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Occult Rules

Source Occult Adventures pg. 194
One of the most fundamental elements of an occult game is the idea that those versed in the supernatural can use strange, hidden powers that are inaccessible to others. This chapter contains a variety of occult powers and abilities for characters to use in your game.

Occult Skill Unlocks: Characters with psychic magic or the Psychic Sensitivity feat can unlock unusual uses of skills in which they’re trained. With new uses ranging from the ability to read psychic impressions from an object using Appraise to the power to dowse for water and more using Survival, skills will never seem mundane again.

Auras: This section expands auras to include not just magic and alignment auras but also health and emotion auras. A master aura reader can tell what conditions afflict a creature, as well as the state of that creature’s emotions.

Chakras: Ki users with psychic abilities can use kundalini serpent-fire energy to unlock their chakras for strange and powerful effects, starting with the humble root chakra and moving up to the mighty crown chakra.

Psychic Duels: Practitioners of the occult can pit their minds against each other in a terrifying psychic duel. Such psychic combatants enter a mindscape where they can create whatever they can imagine to form attacks, defenses, and even manifested allies called thought-form creatures.

Possession: This section explains rules for possession magic, both new and old, including corner cases like what happens when you try to possess someone who’s already possessed.

Occult Rituals: Occult rituals are rare and powerful rites that anyone who knows the right secrets can perform. Rituals are long and difficult to perform, and they always come at a price.

Occult Skill Unlocks

Source Occult Adventures pg. 194
Characters capable of casting psychic spells or who have the Psychic Sensitivity feat gain access to skill unlocks—a host of esoteric skill uses not available to other PCs. These are not entirely new skills, but rather new uses of existing skills for those trained in the occult arts. A character must be trained in the appropriate skill to use that skill’s unlock, even if the skill can normally be used untrained. It’s impossible to take 10 for an occult skill unlock. Occult skill unlocks require intense concentration and strenuous effort, so the amount a character can use each skill unlock is limited to once per day or per week. This limit is for all uses of the skill unlock; if a character uses hypnotism to implant a suggestion, he can’t also use it to recall memories on the same day.

This section describes each new skill unlock and the typical DCs and modifiers for associated checks. Some new types of gear in this book grant bonuses on specific occult skill unlocks.

Auras

Source Occult Adventures pg. 198
All living creatures are imbued with a spark of the cosmic fire that burns at the heart of the multiverse. This vital principle grants beings animate force, carrying directions from their greater intellects to their gross physical forms. With practice, an initiate in the occult arts can manipulate this force to create fantastic manifestations of psychic phenomena. Different traditions have different names for this vital force—prana, odic force, orgone energy—but it is most commonly known as ki, the source of inner power that grants the monk his incredible powers.

Practiced initiates can learn to pierce the veil between the Material Plane and the Ethereal Plane to gaze upon the interplay of ki within a creature’s body. The energy concentrates in seven swirling circular pools positioned throughout the body, known as chakras. From there it flows through the creature’s form, and even emanates 2–3 feet out, creating an ovoid nimbus around the creature—its aura.

The energy of the aura permeates the body and spirit of a living creature, influencing its health and vitality while in turn being influenced by the creature’s disposition, conception of self, and general emotional state. A creature’s aura thus comprises many different auras intermixed with one another to form a singular whole. Emanations of the creature’s ki form its health aura. Radiations of thought and belief issuing from the creature’s soul suffuse the health aura with patterns that can be interpreted as its alignment aura. The flashes of color flowing through the whole reveal the creature’s attitude and disposition, and are known as its emotion aura. Finally, an aura might contain emanations of a magical origin, which is usually a consequence of outside forces at work on the creature.

Various spells can detect aspects of a creature’s or object’s aura. The analyze aura spell and the read aura occult skill unlock are the most comprehensive ways to assess a creature’s entire aura.

Chakras

Source Occult Adventures pg. 200
According to esoteric traditions, the vital force of ki derives from the Positive Energy Plane and flows to initiates via the emanations of the sun. To students of the occult, every star holds a gate to the realm of positive energy, and through these gates flows the force of life itself in the form of ki. Ki collects in seven mystical vortices within the body called chakras. When observing a living creature’s etheric double—its manifestation on the Ethereal Plane—its chakras appear as small disks whirling with brilliant, colorful energy. The chakras distribute this energy throughout the creature’s physical body, granting it animate force and giving order to its constituent molecules.

Enlightened initiates versed in the mysteries of ki can awaken their chakras to unlock fabulous mystical powers, but doing so means channeling an even more dangerous and esoteric life force than ki—the potent and ancient kundalini, also known as the serpent-fire.

Unlike ki, kundalini flows not from the heavens above but from the ground below. Some mystics claim its colorful name derives from the fact that its mastery was first pioneered by the ancient serpentfolk who ruled the world millennia ago, but another explanation is that kundalini energy flows through the seven chakras in a coiling, ophidian manner. The kundalini flow awakens each chakra in turn. As it progresses from the root chakra at the base of the spine to the crown chakra at the top of the head, the serpent-fire opens new vistas of personal power to the initiate, granting her unique supernatural abilities.

Psychic Duels

Source Occult Adventures pg. 201
Psychic duels are battles in which combatants’ minds become intertwined within a binary mindscape. Though psychic spellcasters wield tremendous power in such battles, other creatures can also wield mental might with surprising potency.

Possession

Source Occult Adventures pg. 205
Rather than introducing new rules, this section explains the nuances of possession magic, as used in the new possession spell, as well as monster abilities and other spells.

Occult Rituals

Source Occult Adventures pg. 208
It’s a common belief that only those initiated in the rites and practices of arcane, divine, or psychic magic can cast spells, but this is not strictly true. Hidden within dusty libraries and amid the ramblings of lunatics lie the mysteries of another form of spellcasting—occult ritual magic. These spells are rare, coveted by both those eager to gain their power and those wishing to hide their existence. Most traditional spellcasters consider these rituals dangerous and uncontrollable, something to be avoided or used as a last resort. They fear the power these ceremonies grant to the uninitiated, as the rituals allow those with only a glimmering of understanding the ability to interact with the underlying fabric of magic.

While anyone can attempt to cast occult rituals, the process is fraught with peril. The strange and intricate incantations are often challenging to perform with precision, and failure can weaken the casters or even unleash horrors upon the world. Even when successfully performed, each occult ritual has a price—a backlash that affects at least the caster leading the ritual, and often those assisting in its performance.

Running an Occult Game

Source Occult Adventures pg. 218
The word “occult” refers to that which is hidden or occluded, and it encompasses a wide range of strange disciplines known to only a few. Ancient though they may be, the mysteries of the occult remain obscure, protected by hermetic orders or locked within esoteric repositories of knowledge.

In an occult adventure, the characters uncover clues as they search for the meaning behind perplexing events and supernatural phenomena. The tone is usually ominous and laden with secrecy and veiled threats as the characters untangle each portentous thread of occult mystery. Ordinary folk seldom recognize the patterns beneath events; only the truly initiated, undaunted by the risks to mind, body, and soul, dare plumb the depths of the occult in order to protect their world from unseen dangers.