Blades in the Dark
An arcane adept and channeler
Duskwall is a haunted place—plagued by rogue spirits consumed by vengeance, by cunning demons manipulating humans for their own inscrutable purposes, and by even stranger horrors lurking in the space just beyond sight and reason. To go into this shadowy world without knowledge of the arcane and the occult is to walk unarmed into the lair of the enemy. The Whispers are the sentinels who watch the greater darkness—staring into the void so others don’t have to.
When you play a Whisper, you earn xp when you address a challenge with knowledge or arcane power. Seek out the strange and dark forces and bend them to your will. By being willing to face the trauma from the stress-intensive abilities of the arcane, you’ll slowly remove parts of yourself, and replace them with power.
Why did you pursue the path of the Whisper? How did you develop your abilities? Are you a natural, did you study and practice on your own, or did you have a mentor?
If you want some guidance when you assign your four action dots and special ability, use one of these templates.
The Summoner. Command +1, Study +1, Survey +2. Compel.
The Cultist. Command +2, Consort +2. Occultist.
The Channeler. Skirmish +2, Wreck +2. Tempest.
The Dark Scholar. Consort +1, Study +1, Tinker +2. Ritual.
Strange Friends and Rivals
Nyryx, a possessor ghost. Perhaps a good source for targets, or perhaps a spirit that escaped from your service?
Scurlock, a vampire. Perhaps a mentor, or perhaps a deadly rival?
Setarra, a demon. Perhaps your partner in a dark endeavor, or perhaps an entity you once controlled, seeking vengeance?
Quellyn, a witch. Perhaps a knowledgeable healer and seer, or perhaps a student of yours who left over bad blood?
Flint, a spirit trafficker. Perhaps a good source for unusual arcane supplies, or perhaps a rival in the occult world of Duskwall?
WHISPER SPECIAL ABILITIES
You can Attune to the ghost field to force a nearby ghost to appear before you and obey an order you give it. You are not supernaturally terrified by a ghost you summon or attempt to compel (though your allies may be).
The GM will tell you if you sense any ghosts nearby. If you don’t, you can gather information (maybe Attune, Survey, or Study) to attempt to locate one. By default, a ghost wants to satisfy its need for life essence and to exact vengeance. When you compel it, you can give it a general or specific command, but the more general it is (like “Protect me”) the more the ghost will interpret it according to its own desires. Your control over the ghost lasts until the command is fulfilled, or until a day has passed, whichever comes first.
You’re always aware of supernatural entities in your presence. Take +1d whenever you gather information about the supernatural by any means.
You are immune to the terror that some supernatural entities inflict on sight. When you make a resistance roll with Resolve, take +1d.
With this ability, you do not freeze up or flee when confronted by any kind of supernatural entity or strange occult event.
You know the secret ways to Consort with ancient powers, forgotten gods, or demons. Once you’ve consorted with one, you get +1d to Command cultists who worship it.
Consorting with a given entity may require special preparations or travel to a specific place. The GM will tell you about any requirements. You get the bonus die to your Command rolls because you can demonstrate a secret knowledge of or influence over the entity when you interact with cultists.
You know the arcane methods to perform ritual sorcery. You can Study an occult ritual (or create a new one) to summon a supernatural effect or being. You begin with one ritual already learned.
Without this special ability, the study and practice of rituals leaves you utterly vulnerable to the powers you supplicate. Such endeavors are not recommended.
For more details, see Rituals, page 222.
When you invent or craft a creation with arcane features, get +1 result level to your roll (a 1-3 becomes a 4/5, etc.). You begin with one arcane design already known.
Follow the Inventing procedure with the GM (page 224) to define your first arcane design.
You can push yourself to do one of the following: unleash a stroke of lightning as a weapon—summon a storm in your immediate vicinity (torrential rain, roaring winds, heavy fog, chilling frost and snow, etc.).
When you push yourself to activate this ability, you still get one of the normal benefits of pushing yourself (+1d, +1 effect, etc.) if you’re making a roll, in addition to the special ability.
When you unleash lightning as a weapon, the GM will describe its effect level and significant collateral damage. If you unleash it in combat against an enemy who’s threatening you, you’ll still make an action roll in the fight (usually with Attune).
When you summon a storm, the GM will describe its effect level. If you’re using this power as cover or distraction, it’s probably a setup teamwork maneuver, using Attune.
You may expend your special armor to resist a supernatural consequence, or to push yourself when you contend with or employ arcane forces.
When you use this ability, tick the special armor box on your playbook sheet. If you resist a consequence, this ability negates or reduces its severity. If you use this ability to push yourself, you get one of the benefits (+1d, +1 effect, act despite severe harm) but you don’t take 2 stress. Your special armor is restored at the beginning of downtime.
Fine lightning hook: A long, two-handed pole with a loop of heavy wire at the end, connected to an electroplasmic capacitor. Suitable for grappling a spirit and dragging it into a spirit bottle. This custom-made hook collapses into a compact form, thus reducing its load to 1, even though it’s two-handed. [1 load]
Fine spirit mask: An arcane item that allows the trained user to see supernatural energies in great detail. Also affords some measure of protection against ghostly possession. Each spirit mask is unique. What does yours look like? What makes it strange and disturbing to see? [1 load]
Spirit bottles (2): An arcane device used to trap a spirit. A metal and crystalline cylinder, the size of a loaf of bread. [1 load]
Ghost key: An arcane device that can open ghost doors. There’s an echo of the entire city, across the ages, trapped in the ghost field. Sometimes a door to that place can be found. [0 load]
Demonbane charm: An arcane trinket that demons prefer to avoid. [0 load]