Last week, we opened with a look into how magic can be called up in a modern Mythras setting. Now, it's time to look at the kinds of workings magicians can call up, either to bamboozle the players or something the players can do themselves.
So this week, we will be looking into the grimoire of a young witch called Agatha, who's reading Philosophy and Economics at St Charisma's Finishing School, in a fiction setting called Night Chess.
Here are two of Agatha's friends. Meet Bob and Shadow.
Lastly, introducing the Three Mean Girls of the setting - Lisbeth, Janey, and Muriel.
Here are two of the teachers, Miss Bremner and Miss Challis.
The theme of this setting is Dark Academia. The tone is sultry and mysterious; the premise, grasp the nettle to win the day.
Appropriate atmospheric music can be found here - Jarre - Red Sun on Youtube
Before we look into the grimoire, let's remind ourselves of the Invocations and Manifestations - the things we want to do, and the way we do them.
Sensory / Information Gathering
Perceiving - sensing surface data
Knowing - in-depth information; telepathy; divination
Revealing - revelation of knowledge hidden from the caster
Understanding - wisdom; illumination
Nudging - giving a push to something that is already happening
Warding - applying the caster's will to protect the target
Swaying - overt control over the subject; being able to halt something entirely
Concentrating / Attenuating - making something more or less intense by increasing or decreasing its characteristics, Attributes, Intensity etc; a more powerful form of Nudging
Transforming - temporary and permanent changes, affecting the target's base nature; shapeshifting, Sculpting, Transmogrify, enchanting items
Creating / Destroying - Creation and destruction
Chant - repetitive chanting, gestures, dance (Acting, Dance, Musicianship, Sing, Seduction)
Sigil - drawing, inscribing, carving a symbol onto a thing: includes enchantment and disenchantment (Art, Craft)
Circle - classic magic circles drawn on the ground, more elaborate rituals surrounding it than mere sigil crafting (Art, Craft)
Brew - something which must be consumed to release its effects (Craft (Brewery, Cookery, Cosmetics))
Poppet - an effigy of the target, like a voodoo doll (Art, Craft)
Tag - using a part of the target, such as nail clippings, a piece of masonry from a building and so on (Craft)
When creating an effect, the character declares their intent to use magic, sets a time frame, such as one minute, a few hours and so on, and states the Invocation and Manifestation - such as a Perceiving Chant, a Transforming Sigil, a Warding Circle and so on.
The Games Master determines the difficulty of the task, the player makes a Magic skill check against that difficulty grade, and the spell takes effect. Note how this process skips Magic Points, Range, Duration, or Targets. This isn't about the numbers. Can the caster do the thing they want to do or not?
Opposed Magic Checks - A Shortcut
Match the Intensity of your working against the critical range of the opponent's resistance skill, which is either Endurance, Evade, Willpower, another Magic skill, or a Passion. The Intensity of both the magician's working and the target's resistance is based on the difficulty check at the time. If the Intensity of the working is greater than that of the target's resistance, it succeeds; if it is equal or lower than the resistance, the working fails.
Example: Agatha's Magic skill is 62%, giving her workings a maximum Intensity of 7 on a Standard check. She is casting a Revealing Sigil to sense what Janey is doing in the college library this late at night. Her Standard check has an Intensity of 7, against the inexperienced Janey's Willpower of 45 (Intensity 5), also a Standard check. Agatha learns that Janey is looking for a specific tome about the Tarot.
Example: Lisbeth wants to break up Bob and Shadow, so she attempts to drop a Perfidy Curse (a Swaying Chant) on Shadow to make her imagine that Bob is cheating on her with Agatha. Lisbeth's Magic skill is 65, so her Intensity is 7. However, Shadow is wearing an Eye of Horus amulet, and its Magic skill of 68% was cast with an Easy check, so it is effectively at 88%, an Intensity of 9. Lisbeth's working hasn't got a chance against Shadow's amulet, and bounces clean off.
Agatha's Grimoire is a loose bound folder with a leather cover. She calls her Grimoire Sebastian. The pages of her Grimoire are bound in polypockets in this folder, which only seems to open to Agatha's hand.
Inside this Grimoire are the words of her Invocations, and instructions on how to construct the Manifestations which carry the power and make it appear in the world.
Drag To Hell
Swaying Circle, Resist (Willpower)
This illusion was cast by Agatha, with Bob and Shadow assisting, in the circle they found in the Secret Quadrangle between the gym and the History Faculty in Chapter Six. This ritual, in Chapter Thirteen, created an illusion in Lisbeth's dreams, of demons dragging her down to Hell.
A forked hazel rod was used by Miss Challis in Chapter Four to discern the course of the underground river which ran beneath the well in the Cedar Grove. The Elder Futhark rune Laguz had been carved into the bark of the forked stick.
Chapter Seven saw Lisbeth's infamous attempt to break up the relationship between Shadow and Bob by imposing a state of paranoia and jealousy in Shadow's mind. The chant read The serpent's green eyes long to see / His love was never real for thee. The attempt failed.
Runes of Bonding
Transforming Sigil, Resist (Willpower)
Lisbeth's worst bitch move in Chapter Eleven came when she drew up a charm on a sheet of parchment and slipped it into Agatha's book on Kant during class. Agatha had no idea what hit her for the duration of the Chapter; it took the combined efforts of Shadow, Bob, Miss Challis, Miss Bremner, and even Muriel to bring her out of her period of enslavement to Lisbeth.
Transforming Circle, Resist (Willpower)
This spell was used successfully at the end of Chapter Eleven to bring Agatha out of her binding before she could throw herself off the roof. Note: a Tag was also included in the Circle. The presence of the additional focus increased Miss Challis' already formidable 87% Magic skill to 107%, and the presence of the other participants in the Circle boosted the Intensity a further +2 ro 13, which steamrolled over Lisbeth's Intensity 7.
Muriel's little glamour spell in Chapter Five, this was a little charm she laid into her lip balm before sneaking off campus to visit her boyfriend Tom. The effect was to increase the chances of Tom becoming enamoured of her, without having to boost her natural CHA of 16.
Concentrating Chant, Concentration
This was Muriel's more powerful chant to increase her CHA by up to her Magic skill's Intensity, as used in the Chapter Ten club scene. As long as she walked, the crowds parted before her like the Red Sea.
Swaying Brew, Resist (Endurance)
A draught of valerian and other herbs, this concoction was used in the sequel, Shadow Backgammon, by Janey on Miss Bremner, to send Miss Bremner into a deep sleep plagued by a nightmare of her weaknesses and flaws brought to confront her in an Inquisitorial trial in her mind.
The Dire Poppet
Swaying Poppet, Concentration, Resist (Willpower)
Miss Bremner's revenge in Shadow Backgammon involved a poppet of Janey, fashioned by Miss Bremner, into which she jabbed a silver hatpin several times, in different areas, to cause Janey intense pain for a week.
Miss Challis used this rite on herself in Shadow Backgammon, piercing the skin of her thumb with a hawthorn thorn and letting her blood infuse a concoction of herbs in a pot, which she drank. For the remainder of the scene (which lasted until the following sunrise), her POW and CHA were boosted by the Intensity of this spell.
Draft of The Wise
A sacrament of St Charisma's inner circle of witches, this arcane brew bestows upon the drinker the blessings of an audience with Hecate Herself. For the remainder of the week, the drinker feels Hecate's blessings upon them, making their Influence, Magic, Oratory, and Seduction skill checks one grade easier. Frequently consumed by Miss Challis and Miss Bremner, the recipe is first listed in Shadow Backgammon.
Edited by Alex Greene
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