These are some of the things an apprentice in the Guild of Anshen or the Guild of the Nameless learns. Most people also figure out a lot of idiosyncratic applications for their gifts. One of the goals of the Guild school in Turenay is research into semsin skills, to make as wide a range of applications available as possible.

Skills are graded from easiest to hardest.

This, of course, is an explanation for non-Valdyans. Valdyans get the pep talk by Vauri.

Perception skills

Looking at someone with anea senses

You can tell whether that person is semte, whether he or she belongs to the Guild of Anshen or the Guild of the Nameless (or is unaligned), and, if in either Guild, what grade (apprentice, journeyman, master, grand master).

This only requires 'taking a good look' (the object must be visible), you expend no power, and it always works except when the person in question is camouflaged. In that case you have a chance of noticing that there seems to be something wrong. Trained semti, especially Guild runners, do this as a matter of course, all the time, as naturally as breathing.

To notice still latent talents, use 'casting around', though just taking a good look on purpose may put you on the track.

Casting around

You can sense any nearby semte's mind (from the outside only), unless they're camouflaged. You recognize anybody you know. Of people you don't know, you can determine their grade and affiliation. If someone's talent is still latent you can use this to recognize it, but only if you can see or touch them.

This is always a conscious act, and you'll expend a little power (less as you learn to do it better).

It's also possible to cast around at a distance, in an area that you can visualize because you've been there, seen it on an out of body trip or someone has shown it to you. The stronger a semte is, the farther they can reach. It's still unclear whether the anie really goes there (i.e. whether this too is out of body travel) or that only your perceptions are being directed to that place.

People who are sensitive enough (all grand masters, many experienced masters including all runners worth their salt, and highly talented journeymen, apprentices and latents) can sense the casting around whenever it's directed at them, most other semti can sense it when they expect it or are specifically alert for it.

Extending the senses

You can extend the range of your physical senses, for instance to see or hear through a door, to look into a closed container, or to 'zoom in' on something you can almost see or hear. It helps to touch the thing you want to perceive, like one side of a door that you want to see the other side of. Also used by doctors to examine patients (to get a clear view of broken bones or internal bleeding), and by midwives to see the child in the womb.

Camouflage, seals, and other non-physical protection make this much more difficult.

This is probably a very limited form of out-of-body travel where the anea stays securely attached to the haysen; the range is only a few yards.

Communication skills

Touch telepathy

You can communicate with someone you're touching on the bare skin. Words, images and other sensory impressions can all get through (example: helping someone learn to swim by 'thinking' to them what the motion of swimming feels like). Other semti can sense it going on, but can't overhear the conversation.

Both partners must be semte. The receiver must willingly open up; the use of force against someone unwilling is possible but usually thought to be a great injustice, comparable to rape. (This goes for any skill that involves touching another person's anie)

The sender always expends power, the receiver only if the attempt at communication succeeds and he/she answers. The conversation can go on unhindered, with minimal attention, and without further expense of power as long as the participants keep touching one another and are not interrupted so as to break concentration. Walking hand in hand, even in a crowd, is enough.

Touch telepathy with someone belonging to the other Guild is possible but can be uncomfortable (make either or both partners flinch, like a tiny electric shock) because of the very different mindset and imagery.

Letting someone into your mind

You open up your 'inner landscape' to another semte. This is usually done as an expression of trust and/or love, as a means of getting to know one another deeply, to take someone totally into your confidence, to help someone recover from psychic hurt, or as a teaching device when teacher and student explore the student's inner landscape together.

It's possible to combine this with (touch) telepathy, but that's usually not necessary (except in teaching) as the two participants basically become one for some time. You can seal off areas you don't want the other person to perceive by any imagery appropiate to your psychic makeup and the setting: a hedge, a closed door, an impenetrable curtain or force barrier.

Both partners expend some power, but the more experienced person or the person opening up can help the other one along.

No-touch telepathy

Like 'touch telepathy' but slightly harder, and more sensitive to interruption. Can be initiated by a 'nudge' or mental knock. Works at a distance; most masters have a maximum effective range of about the size of a small town for an extended conversation, and up to about 10-15 miles for a quick 'mental note' such as 'I'm on my way' or 'watch out for so-and-so'. In one of our early role-playing campaigns this was nicknamed 'brain mail'.

Telepathy with a passive recipient

You can send a telepathic message even if the recipient doesn't know that it's coming (for instance, when they're asleep, unconscious, wounded or otherwise incapable of responding to a 'knock'). Difficulty and power required depends on the talent of the recipient as much as of the sender; the more talented both are, the easier it is.

If the recipient is unwilling and closes him/herself off, he/she won't receive your message at all. The recipient must be semte or at least latent.

Warning: this can pull a not yet affiliated talented person into the Guild that the other person belongs to, and they won't be protected from this unless they have inborn or external protection (Guild parents have a habit of protecting their talented children until they're ready).

As long as the recipient is only receiving, only the sender uses any power.

Concentration skills


You can hide yourself, someone else, an animal or an object from people's attention. The person or thing stays visible, but people have trouble perceiving it and tend to look right past it as if it isn't there. In the case of semti, it also masks the fact that they're semte.

It's easiest to camouflage an object or a collection of objects staying in place (such as luggage or a door). Hiding only yourself is slightly harder and you have to keep paying attention to stay camouflaged (you won't spend more power while you're camouflaged, but you won't regain already spent power either). Hiding another person is still harder.

It's possible to camouflage another person or an animal along with yourself (such as a horse and rider). In that case it will stay in place as long as you're together.

Once the camouflaged person or thing has been spotted, the protection breaks and it has to be re-done.


A force field (made of ryst) that holds a doorway or another kind of opening securely closed. A physical door can't be opened except by also exerting psychic force, a curtain can't be moved aside, an open doorway is sealed by a force invisible to physical senses which pushes back springily like a rubber sheet. The smaller and better closed the opening is to start with, the easier it is to seal it (a little shuttered window is very easy to seal, a large open gateway is very difficult).

You can sense that a door is sealed even without trying to open it, and if you know the person who made the seal well enough you recognize them by the feel, but it's next to impossible to determine who or what is behind the door without breaking the seal.

Also gives protection against psychic attacks. Some grand masters, and very few sealing experts, can bypass a seal and work 'from under it' (works better from the inside out than from the outside in) but this is very exhausting.

Permanent seals (e.g. sealed rooms) exist, but they are very rare and the technology to make them has been lost with Vegelin the Great and/or Vauri. There are two known sealed dungeons in Valdis, one in the Royal Palace and one at the Keep of Anshen (the fort of the Order of the Sworn); one at the Order house in Essle; and probably one in Ildis in the stronghold of the Royal Guards (the Nameless' equivalent of the Order of the Sworn).

You can seal a doorway (or a whole room, either by securing all openings or casting a 'general' slightly weaker seal over the whole area which will basically warn you that something is trying to come in and fend off the first attack) from the inside or from the outside. The person who made the seal can get in and out at will, others either have to use (psychic) force or ask the maker to let them through. Temporarily opening or closing a seal in this way doesn't break its integrity.

It's also possible to create a 'selective' seal designed to let only specific people pass unhindered. This is much harder, and the maker has to know the other person very well.

Sealed rooms are also protected against non-semti; the door just won't budge, as if it's locked. What happens if extreme physical force is applied (battering ram, fire) hasn't been tested.

Protection against damage to anie

You're protected against psychic attack. The protective field can be visualized any way that comes naturally to you: as a suit of armour, a cloak, a blanket, light or force extending from your body, etcetera. The form doesn't matter for the force of the protection - a blanket is as tough as a mail shirt.

Apprentices usually learn to visualize this protection as a cloak to wrap themselves in, until they find a form of their own.

This also works as armour in a fight with visualized weapons. It has to be maintained by keeping part of one's attention on it and you won't regain power while maintaining it.

You can protect other people instead of or along with yourself. They don't have to be semte, but it's usually pointless to protect non-semti as they're unlikely to be attacked psychically.

Out of body travel

The anie leaves the haysen and goes away on its own. The body is in a coma and will die if the anie stays away too long. The anie is capable of using its senses, communicating with other semti, or fighting with ryst.

Travel is not required for fighting if the opponent is close enough to perceive by 'casting around' or has left his/her own body and his/her anea is close enough to you.

The difficulty is a function of distance; as you practice you'll find out your maximum range, which depends on talent and training.

There's a small chance of not being able to come back; this chance is greater for journeymen, and greater still for apprentices who shouldn't undertake it except under the guidance of a master. If you can't come back on your own, you have to be 'yanked back', preferably by a grand master or a master who is also a healer (doctor).