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Scrying Magic

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So, discussion on discord regarding Scrying. I whipped up some rules for it.

Skills: Arcance, Divine
Covers all forms of telepresence, weather you are looking through another creatures' eyes, conjuring an arcane eye, or just remote viewing. Also covers scrying across time such as clairvayance or reading the future of a subject. To Scry something, it's 1 Difficulty to scry an object engaged with the caster at the present time, with the results being strong emotions aborbed by or emenating from the target itself.

Scry Additional Effects:

  • +D per range band of distance above engaged from the caster.
  • +D per chronologic range band from the present (engaged). Scope of Short, Medium, Long, and Extreme are left to GM interpretation.
  • +D to add audio or visual sensory, +dd to add both.
  • +D to increase perception range outward from the target.
  • +D to add a rank of Scry Defense to the spell area.
  • +DD to detect thoughts.
  • Implements:

Crystal Ball: Reduce the difficulty of either physical or chronologic range band distance to the subject when scrying by 2.

Warding Totem: Doll or figurine with eyes, ears or mouth stuffed, sewn, covered or slashed. Reduces the difficulty added from physical or chronologic range band distance from around the subject by one when blocking scry actions.

Piece of the Subject: Hair, blood, or chunk of the subject. Reduce the final difficulty of a scry spell by two.

Farseer: Tier 3, Passive, Ranked. Remove a difficulty added due to physical distance from a subject of a Scry check per rank of Farseer.

Clairevoyant: Tier 3, Passive, Ranked. Remove a difficulty added due to chronological distance from a subject of a Scry check per rank of Clairevoyant.

Piercing Inner Eye: Tier 3, Passive, Ranked. Remove Setback due to Scry Defense equal to ranks in Piercing Inner Eye when trying to scry a subject in a scry-defended area.

No-Field: Reduce difficulty added to block scrying by 2.


Scrying vs Scry Blocking: To scry a subject within an area that has Scry Defense, add Setback dice equal to the ranks of Scry Defense added to the initially cast spell.


  1. Hear what was said around a campfire a week ago: Initial D, +D for short past tense, +D for medium past tense, +D for audio, +D to extend range from source to short, burnt log from the campfire, -DD.
    Total difficulty: DDD.
  2. Spy on the neighboring King's War Council and see war plans: Initial D, +DDDD for extreme range, +DD for audiovisual, +D to see the whole room around the king, use crystal ball -DD, Farseer 2.
    Total difficulty: DDDD + Setback if the king has any scry defenses cast.
  3. King's mage wants to block Scrying: Initial D, +D for short range to encompass war room, +DD for audiovisual, +DD for 2 ranks of scry-defense, using warding totem -D, No-Field -DD.
    Total Difficulty: DDD.

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I can appreciate the effort...and don't mean to be rude, but...why?

Why not just do a perception roll. Add difficulty for secret info, or distance. Upgrade to red dice for time periods other than current. Throw a strain for each purple and 2 for each red due to the enormity of the task. Done.

Tying some knickknacks to it is a nice touch though. Like that idea.

Magically amplifying regular skills to exceed their normal limits is a huge boon and keeps other skills relevant. Might make it require a level 1-3 talent.

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Good questions. The original topic on discord was how to do scrying MAGIC. Genesys has an amazing magic system already in place, and just using perception, designed for hearing or seeing things within your immediate range, takes away from 1) the magic aspect, and 2) the investment into skills such as arcane and divine.

So, since we already have an excellent magic system, I wanted to embrace and extend it. The first things were basic casting and distance. Then I thought, why not make it more broadly applicable? So I added in past sensing and future sensing as a function of range bands up to GM discretion. Once I had the concept of picking up an item and seeing it's past, I came up with the default scrying sensation being residual emotions, with auditory and visual capabilities as addons. This tracks well with lots of fiction and lore.

Then I decided, well, if i'm remote viewing another place or time, how much can I actually sense? Thus I added the options to expand the field of awareness around the subject as range bands.

So, I can either focus on one thing like Eleven in stranger things, or I can broaden my senses around the target and find out what the russians are doing instead of just one russian.

Next, of course, was scry defense. Somethings just want to be kept secret from prying mages/telepaths/whatever. Originally it was different, but after some thought, I decided it would act as melee/ranged defense and add setbank to scrying checks. This also made for varying degrees of protection and allows the player to achieve a higher victory for overcoming the enemy's protective spells.

Finally for the core addons, I thought, well, if I can see and hear, what if I want to read the thoughts of the subject from distance, so I added detect thoughts at +DD difficulty, so it's doable, but tough.

Now, I knew i had a system that like the other magic rules, would add up difficulty quickly and implements would help mitigate that. A crystal ball, long a staple of remote viewing in fiction, seemed logical, but one could just as easy use a cauldron.

A ward totem seemed like an excellent fit to help aid against scrying. Something a shaman or druid of a monstrous race might carry.

Then, because Dresden is a great inspiration for magical effects, I wanted having a piece of something able to make it easier to scry on the subject.

Finally came the talents. The pathfinder iconic cleric Kyra with glazed over eyes as she casts divination spells inspired Farseeing, making it easier to view long distances. Clairvoyant was then an obvious choice for view chronological distances. I then wanted a talent to show ability in defeating scry blocks, so piercing inner eye came to be. And naturally, I wanted to make it possible to be easier to block scrying as well, and since I love the Dune novels, I borrowed the Siona Atreides gene and No-field concepts to allow that to happen.

So, there you go, the thought process in a nutshell of creating an additional magic set that uses all the existing design concepts.

Narratively, you aren't always using your own senses. The target could be in a sound proffed room, in an unknown dungeon under a mountain holding the stolen maguffin, or even on another plane. It's implementation could be HP style extendable ears, an arcane eye, looking through the eyes of your pet eagle (see Beastmaster) or any other number of creative ideas.

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