“I count the grains of sand on the beach and measure the sea; I weigh each rock in the mountain and breathe of each cloud in the sky. Now your statues are standing and pouring sweat. They shiver with dread, for no lion or bull can stop me.”Kala, Oracle of the North.
(Kay-ah-ky), According to myth the Kaeki are a species of near-human or demi-human created by the Vox, the last of the Ayr, to act as spiritual and practical guides for humanity. Physically they are nearly indistinguishable from humans with the exception of monochromatic eyes and the metallic and crystalline patches and ridges which some develop on their skin as they age. The most notable feature of the Kaeki is their ability to see the world not through light and shadow but by perceiving the rays of force and umbras of probability via sense known as diascience. The Kaeki are alternately revered or demonized depending on the culture; seen as holy seers or unnatural aberrations. They have extremely long life spans and the eldest Kaeki can live for millennium, outlasting families, cities, and even cultures.
As supposed ‘children of the Vox’ the Kaeki possess a celestial willpower that can carry them through even the most hopeless situation and an innate talent for languages that allows them to communicate easily. They also possess a unique sense of perception known as diascience which grants them a special view of the world, letting them see what many others cannot. Kaeki are also able to detect and avoid the effects of most Lingua Arcana more easily than others and with practice can even negate the arcane languages. Some Kaeki develop skin patches that are either hard and resilient creating a natural armour or fragile and beautiful enhancing their appearance and perception.
The Kaeki’s unique perception does not come without a significant risk. In the modern absence of the stabilizing influence of the Ayr, many Kaeki perceive the world in chaos and perceive faults and voids in reality that are hidden to those with conventional sight. This leaves the Kaeki susceptible to increased stress and mental illness. Kaeki senses can also be overwhelming, particularly in areas with a high density of sapients, where probability and force are in constant flux, pushed and pulled by sapient Will. Finally, Kaeki are somewhat frailer than humans, more easily injured and slower to heal. Kaeki typically procreate with humans and their traits appear very rarely and apparently without obvious cause. This, coupled with the penchant of some cultures to persecute and kill Kaeki on birth, has limited the Kaeki population severely.
According to Aeldan legend the hidden species of quasi-humans known as the Kaeki were one of four gifts given to humanity by the Last Ayr, Vox. The Three Lingua Arcana were first; [[Shifting]], [[Shaping]], and [[Singing]], given so that humanity might better survive and understand the world and their place in it. The Vox then gave the Seers to guide humanity to that place. According to these stories the first Seers were said to be humans ‘elevated’ by the Vox, the most noble and wise of the mortal race, gifted with a portion of the perception of the Ayr. This is one story of many; some stories suggest the Kaeki were the only gift of the Vox and that all Lingua Arcana derive from their insights into the world; other stories suggest that the Seers were agents of the One who survived the fall of the great tormentor; and yet others posit more alien origins for the Kaeki, as entities from the space between life and death, spirits infesting human bodies like parasites.
Whatever the truth, the Kaeki are known for one thing above all else; their perception. All Kaeki are born ‘blind’, incapable of seeing the world as humans do. In the absence of conventional sight, young Kaeki instead develop diascience, an extraordinary perception that transcends vision, observing across and beyond the mundane. According to the Seer’s they are able to perceive the world as the Ayr do, in rays of force, umbras of probability, and the weave and motion of matter and causality. As a result Seer’s need no light and with practice can learn to apprehend the trail of an enemy, the history a person or object, the causality of an ambush or battle, or even the future.
The quasi-human nature of the Kaeki is a subject of debate among natural philosophers and lorekeepers. They are born rarely and seemingly at random to human and Kaeki families alike; a pair of Kaeki is no more apt to produce another Kaeki than any human couple. A young Kaeki baby or toddler is almost always seen as simply a blind human, not anything special or notable. It’s not until the Kaeki begins to develop their Diascience that the differences become apparent, often in ways inexplicable to their human families and stressful or traumatic for the Kaeki themselves. A Kaeki child who begins to perceive their parents choices before they are vocalized, or understand the history of objects older than they are for example, can often play such things off once they understand the reactions such mentions evoke, but a Kaeki who catches glimpse of a dark intellect lurking in the seams between space and time is, at best, rendered mute by terror, and at worst, left haunted and deranged by the experience.
The danger of uncontrolled Diascience is such that some Kaeki make it their life’s goal to seek out others of their kind, particularly children, in order to help them cope with their abilities. What Kaeki culture exists is the result of such pilgrims and their ‘apprentices’. In some places the Kaeki are welcomed and new Kaeki are handed over readily, either out of hope for future benefit or fear of immediate repercussions. In other locales the Kaeki are viewed with suspicion and hatred, forced to remain hidden from the populace lest they be hunted or enslaved. The random nature of Kaeki birth means that many stories end poorly for Kaeki children born to such locales.
Kaeki are gifted at learning mortal languages and rapidly develop native fluency with in half the time of humans and other species. This is largely attributed to their supposed relationship to the Vox, who was the first to give humanity language and then, later, the Lingua Arcana.
Kaeki experience books very differently than humans. Instead of ink on a page they perceive the knowledge itself; memories and perspectives from the author tethered to the page. This ability comes with a significant downside; most cannot perceive the text on a [[Luminar]] in any way. Such technological marvels are merely inert slabs to most Kaeki. Only those who refine their perception through meditation can begin to see the ephemeral energies as information.
All Kaeki possess a fierce will that they apply readily. Many Kaeki are driven and indomitable by mundane or arcane means, gifted with a willpower that drives them through torments and hardships that would leave others broken. The source of this particular gift is unclear. Some say it is their relationship to the Vox, the most willful of the Ayr, while others argue it is the result of their Diascience and understanding of the world.
The idea that Kaeki are ‘blind’ and that their eyes are vestigial is a common and understandable misconception, common enough that most Kaeki fail to correct others on the topic. Fundamentally this fallacy is based on an error of logic; that Kaeki cannot see light and shadow as humans do does not mean they are blind. Instead, Kaeki perceive the world through a set of senses inaccessible to humans, discerning features imperceptible to humans. The most common analogies are made with sight, but this is a convenience; some Kaeki find other sense terms more appropriate, describing the world in tastes, sounds, or smells. In the end these are all weak analogies given to make other sapients more comfortable; it is no more possible for a Kaeki to convey what their perception of the world is like than a human could convey to them the colour red, a bat echolocation, or a shark electroreception.
Some mature Kaeki develop patches of metallic and crystalline material on their bodies as they age. These patches typically grow in symmetrical patterns across the body, particularly on the back, arms, legs, and sometimes the face. The texture of the Ayrskin is different for each Kaeki and while often described in terms of a resemblance to elemental materials such as metals and gemstones, the material itself resists such classification. The material can grow resilient enough to offer additional protection to the typically frail Kaeki and many point to this as evidence of the Vox’s benevolent intervention in their creation. For others, the material grows sheer and feathery, offering less obvious advantages. The Ayrskin is not universal, but it is relatively common.
An important feature of Kaeki Diascience is their ability to directly perceive the use of the Lingua Arcana. This is in contrast with the typical human perception of the effects of their use; a human sees a rock float while a Kaeki sees the invisible forces buoying that rock. This awareness grants Kaeki an innate resistance against arcane effects, making it harder to target or impact such beings. In particularly powerful cases the Kaeki can even ‘dispel’ the works of Linguists; a Shaping might simply dissipate before a powerful Kaeki, a Shifter might find themselves fighting against a reflex to revert to their base form or a Singer might find each of their notes falling flat. It is important to note that while the Kaeki can perceive the actions of a Linguist directly, even learn from and dispel them, that does not mean they can replicate them. Like all quasi-humans Kaeki are unable to utilize the Lingua Arcana.
Discerning a Kaeki from a human is difficult at best. All obvious Kaeki features can be hidden; Ayrskin beneath clothing and eyes behind spectacles, masks, or even a low hanging cloak. As a result Kaeki are able blend in to most cultures, even those where they might be hated. It is obviously not impossible to expose them, but Kaeki Diascience makes such endeavours more difficult than would be expected.
For reasons known only to their creator the Kaeki possess less physical fortitude than humans. They both succumb to illness more readily and take a longer time to heal from disease and injury. To some degree this physical fragility is innately compensated for by their strong wills, but only to a degree.
Lurkers in the Dark
The greatest danger to the Kaeki is the result of their greatest strength. Kaeki perceive more, and deeper, and further. This exposes them to dangers other mortals are blissfully unaware of. Beyond the relatively mundane chaos of human choice in the world, perceived by the Kaeki as eddies and whirlwinds, hurricanes of probability, they can also perceive thin spots, edges, and gaps; unseen breaches and fissures in the skein of reality that teem with hidden danger; and worst of all, vast and unnammed //things// that lurk in these hidden places. These ‘spirits’ typically seem entirely oblivious to humanity but a Kaeki who looks too hard, or catches the wrong eye can attract their attention…
Kaeki factions are defined by their perception of their own Diascience and any perceived obligation it imposes.
The Kindred Kaeki are driven to seek out others of their kind. Whether from loneliness, altruism, or a sense of identity, these Kaeki embark on lonely, often fruitless pilgrimages across Aeldos in search of others of their kind. When found the Kindred might offer to take the child from their parents, gift for many peasants and drudges who lack the coin and capacity to care for a child they see as crippled. Less scrupulous Kindred ask no permission, and instead spirit the children away in the night. Even elder Kaeki who have grown up within a community of humans are sometimes tempted to leave by the promise of someone else who can see as they do.
Some Kaeki see the legends of their origin and role as guides to humanity as guidance, placing themselves at the disposal of humans. These Kaeki often take on roles as curates, priestesses, monks, and other holy figures, acting as soothsayers and diviners, trying to help humanity better itself indirectly. Such Kaeki often become figures of renown in their culture and destinations for pilgrims of many religions.
Not all Kaeki are content to merely watch and guide humanity passively; some seek instead to rule a species they see as lessers. Weavers use their preternatural senses to construct complex webs of causality, building delicate but powerful machines of probability that leave the events of the world within their grasp. While the rarest of a rare breed, a single skilled Weaver can bring a city under their control and some rumors suggest that particularly ancient and patient Weavers have established control over entire regions or cultures. The dangers of such endeavours are enough that some Weavers are willing to subsume their personal goals and desires to the wills of powerful or popular humans, individuals who can act as the public face of a Weaver and as a shield against mundane persecution. How much of that is part of the Weaver’s plan keeps many such ‘shields’ up at night.
Species Calling: Seer
Kaeki excel at the following callings:
Kaeki Guard: Investigation = New Level x2
Kaeki Diplomat: Languages = New Level x2
Kaeki Spy: Observation = New Level x2
Kaeki Hunter: Stealth = New Level x2
Deliberate: +2 starting Will, maximum of 7
Seeing without Light: The Kaeki perceive the world using different senses than humanity. They can see in all light conditions and gain an innate +3 bonus to perception checks.
Supernatural Awareness: Diascience makes it difficult to catch a Kaeki flat-footed, allowing Kaeki to defend against surprise and ranged attacks. Once per day per level of Diascience the Kaeki can add their full defense to the difficulty for a ranged attack or use their full defense against a surprise attack without making a perception check. This feature can be further enhanced through the Celestial Awareness ability.
Ayrskin: As Kaeki enter maturity some develop strange patches of skin that offer +1 armour against all types of damage. The skin can grow even stronger over time, but it requires the Kaeki to focus on cultivating this odd feature through specific diets and meditations.
Supernal Awareness: Kaeki are able to perceive the use and users of Lingua Arcana and are resilient to the effects thereof. All Kaeki can roll 3d10 when resisting the effects of Lingua Arcana.
Unnoticed: Kaeki are typically mistaken for human. Beyond their blindness the only other obviously inhuman feature is the Ayrskin which develops as they age, but even this can be easily hidden.
Fragile: Kaeki constitutions are less robust than humans. Injury and illness are greater risks to them. When calculating a Kaeki’s health the formula is Power + Will + 3 rather than the +5 for humans. In addition to being more fragile Kaeki are driven by iron wills that drive them to Persist, even in the face of death and cannot take the Fall action when going below zero health. Despite their fragility and persistence, Kaeki have an apparently tenacious hold on life and the difficulty of their Dying Fortitude check starts at 16.
Slow Healing: Kaeki heal at a slower rate than humans and techniques used to accelerate human healing do not work as well on a Kaeki. They heal at a rate of their Power -1 each week (minimum of 1). Further, any assisted healing heals 1 point less than it normally would.
Technology Blind: Kaeki have considerable difficulty interacting with technology that relies on vision, as many first age interfaces do. They find Luminar and other screens nearly impossible to use without aid and suffer a -3 to rolls interacting with such technology.
What Should Not Be Seen: Kaeki face a unique danger innate to their gifts of perception; they can perceive too much. A Kaeki truly opening their perception may be inundated, observing a torrent of information that they are unable to filter or are incapable of understanding. The respiration and circulation of every living thing in a bar, the clatter of every atom between every blade on a battlefield, or a million probable outcomes for a single essential action. Worse, some Kaeki report perceiving other entities lurking in the periphery, things vast and terrible and entirely hidden to the world of humanity. On a perception or ability roll of 2 the Kaeki takes 3 stress and reflexively turns off their higher perception in order to maintain their sanity. The Kaeki cannot use their higher senses again until the scene is ended. As a result most young Kaeki find dense urban populations overwhelming to their senses and are driven out of such places by the constant ‘noise’ they perceive.
Skill Purchase Modifiers
Kaeki have modified XP costs for purchasing the following skills.
Athletics +1 multiplier
Medicine +1 multiplier
Technology +1 multiplier
Languages -1 multiplier
Stealth -1 multiplier
Observation -1 multiplier
Investigation -1 multiplier
Kaeki Core – Diascience: The core trait for a Kaeki is their Diascience or Celestial “Sight” – their ability to perceive more than the world of light or shadow. This innate sense is powerful, but focus and meditation can make it more so. Such endeavours also seem to forge a deeper connection between the Kaeki and the Vox, granting them access to a variety of powerful abilities. Each point in Diascient adds a point to the Kaeki’s initiative. Ability levels cannot exceed the character’s level in Diascience. All Kaeki can refine their senses with practice but not all do.
With sufficient practice a dedicated Kaeki can learn new ways to perceive the information locked within advanced technology, mitigating their normal disability in this area. A very few can even convert their unique perception to their advantage when dealing with technology. For each point in this ability the penalty for Technology Blind is reduced by 1.
|1||Technology Penalty reduced to -2|
|2||Technology Penalty reduced to -1|
|3||Technology Penalty reduced to 0|
|4||+1 to Technology rolls|
|5||+2 to Technology rolls|
Celestial Skin Mutations
Through meditation and careful diet a Kaeki can guide the development of their Ayrskin. This can be done in one of three ways; by increasing its density and durability, increasing its majesty and beauty, or making it more subtle and adaptive to light and colour. Each of these mutations can be taken separately and combined but each has their own XP cost to advance.
- Warrior Skin: The Ayrskin grows dense and thick and extends over the Kaeki’s vital organs. Each level taken in this ability increases the armour value of the Ayrskin by 1/1/1.
- Artisan Skin: The Ayrskin grows glossy and feathery, allowing the Kaeki to generate an ethereal and authoritative presence. Each level taken in this ability grants a bonus to appearance based social rolls of +1. This ability can be used once per day per level in the ability.
- Outsider Skin: The Ayrskin grows ebon and ethereal, allowing the Kaeki to generate a shadowy aura that makes them hard to see. Each level taken in this ability grants a bonus to Stealth rolls of +1. This ability can be used once per day per level in the ability.
The Kaeki has learned how to perceive the location of a single individual or object with startling clarity. To the Kaeki’s diascience the target is like a beacon in the world; they always know the direction too take to reach them. Activating this ability requires the Kaeki to touch the target, after which they are marked. This ability can only be used on a single target at a time; if a Kaeki wishes to trail a new target they must touch them and they lose perception of the original. The more practiced this ability the greater the distance it can be exercised at. Masters of this ability can even perceive targets who stray into occult places like the Xia Valley and a Shaper’s Arcane Sanctum.
The Kaeki perceives a path that lies outside the perception of others, walking effortlessly past those who see with only their eyes, vanishing from the perception of those who lack awareness. The Kaeki spends 3 stress to activate this ability for a scene. Any character with an Intuition score below the level of this ability cannot see the Kaeki. An individual who can perceive the Kaeki can attempt to point them out to others; doing so triggers those characters to make an active Perception roll with a difficulty of 12 + Ability Level. Failure indicates the character cannot perceive the Kaeki, regardless of the active direction. This ability does not work other Kaeki.
The Kaeki’s diascience grows particularly potent, making it even more difficult to catch them unaware. For each level in this ability the Kaeki gains an additional daily use of their Supernatural Awareness and can add a +1 bonus to defensive rolls made as a result.
Using Prognostication the Kaeki can attempt to perceive one of their probable futures, from a few hours for the unskilled to months ahead for masters. The Kaeki concentrates, entering a meditative state and sorting through the myriad possible futures, searching for the most probable ones. The further forward they peer, the more time it takes to do so and the less certain the resulting information.
Mechanics: To use this ability the Kaeki takes the stress and time indicated on the table below and the player rolls an Intuition + Observation + Prognostication check against the listed difficulty.
|Rank/Stress Cost||Distance of Prediction||Duration||Difficulty||Complication Range|
|1||1 hour||10 seconds||15||2-8|
|2||10 hours||10 minutes||16||2-7|
|3||24 hours||30 minutes||17||2-6|
|4||1-2 weeks||6-12 hours||18||2-5|
|5||1-3 months||3-6 days||19||2-4|
The player must tell the Storyteller the honest course of action their character intends to undertake and, if the prognostication involves other player characters the Storyteller should ask the other players what intentions or reactions their characters have.
Based on the success or failure of the roll the Storyteller will provide a glimpse at the future based on those actions. Depending on the success or the number of variables at play the resulting glimpse may be a clear line of actions and reactions, “future memories” of events leading to the chosen time, or they may be foggy and unclear, a snippet of a moment or scene in the future without the full understanding of what led to it. The Kaeki gets a sense of conversations, and maybe a few key phrases, but not the whole conversation. Prognostication tends to produce impressions and broad strokes with a few details; it rarely produces a full transcript of future events.
If the roll is a failure but above the complication threshold the Kaeki gains no insight into the future. If the role is a failure but lies within the complication threshold the Kaeki takes 3 stress and reflexively turns off their diascience in order to maintain their sanity in the face of dark intellects lurking in the seams of time and space. The Kaeki cannot use any Kaeki ability for the remainder of the scene and they may be plagued by darker consequences at the storyteller’s discretion.
Note that while the future events have a certain gravity about them, and this skill represents the Kaeki’s ability to see through their own knowing influence on the future, sometimes the subconscious influence of knowledge gathered from this ability can alter a character’s behaviour sufficiently to alter the predicted path of events. Telling others is even more likely to alter the original prediction moot. Prognostication is also centered on the experience of the Kaeki and reveals events based on the Kaeki’s intended actions and from their own perspective; it cannot be used to predict other people’s futures. For that the Kaeki must use the Augury ability.
- Tovensis the Kaeki, with only a single level in Prognostication, meditates for 10 seconds on her intent to aggressively challenge a corrupt Ossandrian Senator in public. She succeeds in her prognostication check and peers forward to a moment an hour ahead and perceives herself in a dingy underground chamber; it appears her aggressive approach to the conversation with the Senator will lead to her imprisonment and she instead chooses an alternate approach.
- Isirin, with level four prognostication intends to make a long journey on unfamiliar roads. She’s wants to get a sense of the dangers before her and makes a Prognostication check, spending a day before her journey meditating on the future. She sees a future where her horse throws a shoe on the road and, as a result, she is left helpless during an attack by bandits. This information leads her to have her horse reshod, and she plots an alternate path, thereby avoiding the conflict entirely.
- The ancient Kaeki, Sinta, may have mastered the art of prognostication but is not immune to its dangers. He has taken on a new apprentice and wishes to see what the future holds for him if he continues to train him. He reaches out with his perception and his player rolls a critical failure, and is overwhelmed and blinded by his diascience, drawing the attention of darker entities not only to Sinta but also to his apprentice…
The future is highly variable and divergent, dependent on a vast array of actions and interactions. This makes discerning the future in general a difficult task, an act of sifting through hundreds, thousands, or even millions of potentialities in order to find the most likely of them. Seeing into the future of others is a particularly difficult task but, using the Augur ability, a Kaeki can get a limited glimpse of the most immutable aspects of another person’s future. Doing so requires the character to focus on a specific individual, entering a meditative state as they do so. The Kaeki peers forward in time and takes an amount of stress equal to the level of the ability being used and the player rolls an Intuition + Observation + Augur with success based on the Prognostication chart. If successful, for each level in this ability the Kaeki can ask one yes or no question about the individual’s future. If the roll is a failure but above the complication threshold the Kaeki gains no insight into the individuals future. If the role is a failure but lies within the complication threshold the Kaeki takes 3 stress and reflexively turns off their diascience in order to maintain their sanity in the face of dark intellects lurking on the periphery of timespace. The Kaeki cannot use any Kaeki ability for the remainder of the scene and they may be plagued by darker consequences at the storyteller’s discretion.
Examples: Isirin wishes to know about her companion Nashak’s future. She uses her level two Augur ability to ask two questions. The first is “Will Nashak survive the sickness that plagues him?” and the second is “Will he harm me if I oppose him?”. She receives answers for both. If she had asked “Where will Nashak go?” or “How badly injured is Nashak?” she would see no clear answer.
The Kaeki can observe the history of an object or location by perceiving it directly with their diascience. They must be in direct contact with the object or location to use this ability. The Kaeki can roll an Intuition + Observation + Psychomety at a difficulty of 16 to learn one piece of information about the object or location’s history. The greater the success the more important the information the Kaeki learns. This ability cots 3 stress to use.
- Isirin stumbles upon a strange metal statue while exploring an abandoned outpost. She presses her palm against the cool metal and her player rolls her Psychometry. On a roll of 17 she understands that the ancient metal statue is a depiction of a great conqueror who united tribes and mastered beasts, while a 20 also reveals that it was crafted from melted blades of the conquerors enemies and is of great spiritual importance even in the modern day. A roll of 23 reveals the former results and also that every lunar conjunction a dark cult gathers around the statue to sacrifice its victims.
- Sinta finds a masterwork dagger in market and holds it in his hands and his player rolls his Psychometry, trying to learn the history of the blade. On a roll of 17 he learns that the blade was stolen and sold to this vendor by thieves, while on a 20 he learns that the blades previous owner was a warlord of skill and wealth who Sinta knows died recently. A roll of 23 reveals all the former results as well as the fact that this blade was the weapon used to kill the warlord and was wielded by his own son in the act.
With training and practice a Kaeki can learn to extend their diascience beyond their immediate surroundings and to distant places. By focusing on a place they have visited before, or an object they are familiar with, their awareness of the world immediately around them fades and they instead perceive the remote location, observing it as if they were present.
|Rank||Distance of Farsight|
Once per day per level in the ability the Kaeki can roll an Intuition + Observation + Farsight. They must exceed a difficulty of 18 to establish a view of a distant location they have only visited, but the difficulty is reduced by 3 if the location has an object the Kaeki has attuned themselves to (see Farsight Attunement and Foci below). This remote perception lasts for a number of hours equal to the ability level multiplied by two. The distance that perception can be extended is defined below and while the Kaeki can perceive the distant locale they are unable to interact with it in any way directly.
Farsight Attunement and Foci: Most Kaeki find it far easier to focus on a specific object rather than a locale and learn to attune their senses to specific items known as Foci. A Foci can be virtually anything; a simple coin, a set of bone dice, a statue, even an animal or person. To attune a Foci the Kaeki must spend 3 stress and at least one hour focusing on the item or entity. At the end of the hour the Foci is considered attuned and any attempts to use Farsight on it are made at a difficulty of 15. A Kaeki can maintain a number of Foci equal to their level in the Farsight ability. A Foci has the added benefit of allowing the Kaeki to view places typically beyond sight such as Shaper Sanctums; this cannot typically be done with unaided Farsight.
The Kaeki has learned how to follow the path of probability to their advantage, altering the chances of a non-contested action succeeding or failing by making the right gesture, speaking the right word, or waiting for just for the right moment. For each level in this ability the Kaeki can shift the difficulty of a non-contested roll by one point in either direction. A positive shift is called an Advantage and a negative shift is called an Impediment. This ability does not have a stress cost but can only be used once per game and cannot be used in conjunction with other Kaeki abilities.
- Tovensis with level two probable path, is running from an angry mob and sees a barge passing under the bridge she is currently fleeing over. She wants to jump to the barge to make a getaway but the barge is moving fast and Tovensis is not precisely a skilled athlete. Using her Probable Path ability as an Advantage Tovensis is able to spot the best place to jump from, and the precise time to do so to maximize her success, reducing the difficulty of the roll by 2.
- Alternately, with amob close behind, Tovensis spots two men preparing to make a difficult jump. Tovensis could use Probable Path as an Impediment, throwing a rotten apple from the barge, aiming near the men, not with any intent to hit them, but timed just so to distract them during their jump, increasing the difficulty by 2. The men fall into the murky water and the barge floats away with Tovensis none the worse for wear.
Skein of Causality
With this ability the Kaeki has learned to perceive the most immediate chains of causality with great detail, allowing them to know the exact right time to act to maximize the chances of success. The Kaeki can add their rank in Skein of Causality to one subsequent non combat roll of any type made within 1 minute. This ability costs 2 stress to use.
The Kaeki has learned to perceive not just a person but also their past. The Kaeki can roll an Intuition + Observation + Echoes at a difficulty of 16 to learn one piece of information about the targets history. The greater the success the more important the information the Kaeki learns. A roll of 17 might reveal that the individual has come from humble roots to their station, while a 20 might reveal that they cheated and lied their way to get there and a 23 reveals who they cheated and lied too. This ability costs 2 stress to use.
Kaeki perception of individuals is difficult to convey to non-Kaeki. A person is not just a physical body to a Seer, but instead a woven pattern of both physical and mental traits. Among this weave, some Kaeki have learned to perceive the shadow of intrinsic nature; a motivating emotion or trait that is integral to a person’s being. The Kaeki can focus on an individual and roll an Intuition + Observation + Shadows at a difficulty of 16 to learn something about the target’s true nature. The Kaeki gains a bonus to all social challenges with that character equal to the ability rank for a duration equal to the ability rank in hours. This ability costs 2 stress to use and can only be attempted on a given character once per day.
Isirin wishes to know the nature of the venomous old steward she is sharing a table with. She already knows his past from viewing his echo, but now she wants to know what drives him. She rolls a success and perceives the oily and combustible fear and razor wire loyalty at his heart, and gains a bonus to all social rolls with the character for the remainder of the conversation. She cannot use this ability on him again until a day has passed.
Like the Tamaa, Kaeki can learn to read the ebb and flow of emotions an individual is experiencing, gaining a direct sense of their current mood, even if well hidden. The Kaeki can focus on an individual and roll an Intuition + Observation + Empathy at a difficulty of 14 to learn something about the target’s current emotional state, from angry or scared, to friendly or uncertain. This ability costs 1 stress to use.
The Kaeki can use their Diascience to discern the relationships between individuals, the threads of both blood and emotion which bind people together. Using this ability the Kaeki can focus on an pair of individuals and roll an Intuition + Observation + Connections at a difficulty of 16 to learn something about the relationship between the two. This ability costs 1 stress to use.
The Kaeki can use their diascience to examine the hue and tone of a statement and its speaker and discern whether they are being honest. This does not determine the objective truth of the statement, only whether the character believes it. For example, a rabid cultist may truly believe that the Ayr are working through them, but if he says that he has spoken to them it would be a visible lie to the Kaeki. This ability costs 2 stress to use.
The way Kaeki see the world is so alien to the manner in which most sapients view it that gaining a glimpse is stressful and paralyzing. With this ability the Kaeki can temporarily “gift” their sight on another individual by touching them. For an unwilling target the Kaeki must make an opposed Grace + Athletics check, but once contact is made the target is rendered paralyzed as their normal senses are crushed by the celestial weight of the Kaeki’s perception. The target takes 5 unsoakable stress and remains paralyzed as long as the Kaeki maintains contact to a maximum number of rounds equal to the Kaeki’s rank in this ability. This ability costs 3 stress to use and cannot be reused on the same target for at least one day. Since the Kaeki must touch the target directly it does not generally work against Heliar or individuals fully clad in Warsuits.
The Kaeki can perceive the active ill intent of anything nearby and is able to respond preemptively to their actions. They gain a bonus to the first action they take in response to surprise attacks equal to their rank in this ability. This ability is reflexive but does cost 1 stress to use.
Kala is entering a busy marketplace in a dangerous city controlled by his enemies. When a group of Kertsu bloodletters spot him in the crowd and begin moving towards him with violence on their minds he is well aware. When the first bloodletter approaches from behind, drawing his blade to gut his target, Kala acts , taking a point of stress but gaining a bonus to his pre-emptive attack. This act of violence gets the attention of others though and suddenly Kala’s malicience signals far more hostile enemies lurking in the crowd.
By focusing their diascience just the right way the Kaeki can sense the presence of other thinking beings in a certain proximity, ignoring stealth or obfuscation. The Kaeki can use this to sense to assess the number and location of any entities with an Intellect score within the given distance. Unlike malicience this ability does not depend on the intent of the enemy and can be used to find those who are hiding or otherwise obscured. This ability costs 2 stress to activate and lasts for 10 minutes per rank and extends to a distance of 10 meters per rank.
Walking at the Edges
Kaeki know better than anyone else how to avoid the diascience of other Kaeki. Using this ability a Kaeki can spend 5 stress to hide from the view of another Kaeki by choosing a path that carries them through unseen cover and hidden blindspots. See the table below for the duration of the ability based on the rank.
By peering briefly into the weave of possible futures the Kaeki can make a perfectly timed melee attack, bypassing an enemies defenses for one round. The Kaeki gains a single melee attack which the enemy cannot defend against. This attack is not rolled and only does the base weapon damage but the more practiced this ability the greater the damage the Kaeki can do. For each rank in this ability the Kaeki can apply one bonus damage to their attack. This ability costs 2 stress to use.
By peering briefly into the weave of possible futures the Kaeki can time their defense to avoid even the most skillful attack. The Kaeki gains a single melee defense which the enemy cannot overcome. No roll is necessary. This ability can be used a number of times per round equal to its rank, and costs 2 stress to use.
Ranged weapons can be particularly deadly when paired with Kaeki diascience. Even skilled soldiers are not safe from an individual who can perceive exactly where they are heading, where shrapnel might ricochet behind cover, and how to arc an arrow for maximum effect. Taking this ability removes any penalty for visibility normally applied to ranged combat as the Kaeki learns to perceive through the chaotic haze of combat to their target. For each additional rank taken the Kaeki can ignore one alternate ranged weapon consideration from the following list: Character Movement, Target Movement, Target Cover, or Weapon Quality. The Kaeki can only ignore one consideration at a time and cannot combine them. This ability costs 1 stress to use.
Kaeki are dangerous opponents, but never more so than when they have others working with them. Using this ability allows a Kaeki to make a plan of attack for an upcoming battle they are aware of. This plan can involve a number of individuals equal to the rank of this ability +1. By playing to their strengths and giving them direction on the flow of battle, all members of this plan gain a bonus to initiative equal to the ability rank and the first attack of all members gains the highest attack bonus among them all. This ability costs 1 stress to use, can only be used once per day, and the bonus only applies for the first action in battle; by interceding in the natural flow of events the Kaeki disrupts all future actions; not even Kaeki plans survive contact with the enemy.
Kala, Jin, and Maghnus are about to enter a warehouse held by their enemies. Kala takes a moment to devise a plan. With a rank 2 in this ability he is able to grant all three characters a bonus to initiative of +2 and since Jin has the highest attack bonus of the group, all three use his attack bonus for the first attack, allowing them to launch a devastating attack against their foes.
A curious ability with an unclear connection to their diascience, Kaeki who become anchored can create an area around them that nullifies arcane phenomena, causing Arcana to fail and affecting abilities which rely on arcane or ethereal connections. Using this ability the Kaeki can reflexively challenge any arcane ability activated within their perception, forcing the user to roll an opposed Will + Core Trait + Ability level vs. the Kaeki’s Will + Diascience + Anchored ability. If the target wins they are able to use their arcane feature normally, but if they fail they expend any stress needed to activate the ability which automatically fails and cannot be reused for a number of hours equal to the Kaeki’s rank in Anchored. This ability costs 3 stress to activate.
Kaeki diascience grants a natural advantage when discerning the traits of others allowing one to recognize the species, calling, and culture of others. The Kaeki can use this ability focus on an individual and roll an Intuition + Observation + Recognition at a difficulty of 16. If they are successful they learn the targets calling, species, and cultural origin. This ability reveals the true form of a creature, seeing through illusions and disguises and can identify Heliar, Oneiri, and even identify Shifters who have become permanently locked in an alternate form. This ability costs 2 stress to use.
The Kaeki is able to reveal some portion of their memories to another by touching them. Precisely which memories are revealed is up to the Kaeki but they cannot alter the memories in any fundamental way though they can omit certain memories if they are distinct, deriving from a different time or place. This ability costs 3 stress to use.
The Kaeki is able to place a mark on an individual with a touch. This mark acts as a beacon in the diascience of any Kaeki. The distance at which this mark can be perceived is determined by the level of the mark (1km, 10km, 100km, 1000km, anywhere). If the marked dies the Kaeki knows but the mark itself remains as long as sufficient effort is put into maintaining it.
Each mark costs 3 stress to apply and an additional 1 stress per day to maintain.
One of the greater ironies of Kaeki diascience is that it grants them a deep understanding of the Lingua Arcana despite their inability to use it. Kaeki naturally perceive the world in a way that takes Linguists centuries of study and practice just to glimpse briefly. This ability has several effects.
- Gift of Experience: The Kaeki can sacrifice their experience to give to another. The result of this tutelage is that the Kaeki is forever able to locate and recognize their student and the residuum of their powers.
- Gift of Guidance: As long as the Kaeki is tutoring a Linguist and aiding them in their endeavours, the difficulty for extended arcane checks such as crafting Shaper sigils and learning new Shifter forms is reduced by 1/2.
- Gift of Clarity: The Kaeki can reduce the difficulty of Shifter form acquisition rolls by their rank in this ability.
- Gift of Return: If the Kaeki succeeds in a Recognition check to identify a trapped Shifter they can use this ability to help the Shifter retry their shift and they gain they a bonus to their Will + Morpheme + Shifting roll equal to the Kaeki’s rank in this ability.
Note that the Kaeki can only use these abilities on a number of individuals equal to their core Diascience. This ability is likely the origin for the concept that Kaeki were either the origin of the Lingua Arcana or granted a celestial gift to aid the first Linguists.
Not all voices can be heard. Some can only be perceived by the Kaeki. These sussurant whispers and hidden glyphs linger in the liminal places of the world; empty marketplaces and warehouses, deep forests, and dark hovels. For most Kaeki they are meaningless noise, an uncomfortable reality of supernal perception, but some Kaeki who refine this ability have found meaning in the whispers. Once per week, the Kaeki can use this ability to request aid from the voices by making an Inutition + Observation + Spectral Voices roll with a difficulty of 18. If they are successful the Kaeki can choose one of the following effects:
- Become hidden once more from the gaze of the Lurkers in the Dark
- Go without sleep for a number of weeks equal to their level in Spectral Voices
- Go without food or water for a number of weeks equal to their level in Spectral Voices
- Gain a temporary stress soak bonus equal to their level in Spectral voices.
- Regain all stress
- Gain a piece of insight from the Storyteller
(Prerequisite: Will 3, Diascience 2)
Some who are about to die report that ‘their life flashes before their eyes’. This response is often attributed to the brain attempting to search all of an individuals past experiences to find something which will save their life. Certain Kaeki demonstrate a similar ability, filtered through their diascience. In the proximity of their own death they reflexively search all possible futures to find just the right path to walk to get them out of impossible odds. Use of this ability comes at some cost to the Kaeki; each time it is invoked the Kaeki depletes their entire stress pool and loses a point of Diascience. Any ability for which the Diascience prerequisite is no longer met cannot be used until the diascience is brought back up to the required level.