SG: Magical Skills
The actions described with each skill below illustrates any special considerations for use of the skill. If not otherwise indicated, then use of the skill is not restricted, although purchase of a stunt might allow use of a magic skill in actions that where it would otherwise be prohibited. Talk with you GM if you wish to design such stunts.
This is the ability to cause disease, corruption, insanity and discomfort upon another living being. It has no utility against non-living targets. Affliction is always considered a dark art and there may be a consequence to using it in your game, assuming you aren’t running or playing in an “evil” campaign.
- Overcome: Affliction magic can be used to overcome positive aspects that were placed on characters using a magic skill.
- Create an Advantage: This type of magic is very effective in producing the symptoms of illness in a person, but it has no use to create a barrier of any kind. Gain +1 to create advantages relating to disease, decay, insanity, or discomfort.
- Attack: Withering or aging effects can be applied directly in order to cause physical stress. You could also inflict a terminal disease if you achieve a Taken Out result against a target.
- Defend: Affliction can’t be used to defend.
This is one of four elemental magics that include air, earth, fire and water. Magic that taps into elemental air has to do with movement as well as physical, gaseous states. Therefore, air is used for spells involving movement, wind, gases, and weather.
- Overcome: No additional special rules.
- Create an Advantage: Any barrier of air created with this skill vanishes after a single exchange, unless the caster concentrates. Doing so increases the difficulty of all other actions the caster takes while concentrating by +1.
- Attack: Most effects can be described as creating advantages. For direct damage, however, most mages will use one of the lightning attacks below or a variation of them.
- Chain Lightning/Lightning Storm: Bolts arc from one target to the next, or multiple bolts slam into the ground from the sky. For each additional target you add after the first, all targets gain a +1 to their defense roll.
- Lightning Bolt: When you strike a single target with style, and you can choose a boost in exchange for doing 1 less stress and this boost you get an extra invocation of Stunned. Combined with your initial boost, this means you have two boosts you can use.
- Defend: No special rules.
Blessings concentrate on generating aspects and specific kinds of barriers. It can also produce minor illusions via aspects. For example, it can turn a brunette blonde for a time, enhance beauty, or any number of other positive effects. It doesn’t create something from nothing, however; it simply enhances what is already there. Blessing isn’t used to place negative aspects; see Craft for that.
- Overcome: Blessings can also be used to counter curses and negative magical aspects on a person, place or thing.
- Area: The difficulty for doing so depends on the size of the area (add one for each zone after the first), and add +2 for each negative aspect the Blessing is attempting to banish. In the case of a barrier, the difficulty should be based on how good the barrier is (unless whoever placed the barrier is actively resisting).
- Person: Someone who has been cursed might be cured with a Blessing roll that beats a Fair (+2) difficulty or higher, depending on how effective the curse is. If the curser is present, he or she may actively resist the attempt to dismiss the curse.
- Thing: Negative aspects on things can be removed the same way such aspects are removed on a person.
- Create an Advantage: Blessings are especially well suited to placing beneficial aspects and for barriers meant to keep out specific supernatural forces. Such uses gain a +1 to the Blessing roll.
- Attack: Blessing can only be used to directly attack purely evil creatures. This usually means only those creatures that have never been human at all, or creatures that have been so completely lost to evil they can never be redeemed. Creatures such as demons and other things not native to our world are banished when Taken Out by Blessing.
- Defend: Blessing can be used to deflect negative or destructive magic.
Craft is the go-to magic skill for Spiritualist, Witchcraft, and even Black Magic approaches, and is often picked up by other types of spellslinger for it’s utility. Craft allows basic use of classic powers. It’s sometimes considered a “psychic” ability.
- Overcome: The Craft can be used to see through glamours, illusions meant to misdirect. This is also the magic to use to identify spells and magic.
- Create an Advantage: The dark side of knowing the Craft is that it can be used to curse, and it is especially effective in doing so. Curses usually comprise of aspects that can cause mishap, seemingly purely out of chance or bad luck. Use of Craft to place such negative aspects gain a +1 bonus to the roll. Craft is not used to create barriers.
- Attack: The Craft can be used to unleash devastating force. This is not telekinesis, but rather a primal, uncontrolled burst of kinetic energy. In an attack, this can do stress. As an unseen force, targets won’t notice it coming, meaning defense would require a Physique roll. However, supernatural characters included other mages, will notice it coming and can choose to defend either with Athletics or Physique, or with magic or power capable of warding the Craft, such as Blessing.
- You can also use Craft to attack everyone in your zone (except yourself), though all targets gain a +1 bonus to defend if you do.
- Defend: The Craft can be used to defend physical attacks, or magical attacks with a physical effect.
Requires one other magic skill.
This is the skill to use for magical healing. It can be used to reduce consequences, eliminate disease and counter poisons. Curing is an advanced art, and requires the mage to possess at least one other magic skill.
- Overcome: An overcome action is used with Curing to remove a disease or poison effect. The difficulty depends on the disease or poison. It can also be used to remove temporary mental aspects.
- Curing is also used to heal physical consequences. The difficulty to do so is Fair (+2) for a Mild consequence, Good (+3) for a Moderate consequence, or Great (+4) for a Severe consequence. It can be attempted only once per consequence, but if the difficulty is overcome, then the consequence can be reduced one level, provided there is space for the consequence. For example, if reducing a Moderate consequence, the Mild consequence slot must be open. If reducing a Mild consequence, then success means the consequence disappears. If success with style is achieved, then the consequence affected is reduced two steps, so a Severe consequence would become Minor, and a Moderate consequence would be completely healed. Curing cannot reduce Extreme consequences.
- Failure on a Curing roll to remove an aspect or consequence means magical Curing cannot remove it. Once a consequence has been reduced by magical healing, it cannot be reduce further by magical means.
- Create an Advantage: Curing is handy for placing beneficial physical aspects on recipients. You gain a +1 to do so.
- Attack: Curing is not used to cause harm.
- Defend: Curing offers no direct defense.
Darkness describes calling upon things beyond normal human reckoning. Most often associate with Black magic, Darkness can be used to communicate with shades of things that were never living beings as well as to summon or banish these demonic entities.
- Overcome: Use Darkness magic to urge shades that dwell within shadows to provide knowledge to which they may be privy. Such beings are familiar with what goes on in the places in which they lurk. This use of Darkness is for information gathering, much like the Contacting skill.
- It can also be used to summon greater entities. These spirits or demons are always malign but they possess great power and knowledge. They are often more than happy to trade knowledge or power for favors. The difficulty of summoning such entities depends on the peak skill of the summoned demon. Darkness can banish a demon, but uses the Attack action to gain a Taken Out result. Note that many demons, taken out via other means, are not necessarily banished.
- Create an Advantage: Use Darkness to place mental aspects such as Chills, Creeping Dread or physical aspects, such as Odor of the Grave or Spreading Corruption. Darkness can be used to create barriers against sight, gaining a +2 bonus on rolls to create this very specific type of barrier.
- Attack: You can use Darkness to banish a demon with a mental attack using Darkness. This means the demon will usually resist using Will. A Taken Out result means the demon is sent back into the shadowy place from which it originated. Demons are immune to the any physical side effects of the power of Darkness.
- Darkness can also be used to attack a living or animate target (in the case of creatures such as vampires). Target the mind to do mental stress and inflict terror, resisted by Will, or target the flesh to inflict corruptive stress resisted by Physique.
- Defend: Use shadows created by Darkness to misdirect and conceal, providing defense against attacks that target you physically.
This magic focuses on reading portents and determining past or future events. While reading the future has many variables and can never be pinned down with 100% accuracy, the past is a much easier target.
- Overcome: Use Divining to determine what events happened in a location. The difficulty to do so might vary greatly but as a rule, the more significant the event, the easier it is to read with Divining. The more distant it is in the past, the more difficult it is to know anything with any accuracy.
- Create an Advantage: Using Divining to predict the future is really about estimating possibilities. Use this skill to place aspects related to foreknowledge. While preparedness and forewarning is not a guarantee, it can certainly prove a valuable aid. Spellslingers using Divining for this purpose gain a +1 to skill rolls.
- Attack: This skill is not used to attack. Ever.
- Defend: Nor is this skill used to defend.
This is one of four elemental magics that include air, earth, fire and water. Magic that taps into the element of earth not only affects things of the earth such as minerals and metals, but also relates to the concepts of solidity. Using magic to place aspects related to strengthening one’s resolve is just as valid as creating solid footing on otherwise unstable ground.
- Overcome: When using Earth to overcome barriers, if you defeat the barrier by 2 or more, the barrier is removed.
- Create an Advantage: Gain a +1 to any actions to create a barrier. Or, you can forgo the bonus and instead take a −3 penalty to the skill roll to create a barrier all around your zone. Increase the penalty another point (to −4) to also seal the top.
- Attack: You can attack targets on or very near the ground. Things a normal sized mortal can hit with his hands is fair game. You can also attack all targets in your own zone (except yourself) by taking a −1 penalty to your skill roll. Take a −2 penalty to attack all targets in your own zone and one additional zone. You can continue to take a −2 penalty to add more zones, so long as they are contiguous.
- Defend: Earth is slow to move; any defense action using Earth takes a −1 penalty.
This is one of four elemental magics that include air, earth, fire and water. Fire describes violent reactions as well as controlled changes. It is the most energetic of the elements.
- Overcome: When you overcome a physical barrier with Fire, reduce the barrier’s value by 1.
- Create an Advantage: If you use Fire to create barrier, it diminishes by 2 every exchange after the first, unless the spellslinger concentrates on maintaining it. This requires concentration, so while the spellslinger is concentrating, all difficulties increase by +1.
- Attack: You can take a −1 penalty to your Fire skill roll to attack everyone in the zone, except yourself.
- Defend: No special rules.
Requires two other magic skills.
Psychic powers such as telepathy and telekinesis are examples of the kinds of things this magic can accomplish. Before learning this skill, a spellslinger needs to understand a more basic type of magic. The prerequisite for this magic is two other magic skills because a spellslinger needs to be intimately familiar with the workings of magic to unleash the full potential of this very flexible suite of spell craft.
- Overcome: Use of Mind magic can allow telepathy. If resisted, overcome Will to read surface thoughts or send a message to someone you can see. If you succeed with style, you may be able to delve deeper into the target’s mind.
- Create an Advantage: Mind magic can be used to send up mental static meant to enhance defense against mind-affecting powers. It can also be used to inflict temporary psychoses or temporary memory loss. You might also use Mind magic to physically move objects, trip people up or otherwise place similar aspects. You can create barriers, though you gain no special bonuses or rules for doing so.
- Attack: You can use Mind to make direct physical attacks using force, or you can attempt a mental battle. Mental battles pit your Mind skill versus the target’s Will. If you get a Taken Out result you can turn temporary memory loss (likely described by consequences) into a permanent result.
- Defend: No special rules.
This form of magic allows the spellslinger to tap into natural forces. Using this, barriers of hedge and thorn can be raised in an instant and natural animals will obey his command.
- Overcome: Use Nature to communicate with animals or humans whose language you do not otherwise understand. If resisted, the target can use Will.
- Create an Advantage: In a scene where vegetation is plentiful, you have a +1 to create barriers of greenery using vines, thorny plants, twining tree limbs, etc. You can also use Nature magic to command animals and nameless characters by placing an aspect illustrating a simple command. This is a biological imperative that is followed even if the target doesn’t understand why they are doing it. Supporting and main npcs as well as PCs can attempt to overcome the imperative using Will after initially succumbing to the spell if they have been commanded to do something counter to their character, something that runs against the grain of their aspects. The imperative lasts a scene unless the target overcomes the spell.
- Attack: Attack with Nature is usually an indirect thing, using plants to attack targets or ordering animals to attack on the spellcaster’s behalf.
- Defend: This skill isn’t used for defense.
This skill is used to communicate with the dead. It can also be used to send the caster’s own shade out of his or her body.
Dark practitioners have been known to use Necromancy to coerce a ghost into animating a corpse. This usually requires a series of necromantic attacks upon a summoned ghost with a Taken Out resulting in a slave that can then be forced to animate whatever prepared corpse the necromancer has readied. Such zombies might not last, as the energy to animate the corpse comes directly from the spirit inhabiting it, and the body itself continues to break down. Some necromancers can extend the un-life of their zombies by using specially prepared, even mummified, corpses and feeding their zombies some of their own necromantic energy.
Note: If you need to, you can portray specific, named zombies as supporting characters. The necromancer character should have an aspect devoted to describing the zombie. If the necromancer wants a small pack of nameless zombies, this is possible, too. Pay for a pack of nameless zombies using an aspect and build them as nameless npcs.
- Overcome: A Mediocre (+0) overcome roll is all that is needed in order to see and hear ghosts. The effect lasts a scene. Ghosts aren’t required to communicate, however, and can’t be forced to do so. If you wish to summon a specific ghost that has not yet moved on, the GM can assign difficulties depending on how likely it is for he ghost to be near enough to sense the summons. Most ghosts will come willingly when they hear the call, but some may be disturbed, angered, or so faded they no longer respond to contact. Ghosts resisting the summons do so using their Will skill.
- Used another way, this skill can reveal that which holds the ghost to this plane of existence. The GM sets a difficulty to identify the person, place, or thing to which the the ghost is attached, or whatever had been left unfinished that the ghost needs completed before it can move on. Often, success reveals only a clue, however, and most necromancers prepare for cryptic answers. If the answer was simple, after all, the ghost likely wouldn’t still be around.
- Create an Advantage: You can use Necromancy to create barriers that trap or keep out ghosts, gaining a +2 bonus to do so. Use this skill on yourself to place a Ghost Form aspect. This leaves your unconscious physical body behind but grants you the form of a ghost. This aspect allows you to interact with ghosts as if they were physical, but beware! This means ghosts can harm you as easily as you might harm them. While in Ghost Form, you cannot affect anything of the physical world, only those things that exist in ephemeral, ghost form.
- Attack: This skill is not used to directly attack the living, but might be used to damage a ghost or other ephemeral being.
- Defend: This skill is not used to defend.
Manipulation of passion can generate lust, anger, and other such strong but temporary emotions. It doesn’t create long-lasting emotions such as love directly, though lasting emotions might result as a result of actions taken whilst under the throes of passion. The magical art of Passion is a subtle one, and oft-used by witches and practitioners of hoodoo.
A person skilled in the use of Passion as well as a few decent social skills can be a master of social manipulation.
- Overcome: A spellslinger might conceivably use his mastery of Passion to overcome magical aspects placed upon himself, if they of a type to influence emotions.
- Create an Advantage: The most common use of this magic is to place aspects on the spellslinger himself or others, and she gains a +1 bonus to do so. Resisted by Will. If the spell works, an aspect might be placed upon the target that inspires lust, anger, fear, and other raw emotions. It can be more subtle, as well. For example if the spellslinger wanted to place an aspect that does a very specific thing, such as In Lust for Lazarus Rich, the GM is within his rights to increase the difficulty by a point or two.
- If the target was already feeling the emotion intended, a successful Passion spell can re-activate the aspect, granting another free invocation, or add an additional, perhaps similar aspect. These aspects might then be invoked against the target.
- As another example, if a spellslinger knew a target had a certain weakness, such as a trouble aspect, he might use Passion to create free invokes against it.
- Attack: Passion isn’t used to directly attack a person.
- Defend: Nor is it useful for defense against attack, be it physical or mental.
Requires Darkness or Nature. Which skill you have determines the kinds of things you can become, or into what you might change others.
This magical skill is what spellslingers use to change themselves into other creatures. Those with an understanding of Nature magic choose natural beings, such as animals, into which they can change. Those with an understanding of Darkness magic can become something dark, shadowy, or demonic.
- Overcome: This is the skill to go to if you need to have someone returned from a permanent transformation back into their natural selves. The difficulty to overcome is equal to the peak skill of the subject +2.
- Create an Advantage: Sometimes partially transforming yourself, or temporarily transforming yourself will grant you the edge you need. You can use Transformation to place creature aspects on yourself in order to gain advantages usable by other skills. For instance, you might grow Ears of a Bat to gain a bonus to Notice rolls dependent upon hearing. Using Transformation in this way gives the spellslinger a +1 bonus to his dice roll.
- You cannot use Transformation to grant temporary benefits or hindrances to others. Instead, you must use Transformation as an attack.
- Attack: Use of Transformation to attack means you are turning a person or creature into something they are not. They will resist with the better of Will or their Physique skill. If you succeed in an attack, they must take stress or be Taken Out. If Taken Out, then they become the creature you dictate until the next sunrise or sunset. If you dictate a way the transformation can be reversed, then the duration can be longer.
- If the target make a Concession, then they transform but for a duration you and the subject negotiate.
- Defend: This skill is not used to defend.
Requires two of Air, Earth, Fire or Water, as well as Transmutation. Which elements are known by the spellslinger colors how the Translocation magic works.
Translocation is the arcane science of transportation. There are many approaches to using magic to move from one location to another, and how it is approached determines the necessary details. For example, a master of Fire and Water might open small wormholes through space that last but an instant and draw a person from one location to another. A master of Air and Fire might transfer a body from one place to another in a pyrotechnic burst of energy. Each spellslinger has his own trademark method of moving from place to place.
The mechanics, however, remain the same; the character identifies the target or targets, as well as the goal, then rolls his Translocation skill against a difficulty determined by those targets and goals.
A spellslinger can attempt to translocate one person or thing into another person or thing. This is how stress can be dealt with Translocation in a direct attack. This isn’t as easy as simply moving the targeted person or thing to an open space, as two objects will naturally resist becoming one thing. If the intent is to damage two things at once, then the spell-caster should split her shifts among the two targets being teleported into one another and deal damage that way. A Taken Out result means the thing you translocated permanently becomes part of the targeted location, thing, or creature with disastrous results for the living.
|A single willing subject (or himself)||A zone within line of sight||+1 per zone distant|
|More than one willing subject||A zone within line of sight||+1 per zone distant, split shifts to accommodate extra targets|
|A single unwilling subject||A zone within line of sight||Target rolls Will +1 per zone distant to resist|
|More than one unwilling subject||A zone within line of sight||Targets roll Will +1 per zone distant to resist; spell-caster splits shifts to accommodate extra targets|
|A target you can see||A zone you cannot see||Requires a time investment of a full scene and first hand knowledge of the target location, as well as something from there, such as a stone, sand, or dirt. The difficulty is the target’s Will (if resisting) added to a base difficulty of Great (+4)|
|A target you cannot see||A zone you can see||Requires a time investment of a full scene and first hand knowledge of the target person, as well as something of theirs. This might be hair, blood, skin, fingernail clippings, something they treasure, or their true name. A true name is something that Fae characters and demonic entities have, but others likely do not.|
|A target you cannot see||A zone you cannot see||This is not possible|
- Overcome: Translocation can be used to overcome physical obstacles by teleporting around them. Note that it’s more difficult to do that if you cannot see around the obstacle.
- Create an Advantage: You may translocate in order to create aspects like On Higher Ground or Behind the Cover of a Bookcase.
- Attack: You can attack someone using this magic by attempting to translocate them into some other physical object or by attempting to translocate a physical object into the target.
- Defend: No special rules.
Requires at least two of Air, Earth, Fire or Water.
Transmutation is the transformation of one thing into another. While this magic has no direct power over the living, non-living, inanimate things can be affected. It does not directly affect unliving beings such as vampires or zombies.
Transmutation requires at least two magic skills, depending on the desired result. To change lead to gold, for example, requires knowledge of Fire and Earth. Changing dirt to mud requires Earth and Water. As a result, the Transmutation skill cannot rise higher than the lowest Elements skill the character possesses. When in doubt as to what two skills are needed to transmute something, assume Fire is necessary. For example, if changing earth into stone, the assumption is you will use Earth and Fire. Changing one gas into another means you need Air and Fire. Transmutations that take place in an instant are usually quite violent. This is how Transmutation could be used as an attack. Transmutations that are very slow are much less violent.
- Overcome: Use Transmutation to change something that was affected by transmutation magic back into its original form. If using Transmutation to overcome a magical barrier, and you defeat the difficulty to overcome by 2 or more, the barrier is destroyed.
- Create an Advantage: Use Transmutation to turn one substance or thing into another. The target may not be a living (or otherwise animate) thing. That is the domain of Transformation.
- Attack: Forcing two elemental magics together can often create an explosion of considerable force. Doing so can be used as an attack on everyone and everything in a zone. So can transforming one substance into a poisonous or corrosive one, such as turning a small bit of air into chlorine gas.
- Defend: This skill isn’t used for defense, though the prerequisite magic skill often can be.
This is one of four elemental magics that include air, earth, fire and water. Water magic is used to control fluids and manipulate water. It is the element that represents inevitable change.
- Overcome: Gain a +1 to overcome physical barriers using Water magic.
- Create an Advantage: When used to create barriers, the spellslinger must concentrate on it (causing a −1 to other actions), or every exchange will cause the barrier’s value to reduce by 1 until it is gone.
- Attack: Water attacks from any direction. Physical Armor bonuses of any sort are ignored. You may also attack everything (except yourself) in a zone by taking a −2 penalty to your Water magic roll.
- Defend: No special rules.