This game imports some rules from my Armageddon House Rules section, and namely:
Additional rules specific to the game are described below.
All Earthling PC's start with the following automatic Qualities and Drawbacks (which do not require or give them any points): 5 additional Quality Points, the Dry Soul Drawback (see below), one additional level of Strength (to a maximum of 7), and a -6 to their Endurance Points.
The huge amounts of Essence available make use of metaphysical powers much more common: all non-Earthling humans are automatically considered Gifted (those who buy the Gift, however, have additional advantages - see below), which means they can buy any Supernatural Quality requiring The Gift (except for the ones, specified below, that still list it as prerequisite); also, all sentient beings can channel up to their Willpower per Turn, plus five times their Essence Channeling value, and recover ten times as many points as they would according to the standard rules. Transferring Essence from other beings, however, follows the normal rules.
By the same token, Times of Power also provide ten times the normal Essence; the amount so computed, however, must then be reduced according to the rules in the following section (which means, the Essence provided by a Time of Power with a normal amount of 20 will be increased to 46 in this setting). Essence provided by Numbers of Power during Group Magic, on the other hand, retains the normal amount.
Finally, no penalties are applied for Essence loss until the character is at 0 points or less.
All Essence expenditures in MotSM are reduced: insert the original amount (as defined by the WC/Armageddon/AFMBE rules) in the following text box, the page will figure out the actual cost.
On the flip side, if you have a set amount of Essence you are spending, the maximum effect you can get (note that you can settle for a lesser effect in the same point range) is as follows:
Given the widely available knowledge of magic, Metaphysical Special Skills, such as Invocations, are considered Special Skills like any other - that is, any character who can use Invocations can opt to learn them as such, with the required points being taken from either the Skill or Meta pools, or divided between the two; on the other hand, XP improvement follows the same rules as Special Skills.
Although no Unskilled Attempts can be made to perform Invocations, Gifted characters with Old Soul can access some of their previously known Invocations through that Quality (see below).
By the same token, due to the vast amount of lore available, Occultism is learned as a Normal Skill.
Dragons aren't simply large animals: they are as intelligent as humans, and usually much more sensitive, and they used to have a complex society, that is now almost extinct. They are normally only found in a group of humans when they are linked to a Dragoneer, as there are very few reasons for a Dragon to ever go into a human settlement, but there have been a few exceptions, usually caused by curiosity. As they are a supernatural race, creating a Dragon requires the use of the Lesser Supernatural template or similar. All the powers and abilities pertinent to Dragons, including bonuses, are detailed in the related section below.
Dragoneers are a small group of humans (and only humans) who have had the luck of growing up with a young Dragon (as such, this Quality can only be acquired as both the Dragon and the Dragoneer are kids). The link between Dragon and kid begins through imprinting at birth, so the Dragoneer must be the first being the Dragon sees in her life; the Dragon must then, for whatever reason, perform a Lesser Healing on the Dragoneer (this can happen months or even years after the Dragon's birth): at that point, the link becomes permanent and unbreakable.
The various advantages Dragoneers (and Dragons) get by their bond is described below; as a flip side, Draon and Dragoneer have a Total Obligation (level 3) to each other, from which they gain no points. Dragoneers lose the ability to forge additional spiritual bonds (to Spirit Patrons and similar entities), to learn Necromancy, and to obtain Divine Inspiration. Primal Humans can bond with a Dragon, but those who do cannot have any Power from Awe, Beast, Life, Might, and Thanathos. Dry Souls children who become Dragoneers automatically gain the same Gifted ability as any other human, so characters cannot have both the Dragoneer Quality and the Dry Soul Drawback.
Characters with this Drawback cannot benefit from the Essence Manipulation and Recovery advantages described in this page, and use the normal rules to determine how much Essence they can channel and recover. They are also not considered Gifted for purposes of acquiring any Supernatural quality or Metaphysic Power. This Drawback costs 10 XP to remove, and the player must provide a very compelling reason for his character to suddenly become (the equivalent of) Gifted. For obvious reasons, Gifted characters cannot buy this Drawback.
Enlightened Humans get 3 additional Meta Points per level of Willpower, can channel Essence at will, and recover twenty times their combined Willpower and Essence Channeling score per minute. They also gain access to the standard Enlightened Powers from the Book of Hod.
Gifted characters benefit of additional Essence Manipulation and Recovery advantages: double all the benefits described above, and add one free level of Essence Channeling. They also enjoy the same Essence perception abilities as Ghosts, including visual perception of auras and spirit beings as per Mindsight.
Some Gifted are better than others in particular fields of Magic; such Mages often have a title depending on their specialty(-ies): Elementalists, Conjurers, Abjurers, Summoners, or Mentalists. In game terms, those who possess this Quality can add one point per level to their rolls to all Tasks involving their specific field. This bonus does not apply necessarily to specific Invocations, as much as specific Effects: Elementalists can apply that bonus to any Elemental Invocation, but also to any Invocation dealing with Elements and Elementals, Conjurers apply their bonus to effects that create something new (real or illusionary), Abjurers to any effect destroying objects or beings, Summoners to any Invocation dealing with Spirits, and Mentalists to any mental effect (usually those that can be resisted with an Intelligence, Perception, or Willpower roll). As a special ability, Summoners can deal normally with any kind of spirit, even if they don't know the specific Invocation: this uses their Specialty level as Invocation level, with a penalty of -3. The bonuses apply only to magical Task rolls: an Abjurer trying to throw a Soulfire Bolt would get the bonus to the Invocation Task, and it would still be included in the total when using the same roll to aim the bolt at the target; if he tried to aim with a Magic Bolt Task, however, he'd be on his own.
Liches are powerful mages who manage to survive beyond their natural lives; this allows them to conquer great power, but at a terrible price. The Eternal Mortals details the advantages and disadvantages of being a Lich.
This Quality works just as described in the Armageddon book, with one exception: characters who buy the Gift can access some of the magical knowledge from their previous lives. For each level of Old Soul, Gifted characters receive a number of Skill Points, to put into Invocations, equal to their level of Intelligence.
All the Spirit Patrons can automatically hear those they protect, although they can revoke this privilege at will, and talk to them at any time. Gifted can opt to acquire the Spirit Patron Quality with a Free Link option (at no cost): the Patron may temporarily grant the Gifted a Boon (or Primal Power), with an Essence cost of one per point value of the Boon; this Essence can only be recovered when the Boon is returned to the Patron. Primal Powers granted this way are activated with a Difficult Willpower Test, unless the character gained levels of the Primal Skill somehow. The Free Link option can only be activated if the Spirit Patron isn't granting any other Boons, including temporary ones, effectively limiting the total number of Boons or Primal Powers granted by the patron to one, with the exception of Boons that have no cost (such as Forever Young). As such, it is automatically dropped as soon as one permanent Boon with a CP cost is acquired for that Spirit Patron. It must be noted that, when the Free Link clause is active, the Patron is under no obligation to grant any requested Boons.
Notes on Cybernetics:
Any Attribute bonuses provided by cybernetic implants do not count toward the character's Essence Pool.
Characters with Resources above 3 get two Quality Points per level of Status to be spent in Cybernetics.
Characters with military backgrounds get one Quality Point per level of Status to be spent in Cybernetics, plus a flat bonus of 5 points.
This Quality is the basic prerequisite for any cybernetic implant. Civilian power cells (which have a cost of 3 points) contain a simple fuel-air reaction system able to process substances in the user's bloodstream. The preference is usually given to waste products that can still be brought to a lower energy state (for instance, alcohol is burned on sight, incidentally making it very hard for the owner to get drunk, and even harder to stay that way for more than a few minutes), but sugars and fats can be also processed if needed. A small internal battery stores a limited amount of energy to sustain the implants when the body has limited oxygen available. Military power cells (the 8-point version) use low-temperature nuclear fusion microreactors, but they are considerably bigger and implanting them requires the removal of a major organ (usually the spleen, which doesn't require a cybernetical replacement). Military power cells are only available to characters with an active military rank (inactive/reserve officers, and ex-military, will have to stick to the 3-point version).
This quality comes in five classes: Class-1 costs 1 point, Class-2 costs 3, Class-3 costs 5, Class-4 costs 6, Class-5 costs 8. A cybernetic interface provides storage and interface capabilities. Class-3 and above include a large database, covering practically any area of human knowledge, granting a Skill Level 2 (3 for Class-4 and above) to most Unskilled Attempts at any Tasks involving INT; Class-5 Interfaces also grant a +2 if the skill is already known. These benefits are only granted if the user has the time to consult the database (five to ten minutes, in most cases), with the exception of the Language Skill: a universal translator is integrated in all Class-3 and above units. Class-2 and above Interfaces also allow for playback of sensorial inputs coming from other implants (granting a very literal form of Photographic Memory). Finally, as the name suggests, this Implant can be used to gain a virtual interface to any computer or other intelligent machine (such as drones, nanobots, etc.): with the proper authorization codes, the computer can easily be accessed or reprogrammed by the user.
The virtual interface sends its output directly to the user's brain, in the format selected by the owner (for computers, that's usually some kind of console, but it could be turned into full-immersion virtual reality for remotely-controlled drones and the like, or anything else the user deems appropriate for the task). However, there is a limit on how flexible this access is: Class-1 and Class-2 Interfaces can only control simple machines (that is, they can only project standard consoles); Class-3 and above have access to virtual reality features; Class-5 have the fullest possible range.
This implant can be used to replace (but not supplement) the Improved Sight Quality, providing the same benefits. It also grants night vision (reduce bad lightning penalties by one level - the owner can almost never be considered in total darkness), and a wider visible-light spectrum (100 um - 100 nm).
This implant can be used to replace (but not supplement) the Improved Hearing Quality, providing the same benefits. It also grants a wider auditory range (10-40000 Hz).
Each limb costs 1 point and grants an effective Strength bonus of 2 points to all Tasks and Tests involving that limb. Damage to cybernetic limbs is taken from their DC: each implant has a DC of 15 points, and ignores damage modifiers. An implant brought below 0 points ceases functioning; 1/5 of the additional damage is taken from the owner's Life Pool, as a malfunctioning limb tends to surge, leak, and in general have unhealthy side effects. Cybernetic limbs do not generally repair themselves, unless a nanobot implant is available: in that case, each limb regains 1 point of damage per hour. This Quality is incompatible with Full-Body Replacement.
This implant basically replaces the whole body, granting STR +4, DEX +1, and CON +2; additional Attribute levels can be bought at a cost of 1 per level. After character creation, the Attributes can be increased up to level 12 each, but an appropriately equipped laboratory must be available, and each modification carries an additional cost of 5 points. The Life Pool is replaced by a DC of CON x 8 + 20, and additional DC can be acquired at character creation at a cost of 1 per 10 points. After character creation, the cost for additional DC is tripled, and an appropriately equipped laboratory is required to effect the change. Characters with a Full-Body Replacement become immune to most poisons (except for those that can reduce an object's DC) and pretty much any illnesses (unless specifically engineered to bypass the implant's defenses, or metaphysical in origin). On the flip side, metal does not regenerate, so no natural healing is possible, unless a nanobot implant is also acquired. Note that this Quality does not automatically provide the benefits of any other implants, such as cybernetic eyes and ears - which may still be acquired separately.
Like any other cybernetic Quality, this implant requires a Power Cell: for characters with a civilian Power Cell, Endurance is computed like DC (CON x 8 + 20), and additional Endurance can be acquired at a cost of 1 per 10 points. The current Endurance score represents the amount of energy the body as in store: 2 points per day will be consumed for simple sustenance, and further Endurance can be spent when hard work is performed; when the Endurance reaches 0, the character dies of starvation. The good news is, anything that can be burned will work as food for the character: all the elements required by the brain will be synthesized by the life support systems, so you can throw away those RDA charts. Oxygen is required for civilian power cells to work properly, so suffocation (but not strangulation) rules apply normally. For any other purpose, the character can be treated as having no Endurance pool - that is, any attacks that drain Endurance can be ignored. Characters with military Power Cells have unlimited Endurance, and can basically survive everywhere, including outer space, for unlimited amounts of time.
Lack of sleep doesn't have the usual Endurance effects: the character suffers a penalty to all actions equal to -1 per four hours without sleep after the first 20; when this modifier gets higher than twice the character's Willpower, he will need to pass a consciousness roll every other hour or fall asleep. The penalty so accumulated is reduced by 1 point per four hours of sleep: the character normally only needs to sleep four hours a night to be fully rested.
Life Points death occurs normally for characters with a robotic body, as large amounts of damage will affect the life-support systems; characters with a nanobot implant, however, may try to enter suspended animation at any time, as long as their body's DC is above 0: once in suspended animation, the body will be repaired by the nanobots (as long as the power cell can provide the required energy). Characters in suspended animation do not need to roll for survival until at -200 DC or below; however, when they wake up they'll better be above -10 DC, or they will need to pass a Survival Roll with an additional penalty of -6.
The major drawbacks of this Quality are metaphysical in nature: a character with this Quality permanently loses 5 Essence, they may not be revived or healed magically, and they may never become Gifted.
Layers of ceramic microplates may be embedded in the skin to provide protection against almost any source of damage known; for each point spent on this Quality, a natural AV of 1 is acquired. The maximum level is the character's CON (including bonuses due to other cybernetic implants) for normal humans, twice that amount for those who have the Full-Body Replacement Quality.
This implant provides health benefits to its owner, in the form of fast recovery from injuries and illnesses. The user gains 3 levels of Constitution, a healing rate of 3 points per hour, and a chance to fight off any illness except deadly ones with a Simple Constitution Test (only one Test per day is allowed). Deadly illnesses can also be cured, but they are more difficult to heal: the user needs to pass a Difficult Constitution Test (only one Test per week is allowed).
Nanobots can also provide limited sustenance to the user, primarily the brain: add ten seconds per Constitution level to the time the user can stay without breathing, and reduce all damages due to strangulation or suffocation by one point (one point/Turn when the cause of the damage lasts for multiple Turns). If an Interface is available, the character can opt to use that extra sustenance to enter a state of suspended animation instead: this requires six full rounds, and another six to wake up completely, and extends the suffocation time to three hours per Constitution level, also allowing survival in extreme circumstances (subpolar cold, total void...). While in this state, the user will be absolutely incapable of any action, and will appear dead to most clinical analyses.
As a side note, this technology has been successfully used, combined with military power cells, to keep wounded soldiers in stasis for days, weeks, and even months, lost in space with broken suits and critical wounds, or under similarly extreme circumstances, until rescue teams were able to retrieve them. However, this has usually had severe psychological side effects...
This implant usually consists of a laser beam projector or microwave pulse emitter. It requires either the Full-Body Replacement Implant or at least one cybernetic arm. The table below describes the possible implants, detailing the Quality Points cost, the damage rate (die and multiplier), the damage type (laser weapons cause fire damage and can be used against any target, microwave pulses only affect living beings and objects with electronic parts), the Armor Piercing factor, the Multiplier Factor (after AV is subtracted), the Endurance Cost (per shot, see below), and any special notes that apply to the weapon implant. Multiple implants can be acquired, adding their costs.
For characters without a military Power Cell, an Endurance cost is applied to each shot: in the table below, that cost has two values: basic cost (taken from all characters without a military Power Cell) plus additional (for characters without the Full-Body Replacement implant); the former is a physical energy expenditure and is regained by eating (any decent meal will restore the full amount of Endurance lost in such way), the latter represents fatigue (firing a laser weapon is a heavy physical activity, not unlike running or swimming) and is recovered normally. The sum of the two values is the final cost. Basic Endurance up to half the total pool can be recovered, at half the normal rate, even if the character is forced to fast for a while, but this way they will quickly move to the extra-lean side of the weight curve after a few firefights, eventually risking death by starvation.
The Rate of Fire for all implants on civilian Power Cells is the user's CON in basic Endurance (that is, an implant with a basic Endurance cost of 2 could be shot twice a round by a user with a CON of 5, four times a round by a user with a CON of 8, once every two rounds by a user with a CON of 1, and so on). For military Power Cells, the RoF is equivalent to 12 Endurance points per round, flat.
|Cost||Damage||Type||AP Factor||Mult. Factor||End. Cost||Special Notes|
|2||D4x2(4)||Fire||1||1||1+1||Basic laser weapon. Uses handguns range.|
|4||D4x4(8)||Fire||1||1||2+1||Improved laser beam. Uses handguns range.|
|6||D6x4(12)||Fire||1||1||2+2||Range as per Shotgun/Slug.|
|12||D6x4(12)||Fire||2||2||2+2||Range as per Assault Rifles.|
|3||D6x4(12)||Microwave||Ignore AV||1/4, No DC||1+1||Stunner: basic damage is applied to Endurance, 1/4 to Life Points.|
There are a few important differences in the physical laws.
In fact, they barely expand at all, when heated; this means no steam-powered vehicles, no guns, no aerostats... It also implies that there is no "absolute zero" temperature...
Which means, no high-frequency computers will work. Low-frequency currents, however, like those coming from a pacemaker or other bioimplant, will work normally.
Only extremely heavy atoms will break when hit by a neutron, and chain reactions are extremely unlikely: no fissile reaction is possible with the atoms we are used to. Nuclei can also be easily made to fusion; however, such a reaction provides much less energy than we are used to.
Very few nuclei will spontaneously decay, but even stable atoms may be made to decay massively, and with little or no energy emission, under certain conditions. Nuclear fusion reactions are also affected by the differences in nuclear bonds (for instance, reactors won't usually work). Stars, however, keep shining regardless.
Because of the above two elements, heavier elements exist in nature than we are used to, and as such are used in ways we wouldn't; for instance, elements such as Plutonium (which is deadly radioactive even in tiny amounts) are perfectly stable.
Alchemical tranformations are Essence-based extensions to chemistry and nuclear physics. Skilled alchemists can turn lead into gold and vice versa, and create potions with Invocation-like effects.
Alchemy is learned as a Special Skill, and it covers aspects of Chemistry, Physics, Metaphysics, and Enchantment; using it to create something often requires an Essence expenditure, which is computed according to the descriptions below, then reduced using the above calculator.
While the main skill provides the general knowledge, one or more Specializations are required to achieve each of the effects below, and are listed in parentheses after the effect's name; two levels in the Invocation are needes to learn a Specialization, allowing only Alchemists with at least 8 levels in the Skill to learn all four. When rolling for a Task, the Specialization bonus is not taken into account: it is just a prerequisite for being able to effect the roll. Physics- and Chemistry-based effects also require a lab (which costs 2 Quality points and has at least one level of positive Resources as a prerequisite), while Metaphysics-based ones require an Alchemic Decanter (see below).
Wanna turn lead to gold? This is the effect you need. Each pound of mass costs 50 Essence per atomic number of difference between the initial and the final elements; for instance, turning one kilogram (two pounds) of lead (Z=82) into gold (Z=79) has a base cost of 300 Essence, which translates to an actual Essence expenditure of 59. The transformation requires one minute per pound per atomic number, and the element is transformed gradually and progressively: in the above example, lead would have to turn into thallium and mercury before finally becoming gold, with the inner atoms being transformed first. Impurities in the original material will also be filtered out during the transformation, leaving only the required elements in the exact proportion desired by the Alchemist: if all the materials are already present, only 5 Essence per pound are required to filter out the impurities and mix the remaining ones the way the Alchemist desires. This effect also allows the Alchemist to precisely place the atoms during the purification process: simple alloys (which simply allow the atoms to intermix freely in the wanted proportion) can be made without penalties, while creating complex structures (i.e., building actual objects) requires an Intelligence and Craft Task of the appropriate skill type at a variable difficulty, depending on how complex the object is. For comparison, building a steel fork is at +5, aligning carbon crystals into a diamond is at +0, and creating a simple PN diode is at -5. Creating something as complex as a microchip requires an Intelligence of at least 6, and is at a base -20.
Alchemic potions can be made to provide effects equivalent to most Invocations (although some effects can only be replicated with Invocation Items, see below), at the same cost. The Alchemist need not know the actual Invocation, and failure of the Focus Task, which uses Willpower and Alchemy Skill, will not require Dismissal; however, one tenth of the actual Essence cost will be removed from the Alchemist's pool until the potion is used, which makes it hard for the alchemist to keep several potions in stock "just in case", and creating a potion requires one minute per actual Essence point required. Alchemists are assumed to have common ingredients in their lab, but very powerful potions require very powerful ingredients: creating potions with a cost above 50 actual Essence requires the Alchemist to have one additional level of Resources per 50 points of cost. If the vial containing the potion crashes, or the potion is otherwise spilled, the effect takes place on the object or person that receives it, and the potion is considered used - this can have dangerous or amusing side-effects if the vial breaks accidentally. It is possible to partially use a potion (for instance, to heal 20 Life Points out of a 50-point vial), but not if the effect is packetized (e.g., you can't half-cure a disease): in the latter case, the occurrence of the effect will be determined by rolling a die (for instance, if half of the potion is spilled, the effect will take place with a 6-10 on a D10; of course, no roll is needed if the potion is used in its entirety).
Turning a bar of lead into a bar of gold is one thing, but turning water into wood is something else entirely. The six basic elements are Fire, Water, Air, Earth, Spirit, and Life. Turning one pound of each into one pound of the other costs 50 Essence and requires one minute, during which the required element must sit in the alchemist's Decanter (see below). No pure Earth elements can be created via this effects: there is always a 10% of unwanted chemicals in the mix; these may be filtered out with a Nuclear Manipulation effect after creation.
Potions can only perform a subset of the full Invocations range (for instance, they cannot be used to summon a spirit or create an illusionary object). This effect creates a one-time use item, which can be anything the Alchemist decides to work on, capable of replicating any Invocation effect: it is normally used to create wands, scrolls, and the like. The item is subjected to strong energies when the effect is activated, suffering 3 points of internal fire damage (this does not affect the wielder, only the object itself): when the item is a scroll, that usually causes it to burst into flames and be destroyed. AV is subtracted normally from that damage, so very resilient objects can be made to have multiple charges - which must be imbued into it one at a time, with different rolls. If an enchanted object is destroyed while it's still still holding charges, the Essence so freed will cause random and unpredictable effects.
To create a full-fledged Invocation Item, the Alchemist must know the Invocation; 20 Essence points, plus 10 points per Invocation Level, must be paid, for each charge, to woven the necessary Essence matrix into the object, and one tenth of the actual Essence expenditure cannot be recovered until the charge is used; when the object is activated (in a way decided by the Alchemist as the Invocation is being imbued into it), the user can perform any of the Invocation's effects he knows about, by paying the appropriate Essence and rolling Willpower and the Alchemist's Invocation level. If the Task succeds, the required Essence will be marked off the user's pool automatically, if it fails no Essence will be spent but the object will still suffer the normal damage and lose one charge. If the user's current pool is lower than the required amount, the roll cannot be attempted, and no charges are used. By spending 50 Essence, plus 20 per Invocation Level, and permanently sacrificing 1/10th of this amount in actual Essence, the Alchemist may choose to give the object an unlimited amount of charges: such an object can be activated once per Willpower level of the Alchemist per day. By raising the permanent Essence expenditure, the alchemist can increase the number of uses per day by one every 2 Essence permanently sacrificed.
The Alchemist may also elect to only store a single, specific effect in the object, along with the Essence required to activate it, even if he doesn't know the Invocation: each charge costs twice the normal amount for the desired effect, and it always works. One Essence point per charge is permanently removed from the Alchemist's Essence pool until used - permanently if the Alchemist does not know the Invocation. This is the preferred way to create a scroll, and very often wands and staves as well.
Finally, the Alchemist can create Empowered Items using his Alchemy Skill instead of the Empowered Invocation, following the same rules.
In order to perform Alchemic transmutations in the Metaphysic realm, Alchemists need a specially enchanted Decanter. The main use for such an object is to perform Elemental Manipulation; it can also be used to store object and creatures in a timeless space, but that makes it unusable until the object or creature is removed; sentient creatures can roll a Simple Willpower Test at +3 against the Alchemist's Willpower and Alchemy Skill Task to resist being sucked into the Decanter.
Alchemic Decanters are metaphysical in nature: a larger object than the Decanter's mouth will shrink as it's sucked inside/enlarge when it's dumped outside it - that is, as long as the alchemist can spend the required Essence: 10 points per pound if the alchemist only intends to store the object, the normal amount (see above) if he actually intends to transmute it; if the Alchemist stores the object and later decides to transmute it, he must still pay the full transmutation cost. Removing an object/creature does not require an Essence expenditure, but it can only be done by the Alchemist who originally stored it, or by shattering the Decanter itself.
Creating an Alchemic Decanter is pretty easy: it requires an Intelligence and Alchemy Task at +2 to be performed on a standard glass Decanter, while it is being washed in spring water; if that succeeds, 10 permanent Essence points are spent to effect the change. The whole operation takes less than five minutes, and makes the Decanter very resistent, giving it an AV of 50; if that value is exceeded the Decanter will shatter (no DC is applied), but such an event is pretty uncommon. Decanters often survive their creators and are passed down to an apprentice; having a Decanter is a 2-point Quality if taken at character creation.
The philosopher's stone is the last achievement of the greatest alchemists. Only a few exist, and each one is guarded carefully: creating a Philospher's Stone requires Alchemy 10 or better, knowledge of all four Specializations, the permanent sacrifice of 110 actual Essence, and ten years of hard work.
Using a Philosopher's Stone is easier, but not so much: it requires Alchemy 5 or better, plus two Specializations. The following is a list of what the Alchemist can achieve with a Philosopher's Stone:
Provided the user has the prerequisites, no Tasks or Tests are required to use the Stone: the Alchemist need merely focus his attention, spend the required Essence, and the effect will take place.
A Philosopher's Stone is a most coveted item, worth whole kingdoms (note the plural). Those who possess such an item tend to guard it with their lives; with the power the Stone provides, whole armies are usually required to force the Alchemist to part with his treasure. As a Quality, the Stone is worth at least 50 points, and that includes a load of Drawbacks in the form of Adversaries.
The Light Invocation is a weaker form of the Fire Invocation; the side effects of a failed Dismissal are considerably less dangerous than the ones for Elemental Fire, usually resulting in impressive light shows. If the caster has destructive intents, failure to Dismiss the invocation results in nasty sunburns, but never life-threatening injuries.
3 Essence per minute
This effect creates a sphere of solid light, with a size variable from a golf ball to a basket ball (chosen at casting time), which throws light like a torch in a radius of 10 yards (meters). Its consistency is rubber-like (effective AV, 10 points; DC, 1 point), and it also bounces like a ball of similar size: because of that, while scholars typically use it as a light source, kids are far more creative. As long as the sphere is active, it can be recharged by channeling Essence into it, up to the amount originally spent in the Invocation; once its power is depleted, it rapidly shrinks and disappears into nothingness within a Turn.
A bolt of light with the intensity of a laser can be tossed at a target, causing D4 points of damage per Essence spent. If the Dismissal Task for this effect fails, the caster suffers one point of sunburn damage per Essence point spent; this is Life damage up to 1/6 of his total Life pool, rounded up, and Endurance damage after that. Since the burn is on the hand and arm tossing the bolt, it may effectively impair the caster's ability to wield weapons or perform any task requiring manual dexterity (all Tasks and Tests involving the limb suffer a penalty equal to the Life damage suffered). If more than 30 Essence are spent on this Effect, the effectiveness of the Light Bolt increases dramatically: the base damage is increased to D6(3) times the Essence spent, any Armor or Barrier Value encountered is divided by two before being applied, and the remaining damage is doubled after penetration; the effects of a botched Dismissal, however, also increase: the caster suffers three points of damage per Essence spent. Most casters only fail to Dismiss this improved Effect once.
This effect increases the light level around the character. Essence cost ranges from one (weak candlelight) to 10 (dazzling brilliance). Duration is one Turn per Success Level, increased to one hour per SL if five times the required Essence is spent.
Call Upon the Sun
A globe of light appears above the character, radiating a light that affects the surrouding environment and creatures just like the Sun itself would (it is, to all extents and purposes, true sunlight). The effect costs three Essence Points for a duration of one Turn per Success Level, or 20 Essence Points for one hour per Success level.
The Darkness Invocation is the flip side of Elemental Light; as a special side effect, failing an Invocation and the subsequent Dismissal may leave the caster blind for a while (typically one Turn per Essence point spent). If the caster has destructive intents, failure to Dismiss may result in skin discoloration and/or dark scars (reduce Attractiveness accordingly) that last for several days.
This effect allows the caster to see in complete darkness, and never be affected by any lighting penalties. The cost is one essence per Turn, which can pe paid either each Turn (effectively reducing the caster's Channeling level by one) or in toto at casting time.
This effect decreases the light level around the character. The radius of effect is one yard (meter) per Essence Point spent, and the amount of light to be absorbed adds to the final cost as follows: turning a starry night into total darkness adds two Essence; candle-light costs four; a well-lit room, or a cloudy afternoon, can be darkened for eight Essence; darkening broad daylight costs 12. Duration is one Turn per Success Level.
Tendrils of Darkness
The character can create limbs of solid darkness, with a Strength equal to the amount of Essence put into them, divided by five, that last one Turn per Success Level. They can reach out up to three yards (meters) per Willpower level, and inflict D4(2) x Strength points of damage when used to strike, which can be turned into slashing damage by adding two more Essence per Stength level. All Tasks are resolved using Dexterity and Invocation level.
This Invocation replaces Soulfire to all extents and purposes. It can be used to generate the same effects as Soulfire, plus the ones described below.
This Effect is similar to the Shielding Invocation (and can theoretically be replicated with it), but works more like a Physical Shield for the soul than an actual Essence Shield. For each Essence point invested in the Invocation, a 5-point Essence "buffer" is created around the recipient of the spell, protecting him from any metaphysical harm that would reduce his Essence score. The Shield is attuned to the recipient's soul, which means it absorbs Essence damage regardless of the source - for instance, Vampyres have been known to use it to "work around" their vulnerability to light. Finally, it cannot have an AV: attempts to craft one will seem to work, but the Shield won't offer any additional protection.
There is more to Essence Mastery than is described in the Mystery Codex: this Invocation allows the caster to perform metamagic feats on spells being cast or ongoing magical effects.
The user can prevent spells to be cast, or dissolve ongoing spells by simply spending more Essence than is being used to fuel them. Against metaphysics other than Invocations, however, this effect does not offer a full protection: it works simply as a Defensive Essence use.
The user can "take over" a spell's effect, by spending the same amount of Essence it would take to dissolve it: this shifts all the side effects of the spell (such as the Essence reduction due to keeping some Invocations active, the ability to Dismiss active spells at will, the Essence signature of the spell, and so on) on the Essence Mastery user. To all extents and purposes, he will become the caster of the spell he's taking over. The Essence Mastery Task is resisted by the original Invocation Task when attempting to use this effect.
This effect allows the caster to delay a spell's effect almost indefinitely. The user must first cast Essence Mastery on the area or object he wants to affect, deciding which events will trigger the spell, then cast the effect he wants to delay: if either Task fails, he must start again from scratch. When the conditions are met, the spell will take place normally in the way chosen by the caster. One Essence point, of the 20 used in casting Essence Mastery, is removed from the user's Essence pool until the effect takes place. This is not a recommended method to create scrolls and wands, as such small objects (total volume less than one cubic yard) don't work well with each other: each time an object of this kind is used, there is a 1 in 10 chance that Delay Spells on other small objects within a yard of radius will also go off (roll a D10 for each object: on a roll of one, the effect will take place as if its casting condition had been met). It is possible to cast multiple Delay Effect on an area or a large object at no penalty, but doing so on a small object will increase the chance of setting off nearby objects by 1/10 per additional spells, to a maximum of 9/10. No object will, anyway, ever set off its own other Delay Spell effects, no matter how small it is or how many charges it contains.
By increasing the amount of Essence spent, the caster can extend the duration of a spell he's about to cast that would not normally allow this possibility. The increment is linear: double cost means double duration, triple cost triple duration and so on. Instantaneous spells cannot benefit from this possibility.
1 Essence per minute (Special)
The caster can opt to suspend an ongoing spell he's cast for as long as he decides to. While this effect is active, the user's Essence recovery rate is reduced by one level per minute per spell he's keeping suspended. Casters with an Essence recovery rate of less than one point per minute will lose one Essence point per minute instead, recovered normally. Objects with the ability to regain Essence Empowered with this effect will similarly find their Essence recovery rate reduced. If Suspend Spell is imbued in a standard Empowered object (one that "dies" with the caster who created it), the object's maker will lose one level of his Essence recovery rate while the effect is active.
Provided the user is within line of sight of the spell, this effect allows him to replace an ongoing effect he'd cast previously with one of the same kind, rolling his Essence Mastery Invocation level instead of his actual Invocation one (regardless of which bonus is higher). This is most useful while recasting important spells (such as a Ward), to avoid having to Dismiss them first: if the Willpower and Essence Mastery Task fails, the original spell remains in place, otherwise the new roll total and Essence expenditure replace the old ones. It has to be noted that, if the user takes over a spell he doesn't know, he can recast its ongoing effect (and only that effect), which enables him to reinforce - or, if needed, weaken - it.
By spending the same amount of Essence originally used, the caster can bring an ongoing effect back to full power. While many spells can normally be "refueled", this particular effect of Essence Mastery requires no Task to be rolled - not even the Essence Mastery one: as long as the user is within line of sight from the spell's effect, he can renew it by simply spending the same amount of Essence used in casting it. He cannot, however, alter it in any way: a 9-point Blessing can be brought back to its 3 points total by spending 9 Essence, but it cannot be changed into a 12-point or a 6-point one; note that, while the whole cost of the spell must be paid, for Invocations such as Shielding and Blessing only the original amount will remain unavailable to the caster. See also the caveat in the Recast Spell effect above about renewing spells the user's taken over.
There are very few things in nature as scary as an angry Dragon. However, meeting a Dragon is a remarkable event, as there aren't that many left. All Dragons share a number of common abilities, and each species also has a number of special ones; humans who should have the luck of bonding with them are also granted (and, in turn, grant their companions) some unique powers.
All Dragons get a +10 to Strength, a +2 to Perception and Willpower, and +1 to Intelligence, with the following maximums: 30 for Strength, 12 for Dexterity and Constitution, 7 for Intelligence, 10 for Perception and Willpower. Their Life Points formula is (Strength + Constitution) x 5 + 100, and their Endurance one is (Constitution + Strength + Willpower) x 5 + 100; their Essence is calculated normally, but they begin with 50 extra points, and can buy levels of Increased Essence normally. They also regenerate a number of Life Points per minute equal to their Constitution level, and have a natural AV twice that amount, which makes them very hard to kill.
Dragons can use any of their natural powers freely, channeling as much Essence as they like, and recover twice their Willpower in Essence points per minute. For all the Invocations they can cast, and for other powers granted by their link with a Dragoneer, they can channel twice their Willpower each Turn, unless otherwise specified.
Dragons may acquire any Acute Sense Quality up to twice, once before and once after character creation. All Dragons are especially attuned to Essence and enjoy the same sensory abilities as Spirits; also, all lighting penalties are reduced by one level for Dragons: even in total darkness, they can still see the Essence patterns of the surroundings. Dragoneers automatically gain the same abilites (including levels of Acute Senses) when they are within 10 yards of their companion, otherwise they need to spend 2 Essence per minute to activate them.
Each Dragon has a specific Elemental Attack, dealing D8 x Essence points of damage in an element dependent on their race (see below, Special Abilities). This power uses Essence, but it is not a magical attack, per se: once it leaves the dragon's body, it is to all extents and purposes a physical (chemical, electrical, etc.) assault. The attack is aimed with a Simple Dexterity Test, unless the Dragon possesses the Magic Bolt Skill at a higher level than her Dexterity, and has a range of 3/15/30/100/200. In water (for dragons who can use their attacks in such environment), the above distances are halved, and the attack cannot be used beyond medium range. Elemental Attacks usually take the form of a breath, but different ways of delivery are possible for Dragons in human form or aquatic ones. Dragons are immune to their own Elemental Attacks, but not those of other Dragons of the same species.
All Dragons can shapeshift into a human form, which is fixed and partially dependent on their race (see below). Their Strength maximum is lowered to 12 when in human form, due to the much smaller weight and size, and they also lose their natural AV and the ability to fly; other than that, their statistics and powers remain unchanged. The human form has the same levels of Attractiveness as the Dragon form: Dragons look as impressive (for good or ill) in their natural form as they do in their human one. Changing into human form costs 25 Essence points, which can only be recovered when she goes back to her natural form.
Dragons cannot acquire many other supernatural powers: they have a number natural ones, common and special, and they can get some others through their link to a Dragoneer (see below), but other than that they can only learn Invocations, and in a limited number; namely, they can interiorize (i.e., learn normally, provided they can find a teacher) a number of Invocations equal to their Willpower score, and they can memorize an additional amount of Invocations equal to their Intelligence score plus one. Memorizing an Invocation has advantages and disadvantages: an Invocation known intellectually but not interiorized has a maximum level equal to half the Dragon's Intelligence, rounded up - whereas interiorized ones have no limit. However, once an Invocation has been interiorized, it will stay with the Dragon forever, but a memorized one can be forgotten at will. This is especially useful when the Dragon has a Dragoneer who knows a number of Invocations: each hour of teaching allows the Dragoneer to attempt an Intelligence and Instruction Task, with a bonus equal to the Dragoneer's level in the Invocation. This means that, in a single hour, a skilled Dragoneer can teach his Dragon (and only his Dragon, as this enhanced teaching ability is an effect of their link) a new Invocation, that she can then use instantly. Invocations known naturally (the ones described under the Special Abilities section below) don't need any teacher to be learned (although they still have to be paid for normally), but then they can only be interiorized, as they are not really learned as much as developed as a natural ability.
All Dragons can use the Lesser Healing, Soulfire, and Essence Mastery Invocations. Terrestrial and aquatic Dragons can fly at twice their land speed: this has an Endurance cost equivalent to running. They can also fly at a higher speed (up to Mach 2) at a cost of 1 Essence point per minute (beside the Endurance one), which cannot be regained until the Dragon lands. Dragoneers can never be unseated from the Dragon when she is enhancing her flight with Essence, regardless of the speed she's flying at, so it is common for Dragons to use this power during fights. Aquatic Dragons can swim and fly, but not walk on land; their flight is magic, and always requires them to spend one Essence per minute. This is also what makes them able to breathe air: if they ran out of Essence or lost consciousness while on land, they would end up like a fish out of water. Amphibious dragons cannot fly, but they can live on land as well as underwater. Both aquatic and amphibious Dragons can swim at the same speed as they would move on land, and can spend one Essence per minute to increase their swimming speed to five times their normal rate. All Dragons are normally resistent to their basic element: they only suffer one point of damage per multiplier level in the attack - whatever the die type or additional bonuses. Their Dragoneers can enjoy the same benefit at will, by spending one Essence point per minute, which can only be regained after they renounce to this protection; either the Dragon or the Dragoneer can spend the required Essence, so it is possible for them to coordinate their efforts and keep this protection up indefinitely.
A tiny minority of Dragons are of mixed breed, often with unusual racial features. They still only have the powers of one basic race, but their colors vary widely in shade, and they could even look like a Dragon of a totally different breed. Half-breeds of complex genealogy could even have varying shades of colors throughout their bodies, for instance they could have head scales of a certain color (say, red) and tail ones of a completely different hue (say, blue, or green), possibly with several more in between, and their human form may reflect this by having naturally colored eyelids, lips, or fingernails. All these Dragons always stand out in any crowd: to be of mixed genealogy, a Dragon needs to need have at least 2 levels of Attractiveness (positive or negative).
Red Dragons are terrestrial, and have fire as their Elemental Attack; they can use the Elemental Fire Invocation, and are immune to all damage caused by heat, no matter how intense or from what source. In human form they normally have intense red (think cherry, not carrot) hair and pale blue or pale green eyes, with varying shades of skin, from very fair to reddish or golden.
Green Dragons are either amphibious or aquatic; their basic Elemental Attack is electric, but they can also use a poisonous attack (treated as a Corrosive poison with a Strength of 1 per five essence points spent). They can use the Elemental Water, Elemental Air, and Weather Lordship Invocations. Their human shape has emerald eyes and pretty much any possible shade of hair and skin.
Black Dragons are terrestrial, and can breathe a strong, poisononous acid that damages objects as well as living creatures: beside inflicting its basic damage, it has a poison Strength of 1 per 2 Essence spent in the attack. They can use the Blessing Invocation. Opal Dragons' human shape normally has black hair and eyes, sometimes with dark skin as well, but on rare cases Dragons of very fair skin and deep green eyes with ebony hair have also been seen.
Blue Dragons have an electric attack, and can use the Weather Lordship Invocation; they can also choose either Elemental Air or Elemental Water: the former ones are terrestrial and can fly, the latter are aquatic. Sapphire Dragons in human shape have blue eyes, blonde or dark hair, and fair skin.
White Dragons have an ice attack, which causes an additional frostbite damage equal to the Dragon's Constitution. They can use either Elemental Air or Elemental Water as Invocations, with the same side-effects as Sapphire Dragons. Diamond Dragons in human shape have very light eyes, blonde or white hair, and very fair skin.
Dragoneers become incredibly resilient after they link with their Dragon: they get 3 levels of the Hard to Kill Quality, to a maximum of 10, and regenerate a number of Life Points per Turn equivalent to their Constitution score; they also get 2 additional levels of Strength, and they can use the same Elemental Attack as their Dragon - although the effort of doing so drains them of 1 permanent Essence Point for each attack. The exact way of performing this attack is variable; for instance, an Emerald Dragon Dragoneer could opt to electrocute his target with his touch, throw a lightning bolt, or create an arc from his finger to his target. Regardless of the form of delivery, the attack uses the Dragoneer's Dexterity and Magic Bolt Skill. Note that, while Dragons and Dragoneers cannot harm themselves with an Elemental Attack, they can still hurt their companion, unless the Dragoneer is riding the Dragon at the time.
All Dragoneers can use any Invocation interiorized by their Dragons as if they knew it themselves at the same level. By converse, they can easily help their Dragon learn an Invocation they know: every hour they spend teaching it to their Dragon allows the Dragoneer to perform an Intelligence and Instruction Task, with a bonus equal to their Invocation level; most Dragoneers can teach a new Invocation to their Dragon in just a couple of hours. This Invocation can either be memorized (the most common option) or interiorized, at the Dragon's choice. Primal Powers can also be used by Dragons in human form, if their Dragoneer possesses them; that includes those Powers granted by the link with the Dragon, who normally wouldn't be able to use them by herself.
Dragons and Dragoneers share their very vital essence: when they become linked, the dragon begins to grow up at the same rate of a human (which is about 5 times faster than a Dragon's normal aging process, and allows her to become adult roughly at the same time as her Dragoneer); on the flip side, when he reaches adulthood, the Dragoneer starts aging at the same rate as his companion (about 50 times slower than normal humans). If either of them is sick, the other one will also fall ill - this usually means the Dragoneer heals much faster, as the Dragon can attempt to fight off the illness with her higher Constitution. If either of them dies, the other one suffers the same fate. The surviving companion is, however, entitled to a Survival Roll of her own, with the same penalties as the dying one: if that succeeds, neither of them dies, and their regeneration power usually takes care of the wounds. Dragoneers cannot suffer deaths that do not allow a Survival Roll (such as drowning or suffocation), unless the Dragon is also in the same condition, and vice versa; they will still, however, fall unconscious under such conditions. Due to this effect of the link, Dragoneer are usually very careful when attempting something dangerous: were they to die, they would drag their beloved companions to an early grave, which is often more of a deterrent than the possibility of their own deaths.
The link also joins the minds of the two companions: Dragons and their Dragoneers very rarely disagree on anything, since they can feel each other's emotions and tend to influence each other on every decision, eventually reaching a common ground. Due to this closeness, if a Dragoneer possesses psychic powers, the Dragon can use them as if they were her own, provided the Dragoneer is in physical contact with her; she can even spend Essence to increase her base Strength level in the power as if it were one of her own natural abilities. By spending five Essence points, either party can initiate a telepathic communication, through which they can exchange clear thoughts, and that allows them to be perfectly aware of the other's condition and location, and, if they both wish so, to temporarily allow their companion access to their senses, or even to take over completely; this communication may last indefinitely, although the five Essence invested in it cannot be recovered until the connection is broken. Magical barriers can force a pause in the communication (and send the guest companion back to his original body, when applicable), but it will immediately restart as soon as the two are clear of the obstacle: it is impossible for an external force to break this link, as it is an extension of the bond between Dragon and Dragoneer. A Dragoneer automatically gains the same sensory abilites (including levels of Acute Senses) as his companion when they are within 10 yards, otherwise he will need to spend 2 Essence per minute to activate them.
Red Dragons can grant their Dragoneer access to Primal Fire powers, which must still be paid for normally. If the Dragoneer already has access to those powers, he gains the same immunity to all kinds of heat as the Dragon herself.
Dragoneers linked to a Green Dragon cannot drown, and they can swim at their normal movement rate. They can also stay underwater indefinitely, like their Dragon, without any ill-effect. Primal Dragoneers also gain access to Primal Water, if they didn't already have it.
Black Dragons can grant their Dragoneer access to the Nimbleness Primal Powers - which must still be paid for normally. If the Dragoneer already has this ability, he gains a +2 to his natural Dexterity (to a maximum of 8), can increase his Dexterity with XP multiple times, up to this new maximum, and can never be unseated from his Dragon.
Aquatic Blue Dragons grant their companion the same benefits as Emerald Dragons. Dragoneers linked to a terrestrial Sapphire Dragon have access to the Might Primal Powers - the one exception to the general rule.
Aquatic White Dragons grant their companion the same benefits as Emerald Dragons. Dragoneers linked to a terrestrial Diamond Dragon have access to Primal Wind Powers; if they already have access to those powers, and they possess Wings of Air Power, they can activate it for a cost of a single Essence point per minute, and they can fly at a speed up to Mach 2 by spending 5 Essence per minute.
A few mages learn to transcend the bonds of their mortal coil through magic, and become immortal creatures. Most of them prepare their soul with white or red magic throughout their life, and manage to become Phantasms or Vampyres as they die, but the most powerful of them bind their souls with black magic into a material receptacle, from which they animate their now dead bodies. These mages are known as Liches.
The Lich Quality is in many way similar to the Vampyre Quality: the differences are detailed below.
Liches do not have access to Vampyre Powers, but they also do not have the related limitations: they can have any and all Powers open to mortal humans, with the exception of Divine Inspiration and Spirit Patrons.
Semblance of Death
Unlike Vampyres, Liches do really look the part: their bodies are living skeletons, kept together by the power of the magic that animates them. The possession process causes the body to rot into a desiccated husk in a matter of minutes, at which point it becomes immune to further decomposition, and acquires a distinctive scent of dry flowers from the special balms used in the final rituals.
Liches have a +2 to Strength (and have a maximum of 8 for all physical Attributes) and a +1 to Willpower, but suffer a -1 to their Perception due to their now dulled senses. Liches do not enjoy any of the other physical advantages Vampyres have, including Manipulation of the Flesh. Finally, Liches' bodies do not have a Life Pool: they are essentially tools, puppets moved by the soul inhabiting them. As such, they possess a Damage Capacity equal to twice their theoretical Life Points amount, and are immune to damage type modifiers. When brought to 0 DC, their body is too damaged to keep functioning; recovering from this condition may take a long time (see below), but it is still not enough to really kill the Lich.
Essence Recovery and Limited Vulnerability
Liches recover Essence normally. They do not need to drain it from living beings to survive, and do not suffer from daylight damage. They also do not suffer Essence Death like other beings: as long as the receptacle where they stored their soul is intact, they simply cannot die. Bringing them to negative Essence simply forces them out of the body they are currently inhabiting and into the receptacle their soul is bound to until their Essence Pool is fully regenerated.
Immortality and Undeath
Liches are undead, with all the normal advantages of such condition; on top of that, their bodies also regenerate damage at a very fast rate: one point per Willpower level per Turn. Even physically destroying the body is not final, although it may take time for them to recover: one day per 10 points the Lich lost below 0 is required to bring the body back to 0 DC, after which normal regeneration occurs. Liches in such condition may also opt to look for a different physical form: this requires the Lich to travel in spirit form to a dead body and inhabit the corpse from one full moon to the next; during this time, the Lich must concentrate on attuning to the new body, and is unable to take any action.
If the receptacle where his soul is stored is destroyed, the Lich is immediately Unraveled. The destruction of the receptacle also causes D10x10(50) points of fire damage to any object or being in a radius of 20 yards (meters) from it. If it's not in the area of the explosion, the Lich's body simply drops to the ground, otherwise it bursts into flames and is consumed in a matter of seconds (one Turn).