Serenades are the mystical ‘spells’ of the immortal universe. The basic concept of the serenade is that the Immortal Vox is in tune with the background music of the universe, called the Aria. Over millions of years, the immortal race learned how to listen to, identify, and manipulate specific notes of the Aria, enabling them to cause localized change. There is a note in the Aria to alter any property of reality, the trick is identifying and then subtly imitating that note to manifest the effect the immortal desires. As immortals identify and perfect these notes, they will share that information with others in exchange for power, favors, and status. Many notes have been practiced so long that every immortal has heard or is even trained in them, such as the Shout, or the Metaphor. Others have been perfected in secret, and are taught only among prides, or sometimes even smaller groups. Below you will find a small sample of popular serenades, known to most of immortal society. You will also see typical and not so typical uses of these serenades, as many immortals have become well practiced in warping their serenades, creating interesting and varied effects.
A note on time periods as described in game terms. An escapade is a single action. A clash is one round of combat, usually described between one and three seconds. A turn is ten clashes. A scene is usually described as one part of the story arc which takes place in the same area at a continuous time. An episode is one game session, and a season is one complete story arc. The games from the beginning of our game till the destruction of the Illuminati store-room was one season.
Allure is a common serenade that deals with creating illusions. The illusions can be as complex as the immortal can imagine and support, but there are several different hostiles to take into account when attempting illusions.
The basic resistance of Allure is a combination of the area the immortal wishes to affect with his illusion, and the complexity of the illusion.
For instance, if an immortal simply wishes to disguise a 3 foot diameter pit trap to look as if there is grass over it, it would be a difficulty of 4 (1 for the 3 foot diameter of space, and 3 for the simple, visual only illusion) and additionally, would require the player to beat a jeopardy hostile, which would vary depending on how nasty the pit trap is, but would probably be a rank 2, or maybe 3.
For every rank (3) over the base difficulty, the more real the illusion looks, and thus the more difficult it will be for someone to see through it.
In the case of our pit trap, say a player has 4 FI, a skill of 1 in Allure, and rolled a 6. The total roll is thus an 11, which beats the difficulty by 7 and achieves a rank 2 success. As described within the rule of the serenade, anyone spending more than a few minutes in the area will begin to detect that something is wrong, after which they can roll to disbelieve the illusion. The difficulty for them to disbelieve the illusion would be a 10 (the sum of the difficulty 4 base illusion plus the two ranks (6) of realism. Once the illusion is pierced, that player can see both what the truth is, and the illusion that was placed upon the area.
However in the instance of the hidden pit trap, if they are moving quickly, it is very unlikely that they will spend several minutes looking for an illusion, and since the danger is real, not illusionary, there is a strong chance that they could injure themselves long before they even had a chance to see the illusion for what it really was.
Since the basic serenade of Allure describes how to affect all five senses, and is played against an area and not against the halo of an individual, warps are difficult to envision, but here is one possibility. You could warp an Allure serenade to create a false dream cocoon within the Morpheum, complete with a dreamscape and dreamer inside. Such a complex illusion would probably not stand up to scrutiny for very long unless it was played by a powerful immortal, but it could provide enough of a momentary distraction to make the difference in a chase, or to distract someone long enough for an ambush. The Warp would be the fact that you are using allure to create something within the Morpheum which would lead to a sort of extra-dimensional space. The basic serenade only describes real-world space-time illusions.
This attention allows an immortal to ask questions of inanimate objects, such as asking a streetlight who has walked by, or asking a sword about the fighting style of it’s wielders.
The resistance to this serenade is composed of the area in question, and the complexity of the answer. For instance, if one were to ask a fire hydrant if Peter walked by, the difficulty would be a 3. If you wanted to know when Peter walked by and what he was wearing, it would be a difficulty of 12. If you wanted to ask the island of Manhattan if Peter had walked by within the last month, it would be a difficulty of 20, but is based on how large the area is. Each rank of success over the difficulty allows the immortal to ask one question at the same complexity level.
So if our immortal had 8 FI, 3 ranks in this attention, and asked the fire hydrant to describe the last 10 people to walk by, his resistance would be 15 (asking a single object to give complex, essay style answers). If he rolled a 7, he would get a single rank of success, allowing him to only get a single answer. Anthropomorphis leaves a residual hum in the area affected for a short while, which acts as an added resistance to further attempts at Anthropomorphis within the episode (game session)
This attention allows an immortal to draw upon the maelstrom and use it’s energy to armor himself or another or both.
The resistance of Bastion is an immortals Violet halo. Each rank of success over the resistance adds one mote of ‘Armor’ that for combat purposes is treated as a violet mote.
So lets say our performer has 6 FI, 2 ranks in bastion, and is trying to bolster the defenses of someone with 4 violet motes. If they roll an 8, they get a total of 16, which is 12, or 4 ranks of success over the difficulty. For the scene, they have doubled the defenses of the individual in question.
Bastion is a serenade that can be warped with relatively simple explanations, by targeting the red halo instead of violet, you could bolster someone’s mental defenses against mind control or influence, likewise, you could bolster their green halo to help resist tactical or balance hostiles. Bastion can only be used to apply passive, defensive motes. You can not use bastion to bolster someone’s orange halo for the purpose of dealing damage, or yellow halo for the purpose of targeting or striking.
This attention is common among immortals because it offers increased defenses against serenade combat. Successful uses of Cacophony allow an immortal to cause some of his halo mote to vibrate off-key, thus resisting and dissipating the effects of a serenade.
The resistance of Cacophony is the player’s own (or targets) halo of choice. Every rank of success causes one mote in that halo to vibrate off-key, making it unusable, but giving a +3 (per mote) resistance against all serenades targeting that halo. FI and taint can not be targetted by this attention. Only one halo per immortal can be protected in this manner at any given time.
For example: when targeting one’s self, the roll is straightforward. Lets say our player has 3 FI, 1 rank in the attention, and wants to bolster his mental defenses, or red halo, which is also 3. He rolls a 5, which gives him a total of 9, meaning he has achieved two ranks (6) of success over his target number. Two of his red motes become unusable (Making him borderline retarded), but he gains +6 resistance against any serenades targeting his mind. The immortal can define an upper limit of success, if they wish, to prevent transforming all of their motes. An immortal who has all of their motes transformed in this way is unable to act in most cases.
This attention can not really be warped, as targeting each halo is already described in the basic rules. However it can be used as an aggressive ability, debilitating foes before engaging in mundane combat. In this case, the familiarity hostile must be overcome.