Ok, so as we established last time, I think the idea of bringing numerology into the Witch Hunter game universe is pretty dang cool. I just wish the realization of it match up to the potential. Right now, I think it’s half-hearted at best.
Ok, smart boy. What are you gonna do about it?
My solution is likely to generate as much criticism as the issue itself, but after a day of brainstorming, I’ve come up with a direction I like. For one thing, it doesn’t really mess with anything already established. Any Witch Hunter GM could drop this into his game and never miss a beat.
First of all, the Devil’s Numbers Talent is hereby demoted to a Basic Talent. The Requirements stay the same. Why? Well, the requirements are decent enough, but the Talent itself requires you to make a successful roll to earn bonus dice for a second roll. Nothing is guaranteed; either roll can fail, bonuses or no. By comparison, I could apply Expertise to my Mysticism roll and be guaranteed a +1d bonus, or Talented and re-roll any 1s on my roll. Guarantees are better than maybes, so a Basic Talent it is. Besides, that sets us up for…
Ok, first a word about Damnation. Damnation is Witch Hunter’s vile twist on the “Benny Economy” (to borrow a phrase from Savage Worlds critics). Those of you familiar with Dark Side points from the old d6 Star Wars game, or a similar mechanic from the old Ravenloft D&D setting will get the gist. Players can spend Damnation just like hero points to get immediate benefits. Monsters can tap into a player (or group’s) damnation to boost their own powers. Accumulating damnation is generally not a good idea.
But it just fits too well with Devil’s Arithmetic.
So here’s the BIG IDEA: A player character with the Devil’s Arithmetic Talent gets access to a handful of minor benefits depending on his or her damnation score. The more damnation, the more powerful benefits become available. I’ve capped this at 3 damnation because a) I’m not a jerk and b) accumulating damnation is NOT the point of the game and I don’t want to encourage it. But if any of these benefits look too powerful to you, feel free to goose up the damnation requirement by a point or two.
Once per game session, a PC with Devil’s Arithmetic may attempt to create new or manipulate existing patterns and mathematical glyphs, adding subtle deviations and changes to the fabric of reality. Doing so requires at least 1 hour of uninterrupted concentration and work. At the end of this hour, the player makes a D3 Scholarship (Trained Knowledge: Mathematics or Science) roll. The effects of this manipulation typically last no longer than 1 day (or until the next sunrise). No more than 1 effect may be in effect at any time.
- You gain a +1d bonus to any one Reaction roll that day or +2d to one in the following scene. You must specify which at the time this ability is employed.
- For every two successes rolled, you may add 1 effective rank to your dice pool (up to 1/2 of your Scholarship rank) for purposes of preparing or casting a hermetic or necromantic rite, or an alchemical formulae. This may allow you to safely boost the power of the Rite without issue.
- You may cause any single opponent (or ally) to fail a single roll at your time of choosing. The subject should roll normally as any complications roll will be applied to the result.
- When another character’s Sin is activated, you receive a Hero Point. The other player may not use a hero point to avoid the activation.
- You can predict the location of a known person or thing. You must be familiar with the subject or item, either through observation or research. Every two successes above the difficulty allows you to insert one variable into the equation, allowing you to manipulate the target’s movements from afar (ie. the baron will be in his bed chamber, unless the captain of the guard has been detained in his mistress’ chambers).
- You may cause a known subject to become unsettled and agitated. For the next day (or until the following sunrise, whichever happens first), the subject suffers -1d to all Reaction and Interaction rolls.
- When facing a villain or threat, you may give that subject one of the following Prices: Avoidance, Damage, Vulnerability or Weakness. You may choose the conditions of the Price, but it must be a reasonable (and common) variant and is subject to GM approval. This new Price is in addition to all those already possessed by the threat. This condition persists until the next day or the following sunrise, whichever happens first.
As you can see, the idea is to start with Devil’s Arithmetic being a sort of creepy means of divination. But as the character flirts more and more with damnation, he or she gains the ability to manipulate fate. Which is kinda cool. The Damnation 0 power is a limited form of the Blessing Basic Prayer Rite, so that seems fitting enough when you consider the rest.
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