All living creatures are imbued with a spark of the cosmic fire that burns at the heart of the multiverse. This vital principle grants beings animate force, carrying directions from their greater intellects to their gross physical forms.
With practice, an initiate in the occult arts can manipulate this force to create fantastic manifestations of psychic phenomena. Different traditions have different names for this vital force—prana, odic force, orgone energy—but it is most commonly known as ki, the source of inner power that grants the monk his incredible powers.
Practiced initiates can learn to pierce the veil between the Material Plane and the Ethereal Plane to gaze upon the interplay of ki within a creature’s body. The energy concentrates in seven swirling circular pools positioned throughout the body, known as chakras. From there it flows through the creature’s form, and even emanates 2–3 feet out, creating an ovoid nimbus around the creature—its aura.
The energy of the aura permeates the body and spirit of a living creature, influencing its health and vitality while in turn being influenced by the creature’s disposition, conception of self, and general emotional state. A creature’s aura thus comprises many different auras intermixed with one another to form a singular whole. Emanations of the creature’s ki form its health aura. Radiations of thought and belief issuing from the creature’s soul suffuse the health aura with patterns that can be interpreted as its alignment aura. The flashes of color flowing through the whole reveal the creature’s attitude and disposition, and are known as its emotion aura. Finally, an aura might contain emanations of a magical origin, which is usually a consequence of outside forces at work on the creature.
Various spells can detect aspects of a creature’s or object’s aura. The analyze aura spell and the read aura occult skill unlock are the most comprehensive ways to assess a creature’s entire aura.
A creature’s alignment aura reflects the true nature of its beliefs and inner soul. This aura resembles a churning mist that suffuses the health aura. Close observation of the strange currents in this mist can identify the creature’s alignment. Objects or locations infused with powerful magic attuned to a particular alignment (such as the blood-splattered altar at which a debased cult holds its unspeakable rituals or a gilded cup holding the tears of a long-dead saint) sometimes also have alignment auras.
A creature’s emotion aura reveals its current disposition and attitudes. These factors color the emanations of the aura with a coruscation of hues known as the emotional spectrum.
Any combination of colors from the list in the sidebar can define a creature’s emotional state.
Typically, methods of perceiving the emotion aura reveal the emotions themselves, as well as the associated colors. The secrets of the emotional spectrum are laid bare to the initiate, and should not remain mysterious to the player.
Since emotion auras are a function of the health aura, they are not often associated with objects or undead creatures, which are not technically alive. Intelligent magic items sometimes have an emotion aura, while undead—particularly those on the Ethereal Plane barred from the afterlife because of emotional distress or unfinished business may bear a tattered remnant of their auratic energy clinging to their haunted forms, even though the life energy that created them ceased long ago.
A creature’s health aura is a direct representation of the vital force flowing within its body. Ki comes from various sources in the outside world and flows into and throughout the nervous system via a series of swirling pools known as chakras. Within the body, vital force has a faint rosy hue that fades outward into a vaporous white cloud. This aura is streaked by lines extending like bristles. When a creature is in normal health, these bristles stand out stiff ly; when the creature is ill, they droop like the whiskers of a weary animal.
Interpretation of the vital force’s flow between chakras and the fine lines emanating through the greater aura can allow the observer to note whether the creature is unharmed or wounded, if it is poisoned or diseased, and whether it is under any of the following conditions: confused, disabled, dying, nauseated, panicked, staggered, stunned, or unconscious.
Magic auras are usually the result of external forces working on an object, creature, or location. Each magical effect swirls together in the greater aura, but remains discrete. It’s possible to target specific effects within the aura to, for example, dispel a single magical effect while leaving the others intact.
Other magic auras are the result of a creature’s inherent supernatural abilities, and can have game effects on those who approach too closely. Such auras (such as a dragon’s frightful presence) often force creatures to attempt saving throws to resist their effects. For more information on magic auras, see detect magic.
A character trained in auratic techniques sees an interplay of colors within a creature’s aura. Understanding the colors of this emotional spectrum can reveal a great deal about the observed creature. The colors constantly blend and shift as the creature’s thoughts, emotions, and surroundings change.
An observation of a creature’s aura is a snapshot of its feelings and general character in a given moment, and might not be accurate days or even minutes later.
Anger (Bright Red): Bright red flashes, usually on a field of black, denote anger. The more selfish the anger, the more the red is tinged with brown. Righteous indignation, or anger for what the creature considers a just cause, manifests as lightning-shaped flashes of brilliant vermillion.
Deceit (Oily Green): An oily green aura denotes deceit and cunning, making spells like analyze aura very useful during interrogations.
Faith (Blue): A blue aura signifies religious thought, emotion, and feeling. The hue varies based on the nature of the sentiment, its basis in tolerance or prejudice, and its degree of self-interest. The lighter the tone, the more altruistic and beneficent the feeling. Deep, dark violet denotes religious belief twisted toward selfish or malevolent ends.
Fear (Livid Gray): The colors of the aura of a creature experiencing fright and terror fade away, leaving a livid gray cloud in their place. Some overwhelmingly evil creatures— particularly undead—exude a fear aura whose tendrils extend out several feet, reaching toward nearby creatures and bringing an oppressive malaise to their surroundings.
Flexibility (Emerald Green): A creature possessed of versatility, adaptability, and a willingness to please gives off an emerald green aura. Though green is usually associated with deception, it here represents compromise and low deceit—going along for the greater good despite personal misgivings or other preferences.
Greed (Brown-Red): A dull, brown-red aura—nearly the color of rust—suggests avarice and greed, and usually manifests in parallel bars across a creature’s body. Greenish brown tinged with red flashes represents jealousy.
Hatred (Black): Thick black clouds within the aura denote hatred and malice. When a person is overcome with passionate anger, dark images twist and turn within the cloudy aura like ghostly snakes swimming through smoke.
Intellect (Golden): Gold denotes a person’s intellect. When aimed at lower, personal ambitions, the hue tends toward deep, dull shades. The hue assumes a glowing brilliance as the creature mixes spiritual illumination with intelligence.
Love (Scarlet): Among the loveliest auratic hues are the crimsons of a creature in love. The associated shades range from the gorgeous rose shade of selfless love for another to the dull, heavy scarlet tinged with the brown of greed for selfish love concerned with how much it receives in kind. A brilliant rose tinged with lilac denotes spiritual love for all creatures.
Melancholy (Gray Lines): A gloomy series of dark gray, parallel vertical lines conveys depression or deep melancholy. Like the brown lines of greed, the gray bars of melancholy suggest an emotional prison.
Passion (Blood Red): Sanguinary red suggests animal passions and unconscious instinct. As a creature sleeps, its aura tends to be overtaken by this hue as its visceral nature takes over while the mind wanders the Dimension of Dreams in the sheath of its lucid body.
Pride (Orange): Orange indicates pride and ambition, and ranges in hue as these emotions are flavored by jealous competition (green), fear of falling behind (pale gray), or even self-love (dull crimson).
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Occult Adventures © 2015, Paizo Inc.; Authors: John Bennett, Logan Bonner, Robert Brookes, Jason Bulmahn, Ross Byers, John Compton, Adam Daigle, Jim Groves, Thurston Hillman, Eric Hindley, Brandon Hodge, Ben McFarland, Erik Mona, Jason Nelson, Tom Phillips, Stephen Radney-MacFarland, Thomas M. Reid, Alex Riggs, Robert Schwalb, Mark Seifter, Russ Taylor, and Steve Townshend.