Crossing Between the Shores

I’ve spoken before about my love for anime. Likewise, I’ve also mentioned that I got a Netflix account a while back. Thus, it was surprising for me when I realized recently that I’d watched very little anime on said account – just one, to be specific.

Of course, watching that series (which was Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood) sort of soured me on the idea of turning to Netflix for anime. This wasn’t because it was a bad show – quite the contrary, I enjoyed it a lot – but because it only had fifty-two of the show’s sixty-five episodes, leaving me hanging just as the plot was moving towards the climax.

I apparently wrote off Netflix’s anime selection after that, since it never occurred to me to look for any other series on there. That changed a few months ago, when I was looking for a new series to watch and stumbled onto Kill La Kill. On a lark, I decided to give it a whirl, and from there the floodgates were open. I’ve since watched a half-dozen anime, and have several more queued up.

Even better, watching so many new series has been very inspirational insofar as coming up with new ideas for what to blog about!

Noragami

Hiyori Iki

She later became the poster child for “just say no to catnip.”

Noragami (“Stray God”) is a manga that was adapted into a very short anime (a dozen episodes, with two additional episodes that haven’t had a domestic release yet). An urban fantasy, it deals with a schoolgirl named Hiyori who awakens to the fact that kami (gods) are real after she accidentally falls in with a perpetually down-on-his-luck god named Yato, getting swept up in his adventures.

More specifically, this happens when Hiyori – who in d20 terms is an ordinary 1st-level human (though the series hints that there’s something special about her, since she can initially see Yato…something a normal human shouldn’t be able to do) – gets into an accident, weakening her soul’s connection to her body, and allowing her unfettered spirit to join Yato on his adventures.

It’s this particular condition – which the show refers to as being “half-phantom” (though I’m choosing to use the native term “ayakashi”) – that we’re going to examine within the context of Eclipse: The Codex Persona.

Half-Ayakashi Template (22 CP/+0 ECL)

Between the Near and Far Shores (21 CP)

  • Immunity to detection (very common/major/great), specialized for one-half cost/only applies to humanoids, giants, and monstrous humanoids, user may still draw attention to themselves via direct interaction with someone (15 CP).
  • Cloaking (6 CP). A half-ayakashi’s physical body will detect as normal to divinations that determine the presence/state of a soul.

In the world of Noragami, the living world is called the Near Shore, whereas the afterlife is called the Far Shore. As a living human whose soul regularly leaves her body, Hiyori is said to be caught between the two.

That denizens of the Far Shore cannot be detected by those of the Near Shore is a fairly major element in the series. This is not due to them being incorporeal, however; rather, it’s described as being akin to how you simply don’t notice people passing you on the street, but to a much stronger degree. In the case of this template’s Immunity, the level of “direct interaction” required is rather high, usually to the point of overt physical contact – Hiyori once stood at the front of her class, yelling her head off while outside of her body, and no one noticed her.

The issue with her having Cloaking regarding the state of her physical body is my own interpretation of how blithely Hiyori leaves it behind. While Japan may be one of the safest countries in the world where mundane threats are concerned, it’s notable that none of the supernatural evils in the show ever go after her vulnerable, comatose body when she’s vacated it.

Astral Existence (12 CP)

  • Returning (6 CP). A half-ayakashi will not die so long as their lifeline remains intact.
  • Innate Enchantment/spell level 1 x caster level 1 x 2,000 gp x 0.7 personal-only modifier (5,000 gp; 6 CP).
    • Hammer (1,400 gp).
    • Jump (1,400 gp).
    • +10 enhancement bonus to Balance (1,400 gp).
    • +2 enhancement bonus to Dexterity (1,400 gp).

When their soul is out of their body, a half-ayakashi will have a cord about five feet-long or so projecting from their back, after which it fades away (in Hiyori’s case, it’s connected to her butt, giving her a cat-tail). This is their lifeline, and much like the astral projection spell, if it’s ever cut, then they lose their link to their body, perishing. Of course, what Noragami never mentions is the idea that so long as this cord survives, a half-ayakashi will not die, regardless of what happens to their spirit-body. Given that that’s the trade-off for having such a major weak-point, I’ve elected to add that benefit back in here.

Slightly more odd is that Hiyori’s physical abilities are enhanced when she’s in her spirit-form, to the point where she can leap between buildings and fight like a mixed-martial arts champion. Perhaps it’s due to not having to lug a fleshy body around?

See the Gods Among Us (12 CP)

  • Occult Sense/may see and converse with “spirits” – usually elementals, fey, outsiders, and incorporeal undead – regardless of any supernatural disguises or glamours that they possess. (6 CP).
  • Improved Occult Sense/may detect creatures by smell up to several hundred feet away, specialized for one-half cost/only works with regard to spirit creatures (6 CP).

In the anime, Hiyori only seems to be able to detect the scent of gods themselves; however, there’s no reason not to make the ability slightly more expansive here, since that provides for greater overall use.

All of these abilities add up to 45 CP. However, the template is specialized for one-half cost/all of the above powers are only active when the character leaves their body, which happens involuntarily at random times (often due to surprise or stress), leaving their body comatose and defenseless (though they can return to their body, regardless of distance, as a standard action), and while outside of their body the character immediately dies if their lifeline is severed. This lowers the cost to 22 CP.

Not coincidentally, applying this template to a human (using the 3.5 rules, rather than Pathfinder) brings them exactly to 31 CP, the limit for a +0 ECL race.

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