Astral Wandering: A narative description

Here is a great description from a player whose character used Astral Wandering to possess someone. He writes these up as part of a journal his character keeps.

A bit of context: They party is quite strong and I had arranged a combat against two Nemesis and a slew of minions. One nemesis was a sword master who, along with his goons, was guarding a Stygian performing a ritual on a girl. As the GM, I was not expecting the player to possess the sword master and kill the Stygian in one go (combination of exploit, several talents, two attacks, vicious weapons, good rolls). Granted he did have to ‘cast for consequence’ and that gave me an extra 14 doom. The remainder of the battle will be interesting, but I’ll be denied the creative doom spends the Stygian had. C’est la vie.

Today I possessed a man and used him to slay another. While in Tor, I have had occasion to practice the talent of astral travel that D. taught me, but until today only to visit different districts of the city in an attempt to locate our enemy.

I am not sure that D. would approve of me using the skill he taught me to destroy my enemies in this manner. He has been a much gentler teacher than L. and he tends to preach restrictions on the use of sorcery that my first teacher never would. In this he is, no doubt, driven by the dictates of his faith.

The first time I left my body (to visit Ivanor’s stronghold) was a disorienting but thrilling experience. Unlike commanding the dead, there was no feeling of dark elation, just a quiet release as my spirit slipped the anchor of my mortal form. I wonder if the first thing every practitioner of this art does is to look down on their own vacant body. I had composed myself before casting the spell, but my head had lolled back onto the chair’s headrest. I looked into my own eyes. Still the same blue, as dark as night, that I am used to seeing in the mirror, but now somehow empty. A few locks of my silken ebon hair had escaped their braid and brushed my cheek; I started to reach out a spectral hand to tuck them into place but then let it drop.

My astral form is like my earthly body (save that it is unclothed), but appears composed of black smoke, suffused with silver. It is very similar to the shades of the dead that I see when my sorcery commands them, save that they lack the argent glow. The silver is brightest where my heart would be, and from there issues the cord that anchors my spirit to my mortal frame. The silver thread extends back to my pumping heart, which I can feel rather than hear, like a gentle tide which yearns to pull me back whenever it ebbs.

When seen as a spirit, the world is strange but beautiful. Colours and sounds are muted, and the works of man are insubstantial. One can move swiftly, or perhaps time is mutable in the spirit world. A distant land can be visited in a few instants of astral travel. Like all sorcery it is a matter of will – in this case to seek out (or perhaps create) the seas or rivers that flow to one’s destination. D. let slip that one can travel to other worlds which set me to wondering what places one can visit – could I travel to wherever my God dwells, or would that be a blasphemy? The skies are stunning, dark clouds shot with eerie fire or lightning. The first time I traveled I wondered if I could fly upwards and see what is beyond those clouds. But then, in a thunderhead lit by levin, I glimpsed some gargantuan form, its mass of tenebrous limbs undulating in the gloom. I ceased my speculation and let the current sweep me to my goal.

But I was writing about possessing Herodi Pagnius. I do not know if our enemies outmatched us but slaying the sorcerer was our imperative. I therefore determined to attempt what D. had hinted was possible. I sat on the damp ground with my back against the wall of a ruin, closed my eyes, and composed myself, slowing my breathing and building my resolve. I framed each syllable of the words that I had been taught, feeling the power build within me and then stepped free of my body.

I felt the comforting pull of the silver cord and paused to look about me. My companions and my immediate enemies were clearly visible; the silver glow within their bodies marked them as living beings. But this place was teeming with the shades of the dead. They jostled each other for room, some sitting or standing forlorn, others more active, perhaps silently railing at their fate. Many were but ghostly wisps, barely retaining human form, others, perhaps still full of passion, were more complete. But from them all, motes of spirit-stuff drifted upwards into the roiling black clouds high above, evidence of their dissolution into the void.

Though awestruck by this sight, I had no time to spare. I flew forward (no metaphor, as astral travel does not entail walking on the ground). The dead moved aside as I approached, perhaps recognizing me as one who might command them, or maybe simply unable to bear the touch of the living.

I stopped my movement just behind Herodi and hesitated for a moment. What I was about to try had only been briefly alluded to in the lessons of D… But I was determined to proceed regardless of the consequences and would suffer whatever doom befell me. I entered my victim’s body. The feeling was most unlike returning to my own mortal shell, which was akin to returning to a well-kept home, empty but warm and welcoming. In fact, while the freedom of flying free as a spirit was exhilarating, reuniting with my body was also a joy as with it came the ability to feel, and taste, and love. I had to force myself into Herodi – the doors were barred and locked, but I burst them asunder. He occupied his body and his spirit fought mine. My will was far stronger, and his soul fled from me, shrieking, into some cramped recess of his form. I stretched within him, taking the measure of his body. It was lean, and hard, and male. I am a passing dancer, but his body moved with a precision and certainty that mine does not.

I (he) took a step towards the sorcerer. His back was to me (us) and his attention was focused on the culmination of his ritual. Herodi sensed what I was about to do, and I felt his spirit flailing at me. These efforts were futile as he was held by my will just as the surgeon’s daughter was held by the hands of his men. I (we) struck once, twice. Both thrusts were executed with unerring precision. I do not know if the sorcerer possessed the unearthly vitality of some of his ilk, but if he did it served him poorly. He was dead before he even realized his danger.

I was wary of confronting the sorcerer’s shade in my spirit form since the interrogation of his dead brother did not end well for me. And, the call of my body was becoming hard to resist. I pulled free of Herodi and felt his violated spirit retaking possession of his body. I sped back to my mortal shell and sank into it. Though the battle was raging around me I took a moment to revel in the feel of my body, softer than Herodii’s, but, in its own way, no less a finely tuned instrument than his (though lacking in recent practice). A grim smile touched my lips as I thought of the discomfort I had caused our enemies.

I opened my eyes.

Really cool description! But with having given you 14 Doom, this character might soon realize that D. was right to encourage a restricted use :wink:

That’s a really good piece of writing! Seriously.

I shared this to a mate that had problems visualizing/narrating the use of Astral Wandering. Great stuff!

You’re lucky to have such a ‘journal keeper’ in your group!