Sorcery requires the most theoretical explanation in non-game terms, so the bulk of what follows is an in-depth examination of those concepts.
Sorcery reshapes reality in a very immediate and impressive manner. It has major disadvantages of scale and speed of preparation, however, and in the need to adjust one's spells for new conditions before they can be used. Where an Advanced Pattern Master could turn Shadow Earth into Care Bear Land fairly easily, a Sorceror would blow himself up doing the same thing...after spending months to years casting the spell. On the other hand, Pattern won't let you throw lightning bolts or fly.
Sorcery can do almost anything that isn't the realm of a stronger Power, and if you possess a stronger Power, you can learn to integrate that Power with Sorcery. It has the major limitation that it can never reach out of the shadow it is used in, unless combined with a higher Power.
Things Sorcery does well:
Things Sorcery can't do by itself:
With basic sorcery (15 points), spells must either be instantaneous (such spells can have permanent effects, like turning people to stone), suspended until a trigger condition is met (wards), operate continuously in the same location until they gradually degrade, or they require that the sorceror maintain the effect by concentration in order to direct it. Advanced sorcery enables the sorceror to create self-directing spells which can be given simple instructions and left to work on their own without requiring concentration.
For simplicity's sake, magic is here defined according to roughly how powerful the effect is, which defines how long it takes to cast a spell and what level of magic the shadow must support in order to sustain it.
All spells require some form of magical energy to cast. The energy can come froma variety of sources.
Desperate mages can power their magic using their own life force. The emphasis here is 'desperate'. You are feeding off your own Endurance, which tends to quickly become dire. Spells powered by personal power can be cast anywhere, even if the shadow doesn't normally support magic.
Smart mages carry a magical 'battery' of some kind with them wherever they go, so that if they're desperate, they can draw on it to perform spells if necessary. These batteries have the major flaw that other mages can easily detect them, which can make stealth past a mage tricky. Also, broken batteries explode, which is never fun.
The safest, but least reliable source of power is external power sources. Every shadow where magic works has sources of magical energy. Sometimes it collects in foci points, and in other shadows, it is evenly spread throughout the shadow. Depending on the nature of local magic, this power is tapped in different ways, and learning these ways is the most time consuming aspect of adapting to different shadows. Many shadows are non-magical and have no such sources of magic at all.
It takes about a week for a Chaos psyche sorceror to learn how to adapt his spells to use local power sources. With Amber psyche, a day will suffice. Every ten points above that halves the time (10--12 hours, 20--6 hours, 30--3 hours, 40--90 minutes, etc). This enables the sorceror to fill in the needed 'magic of shadow' lynchpin during casting. This is only possible if the sorceror is a Broken Pattern, Pattern, or Logrus user (or has some other way to study the nature of Shadow). This is usually only necessary when one moves a substantial distance across shadow, or if the shadow in question has been molded to change its laws. For example, all of the shadows which make up the Golden Circle share the same laws of magic as Amber, and thus there is no need to tinker with one's spells within that area. Chaos is the same way, although a fair number of Houses of Chaos tinker with local magic rules to give them an advantage on their home ground.
Sorcerors who have bought 'Logrus Sorcery' can use the Logrus as a conduit to draw power from other shadows to perform magic even in non-magical shadows. They are vulnerable to having their logrus conduit tendril cut, however.
The wet dream of every mage is to have their own Spikard. These powerful artifacts draw magical energy from a variety of power sources and feed it to their wearer. This allows you to cast spells just about anywhere, and to tap ridiculous amounts of energy with ease. They're also said to contain spell processors which help you to cast spells at a fraction of the normal time. They're also rare as hen's teeth--only nine are known to exist. Good luck finding one.
This is the capacity to create new spells using by combining Sorcery's basic spell qualities or 'components', and also includes the capacity to rack and cast one spell. The basic spell components out of which whole spells are created are:
The first component spell of the Sorcerer is that of creating opening or 'gates' from on Shadow to another, or simply from one point to another within the same Shadow. These gates are usually temporary, maintaining themselves just with the Psychic energy of the caster, for only an instant. The most common Shadow Opening if a Teleportation, used by the caster to travel through Shadow. However, with the addition of magical energies, either from a Magical Energy component, or from other tapped energies, the opening can be kept open longer. Given sufficient energy, a Shadow Opening can be maintained indefinitely.
Sometimes, as with the Pressurized Lava spell, a Shadow Opening spell is useful as a weapon. Similar gateways can be used to channel in water, wind, or other natural elements.
The lightning Bolt spell uses a Shadow Opening to gate in the lightning, but the area must first be prepared with a Shadow Manipulation; otherwise, the bolt would pass through the nearest object, namely the caster.
A spell to alter or change the stuff of Shadow can be used by itself. Shadow Manipulation can be used to change the form of a piece of Shadow stuff, like changing a steel door into one made of clear glass. In combination with a mind touch component, Shadow manipulation can be used against a person, induce sleep, pain, or some kind of change in a victim.
Each change counts as a separate use of this component. For example, casting a single spell that turns a rock into an amulet, and then prepares that amulet for storing magical energy, would require two uses of this component.
Overcoming the Psyche of the victim is always a consideration (unless the object of the spell opens their mind and becomes a willing subject). This means a Psyche superiority, where the caster dominates the victim, is usually needed.
Weak spells are quick and easy. But most spells take long enough to cast that when you're under stress, you'll die before you finish them. That's what racked spells are for. Sorcerors can rack spells in specially prepared items, casting them in advance, then storing them until needed.
Mages with Conjuration can summon themselves up a spell rack when they need one. Mages with Logrus can hang spells on the Logrus. Broken Pattern Mages can do the same, although the Broken Pattern tends to warp their magics. Crazy mages with Shapeshifting can rack multiple spells in their head, although this is dangerous.
Racked spells do have several disadvantages. They decay over time and you periodically will have to recast them if you don't use them fast enough. The stronger the spell, the quicker it unravels. This means you can't spend a few years in a quick time shadow racking spells, then bring them out to crush your enemies, because most of them will unravel by the time you finish the last ones.
Secondly, racked spells require a certain amount of fiddling with in order to actually be released somewhere other than where they were cast. Crucial components, called 'lynchpins', have to be reconfigured to make them work. The more powerful the spell, the more tweaking, in general. Still, this makes releasing them a matter of seconds instead of minutes, hours, or days.
Finally, don't forget you're still going to need a source of magic for them to draw on; racked spells won't work in a shadow with no magic or with magic which is too weak.
Twelve Spell Points worth of spells can be stored in a properly prepared container. You know how to make such containers. One spell can be racked in one's mind, with a maximum level determined by one's psyche.
|Difficulty Level||'Spell Point Cost'||Psyche needed to Rack in Head|
|Petty:||1 for 8||Human|
|Minor:||1 for 4||Chaos|
|Average:||1 for 2||Amber|
The Sorcerer can detect and use spells racked by other people. This power works as usual for containers; the Sorcerer must be in Psychic contact with the container in order to access the spells therein. This allows creation to They can spend a few minutes of study in order to figure out exactly what the spell does and what Lynchpins must be specified, or they can be brave and try to cast it without knowing what it does. If the subject resists, the Sorcerer must have the Psychic advantage to cast the spell.
This can be used, if you successfully invade another Sorceror's mind, to use them as a living spell rack, including setting off spells they've racked in their head.
The Sorcerer can rack a spell in another person's mind for that other person to use. See the Spell Point Table to determine how large a spell the person can hold. This depends on the recipient's psyche. Double the time to release the spell if the subject does not have Magic Initiation and Cast Spells on One Side of Yig.
Rack 12 points of spells in another person for their use. See the Spell Point Table to determine how large a spell the person can hold. This depends on the recipient's psyche. Double the time to release the spell if the subject does not have Magic Initiation and Cast Spells on One Side of Yig.
You can now double the spell point capacity of a spell rack (usually turning 12 into 24 at this level, but also a rack 1 spell point item into a rack two spell points item). This is somewhat dangerous, since the item wasn't really DESIGNED to do that. If you have bad stuff or low psyche, there is some danger of accidentally releasing multiple spells whenever you use the crammed rack. If you have both, you're heading for disaster.
You can rack 2 spells inside your brain; this is somewhat safer than with an item, as you know your brain well. As with Rack Spells, this is limited by your psyche.
You can now make items which will hold 50 spell points. This is a 4 point item property. If you wish to risk your instant annhilation, you can use Sardine Racking to double the capacity, but...
You can rack 4 spells inside your brain; this is somewhat safer than with an item, as you know your brain well. As with Rack Spells, this is limited by your psyche.
This is used to invoke a Power as part of a spell. Each form cannot be learned unless that power is possessed at the basic level. Trying to invoke incompatible Powers (Like Logrus/Trump or Logrus/Pattern) in one spell is a very bad idea... As is trying to rack a Pattern, Broken Pattern, or Trump invoking spell in the Logrus, or a Trump, Logrus, or Shapeshifting spell in a Broken Pattern. Racking Spells on the Logrus or Broken Pattern is purchased as a Logrus or Broken Pattern power, and is distinct from what this ability allows.
One must possess the Power being invoked at the 'basic' level (Trump Artistry at 25, Trump Tricks at 15, Shapeshifting at 35, Pattern at 50, etc) in order to have sufficient understanding of the Power to work it into spells.
Spells infused with the Pattern become firmer and harder to dispel or counter. Pattern magics can incorporate the powers of Pattern known to the sorceror. For example, a person could cast spells which manipulate probabilities. Pattern Defense drops in effectiveness against them.
A potent ability, fusing Magic and the power together at a basic level. Spells cast with this ability are resisted almost as if they were the power incorporated into them, and show a jump in power even above normal Power Sorcery. This is the threshold to some of the unknown, unlisted feats of grand magic. One must have begun to study the power itself at the advanced level to buy this.
This allows the caster to reduce the casting time of a spell by one step on the Casting Time table. They can also fill in lynchpins at double normal speed.
A spell with this micro-spell will be possessed of a certain degree of intelligence, and can guide itself without aid from its caster. It can accept complicated commands, such as a ward whose password or list of authorized personnel can be updated at will. Spells with this micro-spell and Manipulate Shadow can be cast across shadow boundaries to any shadow in the immediate area (where there is no significant difference in the function of magic). A lightning bolt could be crafted that would turn a corner and aim for the largest human target, or "the man in red robes," even if the sorcerer was unsure of the target's position.
You can rack spells to go off or cast themselves under certain, preset conditions. For example, you can set a racked healing spell to go off if you fall unconsious, or a shielding spell to go off if someone swings a sword at you. However, these spells can only be used as they are set to -- you can't cast the aforementioned healing spell on a comrade, or even on yourself if you aren't unconsious! Also keep in mind that the spell tends to be very literal minded.
The holy grail of the busy wizard. By tacking an extra 10% onto the casting time, you can create spells which will maintain themselves, leaving you free to work on other matters. This power requires intelligent spells and spell maintenance spells as pre-requisites.
This enables you to create spells which will do the maintenance on your racked spells for you. Such spells take about five minutes per spell point of racked spells to cast. This can be combined with Intelligent spells to create an intelligent spell which will do your spell maintenance for you over its duration. (If you choose to rack a spell maintenance spell, determine the 'difficulty' by comparing the casting time of the spell to the spell casting time table)
You can hard-wire 1 point worth of spells into your head permanently. This takes ten times the normal racking time and you're vulnerable as hell during the process. This involves doing psychic surgery on yourself, so is not to be undertaken lightly. Be forewarned that if someone invades your mind successfully, they can then use you as a 'magic item' to cast said spell (s). You can, if you choose, alter your selection; see above for the necessary time. Such spells still require the normal lynchpin release time for a racked spell when cast. Use of this ability prevents using your head for racking a single spell as per 'Rack Spells'.
You can now perform petty magics at will with but a thought.
You can hard-wire 12 points worth of spells into your head permanently. This takes ten times the normal racking time and you're vulnerable as hell during the process. This involves doing psychic surgery on yourself, so is not to be undertaken lightly. Be forewarned that if someone invades your mind successfully, they can then use you as a 'magic item' to cast said spell (s). You can, if you choose, alter your selection; see above for the necessary time. Such spells still require the normal lynchpin release time for a racked spell when cast. Use of this ability prevents using your head for racking a single spell as per 'Rack Spells'.