Sand and Dreams IV: Barakah Powers: Resistance, Information, Prophecy, and Awareness

In the last article of Barakah powers, we covered those related to fire, sand, heat, weather, and so on. This time we’re covering another handful of affinities and abilities. This second listing includes such things as intuition, invulnerability and resistance, sensitivity, prophecy and foretelling, information, and so on. Some powers may be appropriate to more than one category; we’ll pick the category that makes the most sense to us at the time. We may also add additional powers over time. (We’ve already added a few to the last listing.)

Overlap

Some powers here and there overlap, or do similar things in different ways. This is because different powers will be appropriate to different games and characters. Pick powers appropriate to your character’s nature, style and personality, or to your game master’s (GM’s) game. Since there will be a total of three of these articles, each one with a decent spread of abilities on each level, there should be plenty to choose from despite the bits of overlap.

Information-Based Abilities

Many of these powers provide information of one sort or another. In general, it tends to be more fun to find in-game ways of providing the information, rather than simply giving it to the player. This also allows the GM to provide information in ambiguous, symbolic, incomplete, or enigmatic terms, which feels less like “giving away the answers” and can lead to even more interesting plots. Here are some of the many forms that information gained through power-use might take. I’m sure there are more:

  • Visions–which, of course, can take many forms, from flashes of images to symbolic acts to full surround-sound three-dimensional affairs
  • Vague, incomplete feelings and hunches
  • An ordering of events around the Barakah: she might find that the words of a stranger have a certain resonance, or she keeps running into things that imply an answer to her question or remind her of something she’s forgotten
  • Messages from other people, entities, or spirits
  • Auditory hallucinations (hearing voices, etc.)
  • Visual hallucinations (seeing words and messages scrawled on walls)
  • Physical sensations
  • Smells

Automatic Activation of Powers (Optional)

In many genres, visions and prophecies are the sorts of things that come upon a person with no warning–they aren’t something a person chooses to have. If both GM and player are comfortable with this, such abilities can optionally be activated by the GM as well as by the player.

Spiritual Nature

Blight the Soul I

This power causes its target to become listless, distracted, and tired for its duration. This can cause a mild penalty to various actions, particularly physical actions and those requiring concentration. The target should not notice that the Barakah has done anything unusual to him, although he might get a slight chill when she touches him. This power can only be effective on one person at a time. Once that person has been released, the Barakah can use this power on someone else.

Blight the Soul II

This power causes its target to become listless, distracted, and tired for its duration. It also causes him to feel ill, as though he has some sort of wasting disease or bad flu. This can cause a reasonable penalty to various actions, particularly physical ones and those requiring concentration. It also causes him to take cumulative lethal damage each day, that cannot be healed until the effect ends. This power can only be effective on one person at a time. Once that person has been released, the Barakah can use this power on someone else.

Channel Nature

The Barakah use this power to put on a display of their Jinn heritage. For the duration of the effect a hot, sandy breeze swirls around the Barakah. Her eyes burn with fire, and she appears to be clothed in loose, flowing robes (or other clothing appropriate to her nature). Her skin is hot to the touch.

Chrysalis

This power wraps its target in a healing (and nigh-impenetrable) cocoon. It not only heals some amount of damage over the course of a week, but cleanses the body of toxins (although not disease) and heals deep injuries and damage (it cannot heal congenital defects, however). It may even lessen the effects of old injuries, such as scar tissue and lasting pain. (Some Barakah have tried to use the chrysalis specifically to heal old wounds; this meets with varying success.) While the subject is in the chrysalis she experiences a deep sleep from which almost nothing can wake her. Some emerge from this sleep with stories of prophetic dreams and occult visions. Even if the sleep doesn’t heal much actual damage in terms of hit points or health levels, the subject will be on the mend when she emerges. The chrysalis does not necessarily heal all wounds, but it does ensure that its subject is on the road to recovery. (If the wounds are not terrible, the subject may emerge early from the chrysalis.)

Command I

The Barakah must activate this power once for each command that she wishes to give. She uses it to give a single, simple command to a very minor spiritual entity. The target has one day to try to fulfill the task to the best of its ability (without harming itself); after 24 hours it will be freed from the compulsion to follow the order, whether or not it has fulfilled it.

Command II

The Barakah must activate this power once for each command that she wishes to give. She uses it to give a single, simple command to a low-powered spiritual entity. The entity has a certain amount of time to try to fulfill the task to the best of its ability (without harming itself); after that time it will be freed from the compulsion to follow the order, whether or not it has fulfilled it. Very minor entities (those that can be affected by Command I) will be affected by the command for up to one week. Other entities will only be affected by the command for up to one day.

Command III

The Barakah must activate this power once for each command that she wishes to give. She uses it to give a single, simple command to a spiritual entity. The entity has a certain amount of time to try to fulfill the task to the best of its ability; after that time it will be freed from the compulsion to follow the order, whether or not it has fulfilled it. Very minor entities (those that can be affected by Command I) will be affected by the command for up to one month. Low-powered entities (those that can be affected by Command II) will be affected by the command for up to one week. Entities of moderate power will be affected for up to one day. Very minor entities can be given orders that will cause them to come to harm; low- and moderate-powered entities are not required to do anything that would bring them to harm.

Dream Teacher

The Barakah uses this power before falling asleep to call upon a spiritual teacher who speaks with her in her dreams. The Barakah has no control over who or what her teacher is. This teacher might have very different ideas about what the Barakah should learn (and how she should learn it) than the Barakah does. Dream teachers may have their own agendas, and most of them will care more about teaching the Barakah how to find her own answers than simply teaching her the answers. These dreams can take disparate forms, from a classroom setting, to a teacher and pupil speaking of philosophy, to an entire shadow-play enacted for the dreamer’s edification. The teacher can teach practical skills, new powers, new ways of seeing the world, history, information, or just about anything the GM can imagine. It still takes time to learn things this way, particularly abilities. It can take many repeat nights of teaching (followed by daytime practice) before the Barakah can buy a new ability or power.

Entreaty

The Barakah activates this power and “prays” to a spirit or other such supernatural entity (GM’s discretion as to what is affected by this power and what isn’t). If the being is within range, it will hear the Barakah’s prayer and will feel favorably disposed toward helping her. This might mean that it is willing to grant her the favor she asks for, although it will probably bargain for further favors or payments in return (depending on its nature and its attitude toward her). The prayer takes roughly 15 minutes; the entity will come to find the Barkah and seal the bargain within one day at most. This power can not cause an enemy to set aside its hatred for the Barakah, although it might cause a mildly irritated entity to temporarily feel less annoyed. It can sometimes be used to gain an audience with an entity that would otherwise not be willing to see the character.

Partial Discorporation

The Barakah partially discorporates her body, becoming more spirit than flesh. This halves the damage that she takes. Any magical or enchanted weapons do normal damage to her, as do water and fire. While this power is in effect the Barakah looks mostly normal, although those with supernatural or unusual senses may realize that something about the way light hits her is slightly… off.

Spirit Pipes

The Barakah chants, drums, or plays a haunting tune on a musical instrument (pipes, flute, etc.). Up to eight targets who hear the sound will feel fear. At the GM’s discretion (and depending on their personalities) this might make them break and run, or it might give them a mild penalty to hit and damage anyone on the Barakah’s side. She must play her music for at least one full minute, and the effects will last for fifteen minutes (including the time that the music plays). The effect is stronger if the Barakah continues playing or chanting during the full 15 minutes.

Swift Steed

The Barakah uses this power on one riding animal. It allows that animal to run tirelessly and at twice normal speed for one day.

Wellspring of Energy

This power allows the Barakah to remain awake, aware, alert, and energetic for up to one week without sleep. If she ever rests and relaxes for more than fifteen minutes, the effect will end. She has a very difficult time regaining power during this time however, and as soon as the effect ends she will fall into an exhausted slumber and sleep for one-third the time that she spent awake and using this power. If she stayed awake for six days, then she will sleep for two days without waking. Almost nothing can awaken the Barakah during this time.

Winter Comfort I

The Barakah activates this power to make herself comfortable with respect to temperature. This can keep her from suffering from normal (non-magical) climatic cold-related damage and illness, such as frostbite.

Winter Comfort II

The Barakah activates this power to make up to five people feel comfortably warm. This can keep them from suffering from normal (non-magical) climatic cold-related damage and illness (such as frostbite).

Wraith Form I

For the duration of this effect, the Barakah becomes insubstantial and wraith-like. Others will see her only as a ghostly shadow, and she will see the real world only as a collection of shapes and shadows. She will not be able to identify people, read writing, and so on. She can use this ability to walk through solid objects such as walls, although they feel uncomfortable and may do a small amount of damage to her each time at the GM’s discretion (as do things such as knives, baseball bats, and bullets; this means that she’s harder to damage in this form, but not impossible). Water, however, is still just as solid and dangerous to the Barakah as usual, as is fire.

Wraith Form II

For the duration of this effect, the Barakah becomes insubstantial and wraith-like. Others will see her only as a ghostly shadow, but she will be able to see and understand most details of the real world (fine details such as handwriting and reading a person’s facial expression can be difficult, however). She can use this ability to walk through solid objects such as walls; although they feel uncomfortable, they do no damage to her. The only thing that can damage her while she is in this form is water or water-based magics. However, there is a greater danger associated with using this power. For every ten minutes that the Barakah spends this way, there is a cumulative 5% chance that she will forget who and what she is and wander off like a ghost (i.e., after 10 minutes the chance is 5%; after 20 minutes it’s 10%; after 30 minutes it’s 15%; after 40 minutes it’s 20%; roll the dice after every 10 minutes). If this happens, then when the effect ends she will have no memory of who or what she is, and it can take her up to a week to gradually regain her memories.

Gaining Information

Empathy

The Barakah uses this power to gain insight into one person’s emotions and feelings. For as long as she can engage her target in direct conversation (up to 15 minutes), she can feel the currents of that person’s emotions as they ebb and flow. She can try to direct the flow of conversation to gain insight into the person’s feelings on things. She will pick up on any strong emotions (including those sparked by things other than the direct conversation, such as memories that have been brought up by the conversation, or even the target’s noticing someone else who came into the room). It does not allow the Barakah to pick up on very subtle emotions, and mixed emotions can be confusing. (If the subject is deliberately trying to hide his feelings, then this ability gives the Barakah a reasonable bonus in the attempt to discern them.)

Gestalt Analysis

The Barakah activates this effect on up to five people (she must be one of the five, and she activates it by beginning the discussion). The group discusses every aspect of a particular conundrum, puzzle, or mystery. They bring up all known information, go over it with a fine-toothed comb, examine it, turn it over, and discuss it. This effect helps them to see things they might have missed, make inferences and connections they might not have thought to make, or notice gaps and inconsistencies they didn’t see before (it gives them a bonus on all such related checks, or allows the GM to give the players hints as they discuss the matter). It does not, however, give them any information they don’t already have. During this time if anyone interrupts them with an issue that is not related to the topic at hand, or attacks them, the effect immediately ends. If the effect is forcefully ended before one hour has passed, then there is a 50% chance that the Barakah will be able to use this power again on the same topic.

Images

The Barakah concentrates on some place to which she has been before (or people she has met) and receives a series of images regarding that place or those people. It might be what is happening there (or to them) at the moment, what will happen, or what has happened. (If some measure of success is provided by the game system, then it determines just how much control the Barakah has over what she sees. It can also determine how useful or clear the images are, although they tend to be much less ambiguous and symbolic in nature than those provided by the “Visions” power.)

Inner Form

When the Barakah activates this power, it causes another being’s true, inner form to briefly flicker to the surface. (Whether this is a metaphorical thing or something more practical depends on the game and the GM’s choice.)

Intuition

This power allows the Barakah to make one small leap of intuition regarding any one specific issue. Such leaps of intuition often give only part of an answer, or help to point the way toward something larger. If the GM believes that there is no leap of intuition to be made on that particular issue, then the Barakah receives no hunch. The more distant the subject (in time or space), the less information the Barakah is likely to divine. (If the system provides a measure of success, that should affect the amount, quality, and clarity of information given.) Can only be used once per day max. and once on any specific topic, question, or issue (GM’s discretion).

Mirror I

The Barakah causes a mirror (or mirror-like surface) to show her any one person or item with which she is familiar within one mile of her. The display will last for up to 15 minutes. The Barakah has little control over the display, and cannot move it or choose the angle of vision.

Mirror II

The Barakah causes a mirror (or mirror-like surface) to show her any one person or item with which she is familiar within one mile of her. The display will last for up to 15 minutes. The Barakah has some control over the display, and may change the angle or look at the people/place from different directions or at different levels of magnification. She may not, however, choose to move the display away from her chosen target(s).

Mirror III

The Barakah causes a mirror (or mirror-like surface) to show her a specific room (or small area) or follow up to five people at once. She must be aware of the existence of the place or person in order to bring up an image of them, and they must be within 10 miles of her. The display will last for up to 45 minutes, and the Barakah has a great deal of control over it. She can manipulate the display, even moving it from its original location to look at other people or places nearby. It moves slowly, however.

Spirit’s Eyes of Prophecy

The Barakah concentrates on one person or item (she must be able to see this person or item) and gives herself over to this power. Her eyes burn with fire as she speaks a prophecy regarding her target (it may not take more than five minutes to utter this prophecy). This prophecy will regard some of the events of the next months, usually (but not always) those of greatest import to the Barakah. It is unreliable as the future is not set in stone, and it is often couched in ambiguous or enigmatic terms.

Traces

The Barakah uses this power to see the traces of magics and powers that have been used to affect a person or item. (If some measure of success is being used, then the amount of information she can derive from this depends on how successful she is.)

Traces II

The Barakah uses this power to see the traces of magics and powers that have been used to affect a small area. (If some measure of success is being used, then the amount of information she can derive from this depends on how successful she is.)

Visions

The Barakah chooses a subject upon which she wishes to meditate. The subject must be within 10 miles of the Barakah and/or within the last 10 days (GM’s discretion). The Barakah activates this power by meditating for at least one hour, and has a vision of up to fifteen minutes in length that will give her information about her subject. If the subject is particularly complex, the vision could fade and die before it’s done.

Voice of Things to Come I

The Barakah activates this power and “foretells” one small event in the near future; it must be no more than one day distant and no less than one hour. (She chooses what she wishes to have happen and tries to make it happen by using this power.) The event cannot affect more than the area of a small room or up to five people, and can be no more than one mile distant from the Barakah’s current location. At the GM’s discretion that event will come to pass, although it may not take the exact form that the Barakah desires. The Barakah’s foretelling must be phrased in simple terms, take no more than one minute to speak, and sound like a prophecy — not a legal document. The more reasonable and likely the event, the greater the chance of success. The Barakah cannot use this power more than once per month. It also burns the Barakah’s throat and leaves her unable to speak for one day.

Voice of Things to Come II

The Barakah activates this power and “foretells” one event of moderate size and import in the near future; it must be no more than one week distant and no less than one day. (She chooses what she wishes to have happen and tries to make it happen by using this power.) This event cannot effect more than ten people and can happen no more than 100 miles distant from the Barakah’s current location. At the GM’s discretion, that event will come to pass, although it may not take the exact form that the Barakah desires. The Barakah’s foretelling must be phrased in simple terms, take no more than five minutes to speak, and sound like a prophecy–not a legal document. The more reasonable and likely the event, the greater the chance of success. The Barakah cannot use this power more than once per year. It also burns the Barakah’s throat and leaves her unable to speak for one week.

With Purpose

The Barakah can use this power to determine to what purpose an item has been put. If your system provides a measure of success, then that determines the amount and clarity of information divined.

Awareness

Anticipate Attack

This power gives the Barakah an ability to anticipate attacks (by split seconds) that are made on her. In mechanical terms, it gives her a small bonus to dodge (or parry) any incoming attack or damage-causing event (arrow, gunshot, sword-thrust, falling rocks, etc.). The effect lasts for up to three hours, but will end before that if the Barakah engages in a combat (simply being shot at or having rocks fall on her head doesn’t count); the effect ends when the combat is over.

Shiver of Magic I

If someone uses strong magics within the area of effect while this effect is active, the Barakah will sense it. She will feel the magic as a tension or a crackle in the air; the form this notice takes may be related to the type of magic used. She will have a general idea of its direction relevant to her and a rough idea of distance; she might also get an idea of just how strong the magics are. (In other words, the GM shouldn’t hand out numbers — he should try to describe the feeling the character gets such that she can infer information from it.)

Shiver of Magic II

The Barakah must activate this power while she is within line-of-sight of the center of the area the power will affect. However, once she has activated it she can go almost any distance from the area and still receive some amount of information from this effect. If someone activates any power (or casts any spell, etc.) within the area of effect, the Barakah will sense it. She will also have some idea of what was done and where. (However, the GM shouldn’t hand out numbers; he should try to describe the feeling or vision the character gets such that she can infer information from it.) Barakah typically use this power to keep tabs on whatever it is that they call home.

Spirit Sight I

The Barakah activates this power in order to see things that normal eyes cannot see. What this means depends on the type of game being played. She might be able to see traces of power around people with supernatural abilities, ghostly images of invisible creatures, geysers of energy at places of power, and so on. Perhaps this allows her to see auras or view the effects of spells upon people.

Spirit Sight II

As Spirit Sight I, but permanent in duration and constant in effect.

Warning I

This power gives its targets warning when the Barakah (and up to one other person–she must choose this person when she activates the power) is in imminent danger of some sort. The other person affected by this power must be within one mile of the Barakah. If the person leaves this range then he is no longer affected by this power, even if he subsequently returns. The warning generally takes the form of a hunch or intuition, but it can also be a vision, physical sensation, or other form of the GM’s choosing. (Usually each person receives warning of her own danger. A particularly stunning success, however, could indicate that each person knows when either one is in danger.)

Warning II

This power gives its targets warning when the Barakah (and up to four other people–she must choose them when she activates the power) is in imminent danger of some sort. The other people affected by this power must be within one mile of the Barakah. If any of them leave this range they are no longer affected by this power, even if they subsequently return. The warning generally takes the form of a hunch or intuition, but it can also be a vision or other form of the GM’s choosing. (Usually each person receives warning of her own danger. A particularly stunning success, however, could indicate that each person knows when any member of the group is in danger.)

Misdirection

Cloud the Mind I

The Barakah uses conversation to weave an explanation for why he is where he is not supposed to be (or why he is doing what he shouldn’t be doing, etc.). This power makes his target much more likely to believe him. When the effect wears off (after 15 minutes) the target is likely to realize that he’s been tricked in some way, but he will have difficulty remembering exactly what the Barakah looked like or what he was doing. If this power is used repeatedly on the same person it can cause psychological problems such as fugue states, violent outbursts, and temporary amnesia. The subject will also gradually become immune to its effects.

Cloud the Mind II

The Barakah clouds the minds of a group of people, making them much less likely to notice him or what he is doing. Even after the effect wears off they are unlikely to remember that he was there, or what he looked like (or what he was doing). If this power is used repeatedly on the same people it can cause psychological problems such as fugue states, violent outbursts, and temporary amnesia. They will also gradually become immune to its effects.

Resistances

Poison Resistance

For the duration of this power’s effects, poisons are not as effective on the Barakah or her target. (If there is any mechanic involved in the poison’s effects or the Barakah’s resistance–such as a saving throw or damage roll–then the GM gives the player a reasonable bonus on that roll. If no mechanic is involved, the GM simply reduces the effectiveness of the poison.)

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