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The Seeker

as published in B'jados #1

Finder of lost secrets, preserver of ancient knowledge, and protector of the right and true, the Seeker is much more than a scholar of history. Fervent in her belief that the treasures of the past belong to all the world, the Seeker attempts to recover these items, whether they be books, weapons, art or ideas, and see them enshrined properly where all can benefit from them. Frequently, this requires not only research to discover an item’s whereabouts and key knowledges, but pits the Seeker against physical hazards as well. Delving into Horror-infested kaers, quietly invading the private collections of greedy and misguided Name-givers, and standing up for those who cannot protect themselves, the Seeker is found wherever ancient secrets threaten trouble in the modern world. As handy with a sword as a pen, the Seeker is the final bastion between knowledge and those who would use it for evil ends.

Vision
From a lecture by Marac Iannus, Seeker of the Eighth Circle, at the Royal Auditorium of Throal:

Often I am asked, why? Why do you risk your life, sometimes even your soul, to bring back artifacts that have lain undisturbed for centuries? We’ve gotten along quite well enough without these items since they were mislaid or forgotten. Why spend your life pursuing the past when there is so much to do already in the present?
Because the past haunts us. We are what we are because of what has gone before. The Scourge is in our past. Can we forget it, move on as if it had never happened? Of course not. The coming of the Horrors has forever changed our world. Likewise, every act in the past continues to shape our present. We cannot forget the past. It comes back to remind us whether we will or no. Anything that once held power or importance will return. Best that it be brought back properly.
We have all heard legends of ancient mystic artifacts used by evil sorcerers to summon forth dread beings, by greedy Name-givers to pillage their neighbors for their own selfish benefit, by the Therans to enslave not only the bodies but the minds of innocent Name-givers. If someone had sought out those artifacts before the evil ones came upon them, had seen them safely placed in the Hall of Records, the museums and schools and treasuries where they could be handled with safety, or locked away if there were to be no safe way to handle them, then these tragic events would never have occurred. Like the Stalkers who seek out Horrors to remove them from the world before they can cause more trouble, the Seeker spends his life seeking out ancient artifacts and ensuring that they are not used for evil ends.
As well, the knowledge of the past can be of great benefit to the present world. We have all heard the tale of Elianar Messias and the Books of Harrow. If the books had not been recovered from the cavern high in the Delaris Mountains, if a valiant Name-giver had not pitted his life and sanity against the perils of finding and translating the works, we might not have survived the Scourge. For the sake of the future, the knowledge of the past must be recovered and brought back into the world. Someone with the right motives and the willingness to see that the knowledge is put to the proper use must seek it out, bring it back and help our world survive the perils that yet await.
I see myself as yet one more protector of our world, a guardian standing with the other adepts to shield the Name-givers from that which would cause them harm. That I take up the fight as often with pen as with sword makes no difference. The fight is the same regardless of the methods.

Mechanics

  • Attributes: DEX, PER, CHA
  • Racial Restrictions: None
  • Karma Ritual: The Seeker spends half an hour memorizing several pages of text from an old work, the more ancient the better. The Seeker then recopies the text from memory, illuminating it in the process, and meditates on the meaning of the ancient text in the current world.
  • Skills:
    • History (any, but preferably History of the Scourge, Heroes and Legends or Barsaive History) required.
    • The Seeker must spend a point of Knowledge Skill rank to buy a Research Skill at First Circle.
    • Racial lore Skills are suggested for higher Circles.
    • Languages must be learned whenever possible.
    • Artisan Skill: Text Illumination

Talents and Abilities

  • Circle 1:
    • Astral Sight
    • Karma Ritual
    • Melee Weapons*
    • Read/Write Language*
    • Silent Walk
    • Steel Thought*
  • Knack: Whip Trick
  • Talent: Melee Weapons
  • Effect: The adept may use a whip for non-combat purposes, such as removing someone’s hat or opening an upstairs window from the ground level. The gamemaster must assign appropriate Difficulty numbers. With an Excellent success against a Difficulty of 9, modified for situations, the Seeker may coil a whip around a projection and swing from the whip as if it were a rope with a grappling hook.
  • Circle 2:
    • Durability
    • Evidence Analysis*
    • Item History*
  • Circle 3:
    • Haggle*
    • Winning Smile
  • Knack: Fast Talk
  • Talent: Haggle
  • Effect: The Seeker may temporarily confuse people and take advantage of them. In a burst of frantic action and speech, the Seeker overwhelms his target. Make a Haggle Test against the Target’s Social Defense. On an Average success, the effect lasts for one combat round, on a Good five rounds, on an Excellent one minute and on an Extraordinary ten minutes. For the duration, the person affected is bewildered and may not take any action against the Seeker, while the Seeker may take any non-combat action he likes. Any injury, no matter how minor, will disrupt the effect. This knack is frequently used to “borrow” a horse in the middle of a chase, to gain entrance to guarded facilities with an outrageous presentation, and otherwise to get past people who would be too much trouble to fight.
  • Circle 4:
    • Read/Write Magic
    • Threadweaving (History Weaving)*
      • Karma for PER
  • Circle 5:
    • Detect Trap*
    • Engaging Banter
      • Endure Weather: Like the Endure Cold Talent, this allows the adept to resist damage from environmental conditions. The adept makes a TOU Test at +5 steps and reduces damage from cold, heat, dehydration, choking rain, etc. by the result, less 3 points lost to Strain. This ability is usable three times per day.
  • Circle 6:
    • Speak Language*
    • Steely Stare
    • Social Def +1
  • Circle 7:
    • Taunt
    • Trick Riding
      • Dust Off: Like Fireblood, the Seeker can use Recovery tests by pausing to dust themselves off and shake off the damage. A cloud of dust flies away from the Seeker whether or not they were actually dirty. Two points of Recovery are lost to Strain each time. Usable 3 times per day.
  • Circle 8:
    • Conceal Weapon
    • True Sight*
      • Spell Def +1
  • Circle 9:
    • Book Memory
    • Book Recall
    • Graceful Exit
      • Physical Def +1
  • Circle 10:
    • Memorize Image*
    • Slough Blame
      • Karma for CHA
      • Recovery Step +1

Roleplaying Hints

It’s not enough to find lost items. They must be taken to the proper place for study and the right and proper use. This may mean a second journey as arduous as the first, made perhaps more dangerous by pursuit if the artifact was recovered from someone the Seeker considered the wrong hands. Far from being regarded as trouble, though, this only helps to feed the soul of the Seeker. Movement and adventure are the meat and drink of the Discipline. The Seeker throws himself into the adventure, improvising as necessary. Seekers don’t usually plan very far ahead, figuring they can make it up as they go along. A great deal of being a Seeker involves trusting in luck and your own abilities, relying on the universe favoring people who act in defense of the right and true. Many Seekers follow Floranuus, with a smaller percentage following Mynbruje.
Playing a Seeker means trusting that things will work out, not only in the larger scheme but in the smaller. If coin runs short, no matter. Something will come along to provide lodging and food. If a mount dies in the middle of a pursuit, fate will provide a new one, even if it has to be stolen. The right people will be met at the right time. Any fortuitous meeting is obviously part of the grand scheme, intended to place the Seeker where they need to be to further their quest.
Players should remember that the Seeker exists at the intersection of the wizard and the swordmaster. It is not enough to seek knowledge. It must be pursued with style. Knowing that you are in the right and that fortune favors you lends a certain cockiness to flavor the self-confident attitude. For many Seekers, self- reliance can be seen as, and maybe even shade into, self-centeredness. They know for a complete and utter certainty that they are doing the right thing, and that they will come out ahead in the end. Injury, failure and death come as a complete shock. Truth and justice must win, or the life of the Seeker has no meaning.

Discipline Violations

Seekers give themselves over to the quest. Finding and recovering a lost item, whether it be an artifact or a secret of ancient lore, is more important than their own survival. Any risk is acceptable -- as long as it only affects the Seeker. Their companions must be protected, even if it means delaying or passing up an opportunity to acquire the object of the quest. Allowing harm to come to a companion can range from a Mild to a Severe violation, depending on the severity of the injury, with the death of a companion constituting a Heinous violation.
Allowing an injustice to exist, especially one that involves ancient lore or artifacts, is unforgivable. If a Seeker is already involved in one quest when he discovers another, he must make a decision, and quickly, as to which is the more pressing. If there is someone reliable to whom the Seeker can entrust one of the missions, then there is no crisis. Handing over a mission to someone unreliable, however, is a violation of at least Moderate degree, possibly Severe if the person is obviously not going to complete the quest. Failing to turn aside to right an easily-redressed wrong is a Moderate to Heinous violation, depending on the severity of the injustice and whether or not lives are at stake.
Seekers anchor themselves with the belief that they are acting in defense of the right and true. If a Seeker doubts the rightness of her actions, it shakes the foundations of her Discipline. A passing uncertainty is only a Mild violation. Continued questioning can be a Severe violation. Being shown evidence of the wrongness of an entire course of action constitutes a Heinous violation, requiring the Seeker to correct her mistakes and be absolved of guilt, preferably by a Questor of Mynbruje.

Multiple Discipline Combinations

The Seeker goes well with Disciplines that stress forthright action and honor, or the preservation of knowledge, such as the scout, sky raider and troubadour. It clashes with Disciplines such as the nethermancer that hold lives in less regard, or that dispense with absolutes of morality, such as the thief.

Special Rules

Special rules for Seekers include using half- magic and special uses of karma.

Using Half Magic

Seekers may use half magic to identify ancient artifacts, to know how to pack them for safe transport, and to determine safe handling of items when found. They may also make half magic rolls to remember legends about a situation they’ve encountered, and to use any means of travel, including riding a beast or steering a ship. Navigation and tracking falls under this category.

Extreme Karma

To represent the incredible luck of the Seeker, the GM may allow the player to use karma whenever the character takes a wild risk. This is a GM call, and requires the Seeker to be in peril of his life during the direct pursuit of his quest. Whether or not to allow this extra use of karma is up to the gaming group as a whole, as it goes outside the normal Earthdawn rules for karma.

Rituals of Advancement
Recruitment

Seekers aren’t so much recruited as discovered. Very few Name-givers have the fire within their hearts necessary to dedicate their lives to the quest. More often than not, it’s not necessarily a choice made, but a fate found. Most Seekers are people who were dragged into the quest of another Seeker, and found themselves committing to the quest somewhere along the way. Every once in a while, though, a Seeker will spot someone who has within themselves the potential -- the young man who stands frozen with reverent awe before a display case in the Hall of Records, the woman who neglects her job to spend time poring over ancient records out of fascination with what has gone before. These people are approached and examined for possible entry into the order of the Seekers. If they are willing to throw themselves, body, mind and soul, into the pursuit, then they are initiated and set upon the path.
The candidate is given a few vague clues and sent off to find something. What the target of this first quest is will vary wildly according to the candidate and where they’re found. For inhabitants of the Halls of Throal, it may be a rare mineral found only in a small section of one of the Inner City caverns, or an obscure fact buried deep in old writings in the Hall of Records. Potential Seekers in small villages may have to bring back a personal possession of one of their neighbors, or an exotic plant found in the surrounding countryside. To pass the test, the candidate must not turn aside for food or sleep, nor for any other mundane reason, until the item has been brought back to the initiating Seeker. The next few years are spent learning the necessary lore and discovering the magical potential needed to learn the Talents of the First Circle.

Novice

Masters of the Discipline normally take novices along on quests of their own, to assist in larger adventures and see how a Seeker of higher Circle accomplishes their tasks. By helping fulfill their master’s quest, the novice gains insight into their own lifelong quest for advancement.

Journeyman

The Seeker must complete a quest on their own, locating through research and bringing some ancient secret to light and seeing it safely delivered to a center of learning. Other adepts or non-adept companions may assist, but the Seeker must be primarily responsible for the success of the mission. Afterwards, the Seeker must tell the story of their quest to a master of the Discipline, preferably with an audience to hear how the way of the right and true was preserved.

Warden

Adepts of this rank find their own tests, pitting themselves against evils from the past to prove themselves and gain the necessary insights. Quests of this rank include taking on Horrors, delving into lost cities such as Parlainth, and infiltrating living legend cults to bring artifacts of deadly power to safety. More than one Seeker has died when their quest to achieve rank at these rarified Circles has failed.

Ghost Master Ritual

An artifact central to a quest of the Ghost Master must be obtained, and studied intently. When the adept has achieved a thorough understanding of the artifact’s powers and significance, they must write a treatise on it, all the while meditating on the deeds of the master who recovered the item. With the final stroke of the pen, the Ghost Master is summoned and the ritual continues as normal.
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Page last modified on March 24, 2013, at 05:16 PM