.

Size smaller: -1 Toughness, -1 to hit, -1 Pace
Size larger: +1 Toughness, +1 to hit, +1 Pace

Note that Toughness and Pace may never be lower than 1. Each Raise grants one free Size level change or reduces the power cost by 1 (minimum of 1).

Please refer to the Size chart at SWEX, p 143. Note that reducing to the size of an insect/small mouse would be Size -3 from a humanoid – the smallest one may attain from this power.

Charm

Rank: Novice
Power Points: 2
Range: Touch
Duration: 10 minutes
Trappings: A smouldering gaze, a love potion, pheremones
This power causes the target to percieve the spellcaster as a friend and someone to be trusted - if appropriate, the target may develop a romantic interest in the caster. The spellcaster's Persuasion increases by two steps with regards to the target only, or four steps on a raise.

Once the Charm wears off, the target's reaction depends on the caster's actions. If the caster persuaded the target to do something they would not normally do, or took advantage of them in some way, they are likely to realize that something odd has happened (Smarts roll). If the caster was subtle and did not take unusual advantage of the target, they may never realize they have been Charmed.

If the spellcaster rolls a 1 on the spellcasting die - regardless of the wild die - the target instead reacts negatively towards the caster, and the caster takes a -4 penalty on Persuasion rolls to affect that target.
~Talisman

Empathic Blast

Rank: Novice
Power Points: 2/3
Range: Spirit x 2
Duration: 1 minute
Trappings: concentration
Like Empathic Push with a Medium template. For more effect and power cost, this ability affects a Large template. All targets suffer the same effect.
by TeknoMerk

Empathic Push

Rank: Novice
Power Points: 1
Range: Spirit x 2
Duration: 1 minute
Trappings: concentration
With an opposed Spirit roll, the caster temporarily implants an emotion in a target. This ability also grants the sentient sensing as in Empathy.

  • Courage: +1 Spirit checks
  • Fear: Roll Vigor or Shaken
  • Happiness: +2 interaction with target
  • Anger: -2 Charisma
  • Focused: +1 skills
  • Distracted: -1 skills

Each raise increases range multiplier or duration.
by TeknoMerk

Empathy

Rank: Novice
Power Points: 1
Range: Spirit x 2
Duration: 1 minute
Trappings: concentration

This power determines the surface emotions of the target with a successful skill roll. Other empaths may resist (Spirit) and will know who is attempting the reading. While active, all lies are detected, but no specific information is known.

Each raise increases the range multiplier.
by TeknoMerk

Energy Reflection

Rank: Novice
Power Points: 1
Range: Body
Duration: Constant
Trappings: A pale glow surrounds the caster.
This ability totally reflects one of the listed energy types.

  1. Cold
  2. Electrical
  3. Fire, Heat, Plasma
  4. Laser
  5. Sonic
  6. Radiation

Use the SWEX scatter (D12) directions. Each raise on this ability allows the mutant to change the direction of the rolled scatter one category. For example, two raises with a rolled scatter of 8 may change the reflect direction from 6 to a 10. Note that this power is for a SciFi setting.
by TeknoMerk

Harmful Touch

Rank: Novice
Power Points: 2
Range: Self
Duration: 3 (1/round)
Trappings: Claws; necromantic energy; a bio-electric charge
This power grants the spellcaster a dangerous touch attack. The caster can now touch an enemy to deal 1d6 damage (or 2d6 with a raise) plus their Spellcasting skill, but with no bonus from Strength. This requires a normal Fighting roll; it ignores armor but not natural Toughness.
~Talisman


Illusion

Rank: Novice
Power Points: 3+
Range: Smarts
Duration: 3 (1/round)
Trappings: A trill of music; a hologram projector; bat's eyelashes and mumbled words
This power creates an illusion of nearly anything the caster wishes - but the image is just that: an image. It cannot affect the physical world in any way, although a clever caster can make it appear to.
The basic Illusion power creates an image of approximately man-sized or smaller. The image is purely visual, with no sound, smell, or thermal components.
Anyone closely interacting with the image (fighting, being attacked, etc) may make free a Notice roll to recognize it as an illusion. Free Notice rolls also apply whenever the image does something unlikely, such as changing shape or flying (assuming these are inappropriate for whatever the image is of - obviously, an illusionary eagle flying would not be unexpected), or when differences between the Illusion and reality become obvious - for example, an illusionary fire would generate no heat. A character may also get a Notice roll if they take an action to examine the Illusion for whatever reason. A basic Notice roll is sufficient to recognise the Illusion as such. If the caster got a raise on her arcane skill roll the Notice roll is at -4.

Bigger Illusions: The caster can increase the image's size by paying more initial Power Points. The image can be double man-size for 6 points, triple for 9 points, and so on.
~Talisman

Mind Link

Rank: Novice
Power Points: 1
Range: Smarts
Duration: 1 minute
Trappings: Deep concentration.

The caster has the power to link their mind to one other being in range and line-of-sight for the purpose of sharing power points with the target or enhancing a target’s mental power. The caster may maintain this mental linkage as long as he has power points and concentrates on the link. Being successfully attacked, performing another action or losing line-of-sight will cause the link to break. There is no limit to the number of beings that may mind link together. A successful skill roll and each raise accomplish one of the following results, determined by the target being.

  • Transfer up to 2 power points to the target
  • +1 bonus to the target’s mutation effect at the cost of 1 power point of the mutant sender.

In the case of a power point transfer, the target being may collect power points that exceed their normal maximum. However, that person must use the transferred power while the mind linkage exists or it dissipates. He may spend the accumulated power to use a power.
by TeknoMerk

New Sense

Rank: Novice
Power Points: 1/2
Range: Variable
Duration: 1 minute (1/minute)
Trappings: .
The range is variable depending upon how much power is applied and how many raises are gained on the skill roll. Each extra power point and raise gains +1 range. The use of this power must choose one of the new senses below, and must take this power again to gain another sense.
None Spirit range
+1 Spirit x 2 range
+2 Spirit x 3 range
etc

Chemical Sense

The caster is capable of determining the chemical makeup of the area within range. Note that the ability to “see” in this manner is determined by variation from the background norm. Mutant “sight” becomes clearer as the contrast increases or more opaque as the contrast lessens. The basic power determines the basic chemical type (poison, water, acid, etc) and whether it’s harmful or safe. For 2 power points, the exact substance is known, the intensity, and any beneficial/harmful effects.

Life Force Sense

The caster senses the life force (brain activity) of others. This also includes distinguishing life force intensities. A creature’s life force intensity is based upon its (Vigor + Smarts)/2 with +1/size over human norm and -1/size under human norm. So a large being will have a stronger life force intensity than a small being. Anything without a life force is not visible.

The expenditure of 2 power points gains refined data like exact distance, life form signatures for species types and an exact count of individuals. Otherwise, the mutant can only sense life close, medium and far as well as if there are a few, some or many creatures.

Motion Sense

The caster senses movement within range and the direction of the closest being. For 2 power points the exact size, number, distance and direction are known.
by TeknoMerk

Repel

Rank: Novice
Power Points: 2
Range: Flame Template
Duration: Instant
Trapping: Gust of wind; hand of your deity; electromagnetic fields
This power forces creatures away from you. All creatures caught in the area must roll Strength against your spellcasting skill; if you win, they are pushed away from you by 1" per point of differece. If you beat them with a raise, they are also knocked prone.

Slow

Rank: Novice
Range: Spirit

The target appears to act slower in all respects. See SWEX Speed power, but reverse all the effects. For 3 power points, the mutant may Slow Area, affecting a Medium Burst Template.
by TeknoMerk

Spikes

Rank: Novice
Power Points: 3-6
Range: Smarts x 2
Duration: 3 (1/round)
Trappings: Thorny brambles; low fire; ice; laser caltrops
This power makes an area the size of a Large Burst Template hard to travel through. Ground movement is halved through the affected area, and anyone moving through the area must make an Agility roll or suffer 2d6 points of damage.

Additional Damage: The caster can increase the damage to 3d6 by doubling the Power Point cost.
~Talisman

Seasoned Powers


Divination

Rank: Seasoned
Power Points: 6
Range: Self
Duration: 10 minutes
Trappings: Casting the bones, tea leaf readings, communing with nature.
This power allows a spellcaster to contact a spirit creature and ask it a single question. The type of spirit contacted depends on the type of spellcaster - a priest or cleric would probably contact an agent of their deity; a practitioner of shamanism might contact a nature spirit or ancestral spirit, and a wizard would contact a fiend, elemental spirit or other esoteric entity.
When the power is used, the spellcaster may ask a single question and make a spellcasting roll. On a success they receive a terse answer - typically a single word or short phrase. On a raise, they receive a more elaborate response, up to a sentence, though this is usually cryptic.
The GM is the final arbiter as to what information the contacted entity may possess, and more obscure questions may impose a penalty on the spellcasting roll. For example, a question about the liche-lord's secret name may carry a -4 penalty.
~Talisman

Energy Negation

Rank: Seasoned
Power Points: 2
Range: Spirit
Duration: 2 minutes (1/minute)
Trappings: A faded visual effect.
Energy sources of the chosen type and in range do not function while this power is operational. This power is chosen with a particular energy type, and must be selected again for another energy type. Note, this power is for a SciFi setting.
  1. Electrical (including Hydrogen/Chemical Cells)
  2. Heat/Plasma
  3. Laser/Light
  4. Nuclear/Radiation
  5. Radio/Microwaves Waves
  6. Sonic
Each raise can do one of the following:
  • Add a multiplier to the range
  • Increase the duration by another multiple
by TeknoMerk

Phase Shift

Rank: Seasoned
Power Points: 3
Range: Body
Duration: 3 rds (1/round)
Trappings: softly-glowing outline

This power is allows the mutant to phase shift their body and possessions out of the Einsteinian space-time continuum. The mutant uses their Pace normally while phase shifted, passing through all encountered matter. Nothing physical may affect the mutant and the mutant may not affect the physical world while phase shifted. Note that environmental hazards do not affect a phase shifted mutant.

If the mutant returns to Einsteinian space while inside any matter, then the mutant instantly takes 1 Wound and is Shaken. The GM may provide further penalties as needed. Note, this power is for a SciFi setting.
by TeknoMerk

Power Drain

Rank: Seasoned
Power Points: 1
Range: Spirit
Duration: Instant
Trappings: vaporous trails from the target to the caster
The mutant uses his mind to drain power from a target. If an opposed Spirit roll is passed, the mutant drains 1D3+1 power from the target up to the target’s Spirit die maximum. Each raise will add +1 power drained or extend the range by a multiple.

If the caster exceeds his maximum power pool, the excess points must be used the next round or they are lost. This prevents multiple Power Drain abuses.
by TeknoMerk

Telepathy

Rank: Seasoned
Power Points: 2
Range: Smarts x 10
Duration: 3 (1/round)
Trappings: Alien mind, deep thoughts, trance
This power allows the character to communicate with and to read the thoughts of another sentient creature. On a success, the telepath can read the target's surface thoughts or establish mind-to-mind contact with a willing target. A raise allows the telepath to read deeper, secret thoughts.
~Bretbo, inspired by the work of Shane Hensley.


Veteran Powers

Greater Illusion

Rank: Veteran
Power Points: 5+
Range: Smarts x 2
Duration: 5 (2/round)
Trappings: Harpsong; a hologram projector; mental control of the senses.

This power is similar to the Illusion power but more powerful and flexible. Greater Illusion creates an image that is up to double man-size (approximately 12' in any dimension), and has visual, auditory, smell and thermal components. A Greater Illusion of a fire would crackle and project heat (though not enough to cause damage); a Greater Illusion of a filthy ogre would stink and grumble. The image cannot affect the physical world in any way, although it can appear to - for instance, an illusionary ogre could smash a tree and leave illusionary scars.
Anyone closely interacting with the image (fighting, being attacked, etc) may make free a Notice roll to recognize it as an illusion; this is an opposed roll against the spellcaster's spelcasting skill. Free Notice rolls also apply whenever the image does something unlikely, such as changing shape or flying (assuming these are inappropriate for whatever the image is of - obviously, an illusionary eagle flying would not be unexpected). A character may also get a Notice roll if they take an action to examine the Illusion for whatever reason.

Bigger Illusions

The caster can increase the image's size by paying more initial Power Points. The image can be four times man-size for 10 points, six times for 15 points, and so on.

Programmed Illusions

The caster can set an illusion to either remain static or play and endless "loop" of one round's worth of actions. To do this, the caster pays the initial cost in Power Points, plus additional points based on how long they wish the illsion to last. The illusion runs its course without further assistance, but the caster cannot extend the duration or alter the illusion.
~Talisman

Paralyze

Rank: Veteran
Power Points: 5+
Range: Smarts
Duration: 1 (3/round)
Trappings: Invisible chains, electro-neural destabilizer, mental bonds

This power freezes a single creature, preventing them from acting. It does not render them a statue - they still twitch and jerk as they fight the invisible bonds - but they cannot take an action.
The spellcaster must first pay a number of power points equal to 5 + the target creature's size modifier, if any, to a minimum of 5 - larger creatures are harder to paralyze, but smaller ones aren't any easier. The spellcaster must then win an opposed roll of their spellcasting skill vs. the target creature's Vigor.
If the spellcaster wins, the target is prevented from taking any physical actions (including spellcasting) for one round. Attempts to hit the Paralyzed creature require a basic success on the appropriate skill roll - the creature isn't totally still, and the attacker can still mess up.
If the spellcaster opts to continue the effect, each round she and the victim make opposed rolls of spellcasting vs. Vigor on the victim's turn. If the spellcaster wins, the victim remains paralyzed. If the victim wins, the power ends but the victim takes a -2 penalty on all his actions for the round. If the victim wins with a raise, he may act immediately at no penalty.
~Talisman