The Wyrlde Campaign, Adventures in the Seven Cities, is designed and intended to test your character across nearly every major aspect of them and their lives. Wyrlde is a place where you must be ready to face things that can drive you to madness or send you into a rage, wear you down or burn you out.
Magic on Wyrlde is a visible, time requiring, point using, exercise in the power of will and bargaining to shape a natural force that defies even the power of the gods. It is not the magic system that you are used to seeing, though the spells are very much the same. It alters nearly every aspect of magic as you know it and has a very different feel and vibe than what you will expect if you come from regular D&D – even earlier versions.
Throughout Wyrlde, though especially within the Empire, there are compounds where people learn and engage called Tanjins. Tanjins are divided into several classes, mostly by age groups but not exclusively, and each class is led by a Pedant. Your Pedant for The Wyrlde Book was an Ikon – a very powerful, chosen representative of a given Power That Is – named Arabesque.
For the bulk of The Encyclopedia Wyrldica, your Pedant has been the currently liminal faery lass who goes by the name of Tinghabel. For magic, you get the irascible and indomitable Grand Master Wizard of the most prestigious College in all of Akadia – and he will tell you that himself. His name (and no, not his True Name), is…
I am Grand Master Wizard Rafael of Akadia, Grand Pedant of the College of Abjuration in Gateway, Member of the Mage Council, and close personal friend of the Great Wazoo. I have been asked by my erstwhile companions to elucidate you on the nature and fashion of Magic within the Wyrlde, and I deign to do so because I have been assured that you will listen close, listen well, and listen deep. Very well then, oh thank Heavens, the auditor left.
I’m Rafael. I, too, am an Incarnate. It is why several of us met. Where I come from, a place called Earth, I used to play a game that allowed me to be a wizard. Then I was attacked by a leper and the next thing I knew I was born a guy in a world and learned to be a wizard for real.
Memories get sucked into stone and brick over time, and you can feel them if you have magic. The worse the weather is, the more it seems to come out. The memories will be thinned by age, watered down by time until instead of terror and despair, the background is a disturbing melancholy, but…yeah. This was a world I could only pretend about before. Let’s tell you about Magic!
Magic uses a potent, unseen force to influence events, effect change in material conditions, or present the illusion of change through the guidance of one’s immense belief in the power of their own desire. Magic is the ability to alter the moment in some manner that steps around the forces of the Universe, acknowledging them, playing with them. Magic is sacred and profane, shadow and substance, mystery and revelation, vast and often contradictory. Magic is alive; it thinks, it feels, it reasons and deduces, it laughs, it weeps, it consoles, it condemns; it considers, it ponders, it resists, it is willful and contrarian, and magic wants to be wielded. So much so that it has a tendency to spill out in unpredictable ways if it isn’t called on.
Magic emerges from the vibrations of the music of the spheres, birthed of the friction of dimensions and the interaction of the Planes, creating the life of The Pale; from that Great Mystery reaching through the Weave of the Veil, we have a kind of energy field that is found in all the liminal spaces, in all the spaces in-between, in All That Is; surrounding us, penetrating us, within and without, above and below, always beyond.
Magic binds us and flows between us, sweetens the inexplicable connectedness we sometimes experience with places, people, art and wonder; dwells in the moments of eerie synchronicity. It speaks to us, whispers in a soft and quiet voice as a hidden presence, in the rainbows and wildflowers, the music of the wind and the silence of stars. It is the Art, the Craft, the Way the World Works, the wisdom and the philosophy of the despairing and the science of the superstition of the hopeful yet is always and the path to new beginning. It is Magic, foundationally ineffable, indescribable, inexhaustible.
It is a cheat, and on Wyrlde it is a cheat that some have embraced, studied, and learned to a greater degree than anything else.
Magic behaves according to its own rules. Always. Those rules do not have to make sense to mortals, and never consider just the here and now – it is theorized that magic considers the past, the future, and the possibilities of all three. Nevertheless, we have been able to learn some things over the last few centuries or so that have helped us to use magic more efficiently.
We get to cajole it so that it does so on our terms, in our moment, in our way. One truth remains: this is magic. It is not constrained by what we think it should be, and it is not as dramatic as we expect it to be. No matter the wellspring, Magic needs must be shaped by our will, always with the risk that it will turn back upon us. Those who use the powers of the Planes or strike bargains may be slightly less at risk than those who grab the arcane and mold it with passion, but the risk is still there.
It is notable that while all Mortal Realms have magic, not all the Mortals in those Realms can access it. The Dimension of Shades has no magic that mortals can touch or feel or use. As well, the way that magic works varies from plane to plane, dimension to dimension. Upon Yrthe, for example, there is no Mystical or Eldritch magic, and the Apothegms are different.
The people of Wyrlde are used to seeing magic as something tangible that works for a certain period and then dies. It is a transient thing, short term, useful or scary in equal measure. They understand potions and wands and such, but the art of spells, in and of itself, is terrifying to most people.
To a common person, Mages scare the heck out of people. Power is said to corrupt, and the greater the power, the greater the corruption. The power to reshape reality, to change outcomes, to seemingly escape consequences: this is a power that can corrupt absolutely. Because spellcasting is rare and gives immense power in Wyrlde, it is treated as something dangerous and in need of controls or monitoring. Mages are not free to willy-nilly have their way and mess with the world; they also must deal with others who often fear that they will try to take over the world (and history shows this is a warranted fear).
There are laws against the use of distinct kinds of magic. Magic shapes or influences everything on Wyrlde, and has since the end of the God’s War, when the capacity to use magic entered the world. It is not absolute, as the secrets of how to do something, or a particular spell, are zealously guarded; the deaths of many who sought to discern how the horseless carriages of Durango work, or how the Enjin of Dorado functions are testament to this. But there are streetlights in Lyonese and Durango that do not need to be lit, and there is a whole process for sanitation throughout the empire (controlled by the Nobles); and of course, the recognized professions of the Adventurer’s Guild are deeply affected by this.
Magic is said to be alive, to think, to ponder, to exist in all things and as part of all that is and was and will be because magic comes in some way from the interaction of The Pale with the Planes and Dimensions, and what it creates is the power itself, always a part of the greater Pale, and yet we can see and feel and shape it as Mages of assorted typed. The Pale is thought by many to be the ultimate source of all Magic, and the Well of Souls is sometimes called the Well of Magic, while the Voes is said to be the Path of magic, birthed from the Eternal Flame.
For evidence that Magic does not change the rules, look to the nature of what Magic cannot do. It cannot reduce complexity. It cannot change Time, save for a scant few moments of movement within it. The more complex the spell one does, the more difficult that writhing mass becomes to shape and hold and release. We are still learning the limits of what that complexity is – while a Power That Is may casually walk by and move a mountain, we Mages have neither the strength of magic nor the capacity to grasp that vast and complex a working within our minds, even for the short while to cast it.
Magic cannot force someone to reveal their true name. It can be used to uncover it, but a true name cannot be yanked out of the person so named. Mages have limits on their ability to alter things at range. Magic does not, but we are the ones using it, and we have limits on our range of influence, for all the grand and glorious power that we do have. Magic cannot hide or obfuscate a manifestation. Magic has a price, and many have not realized how dear that price can be until it is too late.
Magic bends those forces; it does not create new ones. It has guidelines that it seems to follow, and so we mages must follow them as well.
What is a Mage, you ask? Mages are anyone who uses magic spells outside of a ritual on Wyrlde. If there is a manifestation, then it is magic, and the person is a mage. We cannot do anything merely because we can conceive of it, like Powers and Old Ones and Spirits, but we are Mortals, after all, and they are not. That should also give you thought about why a Mage cannot bring the mountain to them, but Gods can.
Mages are those who can use magic without resorting to a ritual, who do not have a need for imbued or ingrained objects, are a different group entirely. They have the inherent ability to manipulate different forces according to certain principles, though the source and nature and manner of such can vary dramatically.
While nearly everyone has some degree of capacity to hold and generate at least some orgone, only some have the capacity to draw more of it into themselves, to use it to shape effects, and to serve their own desires. If there is one thing I can say from all the years of gathering dust here, it is that magic likes to be entertained. The ability to use it is not typically passed down by family – it is something that comes to one at the moment of Quickening, the drawing of the first breath. Some have said that it means those with the gift have been chosen, and others have said they have been cursed – and that the curse is why there are people who still have the ability to store magic, but are somehow less subject to it, more immune to it.
What we do know about Mages is that when they are properly trained, they can do much, much more than if they were to try and teach themselves, though of course we all ultimately learned from someone who taught themselves and then taught others. The greater your facility, the broader your knowledge, the deeper your dedication to the task of learning, the greater your capability with magic.
Mages are born with a capacity to do magic. It is not a matter of degree, and it is not limited to any given heritage, nor is it directly Inherited – just because one person has the ability does not mean that their parents, siblings, or children will have it. To discover if someone has that power is quite easy, though it is believed that less than 10% of the total population has the capacity.
Identifying children who can use magic is a big business. Akadia pays well for those who can use it that are young enough, so that they can continue to gain more mages under their control.
To identify someone, all that is done is a child is asked to read from a piece of paper.
The paper is written in Caligulan, the language of magic, which only those with the Gift of Magic can see and read (and never need training to do so). This works down to the age of six. Younger than that and it doesn’t seem to function.
For Servants, Caligulan is still used, but they are bestowed their Gift and granted a Weird – a mark in the form of a holy symbol that denotes them as having been given in service to a god. This is key because Servants exist outside the normal structure of a priesthood, and though they can always request space in a temple, they are still outsiders who are subject to jealousy and envy.
Culturally, Magic is nominally structured in support of noble powers and is intended to support the current order of things. Most mages work for a noble or other force, however some do not, and they are treated as risky, untrustworthy, and dangerous. For this reason, most mages do not advertise themselves as such – they will pretend to be something else among the common folk. There is a history, early in the founding of the Empire, that tells of how a group of mages thought that they could take over; it was narrowly averted, and the mages were exiled in what became the slow establishment of Akadia, once under the eventual rigid and absolute rule of a Warden named Gimlet of Tolues (a town erased by the rebellion).
This is difficult as it is drilled into most Disciples how they are special, and important, and better they are than others from almost as soon as they begin the arduous training. Meanwhile, many Sensates never really get a complete grip on their powers, and often become afraid of it, unwilling to move forward into that task of learning how to use their powers actively, sometimes not even realizing they are using their powers.
There, again, are more of the secret rules of magic. It is not so easy as it seems, and it wants to be known.
The greatest of us have determined that there are several guidelines, which we call apothegms, that apply. These are often found engraved in the entrances to Towers and are often the first things that Apprentice Mages learn and store in their books of spells. I require my apprentices and Pupils to memorize them several times throughout their education and am often disappointed by them.
Many will call these the Rules of Magic, though that makes it seem as if they are imposed upon magic – they are not. They are what Magic imposes upon Mortals. Mortal beings, from any of the Mortal Realms, have significant limits upon the way that magic operates for them, and the way that they can use – and, as noted, in some places they cannot even use it.
This is one reason why some Mages seek to become Immortal and tread the dark paths of Lichery.
Apothegm of Self-Knowledge:
One who does not know herself, having never tested herself or her limitations does not know what she can do. And the reverse is also true.
The Apothegm of Knowledge:
With understanding comes control and power.
The Apothegm of Names:
Knowing the True Name, the true and complete name, of a phenomenon or entity allows you to target it even beyond the traditional limits, including summoning it across the Planes and Dimensions.
There is another, darker more terrifying thing about this: using this True Name in a very specific but very short ritual, with the target confined to the ritual sigil, can strip a person of their affinity for a year and a day. The Rite is Severance.
Apothegm of Senses:
Everyone’s senses are finite and limited to the amount of information which one can absorb and process at any given time.
Apothegm of Imitation:
The more the first entity knows about the second the better the imitation.
Apothegm of Balance:
One’s energy or power level must be kept on an even keel, too much or too little will kill oneself.
Apothegm of Sigils:
All effects must be structured, bound by the function and then the form.
Apothegm of Discrete Effect:
A spell must always be for a single, discrete effect.
Apothegm of Locus:
Mages must have a Locus – an object that helps them to empower and direct their effects, as well as possibly provide a handy reference.
Apothegm of Incantations:
Spells must be released by chanting to draw forth and build up the energy needed.
Apothegm of Motion:
All spells involve motion of the Mage, from hand signs to motion of the body to more.
Apothegm of Concentration:
While engaged in somatic and vocal action, one must focus one’s will and this requires concentration, regardless of the spell.
For some spells, it is only necessary for them to be brought to fruition, while for others it may take continued concentration to maintain an effect over time.
Apothegm of Interruption:
An interrupted Spell is a failed and lost spell.
Apothegm of Attraction:
Merely the act of thinking a lot about what you expect (desire or fear) will summon that thing.
Apothegm of Contagion:
Things which have once been in contact with each other continue to act on each other at a distance even after physical contact has been severed.
Apothegm of Relevance:
The effectiveness of a connection depends upon the relevance, or import and value, of the contact.
Apothegm of Association:
Things react upon each other by their connection with each other.
Apothegm of Sympathies:
The part is equivalent to the whole.
Apothegm of Rites:
All Rites require a call and response incantation, a ripple of motion, and then Materials to engage the spell.
Operation of Magic
All of that said, the actual process of using magic is fairly simple on the surface. There are four basic parts to a spell:
An Effort of Will: Effort of Will requires focus and concentration. If this focus is broken the spell escapes and unravels.
Somatic Gestures: Specific gestures result in specific magical effects.
Incantations: Chanting aloud in Caligulan; a combination of sounds that informs and shapes the Orgone, spoken aloud and clearly. Note that the magic of Caligulan is not something that can be understood by others who are not mages, but if they recognize the spell, they can counter it.
Manifestation: The thing that says it is working. Different Affinities have different manifestations, but once you see it, you know it is working.
I will repeat this to you several times: spells are very much living things. A sigil is a constrainton magic, a kind of cage for it. They wriggle, they struggle, they seek to have their way and be free – magic is aware and has desire and sentience. As they are abstract, they dwell in the mind of a person, wriggling, struggle, poking, prodding, pestering to distraction. And once distracted, it is free.
Formally, in the study of magic, the term for all the assorted kinds of power derived from their Affinities is Orgone. Each Affinity is unique, each is a different expression of The Pale as it interacts with the Prime. We use mana as the term for all of them out of custom and habit, as the study was conducted chiefly by Wizards in their Akadian Towers, and so they tended to favor their own form over the others.
- Mantra. Granted from On High by the Powers That Be.
- Penumbra, and is built up slowly, like breathing, like the wind, like the air itself, drawn in until it finally exhales into the sigil. It is not to be confused with the miasmatics that empower certain constructs, though it is deeply similar.
Within the Primae, the power of magic is called Mana, and mana is what gives a Mage their power. Mana is like an energy field, present within all things, living or not, everywhere, in everything. It surrounds us, and penetrates us; it binds us, and flows between us. It is energy – drawn from the Pale itself, from the world around them, from within them, from the dedication and devotion to some task or in service to others.
Mana is represented in game by Spell Points. For those from other worlds, Mana is much like MP for the character. This is not the Magic Points or Spell Points you may have encountered previously – there is no spell slot system here. But you can run out of mana; you can use it up in excitement or desperation and then must wait to restore it. You can see why we just call it Mana, or Spell Points.
Wyrlde uses a spell point system for magic. Spell points are usually called Mana and each person has some of them, regardless of their other ability to use magic.
Base Mana is determined by your Mana score, rolled when you create a character. Base mana is a key number for rituals and recovering the ability to add to it, and the Axiom of a character determines how well they are able to hold and store that mana within them over time.
Those born with magic gain the gift of holding it and can hold and control more mana than most people, and this is part of what enables them to grasp Caligulan, even before they have begun to store enough of it.
Those classes which use magic focus to some degree and for differing reasons on building up the capacity to hold and regain mana. Mana comes from different places according to one’s Affinity, but the use and storage of it is built up according to one’s Axiom.
Axiom impacts the number of spell points a character is able to build up and store within them, and this level increases with experience, knowledge, and mastery. Servants have more, Disciples are next, followed by Devoted and Sensates. The difference is notable. Each spell has a point cost based on its spell level. Cantrips do require a spell point. All magic spells do. This may include class features and special abilities – though not all do. It does include magic spells used by monsters.
Most people can share mana on a successful constitution roll, even Nulls, but some people are cursed and unable to share mana. If the subject is willing otherwise, sharing is possible.
Mana can be stolen from another though the use of Infernal, Fell, Abyssal, Nether, Shadow, Necrotic and related devices, but not otherwise.
A Mage’s Axiom determines the amount of mana they can gather and hold to empower spells. Most people have truly little mana – even if they don’t have the ability to use magic – and never learn to embrace or manipulate it. Mages can sense that mana within themselves, to manipulate it, to use it and play with it and fashion it into things.
There is a limit to how much power a person can contain, how much mana they can hold, and mana is slow to restore. Additionally, there is a limit to the number of spells per day of each level that a person can truly memorize, and it is a skill that requires constant attention and development.
Another way of looking at it is that you expend spell points to cast a spell and the greater the spell’s level, the higher the cost. Some have noticed this means that some mages are much more underpowered than is expected in other locales beyond the greater planes. The flip side is that here you can memorize a spell once each day and use it as long and as many times as you have the mana for it until you fall asleep.
When casting a spell, your Mana Modifier is used with the particular ability score that is linked to your affinity for the purposes of rolls involving magic.
You regain mana at a rate of your base Mana every hour of a full rest, long or short. Spell points are a physically dependent characteristic, inherent in the body of the caster. No body, no spell points, no spells. You can always fully recover your maximum mana with three long rests, if you don’t use any in the interim.
The number of spell points (Mana) you must spend on various feats and spells is based on your level as a spellcaster (mastery). More on that in a bit, in Casting Spells.
Your profession level, or Mastery, also determines the maximum level spell – based on complexity of the spell –you can learn and so the maximum level spell you can cast. Different axioms also have variable limits to the number of spells you can hold within your head.
Even though you might have enough points to cast a spell above this maximum, you cannot do so simply because you don’t have the capability yet – training and experience help you to develop this ability, enabling greater control and mastery over the complex sigils involved.
You cannot reduce your spell point total to less than 0. On reaching zero spell points, you collapse, unconscious, as there is a physical toll to running out of Mana.
A Mage who uses spells regularly typically only has a limited ability to hold these complex things within themselves. As they progress in skill, mastery, and knowledge, they gain a greater grasp of the glyphs, more control over the magrams, and fuller power over the ciphers that they must hold within themselves as sigils.
Anytime you use a number of points of mana equal to your level of mastery plus five points in casting a single spell, either through the base cost or through additional mana you pump into the spell to increase its effect and power, you are struck by a point of Fatigue. Six points of fatigue mean you are into Exhausted territory, and at that point, every 5 points of mana used adds another level of exhaustion. 10 points of fatigue and you are unconscious, and must recuperate, which is never fun and let me tell you it can be extremely displeasing to have completely drained yourself for the sake of others only for them to leave you with a rock for a pillow and traipse off ahead.
An exhausted mage cannot defend themselves, cannot move, and cannot recover until they have completed at least a one-hour rest. In some cases, it could kill you to run out of mana.
The Spell Point Cost table summarizes the cost in spell points of spells from 1st to 9th level. Spells of 6th level and higher are particularly taxing to cast. The mana cost per spell is as follows (based on Spell Level, or Complexity).
This cost is regardless of the spell list, the Axiom, or the Affinity of the caster. Skill, knowledge, and efficiency in control are all what determine the ability of someone to manipulate the energy around them. There are things and ways to influence this.
|Spell Level||Spell Point Cost||Degree of Complexity|
|Cantrips / 0||1||1||Simple|
|1 Level Spells||2||2|
|2 Level Spells||3||4||Rudimentary|
|3 Level Spells||4||6|
|4 Level Spells||6||8||Intermediate|
|5 Level Spells||8||11|
|6 Level Spells||11||13||Advanced|
|7 Level Spells||15||17|
|8 Level Spells||17||21||Expert|
|9 Level Spells||20||25|
A lot of this means that people will often be concerned about finding ways to store mana and to be able to use that supply as needed. There are some philters that can help replenish some mana, but they are only able to double your recovery speed, and useless in an emergency. Sometimes you just need a bit of extra juice, y’know?
Those items are very rare, but they do exist, and they do not require magic to create them. They are fashioned from a blue tinted metallic material called Orikal. Although it requires using mana to do it, one can store mana in an Orikal object, to an amount determined by the object based on several factors including amount and purity. For some, this is the only way they can truly access their mana.
There are kinds of magic and kinds of ways to learn it, and the two interact in certain ways. The kind of magic one has cannot be changed. These Aspects are often defined as the origin of that mage’s ability to interact with the many forces that make magic possible. Magic in Wyrlde has two Aspects to it: these are Affinity and Axiom.
Axiom determines how much you can hold, and how learned you are at spells. It reflects the manner in which one learned to use the power they have, and so what it is they can do with it.
Affinity determines where your magic comes from, and so it has an effect on how it manifests, and what it is called.
Affinity is like flavors of the same fruit; it can be different from each other although all of it is still magical.
As the Pale ripples through all the spaces and places of the multiverse, it gains power and knowledge and all of that can change or shift it, for it leaves a bit of itself behind wherever it exists, and this becomes the different “kinds” of magic.
A given individual can normally only ever have one Affinity – and in the case of multiclass characters, they must follow that Affinity until such a time as they can find a way to expand their affinity – an arduous and sacrificial path that exceedingly few ever fully achieve unless they have the support and backing of some Power of or in the world.
An Affinity determines the source of the magic and how you gain it. Affinities have importance because some beings are functionally immune to certain kinds of magic, and some wards or defenses are only useful against certain kinds of magic. Affinities determine the Manifestation, Cipher, Spell Attack Bonus, and other aspects of a given Mage’s abilities. Each Affinity has different ways of categorizing spells – and of course, Servants have their own approach. Axioms determine the spell list you use – and all members within that Axiom have the same spell list, but not all spells are on all spell lists.
Whenever a spell is cast, a certain visual effect happens around the caster. This is called a manifestation, and each Affinity has a different sort of manifestation. Spells always glow brightly – they can change a pitch-black room into dim light – but they are always there and always visible. All of these are visible to others, though they don’t confer much ability to see in the dark beyond the immediate presence of the caster.
Manifestations make it so that it is always known when a spell is being cast and who is casting the spell. For those able to read a spell and grasp it, it becomes known what is being cast. These effects end once the spell is activated – so casting a light spell may have them glow, but once the light is created, they won’t. With casters having to move and gyrate, chant and empower their spell, this can last anywhere from a few seconds to a minute, or far longer if it is a ritual in process.
It is said this was done by several Gods working together, but it may also have been a tweak to the world by them. Hard to say.
The Affinities of Magic are Divine (Wis), Arcane (Kno), Mystical (Cha), Eldritch (Con), and Primal (San). Nulls use Strength (Str).
Arcane Magic draws from the Pale and then shapes what is taken; it is drawn magic, pure creation in origin, raw and shaped by skill more than will. This magic is often confused with the others, but ultimately requires being some sort of scholar that spends all their time learning things.
This magic is instilled by an outside source into the caster. It does not present itself in the same way as other forms, and it is said that Eldritch magic can drive the caster mad or twist them. Unlike with Divine Magic, where the caster functions as a conduit of a Power, eldritch magic is placed within the caster, and usually dependent on some condition or agreement, or derived from some capricious act. Ultimately, the Ikons of the world are all using a peculiar combination of both Eldritch and Divine magic – and that makes them very dangerous, as only they are known to be able to do so. Eldritch magic has a cost, a price, is always part of an exchange, over and beyond the use of mana itself.
- . An Aura is generally a single or multihued aura. It extends out about three to six inches around the spellcaster, within which glyphs dance and spin and float. In darkness, this light only shows them, and in bright light, the auras shimmer and have a prismatic effect.
- Picatrix as a spell book.
Mystical magic comes from the person themselves and the ambient world, the natural magic inherent in all people and all things. This is the magic of life, of existing, of being and not being, a complex and everlasting kind of magic. By some lights, it is the inherent magic of Mortality itself, though if so, how it is used by Fae remains unknown. It could very well be the magic of the Material, and is sometimes said to be the everyday magic, the layman’s power, the personal power of the individual. Some argue that it is derived from creatures smaller than the eye can see living within us, while others will argue that is poppycock. Others argue that Mystical Magic is the magic that was released into the world itself at the end of the God’s War, and that is what makes other kinds and forms of magic possible.
- Nomicon for a spell book.
This magic is the rarest – This is the raw stuff of the realm of The Source and The Void. This magic is wild and unpredictable. This is the magic elemental forces employ, the magic that creates magic, that is sourced in the very making of everything, including the pale. While some have an affinity for it, it is unpredictable, dangerous, and can interfere with other forms of magic.
- Occultaires for a spell book.
Divine magic is given over, or granted, to Servants. It can be Celestial, Nether, Shadow, Necrotic, Radiant, or Infernal in origin. A Servant is anyone who has given themselves over in Service to one or more Planar beings, those who hold sway over vast areas beyond the Pale. This magic is magic that comes from The Gods and is both sacrifice and strength. The magic of the gods is flashy and showy and meant to drive home the point that they are there, and that folks should forgive them the cruelties they inflicted during the God’s war. Servants are marked by a weird.
Servants are varied in how they approach things and the degree of devotion they allow for it. Clerics choose to serve outside a priesthood, for example, or may dedicate themselves to a set of ideals that different sources require of them.
- Mantra. This is mana Granted from On High by the Powers That Be.
An individual, a place, or a thing can be consecrated. When used on denizens of the Lower planes, consecration is a devastating attack, but for the most part it has insignificant effect except one important one: it defines ground as Holy, and so sacrosanct from those on the Prime Material Plane from who are not followers that have been consecrated from stepping foot on it.
It is, essentially, counting coup for the Powers That Be. If one is consecrated in the Name of a specific Power, that Power then could act in these simple manners. If you are not consecrated to a Power, you cannot receive a blessing from them, nor can you enter their holy ground (or disturb their Shrine). A person can be consecrated for one God from each pantheon.
Clerics may be consecrated by one Power from each of the three groups of Hosts. That is, you can be consecrated to a Bright Power, a Shadow Power, and a Dread Power. However, you are still and always only a cleric for one of them. This rule about consecration applies to others as well – anyone can be consecrated in the name of one deity in each of the groups. Druids can be consecrated or consecrate either the Powers of the World, The Ancestral Spirits, or The Old Ones (calling on specific Gods within that group as needed).
The Shadow Host are not all that picky, like the Dread Host or the Bright Host are, and so they allow someone to receive the boons they have so long as at least one of them is involved. This can be important: it sucks to not be able to Bless a fighter’s weapon in the heat of battle because the Warrior is a follower of a different Power.
The following list of spells are those which are consecrated – that is, they will only work on people, places, and things which are consecrated to that Deity. Note that these spells are only available to Clerics and Druids. Paladins do not have them as spells, but rather as abilities for some of them.
|Aid||Augury||Beacon of Hope|
|Bless||Enhance Ability||Freedom of Movement|
|Greater Restoration||Guardian of Faith||Guidance|
|Heroes’ Feast||Lesser Restoration||Protection from Evil and Good|
|Purify Food and Drink||Remove Curse||Resistance|
|Sanctuary||Shield of Faith||Warding Bond|
|Ceremony||Holy Weapon||Temple of the Gods|
Those things that seek to cause harm or woe are maledictions. Sometimes called curses, the operation of a malediction is always based in some sort of sin or disapproved act, and is a punishment inflicted.
Those things which seek to provide weal, or help are called benedictions. Sometimes called blessings, the operation of a benediction is always based in some sort of virtue or highly approved act, and is a benefit granted.
There is an additional combination of Affinity and Axiom called a Null, and those who are Nulls are resistant to magic to a slight degree, and it manifests at different time in different ways. Essentially, when encountering any kind of magic effect, Nulls have Advantage and are able to use their Mana Modifier on rolls to their benefit. Magic simply has a harder time working on or around them. Nobody knows why this is, and when asked the Gods just smile, spread their hands, and wave their fingers and say “magic” with a smirk.
Nulls themselves do have mana, but it is a small amount; even though their experiences with magic give them more over time, they are not able to harness it and use it in quite the same way nor do they ever gain immense amounts of it.
The degree to which they are resistant is still small and can work against them – Nulls have a harder time being healed magically, and things which may help them out are sometimes less effective. Nulls are often used in Rituals because they are effective “batteries” of a sort. Also, their Mana score provides them with a reduction to the damage from the effects of spells. When this happens, the Null is surrounded by tiny sparks – smaller than the Motes of a manifestation, shorter lived, but if one looks closely, it appears as the smallest fractions of glyphs, shattered and broken.
Strangely, this only applies to cast spells and workings. Imbued, Ingrained, and prepared items, such as healing potions and other ingested and imbibed items, still work well.
Nulls do not have any attachment to magic – they can still use things that are magical, but they go beyond simply being unable to cast a spell. Nulls are slightly resistant to the effects of magic, resistant to it in some strange ways that serves them well in their professions. In short, magical attacks on Nulls are at Disadvantage, while Nulls have Advantage against magical effects.
An Axiom is the approach, the philosophy, the way and manner by which one learns magic and approaches the study and therefore mastery of it. It is a way of looking at how one masters the forces that one can wield to varying degrees and purposes. An Axiom determines your approach to it and your mastery of it.
A Wizard may spend a decade studying fundamentals and deep secrets and the history and structure and nature of magic, whereas a Ranger may have simply never fully grasped that what they do is magic and bent it to the task of improving their skill, never fully mastering or grasping the deeper aspects of their gift while still performing incredible feats with it. Meanwhile, the young kid who could light a candle with a glance may have never been found by one of the child thieves and grown to use their gift in ways that seem strange to others, or as larks or amusements.
This reflects the degree of mastery in shaping the magical forces as a whole – efficiency and skill and underlying knowledge. Ultimately, the most skilled users of magical power are Disciples, followed by Servants and Devout, with Sensates having the least likely because they are generally untrained or self-trained and unrefined in their use of magic. This means they have less overall power at their disposal, and so can cast fewer spells.
There are four Axioms, and Axiom reflects the ability to hold mana, the power of magic within you, how long it takes to memorize a spell, and how well you learned to shape, manipulate, and embrace it. Axioms also determine the spells per level that a mage is capable of learning. While they can have a thousand spells in their grimoire, they can only hold so many spells within their minds at any given time, and they only have so much energy they can expend on spells in a given day.
The Devout, also called the Devoted, are those who dedicate their lives to some peculiar cause, and in so doing shape their gift to serve them in unique ways that are directly related to that cause. They have unique qualities to their use of magic to support and drive their own abilities far above and beyond the typical and ordinary.
They are commonly tied by intense oaths of fealty, driving purpose, or even mastery of self. The biggest difference between The Devout and the Servant is that the Devout do not operate in service to a Power – they operate in service to their own ends, even when those ends coincide or conflict with a Power.
Drawing from devotion to a particular purpose, the Devout are a scary group because they always have a sacrifice of some sort that they have made and tend to have strong rules by which they live – even when their goal is chaos.
It is often said that few know more about how magic works than the deeply studious Disciples, whose quest for knowledge and mastery is often hard to match. As a disciple myself, I am possibly biased, but my experience has shown that the truth is simple: we have followed the Apothegms and particularly those about knowledge, and so have reaped the greatest benefits.
Disciples have set the stage for understanding how to use magic, how to shape it, how to master it, often at the cost of other things, as the early training to learn it can be utterly occupying. The end result, though, is greater power.
Nearly all the materials about magic are ultimately derived from the knowledge and studious application of research, experimentation, and investigation by Wizards, and chief among all of them are those who call Akadia home.
Sensates are often thought of in many people’s minds as things like Elohim or Cambion, and while there are many of them within this, it is not about what they are, but how they do it.
Sensates are the self-taught, the learned without formal training, the folks who figured it out as they went. Sensates are gifted with great powers and ability innate to their being, but it is often less well focused, and more narrowly.
A sensate may have discovered that if they pointed at a rock and thought a certain way, or did things in a certain order, it would change. They are often looked to for their abilities to enhance themselves, their tools, and to make their crafts and arts more compelling. It may become fused with their skill and their talents.
As noted, Servants have been handpicked by the Gods to serve them. They act as conduits for the powers they serve, their overall will passing through them to manifest the magic. They are subject wholly to the will, desire, and goals of their Patrons.
While the anima mundi Chicory is often tied to the Druids, Clerics have different Powers that give them powers of different natures.
A spell, also called a Sigil, is a discrete magical effect, a change, a shaping of the way that the Pale and Primae interact into a single, specific, limited expression. Spells can be incredible, but they are always dangerous, and the greatest spells are those which have the greatest danger not only to others, but to the caster.
Spells are very much living things. A sigil is a constrainton spells, a kind of cage and for it. They wriggle, they struggle, they seek to have their way and be free – magic is aware and has desire and sentience. As they are abstract, they dwell in the mind of a person, wriggling, struggle, poking, prodding, pestering to distraction. And once distracted, it is free.
In casting a spell, a character draws up their Cipher, imprints it with Glyphs, fills it with mana, and causes a desired effect to happen. To achieve this, they must have intense focus and maintain a strong degree of concentration, for all spells are part of and discrete from the fullness of the sentience that is The Pale. In a way, they are communicating, but it is not a request or a query, it is a demand and an enforcing of will.
Each Affinity starts its Sigils with a set Cipher, that is then filled in with Glyphs and magrams in a complex pattern. When inscribed, these can be incredibly complex, and often may seem much like each other in pattern at more complex workings – but this is how all of them start.
A Sigil is a complex pattern, starting with a Cipher and magrams, then filled with glyphs, and triggered with a command that releases it, usually a combination of drawing the trigger glyph and uttering the spell’s purpose, name, or working.
A Cipher is basic form, the foundation of the complex spells that are used. A cipher is a base, an outline, and into it are placed glyphs. A Cipher is determined by the Affinity a caster has; the kind of magic used.
A Magram is an expansion of a cipher, an addition or extension, — a secondary form or shape that is not limited to the Affinity.
A Glyph is a symbol, an ideogram with a multitude of context-based meaning. Each affinity tends to develop its own set of glyphs – and often those without training create their own, sometimes uses mental images that the magic translates into a glyph, such as a thought of fire.
These glyphs and ciphers are complicated and twisting things, requiring intense concentration and focus to fully grasp, like memorizing an unsolvable maze or complex mandala.
Learning to read these deeply complex and liminal forms takes years of effort, grasping how they work and what makes for the best and most useful combinations takes years of solitude and study, and there is always a constant struggle to keep them held within the head, ready to use.
Sigilcraft is the designing of spells, in and of itself.
Spellcraft is the casting of spells.
The more complex and challenging a spell is, the more difficult it is to form, to hold, to use. This is reflected in the way that spells are structured according to Spell Levels. The higher the Spell Level, the more difficult and the more knowledge and artistry is required.
Spell complexity reflects the difficulty of a spell to cast or to use, and there are five Degrees of Complexity, each with a certain number of Spell Levels within it.
The five degrees of complexity are Simple, Rudimentary, Intermediate, Advanced, and Expert.
|Spell Level||0 and 1st||2nd to 3rd||4th to 5th||6th to 7th||8th to 9th|
Spells are assigned a Spell Level from 0 to 9. We classify spells according to four discrete groupings: Simple (0 to 1), Rudimentary (2 to 3), Intermediate Levels (4 to 5), Advanced Levels (6 to 7) and Expert Level (8to 9) spells. These levels describe the complexity of the spells, with said complexity increasing with each level. Within the different degrees of difficulty is the cost of the spells in mana.
Simple complexity spells can be memorized and visualized almost on the fly. Anyone with a capacity for magic can learn this. Cantrips take one action to cast. Some may take a bit less – perhaps a second or three.
Rudimentary spells, Level 2 to Level 3, are more challenging but enable capacity to grasp and tend to have the most core responses. Most people never move beyond this degree of influence or control except in limited ways. As a result, they will never be able to use Intermediate or Advanced spells – but do not discount their overall abilities beyond that. Rudimentary spells take 2 actions to cast and require concentration during that time.
Intermediate spells, Level 4 to Level 5, are a way of combining and layering and redeveloping the interfaces and exchanges learned from lower order spells, to create greater effects and more stunning impacts. This seems to be the sweet spot for many, the balanced space between giving too much over to the study of magic and not enough to the other things of value and importance. As a result, they will never be able to use Advanced spells – but do not discount their overall abilities beyond that. Intermediate spells take 3 actions to cast and require concentration during that time.
Advanced spells, Level 6 to Level 7, are the most potent, most complex, most difficult spells, described by someone as having a four-year-old Therian living in your brain and wanting to go outside. Only some can reach these levels of spells. The amount of effort and training that goes into this tends to preclude other activities, in much the same way that someone looking at a complex chemical composition diagram will not be able to understand it without significant study, which will likely leave them struggling to deal with other things – notably weapons and armor. Advanced spells take four actions to cast and require concentration during that time.
Expert spells, Level 8 to Level 9, are the most potent, most complex, most difficult spells, described by someone as having a four-year-old Therian living in your brain and wanting to go outside. Only some can reach these levels of spells. The amount of effort and training that goes into this tends to preclude other activities, in much the same way that someone looking at a complex chemical composition diagram will not be able to understand it without significant study, which will likely leave them struggling to deal with other things – notably weapons and armor. Advanced spells can take 5 actions to cast and require concentration during that time.
Once a Spell is cast, the effect is instant, though in some cases, and depending on the spell, the Mage may need to maintain Concentration (the chanting and somatics) to cause the effect to persist. It is important to note that spell effects do not start until a spell is finished being cast, and then they have a duration that can vary according to many criteria.
In order to cast a spell, you must first memorize it. For many, this means consulting a spell book for the spells they have encountered and locked within. A spell book is a unique item, containing information on spells, rituals, the preparation of magical tools, and lists of ingredients and their magical correspondences. They are specific to each caster and are described shortly.
Spells are increasingly complex patterns that must be visualized, all of them starting from a specific base, or cipher, that is more or less complex based on the knowledge, skill, and efficiency of the caster. Into that base, the caster must wrestle assorted symbols, glyphs, and ciphers into the form, and then memorize it and hold onto it.
|Mastery||Level||Cantrip||1st Level||2nd Level||3rd Level||4th Level||5th Level||6th Level||7th Level||8th Level||9th Level|
A Caster will usually have several spells memorized each day but may never use that spell. Memorizing a spell need only be done once each day, regardless of the number of times the caster uses that spell. The following chart shows how many spells a caster is able to memorize, based on degree of Mastery.
Spells take a certain amount of time to memorize, with one to five degrees of difficulty.
Spells which are memorized frequently (each day, minimum of 7 consecutive days) take less time to mentally set up, and so can be memorized in half the time. This chart applies to all professions. All Mages are bound by this, but some professions have bonus spells they are able to add to this number, based on the particulars of that profession. Also, this is a number of different spells one can memorize in a given day; there is no limit to the number of different spells one can have in a spell book.
Cantrips take ½ minute to memorize, and often are done on the fly, since many of them are simple spells and make great practice. It is said the original purpose of cantrips was to help very young mages learn.
Devout Axiom: sharpening skills to memorize spells takes 4 minutes per degree of complexity for each spell (4 to 16 minutes).
Disciple Axiom: intense focus to memorize spells requires 3 minutes per degree of complexity for each spell (3 to 12 minutes per spell).
Sensate Axiom: harnessing will to memorize spells takes 2 minutes per degree of complexity for each spell (2 to 8 minutes per spell).
Servant Axiom: being granted spell takes 1 minute per degree of complexity for each spell. The Powers call this “dounloding” and complain often about the speed.
Spells are cast in play by saying that you are going to cast a spell you have memorized, spending the spell points, and casting it. Some spells require an action plus a bonus action, or several actions over your turn. All spells can be readied, however, and held ready to be released once the casting part is done. Many mages will move around with a spell at the ready, just in case.
Casting a spell involves the sketching of glyphs in the air, while speaking aloud the incantation that is part of it. The incantation must be spoken with force, with emotion, with intent and meaning, It cannot be rushed, it must be done forcefully, and it cannot be interrupted. Here are two examples of Incantations:
O, crimson glow that doth banish the blackest darkness, vein of burning heat coursing betwixt destruction and chaos, I summon thy power here in accordance with the eternal contract; with thy violent breath that spills the from fractures in the world, make the earth tremble, fill the heavens, and eradicate all enemies before me!
Flames of creation, origin of all, with crimson fingers you grasp, and engulf all of that comes in your path, scorching the earth and heavens in firestorm, O bright flame dancing in darkness, infernal blaze reducing all to ashes, more than anything, powerful, more than anything, ruthless, burning brightly, blazing fiercely, May your raging flames weave a snare, and shackle my enemy in ferocious hellfire!
As one can note from above, when we cast a spell, we are rather occupied for a while. We cannot be interrupted in the casting of this spell, and we cannot stop, or we will lose it. Know that losing a spell means the mana is lost, and that seemingly simple things like being jostled can result in a great deal of harm. This length of time to cast a spell is one of the biggest limitations we have – and I feel for those poor folks in The Bleak who have to add in strange and costly material components to their regular casting. Many a time I have been on some outing or other and been left alone while trying to cast a spell to attend to the needs of the team.
We Mages need some sort of protection, by Melane!
Using, casting, or releasing a spell does not mean the spell is not still memorized after casting – one can cast a memorized spell as many times as one has energy for it in that day.
Spells are very much living things. A sigil is a constraint on spells, a kind of cage and for it. They wriggle, they struggle, they seek to have their way and be free – magic is aware and has desire and sentience. As they are abstract, they dwell in the mind of a person, wriggling, struggle, poking, prodding, pestering to distraction. And once distracted, it is free.
This means that they are exceedingly difficult to form on the fly, at will, if they are more complex than a cantrip, and that there is a limit to the number of spells that any given person can hold within them each day. It also means that when rendered unconscious, you lose all the spells you have been holding in your head. It is really quite a bother to have to start each day, but even more so when you are in the midst of casting a rather marvelous area of effect spell, get knocked out, and have to start from scratch.
The act of casting any spell requires the caster to sketch in the air before them a trigger glyph while incanting the spell in Caligulan, the peculiar language of magic itself. An interesting part of using Caligulan is that it is magical in and of itself, and so when spoken is often heard by others around the caster (including other casters) as the name of the spell in the language they normally speak.
For this reason, while Caligulan can be written and read by anyone who can understand it, it cannot be used by those who lack the Gift, nor can it be understood in its native form.
Note that the combination of speaking the spell’s name in Caligulan and sketching the rune can be of varying length and complexity. Some spells can take a great amount of time to say the name of (Caligulan has a complicated sentence, naming, and word structure), and timing that to the drawing of a complex rune that lights up in form before them to hover in air can take a lot out of the spell caster.
Memorizing, tracking, finding, and personal growth are a whole different challenge, and without some kind of resource to increase one’s personal power, the amount of magic one uses in a given day is finite and limited. It is often wiser to focus on more simple, less taxing spells in abundance than to try and use multiple potent spells, simply because you will run out of mana.
The Spell Point Cost table summarizes the cost in mana of spells from 1st to 9th level. Spells of 6th level and higher are particularly taxing to cast. This cost is regardless of the spell list, the Axiom, or the Affinity of the caster. Skill, knowledge, and efficiency in control are all what determine the ability of someone to manipulate the energy around them. There are things and ways to influence this.
|Complexity||Spell Point Cost||Complexity||Spell Point Cost|
|Cantrips||1||5 Level Spells||8|
|1 Level Spells||2||6 Level Spells||11|
|2 Level Spells||3||7 Level Spells||15|
|3 Level Spells||4||8 Level Spells||17|
|4 Level Spells||6||9 Level Spells||20|
Spellcraft Actions Table
|Complexity||Time to Cast||Complexity||Time to Cast|
|Cantrips||1 action||5 Level Spells||3 actions|
|1 Level Spells||1 action||6 Level Spells||4 actions|
|2 Level Spells||2 actions||7 Level Spells||4 actions|
|3 Level Spells||2 actions||8 Level Spells||5 actions|
|4 Level Spells||3 actions||9 Level Spells||5 actions|
Spells always have a somatic and verbal component to them: you are always speaking the spell aloud in Caligulan and drawing the trigger glyph on or at the target with motions or movement. Bards will see their music take form, and so forth. Caligulan is surprisingly fluid in pronunciation, as well.
Spell Casting Focus
What all Mages do require is a Focus. A focus is the essential tool that all Mages need for their magic to be shaped through. For Wizards it is often a wand, for Clerics it is a Holy Symbol, for Runewrights it might be a tattoo or a pen. Many will use an ornate rod or a staff, some will merely use a stone that is engraved with complex markings.
A Mage without a focus cannot cast a spell. The nature and shape of that Focus will be up to the Mage themselves, and they can come in all manner of shapes, forms, and ways of being. However, they are always tangible, always expensive, and very much customized to the mage. The simplest focus for a Mage costs a minimum of 10 gp, a Quid or Eagle – 100 shillings – and can take seven days to craft from scratch.
All Foci are carefully constructed, carved, and many will improve them over time as the amount of power that flows through them can stress them, breaking them or shattering them if it is too much. In general, a Focus should cost 100 shillings per degree of complexity of a spell being cast. There is a museum in Akadia that holds the Foci of many of the great mages, for only one Mage can ever use a focus once it is attuned to them.
The two most common forms of Foci are Wands and Staves. Wands are typically made out of a wood like Oak or Yew or Blackthorn. Staves are fashioned out of Ash, Oak, and Yarrow. It is among the first things that formal training teaches, and much of the challenge for those who lack formal training is that they went by feel and focus, and failed to develop a proper focus. An example of a strange one is Swordmages, whose focus is a single weapon.
Spells here do not generally require the commonplace material components unless a ritual is being performed, but rituals here can be extraordinarily long and difficult and so are not useful for those striving against the forces of chaos and evil in the world in the moment.
This lack of immediacy is the reason that those who imbue and ingrain are not known to go out into the world and make a name for themselves or force a change. Facing a horde of goblins when you have spent much of your life learning how be precise and particular to grant some farmer’s hoe the ability to pass through a crop while snagging a weed is not conducive to handling the matter at hand in a timely manner.
The casting of a spell is rather rigorous and arduous effort and requires intense concentration. While this is happening, the Mage is generally in what we call a bad spot. An interrupted spell, where their concentration is broken, costs the same amount of mana as an uninterrupted version of the spell. So, interrupting an Intermediate complexity 5th level spell still costs 8 mana points, and the process must begin again in casting it, along with the expenditure of the mana to do so. Note that some casters have learned to concentrate on more than one spell at a time, while others have learned to manipulate the way a spell functions.
How different people learn new spells is simple: they find it, they are given it, or they create it. Spells are typically collected by each person in a spell book, and each spell book is unique to the caster – but the spells within can be read and learned and then placed within their own spell book so long as the person doing so is of the same Axiom.
For most, when you start out, you learn the spells that your Master taught you as an Apprentice – learned through hours of painstaking copying and study. Thereafter, you must pay for the privilege of learning from someone else’s book or tome, or you can learn them from scrolls you can purchase, or you gain them in the most common way: you go out and find them in some way. Barter is common among Mages, trading a spell they know for a spell from someone else. Crossing Affinity often means having to do some conversion of the spell, but even Clerics and Wizards are known to share spells. Spells are little more than constructs and designs, and once you know the particulars of a spell and adjust for the peculiarities of the Affinity and Axiom, you can often use it. It is not universally possible – healing spells have proven unable to work with Eldritch or Arcane affinities, as an example.
For Servants, these new spells are granted after proper entreaty – that is, you ask for them, and they give them. It creates a strong structure. Usually, it is after intense prayer or rigid meditation, and the Powers That Be, peering into the future and listening to you, give you what you want, need, or may find a use for. Those come to them, whole cloth, though of course the Host may choose to instead allow a greater level of free will than the others.
I recall one morning when I awoke with a spell for making pea soup in my head. It was rather disconcerting. Turns out that there was a beggar I encountered later that day whose last meal was pea soup conjured by me.
The Gods do not ignore us. They simply have their own motivations. But even then, we are inclined to collect what we know and preserve it for future use.
Sensates essentially fashion their own version of spells or come up with a new way to use the power within them or have a need that arises, and the magic responds to.
Even they need a way to be able to duplicate their unique combination of things to enable their magic.
For that, everyone has a use for a spell book.
A Spell Book is the core tool of a Mage. Any affinity, any Mage; they must have something in which they can store their spells, even if the magic they use isn’t always obvious otherwise.
Spell Books come in five very broad forms, but most folks just call them Grimoires or spell books. The forms are Grimoires (actual books), Occultaires (typically an item or object of import to the person), Nomicons, Picatrix, or Apocrypha (the sacred receptacle of knowledge from the gods).
Apocrypha is what a grimoire held by those who use Divine Magic is called. This is often given to them, or passed down through lines, or fashioned from the common tools of the person using it. It is said that many a Paladin has used their sword as a grimoire, and holy symbols are often part of it. The nature of this makes these books somewhat sanctified, though they are not truly holy or consecrated. First, they must fashion, form, and create the Bundle for the leaves – no one knows why they are called leaves, but that is what they are, even though what a leaf is can vary as much as an Occultaire. In some cases, the ritual might place the person as the Bundle, and the leaves will be tattoos. The thought of tattooing oneself to do this is uncomfortable, but it has and does happen. This is a three-day effort requiring one spell point each day as they infuse it with mana and enable it to set. Next, they must fashion the leaves themselves, always something sacred to the divinity they draw from, that they will place the sigil within or upon in a manner they can reclaim it, using 1 spell point for each object, during a day long effort per object of the Apocrypha.
Grimoires are books of spells. Grimoires are for those who use Arcane Magic as a standard – a book, fashioned painstakingly, only handwritten, sometimes multiples over the life of a person since the creation of them is arduous in and of itself, and they have a finite amount of space in them.
First, they must fashion, form, and create the cover and prepare the binding. This is a three-day effort requiring one spell point each day as they infuse it with mana and enable it to set.
Next, they must fashion the carefully handcrafted, thick, rough-edged pages, during a day long effort per page of the grimoire. Each page in turn also requires one spell point.
A spell book for Eldritch Magic. These very often take the form of a specific item, or focus, of the caster. The risk around a Picatrix is that without it, the Mage is unable to use their spells.
A spell book for Mystical Magic. These take many forms – sheets of paper with musical annotation, long scrolls in elaborate tubes, and even tattoos, set upon the body.
Occultaires are a form of grimoire that doesn’t take the form of a book. They are used by those engaging in Primal Magic. It may be a carved bone or a bit of stone or wood, an item or collection of items that together make up the repository of the Mage who develops them. Occultaires are usually used by those using mystical or Primal magic. First, they must fashion, form, and create the container for the object or objects that will be used. This is a three-day effort requiring one spell point each day as they infuse it with mana and enable it to set. Next, they must fashion the carefully handcrafted, specially chosen objects they will place the sigil within or upon in a manner they can reclaim it, using 1 spell point for each object, during a day long effort per object of the Occultaire.
Fashioning a Spell Book
Collectively, they are all called grimoires, or spell books, even though they do have their specific names.
Each represents the collected and collective knowledge the Mage has about magic and the way in which they shape it, often using complex instructions, patterns, and designs, to explain and elaborate on the sigil that they will then fashion.
Grimoires, then, are costly and time consuming because they must be capable of ingraining the spell within them – which steals from it some of its power until memorized. With so much of their lives set within the creation of one, it is no wonder that mages are jealous and guarded about their spell books in any form.
As a result, spell books in all forms tend to have several pages or elements in them. The typical grimoire has between 300 and 500 of the carefully handcrafted, thick, rough-edged pages that are part of the ritual to create a book. An Occultaire might be a collection of small stones, and an Apocrypha may be like a book, a collection of preserved leaves, or the armor and weapons of a paladin.
Should a mage run out of space in a spell book, they must create a new one – and this has led some to seek the additional books of some mages that were thin or less detailed than many, on the presumption that perhaps they recovered a lost spell, such The Razing, or perhaps The Galavant.
Spell books contain more than spells, as well – they record rituals, they store observations and experiments; they hold the mental treasure of the Mage who crafted it. Most of the famous spell books are named after the Mage who created them and are often valued more for the additional information stored. One mage used his spell book as a record of his trips into the great Wild, where he delved into abandoned Imp holdings and struggled against one of the Great Dragons, recording his experience and knowledge for presumably himself, but possibly for those who would come later.
Creating a new spell means that one must combine the assorted sigils from glyphs, runes, and ciphers, as well as related elements into the complex and convoluted patterns of spells. That task alone can take some people years, for the nature of magic is enigmatic and capricious, with meaning changing and variables shifting according to the effect of other forces around them. It is said that even a simple cantrip has something on the order of 2.5 million variables. Complex spells have exponentially more variables to deal with. The level of difficulty is immense.
To be able to create a spell, one must have reached the Professional degree of mastery or higher (5th Level and up).
How the spell is classified by Affinity. This will be a short table. Taxonomy sometimes has an impact on legal and effects of spells. Every grouping has weaknesses inherent in the nature of the Affinity.
Spell descriptions include a set of Taxonomies; one for each of the Affinities. This is because the nature of each of the Affinities is different, and what might work one way as an arcane Spell works a different way as an Eldritch Spell.
The best-known taxonomy of Spells is the Arcane one, which is the standard that is used in the Game Books and within the legal codes of Wyrlde. These are essentially the same thing as the Schools of Magic but structured according to the peculiar outlook of those using it, and each has its own spell list and is organized according to the nature of that kind of magic. These taxonomies are described below. Note that Wyrlde’s critters include beings that may be susceptible to Eldritch magic but not Primal, or Divine but not Arcane. These Schools, Spheres, Prayers, Modes, and Catches all have importance in the play of the game.
The taxonomy types are:
The Seven Prayers are often said to be wholly metaphorical. Illuminate is not just in the sense of casting a light on things, but also in the sense of teaching, of showing a path through the darkness. Mayhap with a bit of force. Consecrate is the basis of many core ceremonies and blessings. Perpetuate is meant to keep things going. Manipulate is to shift things around and move them – both in physical and in spiritual or emotional ways. It is notable that it has been many a year sense a Cleric was successfully tried for using illegal enchantments. Facilitate is meant to ease the way, to assist and sometimes guide. Compensate is meant to give someone what they do not have, to compensate for something they need. Recuperate is, well, if you recall your days beneath the Guild House, you will know how important healing can be.
Primal Magic is heavily focused on Nature and the Spirit World, the flesh and form, the blood and bone. It is a potent force, more willful, less controlled. Body is quite literally spells about the body, the flesh, the skin and the bones, the blood and the breath. Build is about not just fashioning things or creating them, but also improving upon them, empowering them. Protect is about the protection of those things and those who, in turn, protect and preserve them. Senses is about expanding and empowering one’s senses – sight, sound, taste, scent, touch, feel, and sense. Trick is about, well, tricking people, sometimes with malice, sometimes with benefice, but always with humor. World is about the world itself. Spiritual is about the spirits of the world and the planes, as well as the spirit of plants, stones, and animals and people of this world.
As a result of this, one of the tasks that are socially expected of great Mages who lay dying is that they inscribe their knowledge onto scrolls that they then allow to be spread on the wind. These scrolls are essentially whisked away by the Pale, and it is rumored that they appear where they are most likely to be the most beneficial, most humorous, or most maleficent.
Finding a spell scroll is considered a Rite of Passage for Mages of all sorts.
Scrolls are, like the spells they contain, somewhat aware. They do not seek to be learned, and so they are usable only once, for scrolls are merely imbued, not ingrained. A collection of scrolls is called a Grimoire – and it can be all manner of forms.
Spell scrolls which are found are often not used and instead painstakingly copied into a spell book, that the spell might be preserved for that Mage. By doing this, they avoid the use of the spell scroll, and can retain it for as long as it happens to feel like sticking around.
And yes, this does mean that some scroll spells are pages from a Grimoire, and that some objects are the pieces of an Occultaire, or the leaves of an Apocrypha. Because the effort to create a Spell Scroll is the sam as the effort for creating a spell book.
While not a universal trait among my colleagues by any stretch, we do tend to have enormous egos, and when Mages get into arguments about magic, inevitably the practice initiated so many years ago as part of the Warding of Akadia comes into play. These arguments inevitably end up coming down to one of three things:
- The number of spells they know.
- The kinds of spells they know.
- The amount of Mana they have.
- The use of Mana and Spells.
These disagreements can become quite ferocious, and there are often points where one or another feels their honor is besmirched and requires repair, or there is a desire to prove greatness and position. So popular is the activity as a spectator sport that it has become a part of the very Grand Games themselves. I am, of course, talking about Duels.
From this, and with the less than pleasant encouragement of the Pale itself, a set of rules developed out around the act of challenging another mage to a duel. Doing so is not something to consider on a lark – it is a formal and sadly rigid thing that cannot be taken back once accepted and cannot be escaped.
Every Novice Mage knows at least three Cantrips and then has three additional spells in their arsenal that are among the very first taught, because of their value in training. These spells are Duel Skin, Duel Seal, and Duel Bond.
When making a formal challenge, the Challenger casts the Duel Bond and in a face-to-face confrontation challenges the person they seek to overcome, with an inclusion of where they seek to make the challenge take place.
The challenged Mage can then choose to decline or accept the challenge. If they accept, they too cast the Duel Bond and the pair clasps forearms, which triggers both spells and locks them in while formally accepting the challenge and specifying a time for the duel. If they decline, then nothing happens.
Attempting to back out of a challenge results in a loss of all Mana for a week. This is a debilitating effect, as you can imagine, and given Mages tend to be sneaky sorts, there is always a possibility of an effort to block one or the other from reaching the location of the Challenge. It is considered highly illegal in Akadia.
On the appointed time and at the appointed place, both casters will cast the Duel Seal cantrip. This will create a barrier that is a dome with a diameter of 50 feet and a height of 25 feet. This dome will move with the duelists. The space for the duel must be great enough to accommodate this field. There are a few Apprentices who have tried to set a place for such that wasn’t capable of accommodating the duel, and have suffered accordingly, as they are the ones that chose it.
Next, a Duel Skin cantrip is cast. This is a thin barrier that only works during duels and has the effect of changing damage done to a loss of Mana. Don’t ask me how it works. Magic. We have been trying to make skins work better and outside of duels for 300 years, and no luck. All I can tell you is that it only functions if a Duel Bond is in play, a Duel Seal has been erected, and they are about to enter the duel.
The field keeps all magical effects confined to the duel area, the skin causes damage to reduce Mana, and the bond enforces the terms of the duel. After that, the duel is fought by the mages using all the tools in their personal arsenals – including physical and martial skills, since even they are converted.
Mage duels are decided by any one of the following conditions:
- A Mage runs out of Mana.
- A Mage is rendered unconscious.
- A Mage yields.
It is only when one or more of those conditions are met that the Bond, Seal, and Skin end, and the duel is over.
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One of the things that “keeps the Mages in line” is that anyone, even nulls, can be part of casting a spell; of using magic. Clerics can move out into the world and proselytize because Priests can still perform Rites. Kings can have a Mage whose power is checked by a full ritual team of common trollops. Creative Corsairs may have a ritual team.
While magic is common, most of it is in the form of practical cantrips or benedictions performed by ritual or using an imbued or ingraineddevice or object. Ritual magic takes much longer on Wyrlde – it does not directly employ the sentience of magic, rather it draws it together through sympathetic practices or related efforts and tries to appease its appetite for use.
Imps are often said to be the first ones to learn the intricacies of ritual spellcraft to imbue their traps and snares and protect their Warrens and the rest of Agartha. Lyonese has entire families that are dedicated entirely to this act.
Rituals on Wyrlde are a complex, involved processes that often involve multiple steps, take place over a length of time that can vary, and require some form of sacrifice in the process – highly valued materials, life force, focus, blood, tears, and similar things. The defining aspect of a Rite is not merely the act of a ritual itself – it is the nature of the spell. Just as not all spells can be cast via Sigilcraft, not all spells can be formed by ritual.
An example of this is the Fireball. Technically, it can be done by ritual, but doing it without the act of embedding the spell into an object means a rather gruesome result for those participating in the Rite, and rituals are always faced inwards among the Cabal. That is, the only possible areas for a Ritual to Target are either a specific True Named target outside the ritual Circle, or the Ritual Circle itself. Since only sapient and sentient beings can have a True Name, this can create issues and problems if certain elemental spells are used and not put into something within the Ritual circle.
These common rituals can be used by anyone, and indeed has led to folks who are otherwise not considered spellcrafters to be capable of performing magic that can have a durable and specific impact. Ritual Magic on Wyrlde is potent, dangerous, and devastating. Ritual Magic has its own Spell List.
Ritual Mages are subject to the same limitations on them as most other spell casters. Rituals are often available at a price for the common person – a small wand that is imbued to start a fire a set number of times is considered a useful thing. Indeed, many a good amount of my research has been supported by the making of Candlelight wands. The common person seems to like being able to light candles with a flick and swish.
There are some exceptions to this, and while many have tried to learn why, the general answer appears to be because the Pale wishes it so. These exceptions are Ritual Summoning and Sacred Rites.
Rituals are called Rites, and they use Penumbra, and the manifestation is always based on the particular affinity of the Focal around the Cabal.
Someone who constructs the complex sigils and manages the material components for Rituals is called a Magewright. Rituals depend on them, and if there was anyone who knew the intricacies of this craft, it would be Magewrights.
A Ritual space is usually filled with the resonance of spells done previously. There will always be some form of access to the sky – though it may only be as large around as a finger. Even Agarthan Mages know they must have it, and so their ritual rooms are often near the surface – or they have a complex structure for it to happen. The perfect ritual space would allow for an unbroken sphere of a given size, most commonly 10 feet but larger and smaller are possible so long as the Cabal can gather.
Ritual magic is something that anyone can do, so long as there are conditions met:
- Cabal, the size of which depends on the complexity of the spell.
- the Focal).
- The Anchor).
Nothing can interrupt the Rite. It is said that early in the history of learning the Rites, flies and other insects would destroy a Rite simply by flying through it. It is not something that is easy to do and can exhaust those doing it.
Space: Ritual magic requires inscribing the base cipher in silver into a smooth, cleared space and then preserving that space uninterrupted throughout the ritual.
Spell Caster: The coven are treated as a single caster for purposes of the Rite.
Casting Time: Rituals require at least one hour per Spell Level plus one hour per degree of Complexity, with some spells requiring longer depending on what they are trying to do. A Cantrip, then, can be done in an hour, whereas a 9th level spell would take 13 hours (9 hours plus four degrees of Complexity – Cantrip, Rud, Int, and Adv).
Components: Material Components are required in all rituals. All rituals require some sort of material components; the more potent and powerful the Rite, the greater the sacrifice. A Wish spell, for example, might require the lifespan of a dragon, the servitude of an elemental, and the blessing of a god. The same high-level spell may require different sacrifices for each time it is performed.
Memorization: The Focal must be able to memorize the spell for each instance. They also must be able to cast the Sealing spell.
Multiple Focals: The more persons capable of acting as a focal, the greater the power of the ritual, with a maximum of six possible Focals in a hexagram formation.
Mana: Rituals are possible because everyone has a little bit of mana in them. The Focal draws that mana out slowly, over time, from the Coven and uses it to perform the spell. Nulls can hinder a ritual; each null adds an additional point of mana to the cost of the ritual.
|Conjure Celestial||Conjure Elemental||Conjure Fey||Conjure Minor Elemental|
|Dream of the Blue Veil||Infernal Calling||Summon Fey||Summon Fiend|
|Summon Greater Devil||Summon Lesser Devil||Summon Undead|
There are several Ritual acts that are sacred and draw through the Divine forces. Sacred Rites vary more greatly in terms of time needed. Simple and Rudimentary Rites take an hour per spell level, Intermediate Rites take three hours per spell level, and Advanced Rites take five hours per spell level to perform.
Sacred Rites have the following additional special rules:
- There is a Cabal, the size of which depends on the complexity of the spell.
- Simple Rites need only one caster,
- Rudimentary require two,
- Intermediate require three,
- Advanced Rites require five, and,
- Expert Rites require seven.
- At least one of the clergy performing the ritual knows the spell/Rite.
- One of them can freely use magic (the Focal)
- One of the clergy performing the Rite has the Divine affinity (The Anchor)
- All of them share the same Patron.
- The combined Cabal has enough Mantra to cast the spell.
- The combined level of all assembled equals the level necessary to cast the spell.
They are otherwise like the normal ritual magic, and only apply to the Divine Affinity spells.
There are some Rites that are well known and fairly common that have peculiar requirements.
Ritual Summoning is a special form of Ritual Magic. It is Advanced in its complexity, Spell Level 7, and exists across all Affinities. It has a mana cost of 50 points, takes 11 hours to cast, followed by an hour to solidify, and has complex, specific material components and set up prior to the casting that must be exact and match the being that is summoned.
An open summoning can be performed, but the results are unpredictable, and so typically people will focus specifically on the summoning of known being, whose powers and abilities are in line with what is desired (summoning a human from another plane is just going to give you a human). Some Denizens (residents of the Dimensions across the Planes) will have a special name for Summoning that they give out.
On occasion, someone will decide that they have the power and privilege and place to summon another being from one of the planes. This typically goes poorly, which is why we have Spectres, Wraiths, Yuma, Wisps, Shades, Somnisongs, Angels, Malakim, Valkyries, Devils, Demons, Yogs, Hags, Khrysos, Lepras, Wrights, Ghouls, Ghasts, and assorted undead. To name a few.
Ritual Summonings are comparatively easy to perform, extremely difficult to prepare for, and usually have a bad result. The beings of the many different Planes are still sentient beings, and often deeply resent when someone yanks them out of their lives and hauls them into another world and then demands they act essentially as slaves for them.
Some Incarnates have suggested that a summoning should make the subject readily compelled to serve the summoner(s) – and often this does happen but recall that a spell must have a discrete effect – it requires a second spell to compel obedience.
A poorly conducted ritual can summon some beast from the other planes that might be terrified or enraged, that will not have the natural capacity to support itself, may not even be able to eat anything here. Meanwhile some Lord or Power could be summoned but doing so then places the summoner in the position of having to ensure their own safety.
A Summoning Ritual involves an inscribed ritual cipher with a greater and specific managram, with the inner diameter about six feet across. It can be larger or smaller, and the size matters as the being will be contained within that inner area at first unless it is too small to do so, in which case it will break the circle and free the being.
Ritual spaces are set up with salt, silver, iron, and blood. There are always these four things involved – salt forms the glyphs and works with the silver which must be poured into the cipher channels uniformly and evenly. Blood must join and be used to set the magrams, and iron must be mixed with that blood for some parts of the sigil, whereas silver must be mixed for others.
All Ritual Summoning involves an Offering. Offerings are specific to the plane and needs of the summoned being. Summoning a human from some other world may only require something they desperately want, whereas summoning a demon may create a problem in how you provide the emotional power they desire.
Most commonly, the offering ends up being the death, pain, terror, and flesh of some living being, because people seem to always try to summon something infernal or necrotic. All offerings are consumed, in total, regardless, as a part of the spell. So even for something Radiant or Celestial, where the offering may be a newborn for innocence, the offering is destroyed. There is no Ritual Summoning that does not involve an offering, and so there are likely to be few Ritual Summoning events that are not foul and evil and cruel, even when the goal is something benign or beneficial.
Spells available within a Ritual Summoning include:
|Conjure Celestial||Conjure Minor Elemental||Summon Fiend||Summon Fey||Summon Lesser Devil|
|Summon Undead||Conjure Elemental||Conjure Fey||Infernal Calling||Summon Greater Devil|
|Dream of the Blue Veil|
Summoned Beings are confined to the inner circle. Breaking that inner circle can free them – disturbing the salt line, or marring a glyph or rune, or even the slightest imperfection in the silver channel can break the ring. Sometimes it is enough to stop it before anything is summoned, but other times it may work, and the being may not act immediately.
Summoned beings must be done so by name, or the ritual could bring across any denizen of that plane. Many Historically summoned beings have worked to ensure that their names are available, and they will often have designs on those who fail, including slavery and taking the summoner back to their plane with them as a slave. This can be exceedingly bad, as magic on the other planes is not the same as magic here, often meaning the only way they can return themselves is if they are summoned.
A summoning ritual can be performed by a single person. The Rites are often found, with the names of certain individuals whose summoning may have been successful and beneficial to the mage, in scrolls, tomes, and even carvings. The Mana cost of a ritual summoning is 50 points. Because of this, often large groups will form to share the mana among them to achieve the amount needed.
A summoning ritual must be performed without break, and once complete takes an hour to enable the being to appear during which the Ritualist cannot do anything but concentrate.
If everything else is done properly, a summoned being will be stuck within the circle, and not be able to be freed until the Ritualist releases them. Summoning is often done for a purpose, a goal, and summoners often invoke a geas of some sort, that enforces any agreements or bargains made. Without that, however, there is little holding the summoned being in thrall.
They are all essentially bound up here, into this form of spellcraft, and while not illegal under imperial edict, they are under Akadian Principles, and they apparently really anger Chicory and her friends.
Very few will perform a summoning ritual, and even fewer will perform one twice.
Rite of Variance
Gender variant peoples have a wide variety of herbal and mineral tools at their disposal, but the surgical arts are still quite limited due to a lack of facilities and knowledge. That said, there are some Mages who have access to a special form of the 2nd Level Alter Self spell that is cast as a ritual to imbue it.
This Rite of Variance can only be performed on another, with rumor saying it requires absolute and uncoerced willingness to accept it (though this is not true in fact). The ritual takes 12 hours to perform, and there are people who specialize in this ritual, primarily in Sibola, Qivira, and Akadia. The ritual is draining and requires 5 casters, and so is expensive – the average cost of such is around 10 gp. A good part of this is that only some folks can perform the ritual, and they tend to make it pricey.
That cost, however, does include “follow ups,” as the ritual has a duration of ten years and one day, with an exception whether the recipient is pregnant or not – it will not end until after birth.
Rite of Endowment
For a higher cost, it is possible to Ingrain a change into the fabric of the person. This requires the combined efforts of at least nine Masters. The Rite of Endowment is performed during Dawn and Dusk and happens every day for a month. This will permanently ingrain the changes and works beyond just the uses for the Gender Variant. The cost of this Rite is 50 gp.
There are some who will do the ritual for a lot less – and note that alter self and polymorph are available as a potions, so there are many options.
Most notably, however, is that those who follow Antelle, Melane, and Paria always have the choice of asking them to intercede. Kybele is known to do so on occasion, as is Ululani. On Wyrlde, sometimes the Powers That Be do answer prayers – especially ones they possibly made themselves.