Spirit Senses

The Arts of the Wizard, Witch, Druid (any), Wise Woman, Cunning Man, Hedge/Hearth-Wizard, Hearth/Hedge-Witch or Mystic affect many other aspects of the character’s life than just those providing him with the ability to manifest magickal or miraculous powers and perform extraordinary feats with it.

The spiritual faculties of the soul express differently in almost everyone, but there are a number of common traits among their effects. For the purposes of the game, they are the basic skills through which those that pursue the art and power of magick approach their Arts. It is also a means for expressing untapped magickal potential in certain other characters who may have taken training in other (non-magickal) trades, however, a means by which some of the magick of the game and the gameworld can touch their lives, as well.

Magickal talent generally expresses itself in one or more abilities commonly referred to as “Spirit Senses” or, at least as commonly, “Othersenses”. These can take a number of forms encompassed by two basic skills: “Clairaudience” and “Clairvoyance”.

Clairaudience is the ability to hear things occurring at a distance, but includes the ability to Speak with Spirit, including the dead who cannot move on or who have returned to deliver some message.

Clairvoyance is the ability to see things, people and events at a distance, sometimes even through the mists of time. It consists of a number of sub-skills known as Second Sight, Divination or Finding, Prescience, Psychometry, Spirit Sight, and Scrying. All of these are included with the character’s Clairvoyance skill. Among those who follow the Faerie Faith in Celtic countries (in game terms, those who follow the Olde Ways), this bundle of Clairvoyance skills is referred to as “The Sight”.

Clairaudience is the ability to hear significant sounds occurring at a distance marking important events that are relatively easy to identify, but more importantly includes the ability to hear those who dwell in Spirit. In game terms, it is most commonly referred to as Listening to the Spirits or, due to the fact that they can hear the answers and hold conversation with the spirits, most commonly as Speaking with Spirits, or the Spirit Speak skill.

This skill must be facilitated by the use of a focus, such as a spirit board (on which the spirit moves a focus object such as an upside-down glass as a pointer to a layout of the letters of the alphabet in order to spell out messages), or meditation with a pen in hand to bring about Automatic Writing (where the spirit controls the hand to render written messages), or by means of a Spirit Box or Message Box (where a stick of chalk or crayon is enclosed in a box lined with a panel for writing inside the top and the bottom and the spirit uses the stick to write its messages on them while the box is closed).

The Spirit Speak skill enables the character to hear the earth-bound dead who cannot or will not move on, or those who remain due to unfinished business, or those who may even have returned to deliver some message, but may also include Færies, ethereal and astral spirits such a genii and dæmons, divine spirits of both Light and Darkness, their allies and servant spirits, who may be hovering about nearby, even while they are still completely Spirit in manifestation, without their having to actually exert any presence in the Mortal Sphere. These may simply happen to be nearby and holding a conversation amongst themselves, providing a running commentary the practitioner may find terribly distracting (sufficient to provide a DV penalty to any tasks attempted), or they may be gathered around the character(s) for some purpose. They may be of the nature of guardian spirits or Muses (genii or dæmons) standing by in accordance with their natures so they may influence events as they may. They may make comments directly to the character whether aware that he can hear them or not. If they know that he can hear them their comments are likely to be that much more direct and germane to the situation.

IF the spirits are having a conversation about the character, he should be allowed one or more SPT checks (GM’s discretion) as if they had uttered one or more key words and the character was under the influence of a “Far Hear” dweomer. Success would indicate that he had heard them and would then be able to eavesdrop on their conversation, or interrupt them with a comment of his own directed at them.

IF the spirit has some special connection with the gifted character, that should be taken into consideration and raise the AV commensurately (GM’s discretion). For more common situations, where the spirits are actually trying to say something TO the gifted character, the magnitude or POT of the spirit will be used as the AV.

The CHM att. mod. of the gifted character (minus Spirit Speak SL) stands as the DV for them to get his attention. If he is otherwise occupied, especially in an activity that could be potentially injurious or even life-threatening (scaling a cliff, disarming a trap, locked in armed combat with a foe) that should be taken into consideration, raising the DV. The more immediate and dangerous the circumstances, the greater the increase in the DV for the spirit to be heard.

 How such situations fall out depends entirely on the characters of the spirits involved and the PC and any roleplaying that ensues between them. However, should the character strike up a conversation with “the incontinent air” while others are around, unless he is already known to be a holy man (Mystic) or practitioner of magick, it is quite possible he may end up in an asylum as one of “goddes prisoners”.

Clairvoyance is the ability to see things of a spiritual nature, commonly referred to as visions, and may be comprised of visions of the future, called Prescience, or Future Sight, or visions of people, places, creatures and/or beings elsewhere but in the present time, called Second Sight, or visions of the past, or the ability to see spirit creatures who are near but normally invisible due to their very nature as denizens of Spirit, called Spirit Sight.

Prescience or Future Sight is Precognition, the knowing or seeing of events that have not come to pass, but commonly occur within no more than a year’s time. These events can be significant to someone the gifted character encounters casually, especially when touched, or may involve great events or tragedies that affect a great number of people locally or at some distance (usually still within the same realm, if not the same region or shire), or those in the gifted one’s own personal life. It stems from the skills of Augury and Prophecy, courting visions of the future, and when approached through ties with the element of the character’s birth is referred to as Aeromancy (air), Geomancy (earth), Pyromancy (fire), or Hydromancy (water).

Aeromancy involves observing substances in the air or wind; such as cloud shapes, weather conditions, and atmospheric phenomena (comets, etc.). This usually includes reading the direction of the wind (the very breath of Spirit) in regards to throwing sand or dirt in the wind after asking a question, and receiving the answer in the form of the dust cloud, or the same by throwing some combustible powder or substance on a fire to watch for the resulting smoke; or throwing a handful of seeds into the air and receiving the answer to a question from the pattern created by the fallen seeds. Any of these might be used as a means of triggering the visions.

The common vehicle by which Geomancy is practiced as a means of foretelling is the scattering of pebbles, dust, sand grains, or seeds on the ground and interpreting their shapes and positions

Pyromancy makes use of fire or flames. In ancient cultures, when the flames were vigorous and quickly consumed the sacrifice and when the smoke was transparent, neither red nor dark in color, when it didn’t crackle, but burnt silently in a pyramidal form, it was a good omen. If the fire was difficult to kindle, disturbed by wind or slow to consume the victim or offering, a bad omen. The flames of torches are also observed after powdered pitch is thrown into them.

Pyroscopy is an associated aspect in which the burn stains are read that are left after burning a sheet of paper (or other similarly combustible material) on a light surface.

Hydromancy is fortune telling by reading the motions or appearance of water (or other liquids) including the color, tides, ebb and flow, or ripples. Interpreting the color and patterns of flowing water, having a small boy (under the age of 7) tell what he has seen in the water, studying the ripples resulting from dropping stones into quiet water, or the like.

Future Sight is the skill whereby knowledge of the future can be requested from Spirit, BUT it also makes the gifted character a conduit through which Spirit may spontaneously send warnings, omens and portents of danger to come, or herald good fortune in the world. The spontaneously sent information concerning the future does not go only to the Mystics who serve Spirit, but to all who have the spiritual ears with which to hear/eyes with which to see. Omens and portents and the spirit energy inherent in them can be felt through this skill, hinting at the future can be sensed, such as the auspices of birds – whether they are flying in groups/alone, what noises they make as they fly, the direction of flight according to the quadrants of the sky as defined by the observer’s position at the time the auspice is observed, and what kind of birds they are. only certain birds would yield valid auspices, including wrens, ravens, woodpeckers, owls, oxifragæ, eagles. Hares were similarly loosed and their flight observed for portents and signs.

The rune mal is another medium through which augury and prophesy are called for, rune-carven sticks, animal knuckle bones, glass beads, small stones from significant places or people, inscribed earthenware chits, or any collection of small items, which are thrown to form patterns triggering visions.

The use of cards with various symbols or significators on them, such as tarot cards but not limited to them, is prophecy by Cartomancy. A character may be given or required to render his own set of symbolic cards by the one who teaches him their use. Associated in origin with gypsies who used such cards to prognosticate the future, provide guidance or read the personality of their clients. This method of divination was introduced to Europe c. 1300, perfect for the purposes of the RoM.

The player must choose one of these means or methods or come up with something similar as the focus for his character’s Spirit Skill (GM’s discretion).

Divination is another term that can be applied to the casting of auguries for the future (as above), BUT can just as readily be applied to the use of dowsing rods or a thread or string and pendulum, or the like for Finding things, people, or beasts who have been misplaced or lost, or for finding one’s way when lost, in the same manner described for the “Compass Charm” in the Compendium.

The Second Sight enables the caster to view objects, creatures, and/or beings remotely, to see events that are happening at a distance. It is usually spontaneously triggered when loved-ones are threatened or great tragedies involving many deaths occur, wheresoever they may be located, but the gifted one can sometimes achieve success by concentrating and actively seeking the vision.

Spirit Sight enables the character to see such beings as Færies and the dead, ethereal and astral spirit, spirits of Light and Darkness who may be hovering about near by, even while they are still completely Spirit in manifestation, whether they allow themselves to be seen or are willfully cloaking themselves from the sight of mortal folk. The magnitude of the spirit will be used as the AV for the check and the character’s SPT will be used as the DV to determine whether the spirit has evaded being sensed.

IF the GM determines that the spirit is not aware that it may be sensed, that there is one trained in the spirit skills and especially magick, it will make no attempt to conceal its presence beyond simply remaining completely non-material and the character with the Spirit Sight will have no trouble seeing them at all. In these circumstances, it is always a more prudent tactic for the gifted character to wait until he is alone with the spirit before acknowledging its presence to attempt to gain its trust and coax it into manifesting so they can talk, unless the character also has the Clairaudience skill (“Spirit Speak”) and may converse with it while still in its spirit state.

The AV for the gifted character to see a hidden spirit is based on his SPT att. mod. and AWA att. mod., plus his Spirit Sight SL.

The base DV for spotting a spirit that wishes to conceal its presence should be equal to the spirit’s POT, plus its HRT att. mod.

The character’s AV may be impaired according to his personal state and circumstances, as discussed under the heading “Task Resolution”.

Psychometry is the gift by which the vibrations an object carries can be read, so that its use can be known, details of the owner and his life, high-points or dramatic events in the history of the item, the emotional state of the current owner, what he is going through in his life, the origins of the object, who made it where and why, and so on, in the same manner as the “Read Object” dweomer (cf.) whose POT is equal to the Psychometry SL. The better the character gets with the skill, the more information he can glean with it.

All of the Clairvoyance skills except those specifically noted as having another means or physical anchor or focus like the rune mal or knuckle bones, require the use of a physical object as an external focus in which the visions received manifest – a mirror, crystal ball, large-ish bright clear cut gem or natural crystal, basin of water, cup of wine, cast upon them so the vision it grants appears in the object used, but they all have one thing in common, and that is a perfectly smooth surface that can reflect images perfectly in them, or a perfectly clear matrix in which an image can coalesce and clearly be seen (GM’s discretion). This is referred to as Scrying. If an observer has a SPT score of greater than average (14+) he may be able to see the visions that manifest in the focus of the Scrying. This allows the visions to be shared with others.

The Spirit Skills are all duplicated among the dweomers the player may choose for his practitioner character, but as the number of dweomers he is allowed at the start of play is limited, it is just as well that any of these or the whole bundle may be taken as trade skills. In the event that the player give his character a Spirit Skill AND knowledge of the corresponding dweomer, the effective SL of the dweomer after it has been successfully cast will be compounded, the Spirit Skill adding to the effectiveness of the dweomer.

Those who originate from the Celtic tradition, specifically those trained in one of the Druid trades, have their own traditional methods of looking into the future. To achieve the rank of Ollamh the Fili is required to master the specific Spirit Skills of the imbas forosna (enlightenment, the ability to foresee and describe future events in verse), teinm láeda (“breaking of marrow”), and díchetal di cennaib (“chanting of heads”). The 10th-century Sanas Cormaic (Cormac’s Glossary) cites teinm laída as one of the three ways of actually acquiring prophetic or hidden knowledge, along with díchetal do chennaib and imbas forosnai. These are the specific forms taken by the Spirit Skills of Clairvoyance, Second Sight, and Prescience for the members of the Druid trades.

The imbas forosnai is a special gift for receiving prophetic knowledge or clairvoyance exercised by poets, especially the ollam, the highest rank of Fili. In performing the imbas forosnai, the poet chews a piece of the flesh of a pig, dog or cat, and then puts it on a flagstone near the door to his chamber and chants an invocation over it to the applicable Green Lords. He chants over his two palms and commands that his sleep not be disturbed, and then puts his two palms on his cheeks and sleeps. Men guard him that he may not be disturbed or turned over, when the Fili is among his own people or has followers of the faith or others willing to stand in attendance on him. At the end of three days and nights the poet may then judge whether imbas forosnai has enlightened him.

The díchetal do chennaib is a kind of incantation composed extemporaneously by poets (Fili) and Druids, often using the finger-tips. Díchetal do chennaib is a kind of psychometry conveying visions to the character which he then translates and frames in quatrain or verse. An ollam is required to be proficient in both the díchetal do chennaib and the imbas forosnai. Fionn mac Cumhaill is described as having been especially proficient at díchetal do chennaib. This is the specific form taken by the Spirit skill of Psychometry for the members of the various Druid trades.

The teinm laída is a form of divination used by the Fili and Bards. In the Fenian Cycle it is always associated with the visions Fionn mac Cumhaill gains by chewing on his thumb (wherein his Otherworldly wisdom lies) and chanting.

The Spirit Skills are all duplicated among the charms a player may choose for his magick-wielding character, but as the number of charms a character is allowed at the start of play is limited, it is just as well that any of these or the whole bundle may be taken as Trade Skills. In the event that the player give his character a Spirit Skill AND the corresponding charm, the Spirit Sense SL is added to the effective POT of the dweomer after it has been successfully cast, enhancing the strength and effectiveness of the dweomer without making the charm any harder to cast.