The Three Arts of Magic

Table of Contents


What is Magic?

Magic exists in many different forms in many different Shadows. In some Shadows it is power granted by God or the Devil, in others it is the power of the elements, in some it's a sort of science. There are, in fact, infinite systems of Magic due to there being infinite Shadows in which Magic is used.

Amberites and other beings who traverse Shadow do not have the time or inclination to learn all of these systems. Thus, they learn a different sort of Magic, one that revolves around the fact that they are a Real being with power over Shadow.

Each would-be Magician must go through an initiation into the art. Some do this by study, some by ordeal, others by stranger methods. The end result is the same; learning how to assert your own Reality enough to harness and channel any Magical energy a Shadow might have. Or, to put it another way, you're buying a sort of universal AC/DC adaptor plug for Magic. It doesn't do much by itself, but it does open the way to buying the three arts - you only need to buy it once, not three time to learn all three forms of Magic.

Once you have completed your initiation, you can venture into the three types of Magic: Sorcery, Power Words, and Craefting.


Sorcery is the most flexible sort of Magic, although also the easiest to foil. Still, it is the bread and butter of any Magician.

Sorcery also requires the most cooperation from the environment. Unlike Power Words, which run off your life force, or Craefting, which can be done in your own home and carried around, Sorcery is dependant upon you tapping into whatever the local Magical system is and siphoning off power to fuel your own, personal system. Thus, if Magic doesn't exist in the Shadow you're in, you can't do Sorcery. To go back to our AC/DC example, it doesn't matter how good your adaptor is, you can't get your hairdryer to work if there's no socket to plug it into.

The biggest problem with Sorcery, from an Amber perspective, is that it's puny. Sorcery will get beat about like a red-headed stepchild by Pattern, Logrus, or Trump, no matter what the difference in Psyche. Also, Sorcery is limited to the boundaries and energies of the Shadow it's in. If you're in a Shadow where Magic is weak and unreliable, your Magic will be weak and unreliable. If you're in a Shadow where Magic is strong, your Magic will be strong. Of course, your two Psyche stats also play a role here, but the quality of Magic in the Shadow is a big factor.

Learning Sorcery

The first thing any sorceror must do is Build A Science. This is basically deciding how you do your Sorcery, and what your Sorcery affects. For example, Papa Doc may decide that he wants to be a necromancer, calling forth spirits of the dead by shaking a rattle, sacrificing chickens, and beating a drum. Lo Fang may decide to be a Geomancer, who casts spells by moving stones and piercing the earth with special jade rods.

Now, you could decide to take a really broad Science ('Magic happens when I wave my hands') and a really simple means of spellcasting ('I wave my hands.') This sort of simplistic Science is generally going to product far punier effects than Papa Doc or Lo Fang's Magic. In general, the more narrow and elaborate the Science you construct, the more powerful it is.

The second thing a self-respecting sorceror does is further develop their ability to harness raw Magic so that it will Work On Both Sides Of Yig, the tree which marks the boundary between the Pattern's side of the universe and the Logrus' side.

The third thing a sorceror generally does is develop Reliable Spells. These are a few basic spells designed to be cast quickly, in an emergency. While not as fast as Power Words, they are significantly faster than composing and casting a spell impromptu.

There are a few places that you can go beyond this. Many sorcerors will branch out and learn Additional Sciences of sorcery, making them more versatile and letting them apply specialist magic to a number of fields. Some learn Power Sorcery, which incorporates the energy of a Primal Power into spells. While not very effective against other Real powers, Power Sorcery will punch through regular old Sorcery like a hot knife through butter, making it an excellent tool for winning sorceror's duels. Advanced Power Sorcery functions just like Power Sorcery, except that even more so, and also allows you to cast weak Magic in Shadows where Magic supposedly doesn't work.

Sorcery Partial Powers

Regular Sorcery: 15
Advanced Sorcery: 26+
Master Sorcery: 36+ (Cannot be taken at character creation)

Power Words

Power Words are an extremely focused form of Magic, as rigid as Sorcery is flexible. Power Words do one thing and one thing only, and the effects only last for a few seconds at most. They cannot create matter, and are more or less limited to manipulating energy.

They do, however, have many advantages. Power Words are fast, as in 'I speak a single word' fast. They do not require much in the way of concentration, so you can zap one off while having a swordfight or skiing downhill. They run off your lifeforce, so you don't need to worry about the Magical conditions of the Shadow you're in... Power Words will work anywhere, happily.

The amount of punch your Power Words have is determined by your Psychic Power, which is also what your target uses to try and resist the Word (or at least not be as badly hit by it as they could be).

After your magical initiation, you're ready to start learning Power Words. They don't have to be words at all; you can have Power Glares, Power Sticking My Tongue Out, Power Origami Folding, or Power Jigs if you like. You do, however, have to choose what form your 'words' will take and stick to it. Then you buy words.

Basic Power Word Descriptions:
Some of these are slightly changed from their canonical rules descriptions, while others are new:

After you have piled up at least five of these Basic Power Words, you can learn Advanced Power Words.

Advanced Power Words

Advanced Power Words cost twice as much to buy, and twice as much life force to use.

Advanced Power Word Descriptions:

That's about all there is to Power Words. They're simple, cheap, and effective. Remember, though, that they run off your lifeforce. Start tossing around too many Power Words, especially the Advanced Power Words, and you are going to get really tired. If you are badly injured, you may even kill yourself or fall into a coma.

Power Words Partial Powers


Craefting is the art of enchanting, empowering, and otherwise turning normal weapons and beings into Magical engines of wonder and destruction. The chief virtue of it is the ability to turn out things with much the same powers as point items - for free.

The downside is that Craefting is utterly useless most places, takes forever, and has limited utility aside from empowering things. It has no combat potential whatsoever. It does, however, make great weapons that can them be used in combat.

Learning Craefting

After your Magical Initiation, the first thing a Craefter must do is Build A Workshop. This can take many forms; a forge room in Castle Amber, a circle of Standing Stones out in Shadow, a high-tech assembly factory out in Shadow, a ritual Way in Chaos, or just about anything else the player can think of. It is basically a location invested with some of your personal power and Reality. This workshop takes time to prepare, and once done, it is the ONLY place that the Craefter can work Craefting.

A Workshop is not much use without learning any further Craefting arts, although Sorcerors will find that their spells are a lot faster and more powerful when cast inside their Workshop. Of course, unless your enemy is foolish enough to confront you in the heart of your power, this is of limited use in combat.

The Craefter next learns the meat and drink of Crafting, namely Item Empowerment. This allows you to fairly quickly imbue an item with point properties of up to the 4 point grade. Such empowerment is an unstable thing. While it will last forever if kept in the Workshop, or for hundreds of years if kept in the Shadow the Workshop is in, it will begin to degrade or weaken if it leaves. The further it goes and the more radically the laws of Shadow change, the faster the empowerment will degrade. A Magic Sword made in WoD Tibet and taken to the Exalted Shadow will last a long time. A Magic Sword made in WoD Tibet and taken to Coruscant will start to fade fast. Empowered items hit by dispelling Magic or the Sign of the Pattern will instantly lose their enchantment, although the success of dispelling Magic will usually depend on an advantage in Psychic Power, and items in their home Workshop are very resistant.

Degradation takes place by the time scale of the Workshop at the moment of the item's Empowerment. This somewhat limits the utility of having a Fast-Time Workshop, as items will quickly degrade when taken to slower time streams.

How fast do items degrade? This is a difficult question to answer. Usually any Empowerment is good for at least a day, unless the Shadows it enters get incredibly strange. If you stick to Shadows with similar levels of technology, world laws, time flow, and magical axioms, Empowerments can potentially last for years. Psychic Power will lengthen the 'charge' on the item, and Psychic Finesse will lessen the degree to which changing world laws will result in degradation.

The next usual step taken is Permanent Empowerment. This allows you to specially empower items with a total number of points equal to the number of points you have in Craefting. You can have several items (or just one item) that you share the number of points you have in Craefting around. So if you have twenty points of Craefting, you might have, say, 1 item with two 4-point qualities, and three items with 4 points each, to a total of 20 points.These special items are virtual bought point items, in that they can be taken anywhere without degrading or losing effectiveness, they can laugh off dispelling Magic, and things like the Sign of the Pattern will only short them out briefly instead of wrecking them. Like Item Empowerment, you can only imbue an item with point properties of up to the 4 point grade. (Important Note: Your Magical Initiation is generic Magic, NOT Craefting for the purposes of this.)

Empowerment Boost, another common choice, allows Empowerments to draw in raw magical energy from the environment to replenish themselves. This has the benefit of slowing degradation in Shadows where Magic exists.

From here, a few paths can be taken.

Power Craefting allows an initiate of either Pattern, Logrus, or Trump to incorporate that power into their Empowerments and Permanent Empowerments. This renders normal Empowerments completely immune to dispelling by regular Magic, and will protect Permanent Items against things like the Sign of the Pattern if the Craefter has an advantage in Psychic Power. It does NOT give any of the benefits or qualities of Primal Blades.

Flux-Pins are magical connections backed by either Pattern, Logrus, or Trump, allowing them to cross Shadow boundaries. Flux-Pins can be hooked into power sources in Shadow, allowing raw magical energy to be channeled from one end to the other. While there are many potential uses for this, the most common is to give Empowered items a 'recharger' feature, allowing them to take in magical power to replace the energy they lose to degradation, or at least to lose it more slowly.

Active Flux-Pins are very obvious to anyone with much Magic or decent Psychic Finesse, and can be tracked through Shadow by anyone who can percieve them and Shadow-walk.

Creature Empowerment lets you do the same thing as Item Impowerment. This can ONLY be done to Shadow beings; anyone with Reality will lose the Craefted properties the second they step out of the Workshop.

Item Analysis lets the Craefter quickly deduce the uses and properties of any special item brought to him. Unlike the rest of Craefting, this does not have to be done in the Workshop, although it helps.

Additional Workshops are, well, additional Workshop locations, in case you want to have multiple places to work your art. Many Craefters will build one Workshop in a spell-slinging fantasy Shadow and one in a high-technology Shadow, so that they can work Empowerments in the appropriate one and suffer less degradation wherever it is they're going.

Advanced Item Empowerment lets the Craefter empower items with up to 8-point properties. Such items are notorious for degrading even faster than normal Empowerments.

Powerforging is the highest art of Craefting, available only to those who have access to either the Pattern or Logrus. In a long ceremony, the Craefter laboriously prepares a special Point Item, which they must buy as per the normal rules for buying point items. They them must immediately go to either the Pattern or Logrus and walk it, carrying the item. At the end of the walk, the character must pick one property of the item, which is then raised a grade. (IE, 4-point Deadly Damage would be raised to 8-point Force Damage, etc.) This augmentation is permanent, and may only be done once, although the character may buy Powerforging a second time to raise a second property.

Craefting Partial Powers

Regular Craefting: 20
Advanced Craefting: 35
Master Craefting: 45 (Cannot be taken at character creation)

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Last Update May 20, 2003