Sand and Dreams V: Barakah Powers: Deception, Beguilement, Shapeshifting, and Movement

In the first article of Barakah powers, we covered those related to fire, sand, heat, weather, and so on. The second article dealt with resistance, sensitivity, intuition, information, and prophecy. This time we’re covering such things as shape-shifting, beguilement, deception, transportation and movement… and a few little extras here and there. As usual, we may come back and add more powers later!

Deception and Beguilement

Advisor

The Barakah uses this power to convince someone that she is his loyal advisor, helper, partner, employee, or ally. For the duration of this power’s effects the subject will believe that the Barakah is acting in his best interest, as long as she does not blatantly contradict that impression. Before the Barakah may use this power upon someone she must use the power “Confidant” on him successfully–and she must be convincing enough that even after the effect ends, he still believes her to be trustworthy. Then, within 24-48 hours after Confidant’s effects end, she must activate this power on him. This power may only be used on one person at a time.

Confidant

Within a short period of time the Barakah can make her target feel as if she is his close friend and confidant. This won’t necessarily cause him to tell her his greatest secrets, but it can help her stay close to him, give a bonus in attempts to seduce him, lie to him, or convince him of things, and so on. However, if her behavior in any way falls short of the image this power projects during this time, then he could end up feeling betrayed and angry when the power wears off and he realizes that he has been duped in some way. The Barakah must spend at least one hour in close conversation with the target before she can activate this power. If she uses this repeatedly on the same person, it will become less effective each time. However, if her long-term behavior backs up the image projected by this power, it could help her to develop a longer-term good relationship with the person.

Desert Gold

When the Barakah casts this effect on cash, it causes the cash to seem as though it is of a higher denomination than it is (if your system gives a degree of success, then that indicates how much the denomination increases). The cash will remain that denomination until the 24 hours is up, at which time it will turn to sand — whether or not the Barakah has spent it.

Desired Answer

At any time during the duration of this power, the Barakah may choose to focus its effects on the answer to any one question that is asked of her. When she answers that question, the person who asked it will hear her say whatever it is that he most wants to hear from her. (She will know what it is that he heard, but anyone else listening in or listening to a recording or surveillance of the conversation will hear the normal answer that she gave.) Note that if he most wants her to incriminate herself, that’s what he’ll hear — it’s a subjective thing on the part of the target.

Easy Lie

This power gives the Barakah a decent bonus when attempting to lie convincingly by helping to erase the usual “tells” (bits of body language) that give away lies.

I Belong Here

The Barakah uses this power to make one person or item unlikely to attract attention. Anyone who would otherwise notice the item or person in question will tend to find his attention diverted to other, “more important” things. The person or item will seem innocuous or unimportant, or will seem to blend in with his or its surroundings. This simply makes it somewhat less likely that people will realize that the person or item is out of place (any check to realize such is made a bit more difficult, and anyone who would otherwise notice automatically now must make a check), so it helps to take other, more mundane measures, as well. If, for example, the person puts on the uniform of a prison guard, then that will increase his chances of being able to walk into a prison without getting noticed. If the Barakah puts the huge diamond into a box before activating this power on it, it will be less likely to be discovered.

Illusion of Wealth I

This power causes the Barakah to look wealthy. Her clothing appears to be made by the most expensive designers. Any jewelry she wears or items she carries appear to be of the best design and quality. She appears well-fed and -groomed. Any item (that belongs to her) that she puts in a pocket or on her person while she is alone will be affected by this power, for the duration of the power. Any item that she removes from her person will immediately revert to its original form, no matter who is looking. Note that items will not behave any better–a cheap PDA won’t suddenly develop the latest features, even if it now looks like the newest model. Anything that leaves the Barakah’s person is no longer affected by this power.

Illusion of Wealth II

This power causes the Barakah to look wealthy. Her clothing appears to be made by the most expensive designers. Any jewelry she wears or items she carries appear to be of the best design and quality. She appears well-fed and -groomed. Any item (that belongs to her) that she puts in a pocket or on her person while she is alone will be affected by this power, for the duration of the power. Any item that ceases to belong to her (through theft, sale, barter, gift, etc.) will immediately revert to its original form, no matter who is looking. At the GM’s discretion, items may behave as their illusory, better selves — a fancy coat might keep the rain off even if the real coat has holes. A PDA might be able to temporarily use wireless capabilities that it doesn’t normally have to search for information on the web, although when it reverts, that information won’t be stored in it.

Illusion of Wealth III

Same as II, except the illusion on an item doesn’t fade until the general effect ends, even if the item leaves the Barakah’s possession.

Pretty Face

The Barakah appears to be somewhat more attractive in whatever manner her target would find pleasing. This power does not disguise her identity–it simply emphasizes certain features over others or slightly alters the target’s perceptions of them. This gives her a small bonus to any attempts to convince, seduce, remain close to (etc.) this person.

Spirit Voice

The Barakah uses this power to make her voice sound pleasing to the ear, giving her a small bonus in relevant social situations.

Star of the Party

When the Barakah uses this power in social situations she will always be the life of the party, and she’ll know how to handle almost anyone. It will give her a greater understanding of the people around her and how to talk to them so that they’ll like what she says. It lends an empathic ability to anticipate conversational responses and points that will most set people at ease, make them happy, or convince them of things. It also helps to make the Barakah more charming and convincing. In other words, it gives her a heavy bonus to any social checks, as well as a heavy bonus to any attempts to anticipate what it would be best to say or do in any social situation. If she concentrates on one or two people this can, over time, give her greater insight into them.

Shape-Shifting and Appearances

Djinn Form

The Barakah can take on the form of a djinn. This form will be unique to that Barakah, just as her normal form is.

Empty Air I

The Barakah can become invisible. (If a measure of success is being used, then the more successful she is, the harder it is for anyone looking for her to find her. Low success would hide her from the eyes of people who aren’t looking all that hard. A little more success would hide her from pursuers. Greater success would hide her from monitoring devices, security cameras, etc. A critical success could baffle even magical means of detection.) The Barakah must remain still and silent for this ability to work.

Empty Air II

The Barakah can become invisible. If a measure of success is being used, then the more successful she is, the harder it is for anyone looking for her to find her. Low success would hide her from the eyes of people who aren’t looking all that hard. A little more success would hide her from pursuers. Greater success would hide her from monitoring devices, security cameras, etc. A critical success could baffle even magical means of detection. She can move around and make noise as long as she moves slowly and carefully, and keeps the noise to a minimum. The more of an effect she has on her environment, the more likely she is to be noticed.

Mark

The Barakah uses this power to temporarily give herself (or someone else) a tattoo, scar, or birth mark of her choice. (If your game system provides a measure of success, then it determines how precisely she can create the image she wants.)

Pretty Face

The Barakah appears to be somewhat more attractivein whatever manner her target would find pleasing. This power does not disguise her identity — it simply emphasizes certain features over others or slightly alters the target’s perceptions of them. This gives her a small bonus to any attempts to convince, seduce, remain close to (etc.) this person.

Shapechange I

The Barakah uses this power to make herself look like an animal. However, she will have some difficulty retaining her ability to remember and reason. She does not gain any special attacks or abilities (such as claws, flight, and poison), and her physical statistics will only change by a small amount.

Shapechange II

The Barakah uses this power to shape herself into any real animal. She retains her sense of self, but she also gains some of the instincts of her animal form, as well as special attacks and abilities. (It can take a little time to get the hang of complicated or unusual things such as flight, however.)

Small Changes

The Barakah can change one physical detail of her appearance — eye color, hair color, the shape of her nose or mouth, skin color, etc.

A Whole New Look I

The Barakah uses this power to make herself look like a totally different person; the effects are largely random–she has no control over what she looks like. The effects are cosmetic only and will have no effect on the Barakah’s physical statistics (other than any appearance-based stats). This ability does not alter clothing to fit; the Barakah must solve that problem on her own.

A Whole New Look II

The Barakah uses this power to make herself look like a totally different person. Unlike version I, she has a great deal of control over the results, although not enough to precisely duplicate someone else’s appearance. The effects are cosmetic only and have no effect on the Barakah’s physical statistics (other than any appearance-based stat). This ability does not alter clothing to fit–the Barakah must solve that problem on her own.

A Whole New Look III

The Barakah uses this power to make herself look like a totally different person. Unlike version II, she can precisely duplicate someone else’s appearance, and change her physical statistics to a moderate degree. This ability even alters clothing to fit.

Movement and Transportation

Destination

By using this power the Barakah can find her way to any destination within 50 miles, as long as she has some sort of idea of where she’s going (a street address, a good description of the house or neighborhood, an item specifically linked to that location, etc.).

Greater Fire Portal I

If the Barakah can concentrate for one full minute, then she can teleport to any place within a one-mile radius with which she is familiar (she must be able to clearly envision the location). A roughly closet-sized portal rimmed in fire and filled with darkness opens, and closes after two people (any two people, or the mass equivalent of two people) have gone through. Teleportation is a tricky thing, and open to all sorts of dangers and problems. If the Barakah can find a way to view the location before teleporting, she can eliminate many of the dangers associated with teleportation. Note: The teleportation effect might look different depending on the Barakah using it. One person might have the above-described “fiery portal” effect. Another might simply shimmer into nonexistence in a heat-haze.

Greater Fire Portal II

As GFPI, but she can also teleport to any location clearly visible from her current location. She also must only briefly gather her thoughts rather than needing one full minute to concentrate, but she cannot activate this during combat.

Home Route

By using this power the Barakah can always find her way home, no matter where she is, as long as her home is within 50 miles. If her home is farther away than that, this power will give her a simple directional hunch (as the crow flies–it won’t take possible routes into account).

Lesser Fire Portal I

If the Barakah can concentrate for one full minute then she can teleport to any place within a one-mile radius with which she is familiar (she must be able to envision the location very clearly). Anyone nearby sees a fiery portal sized to the Barakah’s body open around her, wash over her, and close up. Teleportation is a tricky thing, and open to all sorts of dangers and problems. If she can find a way to view the location before teleporting, she can eliminate many of the dangers associated with teleportation. Note: The teleportation effect might look different depending on the Barakah using it. One person might have the above-described “fiery portal” effect. Another might simply shimmer into nonexistence in a heat-haze.

Lesser Fire Portal II

As version I, but the Barakah only needs a brief moment to gather her thoughts (not a full minute), and can teleport to any location within a one-mile radius with which she is familiar or any place she can see clearly from her current location. This power cannot be activated during combat.

Lesser Fire Portal III

As II, but the Barakah can activate it at any time, and the location must be within 10 miles.

Lost Child

By using this power the Barakah can find her way to any specific person within 50 miles, as long as she is familiar with that person. She might be personally familiar with the person, or familiar through speaking with relatives, seeing photographs, reading the person’s writings, etc. Simply meeting the person for a few moments isn’t enough–the Barakah must feel as though she knows the person. If the person is in some way protected from magical means of location or surveillance, then this effect should still bring the Barakah to the target’s general area. If the Barakah has been fed incorrect or misleading information about the person, or known only the public persona of someone who is very different underneath, then this effect is unlikely to work.

Shortcut

This power helps the Barakah to pick the best route to get her where she’s going as quickly as possible, as long as her destination is within one mile. She does not need to be familiar with the area and have some idea of where she’s going and how to get there, however rudimentary.

Travel Curse

This power helps to keep a group of people from getting where they’re going (intact, anyway). Every traffic light turns red just before they reach it. They hit every speed trap along the way. They become accident-prone and always seem to cut in front of people prone to road rage. They miss shortcuts and get hopelessly lost. They always end up on the slowest means of transport–their car breaks down or develops problems, they get onto a bus that has to stop because of a medical emergency, etc. They stumble into natural disasters (floods, avalanches, etc.), and the weather sucks. The members of the group will almost inevitably become separated. If anyone has set an ambush or trap for them, they’ll stumble right into it. And there’s never a parking space to be found.

Travel Luck

This power helps a group of people to get where they’re going — Traffic lights will go their way. Authorities won’t notice them speeding. They’re unlikely to get into accidents or cross anyone prone to road rage. They’ll stumble into shortcuts and faster means of transport; their current means of transport will run more efficiently. The weather is perfect, or perfect for covering their tracks. If the members of the group are separated, they’ll find their way back together again. They’re even likely to avoid or miss ambushes and traps, and there’s always a parking space available.

Walk in Silence

The Barakah uses this power to silence her steps, even in naturally noisy circumstances (walking through water or dried leaves, etc.).

Whirlwind

The Barakah calls up a whirlwind that transports her to her destination. While she rides the whirlwind she cannot be seen; it is as though she is a part of the air itself. She cannot easily concentrate on anything going on around her; she hears only very loud noises and sees only a vague impression of activity (enough to recognize where she is and perhaps who’s there). She also cannot take any actions other than guiding her path. As soon asshe stops the effect ends. She cannot pass through solid objects; she must go around them. She can travel at speeds up to 100 miles an hour. She must concentrate for one minute to activate this power.

Miscellaneous

Barakah’s Curse

The Barakah can use this power to curse someone who has wronged her or someone/something she cares about. The curse must be spoken out loud and directly to the target’s face or to an effigy made to represent the target (in the latter case, the Barakah must have clothing or hair, etc. that belonged to the person). It can be fairly specific, although how directly the effects match the spoken curse is at the GM’s discretion. It can also be vaguely worded, giving the GM room to work out the effects with or without input from the player. As with most powers, the Barakah can choose to end the effects before the duration is over. She can also choose to work an end condition directly into the curse she speaks (such as, “this curse will end as soon as you have made full restitution to the widow Jameson”), in which case the curse will end as soon as the condition has been met. If this happens, the Barakah will feel it when the curse ends. The curse can only be used on one target at a time.

Just Payment

The Barakah activates this power on a form of payment which she is giving to someone (for goods, services, or whatever). The form of payment can be goods, cash, a check, signed credit card slip, money order, etc. The power must finish its work within 24 hours, so she must give the payment to the person fairly quickly. After she gives it to the person, the effect will devalue anything else that the payment is placed near. For example, if the person places it in his wallet, the other bills in that wallet might change to lower denominations, or credit card credit limits could shrink. If he places the payment near expensive goods, those goods could develop flaws. And so on. These effects will happen within 24 hurs of when the power was used, and they are permanent. The effects are usualy somewhat subtle, although non-trivial. The Barakah can only use this power on someone whom she honestly believes deserves its effects.

Null Space

This power makes the Barakah and the area immediately around her (usually one room) nigh-impossible to spy on, scry, or view by electronic, magical, or other unusual means. Even if such surveillance should succeed, it is unlikely to yield good results (taped conversations will be mostly static, and so on). In addition, even normal observation by unfettered human (or other) senses will yield unhelpful results. (GM & player’s discretion — either the entire area can become blurred and quiet and thus difficult to view or hear from outside, or anyone trying to observe the area can develop eye or ear troubles, fall asleep, etc.).

Silence

The Barakah causes up to five people (or animals) to completely lose their voices for the duration of the effect. They cannot speak, scream, bark, growl, etc.

Silent Voice

The Barakah uses this power to put herself and up to four other people into telepathic contact for the duration of the effect. They cannot automatically hear each others’ thoughts; they must choose what to broadcast to each other. If any of the five leave a range of one mile they lose the connection, even if they subsequently return.

Surveillance Cloak

This power makes one room difficult to spy on, scry, or view by either electronic, magical, or other means. This does not make such observation impossible, but it does make it difficult and unlikely to yield good results.

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