Supernatural Powers

The Basics

Before the 4th edition of the GURPS rules, the basic solution to converting the HârnMaster magick rules lay in assigning the colleges of the GURPS magic system to the convocations of the Shek-P'var. With the 4th edition rules a variety of other options emerge.

The baseline system used in this conversion is the system presented in GURPS Powers.

This system basically works this way: The basic set presents a lot of advantages that are less than mundane in nature. These advantages can be bent, rebuilt, smashed and hammered into almost any shape or form, using a system Enhancements and Limitations to make each advantage act to your intent and liking.

One of the important things to consider when creating abilities in this manner is considering what causes the ability to function, what the origin of the basic energies is, and in what way the ability is manifested.

Furthermore, the rules allow for grouping abilities under themes, eg. abilities that concern Air, or Good and Evil. Such a construction, a collection of supernatural abilities, where you have defined the origin and the theme, is called a Power in GURPS terms.

Why use this system?

First and foremost because it is coherent - abilities and effects are able to interact even if they have different origins.

Also they allow for a character to purchase any ability at any time. One of the "problems" of converting the P'varic system in older times was the Prerequisite System og GURPS Magic, a system that was not echoed in the pratices of the P'var, who in principle could choose to invent and develop only 4th level spells within their convocation (even if HârnMaster multi-level spells present some manner of prerequisite system). This also echoes the contemplative nature of P'varic development - who is to know exactly how the next power unlocked will work and develop?

Now, with this system, each convocation of the P'varic system can pose as a GURPS Power. Also, the powers that Deities choose to grant the faithful can be assembled under this system, as can the Psionic practices and even alternative magical traditions.

An optional rule from Powers shall be used:

Any ability that calls for an IQ (or Will) roll to activate will have this IQ (or Will) roll exchanged for an IQ/H (or Will/H) skill. Thus, your skill with your abilities can be developed. The price is a slightly lower succes roll in the beginnig. Remember that the Power Talent adds to this skill roll. See Skills for all, GURPS Powers, p. 162.

Likewise, all powers that normally do not require activation must take the "Requires IQ roll" limitation.

Permutations of the Shek-P'var

Basic Structure

The Philosophy of the Shek P'var operate around an elemental thinking, that encompasses six elements and a seventh, trancendent metalevel of pure magical energy. These are known as:

Peleahn, the element of Fire, Energy Release, Heat, Action, Metabolism
Jmorvi, the element of the Solids, of Mineral and Metal, Artificing
Fyvria, the Element of the Living Earth, Life Processes, Growth and Decay
Odivshe, the element of Water, the Still, Dark and Cold
Savorya, the element of the Spritual, Knowledge, Meaning, Insight
Lyahvi, the elment of Air, Wind, Gas, Sound, Light
The Grey, the element of Magic itself, Creation and Inhibition, Reality, Transmutation, Compounding/blending of the other elements.

Each of these shall be represented by a Power, with corresponding Talent. All have the origin limitation of Magick (-10%).

The role of Talent

Talent takes a special place in the Shek-P'var Convocation (Power) structure. In addition to the regular features, a cost of 5/level, adding level to skill rolls and affecting learning times, Talent is used as the agent to recreate the effects of having secondary, tertiary and opposed convocations, as well as the Grey Metamorphosis proces.

In HârnMaster, the P'varic convocations are seen to be placed beside and opposite each other, like on a wheel, with the middle or hub representing the Grey (see image to the right). The placement is (starting with the blue, "western" field and progressing clockwise): Odivshe (blue), Savorya (violet), Lyahvi (red), Peleahn (orange), Jmorvi (yellow) and Fyvria (green).

When creating a Shek-P'var character, the player must decide which convocation shall be the Primary convocation. When looking at the wheel, the two convocations next to the Primary are the Secondary convocations. The ones next to a Secondary convocation are Tertiary convocations, and the one on the other side of the wheel is the Diametric convocation.

Example: Peleahn is chosen as the Primary Convocation. This means that Jmorvi and Lyahvi become Secondary convocations, Savorya and Fyvria become Tertiary Convocations, and Odivshe becomes the Diametric convocation.

Now, Talent can be bought for the Primary convocation without restriction. to the maximum level of 4. Talent for Secondary can be a maximum of one less than the level bought for the Primary convocation. Grey Talent can be a maximum of one less than the lesser of the two secondary Talents. Tertiary Talent can be a maximum of one less than Grey Talent. Diametric Talent cannot be bought.

Example (cont.): Four levels of Peleahn Talent is bought, as well as one level of Lyahvi Talent and one level of Jmorvi. Thus no Talent for the rest of the convocations can be bought, as one less that one is zero. 30 cp has been spent (the rules mean that a maximum of 70 points can be spent on Talent: 4 levels of Primary Talent, 3 levels in each of two Secondary Talents, 2 levels of Grey Talent, one level in each of two Tertiary Talent. Diametric Talent can never be bought).

Convocations in which no Talent is purchased for are still open to the character. All abilities bought in convocations for which no Talent is bought are Unreliable (8) (-40%), though. Thus Diametric abilities are always Unreliable (8) (-40%)

Talent also sets the stage for Grey Metamorphosis (see below). Only Mages with a level of 4 in their primary convovation have the possibility of Grey metamorphosis. The proces redistributes points spent on Talent evenly between the convocations as well as nullify any Unreliable limitations in Talentless convocations (possibly creating a non-trivial point debt). If points are not enough to attain the same level of Talent in all convocations, the maximum possible level is set (possible values are 0, if less than 35 points have been spent, 1, if 35+ points have been spent or 2 if the maximum 70 poits were spent on Convocational Talents at character creation), with remaining points first filling the holes left by the nullified limitations, then distribute any leftovers to ability skills.

Example: Our Peleahn-mage above goes through the Grey Metamorphosis proces. As he has spent only 30 CP on Talent, he ends up with no levels of Talent and 30 points to distribute among cancelled limitations and ability skills. Actually, he might be better off remaining a Peleahn "specialist".

Option: Talent can be bought up in play. Grey Metamorphosis then becomes possible when the maximum levels of Talent have been attained (4 in Primary, 3 in two Secondary, 2 in Grey, 1 in two Tertiary = 75 points spent on this). This option mandate that no more than 40 points be spent on Talent at character creation.

The Convocations of the Shek-P'var

The ability distribution below assigns the list of advantages from GURPS Basic Set - Characters and the five new advantages from GURPS Powers to the six convocations and the Grey. Mostly, the divisions from HârnMaster is followed. It is worth noting that some effects can be conceptualized and thus effectuated through the principles of several convocations, and thus many of the advantages appear under several headings.

One concept from HârnMaster that has a bearing on assignment is Compound Spells - spells that utilize more than one convocation to achieve their effect. Such mixing of principle places the effect in the realm of Neutral magicks.

That said, this conversion does make a few changes to the content of the Convocations. I have always though that the Convocations of Fyvria and Savorya have been essentially more useful than the other convocations (with the possible exeption of Lyahvi). Fyvria get's Earth, Stone, plus Plants and Body enhancement and Animals and Healing and … Savorya is also essentially different than the other convocations, and touch upon many things of great utility, well outside the realm of the other fields.

For this reason, Fyvria especially get's things taken away and put elsewhere:

Effects related to enhancing Strength goes to Peleahn (the otherwise most shafted of convocations), as increases in physical power is an issue of energy expenditure - which is actually the province of Peleahn. Hârn purists may wish to retain the ST effects in Fyvria also, but in the opinion of this autor, they should reside with Peleahn.

Jmorvi gets Stone, along with metal. Jmorvi is defined in some places as encompassing minerals, but in practice lacks stone, which Fyvira gets effects for. For notes on enchanting, see below.

As a throwback to the first GURPS -> Hârn conversion, the powers of shapeshifting has traditionally been placed with Fyvria (as Shapeshifting in GURPS is part of the Animal magic college, and Animals otherwise reside correctly with Fyvria). In HârnMaster however, the only shapeshifting effects noted are Neutral. This is hereby "reinstituted", and all bodily transformation abilities are placed within the Grey realm.

Now, the listings:

Peleahn

Affliction (Fever Effects), Ally w. Summonable (Fire), Alternate Form(Body of Fire), Arm ST, Basic Move, Basic Speed, Combat Reflexes, Control, Create, Damage Resistence (Fire & Cold), Enhanced Move, Fatigue Points, Innate Attack, Lifting ST, ST Bonus, Striking ST, Temparature Control (heat up), Temparature Tolerance (heat)

Jmorvi

Ally w. Summonable (Stone/Metal), Alternate Form (Body of Metal), Alternate Form (Body of Stone), Binding (stone/metal), Control, Create, Damage Resistance, Innate Attack, Permeation (Stone/Metal), Sealed, Slippery, Terrain Adaptation (rock, sand), Tunnelling, Vibration Sense.

Fyvria

Acute Senses, Affliction (bodily effects), Alternate Form (Body of Earth), Ambidexterity, Animal Empathy, Appearance, Binding (earth/plants), Control, Create, Doesn't Sleep, Fit, Hard to Kill, Hard to Subdue, Healing, High Pain Threshold, Hit Points, HT Bonus, HT Penalty, Leech, Less Sleep, Longevity, Metabolism Control, Perfect Balance, Permeation (Earth, Wood), Plant Empathy, Pressure Support, Protected Sense (Smell/Taste/Touch), Radiation Tolerance, Rapid Healing, Recovery, Reduced Consumption, Regeneration, Regrowth, Resistant, Sensitive Touch, Speak with Plants, Terrain Adaptation, Vibraton Sense.

Odivshe

Affliction (low temparature effects), Ally w. Summonable (Water), Alternate Form (Body of Water), Breath-holding, Control, Create, Damage Resistance (Fire & Cold), ST Penalty, Innate Attack, Pressure Support (water), Shadow Form, Slippery, Speak Underwater, Temparature Control (cool down), Temparature Tolerance (cold), Terrain Adaptation (ice & snow), Walk on Liquid

Savorya

Absolute Direction, Absolute Timing, Affliction (mental effects), Channeling, Charisma, Clairsentience, Common Sense, Compartmentalized Mind, Danger Sense, Detect, Discriminatory Hearing, Discriminatory Smell, Discriminatory Taste, Eidetic Memory, Empathy, Fearlessness, High Pain Threshold, Indomitable, Intuition, IQ Bonus, Language, Language Talent, Lightning Calculator, Medium, Mind Control, Mind Probe, Mind Reading, Mind Shield, Mindlink, Oracle, Per Bonus, Possession, Precognition, Protected Sense, Psychometry, See Invisible, Serendipity, Single-Minded, Social Chameleon, Speak with Animals, Special Rapport, Spirit Empathy, Telecommunication, Terror, Unfazeable, Versatile, Visualization, Will Bonus.

Lyahvi

360° Vision (light-bending), Affliction (light-based effects), Ally w. Summonable (Air), Chameleon (light-based), Control, Doesn't Breathe, Hyperspectral Vision, Illusion, Infravision, Innate Attack, Invisibility, Metatrait: Body of Air, Microscopic Vision, Mimicry, Night Vision, Obscure, Parabolic Hearing, Penetrating Vision, Peripheral Vision, Protected Sense (Vision, Hearing), Scanning Sense (Sound), See Invisible, Silence, Subsonic Hearing, Subsonic Speech, Telescopic Vision, Ultrahearing, Ultrasonic Speech, Ultravision, Voice, Walk on Air

Grey/Neutral

360° Vision (eye growth), Affliction, Altered Time Rate, Amphibious, Arm DX, Brachiator, Catfall, Claws, Clinging, Constriction Attack, Damage Resistance (Force & Natural), Dark Vision, Doesn't Eat & Drink, Dominance, Duplication, DX Bonus, Elastic Skin, Enhanced Time Sense, Extended Lifespan, Extra Arms, Extra Attack, Extra Head, Extra Legs, Extra Life, Extra Mouth, Filter Lungs, Flexibility, Flight, Growth, Hermaphrotomorph, High Manual Dexterity, Injury Tolerance, Insubstantiallty, Jumper, Luck, Mana Damper, Mana Enhancer, Modular Abilities, Neutralize, Nictating Membrane, Payload, Scanning Sense, Shapeshifting, Shrinking, Spines, Static, Streching, Striker, Super Climbing, Super Leap, Super Luck, Supernatural Durability, Teeth, Telekinesis, Unaging, Unkillable, Universal Digestion, Warp.

Spell Design

Turning the abilities above into spells is a proces of applying various enhancements and limitations.

First of all, the Source limitation for the abilities of the Shek-P'var (and some other tradions, see below) is Magick (-10%). This limitation must be applied to any ability created.

Second, spells usually requires a Ritual component, aka. gestures and invocation/speech. These requirements are represented by a system of Accessibility limitations, representing the need for speech and/or gestures in various forms, specifically Exaggerated/Loud, Normal and Small/Quiet.

Basically, there are two Ritual limitations, one for gestures and one for speech. Both are worth -10%. Thus, a spell requiring Ritual (Normal/Normal) is worth -20%. Both limitations can increase to -15%, if they are set to be Exaggerated or Loud. Similarly, they can decrease to -5% each if they are set to be Small or Quiet - and they can of course be reduced to -0% each, for spells fully mastered, ritualwise. Thus it is possible for the Ritual limitation to be as high as -30% (Exaggerated/Loud), and as low as -0% (None/None), with all combinations in between possible. Combinations that are spread mor than one level should take some explaining, though, and (None/None) should of course be rare.

Next, what usually characterized a spell is that it a) requires energy, some from the caster, to activate, b) has a duration. Both of these may be already built into the ability, and can otherwise be built in using the Costs Fatigue limitation. Any spell must have a fatigue cost.

Third, a spell is activated with a skill roll. As mentioned earlier, abilities that require IQ rolls in the description, will instead have a IQ/H-skill associated with them, replacing the IQ roll. Furthermore, abilities that are automatic to activate in the description, generally should apply the Requires IQ Roll (-10%) limitation. This makes them require an IQ roll, and thus accuire a IQ/H skill, as above. Exeption: Abilities in convocations that have Talent 0 aqquire the Unreliable (8) (-40%) limitation instead of Requires IQ roll (-10%), as mentioned above.

The above means that the Reliable enhancement is banned.

Durations can generally be extended with the Extend Duration enhancement. Note that this also extends the period between Fatigue accruement.

Many spells will be Afflictions. To be a true spell-like effect, an Affliction should almost always have the Malediction enhancement.

Innate Attacks are the classic missile spells of Fantasy - these should not have Malediction.

Selectivity will probably be a central Enhancement as the mage develops his powers. Selectivity will allow for a lot of variation over a single Abiltiy, potentially gathering several spells in one ability. As the rule on Alternate Attacks is rarely feasible in a spell structure (the use of one ability will not exclude others), Selectivity will probably be the way to go to make many-facetted attack abilities.

Limited Use and Pact have no place - at all - in magick spell design. These are for the Divine Powers.

Examples/Spell Conversions (these are based on HârnMaster Magic 2nd ed., 1997):

Dispell (Neutral)

A spell to remove/nullify an ongoing spell.

[Deleted due bogus design]

Let's try something easier:

Orb of Zatara (Peleahn)

This spell launches a small Fireball at a target.

GURPS Ability: Innate Attack (Burn, max. 3d) (15)

Enhancements: Variable (+5%). (+5%)

Limitations: Accessibility: Ritual (Normal/Normal) (-20%), Costs Fatigue (1/die) (-10%), Magick (-10%), Requires IQ Roll (-10%), Takes Extra Time 1 (-10%). (-60%)

Total Cost: 7 (-55%)

Skill: Orb of Zatara (IQ/H)

This spell creates a small fireball that can be thrown/fired at a target, causing burning damage on a strike. Creating the Fireball requires a Concentrate maneuver and a skill roll, and it can then be thrown on the next turn. Maximum damage is 3d, and the spell costs the caster 1 FP pr. die of damage. The attack roll is a separate skill roll, using the Innate Attack (projectile) skill.

Orb of Zatara: Dam 1-3d, Acc 3, Range 10/100, ROF 1/2, Shots NA, Rcl 1

Creation Notes: This is the formula for basic missile spells. Note the use of Takes Extra Time to get a second of concentration before the ball can be thrown, and of course Requires IQ Roll to get a skill roll involved to activate. Actually, this spell might represent a version by a somewhat experienced user, af FP cost is not too high. A beginner might pay 2 FP pr. die, increasing that limitation to (-20%). Also note that this version of the spell is quite powerfull at 3d damage max - cost could be reduced 7 for a 2d version or even 4 for a version only capable of 1d damage - useful for a starting mage with a tight points budget (note that the value of Costs Fatigue can change).

Variable is needed to let the caster vary the power of the spell. Only standard components have been used in this construction.

Bonus effects could be making the Fireball Explosive - and/or making it an area strike with Area of Effect. Selectivity should be added to be able to switch between modes - Small Fireball, Explosive Fireball or Sea of Fire.

One note on Innate Attacks: The GM should carefully consider how powerful he lets these spells get.

more to follow …

Enchantment

Enchantment involved binding a spell to an elemental focus or other object.

Basically, a magic item enables the user to gain and/or use an ability. The Gadget limitations are central here, although a magic item does not cost the creator or the user any character points - when created, they become equipment.

The character point calculation is used to determine the enchanting portion of making the item. Basically, enchantment takes time as if the ability was being learned - 200 hours of effort pr. character point.

The Powers of the Divine

The Clergy of HârnWorld serve Deities who are real and grant to their servants a number of abilities. These abilities come at the price of service and piety (whatever that means to the individual Deity).

HârnWorld has several (ten) major deities, all with several servants/demigods/saints. The churches are, however, invariably organised around worship of the primary deity, with the servants taking secondary roles. Temples placing primacy on demipowers are generally heretical in one way or another. Amongst the barbarian peoples worship of wholly separate deities is seen.

Also, while there are these ten deities, worship is not truely polytheistic. Hârnians typically follow one particular deity, and only rarely offer prayer to other powers. Each deity is a "full package", in principle providing guidance and ritual on all aspects of life, eg. baptism, marriage and funeral services.

The history of the deities is one of a violent past, where deities sought to destroy each other, threatening the fabric of the universe in the process. This past carries over into the competitive nature of the curches today.

This past has another consequence - the deities of HârnWorld cannot intervene directly on behalf of their worshippers. They can grant powers to the clergy and subtle favours to the faithful, but that is the extent of their involvement.

Calling for intervention by one's deity:

It is a staple of HârnWorld that any character may call for intervention by his or her Patron Deity. All Harnic characters has the option of of purchasing their Deity as a Patron. They may choose either the 20 or 30 point version of the advantage as a base. Usually the Frequency of Appearance is set to the lowest value. Enhancements may include Highly Accessible and Special Abilities, but limitations must include Secret, as this limitation most closely matches the intervention style presented in HârnMaster, and Pact, the value of which dependes on each Deity.

Psionics

Manifesting in quite a few persons, the forces of the supernatural also appear in the form of psionic powers - powers arising from within the spirituality of the person rather than through elemental focus and mental training like the P'var. Mental traning and development is needed to develop these powers, though it is a regimen different from that of P'varic practices.

Also, psionics tend to manifest as one or (rarely) more abilities, and while control of the individual ability can increase, a psionically endowed character rarely develops a wholly new and separate ability.

The Guild of Arcane Lore provide for psions and the study of the phenomenon, but psionics has limited ressources apllied to it's understanding and development, relative to the P'var.

Psionic powers also seem to manifest in the same abilities, so the abilities listed below will function as described.

List of Psionic abilities

Other Magickal Traditions

The P'varic tradition and method of magick is not the only one - merely the most accessible and popular, hence it's near-total hegemony. Scattered around the world are other, smaller societies, renegades, and solitary individuals who follow different philosophical tenets and utilize other foci. The GURPS Hârn GM is thus free to take any of the powers from GURPS Powers and Magick-fy them, should he wish to introduce a rare and secret tradition eg.

One tradition with some following and merit, however, is the Ivinian tradition of Runecarving, where magic is focused through the carving of runes upon materials, thus effecting spells. This can be largely represented by adding Preparation Required to the spells list of Limitations.

Also, the Kath (a barbarian tribe inhabiting the areas west of Kaldor) wisewomen seem to be into practices that are not of a divine origin, and which are rumoured to focus on nature and to include powers of shapeshifting et. al. The GURPS powers of Animals and Plants magick-fied could be central to this.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 License.