Liberties, the superpowers of Schism
The world of Schism and the consciousnesses that inhabit it are infinite. The Lie takes this freedom away, stripping the power an individual would naturally possess and forcing upon them the limited world of the Demiurge. Freedom from the world gives you power, over yourself, over the Lie, and over those still caught within it. To gain Power then is to “take” Liberty; or to be granted Liberty by those who have Power.
Chakra & Liberties
Chakras are the rings or zones of passive energy within an individual or artifact. The more spiritually potent you are, the more chakra you may weave into patterns of Maya, in order to express Liberties. Each tier of entity has a certain number of chakra rings available, and each Liberty takes up a certain amount of chakra. Entity Tiers are shared by a particular play group, and tied to one’s High Aspect.*
Chakra Rings Available:
Ring cost per charm:
The Arcanists Knowledge of Liberties:
The Arcanist is the most common character type in Schism. A former member of the sleeping masses, the Arcanist has been reborn into the supernatural world. Unbound by the world of Maya, Arcanists use naturally learned skills to manipulate the higher functions of the world around them, as they master the Lie they learn greater and more diverse ways to shape it. During character creation players and the game master will agree upon a tier of power, this tier will determine a character’s standard tier level. Skills determine the highest tier available to a character.
Skill Level Highest Tier Level
Superb One greater than standard Great Standard
Good One less than standard
An Arcanist whose tier level is Transcendent and has the following skill list:
Skill Liberties Known
Great Marksmanship 1 Transcendent Marksmanship
Good Melee, Physique. 1 Enlightened Marksmanship, 1 Enlightened Melee, 1 Enlightened Physique
Relics often grant their possessor knowledge of an additional specific liberty.
Discipline and Adrenaline Liberties:
When you learn a liberty you may stipulate that this liberty is limited to discipline or adrenaline. Liberties limited to these descriptors are activated either with concentration and focus or through the passions of the body rather than through the arrangement of chakra rings. Activating these liberties does not count against a characters chakra count. However, these liberties do have alternate costs and activation requirements.
Discipline liberties require spending mental stress, and adrenaline liberties require spending physical stress. Discipline liberties require concentration be maintained, and adrenaline liberties require that a character is acting dynamically in combat**. One cannot activate a discipline and adrenaline Liberty at the same time.
(Tier) (Skill) Prowess:
Use your skill at X Tier. This applies to all standard uses of a skill. Liberties which modify a particular sort of action allow you to make that action as if using a prowess. For instance, when using Aegis Beyond Reason you defend against attacks at the Supernal tier, but not attack at the Supernal tier. If you have also activated Nothing but the Sword you may roll melee attacks at the Supernal tier as well. Liberties which allow you to make only one particular action, such as Thrust without Patience, apply the tier bonus only to that particular action, such as attacking someone outside your zone.
Changing out Liberties:
This is perhaps my biggest fuzzy border of the rules, and as anyone with experience with a mechanics heavy supers game will tell you (especially the White Wolf variety) this rule can make make or break your game. There are two dilemmas here, on one side I don’t want to make some powers/builds/strategies irrelevant by making it too easy to switch out which powers are active. On the other hand I don’t want to make it too complicated, with keywords and timing issues and the sort of exception-based system that makes Exalted such a drudge to run. My untested instinct is to allow characters to switch out which Liberty is active on their turn only, and only one Liberty at a time. Alternately, I like the idea that real reality warping Power takes time and acton to build, therefore one must spend a number of exchanges switching out powers equal to the tier of the power you’d like to activate. For instance, if activating a Second Tier Liberty, one must wait until the second exchange of combat. To switch out a power you must start on the first tier, even if going from (for example) a Third tier to a First.
*High Aspect will be discussed when I get into the particulars of the setting, hopefully not too far away
**How this is likely to shake down in practice and in particulars is another one of those details I need to iron out
***My likely temporary label for anyone in the setting capable of bending reality (can has powerz)