What is Magick?  Magick are the arts of magic which work everywhere in shadow that magic works at all.  Indeed, the simple arts of Power Words work in all Shadows, for they draw their power from within the caster.  Magick is the weakest of the Powers, but probably also the most flexible. If you can imagine it, magic can do it, but keep in mind that the greater Powers (Shapeshifting, Logrus, Pattern, Trump, etc) can typically overcome it in a duel of Powers.

Magick does not require one to possess the blood of Amber or Chaos or Regis Philbin. Every shadow has its own laws of magic, and who can do it varies greatly by shadow. In some shadows, everyone is a sorceror, in others, virtually no one is. Sorcerors who lack another way to mold and study reality, such as Pattern, Broken Pattern, Logrus, etc, become helpless if they travel too many shadows away from home, because they can't easily determine how magic works there. Those who do have power over reality by other means can quickly adapt to the new laws as they move from shadow to shadow, and thus have a massive advantage. Still, the wise Amberite does not look down on Brian the mage because his powers fail in Amber, for they know that back in Garweeze World, Brian the mage will kick their butt on his home ground unless they have had time to carefully study how magic works there, and maybe even then.

There is no particular pattern to Shadow which explains why Magick works in the shadows it does, although it does tend to become stronger towards Chaos simply because the Shadows there are flimsier and more malleable.  Yet Chaos Sorcery also becomes less predictable as it grows in strength.

How does one become a Magician?

Magic requires some sort of initiation which awakens one's potential for magic.  There are a million forms of initiation practiced across Shadow.  They have a few aspects in common:

What are the paths of Magickal Power?

Magic can be subdivided into three paths typically followed by Magicians.

Power Words

This revision is based on Dan Root's excellent ideas about Power Words, and several internet sources I've managed to lose the names of.  ;_;  And some ideas of Mike.

What can Power Words do?

Power Words produce immediate, short-term, usually single-target effects.  They feed off the user's life force, eventually leading to exhaustion.

Power words last only a few seconds, then fade.  Advanced levels of Power Words can produce longer lasting, more intense, or area-effect magics.

Power Words come in many different forms.  The classic form is spoken words of power, but they also may come in the forms of runes, origami, special knots in ropes, etc.  The beginner must pick a specific form, but can then learn alternate methods of performing power words by spending points later (or during character creation, for that matter).

How Do I Learn Power Words?

As with Conjuration and Sorcery, the first stage of learning power words is some sort of magical initiation.  This varies by style (rune masters hang from trees, knot-tyers face a night naked with the spirits, word speakers must practice some virtually impossible to pronounce poem until finally they get it right, etc).  In game terms, Magical Initiation costs five points and grants the ability to now buy Power Words (or other Magickal powers).  The character can now see magical energies, enabling them to detect spells in progress, magical items, and enchantments.  They can also tell if the shadow they are in allows magic and with time can find the sources of magical energy in it.

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

How Many Power Words Can I Do Before I Fall Down and Can't Get Up?

Power Words cause fatigue (1 point for use of a normal power word, 2 for an Advanced power word, and 4 for an Exalted power word).  One moves along the Scale of Exhaustion at a speed dependent on one's Endurance.

The Scale of Exhaustion:

Power Word Options

These options cost points to be able to use; see the Partial Powers Writeup for Magick

Power Word Boost

One can choose to put more OOMPH into one's power words by expending additional life force. It costs five times the normal life force, but it doubles the effectiveness of a power word.  This is a good way to knock yourself out quick, but sometimes worth it.

Advanced Power Word Boost

Double power not enough?  Invest 20 times the normal life force and you can have five times the normal effect.  This is very flashy, but also very life force costly.

Area Effect Power Words

Power words normally only effect one target, although a few basic ones have some area of effect (Light Strobe, Shade, etc).  This enables you to extend the area of effect to about a 1 yard radius for five times the energy expenditure, or 3 yards radius for twenty times the energy.  This can be combined with PW Boost or Advanced Power Word Boost if you really need to, though it will knock you out fast and quite possibly kill you very dead.

Alternate Power Word Forms

This enables you to learn alternate means of performing Power Words and convert words you know between the methods you know.

Advanced Power Words

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

Advanced Power Word Descriptions:

True Names

Power Words normally require overcoming the target's Psyche if they are invasive, but if you know the target's true name, any Power Word you use on them will automatically succeed.  Smart Magicians hide their true names well.


Sorcery requires the most theoretical explanation in non-game terms, so the bulk of what follows is an in-depth examination of those concepts.

What can Sorcery do?

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.

Casting Times For Sorcery

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.

An Amberite Grimoire

This is now on its own subpage (Found here).

Racking Spells

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.

Power Sources

Personal Power

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.


Minor: Average: Difficult: Challenging: Hard: Incredibly hard: God-like: Stored Power

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.

External Power Sources

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.

Logrus Conduit

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 very rare.  Good luck finding one.

What are some defenses against Magick?

Invasive magics can be resisted with Psyche.

Pattern, Logrus, and Trump can be used defensively to prevent invasive magics working and to reduce the effects of non-invasive magics.

Sorcerors can also defend against each other's magic by using counterspells. This comes down to a psyche vs. psyche battle as to which succeeds.

In some shadows, items or behaviors which ward off magic may exist.

Hack the mage to death or keep hitting him so he can't get his spells off.

Cold Iron helps too.


Conjuration is the art of enchanting things and creating things from nothing.  It enables you to mold shadow into new forms, create things from nothing, and embue pre-extant items and creatures with new powers and qualities.

It's main subcategories are:

Conjuration requires familiarity with the Item Construction Rules.  Unless you've bought it up to a high level, you can only imbue items with Qualities and Powers in the 1-4 point range, although any given item can have a LOT of qualities and powers.

Conjurations are vulnerable to being dispelled by the use of some Logrus, Pattern, or Trump powers against them.

Magick: The Power In Game Terms:

Basic Form of a Power
Advanced Form of a Power
Master Form of a Power (can't be bought at char creation)
Exalted Form of a Power (Generally possessed only by really ancient and powerful magic)
Special Abilities (Generally requires possession of other Powers, doesn't come in any 'standard package' form of the Power)

Magickal Initiation

The character has the potential to develop skills with power words, sorcery, and conjuration/artificing. The character can now see magical energies, enabling them to detect spells in progress, magical items, and enchantments.  They can also tell if the shadow they are in allows magic and with time can find the sources of magical energy in it.

(Power Words)

Invasive Power words generally require a psychic advantage over the target in order to succeed, however it the targets true name is known they will be effective regardless of any psychic differential.

New Power Words:

Advanced Power Words:

Advanced Words  are twice as taxing to Endurance as normal Power Words.

Special Power Words:

Special because of prerequisite powers, which are noted after the point cost.


Basic Spell Components
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: 'Power' Sorcery

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.  Basic Power Sorcery lets you incorporate the basic powers of that Power.

Advanced 'Power' Sorcery

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.  One can now incorporate the abilities of the Power itself into one's spells.

Some examples:

  • Abyss Sorcery:  An example of an Advanced Abyss Sorcery effect might be to create intelligent portals to the Abyss capable of chasing people around, even through shadow.  Advanced Abyss Sorcery might also make an important component of any ritual to free an Abyss Master from the Abyss.
  • Broken Pattern Sorcery:  Advanced Broken Pattern Sorcery is a great force for destruction, as you can use it to force the flaw in the Broken Pattern into things to destroy them.
  • Logrus Sorcery:  With Advanced Logrus Sorcery, you could create spells that work even in no-magic shadows if Logrus works in the shadow, by connecting the spell through shadow with a Logrus Tendril to a shadow that could provide the magical energy needed for the spell.  (Though such spells would take longer to cast and release).  They could infuse beings or items with Logrus energy, hurting those of Pattern.
  • Pattern Sorcery:  An Advanced Pattern sorceror could infuse things with Pattern to enable them to do Primal Damage, or heal the wounds caused by Primal Damage.  They might be able to create Pattern shields or build spells that allow flawless teleportation to anywhere reachable by Magic or Pattern.
  • Shapeshifting Sorcery:  One could transform others into forms of power, or imbue people with shapeshifting abilities, or turn their blood into living creatures.  .
  • Trump Sorcery:  One example of Advanced Trump Sorcery would be creating permanent cross-shadow portals between two shadows of which one possessed Trumps.

  • Quick Casting:

    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.

    Intelligent Sorcery:

    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.

    Contingency Casting:

    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.

    Self-Maintaining Spells

    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.

    Spell Rack:

    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.
    Spell Racking Table
    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
    Difficult:  1 11+
    Challenging:  2 21+
    Hard: 4 51+
    Incredibly hard:  8 76+
    God-like: 16 126+


    Spell Stealing (Use Other People's Racked Spells):

    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. 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.

    Bestow Spell:

    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.

    Bestow Spells:

    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.

    Sardine Racking

    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.

    Horde of Spells

    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.

    Personal Spell:

    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.

    Personal Sorcery:

    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'.

    Spell Maintenance Spells

    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)


    Basic Conjuration (5 points)
    The object takes one minute per point to build, but it will fade away after a while (several days out in Shadow, less time near Pattern, more time near Chaos). It also instantly vanishes if moved across Shadow. Such items can only be created where Shadow is malleable; this will not work in Amber and is difficult in the Golden Circle. On the other hand, Chaos Shadow is highly magically charged and easy to manipulate.

    An object can be temporarily implanted with magical power. Attunement takes an hour, and each point of power adds ten minutes. The power lasts ten times as long as a simple Conjured Shadow Shape would, but it also fades when moved across Shadow.

    Conjure Shadow Shape:  Shape a shadow object into what is desired.  The enhancement takes about an hour, but it will fade away after a while (several days out in Shadow, less time near Pattern, more time near Chaos).  It also instantly vanishes if moved across Shadow.  This is also vulnerable to being dispelled.

    Item Analysis:  The character can analyze a conjured item by touch, slowly identifying its various abilities. It is possible to identify the creator of the item if you have experience with their style of conjuration.

    Improved Item Analysis: Analyze conjured items at a distance of several yards, enabling the examination of other characters' items from across the room without alerting them (unless your staring at the item in question is noticed).  Takes several minutes by sight, while analysis by touch is now a matter of brief moments.

    Empowerment:  An shadow object can be temporarily implanted with magical power.  Attunement takes a half-hour, each point of a quality adds ten minutes, and each point of power adds an hour.  While vulnerable to dispelling, it is not easily broken by Shadow Travel.

    High Compelling:  The ability to conjure memories, and emotions within a target. With enough time the target's memories or personality may be altered to whatever the user may wish, though a psychic impression of the new personality is needed. A Geas may also be given, though it's duration depends largely on how different the new behavior would be from the targets usual attitude.

    Complex Conjuration:  A Conjured Shadow Shape can be designed to be permanent within the Shadow it was created in.  This takes one hour per point.  Any attempt to dispel the conjuration must cross the Psyche of the conjurer.

    Power Conjuration:  Power Conjuration lets you conjure items containing those powers, and backs up the item with some extra force, making it harder to dispel.  For example, Trump Conjuration can be used to conjure items with built in Trump Images.

    Racked Conjuration:  This name is used instead of 'Sorcery Conjuration' or 'Power Word Conjuration', which would look silly.  You can now create spells which rack Conjurations (perform the Conjuration in advance, rack it like a spell, trigger it quickly).  You can also imbue Power Words into objects if you have any.  And you can create items which can cast spells.
    Advanced Powers and Qualities:  Up to the 8 point level.

    Exalted Powers and Qualities:  Up to the 16 point level.

    True Conjuration:  This ability requires one to possess the ability or potential to mold Shadow, creating conjurations which will never fade unless they are deliberately dispelled.  The effect can either be an Empowerment or a Complex Conjuration, and it takes ten times as long to cast.

    Quick Conjuration:  Changes the time frame.  Improves the unit of time in the rate of Conjuration one step on the following list:  six hours - one hour - ten minutes - one minute - ten seconds - one second - one-tenth second - etc.  Every [5] improves the time per point another step.

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    Last Update February 3, 2002