Attributes

This will be the master page for information on the various attributes available in Pillars.

With some exceptions, characters cannot just choose an Attribute from the list in BESM. They make use of spells or techniques that are composed of one or more BESM attributes. Some abilities, such as the Bloodline Limits are made from six or more individual Attributes. To clarify, don't just choose an ability from a list in the book; make it something special that is a part of the character.

These techniques are broken into seven ranks: E, D, C, B, A, S, Hidden and Bloodline. D-Rank techniques are the simplest, with a few taught to every Academy Student. S-Rank techniques are so powerful that even Master Agents are wary about using them. Most S-Rank techniques are considered forbidden and information on them is locked away in an Academies most secure vaults. Hidden techniques are passed down in secret within a family or clan. As little information about them is known, they don't fall into the formal ranking system. Bloodline Limits are similar to Restricted techniques, save that they can only be learned by those with the correct Bloodline.

E-Rank Techniques are extremely basic. In many cases, they are less spells and more proto-spells. They are mostly used by average people in order to perform well at their job, and as such are very, very limited compared to the abilities of even an Academy Student. E-Rank Techniques cannot be used to inflict damage or harm at all (no Weapon Attribute). They may be used to make very limited effects instantly for a very short duration, or more general effects gradually for a longer duration. While they may be used to create mental effects, Academy Students (and a few other professions, such as police) receive enough basic training to entirely ignore E-Rank illusions. These effects are generally too weak to be statted or used in play, and remain a background element appropriate to NPCs.

D-Rank Techniques are the simplest effects taught to Academy Students. They are capable of inflicting minor harm using elemental energy (Weapon Attribute of 3 or less, total cost before Defects 8 or less), but are rarely more powerful than using weapons. Martial Techniques are specific maneuvers that usually do not require energy to perform, or channel energy into the body to enhance basic abilities a limited amount. Illusions either create a specific image drawn from the target's emotions (typically, love, fear, or hate) or create a static image that is visible to multiple people. D-Rank Techniques usually have Deplete 1.

C-Rank Techniques, while stronger than D-Rank, are mostly used by younger Agents or those who just recently graduated from the Academy. One exception are the Summoning and Reverse Summoning Sorcery Techniques, which even Master Agents use extensively. Offensive Sorcery techniques move into the reaches of even powerful modern weapons (Weapon Attribute of 6 or less, total cost before Defects 16 or less). C-Rank Illusions can conceal a small area or create a minor mental effects. C-Rank Techniques usually have Deplete 2.

B-Rank Techniques are highly effective at dealing damage. They have no cost restriction. The Weapon level cannot be higher than 12. Non-elemental B-Rank techniques cannot be higher than Weapon level 8. B-Rank Illusions can create two effects (such as creating a binding illusions as the user disappears). B-Rank Techniques usually have Deplete 3.

A-Rank Techniques are extremely effective at dealing damage. They have no cost restriction. The Weapon level cannot be higher than 24. They may be non-elemental, with a weapon level no higher than 16. A-Rank Illusions can have major mental effects equivalent to a 0-level weapon. A-Rank Techniques usually have Deplete 4.

S-Rank Techniques have no restrictions, other than their energy cost is usually so high as to make using them prohibitive. S-Rank techniques almost always have a huge Energy cost, Deplete 5 or higher.

Most techniques can be upgraded one rank by increasing their relevant Attribute level. So, Elemental Release (C-Rank) can become Great Elemental Release (B-Rank) simply by increasing the weapon level.

There are four major groups of techniques.
Martial techniques are combat, with or without weapons. While many of these techniques require energy, they rely more on the physical ability of the Agent and less on their ability to mold energy.

  • Styles are patterns of movement and action. They don't represent individual punches and kicks so much as an entire method or philosophy of fighting. Some styles are very basic, such as Bone Breaking Methods or Strong Fist. Others require specific training or access to unique abilities, such as Crow Techniques or Gentle Fist. While every Agent is trained in armed, unarmed and ranged combat, there is rarely enough difference in the styles to warrant them being seperate mechanically. Unless you are using a highly exotic method of combat that would justify purchasing unusual Attributes, simply create a name for one or more styles and place Combat Techniques under them as appropriate. Others, such as Gentle Fist, can be used to justify purchasing effects such as Massive Damage.
  • Attacks are specific actions, such as a leg sweeps or punches. While there are a few generally taught attacks, most tend to be modified slightly (sometimes only in name) so that they are unique to each Agent. Extremely powerful attacks, or attacks that invoke an element, require energy. These are generally created as various Weapon Attributes. Remember that you only pay full cost for the most expensive Weapon Attribute; all others are half cost.
  • Effects are physical abilities that don't fall into another category. Body Flicker and Strength Boost are good examples. Most Effects require energy.

Illusions create an effect that is not real or material. Very few illusions are capable of direct harm; those that do typically are part of a bloodline limit. Each distinct illusion is a seperate technique, but there can be extensive variety within that technique. An illusion that binds the target could do so with rope, vines, flowing rock, ice, or whatever other method would be appropriate to the Agent. However, all illusions, despite any outward appearance, are non-elemental, and thus have neither elemental strengths or weaknesses.

  • Hallucinations affect the flow of energy in the brain of the target. Most of these are hypnotic effects. The highest level of mental illusions would be what is called telepathy, mind control and astral projection in other worlds. Anti-Illusion techniques are normally Mental Illusions (on a technicality).
  • Mirages use the expended energy to create a visible image (or other physical effect, such as a sound or scent). These images are fragile, being destroyed as soon as they are interrupted. They typically require little in the way of energy, and are much easier to create than equivalent elemental techniques. However, illusions only do what they do, and only the highest level techniques can compensate for poor planning.

Sorcery Techniques are the most common techniques that agents use. They always require energy and many utilize elemental effects (typically called elemental techniques). Sorcery Technique and Spell are synonymous. Six kinds of sorcery techniques.

  • Elemental Spells utilize one of the five primary elements to create an effect. There are spells to form restraints, throw energy, create shields and all other variety of effects. While each element is its own category, all five are grouped here for ease of reference.
  • General Spells require the manipulation of pure energy, and are much harder to learn, requiring a much higher degree of control. They are not inherently more effective than elemental spells, so they are not favored by many. However, there are some things that elemental spells cannot do, such as heal. Medical effects fall entirely into General spells. There are many different categories that General spells can fall into, but here are three examples:
    • Sealing Spells lock up energy, preventing its use. This can be used to contain an unusual type of energy for further study, prevent a person from invoking their powers, or even cut off a person's flow of life energy entirely. Sealing spells are not practical for combat applications, and only the highest level practitioners can perform them in the haste of combat.
    • Medical Spells are exactly what it says on the tin. These spells close wounds and repair broken bones. More powerful effects can directly impart life energy, though this has a drastic cost. Most Medical effects are capable of harm, though rarely are they as potent as Martial Techniques. However, they frequently make use of non-damaging effects, such as sleep, paralysis, and poison. A Medical Agent is just as capable at killing as any other Agent, they simply find different ways to do it.
    • Summoning Techniques draw forth creatures or beings from another place. Summoning techniques can only be used when a pact has been formed between the summoner and the creature being summoned. Some very unique objects can be summoned as well, though this is not common in any way, shape, or form.

Summoning a creature does not give control over the creature. When the summoner is knocked out, the creatures they summoned will disappear (retroactive use of Reverse Summoning). Most (though not all) summoned creatures are of human level intelligence. Of those that are intelligent, most can speak the language of the summoner. Summoned creatures are unique.

New Attributes

?-Rank Techniques
Cost: 10, 20, or 30 Points/level
Relevant Stat: Variable
Progression: See Below
Requirement: GM's permission or appropriate Agent Template

This is actually a collection of lesser abilities. The 20 points/level version allows the Agent access to almost any D-Rank technique in the game, whereas the 30 points/level gives access to C and D techniques, and 40 points/level gives access to B, C, and D. These Attributes may only be acquired in play (with GM's permission), or bought with an appropriate Template.

The point of this is to not require the players to purchase all of the elementary techniques that an Agent would have learned during their training. As such, the level in this Attribute may be used in place of the level of any technique of the appropriate rank (exception: Weapons, Shields and Force Fields work differently, see below). If a character wishes to acquire a specific technique at a high level (such as a few signature Weapon Attributes), they pay full cost for the technique. While this may be used to replicate a Summoning technique, the Agent must still forge a pact with the creatures they want to summon. Unless the character is a Master or a Special Agent specialized in Sealing or Medical techniques, these techniques cannot be used.

While there is an A-Rank version of this Attribute (at 50 points/level), it is rarely necessary for a character. There is no S-Rank version of this Attribute; S-Rank Techniques are too unique, rare and individualistic to sort under one attribute. Secret and Bloodline Techniques cannot be replicated with this Attribute. When duplicating an Attribute, the Agent follows all of the rules for that Attribute.


When creating techniques, the following rules apply.


D-Rank Techniques

D-Rank Techniques are the simplest, easiest techniques. While basic, some of these are fundamental techniques used by Agents of all ranks, such as the Body Flicker and Bone Breaking Methods. When refined, even these basic techniques can devastate an unwary opponent.

Angler Fish Submerges [Lighting Element] D-Rank

The Agent uses Lightning Element to break the bonds of the Hydrogen and Oxygen in the water, creating a bubble of breathable air.

Lvl Cost Attribute
1 2 Enviromental Control (Water)
1 -1 Detectable (Vision, Hearing)
3 3 Duration (1 Minute)
Total 4

Blinding Methods

This covers an area with a dense emission of the chosen element. Fire uses smoke, water uses mist, earth uses dust, lightning uses a blinding light and air uses darkness. Unless prepared for the technique, anyone within range will be blinded, including the user.

Lvl Cost Attribute
2 4 Sensory Block
3 1 Area
1 1 Duration
Total 6

Body Flicker

Cost: 1 Energy/round

A basic martial technique. The user may move a short distance almost instantaneously. Unlike Time/Space techniques the distance is actually traveled, albeit very rapidly. Unless a passenger is physically carried, this cannot be used to transport another.
Note: How far an Agent can move with Body Flicker is dependent on their skill in Body Flicker and the level of the Body Attribute. Thus, what's listed below is the cost for an average Agent to complete their movement in one round. Consult the GM for specific values for your character.

Lvl Cost Attribute
1 2 Jumping
2 4 Special Movement: Fast
5 -5 Deplete
Total 1

Disguise

Cost: 1 Energy/10 minutes

A basic illusion technique. This creates an alternate form that may differ in age, weight, height, race and gender. For Agents, the first form is always a generic form used to blend in with their current mission.

Lvl Cost Attribute
1 2 Alternate Identity
1 -1 Deplete
Total 1

Double

Cost: 1 Energy/2 rounds

Creates illusory copies of the user. These illusions are capable of independent action and do not slavishly mimic the caster's actions. However, they are only illusions and cannot actually inflict any harm. In addition, anything that penetrates the illusion breaks the flow of energy, causing that Double to fade. Powerful techniques, such as the All-Seeing Eye and Copy Wheel Eye can easily penetrate the illusions, as can anyone who is sufficiently observant.

Note: The final cost of Double is dependent on the Stat cost for the character. If the character is making a double of a Disguise, then the cost is based on the image's Stats. Someone who's stats total 200 points pays the listed cost. Every +/- 10 points is a +/- 1 to the Companion Attribute's cost.

Lvl Cost Attribute
1 10 Companion
- x.5 Reduction
4 -4 Deplete
Total 1

C-Rank Techniques

(Elemental) Double

Cost: 1 Energy/round

Creates a duplicate of the Agent crafted from an element. Unlike the D-Rank Technique Double, these copies have a physical presence and can both deal and receive damage. However, they are merely simulacrums crafted from an element. As such, they are incapable of using Illusion or Sorcery techniques, and can only perform Martial techniques that do not require energy. This is a rare effect, not because it is difficult, but because most Agents prefer to use the more refined B-Rank spell Void Double.

Note: The final cost of (Elemental) Double is dependent on the cost for the character. If the character is making a double of a Disguise, then the cost is based on the image's Stats. Someone who's stats total 200 points pays the listed cost. Every +/- 10 points is a +/- 1 to the Companion Attribute's cost. Remember to include the cost of any Martial techniques (and other appropriate Attributes) that the copy can use.

Lvl Cost Attribute
1 10 Companion
- x.8 Reduction
5 -5 Deplete
Total 3

(Elemental) Release

Cost: 20
A basic offensive technique using one of the five elements. In general, these techniques are usually modified to suit an Agent's personal needs. Most First Class Agents are familiar with the techniques of all five elements, even if they generally specialize in their personal element.

Note: As long as they come from the same source, most offensive techniques are still Weapon Attributes. The Agent only pays full cost for the most expensive Weapon Attribute, all other Weapon Attribute costs are halved.

Lvl Cost Attribute
6 12 Weapon
2 -2 Deplete
Total 10

Nazgarath Covers the World in Darkness

Type: Illusion

The Agent creates the illusion that an oily black ink is flowing over the bodies and faces of his enemies. The area of effect is centered on the Agent, thus the Agent is also affected by the illusion.

Lvl Cost Attribute
3 6 Sensory Block (Sight x3)
1 1 Area 3 (10 Meters)
3 3 Duration 3 (1 Minute)
1 -1 Dependent
1 2 Environmental Control (Darkness)
3 3 Duration (1 Minute)
2 -2 Detectable (Sight, Touch, Chakra Sight)
1 -1 Deplete
Total 12

B-Rank Techniques

Void Double

Cost: 2 Energy/round

Creates a perfect duplicate of the Agent. Unlike lower ranked techniques, this copy is perfect, down to the internal organs and magic circulatory system. They make freely use any technique that the original Agent knows. By taking Companion at 3 or higher, this becomes the A-Rank Technique Multiple Void Doubles. Multiple Void Doubles costs 20 Energy each immediately, then another 2 energy per round to maintain.

Note: The final cost of Void Double is dependent on the cost for the character. If the character is making a double of a Disguise, then the cost is based on the image's Stats. Someone who's stats total 200 points pays the listed cost. Every +/- 10 points is a +/- 1 to the Companion Attribute's cost. Remember to use the total cost of the character, minus any defects that a Companion cannot take.

Void Double
Lvl Cost Attribute
1 10 Companion
2 -2 Deplete (first turn)
6 -6 Deplete (per turn)
Total 2
Multiple Void Double
Lvl Cost Attribute
3 30 Companion
2 -2 Deplete (first turn per clone)
6 -6 Deplete (per turn)
Total 19

A-Rank Techniques

(Elemental) Blade

Cost: 50 Energy

Forces an enormous amount of elemental energy into the user's hand, which is then thrust into the opponent's body. Very few opponent's can survive such an attack as the elemental energy pierces through almost any obstruction. The Lightning Blade is the most common version of this, closely followed by the Fire Blade. This technique consumes a prodigious amount of energy from the user.

Lvl Cost Attribute
15 30 Weapon
5 5 Penetrating
5 5 Piercing
2 -2 Detectable
1 -1 Activation
5 -5 Deplete
Total 32

Spiral Energy Sphere

Cost: 40 Energy

Non-Elemental energy is condensed into a tight, spiraling sphere, almost like a portable hurricane. Used similarly to the Elemental Blade, but instead of piercing the opponent's defense it grinds through it. This is a non-elemental technique and never suffers elemental limitations. This technique consumes a prodigious amount of energy from the user.

Lvl Cost Attribute
20 40 Weapon
2 2 Non-Elemental
5 5 Knockback
1 -1 Activation
1 -1 Detectable
4 -4 Deplete
Total 41

S-Rank Techniques

Great (Elemental) Blade

Cost: 60 Energy

Forces an enormous amount of elemental energy into the user's hand, which is then thrust into the opponent's body. Very few opponent's can survive such an attack as the elemental energy pierces through almost any obstruction. The Lightning Blade is the most common version of this, closely followed by the Fire Blade. This technique consumes a prodigious amount of energy from the user.

Lvl Cost Attribute
20 40 Weapon
8 8 Penetrating
8 8 Piercing
2 -2 Detectable
1 -1 Activation
6 -6 Deplete
Total 47

Great Spiral (Element) Sphere

Cost: 50 Energy

Non-Elemental energy is condensed into a tight, spiraling sphere, almost like a portable hurricane. Used similarly to the Elemental Blade, but instead of piercing the opponent's defense it grinds through it. This technique consumes a prodigious amount of energy from the user. This is a non-elemental technique and never suffers elemental limitations, however it does have elemental advantages. This kind of inherent paradox can only occur on S-Rank Techniques. This generally represents the upper level of damage dealing techniques.

Lvl Cost Attribute
28 56 Weapon
2 2 Non-Elemental
- - Elemental
5 5 Penetrating
5 5 Piercing
5 5 Knockback
1 -1 Activation
1 -1 Detectable
5 -5 Deplete
Total 66
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