Mystical Acts

For our Turkey, 1922 game, I wanted a simple magic system that would give a sort of Edgar Cayce, mystical feel - seances, levitation, that sort of thing.

I’m particularly looking for feedback on the Vice of Ghora.

The Vice of Ghora is my game’s equivalent of hulling; it’s nasty, but not quite as bad as being hulled.

Mystical Acts

Ancient disciplines of the mind. To those who understand it, reality is much more malleable than commonly believed, and stays as it is only through the force of our habits. Those who have spent years in meditation and disciplined contemplation become free of those habits, and can work strange miracles as a result. But beware! Unbelieving minds have a strength of their own.

The following penalties apply to all Mystical Acts in the presence of one or more witnesses:

+1Ob The act violates cultural norms of the witnesses, or is undeniably mystical
+1Ob Numerous witnesses (e.g. 8 or more), able to confer with one another
+1Ob Photographic or film evidence of the act is being recorded

Those who have seen mystical acts before count as unbelieving witnesses. If they really believed it, they could do it too! Onlookers who themselves can perform mystical acts do not count as unbelieving witnesses.


Failing at a mystical act calls into question the faith of the mystic. He does not understand the mysteries of the world as well as he thought he did! After any failure, the mystical skill is taxed (temporarily reduced) by 1.

Recovering from this requires peaceful contemplation: an ob 2 Meditation test in a Building scene, or a month of downtime (in which case no test is required) will remove one point of tax.

The Five Mystical Disciplines

Angam (Body)

The discipline of Angam can be used in place of any body-oriented skill (feats of strength or agility, swimming, climbing, dancing, fighting, or in place of Health). Use Angam in place of the appropriate skill, testing at +1 Ob.

Angam can also be used to enhance a body-oriented skill instead; if the Angam roll succeeds, add the margin of success to the number of dice rolled for the physical act. If the Angam roll is failed, add the margin of failure to Ob of the physical act.

Levitating (slowly, up to 10’ or 15’ in the air) is an Ob 4 Angam test. Flying (like a bat) is an Ob 5 Angam test. Add witness penalties.

Angam can be used in place of medical help to heal oneself from Sickness or Injury.

An Ob 8 Angam test adds 50 years to your natural lifespan.

Vasham (Mind)

The discipline of Vasham operates the same way as Angam, but allows mystical acts of concentration. It can be used in place of any skill that involves deep concentration, mental effort, sharp insight or the ability to rapidly process information (e.g. Mathematics, Strategy Games, Tactics) at +1 Ob to the normal. It can also be used to enhance these skills (see Angam).

Acts of Vasham place the mystic into a deep, obvious trance during which the mystic may speak or mumble unconsciously; witness penalties apply to all acts of Vasham.

The Eye of Vasham allows the mystic to perceive things at great distances. The target must be known ahead of time (alternately, using Orienteering or Cartography as a linked test into the Vasham roll). The Eye of Vasham is an Ob 4 test, plus witness penalties.

Maayaa (Illusion)

The world isn’t what it seems. Those who have mastered mystical acts of Maayaa understand this, and can affect it with their minds. Maayaa operates like Angam, but for Infiltration, Inconspicuous, Repair, Counterfeiting, Disguise, Pick Locks, Sleight of Hand.

Especially talented mystics can even create objects seemingly from nothing. Use Maayaa in place of Resources, at +1 Ob plus witness penalties. The object is good for one scene.

The acts of Maayaa are only effective in the immediate presence of the mystic. (You can use Maayaa to supplement Counterfeiting, for example, but the document will become an obvious fake when removed from your presence.)

Saadhana (Summoning)

Saadhana brings forth spirits of the dead, and sometimes worse. Summoned spirits are invisible, incorporeal entities that can see and move about in the mortal world. They are defined by a numerical Rank, which stands in for their skills and stats.

Many spirits will have access to one of the mystical disciplines (and more powerful spirits, more than one, at the GM’s option), or to Prophecy. Spirits do not suffer witness penalties for mystical acts.

Saadhana works like Circles. The summoner first determines who he is calling (see modifiers below). As with other mystical acts, the base Ob is 1. This will bring forth a Rank 3 spirit without specific skills or wises, Persuasion 3, and with access to one of Angam, Vasham or Maayaa (GM’s option).

Success means the desired spirit has been called forth, and will hear the summoner out on neutral terms, after which it will depart, or travel the mortal world. Failure means the spirit is displeased with the summoner or that someone (or something) else, hostile to the summoner, has answered.

+1D: The summoner possesses something that once belonged to the spirit, and/or to summon a former relationship of the summoner or someone present and cooperating with the mystic.
+1 Ob: Each Rank above 3
+2 Ob: Spirit has a specific outlook (e.g. favourable to the summoner’s cause, despises his enemies, etc.)
+2 Ob: Spirit knows specific information
+1 Ob: Spirit has a specific skill or wise
+2 Ob: Spirit knows a specific mystical discipline, or can Prophecy

Witness penalties also apply to all summons.

Bhrashtha (Banishment)

Summoners also have the ability to banish summoned spirits. Success sends the spirit away until it is summoned once more. Failure inevitably incurs the wrath of the spirit, in addition to the usual penalties. This requires a Saadhana test at an Ob equal to the rank of the spirit.

Witness penalties do not apply when using Bhrashtha.

Ghora (Domination)

It is an act of the utmost sacrilege to interfere with the spiritual journey of another, yet there are those mystics who attempt this for their own ends. The acts of Ghora involve manipulating the will of others.

Ghora is used in place of or to enhance social skills: Persuasion, Oratory, Deception, Etiquette, Extortion, etc. (See Angam for the mechanics.)

Successful use of Ghora requires the mystic to make an immediate Stability test at the same Ob as the Ghora test. Failure results in the mystic’s Stability being taxed by the margin of failure. (Ghora is not in your nature.)

The Vice of Ghora

The pinnacle of the folly that is Ghora involves completely dominating the mind of another, in an act known as the Vice of Ghora. Using the Vice requires that the mystic has tasted the blood of his victim, and requires a test at an obstacle equal to his victim’s Will + 1. (Plus an additional +1 Ob if the victim is not physically present. Witness penalties also apply.)

Once the victim is in the vice, the mystic can use his victim to initiate Color, Building and Conflict scenes. (These are deducted from the mystic’s scene count, not the victim’s.) For the duration of the scene, the victim is controlled completely by the mystic. It requires an Ob 3 Will test to become aware that something is grossly wrong - failing this, the victim will be unaware that his acts were not his own (which can cause extremely debilitating guilt and psychological distress).