By Moe Lane


Flickering is a specialized martial art designed to complement the Scabbard Attunement. Indeed, without Scabbard Flickering is useless, unless the user happens to know of another method of picking weapons out of the air...

Flickering (Precision) No Default; Prerequisite: Scabbard

For the purposes of this skill, assume that an 'untrained' user of Scabbard may instantly cause a weapon to appear in his or her dominant hand (usually the left hand for celestials/Children of the Grigori, of course), but cannot perform more unusual feats. Also, the default assumption is that use of Scabbard will instantly dampen a weapon's kinetic energy. Training in this skill will help overcome these limitations. Also, a successful roll against this skill will reduce an opponent's Dodge skill by (CD/2, round up) for one turn: the user must be actually attacking the designated opponent with a weapon for this bonus to take effect.

The effective skill level of Flickering may never exceed whatever weapon/combat skill the user happens to be using at the time: in multiple attack situations (combination knife strike / knee to the groin, for example), use the lower combat skill level to determine effective skill at Flickering.

Feats available with Flickering:

Sleight of Hand (Flickering/1, no minus): the user may materialize a stored weapon somewhere else than his or her dominant hand (the user must still be touching the weapon, and gravity retains its vote). Usually, this is used to give an off hand a weapon, or have a punch or kick acquire brass knuckles / spikes just before impact.

Phasing (Flickering/2, -2 to skill): at this point, the user may cause the item to cycle in and out of reality. This can do fairly nasty things to corporeal targets: the net result is the same as, say, a vibroknife. The amount of cycling is dependent on skill: a fighter with Flickering/6 can make a knife Phase at a much higher rate than one with Flickering/2. Add [(Flickering divided by 2, rounded down)+1] to the Power of any (hand weapon) corporeal attack.

Zen and the Art of Infinite Ammunition (Flickering/3, -3 to skill): Laurence wasn't particularly pleased to see someone work out this trick, but he had to admit that it had its uses. The user prepares by acquiring a number of identical firearms (4 to 6 are the usual number) and storing them normally. Then, while in combat the user will summon one, fire a shot, immediately switch to the next firearm, fire, switch, and so forth. The benefits of these are threefold. First, cycling weapons this way virtually eliminates recoil: just enough is retained to advance a gun's chamber, if desired. This will provide a general +1 to Accuracy. Second, anyone attempting to count shots will receive a very nasty surprise.

Third, of course, is that it just looks neat.

Channeling (Flickering/3, -5 to skill): the user may switch weapons from one hand to the other, effectively instantly. This ability is especially useful for feints or sudden attacks, justifying the minus of (Flickering level/2, rounded down) to an opponent's Dodge (cumulative with Dodge penalties from regular Flickering use).

Ghost Blade (Flickering/4, -6 to skill): at this level, the user has begun to learn how to blink out a weapon just enough to pass through objects, but not enough to lose its momentum. With a successful roll, use of Ghost Blade will permit the user to bypass an obstacle in order to attack someone directly. The attack must be a swinging attack, and the Power of the strike is reduced by (Flickering Skill - 6) x 2.

Disarm (Flickering/5, -6 to skill): the user may attempt to phase out an enemy's weapon. The user must be in physical contact with the item to be phased ('physical contact' meaning bare skin) and make both a successful skill roll (the lower of Flickering or Fighting) and win a Contest of Strength with her opponent. Attempting to Disarm any kind of artifact weapon requires a Contest of Wills, instead, with a -1 for the highest level of the weapon.

Yes, this technique will allow a user to Disarm a weapon that is currently imbedded in his flesh ... but it will not prevent damage.

Ghost Dance (Flickering/6, -8 to skill): this feat is much like Disarm, except that it works preemptively (more or less). The user may phase out attacks at the moment of impact: this will reduce any damage done to one Body Hit from unavoidable bruising. Only physical attacks done by a weapon are subject to Ghost Dance, and the user must have perceived the attack in order to use this feat. In other words, surprise attacks - or attacks from the rear/side - will do full damage, unless the user makes a Perception roll, with the usual penalties. Multiple uses of Ghost Dance may be attempted per turn (with a maximum number of uses equal to the user's Agility).


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