Mancy, or, Why Divination is Cool, Mechanics for it

The -mancy suffix actually means divination, not control. Learned this just recently and made me feel kinda' stupid. Also opened up some ideas for me.

The purpose of the mechanics below is to go with my Esoteries system. I don't like spells or spellcasting as they usually are, and wanted to come up with ways to replace standard, flamboyant magic and wizards in my games. Read more about what Esoteries are here.

I currently have a player using these mancy rules in my Sunday campaign. It's been dope so far. The answers she's gotten from her divinations have helped the party decide on various plans, but has yet to yield anything gamebreaking or too explicit. Also makes for some cool roleplay moments.

Note that not all settings are meant to have all Esoteries in them. Dark Sun for example has curios, psionics and sorceries. My Heaven Bless'd & Burned setting has curios, miracles, and mancy.


Image result for melisandre stares into the flame art
Melisandre from GoT is the archetypical pyromancer-using Cleric.
Divination has guided mankind since they left the muddy basin they evolved in. Every kingdom is dictated by it, every nation forged on its back, every war fought with its truths.

To use mancy, first decide which of the four methods you use for your divinations. Each method dictates a different type of information.
  1. Anthropomancy, or divination by entrails. Produces strange visions, encoded in shadowed symbols, that show a possible future for a question ask.
  2. Asterimancy, or divination through stars. The sky, star maps, globes and pools that reflect the heavens. Reading this tells you what sort of supernatural events are quickly approaching.
  3. Geomancy, or divination by earth. Break rocks, listen to how soil slides through the hand, hear the vibrations of trees, and then you will know what has happened recently in your area.
  4. Necromancy, or divination through the dead. Take a skull, paint it, lavish it with oils, and then place it on a table in a dark room. Ask it three questions, and it will answer truthfully.
  5. Oionomancy, or divination by symbol. Watch the flights of birds, see what strange colors appear on someone's back, study how many crosses sit atop buildings around you. These will tell you when something dangerous, supernatural, or determined is nearby.
  6. Pyromancy, or divination through flame. Light a flame, stare in it, use bones instead of coal. In the fires you will see a series of images that tell you of dangers to come.
You have a d6. This is your Divination Die. Roll it when you go to perform your mancy. Add +1 to the roll if you meet any of the following criteria:
  • You are under no pressure.
  • You have copious amounts of your preferred element.
  • You are unharmed and under no curses or other ill effects.
The following chart shows how exact of an answer should be given by the Referee.

1-2: Vague answers, cryptic, lots of symbols, nothing direct.
3-4: An answer requiring less interpretation, some explanation, familiar things and obvious clues
5-6: Clear answer, obvious people or creatures, no real trickery, still somewhat encoded
7+: Exact answer, no room for interpretation.

Everytime you perform mancy, the maximum X-in-6 chance you have goes down. So, if you do it 3 times in a day, any roll above a 3 is treated as a 3. With 8 hours of rest and letting omens leave your mind, this resets completely.

AN EXAMPLE: In my Sunday game, we have an anthropomancy. Last session, she divined with the entrails of a murdered man to see what creature had killed him. She rolled low, only a 1, and the answer she was given showed the shadows of a woman with six limbs, wings, paws, and that lived in the trees. The entire party went hunting for this creature. It turned out the woman was actually a human woman who was using dead animal parts to trick the party. Technically they were given the right answer, but it was so vague and cryptic because of her low roll that what came out confused them. If she had rolled higher, it would have been clearer that this was a human woman, not some monster.


Image result for divination art

If your game has divination spells, remove all of them. Mancy is your divination spell now.

Magic-Users (of any kind), Clerics, and Elves have a 1-in-6 chance of knowing Mancy when created. Everytime they level up, reroll this chance again but add +1. One can also learn Mancy from another Mancer, though it takes a month of study to get the basics.

One can study another type of mancy by themselves. Instead of learning new spells, you can make a 1-in-6 chance and increase it by your Wisdom modifier to learn a new type of Mancy when you gain a level.

Fighters, Thieves/Specialists, and whoever else can learn Mancy as well, but their 1-in-6 chance never increases as they level.

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