Sorcery and Otherworld rules (introduction)

Sorcery and Otherworld rules (introduction)

Sorcery is subtle in SAKE and does not affect the physical world visibly. Sorcery makes it possible to communicate with animals, heal, bring others back from the dead, leave one’s body as a soul, travel to the Otherworld, create magical objects and subjugate the will. These are powerful abilities yet not visible to the naked eye when travelling around the world of SAKE. GM can make the world appear relatively magic-free if they wish even if it isn’t actually so. SAKE can also be enjoyed when leaving sorcery out of the game entirely.

Sorcery can however be found everywhere in SAKE if the players wish to dive into it:

  • The most feared assassins in Asteanic society are the azure assassins – sorcerers who depart from their bodies in soul form to kill their victim’s soul. Such mages can be found in the service of most Asteanic rulers.
  • Psychics who can subjugate the will of others by looking into their eyes have heavily popularised the use of sunglasses in higher castes.
  • Nature gods have a direct effect on a domain’s everyday life which creates a dilemma for chancellors and leaders, they can either try and earn the favour of these gods or try and get rid of them in some way. Pissing off a nature god can evoke a ravaging plague or a destructive natural catastrophe. 
  • The world of SAKE is full of different Otherworlds whose odd entities and rules affect the cultures and religions of the human world.

From a gameplay perspective, sorcery is divided into schools of magic, which are skills that players must purchase separately. Until they are purchased, these skills are not even listed on the character sheet. Therefore, for a person who has not learned them, magic remains entirely inaccessible.

Owning a magical skill does not do anything on it’s own, meaning a player can not just roll Restoration, they have to use a spell and spend Spellpoints (equivalent to Willpower + any Spellpoints received when learning new spells) as well as roll against marked Difficulty Level which is spell specific. Spells are functionally similar to abilities, as they have certain requirements and enable specific magical actions. With available free Spellpoints, spells can always be used.

Separate from the schools of magic, there is a skill called Channeling, which allows channelling the abilities of deities with whom a pact has been made. Since deities are significantly more powerful than humans and can influence the physical world to some extent, those who have made a pact with them can purchase spells that, to a limited extent, grant them control over the physical world in a manner similar to the deity. For instance, a person who has made a pact with a wind deity can acquire a spell that grants them control over the direction and strength of the wind, or someone who has formed a pact with an oni deity can obtain an ability that accelerates their healing, much like an oni’s own rapid recovery.

To buy spells from any school of magic requires the PC to learn them from a teacher or a book. To acquire a godly spell requires the PC to enter into a pact with a god that offers knowledge on said spell. Both instances may require additional knowledge in another spell or a high enough skill level.

When players or the Game Master feel the desire to create new spells or branches of magic, or when the question arises about what is possible in the human world or the Otherworld, all magic and the Otherworld adhere to eight fundamental principles:

The Otherworld & Soul

Description & Geography

The Otherworld is made up of different pockets. This means that the Otherworld isn’t just a single otherworldly realm that directly parallels the human world, but it consists of countless pockets that run parallel to the human world. These pockets can be tiny such as a valley between two mountains or a singular cave. They can also be infinite like an infinite desert or ocean. All Otherworld pockets have or have had a high ruler. These rulers have created and modified the area to fit their personal needs. These rulers and gods are allknowing in their pockets of Otherworld and almost invincible as they are able to change the geography within their pocket of the Otherworld.

Several pockets within the Otherworld can also exist in parallel to each other. This complexity adds a significant challenge to deliberately entering the Otherworld, especially when the aim is to reach a specific pocket within it. Typically, there is a specific geographical point in the physical world associated with each pocket, which serves as an entryway to that particular pocket in the Otherworld. These locations are often regarded as sacred sites, especially if a deity locally revered resides on the other side.

Exiting the Otherworld at a random location is inherently even more perilous. This is because the distance covered in the Otherworld may not necessarily equate to the same distance in the human world. In other words, traversing 1 km in the Otherworld may, or may not, correspond to 100 km in the human world. Similarly, returning to the Otherworld at the same spot doesn’t guarantee re-entering the same pocket of the Otherworld from which one initially exited.

GMs can use the Otherworld as a supernatural labyrinth to take adventurers to faraway lands or wherever the GM wishes. GMs should be careful with this logic as creating an easy & quick route from A to B in the human world through the Otherworld poses a question of why the human world’s merchants or other travellers do not use the much more simple route.

There are certain points between the human world and the Otherworld where one can physically enter the Otherworld. These are called Gates of the Otherworld and they are highly significant locations. These points may exist consistently or might activate only during specific times, such as during a full moon or once a year on the anniversary of a particular event.

The passage of time

Time in the Otherworld operates differently from time in the human world, just as space in the Otherworld doesn’t correspond to space in the human world. Time can move at a slower pace in the Otherworld, but it doesn’t always have to. For instance, a year spent in the Otherworld might equate to only a week in the human world. It’s not advisable to accelerate time in the Otherworld beyond that of the human world, as this could inadvertently lead to years or even centuries passing in the human world during gameplay.

Dividing the day into morning, noon, and night is impractical in the Otherworld. Some parts of the Otherworld might follow this division, while other areas could exist in a perpetual state of night or morning. There might also be regions where these time periods shift unusually quickly or slowly. GM can dictate that killing a leader of a specific area in the Otherworld makes the sun set for ever or vice versa, there are no rules for this.

The Otherworld as the Realm of the Deceased

When a person dies, there are two possibilities: their soul either enters the Otherworld and continues to wander and live there, or it moves on to the true land of the deceased. The majority of souls simply pass through the Otherworld, moving into the unknown, and very few become trapped there. Over millennia, however, these few have accumulated in the Otherworld, resulting in a substantial number.

The reasons why some souls move on while others remain trapped in the Otherworld are subjects of theological debates.

In general, the pockets of the Otherworld inhabited by human souls are peaceful places. Ancestral spirits exist in a routine, engaged in an activity they were most involved with during life. For example, ancestors who were farmers tend to till fields and care for animals. These pockets of the Otherworld can closely resemble the real world. Players may spend a considerable amount of time there before realizing they are not in the real world. The initial hint often comes from the historic appearance of their surroundings. The architecture is ancient, firearms and iron might not be present, and clothing and tools are antiquated.

When interacting with these routine-bound ancestral spirits, it becomes evident that they embody specific archetypes. All tenants of Asteanic culture are somewhat similar in demeanor and speech. This observation applies to Asteanic samurais and others as well. Ancestors lack personal traits; they only express certain archetypes. However, where do all the houses, animals, and fields come from? Ancestors subconsciously influence the atmosphere within their pockets of the Otherworld. Everything around them is a product of their imagination. When a new ancestor emerges, they instantly conjure a house and domesticated animals. Importantly, ancestors do this subconsciously and lack conscious control over the Otherworld’s elements.

Furthermore, there are wanderers in the Otherworld known as “spectators.” These spectating souls are anonymous, ageless, and genderless. They cannot be interacted with. They roam the pockets of the Otherworld aimlessly and generally do not react to anything. Ancestral spirits do not acknowledge their existence, almost as if they cannot see each other. However, spectators do notice those who traverse the Otherworld and gaze at them when they catch their eye.

Both ancestral spirits and spectators are usually harmless to visitors of the Otherworld. They only become hostile if aggressed against or if their routines are disrupted in some way.

Otherworld as the Realm of Otherworldlings

Most of the inhabitants of the Otherworld dwell within existing pockets and are unable to create new ones. Similar to ancestral spirits, these Otherworldlings possess a subconscious ability to shape their surroundings to their liking. However, just like the ancestors, they cannot consciously use this power against travellers in the Otherworld.

The nature of the pocket where an Otherworldling resides depends on the type of creature. Nymphs and fauns inhabit areas of breathtaking natural beauty. Entities associated with death may reside in eternal darkness or amidst decaying and lifeless landscapes. A phoenix might dwell in a place engulfed in flames. Certain Otherworldlings, like blue onis and gorgons, might inhabit pockets that resemble man-made castles or caves.

The Otherworld inhabitants are mostly solitary beings who don’t actively seek interaction with deceased souls or astral travellers. However, some creatures might start to follow living visitors in an attempt to enter the world of the living.

Those Otherworld creatures capable of creating their own pockets are immensely powerful, akin to lesser deities. Such entities are already central to an adventure, and stumbling into the pockets they’ve crafted is ill-advised. Within these pockets, they possess the ability to see, hear, and manipulate the geography at will. Additionally, they can consciously conjure new inhabitants for their pockets, making them nearly invincible adversaries in their own domains.

Travelling & Adventuring in the Otherworld

Entering the Otherworld

The most common way to enter the Otherworld is by learning the basic spells of Astral Projection and then leaving one’s physical body behind and entering the Otherworld as a soul.

It’s also possible to enter the Otherworld physically, using a specific Otherworldly gateway that allows such passage. However, these gateways are extremely rare and often unreliable. They might only work on specific days or require fulfilling unique conditions, such as a blood sacrifice of a particular person or Otherworldling, passage on a full moon night etc. These gateways can take on various forms, not necessarily resembling traditional gates. For instance, a cellar door that usually opens to a stone wall might serve as a gateway on a specific night. Recognizing these gateways can be challenging; for example, crossing a river on a full moon might transport a person to the Otherworld, whereas nothing unusual happens on regular nights. Game Masters have creative freedom when designing these gateways.

Regardless of how one enters the Otherworld, the GM must first decide the type of pocket they are entering. Is it a large pocket inhabited by the souls of the deceased and/or Otherworldlings? Does it have a ruler? These decisions are crucial, and most importantly the GM must also determine how the characters can exit the pocket.

For those who have entered the Otherworld as souls, leaving is relatively simple, as they can depart at any time. The only challenge they might face is if they exit from a different location than where they entered, they may end up in an unexpected place in the human world.

However, individuals who have entered the Otherworld in physical form require a gateway to return. This could pose a complex problem, as the conditions for opening the gateway from the human world might not correspond with the conditions in the Otherworld, or the gateway might not open at all. They may only be able to move forward to next Otherworld pocket, not backward.

Entering the Otherworld means placing your character within the realm of wild creations and unfamiliar rules of physics, where the usual norms might not hold true.

However, certain aspects are consistent in the Otherworld, regardless of the specific pocket you find yourself in:

  1. In the Otherworld, nobody can turn invisible. Everything is visible as it truly is. An astral traveller assumes the appearance of a physical human but may differ from their real physical body’s appearance, influenced by their self-perception. It’s possible for a person’s body to look quite different from their ethereal form based on their self-perception.
  2. Although there are visible animals in the Otherworld, they are imaginary. Even though they might taste good, they won’t satisfy physical hunger. Similarly, while flowing water can be seen in the Otherworld, it won’t quench your thirst. Entering the Otherworld physically is risky because nothing there sustains the body’s needs. Only the flesh and blood of some Corporeal Otherworldlings can satiate hunger and thirst.
  3. Sacrifices such as food, blood, or humans can reach the gods in the form of essence. Some Otherworldlings have a taste for wine, honey or human souls over their self-created food. However, Otherworldlings and spirits do not need food to survive; sacrifices merely offer a gastronomic experience of fine dining.

Humans who have ended up lost in the Otherworld in their physical forms could potentially survive by consuming the sacrificed foods, provided they successfully managed to steal them from the gods.

  1. Items which are dreamed up in the Otherworld cannot be taken out. Characters may find great treasures in the Otherworld, but if these treasures are not physical but rather imaginary creations of Otherworld beings or ancestral souls, they will disappear when leaving the Otherworld. Determining whether something is real or imagined can be complex.
  2. Nonetheless, there are items in the Otherworld that can be taken back in physical form. These are magical items, like those forged by a blue onis, or items that were brought to the Otherworld in physical form by someone who previously entered.
  3. When entering the Otherworld in physical form, characters bring along everything they have with them.
  4. To take items to the Otherworld as a soul, specialized soul items crafted by a soulsmith are necessary. Additionally, the owner must possess the ability to carry those items in soul form. If a sorcerer takes a Soulbleed or Astral armour with them, these items cannot be destroyed and are inseparable from them in the Otherworld. If a sorcerer dies with these items in the Otherworld, the soul fragments within the items remain trapped, and the items in the human world become regular weapons and armour.
Adventures in the Otherworld

Adventurers can find themselves in the Otherworld as part of another ongoing adventure or they can embark on quests specifically set within the Otherworld, dealing with various issues unique to that realm. You could even play as different types of spirits who must defend their realm against local deities.

The Otherworld can be a destination based on tasks assigned by gods or the need to establish contact with hidden Otherworldlings or ancestral spirits.

Alternatively, adventurers might uncover the existence of a powerful magical artefact hidden deep within the Otherworld or set out in search of vast treasures, like the legendary Menes’ treasury, which countless adventurers have sought in vain.

Chasing after someone could lead adventurers into the Otherworld. Malevolent entities from the Otherworld may escape there. There might also be a scenario where a powerful and malevolent sorcerer has been slain, prompting the party to venture into the afterlife to eliminate their soul as well. 

Intervention might be necessary when a god is plotting malevolence within their pocket of the Otherworld. 

Another possible adventure could revolve around solving an Otherworldly mystery, like the enigma of the Mist.

Adventurers could accidentally find themselves in the Otherworld in physical form, either due to being in the wrong place at the wrong time or passing through a gateway accidentally. In such cases, their priority would be to find a way back to the human world before they succumb to thirst and hunger. It’s even possible for an entire ship and its crew to end up in the Otherworld purely by chance.

Soul, Combat as a Soul, and Death

The foundation of all magic and Otherworld-related matters is the Soul. The Soul is the most essential attribute for a sorcerer, and when a sorcerer’s Soul leaves their body, it takes the place of their physical attributes: Body, Speed, and Precision.

Even if one is not playing as a sorcerer, attributes related to the Soul, like Willpower, Spell Resistance and Soul HP may come in handy when encountering Otherworldlings or situations involving souls and magic.

When a person’s soul departs from their body, their soul appears as they subconsciously perceive themselves. Typically, this form slightly differs from their physical state—possibly a bit younger or without scars. If a person has lost a limb, their soul usually retains it. The soul is not inherently invisible but transparent and shimmering. Upon entering the Otherworld, transparency and shimmering vanish, and the soul takes on the appearance of a physical entity, albeit with distinct attributes from those who are physically present in the Otherworld. While the soul is intangible, Soulbleed and silver weapons can still harm it easily.

Although the soul is transparent and objects can pass through it when thrown at, it cannot simply move through walls. Similar to the body needing to open a door to pass through, so does the soul. However, a sorcerer who possesses the skill to enter the Otherworld from anywhere can enter it and consequently escape from an enclosed space. Therefore, capturing a soul is exceedingly complex. Only Soulshackles crafted by a soulsmith prevent such beings from travelling between the human world and the Otherworld.

Attributes & Skills of a Soul

When a Soul exits the body, it uses its Soul attribute for skills that are usually based on Body, Speed, or Precision Attributes. This means that a sorcerer with a high Soul Attribute could theoretically be very skilled in various physical aspects while in astral form. However, this doesn’t automatically grant the ability to touch things; that requires a separate Ability.

Sorcerer’s stats in astral form 

HP: Soul Health Points (SHP)

Reflexes: Soul + purchased Reflexes

Parrying: Reflexes + Astral shield + purchased Parrying points

Movement Speed   Calculate using Soul instead of Speed Attribute and add Purchased Movement Speed

Attack: Weapon’s skill (Speed or Precision replaced by Soul + abilities) 

Damage: Body replaced by Soul + Abilities + Soulbleed weapon plusses.

Astral traveller does damage to a person’s Soul HP, not regular HP. Regular armour has no Damage Reduction against this damage.

An unarmed astral traveller can strangle their opponent if they have the Manipulation of Physical Objects Ability.

A mage without that Ability who has no Soulbleed weapon can do no damage as a Soul. 

Damage Reduction (DR): 20 or Astral projection skill level (if it’s greater) against regular weapons.

Magical Damage Reduction (MDR): 0 against Soulbleed or silver weapons unless wearing soul armour which adds 3, 6 or 9 points of MDR. 

Fighting Against a Soul or as a Soul

Inflicting damage on a soul with a regular weapon is exceedingly challenging. The soul has a Damage Reduction of 20 against such attacks, and the traditional concept of Piercing does not apply here. Piercing gauges a weapon’s ability to penetrate metal or thick skin, not its capability to harm ethereal beings.

This DR does not apply against silver weapons or Soulbleed weapons. Soul gains Magical DR against those when wearing a specialised armour crafted by a soulsmith. This astral armour incorporates a fragment of soulsmith’s soul, which accompanies the wearer into ethereal form as armour.

An unarmed soul, also lacking the ability to manipulate physical objects, cannot initiate an attack. 

If a soul wields a Soulbleed weapon, it can inflict damage on another soul, even when confronting a person who remains in their physical body. This aspect makes combat against such Azure Warriors extremely dangerous, as humans often possess fewer Soul Health Points (SHP) than physical Health Points (HP). In that case, the soul doesn’t deal damage to physical HP, which means souls cannot attack animals since they don’t have Soul HP.

Regular armour is ineffective against Soulbleed weapons. Only specialized mirror armour or magical Astral armour provides Magical DR against such Damage.

When a Soulbleed weapon is employed within the physical body, meaning the weapon’s ethereal form is integrated into the weapon’s physical shape, then regular armour offers Damage Reduction against attacks. However, the damage affects both the Soul HP and the regular HP.

Fighting Against Otherworldlings, Undead, and Spirits

Sooner or later, adventurers find themselves facing creatures that are fundamentally different from the flesh and bone of humans, animals, and natural monsters like wyverns.

All spirits, undead, and Otherworldly beings possess certain unique qualities and defences against conventional attacks.

These types of beings are divided into seven groups, and each creature is categorised into a specific group. This chapter provides a general description of the characteristics that define each group. Specific creatures may exhibit some variations compared to the typical attributes of their respective group.

Each group of creatures has some of the following distinctive features:

Otherworldly Being

Otherworldly beings do not require food, water, or oxygen to survive.

All Otherworldly beings are immune to poisons and illnesses.

Otherworldly Senses

The creature possesses the abilities of Permanent Sixth Sense and Darkvision from the Astral Projection school of magic, enabling them to see the invisible and in darkness as well as in light.

Beings with Otherworldly Senses are immune to all Psychic spells.

Ethereal Being

This creature lacks a physical body. It cannot be pushed, pulled, or conventionally confined. While it can’t pass through walls, it can change its size and float through small windows or gaps in bars.

Attacks from such a creature typically deal damage to Soul HP rather than physical HP.

An ethereal being is immune to electrical damage.

Unanatomical Being

The creature lacks anatomical internals. While it may appear to have a head and arms, strikes against them deal the same damage as strikes elsewhere. The creature is immune to damage from Sneak Attacks and manoeuvres that target specific body parts. 

An unanatomical being is immune to fire and acid.

Unhuman Being

The creature is immortal in the sense that it does not age or die of old age. The creature can be killed.

Unhuman beings are immune to Psychic spells and Necromantic spells.

Seven Types of Otherworldly Creatures and Their Unique Abilities
Type of Otherworldly CreatureUnique Abilities of Otherworldly Creature
Living SoulA living soul is a sorcerer who has departed in the form of a soul from their body.A living soul has a DR of 20 against normal weapons; Soulbleed and silver weapons cause regular damage to the soul.Otherworldly BeingEthereal BeingUnanatomical Being
Dead SoulDead souls encompass various apparitions such as spectators, ancestral spirits, shadows, etc.A dead soul has a DR of 20 against normal weapons; Soulbleed and silver weapons cause regular damage to the soul.Otherworldly BeingOtherworldly SensesEthereal BeingUnanatomical Being
Quasicorporeal SoulQuasicorporeal souls include various entities like wraiths and vampires. A quasicorporeal soul appears like a physical being and can be touched. It can wield weapons and wear armour as if it were corporeal. However, it lacks internal organs, brain, or any other physical components. It’s composed of energy so intense that it nearly forms a body.Quasicorporeal souls have a DR of 10 against normal weapons; Soulbleed and silver weapons cause regular damage to the entity.
A sorcerer who transforms into an animal using the Animal Form spell gains the attributes of a quasicorporeal soul.
Otherworldly BeingOtherworldly SensesUnanatomical Being
When a sorcerer’s soul takes the form of an animal, its DR against normal weapons becomes 10, and it loses the attributes of an Ethereal Being. The sorcerer does not automatically gain Otherworldly Senses.
Corporeal UndeadA corporeal undead is similar in composition to a living human – body and soul. However, the body of an undead is lifeless, and the soul within it can be either a Living Soul or a Dead Soul, depending on the magic used to create the undead.The dead body of an undead is immune to poisons, diseases, and Sneak Attacks. Dealing with manoeuvres is more complex. The dead body can be successfully dismembered to hinder its actions, though such blows do not typically cause more Damage.
Ethereal OtherworldlingEthereal otherworldlings, such as spectral assassins or banshees, resemble apparitions in appearance and traits.An ethereal otherworldling has a DR of 20 against normal weapons; Soulbleed and silver weapons cause regular damage to the entity.Otherworldly BeingOtherworldly SensesEthereal BeingUnanatomical BeingUnhuman Being
Quasicorporeal OtherworldlingQuasicorporeal Otherworldlings, like Marduses and Vooles, resemble physical entities similar to quasicorporeal souls. They can be touched, and an unsuspecting individual might easily mistake them for physical beings.Quasicorporeal otherworldly beings have a DR of 10 against normal weapons; Soulbleed and silver weapons cause regular damage to the entity.Otherworldly BeingOtherworldly SensesUnanatomical BeingUnhuman Being
Corporeal OtherworldlingMost otherworldly beings have physical bodies. Their bodies and anatomy can vary greatly from humans, like primordial creatures, or closely resemble them, like nymphs.Corporeal otherworldly beings have a DR of 10 against normal weapons; Soulbleed and silver weapons cause regular damage to the entity.Otherworldly BeingOtherworldly SensesUnhuman Being
Loss and Recovery of Soul HP

Losing and regaining Soul HP (SHP) are similar to losing and regaining regular HP but with some key differences.

Losing SHP is represented in a decline in mental health – PC becomes more stressed, grows anxious and feels pressured.

When a character’s Soul HP reach 0, further damage affects their Soul Attribute (similar to regular HP and Body Attribute). 

If the Soul Attribute reaches 0 or below, a Willpower (Morale) check against DL 15 is required.

Failure of the Willpower check indicates the character can no longer endure the stressful situation and will do whatever it takes to escape  their current situation.

A successful check exempts the character from rolling Willpower (Morale) for an hour. If, within this time, a way to restore Soul HP isn’t found and the character encounters another stressful situation, a new Willpower check occurs.

When astral traveller’s Soul Attribute reaches 0 or below and they don’t succeed in their Willpower check, they rapidly move towards their body.

If a character’s Soul drops below -10, the Soul is deceased. The Soul vanishes completely from the fabric of the world, as if it never existed. A dead Soul cannot be summoned, recalled, or interacted with – it ceases to exist.

However, the death of the Soul does not mean the death of the body. The body remains motionless, its heart beats, but it’s in a coma. While such a body can be kept alive, it is essentially pointless as its soul will never return. A vacant body might attract interest from a possessor spirit.

When a perilous situation that damages the Soul concludes, the character slowly begins to recover. Soul points and SHP recover in the same way as Body points and HP.

The recovery of 1 Soul Attribute point takes 4 days minus the initial Soul Attribute (definitely at least one day). Soul HP also regenerates during this time.

Soul HP regenerates 1 + initial Soul Attribute points per day when resting in Body or as an astral traveller within The Otherworld. If the Soul attribute is lower than 1, then Soul HP recovers by 1 point per day. 

Both the Soul Attribute points as well as Soul HP are regenerated while inhabiting their body or as an astral traveller within The Otherworld. Only Dead Souls (ghosts, ancestors, necromantic creations etc) Soul points and SHP regenerate out of their body in the human world.

Death and the Aftermath

When playing SAKE, death can encompass three distinct possibilities. The gravest is the demise of the soul, signifying its obliteration with no chance of return.

In the event of bodily death, the soul departs the body, and there are several potential outcomes. To determine what follows, the character must roll their Willpower.

Upon death (if the deceased possesses Astral Projection skill, they can attempt that), roll Willpower against a DL of 20. Rolling below 20 enables the soul to traverse The Otherworld and move onwards. This process takes around a week or two, after which the soul becomes unattainable within the game’s mechanics. 

The process can only be halted by resurrection sorcery if a week hasn’t yet elapsed. A soul progressing through The Otherworld toward the beyond is invisible, untouchable and uncontactable. Depending on one’s beliefs, the soul might join a collective spirit, undergo reincarnation, enter paradise or something else. This roll can be influenced by correctly conducted burial rituals. However, in many cultures, proper burials make the Willpower roll even more challenging, as staying in The Otherworld as a spirit is undesirable. The Willpower roll receives as many bonuses or penalties as the burial officiator’s Theology points.

Rolling Willpower 20 or more means their soul moves into The Otherworld and becomes a spectator, ancestral spirit or individual soul. This may mean that the character’s death isn’t the end of the character’s journey, but instead the start of a new adventure – one that revolves around bringing them back to life, maybe an undead creature.


A person becomes a spectator if they roll  a Willpower check of 20-29. Spectators are genderless, ageless beings who remain silent. They roam The Otherworld aimlessly, occasionally straying into the realm of humans. In the human world, spectators are always invisible, while in The Otherworld, they appear visible like everything else.

Once turned into a spectator, the soul quickly forgets its past. Those versed in The Otherworld suggest that the process of forgetting varies from a week to a year. Confirmation is difficult, though, as spectators don’t communicate. Some believe that spectators lack surface-level thoughts and follow instincts much like animals.

Spectators who wander purposelessly generally pay no heed to each other or anyone else; it’s as if they don’t notice anyone. However, they do sense when they’re being observed and will fixate their gaze on individuals capable of seeing them. It’s believed that spectators envy the living.

Summoning spectators is easy for a necromancer, as they are plentiful everywhere.

Ancestral Spirits

Rolling a Willpower check of 30-39 turns a person into an ancestral spirit. Ancestral spirits are archetypal representations of their previous lives, embodying the appearance, behaviour, and knowledge associated with their past roles, castes, and professions. For instance, an Orenic hunter’s ancestral spirit will resemble other Orenic hunters.

Ancestral spirits often mentally tie themselves to a community, caste, clan, location or a historical event such as a battle that they died in. Ancestors belonging to the same community or location look similar. Their memory is impersonal; they don’t recall their specific past lives but remember their affiliation with clans, castes, families, or other groups. Those familiar with The Otherworld state that the transformation of ancestral spirit memory occurs over a week to a month. A newly formed ancestral spirit might remember its individuality initially, but as they merge with other ancestors and fall into a routine, their personal memories fade, replaced by collective archetypal knowledge.

Ancestral spirits exist acting out routine behaviours in accordance to their group. Orenic hunters go hunting at the start of each day, spirits that died in a battle relive the battle they lost their life in and ancestors who were priests carry out the same rituals day in and day out. 

Ancestral spirits exist mainly in The Otherworld, occasionally crossing over into the human realm, usually on special occasions like full moon nights or significant anniversaries.

When ancestral spirits enter the human world, they are limited to a few kilometers from their burial place or summoning location. However, they can be summoned from The Otherworld to any location the summoner desires.

A necromancer can summon an ancestral spirit by calling for a representative of an archetype or an ancestor belonging to a specific village or clan.

Summoned ancestral spirits usually hold a friendly attitude towards the necromancer who called them, especially if the necromancer is connected to or associated with the group the spirits belong to. If the necromancer has no connection to the spirits, they might turn hostile and punish the necromancer for disrupting their routine.

Ancestors can share knowledge of the history of their people, listen to the summoner’s troubles and give advice. GM should note that ancestors have no knowledge of current events so their advice stems from folk wisdom.

Some ancestral spirits are created as malevolent spirits – shadows, often due to violent events tied to the archetype they represent. Occasionally, ancestral spirits can transform into shadows. While the reasons behind this transformation can be speculated upon (such as the destruction of the group they belong to), empirical conclusions are hard to reach.

All ancestral spirits can be categorised into four archetype groups, regardless of their origin. These archetypes reflect the predominant ways of life across thousands of years. As these archetypes have evolved over the entire span of human history, they don’t possess contemporary knowledge. A shaman visiting the realm of ancestral spirits can conduct a rudimentary form of archaeological and ethnographic research within their communities. However, this research is not entirely accurate, as the archetypal ancestral world doesn’t precisely align with any specific archaeological period. It’s a confluence—a simplified representation of humanity’s lengthy history.

When communicating, ancestral spirits utilise the most prevalent ancient dialect widely spoken in the region. This could present a difficulty for a mage whose culture has recently integrated into the area, as they might not comprehend the archaic language. Even contemporary ancestral spirits adjust to conversing in the ancient dialect within a matter of weeks.

These archetypes are as follows:

Hunter-Gatherers: The oldest group of ancestral spirits; throughout most of history, humans have been hunter-gatherers.

Farmers: The largest group in human history.

Warriors: The warrior archetype is as ancient as the farmer archetype. Warrior ancestors include heroes from various times who have become archetypal ancestors.

Shamans: While shamans, priests, and sorcerers haven’t been numerous in history, this group typically possesses the highest Soul Attribute. This means that there are nearly as many shamanic ancestors in The Otherworld as other types.

Naturally, not everyone fits neatly into these groups; craftsmen, sailors, and others don’t directly align. In these cases, the deceased’s spirit joins the group that most closely resonates with their archetype. For example, a sailor becomes a hunter-gatherer, while merchants and craftsmen transform into farmers.

Individual Souls

Rolling Willpower of 40 or higher transforms a person into an individual soul. These individual souls retain varying degrees of their past memories and possess a considerable degree of freedom in their actions. Some individual souls coexist with ancestral spirits and share many similarities, but they respond to their own names when summoned and can converse about their personal history. Those residing alongside ancestral spirits may respond to a call for the ancestors as well.

While the memories of individual souls also fade with time, the most significant ones remain eternally preserved.

Despite the freedom of movement granted to all individual souls, they often linger around places that hold personal significance to them.

Some individual spirits evolve into other types of apparitions, such as energy vampires or possessors. Occasionally, an individual soul can become a vengeful spirit.

Summoning an individual soul requires knowing their name.


Sorcery is linked to Soul Attribute and the energy carried within this attribute. Sorcery enables interaction with the afterlife – The Otherworld, creation of soul-infused objects, healing, communication with the deceased, resurrection, and control over others’ psyche.

However sorcery does not allow direct manipulation of the physical world. The ability to conjure something out of nothing, move objects through time or space, and similar feats are beyond the scope of SAKE’s sorcery. In this regard, the power of SAKE’s sorcery is limited. The game can be played with players unaware of the existence of sorcery and The Otherworld, even though they are present. Sorcery remains invisible and primarily affects the soul.

Playing as a mage in SAKE carries a certain level of danger. Learning and practising spells may lead to madness, and several spells require the use of narcotic substances, which can potentially lead to addiction.

SAKE’s sorcery is divided into schools of magic. Some of the better-known ones are Restoration, Necromancy, Beastmastery, Astral Projection, Soulcraft, and Psychics, all of which are covered within this book.

In the Asteanic world, practitioners of magic are referred to in various ways: generally as sorcerers, witches, mages, wizards, etc.; specific to their branch as healers, necromancers, etc.; and culturally as bird whisperers, azure warriors or assassins, and so on. These terms don’t have a mechanical significance in the game. A person with the abilities of astral projection and necromancy might be called a necromancer, mage, azure assassin, shaman, etc. The way they are referred to depends more on culture, lifestyle, profession, and the attitude of the one addressing them.

Game Mechanics of Magic

Initially, no character possesses any sorcery skills. To add these skills to the Character Sheet and acquire the first skill ranks, the initial spell must be purchased. The prerequisites for obtaining the first spells are detailed under each school of magic.

Using sorcery abilities, also known as spells, consumes Spellpoints. The total pool of a sorcerer’s Spellpoints depends on their Willpower and the number of spells they are proficient in.

Spellpoints = Willpower + points obtained from purchasing spells.

Each time a mage learns a new spell, they permanently gain as many Spellpoints as the spell’s single-use casting cost. This cost is usually one or two points.

Within the branches of magic, there are abilities that permanently enhance certain skills or spells (e.g., Witch Doctor, which strengthens healing spells). Using these abilities does not consume Spellpoints and acquiring them doesn’t increase the mage’s total Spellpoints.

Using a spell consumes Spellpoints according to the amount specified for that spell. Most spells cost 1 Spellpoint. This point is expended regardless of whether the spell’s use succeeds or fails, signifying the mage’s expended energy. All expended Spellpoints are replenished when the mage gets 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep (unless they possess abilities that shorten the required rest time).

Although a mage gains Spellpoints when acquiring specific spells, these points are not specifically tied to those spells. A mage can utilize Spellpoints at their discretion.

Spells are divided into regular spells and rituals. Casting regular spells typically takes one combat round. On the other hand, performing rituals requires a longer period, usually around 10 minutes. The duration for performing rituals is usually specified in the ritual’s description.

Learning Sorcery

To learn sorcery, an oral or written source explaining the specific spell or ritual’s functioning is necessary.

If a mage has oral or written sources for learning a new branch or spell, they don’t need to roll anything. Meeting the requirements of a spell means the mage is capable of mastering it.

Usually, a mage has a teacher to assist them in this process. In major cities of the Asteanic world, there are high-tuition magic universities.

When learning abilities from the schools of Astral Projection, Restoration, Necromancy, Soulcraft, or Psychics, a mage might acquire a madness, as the abilities of these schools manipulate the soul and can potentially harm the mage’s personality.

With each new ability learned (purchased), the mage must roll their Willpower against the highest skill requirement of that spell. For instance, the Invisibility spell requires an Astral Projection skill level of at least +12. This means the mage must roll 12 or higher on their Willpower to ensure the well-being of their soul. If the roll fails, the mage acquires a madness. The specific madness is determined collaboratively by the player and the GM.

Spellbooks to learn Spells

Books on sorcery can not be found in regular bookshops. These books are handwritten and seldom printed making them valuable to their owners. Laws often govern the spread of such books and often require a sorcerer to have a designated teacher or belong to an organisation. 

Spellbooks can sometimes be found in black markets. The cost of such books must be calculated individually. To do so add up the requirements of magic skill of each spell and then multiply them by 5 to 30. This amounts to the price in GD.

Example: The spellbook contains the rituals: Crafting a Soul-infused item (requires Soulcraft +6) and Crafting an Amulet (requires Soulcrft +8). The total Soulcraft requirement for these is 14. For Soulcraft spells, the cost is multiplied by 10, so the price of the book would be 140 GD.

School of MagicRequirements Price Multiplier
Astral Projection20

Problems Associated with Using Sorcery

Failing to Cast a Spell

There can be serious consequences when a spellcasting fails. The risks of failed casting check applies to all schools of magic and Channelling as well. Only the Beastmastery school is an exception to this risk.

More severe consequences due to a failed spell only become possible if a mage manages to roll a total of 0 or less during the casting skill check. This can only happen when the character rolls a natural 1 during the casting attempt, following which they roll the percentage dice to further subtract from their total roll:

1-50%Nothing happens
100%Instant failure or -40 

The result could be that the casting roll ends up in negative numbers. If this occurs, the character must roll the percentage dice again to determine the exact outcome.

1-30% Mage fails manipulating soul energy resulting in a loss of 2d6 Soul HP.
31-40% Mage fails manipulating soul energy resulting in physical exhaustion. Mage is now tired and -4 penalty applies to all rolls until they rest.
41-50% Mage fails manipulating soul energy resulting in a loss of 3d6 Soul HP.
51-60% Mage accidentally summons a dead soul. Roll 1d4 to determine who appears:1-25% aggravated spectator26-50% aggravated ancestral spirit51-75% evil shadow who will attack the mage instantaneously76-100% aggrevated energy vampire, possessor or Rusalka.
61-65% Mage loses all Spellpoints. To get them back, they must rest.
66-70%  Mage fails manipulating soul energy resulting in 2d4 damage to Soul Attribute.
71-75%Mage fails manipulating soul energy resulting in change of personality. Roll Willpower against 15 or receive a new madness.
76-80%  Mage fails manipulating soul energy resulting in a temporary gateway to The Otherworld. It can be used to go through in physical form. Nothing guarantees a possibility of coming back the same way.
81-85% Mage’s soul gets pulled out of their body into The Otherworld. They can find their way back if the mage knows Astral Projection. They’re in trouble if they don’t. (A necromancer may be able to help the mage stuck in The Otherworld).
86-95%Mage’s activity grabs the attention of an Otherworldling. The Otherworldling may opt to disturb the mage in some other way than attacking, example:Goblin or Boy of Menes may appear while invisible to steal something from the mage.Phoenix appears and starts a fire, then disappears.A succubus chooses the mage as their rival and starts turning the mage’s students and companions against the mage.
96-99%  The mage’s actions draw the attention of some rather unpleasant Otherworldling, who is interested in devouring the mage’s soul or simply killing the mage. 1d4 rounds later, a Mardus, Voole, Spectral Assassin, or some other unpleasant otherwordling arrives and attacks the mage.
100% Mage fails manipulating soul energy resulting in permanent damage to their soul. Roll Willpower against 15 to not lose 1 Soul attribute point permanently.

Studying sorcery can quite literally drive a sorcerer to madness. When learning (buying) each new spell, the mage must roll Willpower against the highest required skill level. If the roll fails, the mage acquires a madness. The specific madness is determined through collaboration between the player and the GM.

If a player purchases spells during character creation, they do not need to roll for acquiring madnesses. This enables them to start the game mentally sound and gradually descend into madness through the study of magic.

Madnesses are recorded on the Character Sheet under personality traits. There’s a risk that madnesses can eventually fill up all available slots, as there are only ten. If all slots are full, the mage must replace one of their personality traits with a madness. This leads to a change in the mage’s personality.

If the mage also has pacts with lesser gods that require adhering to taboos (also recorded under personality traits), new madnesses will displace these taboos when there are no more empty slots available. This could lead to the mage losing their Channelling abilities eventually.

Once all personality trait slots are filled with madnesses, learning new spells becomes impossible. At this point, it’s worth considering whether playing as a completely insane character is feasible – the character has become utterly mad due to meddling with the Otherworld and soul energy.

One potential solution could involve seeking out a powerful psychic, the only one capable of curing madness. However, this cure comes at the cost of a permanent loss of Soul HP.

Since madnesses are considered personality traits, they also grant experience points (EXP) just like regular personality traits or principles. If a madness becomes relevant during an event, the player notes it alongside the event description and gains 1 EXP.

In the Asteanic world, most of madnesses are named after the major deities of Asteanic nation, as each major deity is associated with certain extreme personality traits. Therefore, reading about the madnesses helps both players and GM understand how Asteanic culture perceives their major deities. The major deities themselves are inaccessible, lacking a physical avatar like the lesser gods.

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