Geasa: Different Perspectives

By Walt Mazur


I've been thinking about Geasa and some of the Geas and Lilim questions over the last few weeks:

The Geas table on page 88 is a great way of clearly delineating the relative powers of the geasa:

Geas Time
1 An hour
2 A day
3 A week
4 A month
5 Six months
6 A year

Likewise, the perception roll of a Lilim to sense a random perception where the check digit is the difficulty of the need sensed is in admirable concordance with the about table.

We might expand on these bases in three areas: sensing the Need, fulfilling the Need, and what will pay off a Geas.

It seems to me establishing a random Need would be inappropriate for an NPC or PC where the GM knows the character. GMs might well dispense with the perception roll to pick up an obvious Need, one that could be percieved without the Lilim's resonance; and when the GM knows of an obvious and important Need, I feel he should give that most important Need. For example, someone has just shot a gang member and the rest of the gang is moving in on him to kill him. It's raining, and now he needs an umbrella (Geas/1) and an escape (Geas/6). If a Lilim who saw the shooting and knows he needs an escape without using her resonance, uses her resonance to sense his Need and gets a 1-2-1, she should still be able to satisfy his Need for an escape, gaining a Geas/6. (The idea that she'd say, "Oh, you just shot someone, but what you *really* Need now is an umbrella for the rain." Well...) But, I think his Will reduction should be at only 1, the rolled check digit. This might make her decide not to satisfy the need, since it would be harder to collect on the Geas/6.

Second, the timetable is clearly based on routine tasks: I think few GMs would want to equate, Geas/1: "Wait for the dryer to finish, and put my silk blouse on a hanger," with, "Here's a 100 round Tommy gun: see how many innocents you can kill in an hour." That all tasks are not equal is stated in the Canon, but it gives little guidance beyond that statement. I submit the following as Geas guidelines, though they should be taken as guidelines for normal humans--a psychotic or a celestial might have very different standards:

1. Do a favor
2. Breach a trust or do a big favor
3. Commit a crime or protect someone from injury or jail
4. Save someone from serious injury or jail time
5. Save a friend's life or save a relative from serious injury
6. Save your life or a loved one's life, or save yourself from crippling injury or a life sentence

An additional guideline for more mundane Needs is how much time it will take for the Geased person to earn the money to buy the Needed thing, relating that time to the original Geas time scale.

For a celestial, that cost might be put in experience points. Loss of a vessel might be trivial for a vessel/1 -2 charisma (-1 point), but a vessel/6 +2 charisma (28 points) should be very important--though by no means as important as life for a human. Just as a guideline (figuring on celestials gaining 2 experience per week), giving a needed resource to a celestial or preventing the loss of a needed resource might result in geasa of:

1. Inconvenient, but costs no points.
2. Costs about one point or would cause trauma.
3. Costs 2-5 points, or would cause dissonance.
4. Costs 6-10 points, or would cause discord.
5. Costs 11-50 points, or would soul-kill another celestial.
6. Celestial death (soul death).

The third area is what you can get for a Geas. "Wash my car for a year," is different from, "Kill my enemies for a year." So I submit that following guidelines based on the effort envolved, though they might all fit into a Geas/1 time period:

1. Do a favor, like pick up some groceries; maybe give one essence.
2. Breach a trust, such as disclosing confidential information; do a big favor; or give few essence.
3. Commit a crime, like shoplifting or embezzling; hurt someone (aid them for some demons); do something to cause or remove dissonance; or give ten essence
4. Commit a serious crime, such as armed robbery; seriously injure someone; or cause or remove discord
5. Kill a stranger
6. Kill a loved one

All of these can be done an hour, though it might take times consistent with the page 88 table for normals or celestials to force themselves to perform such acts. Geasa above six aren't really defined, but killing a loved one within the hour seems like a good candidate to be treated as a Geas/6 with a Geas/1 timescale, costing a net Geas/11, the Geas/6 plus moving Geas/6 down the timescale by 5.

Of course, the essence equivalents aren't meant to give celestials an easy out in serving Geasa--the holder of the Geas decides what satisfies it-- but they might be usable on occasion. "You know that Geas/4 I have one you? I've like you to rob that bank, but if you give me all your essence, I'll drop it to a Geas/3 and let you off the hook for now."

Thoughts? Comments?


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