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I was thumbing through Street Magic last night and I've still got a few questions about how things are represented when perceiving or projecting astrally.

Solid objects show up as 'shadows' that block vision, but not motion. What does liquids and smoke show up as? I imagine that all liquids would show up as a smoky discoloration that doesn't block movement and barely affects vision and that smoke and thermal smoke would be undetectable on the astral plane altogether.

How would the sea look? It is crawling with algae and life so I imagine that it would be quite spectacular to view from outside and rather confusing to move through.

The book mentions glass and mirrors, but I can't actually recall if it states plainly whether they work similarly to their physical world counterparts of they are just featureless surfaces that block your vision. I would expect that glass cannot be seen through any better than a sheet of steel since astral sight doesn't involve light or any form of radiation.

How do emotional prints and residue show up? Is it actually visible as a glow or is it more of a 'feel' one gets when examining an object? A well-read bookshelf would probably be quite an experience on the astral plane since all the books will have been held by the reader(s) for hours on end while the stories and writing within moves their emotions with powerful stories and ideas.
While astral perception is most often linked to normal vision, it is in fact a new completely different sense. When describing the astral it might be more useful to think of ways to use sensory descriptors that are not visual. In fact it may be easier to convey that it is a new sense if you mix other senses in when describing things. For example the aura from a favorite book might be perceived astrally as chocolate cherry sundae cheesecake flavored, since that was the readers favorite dessert.
I've found the best way to describe the astral plane is via emotion. You get a certain amount of experience from your normal five senses, you could read a large neon sign, hear someone yelling, smell a gas leak, ect, but unless the sensation is major you can't make out any details. You couldn't, for example, read a book, but you could get an emotional impression of the book, perhaps that the book is a moving ballad or a love story. This impression would be especially strong if it is someones favorite book they read often.

Likewise, you can't hear a conversation in the physical plane word for word. You can tell what the people are talking about and the emotional content of the conversation, but you never hear the actual words, your mind simply translates the emotional imprint into words to make it easier to process.
I would still say that a large part of astral perception has a visual style. It's often referred to as astral sight (as the quality) and 'line of sight' is definitely required in order to make out auras and other astral features.

I'll definitely take your hints on using different senses and concepts to describe auras, spirits and the like. Makes sense when you think about it - there are no colours on the astral plane since they're a physical phenomenon.

Another question - combat spells on the astral plane. They obviously have to be mana based, but what about touch range spells? Would you have to roll Astral Combat + Willpower and hit the opponent in order to use a touch range spell like a touch attack in the physical plane? What would you roll to defend against it?
Kanada Ten
When you look at someone and a cold chill runs down your back, that's the first tingle of second sight. When your fingers brush a diary and desperate whispers fill your ears, that's your third eye opening. When you hear a man's chest thumping across a room because he's scared out of his mind; when the smell of fire and soot and blood hits you as you walk through a brand new apartment... Of course, none of that's true, because you can just take a picture of it. There was a full-color rendering of Astral Projection in one of the early book, with the projector looking like one of the aliens from Cocoon, and little owl things floating around.
QUOTE (EvilP @ Feb 26 2009, 01:33 PM) *
Another question - combat spells on the astral plane. They obviously have to be mana based, but what about touch range spells? Would you have to roll Astral Combat + Willpower and hit the opponent in order to use a touch range spell like a touch attack in the physical plane? What would you roll to defend against it?


Attacker (dual natured or astral) Rolls: Willpower + Astral Combat

Defender (dual natured) Rolls: Reaction + Dodge (dodge)
Reaction + Astral Combat (block/parry)

Defender (astral) Rolls: Intuition + Dodge (dodge)
Intuition + Astral Combat (parry/block)

Defender (dual natured) using Full Defense: Reaction + Astral Combat/Dodge + Dodge

Defender (astral) using Full Defense: Intuition + Astral Combat/Dodge + Dodge

Damage Resistance (astral or dual natured): Willpower + Mystic Armor

The Monk
This is not RAW but it may be useful to have another GMs view of Astral Space.

I describe it as a place that is similar in landscape as the real world. It is lit like the light under a full moon except in many places that are in deep shadow, and many places that are aglow with light some as bright as a dark day or dusk if you venture into them. When you enter those shadowy places it is as dark as a moonless night or it can even be dark as pitch.

There are physical things in the Astral World, but they are sparse. Trees, buildings, rivers, books, chairs all of these things can be found. But all of them exert some sort of emotion. Some can even be moved, although not far and will eventually disappear and reappear where it was originally found.

Spirits and astrally projecting individuals do not glow, but they can be seen or not seen as normal lit or obscured by the strange lights and shadows of the Astral World.

Here's where I really diverge from RAW:

There are objects that exists in astral form only and that can be used by astral denizens. These things are usually simple and not mechanical. They can be in the form of weapons and armor, and they work like weapons and armor, but only in the astral. These items are made from spirits themselves.

In the spirit world there exist a strange economy based on servitude and slavery. As trade many spirits will barter for services that can include a period of slavery. Sometimes the trade can be servitude as an item, some spirits have the skills to transform other spirits into items to be used for a certain length of time or even indefinitely (perhaps as punishment for some horrible crime). Even structures can be built from the raw materials of spirits, like palaces or even monuments.

There is a spirit society some unique to the spirit world some based on cultures of the material. There are kings and gangs and anything in between.
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