Friday, October 7, 2011

Hlákme [HLAWK-may] – the Intellect

I’ve been having a “re-think” about the Intellect. From the source descriptions, this is the character's conscious mind, intellect and sense of self. My impression had been that it didn’t include one’s knowledge and memories, which were – I thought – part of the Balétl (or Spirit Soul.) This interpretation leads to problems with certain spells, however, particularly those that cause another Soul to inhabit a body and also Necromantic spells that re-bind the Hlákme to a slain body. The problem has to do with how does one cast spells in that state, or what knowledge does one have. I began to question where the memories and knowledge lay.

Then I realized that I wasn’t looking at it from a Tsolyáni point-of-view. I was trying to be too much of a “God Learner”, to borrow a term from Gloranthan gaming. Basically, I wanted to know too much, rather than be content with “this is the way it is.”

What happened was I realized that the Shadow Self functioned with full intelligence, memories and knowledge – at least the related spell descriptions don’t suggest otherwise.

So if the Shadow Self possesses all one’s knowledge and memories, then so to does the Spirit Soul, and so could the Hlákme. So when a necromancer causes one’s Hlákme to re-inhabit a copse then that person is not returning without his former knowledge and memories. Similarly, when a Spirit Soul is placed into another body, it is not without its memories and knowledge.

Where the differences lie, is – I believe – more subtle than what I had first thought. I imagine the astral projection of a mage must feel somewhat different – detached, perhaps, because the intellect, that normally drives and motivates the individual is not immediate, unless one assumes a connection is maintained to the Hlákme via the spell.

No connection exists with the Spirit Soul after it is sent into the Unending Grey. Once one is slain, the Hlákme stays near the corpse, so the Spirit Soul, while processing one's knowledge and memories must only have a semblance of one's former personality. This is hinted at in the source material when describing how difficult spirits can be to contact, and how there are time limits on sorcerer's ability to make contact.

What does this mean?

In BOJH terms, the Hlákme (or Intellect) stat is used for anything requiring the mind - spell casting, language use, social challenges. In this it functions much as the Bákte (Body) does for physical challenges. A rating of Hlákme 4 provides 4 dice to which dice are added or subtracted for situational modifiers and Traits or Flaws. Opposed challenges involve a “roll-off”, with each side looking for successes. This would normally consist of one or more “rounds” until only one side (or neither) is left with successes. The number of successes indicates the relative level of success.

Spell casting also utilizes the Pedhétl and so is done slightly differently.

Certain spells will have effects dependant upon how they manipulate the Hlákme or Balétl.

Lastly, as mentioned, when a person dies the Hlákme becomes dormant adjacent to the body and may be re-inserted by necromancy.

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