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Pretense of Presence

Copyright Dale T. A. Maxwell 2003

Edited by Peter Mork for The Guild Companion

Come in my friend and sit a moment. Yes, I know it may unnerve you a bit to realize I knew you were there, and in fact recognized you long before you touched the door knocker. You may help yourself to the beverages I have collected if you trust me enough. I will show you how this knowledge is gained.

While considering the spell Presence, I thought that the presence statistic of individuals might affect the results of the spell. This spell alerts the caster to the presence of sentient beings within the range. Thinking about how this sounded similar to radar or sonar got my mind to considering what makes targets more likely to be recognized by radar or sonar. Likewise, considering the spell detects the minds of those in the range, the strength of the minds would affect how the spell functioned.

Mental Statistics

Self Discipline:



This mental statistic rates how well you can make yourself act beyond what might be comfortable, or safe. One way to look at it is to think of it as a mental constitution.



How much do you remember? Make a static maneuver before I let you open your character notebook. < grin >



How well you are able to use what you know. The higher your reasoning, the better you can figure out things. So perhaps thinking of this as a mental agility might not be too far off.



It may be said that I am wrong in saying so, but this fits well as mental strength. My reasoning is based on the fact that this is the stat from which the power for Mentalism magic is derived. The stronger your presence, the more likely you can mentally push someone around (e.g., using influence skills).



My dictionary says that intuition is knowing something without the use of reason. It is mentioned here just because it isn't a physical statistic, so unless we decide to call it a spiritual statistic, it has to be in the mental group.



The ability to sense or feel what is going on around you.


Having said all that, you may realize that the three magic statistics don't exactly fit completely in the mental group. Perhaps they should be called spirit statistics rather than mental, but for the moment, until I can return to the tomes of lore on my shelves to investigate further, we will call them mental and recognize the differences later.

Within the influence category, or the skills that are related to interacting with others, the applicable statistics are presence, intuition, and empathy. Empathy is used to feel what the other people are feeling, allowing you to adjust your manner and speech accordingly. Intuition is used to discover things that might not be evident about the targets of the influence skill. Presence is your personality. How strong this is will reflect in how easily other people are influenced by you. Of note is the fact that presence is combined with Self Discipline to determine how much self control one has.

Workings of Personality

In the training of many fellows in the arts of mental power, one of the most useful is the detection of thinking beings within proximity to you. This technique, or spell as it is referred to by some is known as Presence. In my experience, those that exhibited a strong personality, tended to show up more readily to this inspection.

Likewise, when teaching more advanced students, it has been discovered that the stronger the personality, the harder it was to hide completely, even when doing so with their arts.

Those of the school of the Mentalist have also noticed a difference in the ranges they could detect thinking creatures of differing mental strengths.


  • Spells that detect the minds of individuals have their range or area of effect increased: normal spell radius + 2' * target's Pr bonus.
  • Unpresence and similar spells do not automatically remove the presence of the target, but reduce the likelihood of being detected: subtract (50 + 3 * SD bonus) from the modified radius above.
  • Spells from the Mentalist Base list Presence have their ranges increased by 10% * caster's Pr bonus.

More detailed options are also possible. Rather than the method above, the spell's range and area of effect are increased based on the caster's Intuition bonus. When a Presence spell is successfully cast, the caster makes an Observation static maneuver. The target's skill at Meditation is used to resist: The Observation maneuver must exceed the success level of the Meditation maneuver for the caster to be aware of the target (e.g., an Observation maneuver that results in a Partial Success would detect a target that Failed its Meditation maneuver; an Unusual Success at Meditation would be unnoticed by any Observation result). A spell, such as Unpresence, adds +50 to the Meditation maneuver when attempting to avoid detection. (The bonuses should be tweaked to fit the game.)

With these options in place, it would be easy enough to include techniques and training to reduce the mental signature of an individual. Perhaps a specialized form of trance (Mind Blank Trance) is used instead of the generic Meditation. Additionally, an Awareness skill in the searching category could be developed to improve the chances of detection (Presence Awareness).  When Presence Awareness is used, the caster only needs to tie the success level of the target, unless the target is using a Mind Blank Trance.  Against Observation, a Mind Blank Trance operates as Unpresence (i.e., the target gets a +50 modifier).

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