16 March 2008

GURPS Divination: part 2

This week, I'm going to return to the GURPS Magic System for the Divination spell. If you need to review so you know what I'm talking about, you can read the original post. This week, I will detail those variations that involve telling the future by observing an event. We start with:

Alatimancy – This is one of three forms of divination involving salt. The first (alomancy) was detailed in the original post, and dealt with patterns in scattered salt. This variation is the reading of patterns formed in salt deposits left behind by the evaporation of salt water. It requires a special ceremonial bowl, and takes several hours (often a full day or more, if there is a large amount of water). The amount of water used depends on the nature of the question, as well as the level of detail desired. Prerequisites: 3 Water spells and 2 Earth spells.

Anthracomancy – The observation of burning coal. Any coal will do, so long as the spell is properly enacted before igniting the coal. The spell requires at least an hour of observation. The answers to the caster's question are obtained by watching the movement of the coal and the behaviour of the fire as it burns. Prerequisites: 5 Fire spells and 3 Earth spells.Capnomancy – Divination through the observation of smoke. Answers are revealed through watching the behaviour of the smoke as it rises from the fire, and through shapes seen in the smoke. Any fire will work, as long as it is outdoors. The spell takes ten minutes to cast, but is normally cast at -4 unless some sort of sacrifice is burned in the fire. A minor sacrifice (such as a loaf of bread) reduces the penalty to -2. A moderate sacrifice (such as an effigy that took time and care to create) will negate the penalty entirely. More substantial sacrifices (such as animals) will replace the penalty with a bonus, from +1 for a small, unimportant animal (like a sparrow) to +5 for a large and valuable animal (like a horse). Prerequisites: 5 Fire spells and 3 Air Spells.

Halomancy – The third and final divination involving salt, this is the act of throwing salt onto a fire and observing how it burns. Answers are revealed in the sounds and lights generated as the salt ignites. Casting takes 5 minutes. Prerequisites: 5 Fire spells and 5 Earth spells.

Lampadomancy – This is in essence a form of pyromancy, but whereas pyromancy uses a full flame, lampadomancy is based on the flame of a lantern or candle. Also, unlike Pyromancy (which involves staring into a fire until one sees visions or hears voices, Lampadomancy divines the future from the movement of the flame itself. Casting takes ten minutes. Prerequisites: 7 Fire Spells.

Lecanomancy – Divination by observing the ripples on the surface of water into which pebbles have been dropped. This requires a special ceremonial bowl and set of pebbles ($30). Casting takes five minutes. Prerequisites: 5 Water spells and 3 Earth Spells.

Sideromancy – This is the divination by burning straw. Normally, the straw is dropped onto a hot skillet, and will twist, blacken, and ignite, and the diviner receives his answers by observing these actions. If there is no skillet or other suitable surface available, the caster can cast the straw directly into a fire at -4 to skill. Prerequisites: 5 Plant spells and 4 Fire Spells.

Sycomancy – The name "Sycomancy" is derived from the Greek word "sukon," which means "fig." Originally, this form of divination was cast using fig leaves specifically, but it can be done with any leaves, or even with scraps of paper. In its purest form, the caster writes several possible answers to his question on a series of leaves, and the leaf that dries out first is the one that contains the correct answer. If using slips of paper, some other element must be introduced to replace the drying-out action; normally, this is done by rolling the papers and placing them in a sieve above steaming water, so that the first paper to unroll will reveal the answer. In any variation, one leaf (or paper) must be left blank. Watching leaves dry takes several days, but using papers and steam reduces the time to an hour. Prerequisites: 5 Plant Spells, 3 Water spells.

Ureamancy – Divination by observing fresh urine. Rather than scattering the urine (as in Urimancy), the urine itself is observed. Answers can be revealed in the colour, bubbles formed on the surface, and sometimes by taste. Casting takes 5 minutes (and someone who is currently capable of urinating, obviously—the urine can't be more than a few minutes old!). Prerequisites: 5 Water spells and 5 Body Control spells.

That will work for now. Join us again here next week, when we talk about something completely different. Until then, it is imperative that you remember to

Game on!

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