Pyeryem is a gift from Matushka, where she grants her most loyal boyars with the power to take on the spirit skins of animals. All those granted with Pyeryem have brilliant green eyes from birth, although they cannot actually begin to learn their powers until they learn human speech. Pyeryem has the following Knacks:
- Dukh: The Dukh(Spirit) Knack determines the maximum power of a spirit skin that the sorcerer may acquire. Each spirit skin comes with a Dukh Rank. The sorcerer must have a Dukh Rank equal to or greater than the Dukh Rank of the spirit skin in order to be able to acquire the skin, and perform Full Transformations using the skin. When the sorcerer's Dukh Knack exceeds the Dukh Rank of the skin by 1, he may perform Partial Transformations with that skin. When the sorcerer's Dukh Rank exceeds the spirit skin by 2, he may perform Spirit Conjuration with that skin. Sorcerers who have not purchased Dukh are considered to have a Dukh Rank of 1.
- Yezzik: The Yezzik(Tongue) Knack allows a sorcerer to communicate with normal animals. This is easiest to do with wild creatures within Ussura itself, and grows more difficult with distance from Ussura, and with domestication. The sorcerer's Yezzik Knack determines the maximum distance and/or domesticity that the sorcerer can overcome in attempting to speak with an animal, as well as the degree of communication which can be achieved with the animal.
- Kozha: The Kozha(Skin) Knack determines the maximum number of spirit skins that the sorcerer may acquire. Each skin gained should be marked on the character sheet, and may not be changed. To acquire a new skin, the sorcerer must increase his Kozha Knack. Pyeryem sorcerers who have not acquired the Kozha Knack are considered to have a Kozha Knack of 1.
- Kroff: The Kroff(Blood) Knack determines the sorcerer's strength in conjuring and sustaining spirit skins. The sorcerer may invoke spirit skins a number of times per day equal to his Kroff Knack, and each invocation lasts a maximum number of hours equal to his Kroff Knack. Unlike other sorceries, a Pyeryem sorcerer may not pay for additional transformations with Drama Dice. Note that a sorcerer with a Kroff Rank of 5 may maintain a spirit skin indefinitely, since 5 5-hour invocations is 25 hours, which is greater than a single day. Under most circumstances, even a single hour is enough to carry through an entire Scene, unless the GM rules otherwise.
- Serdce: Pyeryem sorcerers have power over animals even when they cannot directly speak with them, which is represented by their Serdce(Heart) Knack. The sorcerer may add 2xSerdce Rank to all Animal Training or similar Knacks, as well as any Social Knacks when dealing with animals, whether it is an animal that the sorcerer can literally communicate with (via the Yezzik Knack) or not.
Invoking a spirit skin, or reverting to human form, takes one Finesse Action. Clothing and other personal items (including weapons) transform along with you, unless you choose to leave them behind during the transformation. The GM determines what is "yours" based on his own sensibilities. Generally, if the item is clearly yours, or is not important to the adventure, you can bring it with you, but if it's a priceless stolen heirloom, dracheneisen weapon, Syrneth artifact, or some other plot MacGuffin, you can't conceal it within your spirit skin.
Some Boons, such as Flight, are only available when Fully Transformed. Some other Boons, such as Claws, are only available when Fully or Partially Transformed.
If the sorcerer has a Dukh Knack equal or greater than the rank of the spirit skin, he may fully transform into that animal. This grants all of the Boons and penalties associated with the given form. While in animal form, you can speak with animals and other Pyeryem sorcerers with your Yezzik Knack, but not to ungifted humans. You have all of the benefits and penalties of the given form. Transforming back to human also takes a Finesse Action, but does not count against your Kroff Rank for the day.
If the sorcerer's Dukh Knack exceeds the rank of the Spirit Skin by 1 or more, he may perform a Partial Transformation instead of a full transformation. By Partially Transforming, the sorcerer may choose a single benefit of the animal form to use, while still (mostly) retaining their human form. Only Boons which are available as Partial Transformations may be chosen. Certain Boons are tied to specific penalties of the same form, and Partial Transformations must take them both as a single effect (you must take the bad with the good). Boons associated with penalties are noted below with the notation "Boon&Penalty". The sorcerer cannot combine a Partial Transformation with a Full transformation (for instance, taking the form of a cat, but the strength of a bear). Only one Partial Transformation may be in effect at any time. While under a Partial Transformation, there is an easily visible physical effect associated with the Transformation, which is noticeable to any onlookers.
If the sorcerer's Dukh Knack exceeds the rank of the Spirit Skin by 2 or more, he may perform a Spirit Conjuration instead of a full or partial transformation. No Boons which are only available as Full or Partial Transformations may be acquired with a Spirit Conjuration. With a single Finesse Action, the sorcerer may gain any or all of the Boons (and associated penalties) associated with a particular form. Only one spirit skin may be conjured at once, although the sorcerer could use Spirit Conjuration in conjunction with Partial Transformation from another form. While the sorcerer is using Spirit Conjuration, he does not change shape physically, but his shadow becomes that of the animal he is conjuring in spirit.
The following spirit skins may be acquired by Ussurans normally. Other skins might be possible (such as more exotic creatures like Aspreys or Hinde), and certain skins are restricted to particular individuals (like the Firebird or Drachen).
A character might have a particularly powerful spirit skin, either passed down from his family, or as a reward for performing some service for a Great Beast. This would be represented by the Powerful Spirit Skin Advantage. This Advantage grants one of the below forms, but with one of the penalties reduced/removed, or a Boon improved, or possibly with some extra Boon added. This will usually increase the Dukh Rank of the Spirit Skin by 1 or more, depending on how much improvement the Spirit Skin posesses. The penalties of "No Grasping Limbs" and "No Fine Manipulation" cannot be removed. The GM is the final arbiter of how a Powerful Spirit Skin can differ from a normal spirit skin.
- Boar(2): 2k4 Gore, Keen Smell, Strong, Fast&No Grasping Limbs
- Cat(1): Climb, Falling, Graceful&Weak, Keen Hearing&Timid, Night Vision, Silence&No Grasping Limbs.
- Duck(1): Flight&No Grasping Limbs, Hold Breath, Swimming
- Fish(1): Breathe Water, Swim&No Grasping Limbs
- Frog(1): Hold Breath, Leaping, Swim&No Fine Manipulation
- Goat(2): 1k3 Gore, Nimble, Very Strong&No Grasping Limbs
- Goshawk(2): 1k3 Claws, Keen Sight, Flight&No Fine Manipulation, Graceful&Weak.
- Horse(4): 1k3 Kick, Graceful, Nimble, Very Strong&No Grasping Limbs, Speed.
- Kodiak Bear(5): 2k4 Claws&No Fine Manipulation, 1k3 Bite, Extremely Strong&Very Clumsy, Keen Smell, Swimming, Warmth.
- Monkey(3): Graceful, Climb, Falling, Fast
- Mouse(1): Very Nimble&Very Weak, Fast&Very Timid, Keen Hearing, Keen Smell, Night Vision, Silence&No Fine Manipulation.
- Otter(2): Hold Breath, Keen Smell, Graceful, Swimming&Weak.
- Owl(1): Flight&No Fine Manipulation, Night Vision&Weak.
- Rabbit(1): Nimble&Weak, Burrow&No Grasping Limbs, Keen Hearing, Keen Sight, Leaping, Fast&Timid.
- Raven(3): Nimble, Fast, Keen Vision, Flight&No Fine Manipulation
- Red Fox(2): Nimble&Weak, Howl, Keen Smell, Leaping, Silence&No Grasping Limbs.
- Reindeer(2): 1k3 Gore, Graceful&No Grasping Limbs, Warmth, Fast, Strong
- Snake(3): 1k3 Bite&Poor Hearing, Burrow&No Grasping Limbs, Climb, Graceful, Silence, Fast.
- Snow Leopard(5): 1k3 Claws&No Grasping Limbs, 1k3 Bite, Very Strong, Climb, Keen Smell&Poor Sight, Leaping, Fast, Warmth.
- Songbird(2): Very Nimble&Very Weak, Very Graceful&Timid, Flight&No Fine Manipulation.
- Turtle(3): 1k3 Bite, Armor&Clumsy, Hold Breath, Swim&No Grasping Limbs, Warmth.
- Wolf(4): 1k3 Bite, Strong&No Grasping Limbs, Howl, Keen Smell, Keen Hearing, Silence.
- Armor (Full or Partial Transformation Only): +5 to Wound Checks.
- Attack(Gore/Bite/Claw/etc.) (Full or Partial Transformation Only): Unarmed attacks using the appropriate method do the listed damage instead of 0k2. The character may use Attack(Pugilism), Attack(Dirty Fighting), or Attack(Wrestling), at his option. If using the Bite Boon, the character may not speak except to animals or gifted Ussurans.
- Breathe Water (Full or Partial Transformation Only): The character may breathe water without drowning, but will "drown" if taken out of water.
- Burrow (Full Transformation Only): The character can dig a hole through dirt big enough for his current form. He digs at 2xBrawn inches per minute.
- Climb: The character gets 2 Free Raises to all Climbing Rolls.
- Clumsy/Very Clumsy: The character gets -1 to his Finesse. Very Clumsy characters also get -10 to their total Initiative.
- Falling: The character's Break Fall Knack is increased by +1.
- Fast/Very Fast: The character gets +1/+2 to his Wits.
- Flight (Full Transformation Only): The character can fly at roughly the same speed that he could normally walk or run.
- Graceful/Very Graceful: The character gets +1/+2 to his Finesse.
- Hold Breath: The period between Drowning checks is tripled for the character.
- Howl: The character can communicate with animals and gifted Ussurans within 5 miles.
- Keen Hearing/Sight/Smell: The character gets a Free Raise to all Perception Checks involving the given sense.
- Leaping: The character gets 2 Free Raises to all Leaping Rolls.
- Nimble/Very Nimble: The character gets +5/+10 to his PD, and gains +1/+2 to Footwork.
- Night Vision: The character suffers no penalties for darkness, but all his TNs are increased by +5 in bright light.
- No Fine Manipulation (Full or Partial Transformation Only): The TNs for all actions involving the character's hands are increased by +5.
- No Grasping Limbs (Full or Partial Transformation Only): The character cannot pick anything up at all, except possibly with his mouth.
- Poor Hearing/Sight/Smell: The TNs for Perception Checks involving the given sense are increased by +5.
- Silence: The character gets 2 Free Raises to all Stealth Rolls.
- Slow/Very Slow: The character gets -1 to his Wits. Very Slow characters also get -10 to their total Initiative.
- Strong/Very Strong/Extremely Strong: The character gets +1/+2/+3 to Brawn.
- Swim: The character can swim at roughly the same speed that he could walk or run.
- Timid/Very Timid: The character gets -1 to his Panache. Very Timid characters also get -3 to their Social Damage Rolls.
- Warmth: The character gets +5 to all Wound Checks for damage taken from cold. Damage Rolls from heat get +1k0 to the Damage Roll.
- Weak: The character gets -1 to his Brawn. Very Weak characters also get -3 to their Physical Damage Rolls.