Through the power of this ceremony, a priest can perceive the aura that surrounds living people, and gather information about spiritual effects. There is some disagreement among priests as to whether what they are seeing is the "soul" of the individual - the core of their essential nature that persists from one life to the next - or simply some spiritual penumbra that surrounds thinking beings.
Whatever they are perceiving, the ceremony allows them to gather information about the person by observing it for a few moments. The quickest information to discover is if someone is a human, an orc, or an inhabitant of another realm, whether they are under the effects of any auras, and the effects of any spiritual wounds they are experiencing. All of this can be found out with a quick overview of a target's aura.
The priest can also perform a slower, more potent version of the ceremony to allow them to identify if the target is dedicated and reveals the presence of spiritual marks like the ones created by testimony as well as any malign spiritual effects such as curses or possessions. This version of the ceremony is also effective on items to discover information about any hallow they may possess, and again will determine the presence of a spontaneously arisen aura, a spiritual curse, or the presence of a haunting spirit - it can be used to identify a ghostly anchor for example.
There are also plentiful reports of priests detecting other marks on their subject that do not appear to be the result of the testify ceremony yet still contain information. A commonly cited tale refers to a Varushkan wise one from Karov who used the ceremony to observe a band of travelling musicians only to discover that they each bore a mark indicating they bore a twisted boon from Wendigo. When the minstrels attempted to murder the people of the vale in their sleep, their wicked plan was stymied when they discovered not sleeping victims but fully-armed and prepared schlacta!
The ceremony can also be used to examine objects, but unlike people items do not innately generate auras than can be read with insight. Objects that bear spiritual marks visible to this ceremony have usually been touched by a potent spiritual force - whether a religious ceremony, by close proximity to a profound spiritual event, or by the attentions of ghosts or spirits. It is especially useful for gathering information about spiritual auras on relics whose provenance is uncertain, as well as to glean information about the anchors of a ghost, or how to combat a malignant curse.
It is possible to conceal information from Insight, but doing so is of limited benefit. It seems that even powerful magic items such as a Shackle of the Unvirtuous or a philtre such as a Shadowcrow Infusion can only conceal the entire person from insight, rather than specific pieces of information - and the ceremony will always detect the presence of such obfuscation, even if it cannot penetrate it.
Performing a Quick Insight
- Requires a dose of liao and ten seconds of appropriate roleplaying
- Does not require a referee
- Reveals the target's species and any aura present
- Reveals the effects of any spiritual traumatic wounds
- Orcs can be the subject of a quick insight
Performing a quick insight on a character uses a dose of liao. This performance of insight requires ten seconds of appropriate roleplaying and target must be close enough to touch throughout. The target need not be willing. After the insight is complete, you should call "Insight" loudly enough for your target to hear and make clear that they are the target of the effect.
If their aura is not concealed then they must inform you of their species (human, orc, creature of the realms, ghost, other), and tell you what personal aura they are under the effects of if any. If the target is suffering from one or more spiritual traumatic wounds, then your character becomes aware of and may open the cards and read the effects. The target of the insight should keep the cards (but not read them) in case any other priest wishes to perform insight on them.
You cannot normally perform a quick insight on an object.
Performing a Thorough Insight
- Requires a dose of liao and and at least ten seconds of appropriate roleplaying
- Requires the presence and assistance of a referee
- The target must be within 20'
- Reveals information about the aura of the target
- Orcs can be the subject of a thorough insight
If you have a referee, then you may perform a more intense version of the insight ceremony to gain more detailed information. Performing a thorough insight requires at least ten seconds of appropriate roleplaying and the target must be within 20' and in clear line-of-sight throughout. The target need not be willing. After the insight is complete, the ref will approach the target to check the results with them.
If their aura is not obscured then you will discover the presence of any malign spiritual effect such as a curse or possession. In addition to the basic information provided by a quick insight, the detailed version of the ceremony reveals the details of testimony, excommunication, anointing, or dedication (including the strength of durable auras where appropriate); it will reveal the presence of other spiritual auras and may give information about what they are, what has caused them, or how they might be combated.
When used on an object, a thorough insight reveals if the item is under the effect of a hallow, or bears a spontaneous aura, along with details of the effect (including strength, and how to combat it, when appropriate); it will also reveal if the item is an anchor for a ghost or similar creature, and may provide additional awareness depending on the nature of that entity.
- It is not possible to perform insight without the target being aware
- Most targets will experience the effect as a potentially familiar powerful sense of being observed
You can perform insight against the target's will, but you cannot perform the ceremony without the target being aware of what has taken place. Most targets experience the effect of being insighted as a powerful sense of being observed. Most Imperial player-characters are sufficiently familiar with insight and the effects that they will recognize and understand what has taken place.
The awareness is not immediate; it occurs at the point where the priest calls "Insight" or the ref asks the target for their insight response. In effect, this means that a character is always aware they have been insighted, not that they are being insighted.
- Insight is blocked by any effect that conceals a character's aura
- Insight will still reveal that the aura is concealed
If your aura is obscured through the use of effects such as Shadowcrow Infusion then other characters cannot use insight to read your aura. However you must respond to any attempt to insight you by stating that their aura is concealed.
It is not possible to dispel or overcome any effect that conceals an aura.
- There are no benefits from cooperation using the insight skill
While priests can cooperate to perform an insight ceremony, there are no benefits to doing so. Specifically, there are no methods of shrouding an aura that can be overcome with a more powerful insight.
- There is no benefit to using true liao to perform the insight ceremony.
While true liao can be used in the place liao to perform an insight ceremony, it provides no additional information.