Legacy of Orphans
Magic and Mysteries
Magic & Mysteries
A spell in the Riddle of Steel is vastly more powerful than any blade a warrior can wield. Players should remember, however, that the game is about a Riddle, their Riddle, and all answers come at a cost. If a player chooses to walk the path of the sarrumiza and grasp at the power of the cosmos, he will find that his story is no easier than his comrades who fight their foes with steel. In fact, he may find it infinitely more frightening.
THE NATURE OF MAGIC
Magic is the exertion of sarrum, or authority, over the cosmos and her entities in the Great Chain of Being. This authority comes naturally from a being’s natural place in the Chain. When a entity or force submits to someone greater, that is in essence magic. A man can tame animals or devise tools to alter his environment, but it is not within his nature to perfectly control a beast or the stop the storm clouds from gathering.
Therefore the most powerful force in the cosmos is the bond, the relationship between two entities or forces. All things and beings on the Chain are bound to something. Everything with agsāra – the Prime Essence – is bound to its Name and its Nature. Beings of equal nature and essence may bind themselves to a bond, beings of unequal nature and essence bind themselves to a pact, and things beings of astsāra – The Eighth Essence – may even bind themselves to an entire race through a covenant. In each of these three types of bond the highest sarrum enforces the relationship whether that’s the magic of the seidhe, the military of a king, or the grace and power of a god.
However, power comes in many forms. A mortal may share essence with a greater being, or he may be chosen by a mighty and transcendent spirit to wield its sarrum. Most terrifyingly, a mortal may glean occluded knowledge such as the Names of beings or the Nature of arcane forces. In doing so the mortal may employ cosmic authority and all things bound by their very selves must submit.
THE THREE PATHS
Always there are three. Mortals gain immortal power through their temporal nature, intellectual mastery, or spiritual grace. Though these mortals are called by different names, those who possess sarrum shall be called sarrumiza herein. The three paths they tread are known as esses, promethis, and charis.
Esses is the temporal power which comes from possessing the essence of some greater being. The one with esses is cosmically known as the scion of a unique heritage and inheritance. Changeling may be fey-blooded, and some men, known as the Marked or Hexed, are unfortunate enough to be chosen by gremlin or another unseelie.
Promethis is the power derived from occluded knowledge of the true names and natures of the cosmos. Confronted with its own secrets, the cosmos has no choice but to bend to the will of the masters. Cheiu, the mighty wizard-kings, are the human masters of this path.
Charis is the spiritual favor of greater charisic beings granted on their chosen ones. Like an emissary of a king, the one with charis is recognized to bear the authority of Another. The blessed Godspoken, the pagan spirtualists, and the fearsome værlog are the practioners of this path.
THE VAGRANT REALMS
Always there are three. The three Vagrant Realms: samsāra, dhī, and sattva. The three are vagrant because they cannot be kept apart. They crash into one another, intertwined in cosmic balance. There is no better example of this than man, who possesses Greater Essences from each realm.
- Samsāra, the Temporal Realm is the world of physical substance and essence. It is made up of entities and forces with a temporal existence and substance. Within the Lower Wrought lie all the minerals of the earth, the clouds and fire of the sky, the body of man, the waters, and the very air itself.
- Dhī, the Mental Realm is the veil which whirls between the other two. It is the world of memories, perceptions, ideas, and the forces of will and knowledge.
- Sattva, the Spiritual Realm is the timeless world of entities possessing the spirit essence. It is composed of the eternal and dominant forces of the Higher Wrought.
THE VAGRANT ARTS
Always there are three. An entity with power may seek to employ his esses, promethis, or charis on the cosmos. The prime arts, the means by which the sarrumiza does this, are bodha, vikāra, and samyaha.
It is possible for each art to produce an infinite number of effects. A common use of Vagrant Art is known as a driŝdī—that is, a Practice or Focus. Each art and Vagary has three such Practices. They are always Positive, Negative, and Dynamic in nature. A sarrumiza who has any potency in a Vagary is assumed to have access to all of its foci.
Bodha is practice of knowing, understanding, and communicating essences. Whether it is the composition or existing location of a physical thing or the communicatable essences of a greater spiritual being, the art of bodha brings understanding to the caster. This art is manifested strongest in the the Mental Realm. The three foci are known as the Practices of Unveiling, Veiling, and Communing.
- Unveiling: To know and understand the essence of an entity or force, including to find its location or example of its archetype. Examples include:
- Sensing heat or water from yards away
- Understanding a mortal’s physical or mental strength and weaknesses
- Sensing a being’s thoughts or feelings
- Seeing a spirit and understanding its nature
- Knowing the magical properties of a relic or spell
- Finding water, fire, or a horse from miles away
- Locating an individual
- Reading an entity’s mind to find a memory or thought
- Divining the location of a spirit
- Finding a relic, spell, or place of power
- Veiling: To make hidden or misunderstood the essence of an entity or force, including hiding its location, especially from other casters. Examples include:
- Preventing an entity from being scryed, attuned, or beheld.
- Cloaking a spell or relic from magical Sight
- Communing: To transfer knowledge and understanding about or between essences. Examples include:
- Relating thoughts, images, or feelings with a being
- Communicating with a spirit
- Receiving the charis or esses of an entity
Vikāra is the dangerous practice of altering essences. A being with the power of vikāra could diminish, augment, or completely remove the essences of an entity. In samsāra this could be manifested as altering the size or shape of a thing and transforming one’s own physical form. A vikāra spell in the mental realm clouds the senses, erases or creates memories, and twists mental forces to aid or harm. This art is manifested strongest in the Temporal Realm. Vikāra includes the Practices of Augmenting, Diminishing, and Transmuting.
- Augmenting: The action of filling or perfecting an entity or force with its essence, making it a better or stronger example of its archetype. Examples include:
- Increasing the heat or light of a fire
- Increasing a man’s strength or restoring his body to health
- Strengthening a being’s perception, memory or intelligence
- Increasing the power of a spirit
- Empowering a magical relic or spell
- Diminishing: The action of depleting or emptying an entity or force of its essence, making it a worse or weaker example of its archetype. Examples include:
- Decreasing the heat or light of a fire or snuffing it out completely
- Striking a man with weakness of body or robbing it of health
- Clouding the wits of an entity or its perception and intelligence
- Injuring a spirit
- Draining a relic or spell of its magical potency
- Transmuting: The action of removing, replacing, or adding an essence to an entity, making it completely different than other examples of its original archetype. Examples include:
- Changing the color of fire or a flame into liquid
- Transmuting a man’s shape or appearance
- Tampering with what an entity perceives or remembers
- Giving a spirit a physical substance
- Granting a mundane object the capacity for sarrum
- Creating a physical force or object from magical force
Samyaha is the practice of control and dominion, the very nature of Spirit. With this third art a wise-one could control the forces of nature, bend the will of men to his, and summon spirits to his aid. This third art is manifested strongest in the Spiritual Realm. Samyaha incorporates the Practices of Commanding, Binding, and Conquering.
- Commanding: The action of manipulating a force or entity within its nature. Examples include:
- Wielding fire, storm, or motion
- Forcing a being to willfully act
- Summoning a spirit or other
- Binding: The action of limiting or preventing a force or entity to act within its nature. Examples include:
- Making an object or entity invulnerable fire or storm
- Trapping a being psychically
- Banning a spirit or other from an area
- Conquering: Bringing a being or force under the sarrum of oneself or another
- Enslaving the mind of a man
- Claiming a spirit or other to serve
- Forcing a relic or spell to obey
- Completely controlling the magic of an area
THE NINE VAGARIES
Each art requires a separate discipline for each of the realms in which it is practiced. These disciplines are called vagaries. Like the realms and arts themselves, they are often combined by their practitioners to achieve the desired effect.
Vagaries are given different names by each the traditions which have discovered and mastered them. The names given below are those used by a Cheiu cabal.
A sarrumiza’s mastery in each vagary is measured by tiers.
Mastery 1: Apprentice. The sarrumiza has learned to utilize of each of a Vagary’s foci.
Mastery 2: Adept. An adept has learned advanced uses of the Vagary.
Mastery 3: Master. The master of a Vagary comfortably walks its most profound ways.
THE TEMPORAL VAGARIES
The temporal realm is the realm of the first three essences: existence, substance, and life. Existence is the simplest and life the most intricate. The temporal forces, from simplest to most intricate, are heat/light, movement, energy, the invisible bonds of substance, and finally space-time itself.
- SCRY is the vagary of veiling or unveiling temporal essences.
- An apprentice could find an object in a room by thinking of it, dowse water, or make something harder to find.
- An adept could understand the making of a thing, know its strength or weaknesses, effectively “see” in the dark, protect something from scrying, or find hidden pathways in the earth.
- A master could scry anyone or anything in Erd, hide another from magical view, analyze the life force of all around him, or navigate a ship to land across leagues of ocean.
- HONE is the art of augmenting, diminishing, or transmuting temporal essences and forces.
- An apprentice could repair or reshape objects or give them new capabilities.
- An adept could could crush an enemy in his own armor, crumble or rebuild a building, or cause a man’s heart to burst.
- A master could bring a man back from the brink of death, regrow his limbs, or give a man the features of an animal.
- WIELD is the vagary of controlling the essences and forces of the temporal realm.
- An apprentice could light or heat a room instantly, ignite objects by a touch.
- An adept could throw a man down a long hallway with a gesture, hold the earth up in a cave in, crush a man’s bones, or command fire to consume a foe.
- A master could freeze a lake, call down lightning, or shake the earth beneath a city.
THE MENTAL VAGARIES
The middle realm is the realm of the middle essences: motion, appetite, and memory. Motion, the instinct and temporal perception, is the simplest of these. Appetite encompasses the emotions of life. The most intricate of the middle essences is memory, which contains the thoughts and personality of a being. The forces of the mental realm are the emotion and will.
- ATTUNE is the vagary of veiling, unveiling, and communing with the mental essences.
- An apprentice could discern the presence of minds nearby or send out a primitive psychic warning to allies standing nearby.
- An adept could could read the emotions of those in the area, communicate instantly and wordlessly with another mind within sensory perception, or hide his mind from scrying.
- A master could communicate wordlessly with any mindful being known to him across the land, veil his mind, read the thoughts and memories of another, and share them with those he chose.
- WARP is the vagary of augmenting, diminishing, or transmuting the middle essences.
- An apprentice could augment or diminish his own perceptive abilities or those of an ally standing nearby, shock an enemy he’s grappling, or temporarily create illusions of sight, sound or touch.
- An adept could alter the feelings and perceptions of those he sees or, create powerful illusions, or strike another with psychic pain.
- A master could alter memories or habits, augment or diminish another’s intellectual aptitude, or put a village under a mass delusion.
- DOMINATE is the vagary of commanding, binding, or conquering the mind.
- An apprentice could command the instincts of insects and beasts.
- An adept could bind someone’s mind in hypnotism with a look, command someone to commit a crime of passion, plant a suggestion within the mind of another, or control the actions of animals.
- A master could command, bind, or completely dominate the minds and wills of others.
THE SPIRITUAL VAGARIES
The realm of the Highest Wrought is the domain of the final two known major essences – spirit and eternity. Spirit is the primary essence of the fleshless entities of the cosmos, and eternity is a quality shared only by those entities which exist outside the temporal realm. There are lesser spirits and greater spirits. The forces of the spiritual realm are the bonds of the Great Chain otherwise invisible to the mortal: destiny and sarrum – that is, magic itself.
- BEHOLD is the vagary of veiling, unveiling, and communing with the spiritual realm.
- An apprentice could unveil to himself the presence of spirits or extraordinary events in the spiritual realm or sense the presence of magic.
- An adept could attempt to commune with spirits, unveil or veil the spiritual realm to another, or understand the nature of a spirit, divine the fate of others, or understand the workings of an active spell.
- A master could commune with greater spirits, occlude his fate from sorcerers, prophecy events to come, or understand the workings of intricate magic.
- RENDER is the vagary of altering the essences and forces of the spiritual realm.
- An apprentice could strengthen, weaken, or dispel an apprentice-level spell.
- An adept could heal or injure a spirit, change the parameters of an active adept-level spell, or remove the invisible bonds that connect him to another.
- A master could destroy a spirit, enlarge or dispel intricate spells, or attempt to alter the destiny of another.
- COMPEL is the vagary of commanding, binding, and conquering spirits and the invisible forces.
- An apprentice could drive off minor spirits of nature or charge them with a minor task.
- An adept could ward a person or area from spirits or magical spells, take control of the sarrum around him, or dominate lesser spirits.
- A master could dominate greater spirits, ward a village from spiritual or magical forces, or take control of the sarrum of a large area, effectively robbing nearby sarrumiza of magic.
THE LOST ARTS
Two occluded arts lie outside the nine vagaries. They are the mysteries of making and unmaking. Their mastery is a great Riddle for unscrupulous and ambitious sarrumiza. Only a wise one who has achieved mastery in all the arts of a realm can learn these final forbidden arts.
There are no common names for the six ultimate vagaries of Making and Unmaking. The following common words are merely reflections of the ancient words.
The art of shrati creates stone or water from nothing, gives life to the inanimate and reason to beasts, and quickens spiritual life within the dead. The art of kishpay causes matter to vanish, robs minds of thought, and extinguishes life from the living.
Some are born to a powerful legacy. Sarrum, the very strength and authority of the Great Chain is the inheritance of a blessed and cursed few. Their birthright is nothing less the cosmos. They are sarrumiza.
Characters with Talented, Gifted, and Rare legacies are sarrumiza. Each of the three paths are represented in the three legacies.
|A: Rare||Seidhe, Drahm, Ixtarai|
|B: Gifted||Gifted Human|
|C: Talented||Changeling; Talented Human, Froan, or Lahu|
There are four special derived attributes possessed by all sarrumiza. These are derived from temporal and mental attributes.
- Ka (KA) is the raw force of sarrum a sorcerer can wield and the amount of power he can draw on in time of need (see Drawing). Cosmic power is a mighty and elusive thing, and only the most resilient of mind and body can channel a significant level of it.
- Sight (SGT) refers to the sarrumiza’s intuitive magic sense; his ability to perceive magical forces, spells, and beings.
- Art (ART) is the the conscious ability to control, channel, and direct sarrum through formal procedures. Art is used for many ritual elements of spellcasting and as a Target Number for resisting spells. It represents the talent a sarrumiza has in his discipline.
- Vim (VIM) is the sarrumiza’s ability to withstand the incredible supernatural strain from channeling sarrum without allowing it to prematurely age him do by damaging is body draining his life force.
|Ka (KA)||WP + (HT/2)|
|Sight (SGT)||(PER + APT)/2|
|Art (ART)||APT + (AG/2)|
|Vim (VIM)||HT + (WP/2)|
There is a fifth attribute, apotheoisis, which is only available to certain sarrumiza. Only the most powerful or corrupt possess this unique attribute.
- Apotheosis (APS) reflects the degree to which a sarrumiza has moved beyond the mortal limits of magic.
- Every level of apotheosis gives its caster one automatic success on all Strain rolls.
- There are two types of apotheosis.
- Chosen may buy ranks in apotheosis for 25 SA points.
- Værlog may buy ranks in APS for 20 SA points. However, the værlog is soon corrupted as he allows his essences to meld with his dark patrons. For every level of dark APS gained, the værlog must reduce one randomly chosen attribute by 1. For those of the dark path, this attribute is often called vimarga – monstrosity.
IMPROVING VAGARIES & GIFTS
|New Vagary Level||Cost||Magic Gifts & Flaws||Cost|
|1||5 SAs||Minor Gift||15 SAs|
|2||10 SAs||Remove Minor Flaw||15 SAs|
|3||15 SAs||Major Gift||25 SAs|
|No grimoric library or master||+5 SAs SAs||Remove Major Flaw||25 SAs|
Talented mortal are those with a limited gift of magic. They do not have the same amount of control and sheer power as Gifted ones, but they still stand out starkly against their mundane counterparts. There are three basic types of Talented sarrumiza.
- Getsim carry what remain of man’s ancient legacy. They are commonly known as sensitives or those with “the sight”. They do not cast spells or engage in any other magic. They do, however, have innate sarrumiza abilities and attributes. Most importantly, they can perceive magical forces using SGT and resist spells using their Sorcery Pool. They have the following characteristics:
- Follow the path of esses.
- They require only a Talented bloodline
- +2 SGT
- Sorcery Pool is recovered twice as fast: one die every half hour.
- May not cast spells
- Ritualists and Spiritualists lack the instinctive grasp and talent of magic and can only wield it through ritual and ceremony. They require long conscious effort and attention to cast their spells. These hedge-magicians are usually village enchanters, priests of the Old Faith, and tribal shamans. They have the following characteristics:
- Chosen are mortal of any race who have been set apart by some greater power to be vessels. Chosen rarely have any choice in their calling. While this gives them tremendous power and authority, it also comes with a steep price. They have the following characteristics.
|Getsim||Esses||None||+2 SGT; SP recovers twice as fast.||Cannot cast spells|
|Ritualists||Promethis||Minor Gift: Enchanter Tradition||Can not fastcast; -2 to all magical attributes; must use one material in all spells|
|Spiritualists||Charis||Minor Gift: Shamanic Tradition||Can not fastcast; -2 to all magical attributes; must use one material in all spells|
|Chosen||Charis||Minor Gift: Godspoken, Minor Flaw: Godspoken Vow, and SA Faith 1 or Oath 1||Miracle Working Ability, Access to Apotheosis|
Gifted mortal possess the full mortal potential to exercise authority over the cosmos. Each of the three paths are represented in the four types below.
- The Marked or Hexed are an unfortunate group of humans who exhibit a wild and instinctive gift for magic. It is said that the gremlin and other unseelie use them for mischief and ruin. They have the following characteristics:
- Follow of the path of esses.
- They require a Gifted bloodline and Minor Gift: Hexed
- Can not slowcast
- Can not formalize spells
- May not begin with a 3 in any Vagary.
- Cheiu Apprentices are those humans who possess the Gift of Rayel and have begun their training in magic, science, and politics to become a Cheiu – that is, a Master. At this point they have finished their basic training and may wear accouterments appropriate to their region. They are still under the tutelage of a Cheiu master. Strict obedience and loyalty is expected. While they have not yet joined a cabal or been given any political responsibilities of their own, their master will no doubt have plenty of responsibility to share with his ward.
- Follow the path of Promethis.
- They require a Gifted bloodline, the Low Freeman social class, and Minor Gift: Arcane training
- Begin with one formalized spell
- May not begin with a 3 in any Vagary
- Gain Contact: Cheiu Master (Casual)
- Cheiu Adepts are full-fledged wizards who have acquired the political and social standing appropriate to their region. This means they might sit on a lord’s small council or even be the stewards of a small town or county of villages. They have also most likely joined a cabal, an organization of Cheiu with similar philosophies and purposes.
- They require a Gifted bloodline, the High Freeman social class, and Minor Gift: Arcane training
- Begin with three formalized spells
- Gain resources appropriate to Cheiu. Minor Gift: Prosperous.
- Begin Contact: Cheiu Master (Intimate)
- Gain Affiliation: Master’s Cabal
- Gain Contact: Political Journeyman (Casual)
- Værlog are a fearsome group of sarrumiza who have made a pact with Glau or other dark spirits. In the Bloodstone nations they are called værlog, a pejorative term which means ‘oath-breaker’. They are also sometimes known as varð-lokkur, meaning ‘those communing with spirits’. Their taboo rites and pacts allow them to carry the charis of otherwise forbidden powers. They have the following characteristics:
- Follow the path of Charis.
- They require a Gifted bloodline and Minor Gift: Dark Pact
- Must begin with the Doom spiritual attribute
- Begin with three formalized spells
- Access to dark apotheosis
|Hexed||Esses||Minor Gift: Hexed||Can not slowcast, formalize spells, or begin with a 3 in any Vagary|
|Cheiu Apprentice||Promethis||Low Freeman class and Minor Gift: Arcane Training||1 formalized spell and Contact: Cheiu Master (Casual)||May not begin with a 3 in any Vagary|
|Cheiu Adept||Promethis||High Freeman class and Minor Gift: Arcane Training||Minor Gift: Prosperous, Contact: Cheiu Master (Intimate) and Contact: Political Journeyman (Casual), Affiliation: Master’s Cabal|
|Værlog||Charis||Minor Gift: Dark Pact, and SA Doom 1.Minor Flaw: Godspoken Vow, and SA Faith 1 or Oath 1||Begin with 3 formalized spells, Access to Apotheosis|
The rare mortal and immortal races of Erd are heirs of fantastic powers. While this makes them forces to be reckoned with, it has also caused the other Erd mortal races to fear or loathe them. While not all those of rare legacy have the ability to wield sarrum, players are assumed to be part of the special class that have developed their primal heritage.
- Seidhe – also known as aos sí in the older mannish tongues – are ageless beings of mischief and chaotic whim. In the Otherworld they exercise a powerful authority over the things of nature and the entities aligned with their court. In the mortal realm, however, their powerful glamor is greatest gift.
- Sorcery Pool recovers half as fast while in the mortal realm: 1 die per two hours.
- No Strain from Mental Spells
- Drahm, ash-skinned and fearsome, were once the rulers of the land now known as Polm. Sorcery is worshiped and ancestral spirits are venerated. Drahm sorcerers are known as Khône.
- Half Strain from temporal spells
- Twice the Strain from spirit spells.
- Ixtarai, who steal mortal children and replace them with changelings, are also innately skilled in sorcery. Anderans believe they call upon the winds to spy out the newborn they plan to steal. In truth the ixtarai are naturally gifted in spirit magic.
- Twice the Strain from temporal spells.
- Half Strain from spiritual spells
A number of abilities are available to all sarrumiza once their talents or gifts begin to manifest. These abilities are not spells, and do not fall under the same rules and restrictions as spells do.
- The caster rolls a KA test.
- TN6: Natural. The environment is normal. This is the default state of the mortal realm.
- TN7: Resistant. Supernatural authority in the area is bound by enchantment or a weakness in the Chain. Near a Knock or Place of Power this would be the default state.
- TN8: Bent. The sarrum of the area has been significantly weakened by a mighty entity or tear in the Chain. This is also the default state of the Otherworld.
- Every success restores 1 die to the caster’s sorcery pool.
- The caster gains an automatic 1d6 Strain. If this puts a sarrumiza over his VIM, then he suffers the usual consequences.
- Drawing may not be used while actively engaged in combat.
- The caster rolls SGT/Occult: Spellcraft to become aware of a spell which is active in the vicinity or to know whether someone is casting a spell
- The caster may roll SGT/Occult: Ritual instead when a ritual was used to cast a spell or empower an item or place.
- Successes will make the caster aware of the presence of magic, the exact location, the approximate power and general effect
- This ability cannot grant the same insightful knowledge about the origins and workings of a spell as a bodha spell.
- Using the Sight does not cause Strain
- When the caster is asked to roll resistance against a spell, he may choose to add any number of additional dice from his sorcery pool.
- Dice used in active resistance are depleted as if they had been used in casting a spell
- Using Active Resistance does not cause Strain
- This ability is only available to Chosen or those with Major Gift: Miracle Worker.
- The miracle worker chooses one of the following appropriate spiritual attributes to fuel the miracle he wants to perform
- Destiny/Doom/Drive: The vessel has been anointed to accomplish some important task.
- Oath: The miracle would help a miracle worker accomplish his holy or unholy oath
- Faith: The miracle would build up the Faith of others or aid the Chosen during a trial of their Faith
- The miracle worker permanently spends a number of points from the chosen SAs.
- These points are spent, creating Insight as usual, and make up the character’s miracle dice pool
- The miracle worker then rolls against a target number based how powerful of a manifestation the miracle is.
- Other spiritual attributes and Drama can affect these rolls as normal, but not the SAs which were used to buy the miracle
- The miracle occurs as intended with a single success.
- Additional successes may repeat the effect or increase the potency as decided by the storyteller and player.
- Working a miracle does not cause Strain.
- Characters may only attempt a miracle once per story.
|5||Minor miracles that can’t be readily seen as miraculous: Purifying water, making it rain or stop raining, bringing about a strange “coincidence” in answer to prayer.|
|6||Minor manifestations of divine power: Healing Pain 4 Wounds or severe sicknesses over night, predicting the weather or the best road to travel given a chancy future|
|8||Noticeable manifestations: Healing Pain 10 Wounds or mortal illnesses instantly, changing water to wine, walking on water or air, predicting the near future as it relates to a single event.|
|10||Undeniable manifestations: Changing the weather or environment to sway a battle, seeing the distant future, healing an entire camp of horribly diseased people, providing food for hundreds out of little or nothing.|
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