Monday, October 25, 2010

Ailuromancy: Metaphysics of the Bast for WitchCraft

What is Halloween without witches and black cats?  How about cats that are witches?


Ailuromancy: Metaphysics of the Bast

Similar to invocations, Ailuromancy is the metaphysical philosophy of the Bast. They have remained undiscovered because the Bast do not write down their formulae or teachings, nor do they share these with humans except under the rarest of circumstances. These can only be learned from master to student and are almost all exclusive to the Bast.

Casting Ailuromancy is the same as an invocation. Bast can gather in groups for group castings, they can use places and times of power, use rituals to tap ambient essence and are subject to crowd effects.
Where humans typically need hands free or be able to speak, the Bast must be able to see or otherwise sense what is around them. For example to Steal Breath, the Bast must be able to see the creature they are stealing from. They must also have their tails free. In some Ailuromancy intricate tail movements replace human hand gestures.

Number 9
For Bast nine, not seven, is the more potent magical number. So Bast covens and group castings are some multiple of nine, or at least three. Three groups of three is a very powerful magical grouping. Treat nine Bast as seven in castings. Seven is still powerful, but not as much as it is to humans.

Group Magic Essence Table: Bast
Size of Group Increased Essence
3 54
5 50
6 81
7 70
9 135
11 110
13 132

If Bast are in a group of humans then the standard rules apply. These are only for Bast casting Ailuromancy.

Names
Very important to Ailuromancy are the names (plural) of the Bast using it. While not related to Ailuromancy itself (other than both being unique to the Bast), the importance of names is in the casting.
All Bast have three names. First is his human or common name, the one that he usually goes by and will answer to from anyone. There is his Bast name, the name he is given by his family or ancestors. Even Bast born and removed from their family at a very young age will still always know his Bast name. These names are often unique since they include a personal identifier and a family name. They can be one used in by another Bast in the same family, but the other family member must have died years ago before that name can be used again.
Lastly, and most important to the topic at hand, is his magical name, his very personal name that he shares with no one. Each name is unique and is passed down throughout the Basts multiple lives. The Bast must sit in deep, deep concentration in order to retrieve his own name. Once this is done then the Bast may use Ailuromancy.

The Essence imprints of Ailuromancy have a particular smell to Bast. Humans must always pass a Difficult Perception test in order to detect it, even if they have experienced it before. While they never share this information with others, the Essence pattern is like a signature of their one true personal name.

The Invocations
Ailuromancy has three basic powers.

Spiritual
The spiritual ailuromancy are ones that effects spirits or essence patterns. Unlike humans, Bast have spirits and not souls. This gives them a different outlook on how essence is used and manipulated.

Bad Luck
2 Essence Points per -1 penalty given (up to -5 max)
One of the most classic ailuromancies used. The Bast must actually cross the path of the victim to impose a -1 penalty to any one task or test per 2 Essence points spent. Gifted can easily notice this sort of ailuromancy, given its similarity to Good Luck. So only a simple Perception task is required. Many Bast are unwilling to use this for that very reason; it instantly brings attention to themselves.

Whisker Bane
Same as Warding WC p. 224

Caterwaul
2 Essence Points
The Bast lets out a discordant wail that can cause irritation or damage depending on their mood.
At level 1 the Caterwaul is merely annoying. It causes no damage.
At level 2-3 the Caterwaul cause d4(2) points per level of LP damage to any that can hear it.
At levels 4-5 the Caterwaul can do d6(3) points per level of LP and causes a Fear reaction to anyone that fails a Willpower (doubled) roll.

Steal Breath
5 Essence Points
A Bast can come close to a person a literally steal their life force away. By inhaling the victims breath (and thus being in close proximity to do so) and spending five (5) Essence points the Bast causes the victims life foce to leave their body for the duration of the breath. This inflicts D6(3) Life Points of damage (undead are not affected) and D6(3) Essence and Endurance loss. The victim also needs to make a Constitution check (doubled) or be rendered unconscious for the next 1 to 4 turns. Sleeping victims do not wake up till this is over.
The Bast must be close enough to be able to steal the victims breath so this is most often done while the victim is prone or asleep.
The Essence stolen is actually lost. Bast can only perform this three times per victim or they themselves also begin to lose life points and essence equal to what is stolen.

Favor of Ra
Same as Essence Shield

Physical (effects the body)
The physical powers maybe purchased in levels where every level usually confers extra time or amount the power may be used. For example a Bast with Monkey Hands level 5 can use the power for 5 minutes for each Essence point spent.

Monkey Hands
1 Essence Point per minute per level
This invocation allows the Bast to manipulate objects while in Bast form that normally would be restricted to humans. Their dexterity does not change as this is a mild and directed form of Telekinesis.

Got Your Tongue
1 Essence Point per minute per level
The Bast can speak like a human while in cat form. This is useful on occasions where telepathic conversation is not desired or possible. In order to this the Bast must borrow a voice. They target a nearby human and use their voice. Once the initial contact is made (the Bast must be able to see the human) then the human can not speak for a matter of seconds. The voice the Bast uses is not exactly like the humans voice, it is often higher pitched and cannot be used to fool friends or voice recognition software.

Lick Wounds (Pashts Cure)
10 Essence Point per 10 LP per level healed
Similar to the Healing invocations the Bast can lick a wound to heal life point damage or remove poisons and toxins (at levels greater than 3), or cure disease (at levels greater than 5). The Bast must state what sort of cure it is performing, damage, removing poisons or curing disease.

Claws of Sekhmet
1 Essence Point per combat turn
The Bast invokes the name of Ras protector Sekhmet to lengthen and strengthen their own claws. Damage then becomes d6(3) x Strength+1 LP of damage.

Cait Sidhe
5 Essence Points per 5 minutes per level
The Bast can increase in size to about the size of a mountain lion. Strength and Constitution increase by 2 each, with Dexterity decreasing by 1. One level of Hard to kill is also added. Life Points are increased accordingly.
A Bast with Cait Sidhe at level 4 can spend 5 Essence points to remain this size for upto 20 minutes. The Bast may switch back at any time but to use this power again will cost another 5 Essence points.

Travel/Time
Cats and Bast are not bound by the same laws of time and space. They are believed to be able to enter dreams, travel to far away planets or simply be right underfoot when it is most inconvenient for them to do so.

Level 1: Disappear / Reappear
1 Essence Point
By spending a single point of Essence a Bast can seemingly disappear or reappear in any spot within eyesight. This is most often used for short hops of less than 10 feet. To use this Ailuromancy the bast must concentrate on the spot they are traveling too. This makes ill-suited for combat applications since the Bast would spend their attack moving; it is useful to avoid being hit.

Level 2: Return
3 Essence Points
This power allows the Bast to return to any spot she once visited. The spot is marked by the Bast in their minds. The travel to this spot can mundane or magical, but regardless of the spot, the time past, or reincarnation, the Bast can return to it.

Level 3: Moonjump
7 Essence points per 10 yards
The relationship between cats and the moon is a long standing one. With this power the Bast can move great physical distances during the light of the moon. Typically it can used from moving from roof top to roof top, or cross great physical distances. A Bast could also use this power to prevent damage from a great fall by simply moonjumping to a lower point in the fall. For example, someone pushes poor Mojo off of a 95 ft. tower. By spending 15 Essence points he moonjumps 90 ft (30 yards) and only falls 5 ft, something any Bast can survive.

Level 4: Dream Dance
14 Essence Points for 10 minutes
Bast are natural, but untrained Dreamers. Bu means of this Ailuromancy and 10 Essence points the Bast may enter the Dreamscape of a sleeper. The Bast can read the dream (understanding requires a Intelligence doubled roll) or very subtly influence it (Willpower doubled roll to plant a small, 10 words or less, suggestion). The Bast can attack other creatures sharing the Dreamscape (Mara, Vampires using Nightmare) but can not harm the dreamer himself.
(See WitchCraft: Book of Hod, Mindream)

Level 5: Greymalkin
21 Essence Points
The Bast can move from one place of Power to any Place power by walking through them as if they were a gate. Unlike Return, the Bast need not have been to their destination before, simply knows that it exists. To the Bast, different places of Power exist in addition to ones known. Nearly any Bast coven is built on a place of power, or as near as they can be. Most cities have a place or two hiding away.

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