Knacks: Charming, Constriction, Flexibility, Hiding, Slither
Apprentice Degree: Venom Drinker
Adept Degree: Snake Friend
Master Degree: Leap of Faith
Ebedi Yilan al’Kadeem has selected the most loyal families of the Qatihl’i (those bloodlines that have best served him for centuries) and given them the magic called Af’a. Those who practice Af’a are called Afa’im (singular Af’ai) and have magical powers that allow them to enter and exit from nearly any location without a trace. Af’a affects the body of the sorcerer, giving him several powers of flexibility, immunity to snake venom, and dominion over snakes.
This power does not come without a price. An Af’ai has no hair anywhere on the body, including eyebrows and eyelashes. Many of them use cosmetics and false eyelashes to disguise this distinguishing feature. Another bit of unpleasantness that the Af’ai must endure is the annual shedding of skin. This process takes anywhere from one day to a whole week, during which the Af’ai cannot do anything except struggle out of the itchy epidermis by rubbing against objects such as rocks or rough walls.
As you begin your journey down this path of power, your abilities manifest in two ways. First, you are completely immune to venom from any snake, even in concentrated form.
Second, you are able to temporarily become more powerful by drinking snake venom. Every time you drink snake venom, determine the number of Dramatic Wounds you would have sustained from one Interval of poison damage per Mastery Level (if you were not immune to it). For each Dramatic Wound you would have taken, you receive one Venom Die, which may be used like a Drama Die to increase the result of a die roll, to prevent the activation of your Flaw or Hubris, or to activate your Wile, Virtue, or other special ability (including the abilities granted by this magic). If unspent, Venom Dice go away when the Duration of the venom you drank has ended. Venom Dice never become Experience Points under any circumstances.
You are able to completely dislocate every joint in your body, allowing you to squeeze through holes and tunnels that are too small for other human beings. You must spend a Drama Die to activate this ability. Performing this feat requires thirteen Actions, minus the sum of your Ranks in the Finesse Trait and the Flexibility Knack. You can squeeze into any hole whose diameter is at least as wide as your head (approximately 9 inches for a normal human, 12 inches if you have the Large Advantage, or 6 inches if you have the Small Advantage). You can move through a tunnel using your Slither Knack, moving a number of feet per Round (or per minute out of combat) equal to your Mastery Level times your Rank in Slither.
You have learned how to relax your body and allow your supernatural flexibility to absorb the impact from a fall. You must spend a Drama Die to activate this ability, either to prevent damage when you fall, or to absorb extra damage when something falls onto you. Make a Wits + Flexibility roll against a TN of 5 for every teen feet you have fallen (thus, a fall of forty feet has a TN of 20). If you succeed, you treat the fall as if you have landed on a soft surface, negating all damage from the fall. If something is falling onto you, spending a Drama Die allows you to roll Brawn + Flexibility (keeping both) for your Wound Check. Regardless, to “reset” your limbs and resume normal activity requires six Actions, minus your Rank in the Flexibility Knack.
Charming. Being immune to snake venom does not mean that serpents will not try to attack you. By rolling Resolve + Charming against a TN of 10, you can get one snake plus one extra snake per Raise you make on the roll to not react to your presence. Not only will the snake not attack you, it will completely ignore you, meaning that it will not coil itself into a striking position nor put on any other display (such as making loud hissing noises or spreading of hoods) associated with threatening behavior.
By spending a Drama Die, you may attempt to control a number of snakes up to your Mastery Level, which is the maximum number of snakes you may control at any given time. To control a snake, make a Resolve + Charming roll against a TN of 20, plus one Raise for every snake you are trying to control after the first. This will allow you to give the snake one command, plus one other command per extra Raise that you made on your roll. Each command must be something simple such as “attack that man,” or “attack that man until he flees or is incapacitated,” but not something involving more than one kind of action on the part of the snake. “Climb the wall, find Feyid ben Ahmad in the castle, and attack him,” are three commands because it involves three distinct kinds of activity for the snake. “Attack everyone in the room,” is also a valid single command, regardless of how many people are currently in the room.
Constriction. When you grapple with someone, you can actually bend your arms and legs slightly in between the joints and apply extra pressure along the entire length. You may add twice your Rank in this Knack to any attempt to use the Grapple Knack, and you may add your Rank in this Knack multiplied by your Mastery Level to the Damage Roll for any Bear Hug you make. For instance, a Master gets +10 to any attempt to use the Grapple Knack, and his Bear Hugs get a bonus of +15 to the damage.
You may make a Contested Roll of your Brawn + Constriction against your opponent’s choice of Brawn + Escape or Finesse + Escape. If you are successful, you do not break your current Grapple hold after you successfully use the Break Knack.
Flexibility. You are double-jointed, not just in your fingers, but in every joint of your body. You can dislocate any joint in your body voluntarily and without significant discomfort. You may add your Rank in this Knack multiplied by your Mastery Level to any attempt to Escape from a Grapple hold, and to attempts to escape from things such as manacles or shackles.
Hiding. A supernatural aura of mystery surrounds you. You may add your Rank in this Knack to any Stealth, Shadowing, Ambush and Unobtrusive rolls you make. If you have at least one Rank of Hiding, you are completely invisible to almost any form of magic that could be used to spy upon you. You are immune to the clairvoyance of Mirage sorcerers; they simply cannot scry upon you. Sorte Strega who attempt to see your Arcana will see a Yilan viper instead of a card image. Those attempting to see your Fate Strands must make a Contested Roll of their Wits plus the appropriate Knack (Cups, Swords, etc.) against your Resolve + Hiding in order to see them; if they fail, all they see are snakes where your strands should be. You may not be seen by means of the Fornuft (“Gateway”) rune used by Lærdom sorcerers. Glamour Sorcerers with the Thomas Knack cannot detect the use of Sorcery when you come near them.
Slither. You may use this Knack to move along a tunnel when you have squeezed your way into it by wriggling the muscles of your torso. You may also use Slither instead of the Climbing Knack to scale a tree or a wall with a rough edge. You may use this in place of Sprinting to propel yourself along the ground or a floor. You may move as quickly along the ground by slithering as you would by using your legs to walk or run. In addition to its other uses, Slither may be used as a Defense Knack while prone without penalty.
Game Master’s Secrets
Because Af’a is a shamanism, it has no inherent effect (positive or negative) on the Barrier.