Monday, August 24, 2009

From OHMAS: The Savant

From On Her Majesty's Arcane Service
In honor of Zach of RPG Blog II putting OHMAS on his Zack's Dozen hotlist, I present the Savant, a character type or Path of Power from OHMAS.

The Savant

The Savant is a person of knowledge, who approaches the arcane by means of science.

The Savant is not sceptical, but is both deeply rational and something of a mystic, reading the tracks of magic on the face of nature. The Savant has a deep seated belief in both God and Magic, which allows the Savant to apply the tools of science to the purpose of magic.

A Savant is first and foremost a highly educated person. In addition to their normal skills, Savants gain a mastery in Linguistics, with a fluency in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. They gain this Mastery over the course of their education, gaining a rank in Linguistics every three years - Latin at the age of 10, Greek at 13, Hebrew at 16, and the other languages at 19 snd 22. The Savant may take other ranks of Linguistics by year, as he would any normal skill.

Savants must be first an Apprentice Scholar and then a Proto-Academic, though they do not have to pay for the education if their family Lifestyle is too low, as their intelligence would be noticed and funding made available. Savants must have an INT of at least 11 to qualify.


Savants can Ward an area from intrusion, both material and spiritual. An area Warded by a Savant cannot be scryed, spied upon, or entered by anyone not inside the wards when the Savant sets them out. The Wards themselves are at least three objects of magical and/or mystical power physically placed by the Savant, defining the periphery of the Warded area - three wards defining a triangle, four defining a quadrilateral, etc. On a successful Warding roll, the Wards are activated, one success indicating three Wards activated, with one more Ward activated per success after that.

Once per day, the Savant may read the day’s Astrological chart. On a successful Astrology roll, the player may make one roll per success on the the Astrology Table below. The player determines which column(s) to roll on. The word indicated should be treated as a temporary Traits which is not part of the savant’s personality, but part of the environment, and available to whoever the Savant tells them to. Traits give a bonus to any other action when used, so long as the Trait could believably help. Each Trait point used adds bonus die to the roll. Traits are a resource which are used up in play.

The Astrology Table
Luna rules Emotion
Mercury rules Reason
Venus rules Romance
Mars rules Conflict
Jupiter rules Fortune
Saturn rules Order

Luna Mercury Venus Mars Jupiter Saturn
1-2 Fear Deliberation Flirtation Trickery Secrecy Boundaries
3-4 Hesitance Inspiration Subversion Might Timing Laws
5-6 Horror Analysis Sex Indirect Boldness Customs
7-8 Anger Deduction Seduction Flanking Lavishness Families
9-10 Doubt Mystification Titillation Position Prudence Organizations
11-12 Affection Appreciation Fascination Intimidation Investment Channels
13-14 Lust Deceit Ingratiation Brutality Trust Ethics
15-16 Confidence Misdirection Sympathy Glory Miserliness Morals
17-18 Longing Compromise Intrigue Caution Distrust Patterns
19-20 Joy Persuasion Beauty Opportunity Openness Connections

Note: the Savant may roll several times on one column.

The Savant can commune with spirits. The particular device used could be anything - a mirror in the proper place tilted at the proper angle; the severed head of an innocent set in a silver cage of peculiar and particular design; a complex armature which holds a pen, with which the Savant can write and the spirit write back so long as the Savant holds the pen, etc. The player and GM must agree to the device used, noting restrictions placed on the communication by the device’s nature.

The spirits communing are not under the control of the savant in any way, and may lie or not, or totally ignore the Savant’s questions as they choose. As the Savant gains skill in Communion, however, she is better able to filter out extraneous chatter and malicious lies. on a Communion check, the more successes rolled, the more trustworthy and pertinent the information is.

Arcane Geometry
Arcane Geometry is the science of what would now be called non-Euclidean Geometry and its applications in the real world. Folds and tunnels in space, pocket universes, fairy hills, containers and domiciles with more volume on the inside than on the outside - these can be detected, changed, and created through application of Arcane Geometry. The savant describes what he is attempting before the skill check

Creating a pocket:
The creator may vary space, time, and condition within the pocket, both at the time of creation and afterward. With patience, as pockets may only be changed yearly, a small pocket may be enlarged, time ratios changed, and conditions added. On a successful arcane Geometry skill check, each success may be applied to one of these variables.

Varying Space in the Pocket
Each success applied to space makes the pocket larger. For the first success, a pocket of .1 cubic feet in volume - large enough to tuck in a scroll or book - is created. Each further success extends the space as follows:
10 cu. ft. - big enough for a crouching Human, 1000 cu. ft.- a 10' X 10' X 10' room, 100,000 cu ft.- a 100' X 100' X 100' cube, etc. The actual contours of the pocket may vary according to the whims of the creator.

Varying Time in the Pocket
Time ratios are expressed as a relationship of time in our world to time in the pocket - X:Y (X to Y) - where the first element (X) is time in our world, and the second element (Y) is time in the pocket. A ratio of 2:1, for example, would mean one hour (day, week) spent in the pocket will equal two hours (days, weeks) spent in our world. A ratio of 1:2, for example, would mean two hours (days, weeks) spent in the pocket will equal one hours (day, week) spent in our world.

At the pocket's creation, the direction of the ratio must be stated as being Fast or Slow. Fast pockets have a ratio where the first number is one, and the second number is always greater than one. For example, 1:3. Time in Fast pockets is always faster than time in our world. Slow pockets have a ratio where the first number is always greater than one, and the second number is one. For example, 3:1. Time in Slow pockets is always slower than time in our world.

Increasing Time Ratios
Each success applied to time increases the ratio of time in the pocket as compared to our world. Without applying any successes to time, the ratio of time in the pocket to time in our world is 1:1 (one to one). One success applied to time will increase the ratio to 2:1 or 1:2. Each success applied to time will increase this ratio by one - i.e. two successes applied will increase the ratio by two, a 1:1 ratio becoming 3:1. Increasing a pocket's time ratio can be done once every ten years of our world's time. When increasing time ratios, the number increased in Fast pockets is always the second number, while in Slow pockets, the number increased is always the first.

Varying Conditions in the Pocket
Conditions within the pocket can be varied as well. Without putting successes into conditions, pockets are featureless, filled with fresh, breathable air, lightless, colorless, irregular, and pliable - pliable meaning the walls are soft and can be manipulated to an extend so long as the total volume of the pocket remains the same. Each success put into conditions can be allocated to change a condition of the pocket. These conditions include, but are not limited to light, walls (including floors and ceilings), water, vegetation, animals, structure/shape, and the like.

Each success put into a specific condition will increase the complexity and/or realism of the condition. A single success put into vegetation for example would give a single plant, perhaps a giant pumpkin vine, with the pumpkins carvable into houses. Five successes might give a pocket a vegetative variety and realism equivalent to the same area of our earth. A single success given to light might give a vague, sourceless light, whereas five successes might give a sun in the sky and light like a sunny day at noon, or three moons and innumerable stars giving light enough to read by. Conditions in the pocket can be whatever the creator can imagine, and are not limited by our world's constraints. Anything of the pocket, including items constructed of materials in the pocket - like a box carved from the ivory of a pocket creature - belongs to the pocket, and will dissolve to nothing instantly as soon as it is removed from the pocket.

Pocket Entrances.
Normally, pocket entrances are almost invisible "seams" in reality which can be opened up with the hands, simple tools, and/or devices designed for that puropose. The creator will always see his own entrances plainly, while pocket entrances created by others will need a single success on an Arcane Geometry skill check. It requires a slight effort to hold the entrance open, and the entrance will close again if released. A framework can be constructed of materials from our world to hold an entrance semi-permanently open like a doorway. If the framework is removed, the entrance will close. Actual doors can be hung on this framework, allowing access at any time.

A second entrance to a pocket can be constructed from within the pocket to a place well known to the creator. This creates a tunnel, with the entrances separated by an arbitrary distance in our world not at all related to distance in the pocket. To construct an additional entrance, five successes must be made on an Arcane Geometry skill check from within the pocket. An emergency entrance can be created from within a pocket with a single success on an Arcane Geometry skill check, but this entrance will disappear within five minutes from the time it was last used, and opens to the same general area as the original pocket entrance.

Other Properties of Pocket Creation
Pockets can be created within other pockets. Pockets can be created within items, or creatures. Pockets created within some item or creature carried into another pocket will be accessible from within the other pocket. Use stabilizes pockets. Pockets will disappear if not used by a person within a year as measured within the pocket. Light, food, and water must be brought into a pocket if the pocket itself does not supply it.

Savant Profession
Person using mundane means to control magical effect

Savants Gain:
+3 Int
+1 END
Linguistics +5

Prerequisites: Apprentice Scholar and Proto-Academic, INT 11+
Waiver Roll: N/A
Base Lifestyle: Upper Middle Class
Skills available: Warding, Astrology, Communion, Arcane Geometry, Linguistics, Analysis, Astronomy, Course, Overdo, Operate, Mechanics, Mathematics, Evaluate, Focus, History, Research, Instruct, Meditation



  1. Woo!

    Hey, question, clash: really interested in the pockets. If it isn't too "behind the curtain", how have they panned out in any sort of playtesting? Seems like a very powerful ability/phenomenon!

  2. Oh, the pockets have been used all over, as hiding places, transport (with a backdoor), fairy homelands, secret pockets, you name it! The Savant lives in a gypsy type wagon pulled by a mule, with many pocket bedrooms, a library, a kitchen, etc. She even used pockets in combat - taunting a giant and diving into a pocket just ahead of the blow while the others attacked it. It was like fighting Bugs Bunny. In the hands of creative people, pockets are wild!


  3. Remembering, I think the most creative thing was putting a pocket inside a PC, and putting other PCs inside the pocket.


  4. Yeah, so all of those things that people try to do with Bags of Holding in D&D.

  5. Yes, Oz, exactly. There are differences - pockets can be created inside other pockets, you can make backdoors into pockets, it's perfectly healthy to be in a pocket, you can create them at will, inside of anything - but I think it is what people would do with Bags of Holding if they could do what they wanted with them.