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Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Arrows of Indra's Big RPGNow Comeback, Plus: Enlightenment Powers!

So I've been informed that since Arrows of Indra was recently relaunched by Bedrock Games (after Bedrock decided to switch to self-distribution of PDFs, forcing a clean sweep and reposting of all their PDFs on rpgnow), it has been doing very well indeed.  Part of what might be assisting that is the new lower price on the PDF, made possible due to Bedrock's savings from their new distribution.

It did so well it was briefly back on the top-20 list of "hot games" this month.  So, if you haven't picked up Arrows yet, please check it out on RPGnow!  Also, since we lost all the reviews, if you do pick it up and give it a read, please consider writing a small (or large) review for us!

Today I'll talk about Enlightenment powers.  This is the second half of the "magic system" of Arrows of Indra.
Priests and Siddhis (magicians) get a small list of pretty hefty spells they can use as part of their class skills; these are gained (potentially) at each level.  Some of them, particularly those on the advanced skills list, are quite powerful but they also require 'components' to use: a priest's Arcana skills are all done in ritual form and cannot be used, say, in the middle of combat.  A siddhi's powers mostly depend on the recitation of mantras or the use of mudras (gestures).  On the other hand, Enlightenment Powers are gained purely as a reflection of breakthroughs in the PC's spiritual consciousness, and can be used without the aid of any outside ceremony or aids.  It is assumed that these abilities are gained from all the time the PC spends in meditation/prayer/devotion/etc. during downtime between adventures.


(while the fighters and thieves are getting drunk on palm wine like suckers, the siddhi is tripping balls and having visions of Ganesh in his inner consciousness!)

In any case, what completes their set of magic are the Enlightenment powers, which characters begin to potentially gain from level 2 onward.  Each time a priest or siddhi goes up in level, they get to do a check to see if they've gained one or more enlightenment powers.  There are three ranks of enlightenment powers, and from 2nd level onward you get to check with each level gain for the chance to gain a rank 1 or rank 2 power, while from 5th level onward you get to also check for a rank 3 power.  The percentage chance of gaining a power starts out small, but goes up as the character advances in level. The chance is also modified by the character's main attribute (wisdom for priests, intelligence for siddhis), and the intelligence attribute determines the maximum number of powers of each rank that a character can have.

This method makes magic quite a bit less predictable than in standard D&D; since in most other old-school games you know exactly how many spells you'll be able to cast at level 3, say.  But in Arrows of Indra, a 3rd level human siddhi, depending on his choices or rolls for class skills and his rolls for enlightenment powers, could end up having as few as (very theoretically and extremely unlikely) 0 magical abilities (if he got only knowledge-type class skills and failed to get any enlightenment powers at level 2 or three) or as many as 7 abilities (if through extreme luck he got magical class skills every time he rolled on the class skill table and generated enlightenment powers every time he rolled; he'd end up having 3 class skill spells, 2 rank 1 enlightenment powers, and 2 rank 2 enlightenment powers).

Some enlightenment powers will be fairly familiar to OSR-gamers in their similarity to standard magic-user or cleric spells:

Rank 1
Aura of light:  The Pc creates an aura of illumination around him that provides light (equivalent to clear daylight) at a radius of 30 feet around him. It lasts for one hour or until the Pc wishes to stop the effect.

Rank 2
Curing Disease: By laying his hands on a single creature, the PC can cure that creature of any diseases, including magically-induced disease.  This power can cure the Rotting Curse. 

Rank 3:
Prana Arrows:  The PC using this power directs his own prana like a volley of arrows at his intended victims.  These arrows fly out striking truly against the particular victims he has chosen.  He can choose up to 6 victims, they must all be within 120 feet of the PC.  Each victim must make a saving throw versus magic or suffer 1d6 points of damage per level of the PC; even if they make their saving throw, they still suffer half damage.


Others, however, may seem less familiar:

Rank 1
Gaze of Insanity:  This power allows the PC to make a single creature go insane.  The intended victim must be within 30 feet of the PC, and must fail a saving throw versus magic for the power to take effect. The power cannot affect any creature that does not have a mind, nor can it affect Devas, Asuras, or the living dead.  The creature who fails becomes permanently insane (unless magically cured) and will act randomly as per the GM's direction (in a combat situation, there should be a roughly equal chance on any given round that the creature will attack an enemy, attack and ally, do nothing but babble incoherently, or run away screaming madly).

Rank 2
Nadi-Disrupting Gaze: "Nadi" literally means "river", but here it refers to the channel of energy through which life-force flows in the physical body.  This powerful gaze must be directed at a creature that has a nervous system (artificial creatures or the living dead, for example, are unaffected).  The victim of the gaze must be within 60 feet.  The victim immediately takes 2d6 points of damage (no save) and must additionally make a saving throw versus magic or they will become paralyzed from the waist down, unable to walk or use their legs.  The effect is permanent, but can be removed with the "Curing Disease" power, the Arcana of Purification, or the Aura of Annulling Magic.

Rank 3
Directed Reincarnation:  This power must be used on someone who has been dead for less than 7 days.
The power must be used in the same place where the person has died, though it is not relevant if the body is there anymore. It can be used even on the spirits of people who have been completely disintegrated. Using this power, the PC may direct that person to their next incarnation, choosing in what form they will be reborn.
The limitations are that someone may not be reborn as a Deva in the heavenly realms of Devaloka unless they were of Holy alignment, nor can they be reborn as an Asura in the hell realms of Naraka unless they were of Unholy alignment. Someone reborn as either of these will be “born” fully grown, and will immediately remember their previous incarnation and will be aware that it was the Pc who directed their incarnation into a new body (it is up to them whether they choose to do anything about it, however). Other than these two choices, the  PC may choose to direct the reincarnation into the form of a Ghost (who will also be born “fully grown”, usually in the same spot he died, and aware of their past
incarnation); or as a Naga or Raskshasa in the underworld of Patala, or a Yaksha or Gandharva near Mount Kailash, as an animal of any kind (including a Vanara), or as a human being (including a Bhil or any kind of barbarian). In all of the latter cases (Naga, Rakshasa, Yaksha, Gandharva, animal or human), the reincarnated soul will not remember his previous incarnation, and will have to grow up at the normal rate for his species.
The PC will know in all of these cases the specific body into which his target has reincarnated. This power can also be used by the PC on himself, when he is dying (including using it within 1 round after his own death), to direct his own reincarnation. Once reincarnation has been directed in this way, no form of resurrection is possible on the deceased.


Want more?  Check out Arrows of Indra, on PDF or in print!

RPGPundit

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