Astral Perception and Projection

Astral Rules

Astral Perception

Many magical characters can perceive the astral plane from the physical world. This ability is called astral perception.

To use astral perception, spend an action to extend your perceptions to the astral plane. This allows you to see anything present in astral space. You can also see glowing auras surrounding living and magical things and gain information from them, using a psychic sixth sense known as assensing. You can touch and interact with astral forms, using your normal physical attributes and skills and powers. The drawback is that astral beings can also affect you, so you open yourself up to astral attack.

By assensing something’s aura, you can gain information. The auras of living things show their general health, emotions and magical nature (if any). Enchanted objects show their magical nature. Non-magical objects have no auras, but pick up impressions from being in contact with living auras. Assensing can “read” any impressions left behind on an object.

Spells create a visible aura around the person they are cast upon.

To read an aura, spend and action and make a perception check.

Assensing DC Information Gained
10 The general state of the subject’s health (healthy, injured, ill, etc)

The subject’s general emotional state or impression (happy, sad, angry)

The class of magical subject (fire elemental, alteration spell, magical weapon)

Whether the subject is mundane or magical

If you have seen the subject’s aura before, you will recognize it, regardless of physical disguises or alterations

15 All of the above plus

Whether the subjects level is higher or lower than your own and if their spell casting ability is greater or lesser than your own

The general location of any magical items

A general diagnoses for any maladies (diseases or toxins) the subject suffers from

The subject’s exact emotional state or impression

Any astral signatures present on the subject

20 All of the above plus

The exact level of the subject and the exact spell casting level if different from total level

The exact location of any magic items

An accurate diagnosis of any disease or toxin the subject suffers from

The general cause of any emotional impression (a murder, a riot, a religious ceremony, and so on)

The general cause of any astral signature (combat spell, buff spell, elemental spirit, and so on)

Magical effects produce an astral signature on anything affected by the, which can be detected using assensing. An astral signature is the magical “fingerprint” of the magician who created it. A signature lasts for a number of hours equal to the level of the magical effect after the magical effect ends. Enchanted items and other permanent effects (such as hermetic circles) always retain the astral signature of their owner.

A character can attempt to read an astral signature with an assensing perception check. A Moderate success (DC 15) allows the character to detect the signature (and recognize the signature, if you have seen it before). Once seen, you will recognize a signature if you see it again. With a Hard success (DC 20), you also get an impression of what magical effect created the signature (the magical skill used and the general class of spell or spirit).

You can attempt to erase your astral signature from a target by making a contested level check using your level verses the minimum level needed to create the effect on the target. If you succeed, each point you make the success by reduces the duration of the signature by one hour. The inherent signatures of magical things like existing spells, spirits, and magic items cannot be erased. Regardless of success, after attempting to erase a signature you must make a saving throw (as if you cast the spell or effect on yourself) or take damage equal to the level of the effect plus your level. The attempt takes a number of actions equal to the level of the effect. You must have astral perception to attempt to erase an astral signature.

Any character class that has spell casting ability grants Astral Perception once the character reaches the level where they gain the spell casting ability.

Astral Projection

Astral projection allows you to send your astral form into the near astral plane, leaving your physical body behind. To use astral projection, use an action to leave your body and project onto the astral plan. Remaining in astral form requires no effort, but is considered a magical activity. Returning to your body requires an action.

Your astral form is a projection of your mind and spirit. Your physical attributes are irrelevant on the astral plane. Your mental attributes substitute for your physical attributes as follows:

  • Str = Cha
  • Dex  = Int
  • Con = Wis

Your astral form looks like an image of your physical body. The astral forms of your magic items and spell components go with you into astral space. Non-magical gear stays with your physical body. This includes any items that might be implanted in your body (so even if you imbedded a dagger in your arm, it wouldn’t be available in astral space, unless it were also magical). You can form an image of whatever clothing you want, simply by willing it, it has no magical or protective value, it’s just for appearances.

Your astral form has normal human senses of sight and hearing. You can also use assensing to read information from auras. The astral form cannot taste or smell, although sensory input that has no equivalent may be translated as such and it can only touch other astral objects and beings. Physical things are intangible to your astral form; you pass through them harmlessly. These astral senses are all “psychic” in a sense; thus, blind magicians can see perfectly well on the astral.

The astral plane is lit by the glowing auras of living things, including the earth and your own aura, so the physical light level does not affect visual perception on the astral. Astral barriers are difficult to see through and impose a visual penalty equal to the barrier’s level.

The astral plan is a primal place. Abstract information is more difficult to perceive there. Written information and symbols carry their emotional intent rather than their informational intent. For example, you could see a tavern sign and from its location know what it must be but you couldn’t read what it said. Likewise, you could scan a sheet of parchment from astral space and get feelings of love and longing from it, but you can’t read it to see that it’s a love letter. Speech and other sounds are as easy to hear from the astral plane as they are in the physical world.

All astral forms have the ability to manifest, to make themselves visible and audible to beings in the physical world through an act of will. The astral form appears as a ghostly image to all viewers on the physical plane. The astral form is still intangible, and cannot touch anything physical.

It takes an action to manifest your astral form. Ending a manifestation and vanishing back into the astral plane is a free action and can be done at any time.

Astral movement is as easy as thought, and astral forms do not get tired. Normal movement is Intx4 feet. Use this rate when you have to pay attention to your surroundings. Fast movement is very fast! Your astral form can move up to the number of kilometers equal to your level in a single minute. At top speeds, your surroundings pass by in a blur. You retain a sense of location and direction and can dodge around astral obstacles, but cannot assense or see anything in detail without slowing a bit. Combat can occur between two astral forms using fast movement.

At any speed, astral forms can fly. Do not leave the atmosphere–astral projectors who try usually die or go mad, and the survivors memories of the experience are badly scrambled by some kind of profound mental trauma.

Astral forms are unaffected by the physical world, allowing you to move through solid objects without slowing your movement. Only astral forms can slow or affect another astral forms. The earth is solid on the astral plane, just as it is on the physical world; astral forms cannot pass through it. Secure facilities are often built underground to keep out astral intruders.

Physical beings may sense when as astral form passes through them. This requires a hard perception test (DC 20) [Moderate DC 15 if the subject has astral perception themselves even if they are not using it]. If the test is successful, the subject feels a sensation like a chill or a tingling from the passage of the astral form, and will recognize it if/once they are familiar with the sensation.

While you are astrally projecting, your physical body remains comatose, in a deep trance. The longer you are in astral space, the weaker your physical body becomes. The astral form holds your soul. Without it, your body begins to die. Your physical body looses 2 points of Con each hour that you are astrally projecting. If your body reaches 0 Con, you die. Your astral form has its full hit points and Con even though your physical body is weakening. Once your return to your body, the lost Con return at a rate of 2 per minute up to your normal full Con.

While in astral space, you are unaware of the environment of your physical body unless you can see it. You know instantly if it suffers any damage, but you are otherwise unaware of what happens to your body while you are “out.” If someone (or some thing), moves your body while you are astral space, you will not know it until you return and discover it is gone!

Fortunately, your astral form is strongly connected to your body, allowing you to track it down. You can search for your body, by making a Moderate Wisdom check. The base time to find your body is 6 hours. For each point that you succeed by you can divide the time that amount. At the end of that time, presuming you have not run out of Con, you are in the presence of your body. Of course, if enemies moved it, you might find astral opponents and barriers blocking the way back home.

Enemies can also simply kill your body. Your physical form is helpless and can easily be dealt a killing blow. You know when your body dies. Your astral form survives until it would normally have used up its Con, at which point it evaporates. Such a poor soul may decide to use any remaining hours seeking vengeance, and the GM might use such no-bodies as ghosts.

Magic can create barriers on the astral plane. Such barriers are in fact dual-natured, having both a physical and an astral component. The physical component may consist of chalked, painted, or engraved runes (hermetic circles), an actual wall (wards) or even bead curtains, hides or other parts of a shamanic lodge. The astral component is invisible and intangible to physical beings, although those who walk through one may make an astral detection test as if an astral projecting  character had passed through them. On the astral, such barriers are a hazy, solid wall. They block movement and impose a visual penalty equal to the level of the barrier. The creator of a barrier is unaffected by it and can see and pass through it at will. The creator of a barrier can allow other astral forms to see or pass through at will, if desired.

An astral character can try to bypass an astral barrier. This is an opposed Charisma check. The creature adds their Charisma modifier to the roll and the barrier adds its level to the roll. A creature with a magic weapon can add the bonus of the magic weapon to the roll as well. Normally, the creator of the barrier is instantly aware that someone or something is attacking the barrier; you can attempt to take the barrier down silently by taking a -5 penalty to the charisma checks. The winner of the check damages the other. This can be a dangerous position to put oneself into as a creature that knocks itself to 0 hit points might find itself slowly running out of Con while the astral form is unconscious. However, an unconscious astrally projecting creature can continue to make death saves even after they stabilize hoping for a 20; if on the other hand if they get 3 failures after they have stabilized, their astral form “safely” disintegrates and they are thrown back into their body which is instantly reduced to 0 hit points. A barrier has 10 hit points per level and recovers them all 24 hours after being damaged. The creator of the barrier can also restore them by renewing the ritual that created the barrier.

Given the great speeds at which astral forms can travel it is a simple matter for one astral form to evade another. There are only a few points to consider.

A dual being (one using only astral perception) can only move at physical speeds and in ways dictated by its physical form. An astrally projecting character can break off combat with a dual being by moving out of its reach, dodging through a wall, or some similar tactic.

When both combatants are astrally projecting, however, a contested level check is used to resolve any attempt to break off combat or evade pursuit. If a character is facing two or more pursuers, make the check against the highest level pursuer with a +1 to the level for each additional pursuer to a maximum of twice the original level of the highest level pursuer. The opponent who wins the check determines what happens. You either escape or maintain range with your opponent.

All existing magical things (spells, spirits, magic items, circles, and so on) have a link to their owner. Following this link back to its source requires a hard (DC 20) astral perception check. The base time is 24 hours, divided by the number that you exceed the check by. If this is longer than the tracker is able to maintain astral projection, the search can be halted, allowing the tracker to rest, then begun again. When the tracker resumes the search, make an Easy Int or Level check increasing the target by a number of hours since the tracking was abandoned (thus if you resumed the search 4 hours after you left off the DC would be a 14). If you fail, you can try again but the second attempt starts as a Moderate DC (again increased by the number of hours since the last successful tracking attempt).

Any character class that grants spell casting at 1st level, also grants Astral Projection if taken as a 1st class. If taken as a secondary class, through multi-class rules, it only grants Astral Perception.

Astral Adept Feat

The Astral Adept Feat grants a bonus to your astral activities depending on what level of capabilities you had when you took the feat.

  • Characters who had no magic use and thus no astral abilities before taking the feat gain Astral Perception.
  • Characters who have Astral Perception are improved to have Astral Projection.
  • Characters who already have Astral Projection only loose 1 point of Con for each hour that their astral form is absent from their physical bodies. The base time to find your body if it gets moved is 3 hours.

Regardless of which above benefit they gain, they also gain +1 to their choice of Wis, Int, or Cha to a maximum of 20.