The Laboratory

Season Actions

At the end of a plot line or a gaming session, points are often assigned to characters so that they may be spent and advance the character’s ability to effect the world in which the story takes place. A Season Action is simply another way of handling this for Magi. Season Actions represent the work your Magus does in the time between plot lines; when they are living their daily lives, pursuing their own goals, and expanding their own knowledge. From time to time the GM will reward a season action, probably along with refresh and skill points for completing milestones in the story. Sometimes a story may progress through several seasons (approx. 3 months) in which your Magus would have been busy going about his/her business, and your character will receive several season actions. Season Actions are not like skill points or refresh, i.e. you can’t save them up and take a really big season action later on. Season Actions are resolved before the story continues.

That being said there are a number of things a Magus can do in a Season Action. Below are some of the actions a Magus is likely to take in a season. This is not a definitive list of what can be done in a season action. In fact, anything that would likely take an extended amount of time can be done in a season action.

As a last important note on season actions, there is a limit to how much vis you can work with in a season action. This limit is equal to you Vim score + your Magic Theory score.

Studying Vis

As a season action, a magus can choose to study vis in order to increase his/her understanding of the Arts or Magic Theory.

To raise an Art, the magus must spend an amount of vis of the Art type he is trying to raise. If the amount of vis spent plus any Aura (usually the Covenant’s) is greater than the Magus’s score in that Art then the Magus gains one point in that Art. This takes an entire season action.

To raise Magic Theory, the Magus goes through a similar process, spending vis to raise Magic Theory. The difference is that the vis is counted in pairs. These pairs of vis must be composed of one pawn of vis from a Form and one from a Technique. If the total number of vis pairs spent plus half of any Aura in which the study is performed (usually the Covenant’s, round down) is greater than the Magus’s Magic Theory score, the Magus gains one point in Magic Theory. Again this is a full season action.

Books and Training

Characters can spend season actions learning or teaching one another. There are two methods, training and books.

Training

Training involves being actively taught by an individual as a season action. Each character gives up a season action in order to train one of the characters in an Art or Skill. The "teacher"’s score in the subject must be higher than the "student"’s. The “teacher” chooses one of three methods for instructing the “student” in the subject; intimidation, scholarship, or rapport. The "teacher"’s score in the method must also be greater than the "student"’s skill in the subject. The “student” gains one point in the subject to a maximum of the "teacher"’s score in the method.

Books

Books work in a similar manner. The author of a book can only write a book to a score of the subject about which he is writing minus one or the score of his/her scholarship, which ever is lower. The book must have a score higher than the reader’s score in the subject. The reader can then gain one point in the subject Skill or Art until his score in the subject is equal to the score of the book.

Writing and studying a book are both season actions.

Spells

A Magus may spend a season action in order to Learn, Master, Copy, or Create spells.

A Magus can learn a spell as a season action so long as the spell is written out clearly, and the Magus’s score in the Technique + Form + Magic Theory is greater than or equal to the spell level.
One Magus may train another Magus in the use of a spell as a season action. A Magus can write out any spell he/she knows so that other Magi can read it at a rate of their Scholarship score times 4 in levels of spells, as a season action.

Spells are rarely written out clearly for distribution to other Magi. Magi tend to write in their own particular styles using lots of abbreviations or references that only really mean something to them. Then there are those Magi that deliberately write their personal notes and guides in code. Translating spells and Lab notes is a season action. Roll your Scholarship. If your total is equal to or higher than 2, you have translated one spell for a grimiore or one project from a lab text to notes that you can understand. If the document has been deliberately written with an intent to hide the meaning of the text, then you will have to roll over the author’s Deceit score + 2 in order to successfully translate the document, however the GM should keep the author’s Deceit score a secret. You can chose to rewrite a document in code as a season action.

A Magus can chose to Master a spell he already knows as a season action. You roll the dice and add the Technique and Form scores of the spell to the roll plus the Aura rating in which the lab sits. If this total is higher than the level of the spell, you gain mastery points, toward that spell, equal to the difference between the your roll and the spells level. Once you have mastery points equal to the spells level you have Mastered the spell.

Creating spells uses a similar process to mastering them. First you must design the effect as if you were going to cast the spell spontaneously. This will determine the power level of the effect and thus the spell level. Then you roll the dice and add your scores in the Technique and Form of the spell plus the Aura rating in which the lab resides. The difference between this total and the spell level give a number of points toward creating the spell. When you have a number of points toward creating the spell equal to the spell level, you have created the spell.

Enchantments and Potions

Opening an Item to Enchantment

Creating Foci and Greater Enchanted Items requires that you open the item to enchantment. This is a process by which your Magus attunes a physical item to magic in order to make it receptive to holding magic. Opening an item is a season action.

Physical objects have limits based on size and composition that govern how much magic that object can hold:

Material Base Size Example Multiplier
Common Materials(bone, wood, leather, steel) 1 tiny ring, bracelet, pendant, any gem X 2
Exceptional Materials(ivory, antique wood, fine leather, gold, silver) 2 small wand, dagger, belt, cap X 4
Semi-Precious and Precious Gems(diamond, ruby, emerald, amethyst, pearl) 3 medium sword, tunic, boots, skull X 6
Priceless Gems(denotes the above but larger)
All gemstones are considered tiny on the size chart.
4 large staff, shield, cloak, skeleton X 8
huge boat, wagon, human body, small room X 10

This total denotes the amount of vis it takes to open the item to enchantment and the number of enchantment slots the item has. Half this total equals the number of Focus slots the item has. So a gold ring (base 2 X 2 for size = 4) has 2 focus slots, 4 enchantment slots and takes 4 Vim vis to open. Add a small diamond to the ring and it shoots up to 5 focus slots, 10 enchantment slots and 10 Vim vis to open. Items made of a number of “things” do not have to be enchanted as one item. The individual pieces may be enchanted individually, so a gem on a staff may be enchanted but if the gem is ever separated from the staff, then the staff has no power as the staff was not enchanted.

To open an item to enchantment you must open the item fully. You must spend a number of pawns of Vim vis equal to the number of enchantment slots the item has, in one season action.

Foci

Foci are created by opening the item to enchantment and then spending a season attuning the item to your magic. These actions can be combined into one season action. A focus must be something that the Magus can hold in his/her hand without interfering with his/her movement.

A focus item may have a +1 to a Form and/or a Technique at the cost of one focus slot each. If you want a +2 in either a Form or a Technique then all Forms or all Techniques must be raised to +2 depending on which you are taking to +2, and an appropriate number of focus slots must be used to up them all. So, a focus with +1 Creo costs one focus slot; a focus with +1 Creo and +1 Ignem costs 2 focus slots; and a focus with +2 Creo and +1 Ignem cost three focus slots. Now if you want to add Muto to this focus you would spend two focus slots and your focus would be +2 Creo, +2 Muto and +1 Ignem. A focus can only ever have a total of Art bonuses equal to your Magic Theory score.

Alternatively, a focus slot may be spent to give the focus +2 to casting, targetting, or penetration when casting in certain situations or on certain types of targets. This bonus should be related to the physical material and form of the focus. For example, a wand made from wood derived from a sequoia might have a +2 to cast spells that make things bigger, because of what was used to construct the wand. It might also have a +2 to target spells that fire bolts of energy. There is no limit to the total bonus of such bonuses but each of these bonuses does occupy a focus slot. So, an item is limited in how many bonuses it can have based on the size and construction of the focus.

A Focus can be enchanted with a Greater Enchantment (see Greater Enchanted Item, below). You receive a +1 bonus toward enchanting your focus with a Greater Enchantment.

Greater Enchanted Items

1. Open the Item

The first step in creating a Greater Enchanted Item is to open the item to enchantment. This is the same process explained under Open an Item to Enchantment.

2. Design the Enchantment

Now you need to determine the effect of the enchantment. This will determine the starting level of the enchantment before modifying it with other design elements. The final level of the effect will determine how many slots the item must have to hold the enchantment and how much vis you must use to finish the enchantment. The effect can be the same as a formulaic spell out of the book or you can design it in the manner you use to come to the final level of a spontaneous spell.

1 use per day +0
Each additional use per day +1
Unlimited uses per day +the level of the effect
Continuously on +half the level of the effect

You must also decide how frequently you will be able to use the item. Being able to use the effect once a day adds nothing to the final level of the enchantment. Each additional use per day adds 1 to the final level of the enchantment. The item may have unlimited uses per day by doubling the starting level. An item that is constantly on adds half the starting level to the final level.

Next, if the effect is not constantly on, you must specify a triggering action for the item. This can be anything physical; a word, a movement, a stance, a combination of these. The item cannot read thoughts, so the trigger must be physical.

At this point the effect is assumed to have certain characteristics:

  • The effect cannot be modified by spending vis when using it.
  • The effect has no overage successes from Technique + Form.
  • The effect uses the wielder’s finesse to target, if it needs a targeting roll.
  • If the effect requires concentration to maintain it, the wielder maintains the concentration.
  • The effect can be used by anyone that knows the triggering action.
  • The effect can target anything on which it may be cast.

All of these characteristics may be modified by adjusting the final level of the enchantment as shown below.

3. Effect Modifications

Using Raw Vis

A healing wand is a nice thing to have on hand after a fight, but, without the ability to expend vis to extend the duration of the effect, it’s not very effective. You can give your enchanted item the ability to use vis “in the field” to increase the range, duration or both as if the effect were a formulaic spell. Add +1 to the final level of the enchantment to allow vis expenditures for range and/or +1 for duration.

Arts

The effect has no penetration and no bonus to targeting (unless it was designed into the effect). That is, it casts the effect as if it had just the right Technique + Form + a roll of 0. The item can retain any extra successes the creator would have to cast the spell with a roll of 0 (Technique + Form above the level of the effect) at the time of its enchantment by adding +2 to the final level of the enchantment. These successes must be divided into penetration or targeting at the time of enchantment, and are set until the enchantment is modified. Alternatively, the item can use the wielder’s Technique + Form as if the wielder has cast the spell, in order to determine penetration and targeting bonus, by adding +4 to the final level of the enchantment.

Targeting Skill

The item uses the wielder’s Finesse score for targeting the effect. This can be changed to another skill at a cost of +2. The skill used for targeting the effect should make sense to the effects use and how the effect can be avoided.

Concentration

Effects that require concentration make the user maintain that concentration, but the item can be made to effectively maintain concentration on its own by adding half the starting effect’s level to the final level. If concentration is required to change how the spell effects the target, the user is still required to maintain that concentration. For example, Lift the Dangling Puppet holds a person in the air, the user can raise or lower the person by concentrating.

User List

The item can be used by anyone that knows the trigger for the effect. You can restrict the items use to a list of people by adding +1 to the final level of the enchantment.

Only Effects Itself

If the enchantment only ever effects the item on which it has been cast, divide the total level by 2. This is the final level.

To summarize:

Raw vis for range +1
Raw vis for duration +1
Use creator’s Arts +2
Use wielder’s Arts +4
Use skill, other than finesse, for targeting +2
Item maintains concentration +half the level of the effect
Restrict use to list of people +1
Item only affects itself divide final level by 2

4. Instilling the Effect

Now that the effect is designed, it’s time to instill the effect in the item. Add your score in the Technique of the effect (If the effect has a requisite you may have to use the lower of the two techniques), your score in the Form of the effect (If the effect has a requisite you may have to use the lower of the two Forms), the Aura rating in which you are creating the item, and your score in Magic Theory. This total must be higher than the final level of the effect in order to instill the effect in the item. You gain points equal to the difference between your total and the final level of the effect per season action spent instilling the effect, toward instilling the effect. When these points add up to the final level of the effect, you finish instilling the effect in the item. So, if your total is double the final level of the effect, you can instill the effect in one season action. There are some additional modifiers you can call on to get your total up if you are short or want to make the process faster.

  • If you have picked materials that are commiserate with the effect you are instilling, then you may be able to invoke that aspect of the material and gain a bonus to your total. Explain how the material is related to the Technique or Form of the effect, or how it helps the effect. If the group agrees with your assessment you may spend a fate point and invoke that aspect to gain +2 to your total. You can do this multiple times in items that contain multiple components.
  • For each effect on the item that shares a Technique or Form with the effect you are instilling, Add +1 to your total.
  • If you know a formulaic spell with a similar effect, add +2 to your total.
  • If you are enchanting a Focus, that belongs to you, add +1 to your total.

Finally, you spend Raw vis to fortify the effect. For every two levels of the effect’s final level you must spend a pawn of vis attuned to either the Form or Technique of the effect. Each of these pawns of vis occupies an enchantment slot on the item, so the item is limited in the size of enchantment it can hold. If another effect is instilled into the same item it must fit within the remaining enchantment slots.

Lesser Enchanted Items

Lesser Enchanted Items are created exactly how Greater Enchanted Items are created except for three things.

  1. You do not open a Lesser Enchanted Item before enchanting it. The material and size chart under Opening Items to Enchantment still determines how many pawns of vis the item is able to accept.
  2. Once the item is enchanted, the enchantment can not be modified and no new enchantments may be added to the item.
  3. A Lesser Enchanted Item must be enchanted in one season action. If the total of your Technique + Form + Aura + Magic Theory + material aspects is not double the final level of the spell, then you can not instill this enchantment in this item in this fashion.
Potions and Charged Items

Potions and Charged items have magical abilities that disappear after the charges in the item are used. Their effects are designed like other enchanted items, but they have a number of uses per day equal to the number of charges the item has. Once the charges are used up the item loses all magical properties. Charged items take no vis to instill. Design their effect as normal, then compare the effect’s final level to your Technique + Form + Aura + Magic Theory + material aspects. For each point by which your total exceeds the effect’s final level, you can one charge of that effect. These charges may be split among a number of items equal to or less than the number of charges you are able to invest. If your total is only equal to the effect’s level you still gain one charge. If your total is less than the effect’s final level, then you are not able to instill that effect at this time.

Charged items may only contain one effect.

Note that a charged item with an effect duration of concentration that uses its last charge defaults to the users concentration or a diameter duration which ever the user wishes.

Investigating Enchantments

Familiars

A familiar is a beast that a magus befriends and then magically bonds with, instilling the beast with magical powers in the process and then using magic to merge its powers and abilities with his own. Though a familiar is very close to the magus who creates it, it always has its own will, and is not under the control of the magus.

Finding and Befriending an Animal

The first step in getting a familiar is finding an animal with inherent magic. The means of finding such a creature are ultimately left to the GM to determine. Wandering at random in search of a magical creature is usually profitless—magi generally follow rumors to the locations of the familiars they want. Some receive visions of animals that are somehow “meant” for them.

Once found, the animal must be befriended. You must genuinely admire or even love the animal in question, and it must trust you freely, under no coercion, magical or mundane. The animal can sense something of your nature when you are in close contact. If your natures clash, it rejects you. The need for mutual admiration between magus and familiar is why air magi, for example, often take birds as familiars, and why you can often tell something about magi by the familiars they have chosen and that have chosen them.

Enchanting the Familiar

Once you and the familiar accept each other, you take the animal to your laboratory and begin a series of enchantments. This takes a minimum of 2 seasons. Any serious distractions from these enchantments ruins them and forces you to start over from the beginning. Enchanting a familiar is different from other enchantments. The bond between you and your familiar causes changes to you both, and you do not have full control over how the enchantment affects you. The group determine how you are affected throughout the enchantment, though you do have control over the changes your familiar undergoes.

The First Season – Opening the Enchantment

After befriending the animal, the Magus takes the animal into his/her lab and begins the enchantment process. To begin this process, the magus must have an Animal score of 3 or higher. The Magus then chooses the Technique and Form that will be used to bind the familiar. This Technique and Form should correspond to the animal or its powers. For Example, using the Technique, Creo, and the, Form, Aquam, to bind a beaver as a familiar is plausible, because beavers spend a lot of time in and around water and they are known for building or creating structures to control that water. There are many justifiable Technique + Form pairs though and Animal + Vim is always an applicable pairing. Compare your Technique + Form + Magic Theory score to the animal’s Magic Might + 5. If your score is higher than the animal’s, then you can bind it and make it your familiar. Otherwise, the enchantment is beyond your capability, at this time, for this particular beast. The binding takes the animal’s Magic Might score + 5 vis to begin.

The Second Season – Strength of the Bond and the Three Cords

In the Second season, the Magus creates the three mystical cords that bind the familiar to the Magus. After this season, your familiar gives you the benefits of the three cords:

  • The Golden Cord: You may expend the power of the Golden Cord for the effect of one pawn of vis on a spontaneous spell, or to half the amount of vis needed to extend a formulaic spell’s range or duration. You may only do this once per scene.
  • The Silver Cord: Grants you an additional mild mental consequence.
  • The Bronze Cord: Grants you an additional mild physical consequence.

In addition, the familiar serves as an Arcane Connection to the Magus and the Magus is an Arcane connection to it. The familiar will not die of old age so long as the Magus is alive. It develops human intelligence and can understand any language the Magus understands. The Magus and the familiar develop a rudimentary language that only the two of them can understand. A familiar gains skill points and learns skills like any character, and can learn Magic Theory, though it can not learn to cast spells. A familiar may work as a lab assistant, adding its Magic Theory score to the Magus’s for laboratory activities. Lastly, the familiar may use your Parma Magica instead of its Magic Might score for resisting magical effects.

At the end of this season, the Magus expends 3 pawns of Vim vis and the bond is made permanent and undisspellable.

Tempering the Bond

Normally, this season is spent developing and instilling enchantments on the familiar bond. These are enchantments that effect the familiar, the Magus, or both. Each enchantment is built just as if the Magus were enchanting an item, with a few differences:

  • There is no limit to the number of powers that may be invested in a familiar.
  • The Magus gets no bonus from effects already instilled in the bond. He does get a +1 to his enchanting total for each Art used to create the bond that matches an Art used to create the effect (a total of +2, for the Technique and the Form matching).
  • Effects are limited to those targeting the Magus, the familiar, or both the Magus and the familiar.

Most effects instilled in a bond are cast as touch ranged spells, as a familiar and Magus are considered to have such a connection even if they are not able to physically touch one another.

Common effects instilled in a bond include; mental communication, shapechanging, combat abilities, sense translocation, enhanced senses, ect.

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The Laboratory

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