Magic


There are three kinds of magic in the archipelago - the cult magic of the Twelve, the magic of the Forest Man and the dark sorceries of the Samadrian Heresy


Magic of the cults of the Twelve

In the Six Kingdoms, most wielders of magic are priests or cult members of the Twelve. The various cults of the Twelve have their own secret magical powers, which are only shared with initiates of the cult. However, all of the magical powers come from the same tradition, so have many aspects in common.

To use cult magic the character has to buy the Perk: Member of the cult of X, (where X is a God) which costs 2 points. This entitles the character to learn the cult's secrets. These may include professional or knowledge skills, but also include the Power skill: cult magic. In addition, membership in a cult entitles the character to ask for some help from members of related cults. A person who belongs to a cult in one area is not automatically a member of cults worshipping the same deity in other areas - but they are related cults, so members would look favorably on them and offer what assistance they could, if it were needed. Although cults are local, the perk does not need to be bought again if the character moves to another area where there is a related cult - it will simply take a little time (and perhaps some sacrifices) to earn the trust of the cult at that location and be accepted as a member. Finally, larger cults often have several circles of membership - not all secrets are revealed to all members. To gain access to the inner workings of a larger, more powerful cult - and often to the more powerful spells -, a player should buy either Perk: Initiate of the cult of X for 3 points or Perk: Adept of the cult of X (the highest level) for 6 points (most priests are adepts). Included in the cost of these latter two perks is a side effect "Watched by Cult, 8-" which simply reflects the fact that members of the inner circles are sometimes asked to perform services for the cult: from things as mundane as helping finance an extension to the temple, to undertaking to kill a cult enemy.

Characters can be members of more than one cult if they buy the perk for more than one cult - there is no stigma to following more than one aspect of the Twelve, though it is a little unusual to be an initiate of more than one cult. They can learn magic from more than one cult, if they also buy a Power skill for that Cult's magic.


Magic of the cults of the Twelve uses the following rules:

All cult magic uses a VPP. The control cost takes the following limitations:

And if only a member of one cult

 

Spells in the pool MUST take the following limitations:

The specific foci and astrological conjunctions for each cult are listed below:

God

Dates
Hours
Element
Metal

Sphere of Influence

The Laughing God

Mid Summer
8-9
Fire
Gold

Wordly power, Growing things

The Crying Woman

Early Summer
7-8
Air
Silver

Mystery, Darkness, Night

The Butterfly Girl

Early Autumn
10-11
Earth
Copper

Youth, Travel, Friendship

The Woman Of Tides

Late Winter
3-4
Water
Platinum

Love, Hidden things, the Sea

The Horned Man

Early Spring
4-5
Fire
Iron

Combat, Strength, Vengeance

The Smiler

Late Spring
6-7
Air
Mercury

Commerce, Luck, Illusion

The Thoughtful Man

Late Autumn
12-1
Fire
Tin

Teaching, Building, Organization

The Crone

Mid Autum
11-12
Water
Electrum

Death, Aging, Peace

The Wizard

Mid Winter
2-3
Air
Bronze

Magic, Communications

The Sage

Late Summer
9-10
Water
Adamant

Treasure-Finding, Learning

The Dreamer

Mid Spring
5-6
Earth
Brass

Health, Poetry,

The Black Man

Early Winter
1-2
Earth
Lead

Justice, Exploration, Defence


Learning spells

The GM will determine the cult secrets known by each individual cult - the player can learn any of these spells, if he can fit them in his VPP simply by remaining a member in good standing of the cult. The GM will also determine if there are inner secrets (ie: other spells) only revealed to higher members of the cult.


Magic of the Forest Man

The magic of the worshippers of the magic of the Forest man is quite different. For these mages of this tradition, magic is not something that is deliberately invoked so much as it is a natural consequence of achieving harmony and unity with the Universe. This harmony is accomplished through rigorous physical training, meditation, and contemplation of nature, all of which teaches the initiate his natural place in the All. As a consequence, the mage acquires mastery over himself and the natural world around him. The magic of the Forest Man at the lower levels usually manifests itself as amazing physical feats. At more advanced levels it can even let the practitioner affect or even control the world around him. Many of his followers learn one or two small magics, generally known as "gifts". Although you do not have to be a cult member to learn spells, and no perk is required, "gifts" are only given at rituals conducted by priests of the Forest Man and it is rare indeed that they would do this for an outsider to their community.


Magic of the Forest Man uses the following rules:

Followers of this path do not ue "spells" as such - instead they have gifts. All "gifts" must be bought as separate powers. No gift may take the Focus limitation and in general incantations and gestures are not permitted (though some gifts might have them as a required part of the magic). Unlike spells, Gifts do not cost Mana - they are a part of the character, in much the same way as a magical creature's powers.


Magic of the Samadrian Heresy

The practice of the heresy is simple. Some cults, in addition to practicing the magic of the Twelve, exactly as elsewhere in the kingdoms, also summon a powerful being - a patron - at cult ceremonies. This patron always shares some features with the cult's god, but their aims are obscure. As worshippers say, who can fathom the minds of the Gods? They teach a more powerful form of magic than the regular cult spells, but this comes at a price: cult magicians must serve the patron, who requires them to perform services - sometimes innocuous, sometimes apparently evil. If they do not appease their patron, use of heretic magic gradually warps the user, sending them mad, or physically changing them (usually in a perverse and horrible way). Not all worshippers of a heretic cult practice this form of magic. They may practice standard cult magic of the Twelve instead, or (rarely) blend the two. The magic of the Twelve may not be as powerful, but it is certainly safer.

Usually, heretic cult members practice both styles of magic, but it is quite possible to study just one or the other. If the practioner does study both, the VPP can be used to augment the multipower (for example by casting Aid) - this type of usage is considered a normal cult spell and thus is acceptable in the VPP.


Heretic magic uses the following rules. Practitioners use multipowers for their spells. All spells are ultras and the first spell they learn is always a summoning. This is usually not the patron, who comes only to Adepts of the cult, but a familiar of the patron, who he will assign to the cult member. As the mage increases in power, he can learn additional summonings, and learn more potent magics. Each Patron and his familiars can only teach spells within their area of influence and this is the only way mages of this style can learn spells. A list of some (but not all) patrons is listed below - the GM should make up more if he wishes.

Spells in the multipower MUST take the following limitations:


Type of service

Reduces transformation total by:

Potential services

Minor

2 points

Send a lost person down the wrong street

Place a stick in a trail

Give a certain beggar a silver coin

Whistle a certain tune at a certain place and time

 

Intermediate

 

5 points

 

Set fire to someone's washing

Make sure a man goes to a specific tavern at a specific time

Throw a gold bracelet down a well

 

Major

 

10 points

 

Drive some villagers out of their village

Scribe a certain symbol on the altar of a temple

Make sure a political alliance fails

 

Life-Threatening

 

20 points

 

Kill a specific person

Free an imprisoned spirit

Bring a living man to the patron's own dimension


Mages of the Samadrian Heresy can take the disadvantage "Hunted by Church Militant, 8- (MoPo, NCI, limited area - not in Samadria) for 15 points . The frequency cannot be higher than 8-. For a start, there are not that many witch-hunters and for a second, powerful or not, the church does not go around killing people in the street, so the hunters will seek an opportunity where they can dispose of their prey without opening themselves to charges of murder. That limits their opportunities (if the sorceror has obvious magical deformities, then they might just go ahead, since this "proves" his guilt)- otherwise they seek proof by other means or simply try to murder the sorceror discreetly out of sight. Also, note that despite the "not in Samadria" comment witch hunters do operate there - they simply have to be much more circumspect. As the heresy is not illegal in Samadria any killing will be treated as murder - and anyone known to be a witch-hunter might have a fatal "accident" if they are not careful. Witch-hunters are therefore present - but much less active - in Samadria


Patrons

Each cult has its own Patron and each Patron associates with a single cult, although priests debate endlessly as to whether there are actually many or simply Twelve (or even one! Heresy of heresies!) since most (perhaps all) Patrons can take on many forms. Are they demons, luring the gullible in exchange for power? Are they simply another aspect of the Twelve? If not, why the association of powers? Is the corruption truly a sign or evil or merely the development of aspects that our limited minds cannot comprehend - much like the services the Patrons require? No one knows the answers, but most priests - and many lay people - have strong opinions. One thing is clear - unlike the Twelve, Patrons are clearly not caring beings and the welfare of their servants is of no interest to them. And that's putting it mildly - in many cases they seem to delight in human sufferings. Their names are unknown - their worshippers give them titles instead. Below is a partial list of potential patrons and the cults they associate with. The GM is encouraged to make more.

Cult

Appearance and Title

The Laughing God

A Man with leathery skin and a wide mouth full of teeth called the Duke of Stillness. He can teach any language and also all spells of Elemental Earth Magic. His magic brings physical change.

The Earl of Furor is a man with fiery hair. He floats, never touching the ground, and teaches spells of Elemental air and those nature spells involving weather.

The Crying Woman

A handsome woman with a star on her forehead, carrying a flaming sword, called the Duchess of Secrets. She knows all the things that men have done wrong and can grant favours to her worshippers (the Perk: favour or contact - which must be used by blackmailing the contact). She teaches spells of Elemental spirit magic except Cleanse the Mind or Cleanse the Spirit

The Changing Lord. This patron appears in many different forms and teaches spells from the school of Elemental Flesh. His magic usually causes physical transformation.

The Butterfly Girl

The Lord Glasybol - a man with the head and wings of a griffon - teaches any knowledge skill and also spells of illusion.

The Cimmerian Lord - a black skinned man in rich robes, teaches any skills involved in persuasion or trickery and also spells of Animal magic that do not change the caster's form and spells of Enchantment that involve emotion.

The Woman Of Tides

The Lady of Horses, this patron appears as a talking horse or woman with a horse's head. She can teach all spells of alchemy and also necromantic spells that involve summoning or controlling the dead - but they only work on drowned men (-1 limitation). Her Magic often brings forgetfulness or strange visions (Mind Transform)

The Drowned Woman appears as a woman with long lank hair and grey skin. She smells of water and mud and teaches spells of Elemental Water. She also teaches any spells with a lunar component.

The Horned Man

The Duke of Eligor appears as a man in full armour - smoke leaks from its joints. He teaches any military-related skill and spells of Elemental spirit magic except Cleanse the Mind or Cleanse the Spirit

The Hot-eyed One is a man with a scowling face and flaming eyes who teaches spells of Elemental fire.

The Smiler

The fork-tongued lord is a muscular man who has a serpent's body below the waist. He teaches spells of Elemental Earth except those which are also part of the Artifice school. He also teaches the skills of healing and poison-making

The Thief-taker. A young man with a unicorn's horn, he teaches all skills useful to thieves and also teaches those spells of Illusion which change the appearance of things. In addition, he teaches those spells of Divination that involve the detection or locating of things or people

The Thoughtful Man

The Roarer appears as a lion or lion-headed man. He teaches all spells of Artifice, except those that directly affect living things. He also teaches summoning spells that create unliving servants resembling golems but slavishly loyal. His spells often bring physical change.

The Lord of the Shaking Earth appears as an armoured man, but inside his visor is a mass of worms. He teaches the spells of Elemental Earth and can also instruct his followers on how to construct magical fortresses and palaces (the mage may buy a base with magical powers)

The Crone

A beautiful young man with vipers instead of fingers, called the Great Duke, he teaches spells of necromancy, except those that involve plants. He can also answer any question about the past (allowing the mage to buy any KS: History). His magic most often warps the user's personality (Mind Transform).

The Lady of the Open Gate appears as an older woman, with grey hair reaching the floor. She teaches spells of healing and also those spells of Enchantment that involve control of the emotions.

The Wizard

A cat-headed man called the Watcher of Shadows. He teaches any metamagic spell except those marked "Go". His magic often brings madness to the user (Spirit Transform)

An old man with crow feathers for hair, called the Master Artficer, he teaches any skills relating to craftsmanship and also grants spells common to Artifice and Elemental Metal Magic. His magic most often warps the body

The Sage

An old, cheerful looking man called the Duke of Never, he teaches spells of Divination.

The Brazen Duke is a man with skin of Brass. He grants riches (the Mage can buy the perk Wealth and thereafter all his business dealings will magically succeed, he will gain inheritances, find buried treasure, etc). He also teaches spells of Artifice, but not those that animate objects.

The Dreamer

The Singer. Appearing as a beautiful woman with a musical instrument, she teaches any science or art (any PS) and also spells of enchantment and summoning animals. Her spells mostly bring madness to the user (Spirit Transform)

The Winged Prince is a beautiful man with wings. He teaches all communication skills and also spells of Enchantment.

The Black Man

The Archer. A man clad for battle with a huge bow. He teaches all spells of Elemental Air magic and those Elemental Flesh spells that have a necromantic component

The Centaur appears as a man with a horse's body below the waist. He teaches spells involving travel and dimensional alteration - also those which allow the caster to alter his own body.

Some patrons have notes indicating that their magic most often affects a particular aspect. Normally when a sorceror of the Samadrian Heresy casts a spell, roll a d6 to see what sort of transformation it causes, 1-2 is physical, 3-4 is mental and 5-6 is spiritual. If a certain patron's spells usually cause a particular transformation, then roll 1-4 that transformation, 5 or 6 for the remaining two.