Sorcery

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The Development of the Paths

Each path was developed through trial and error, surrounded by superstition and misconception. Tradition and mythology are integrated parts of sorcery, having woven themselves into the very fabric of magic. This heritage has helped develop the sorcerous paths which are known to the people of Kith Kanaan today. When an apprentice is trained in the arts of sorcery, they inherit the traditions, and many of the biases, of their mentor. The world view espoused by each school is part and parcel of its methodology there is no plain sorcery uncluttered by dogma. A sorcerer who wishes to cast a spell uses the rites and rituals handed down for generations, or creates their own, informed by their pathss perceptions of how magic works.

Learning a path involves not just learning to channel magical forces in a particular way, but to perceive the cosmos in a particular way. This perception makes for strong, confident spell-casting, but greatly impedes a magis understanding of one another. When sorcerers try to discuss how their different paths work, they attempt to frame the information theyre getting according to their schools world view, and they become frustrated at the parts that dont fit. Some magi conclude that everyone elses sorcery is misguided. Others reason that each path works by focussing on a different aspect of the universe though they will tend to think, if only to themselves, that their paths focus is the best one.

Learned prejudices are not the only source of friction, however. When a sorcerer witnesses another sorcerer using magic, they feel how the magical forces are being shaped, and the particular kinds of shaping taught by other schools feel wrong to them. To a Wild mage, the experience of allowing spirits to ride him provides a joyful freedom, mixed with the exciting challenge of knowing when and how much to nudge the spirit in the right direction; Azure sorcery seems, to him, to be forcing magic into rigid, unnatural lines. To the Azure mage, the mathematical precision of her schools rites brings a sense of clarity and rightness, while observing Wild magic induces a stomach-dropping vertigo. On the other hand, catching a glimpse of the psychic intimacy between a witch and her familiar would cause both to squirm uncomfortably, as though theyd witnessed something far too private.

This disturbance is often hard for sorcerers to put into words, so most refrain from discussing it altogether. For these reasons, it is extremely difficult for a sorcerer to learn a second path, though some persevering souls have, either out of ambition, insatiable curiosity, or some dire circumstance. To do so requires the mage to both build up a tolerance to the particular flavour of wrongness that the second paths magic induces in them, and to figure out some way to fit the teachings of the second school into the world view theyve initially been taught. Some make the justification that while the focus of the other path isnt as important as their own, studying it may be necessary for filling in gaps in their knowledge. Others maintain that they have found enough common elements between two schools for an educated person to conclude that the second school is in fact an early offshoot of the first, but one that did manage to discover some valuable tricks in its ignorant experimentation. Over the ages, twelve paths have been developed within Kith Kanaan. Each path possesses their own philosophy about Creation and the working of magic, and is integrated into the understanding of how reality works.

Tools

While some sorcerers consider the use of tools a crutch, many find that having materials to assist in developing focus a great boon. Anything can be made into a focus as long as the sorcerer can place significance on the tool at hand. The most common tools for sorcery is the spell book, which holds incantations and mantras which a sorcerer repeats as part of their incantations or visualisations, or the spell pouch, which holds mementos important to the sorcerer, helping them concentrate. Other sorcerers carve inscriptions upon their staves or on wands, or write out scrolls which hold the proper techniques used to harness magic (and most magi then use wand or scroll mastery to further augment these tools). Not everything has to be ritually prepared a sorcerer whose tool of choice matches the Skill being used for casting can benefit from the tool chosen. In the example listed under Skills, above, the battle mage was using their sword as a tool for the Blades Skill. In this circumstance, the sword is considered an appropriate tool for spell casting. Any tools that are used for spell casting grant an equipment bonus to the spell casting roll. The rolls for equipment bonuses apply as always.

Skill

When performing a spell, the caster must decide which skill would suit the spell the most. Any skill may be used for an invocation, as long as the player can describe how the skill works in conjunction with the action of casting. A sword dance may use Perform or Blades, while a lengthy invocation may use Presence or Occultism.

Invocation

When a sorcerer wishes to cast a spell, they perform an invocation. The first step of invoking a spell is calling upon the source of the sorcerers power, drawing it within themselves. The second step is to focus it through the three principles: voice (incantation), mind (visualisation), and gesture (direction). All spells require the sorcerer to be able to draw in the mana granted them, and then focus it to release as an actual spell.

If a sorcerer is prevented from drawing upon the mana needed to cast, they simply can not cast the spell desired. Wards are usually the most reliable method of preventing a sorcerer from harnessing mana, though in some locations, magic is considered dead, making it impossible to harness mana. If the sorcerer has difficulty using the three principles of focus, spell casting simply becomes harder. Whether or not it is by choice, for each principle the sorcerer does not have access to, they suffer a Difficulty (+2) penalty to the actual roll to cast the spell.

Invocations are not subtle, and when the sorcerer begins to focus on casting a spell, the mana being gathered and the way the spell begins to manifest is obvious. Each sorcerer has a signature that is associated with their magic. You should decide what kind of signature your sorcerer has, tailoring it to one of the Spell Effects your Hero has chosen from their path of sorcery. This signature usually fits a theme appropriate to the path the Hero has taken. Signatures do not always manifest around the sorcerer themselves, but may manifest around the target of the spell, or in the environment. It is never subtle, however, and is a clear indication that magic is being performed.

A sorcerer who wishes to conceal their signature can do so, taking extra time to cast the spell and slow the draw of mana that they take in. The sorcerer can add up to (Might) Actions to the casting of the spell. Anyone attempting to notice that a spell is being case may then make a Passive Roll using (Spiritual + Awareness), requiring Successes equal to the number of Actions the sorcerer added to the casting time. If the sorcerer has concealed their incantations or gestures as well, the roll to identify the caster requires one additional success for each principle concealed.

Casting

Casting a spell involves a Results Roll using the Attribute required by the path of magic being used, and the Skill chosen. The Base Difficulty chosen by the caster is modified by the Spell Difficulty. The Potency of the spell is equal to the Base Difficulty, plus the Successes rolled, but does not get increased by the Spell Difficulty. If a spell requires the caster to touch the target to initiate the spell, than the Potency becomes the Base Difficulty plus the Successes of the attack roll. The sorcerer does not need to roll to touch the target, then roll to cast the spell the spell casting roll is treated as the roll to touch the target (and usually requires the Unarmed Skill).

  • Describe the spells visual effect, and mechanical effect. What does the spell do?
  • Determine which form is most appropriate.
  • Determine the Difficulty and Essence costs for the effect.
  • Add modifiers for area of effect, targets, duration, and range.
  • Add modifiers from benefits or other sources.
  • Modify Casting Time and Essence cost.
  • Choose an appropriate Skill.
  • Decide on a Base Difficulty for the Results Roll, add Spell Difficulty.
  • Add bonuses for Tools.

Spell Difficulty

The Spell Difficulty is what is added to the Difficulty chosen for the Results Roll when casting a spell. The components of the spell are added together to create this Difficulty, and modifiers such as range, number of targets, duration, and area of effect can also modify it.

When looking at spell components, you will notice a base Difficulty or a trait. For example, a spell may say Difficulty 5 or Resistance. In such a condition, the higher number is used for the Spell Difficulty. If the targets Resistance is less than 5, the Spell Difficulty is 5. If the targets Resistance is higher than 5, you use the targets Resistance.

Casting Time

Casting a spell takes one or more Actions, determined by the type of spell. Different spell effects will determine the base casting time of the spell, though certain paths or benefits may modify this. If the Hero does not have enough Actions to cast the spell, the casting time is extended into the following Round. While in the process of casting a spell, the Hero may be interrupted, forcing a concentration roll. Increasing Casting Time can have a number of benefits. For each additional Action taken to cast a spell, the sorcerer can choose between decreasing the Essence Cost or the Spell Difficulty by one. Decreasing Casting Time is also possible, though doing so increases the Essence Cost or the Spell Difficulty by two for each Action removed. The Hero can increase or decrease the Casting Time of a spell by up to the sorcerers Might.

Casting Time Effect
+1 Action 1 Essence Cost or Difficulty
1 Action +2 Difficulty or +2 Essence Cost

Counter Magic

A sorcery may wish to prevent another spell from being cast, or remove the effects of a spell once it has been cast. Attempting to counter a spell in the process of being cast takes one Action and has an Essence Cost equal to the Growth of the sorcerer casting the spell. The Difficulty of the counter is equal to the Base Difficulty of the spell being cast. The sorcerer attempting to counter the spell must have the same form as the spell being countered. This is treated as a normal spell being cast, and the Potency of the roll decreases the Potency of the opposing spell. To dispel a spell already cast, the sorcerer must perform a Full Round Action, but operates in the same fashion. If the spell being removed is a permanent effect which was augmented with DP, the sorcerer must spend an equal amount of DP to remove the spell effect. Otherwise, the spell is quelled, and will recover at a rate of one Potency per day. If the Hero uses duration as part of the dispelling, the Potency of the enchantment does not begin to recover until after the duration has expired.

Concentration

While casting a spell, or maintaining a spell which has a duration of concentration, a sorcerer must be able to retain focus. Any distraction from harnessing the mana which flows through them may result in a Concentration Roll. Concentrating on a spell is a Free Action, and uses one Free Action for each spell that is already being maintained. While maintaining concentration, the sorcerers Defence, Resistance, Resolve, Initiative, and Speed are reduced by the number of spells that are being maintained. The sorcerer rolls (Spiritual + Endurance) D (Successes of Effect), and is a Free Action. For every additional spell that is maintained, the sorcerer loses one Success from the roll.

Trigger Difficulty
Attack (Any Type) Potency of Attack
Jogging / Running 2 / 4
Skill Roll Difficulty of Skill Roll

Familiars and Allies

Some paths grant the sorcerer the ability to call upon familiars or allies. Such beings are constructed using an initial pool of points, determined by the Growth of the sorcerer. These initial points are spent to generate the initial Attributes and Skills of the familiar, whose maximum value is restricted by the familiars Might, in the exact manner as the Heros Attributes and Skills. Once this is completed, the sorcerer then spends Potency generated by the summoning roll, to grant the familiar bonus points. These points may be used to increase Attributes or Skills, and act as a bonus, thus allowing the familiar to have Traits higher than what their Might would normally allow, and do not count towards the familiars Growth. Familiars may be trained. The sorcerer uses their Occultism Skill in place of both the Animal Ken and Profession (Teacher) Skill.

Spell Effects

Each path of sorcery has access to Spell Effects. The sorcerer gains one Effect upon taking a path of sorcery, and each time the sorcerer gains a new path, they may choose an additional Effect, from the path they have just gained. The sorcerer also gains an additional Effect each time they gain a level of growth.

Forms

Each Form of Sorcery is built around a philosophy or belief system. A character can not work Sorcery unless the character holds top psychics to the beliefs of the Form, as the ritual and tradition of the magical form is fueled by the character's understanding and faith in the traditions of the Form being used. A character who adopts more than one Form of Sorcery blends the understanding of the two Forms, melding them into a greater understanding. The character does not suddenly decide a previous Form of thought is 'wrong', but rather that they have discovered deeper mysteries in the Form they already possessed.

Each Form costs 60 DP. If the character is from a Nation which favours the form of Sorcery, the character gains a -20 DP discount on the Form. If the game master accepts Races, the character gains a -20 DP discount if the Form is favoured by the Race in question. The minimum DP Cost for Sorcery is 20 DP if both the Nation and the Race chosen by the character favours the Form of Sorcery.


Form Attribute School Effects Notes
The Path of Amairgin Social Divination Earth, Glamour, Kismet, Plant, Sound, Thunder, Water, Wind This Form of Sorcery draws upon the power of legend and names, and concentrates on the forces of nature.
The Path of Armaros Spiritual Transmutation Arcane, Chaos, Glamour, Kismet, Order, Shadow, Spirit, Temporal This Form of Sorcery manipulates Fate, and is nearly exclusive to the Sinti.
The Path of the Artificer Physical or Mental Conjuration None This Form of Sorcery is not one that casts spells but which makes artifacts of great power.
The Ashen Path Spiritual Restoration Blood, Death, Disease, Life, Poison, Profane, Sacred, Spirit This Form of Sorcery manipulates the energies of the Underworld, giving the mage the power of life and death.
The Path of Awakening Spiritual Divination Earth, Fire, Ice, Plant, Thunder, Vermin, Water, Wind This Form of Sorcery allows the caster to speak and interact with the spirits of nature and beyond, granting them contact with the Spirit World.
The Azure Path Mental Evocation Arcane, Earth, Fire, Force, Temporal, Thunder, Water, Wind This Form of Sorcery invokes powerful pacts and treaties with entities from outside of Creation, allowing the caster to harness potent forces and to shape space.
The Path of the Chorister Social Transmutation None This Form of Sorcery harnesses the Song of Creation, shaping the world through manipulation of the Aria. An unstable and dangerous form of Sorcery.
The Spiral Path Social Evocation Acid, Chaos, Death, Disease, Metal, Poison, Profane, Vermin This Form of Sorcery calls upon Infernal powers to grant the caster what they desire, at the risk of damnation. Responsible for the destruction of Cordona.
The Path of Sulieman Social Transmutation Arcane, Earth, Fire, Shadow, Water, Wind, Sacred, Spirit This Form of Sorcery invokes pacts with the Elemental Nobles, calling upon them for aid and allowing the sorcerer to harness powerful elemental magic.
The Path of Twilight Spiritual Phantasm Arcane, Chaos, Force, Glamour, Profane, Shadow, Spirit, Temporal This Form of Sorcery allows the caster to draw upon the Realm of Shadow, granting them control over the forces of that mysterious mirror world.
The Path of Veils Social Phantasm Chaos, Force, Glamour, Kismet, Light, Order, Shadow, Sound This Form of Sorcery draws upon the power of Faerie, allowing the sorcerer to craft glamour and create illusions real enough to kill.
The Path of the Wild None Conjuration Any This Form of Sorcerer allows the wielder to transform themselves or channel primal energies through their body, allowing possession by the entities of the Spirit World.
The Path of the Witch Spiritual Restoration Arcane, Chaos, Death, Disease, Glamour, Kismet, Life, Order This Form of Sorcery allows the creation of powerful talismans and charms, which can grant luck or protect the owner, or to strike out at one's adversaries.

Schools

Each Form of Sorcery subscribes to six Schools of Magic. Each Form of Sorcery has one School which is favoured above all others, and is gained free when the character first joins the School. Each time a character purchases a Form of Sorcery, they gain a new School. If there are overlaps, the character gains no benefit from the overlap. In addition, a character can purchase additional Schools of Magic, and gains advantages for doing so. Each new School costs 5 DP, plus an additional 5 DP for each School the character already knows. If the character has taken the Path of the Artificer, or the Path of the Wild, no new Schools actually assist the character in casting Spells.

Conjuration

The School of Summoning. Each Form of Sorcery chooses a specific type of Entity which can be summoned to Creation to serve the character who summons it. The School is centred around the binding of spirits and animating the world around the character. Both the Path of the Artificer and the Path of the Wild favour Conjuration.

Divination

The School of the Seer. This School of Magic focusses on expanding the senses and gaining knowledge of the world that exists around the character. It is also the School of Subterfuge, allowing the character to take away the senses of another, preventing them from gaining knowledge best kept secret. Both the Path of Amairgin and the Path of Awakening favour Divination.

Evocation

The School of War. This School concentrates on the destructive aspects of magic, creating powerful effects which can destroy and cripple one's opponents. It is the School that produces direct, devastating results. The Evocation School of Magic knows nothing of subtlety. The Azure Path and the Spiral Path both favour Evocation.

Phantasm

The School of Deception. This School is one that develops the mind, teaching one how to manipulate and deceive the senses rather than attacking one directly. This School allows one to create things limited only by the imagination of the caster, and this particular School of Magic is favoured by the Path of Twilight and the Path of Veils.

Restoration

The School of Healing. This School of Magic teaches the sorcerer how to heal the body, and how to observe the flow of life within those around them. The School is focussed on the perfection of the body, though it may also be used to main or harm the physical body as well. This School of Magic is favoured by the Ashen Path and the Path of the Witch.

Transmutation

The School of Manipulation. This School teaches the art of creation and alteration, allowing the caster to change the shape and form of the physical and spiritual world. It also gives the caster control of space and time, allowing teleportation, flight, and other such benefits. This School of Magic is favoured by the Path of the Chorister and the Path of Suleiman.

Spell Effects

Most Paths of Sorcery grant the sorcerer access to Spell Effects. A Spell Effect is a form of energy or manifestation which is used to augment spells and to provide a signature feel to the spell caster. Spell Effects manifest when the sorcerer begins to cast a spell unless muted by some method, and provide a specific feel which sets the sorcerer apart from any other spell caster.

When a sorcerer chooses a Path, they choose one Effect from the Path list as their own personal style. The sorcerer gains one additional Effect each time they gain a level of Growth. If the sorcerer learns any new Paths, they gain one Effect appropriate to the Paths learned, but when gaining Growth, chooses only one Effect from the list provided by any Paths known. A sorcerer can learn additional Spell Effect by spending 2 DP for each additional Effect they wish, provided it is an Effect listed under a known Path. A sorcerer may not know more than (Might + Number of Paths known) Effects.

Most Spell Effects use the Potency of a spell to determine how powerful the Effect is. A spells Effect Potency is equal to half the Spell Potency itself, though this may be modified by other factors. When a target is affected by a spell, any Effects which the spell has also apply to the target. Spell Effects may be the byproduct of other sources, such as Powers, Benefits, or Merits. Such Effects have (Might) Potency if they come from a creature or construct which has Growth, or (Potency) Potency if coming from a source which does not use Growth. For example, a sword may be enchanted with the Fire Spell Effect. This enchantment has a Potency of 5, thus giving the sword a Spell Effect with a Potency of 5.

A sorcerer may choose to cast a spell using a Spell Effect inappropriate to the Path of the spell being cast. If this is the case, the Essence Cost is increased by one for each inappropriate Spell Effect being used. When a sorcerer uses an Effect as part of a spell, the spell itself is considered a spell of that Effects type. Thus, a spell using an Acid Effect, inflicts acid damage to those subject to the spell. If a spell has more than one Effect applied to it, the spell damage is divided among the damage equally, so a spell that has two Effects divides the damage between both Effects, while a spell with three Effects divides the damage between all three.

Effect Manifestation

A sorcerer may manifest a visible sign of their power, by causing an Effect they know to appear. Each Effect has a form of manifestation, which can be tailored to the sorcerer but is obvious to anyone who witnesses the sorcerer. While the Effect is manifest, the sorcerer enjoys some benefits unique to the Effect that is being used. Manifesting an Effect is an Instant Action, as is quelling it. While casting a spell with an Effect, the sorcerer immediately produces a manifestation appropriate to the Effect being used as a Free Action. A sorcerer may manifest more than one Effect at a time, but doing so becomes an Standard Action. Unless stated otherwise, anything which provides an Effect also gains the benefit of the Effects manifestation. Unless specified otherwise, using an ability provided by a Manifestation on another requires either touch contact, or the target being within the area of effect described in the manifestation.

Restorative and Vulnerability

Some Effects have a positive effect on specific targets, and a negative effect on other targets. These are called Restoratives and Vulnerabilities. A restorative effect, when applied to the appropriate target, heals the target a number of Wounds equal to the Effect Potency. A target who is vulnerable to the Effect instead suffers damage. This damage is (Effect Potency) D (Might of Caster). Soak is applied to this damage independent of the spell.

Protection

Some manifestations provide protection. An Entity or Race listed under the protection suffers +1 Difficulty on all rolls against the protected sorcerer. In addition, the sorcerer gains +1 die bonus on any rolls forced by the target source. Thus, Protection from Earth would provide +1 Soak if the sorcerer was to fall and land upon some rocks, while Protection from Disease provides a +1 die bonus to resist diseases.

Spell Modifiers

Grimoire

A grimoire is a list of Spells that the caster knows well and can cast with little effort. When the caster designs a Spell, they may spend 1 DP to have the Spell in their grimoire. The Spell must be written out, with all aspects determined.

When the caster uses a Spell that is in their grimoire, the Essence Cost of the Spell is reduced by the character's Might, which includes reducing the Casting Time of the Spell as well.

A Spell that is part of a grimoire can not be changed. Everything about the Spell is static. If the caster wishes to modify the Spell, they must build it from the ground up, and then pay the 1 DP to add the new version of the Spell into the grimoire as well.

Sorcerous Talents (Masteries)

The Sorcerous Talents a character can take provide benefits to the caster. See Sorcerous Talents for a list.