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.
|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
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.
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).