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Audius

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Audius
Gnosis

We manipulate the Sounds of The World.
Granted byRhaus
Positive marksMusic & The Power of Sound
Negative marksNone
Pos. mark appearanceAn Ampersand
Neg. mark appearanceDoes Not Exist
Mark locationAny Area
First markEarning Rhaus' Affection
ChampionKal Withrop


Audius is the powerhouse gnosis of Rhaus, granted to his followers who are known as Bards. Bards are not just the songbirds of Mizahar, that travel from place to place carrying instruments and singing for their supper. They are incredibly diverse individuals gifted with a multitude of abilities that all revolve around sound and its incredibly diverse use. Bards come in every size, shape, and race. They have no specific alignment or personality though Rhaus is neutral in his guise and his upper level bards tend to fall into that category as well. Those that hold marks from Rhaus are often revered and sometimes feared especially on the priest and priestess level of above. They go by the name bard, but can also be referred to as spell singers and note flingers.

Contents

The Gifts of Audius

Listening

Mizahar's bards are a diverse group.

The first gift a bard receives from Rhaus is the ability to listen. This might be, depending upon its use, the most powerful of all gifts bards have access too when marked by the God of Music. They can hear vibrations at various distances dependent upon their number of marks. This ability to 'listen' is so acute that if a bard was standing outside a structure such as a home or fortress, depending on their level, if they 'listen' they can determine where all the life forms moving or making noise in the structure are. The key to a bard's hearing is that they must be perceiving sound. That means objects or people must be producing a noise of some sort usually by moving. Even the act of sleeping might produce snoring or the slight reshuffle of a body swathed in bedsheets. The more practiced a bard is at their listening skill, the more they can distinguish. Some higher level bards can hear footsteps miles away along a road or track deer in deep relatively quiet forests where there is very little visibility. Too much noise can be a determent too. Depending on the level of the mark, noise can mask detail or cause a bard's target they are listening for to be lost in a crowd of other sounds. Listening grants the bard the ability to focus solely on sound. They rely heavily on their acute hearing which makes them able to navigate without other senses better than non-bards. For example, a bard can often hear an opponent in the dark making them more successful at blind fighting than someone whom relies more on their eyesight.

Remember, sound waves can travel through solid walls, soil, and living things so these sorts of obstacles to vision are not obstacles to sound. Sound, however, can be altered and changed depending on what it passes through. So bards who are astute can often determine factors like the thickness of walls or see hidden cavities like caves in the earth beneath them. Any sound a bard produces, be it a soft hum, a full-throated note, or even an instrument produced chord can be used to act as a way to perceive what's unseen to others.

Silence or the absolute lack of sound blinds bards and cuts them off from their ability to 'listen'.

Relative & Absolute Pitch

Those marked by Audius are given the gifts of Relative and Absolute Pitch. Relative Pitch is the ability of a bard to identify or re-create a given musical note by comparing it to a reference note and identifying the interval between those two notes. Absolute Pitch is characterized by the ability of a person to identify or re-create a given musical note without the benefit of a reference tone. Absolute pitch is sometimes called perfect pitch. Absolute Pitch allows an individual to identify exact notes in music they hear (intervals, chord types, and scales) while relative pitch helps a bard understand how they work together. Most bards lump Relative and Absolute Pitch in with their listening skill and consider these gifts granted in that sphere of understanding.

Absolute Pitch and Relative Pitch are completely separate hearing skills, each with their own unique abilities. Absolute Pitch and Relative Pitch are complementary. They do their jobs best when they work together like the two hemispheres of a brain. Relative Pitch gives a bard an intellectual (left brain) understanding of what they hear, whereas Absolute Pitch gives a bard the artistic (right brain) perception of the "pitch color." What does that mean? Colors, like sounds, are defined by their vibrations. Sounds exist at certain frequencies and vibrations just as color does. When given the gifts of relative and absolute pitch, one can equate hearing to vision insofar as someone who does not understand relative and absolute pitch can be likened to someone who only sees in black and white. Whereas someone with these two gifts can be equated to someone who can hear in color. That means the difference between the two 'visions' in terms of hearing is vast. Bards LISTEN. Bards HEAR. This is their greatest ability. Because they understand relative and absolute pitch, they can tell what sort of metal a weapon is made of as its drawn from a sheath. How? They can hear the difference between iron, steel, silver, etc. They can hear the differences between fabrics as another example. Is a woman's skirt silk or cotton? A bard can tell just by listening to that woman walk and by hearing the sound of the fabric swishing around her ankles.

To recap, Relative and Absolute pitches are important. Each is a separate ability but together grants the bard preternatural hearing which aids in their ability to listen.

Absolute Pitch includes the following abilities

  • Identify individual pitches (e.g. A, B, C♯) played on various instruments or sang.
  • Name the key of a given piece of tonal music.
  • Reproduce a piece of tonal music in the correct key days after hearing it.
  • Identify and name all the tones of a given chord or other tonal mass.
  • Accurately sing a named pitch.

Relative Pitch includes the following abilities:

  • Determine the distance of a musical note from a set point of reference, e.g. "two octaves below middle C"
  • Identify the intervals between given tones, regardless of their relation to concert pitch
  • Grants bards the ability to correctly sing or play a melody, following musical notation, by pitching each note in the melody according to its distance from the previous note. Alternatively, the same skill which allows someone to hear a melody for the first time and name the notes relative to some known reference pitch. Notes aren't necessarily a melody. One can know the notes without knowing the melody. Relative Pitch grants melody.

Resonance

Bards realize the importance of resonance. All of the chemical reactions in the body of living organisms (mainly its cells) are caused by the electromagnetic oscillations, pulsations, and vibrations, which are collectively referred to as vibrational frequencies. Think of this as electricity transferred down a power line. Even non-living things like stone, wood, brick, and even large bodies of water have this vibrational frequency situation going on. All physical matter is vibrating at its own vibrational frequency. Collections of organisms or objects which are grouped together can have a group vibrational frequency. Resonance occurs when a connection is made between a source (the marked of Rhaus) and a target which are vibrating at the same frequency. Bards have the unique ability to establish resonance by linking to an organism or even inanimate object and then manipulating that vibrational frequency to obtain the desired result in the organism or object. More technically, once resonance has been achieved, an exchange of will takes place between the bards and his or her target. If the source of energy is more powerful (the bards), then the Marked directly impacts the targeted material resulting in a biological reaction. For example, a low level bard can play to a crowded room, establish resonance, and encourage generosity in the overall mood of the crowd so that their tips come in larger.

Infrasound

Infrasound is very low-frequency sound that can travel long distances. This type of sound is below the normal hearing range of sentient races. It not only travels great distances easily but passes through dense matter without decaying. Utilizing infrasound, Bards can hear earthquakes, 'see' rock and petroleum formations below the earth, and 'hear' the beating of a heart buried in pounds and pounds of tissue. Infrasound is characterized by an ability to cover long distances and get around obstacles with little dissipation. Once a bard has infrasound, they can communicate with other bards who have infrasound over long distances and 'hear' quiet objects by throwing infrasound waves directionally much like radar works. Once gifted with infrasound, bards also have a unique ability to detect the presence or absence of ghosts who oddly enough seem to produce a great deal of infrasound in their daily ghostly activities even when not visible to the unaided naked eye (ie. Manifested).

Ultrasound

Ultrasound is simply put sound pressure waves with a frequency greater than the upper limit of the normal sentient hearing range. Ultrasound is thus not separated from 'normal' (audible) sound by differences in physical properties, only by the fact that most people cannot hear it. However, that being said, these short tight waves of sound can do tremendous things. Animals such as dogs, cats, dolphins, and bats can hear ultrasound and utilize it for a whole host of things including as a replacement for sight. Some whales and dolphins use ultrasound to detect their prey and as a weapon to stun them. Bards function in the same way. As a weapon, ultrasound can cause discomfort, heating of the skin, nausea, abdominal pains, and vomiting. At higher decibels it causes burns and heating of body up to lethal temperatures. Another very painful effect is bone resonation, which could cause a person’s bones to literally explode. If a bard resonates with a person or object, they can then utilize ultrasound and on smaller scales cause various effects. These effects can include:

Mizahar's bards are a diverse group.
  • Imaging: Where sound is reflected back producing a picture for a bard to view
  • Cleaning: Low frequency vibrations can often break loose foreign particles that are clinging to an object (i.e. Barnacles on a ship, tarter on teeth)
  • Range Finding: Bouncing sound off objects and then listening for the time it takes the sound the bard produced to return to the bard thus giving an idea of distance
  • Mixing: Bards can alternating low-pressure and high-pressure waves in liquids, leading to the formation and collapse of bubbles (ie. blending) which is incredibly useful in philtering and brewing.
  • Disintegration: Ultrasound, if high powered enough, can actually cause disintegration through captivation. This is similar to cleaning though on a far greater level. Bards, for example, can powder kidney stones at lower levels. At higher levels they can easily collapse fortified Isur tunnel work.
  • Fusing: Using high frequency low amplitude vibration, bards create heat by way of friction between the materials they wish joined. This is in essence welding where the heat source is sound.
  • Weaponry: As discussed above, ultrasound can be applied for such as riot control, disorientation of attackers, and indeed lethal levels of sound.
  • Sonoluminesence: When applied in specific configurations, ultrasound can produce short bursts of light in an exotic.

Rhaus' champions have the ability to alter the very makeup of an object using sound to change one or more of its properties. A key example of this ability would be the carving and moving of huge blocks of stone to build temples. Champions can resonate with the stone, then apply ultrasound to change its weight, and either lift tons of rock with ease or cause the rock to float into place. This is thought to be how some of the great monuments on Mizahar have been built - especially the ones where no evidence of reimancy exists - with quarried stone.

Acoustic Projectiles

Sound is energy and a bard can indeed direct sound by establishing resonance, then projecting this 'energy' the infrasonic, ultrasonic, and audible ranges which can be considered directed-energy weapons. These weapons produce both psychological and physical effects depending on the level of the marked and their intentions. These weapons can include sonic projectiles that can transmit painful audible sound into an individual’s ear at great distances. Higher marked bards can become infrasonic generators which can shoot acoustic projectiles hundreds of feet causing a blunt impact upon a target. And yet, the bard can also use acoustic projection to send complete infrasound messages great distances not unlike how some large land mammals such as elephants use low frequency sound large oscillation sound to communicate across grassland plains. Distance depends on the level of the marked. Many bards, when targeting an individual person or object, can often produce a singular note toned and pitched to harm. They don't need the showmanship, but bards end to produce the sound, spit it out in their hand, and physically throw it at the intended victim. This is more habitual than necessary, but it definitely infuses the 'note' with a bard's will and intent when launched. These acoustic Projectiles can be designed to trip, knock someone out, or deafen. The examples and uses are endless. Some bards use them for hunting. A bounty hunter bard, for example, might spot his bounty in a crowd and sing out a note designed to trip the target and make them fall down thus allowing the bard to 'capture' them before they can slip away. Bards can hunt for game this way as well, though most find luring potential meals closer to their grasp through mimicry far easier.

Another example is much despised brown note. Bards, by listening to the organism they are targeting, instinctively know the 'brown note' which can cause a mammalian organism to loose bowel control suddenly. This ability, while seemingly minor, has a vast amount of uses in the form of distracting people. For example, throwing a brown note projectile at a target has saved many a bard from wrathful husbands and fathers when they've been caught in the act of seducing beautiful women.

Sound Cancellation/Dampening

Bards sometimes can be their own best enemies and friends. Because they can listen and have absolute and relative pitch, they know the exact frequencies of sounds they make themselves. A talented bard can thus 'cancel' or 'dampen' sounds by creating a sound wave that is opposite of the sound being cancelled. The two conflicting vibrations cancel each other out and thus result in silence. Because of this, bards have an easy time canceling singularly sounding noises such as footsteps. Silencing a crowd, however, with its enormous complexity of sound, would be far beyond their abilities except at the champion level.

Bioacoustics & Mimicry

Due to the nature of a bards gifts given by Rhaus (and listed above), these divinely marked people have an outstanding ability to mimic perfectly sounds in nature. They can generally mimic tone and pitch of voices, replicate simple birdsong with perfect clarity, and mimic most mammals with the same body design the bard has. This is always true as long as they have the ability to reproduce specific sounds and these sounds fall in the normal range of their hearing. What do we mean by having the ability to reproduce sound? For example, elk produce their bugles through the use of the long esophagus they have and by tipping their head back and filling their massive lungs. If a bugling elk is heard by the bard, unless a bard has an elk call with the long distinctive tube required to produce the mimicked sound (and the lung capacity to hold the note), they cannot reproduce the sound because they lack the proper 'equipment' to reproduce the sound. If, however, they happened to have an elk call device, then a bard could use it with ease to reproduce the correct sound.

Non-Gifted Skills

Perhaps unexpectedly, Bards are not given the ability to read music or play musical instruments when they are marked by Rhaus. They are not granted the basics of composition or such things as voice training or playing with other musicians. If bards are musicians, then they must pick up these skills on their own. Granted, due to their other gifts, these sorts of skills may come far easier to bards to learn than they would to other non-bards. Rhaus demands that a bard must invest a great deal of training into their skill set in order to round themselves out if music is indeed their path in life.

Countering Audius

Mizahar's bards are a diverse group.

Bards may appear to be powerful individuals, but the truth is there is a great deal people can do to counter their abilities. While the list is almost endless, some of the more common counters would be brute force, Hypnosis, Shielding and the all important lost discipline of Static. A bard with a sliced throat can't sing. Even a clever illusionists can counter the effects of bards by creating illusions of silence, vanishing a bards instrument, or making them think they cannot breathe. All gnosis and magic facing off against other gnosis and magic must be of equal level to negate it or of higher level to counter it.

Other Notes

Bards do not get the ability of sonar or echolocation specifically. Why? Echolocation, for example, utilizes ultrasound which bards already have. Sonar utilizes infrasound and resonance. Thus calling these specific types of sound usage 'gifts' specifically would be redundant.

In addition, while Rhaus' Gnosis grants bards the ability to hear and produce these sounds, animals have specific physical features that make things like echolocation possible. Bards do not. So it needs to be clear that only through the power of their gnosis is this sort of production and reception possible.

And finally, while Rhaus' Gnosis offers no additional bonus' to a bards ability to sing or play musical instruments, most bards indeed do utilize these tools. They pick up songs fast and learn instruments even faster, not because this is a gift their God grants them through his borrowed divinity, but because of other gifts like mimicry and absolute and relative pitch. These abilities just lend themselves to musicians and musical endeavors neatly. Thus, while bards don't have to be musicians per say, they do indeed make some of the finest musicians around.

Mark Progression

Marked [Cursed] - 1 Gnosis Mark
First level bards, The Marked, automatically receive the gifts of Listening, Relative and Absolute Pitch, and Resonance. In terms of listening, bards can ‘hear’ within 50 feet of their location. And they can resonate with things they can ‘hear’ or see. While marked bards at a singular mark do not have access to Ultrasound and Acoustic Projection, they do have a limited capacity with Infrasound. Their infrasound can travel upwards of a mile and gives them a taste of what higher marked bards can do. Bards at this level can perform mimicry and cancel sound. Marked musicians tend to play beautifully and pick up new forms of music quickly due to their understanding of Relative and Absolute Pitch, Ultrasound and Infrasound.
Favored [Despised] - 2 Gnosis Marks
The favored bards gain distance with their listening. They can hear within a mile of their location. Their resonance increase significantly in distance (equal to what they can ‘hear’). Their infrasound can travel up to ten miles. At two marks, the favored bard gains Ultrasound in all its glory, though their ability to use it as weaponry is limited to line of sight and singular individual objects or people as attacks. Truly gifted, these individuals are superior musicians and if inclined, superior sound entertainers.
Priest/Priestess [Adversary] - 3 Gnosis Marks
The Priests and Priestesses of Rhaus have a phenomenal understanding of sound. By this level their hearing increases to ten miles and their resonance matches that distance as well. Infrasound increases up to a hundred miles while they gain absolute control of acoustic projectiles. Their Ultrasound increases to multiple targets and can be incredibly effective in crowd control or mass persuasion. They have access to all of Rhaus' gifts at this level. Bards of this caliber often play multiple musical instruments and have incredible voices. They can't help it. Sound is the driving force in their lives.
Champion [Nemesis] - 4 Gnosis Marks
Rhaus' champion is phenomenally strong. The distances a champion is restricted to is unlimited across the world. It is said the Champion of Rhaus can even hear the heartbeat of Mizahar and tends to gain incredibly. He or she is a master of acoustic projection and can combine infrasound and ultrasound, mimicry, and a whole host of other gifts Rhaus has granted to form new and complex uses.


Mark acquisition threads

First mark
Second mark
Third mark
Fourth mark