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 Rules & Information for using Sorcery

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Join date : 2010-01-30
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PostSubject: Rules & Information for using Sorcery   Fri Jul 02, 2010 5:04 pm

Paths are broken down into two different parts: spells (also referred to as effects) and rituals. Spells can be cast quickly and can be modified and customized easily to allow for changing environments and situations. Rituals are much longer, more formalized, and often more powerful castings that can work permanent changes.

Socery Paths vs Psychic Numnia

It can be argued that Psychic Numnia is a different phenomena form sorcery, this is a matter of dispute. We prefer to see the psychic phenomena as manipulating the same powers as sorcery but in a different way - through concentrations and focus alone, no elaborate rituals, tools or spiritual aides. It is possible for a psychic to learn the sorcery paths and rituals and vis versa.

With all Psychic Nunmia unless stated otherwise all casting difficulties will be made at 4+ the level of the power being used.

Mana

Linear mages do not make a habit of slashing the tapestry into bits or creating new laws of reality from raw power. Drawing their mastery of the world from its own secret nature, they can coax it into cooperation without suffering the resounding backlash wrought by shattering its subtle surface. Therefore, they do not suffer from paradox in the same way as their affinitive friends. This is not to say that a botched spell or ritual cannot cause a sorcerer dangerous problems, but overall, the softer footsteps she takes upon the face of the earth promise her endeavors a somewhat smoother course.

Sorcerers do not foster the wellspring of creation within their Avatars strongly enough to drink directly of its unadulterated energies. Thus, they do not receive Quintessence either. Some magicians, psychics, and martial artists learn to absorb some bit of the soul of the universe, thought of as Mana or a sort of mystical breath or spiritual energy rather than the pure creative energy of reality. Those with the Mana background begin with a pool of points equal to the Trait rating. Without some gift upon which to draw, it is difficult and unlikely for the linear mage to gain any sort of power outside of her own skills.


Difficulty

Effects have a base difficulty of (4 + level of the path used, or the highest desired aspect if an aspected effect). Some effects will have modifications to this base level of difficulty; these modifiers are detailed with the Path itself.


Time

Effects normally take one turn per level of the effect (or the highest aspect of the effect) to cast, unless noted otherwise. Rituals take a minimum of 10 minutes and normally take much longer; most rituals have a description indicating their time component.


Extended Rolls

If a spell needs more successes than the sorcerer thinks he can get in a single period of casting, he can try for an extended roll. Each additional roll adds time equal to the amount already spent in casting. For example, if Father Michael had determined that there was little chance of him actually making the blessing work, he could try for an extended roll. Since the highest aspect is 3 dots, the first die roll of the casting will take 3 turns. The second die roll will also take 3 turns, the third die roll will take 6 turns to complete, and the fourth 12, etc. As with all extended task checks, a failure on a die roll simply means no successes are gathered, but a botch instantly kills the spell, and any chance of success.


Rituals

Many paths have rituals associated with them (and some Paths can only be used as rituals, such as Enchantment and Alchemy). Rituals are collections of precise mystical formulas that take time and effort, and usually some small expense, to bring about but have effects that are greater than a quick spell. Rituals normally take longer to work than a spell or effect, but their power can be much greater – often greater than that which a student of the Path would normally be able to summon at their current level of experience.

Most rituals require a basic level of knowledge about an associated Path; those that do not can be learned by anyone, even those who have not studied the path (an example of this is Counterspells, which are really just a set of rituals and spells that are common knowledge to all Paths). This knowledge requirement is indicated by the dot rating of the ritual; if a ritual has a rating in dots, you must have at least that many dots in the Path to learn it. All rituals cost 3 points to learn; finding someone to teach one to your character, or the grimoires necessary, is always another matter... many of these rituals are known only as rumor or legend. In some exceptional cases, even the totally uninitiated can use rituals, casting them by rote out of a grimoire. Botches in these cases are usually incredibly bad.


Fast Casting

In a crisis, a sorcerer can choose to trade difficulty for speed – by cutting corners and leaving out controls, the sorcerer is able to get a spell done more quickly, although the spell is much more difficult to control. For every turn you shave off the casting time for the effect, add a +1 to the difficulty (maximum 9). Spells cast this way always require a Willpower point, above and beyond their normal costs.


Hanging Spells

Sorcerers have long realized that while their spells and rituals can produce some impressive results, they are not normally fast working. Some sorcerers dealt with this problem by studying the martial arts as well as the mystical ones. Others hired guards to protect them or attempted to make themselves so indispensable to their community that none would want to visit violence upon them. Some, instead, learned new ways of casting spells and rituals so that the sorcerer could carry them, nearly but not quite activated, until they were needed. These spells are commonly referred to as being "hung" or stored by the sorcerers who practice this art.

To hang a spell for later casting, the sorcerer casts the spell as per normal but pays one Willpower immediately and adds one to the difficulty. The player then marks down the name of the spell and the number of successes scored. The sorcerer may then release the spell at any time (so long as the sorcerer would normally be able to cast a spell – an unconscious magician can't release a held spell). Releasing a spell takes one turn; at that time, the player must pay the normal casting cost for the spell or ritual and allocate successes on the spell's aspects, if any.

A hung spell is a constant distraction to the sorcerer; it requires a small level of semi-constant attention, even when sleeping, that is a persistent drain on the sorcerer's focus. The sorcerer adds +1 to all mental and social tasks while she is carrying a hung spell. This penalty increases by an additional +1 for every additional two spells the sorcerer is carrying (+2 at three spells, +3 at five spells, etc).


Trading Skill For Power

Experienced sorcerers can reduce or even eliminate the high price most Paths charge in Willpower. A sorcerer with two or more dots in a Path than the minimum required for a desired effect may choose to cast the spell at the higher difficulty and reduce the cost in Willpower by one.


Teamwork

In order for two or more sorcerers to cooperate on a spell, they must both have the same Path (a master Conjurer is of little help to a Healer trying to cure a cancer patient.) One sorcerer (usually the most skilled) is chosen as the prime caster, makes all rolls for the spell and determines how any aspects are set. Note that, generally, sorcerers can only cooperate if they have roughly compatible practices. A magician from the Ancient Order of Aeon Rites, used to using precise Pythagorean formulae, may not have any reference point to combine her spells with a psychic's powers or a techno-shaman's spirit machinery.

Each assistance rolls her magic check as well to see if she succeeds in helping the lead spellcaster. Two sorcerers can operate together without a problem (aside from the clash of personalities, magical styles, foci, agendas); each additional sorcerer adds one turn to the casting time for the spell. Each successful assistant reduces the difficulty of the leader's magic roll by one, to a minimum difficulty of 3.

Failure can carry a heavy price. If none of the assistants succeed at their magic checks, there is no additional problem, but if any assistant botches, add 2 to the prime caster's difficulty. If the leader of the spell botches, any complications gathered fall not only on the leader, but on the whole team. This can be very unpleasant when performing major rituals or Summonings.


Counterspells and Unweaving

Any sorcerer who does more than dabble in the Arts will learn at least some basic countermagic, if only so that they can try and undo the messes they inevitably create while learning. There are as many different forms of countermagic as there are spells; in plain terms, however, they are divided into two basic types: Counterspells and Unweaving.

Counterspells are cast at an incoming spell or effect and serve to blunt or dispel it before it can take effect. Roll Wits+Occult (difficulty Cool; each success you score cancels one of the opponent's successes. If the opponent ends up without enough successes for the spell to go off, then it fails (but she still loses whatever costs she paid). You can spend Willpower to aid a counterspell, but you must score at least one natural success for the Counterspell to work at all.

Unweaving is the art of disassembling another spell caster's effect. The sorcerer must have knowledge of the Path that was used to create the effect in the first place (if trying to unweave an effect not based on sorcery, such as Thaumaturgy, use the Path most applicable). If your character has at least one dot in the Path (or a related one) being used, roll Intelligence+Occult (difficulty Cool, using the Extended Rolls rules. You must score at least as many successes as the original caster scored to unweave the spell; otherwise, it may be weakened, but it will remain. Long standing Enchantments and those based on Thaumaturgy can take more effort to unweave: In the case of the very ancient, very powerful Enchantments, sometimes as many as 15 or even 20 successes might be needed.

Spells cast by sorcerers (or others) that are more knowledgeable than the unweaver are significantly more difficult to undo. For every two levels of difference between the unweaver's level in a Path and the original caster's level, an additional success is needed. Thus, if you have no knowledge of the Path of Hellfire and your opponent has four dots with 6 successes on an effect, you would need 3 successes in order to cancel the first success and 8 to completely wipe out the spell.

Counterspells and Unweaving work against sorcery and Thaumaturgy. There are also specialized versions of Counterspells and Unweaving designed to work against spirit powers. These must be bought separately. Each group of countermagic costs 3 freebie or experience points, so buying a full set of countermagics costs 12 points. For a sorcerer more interested in staying alive than in dealing damage, it's an investment well worth the cost.
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