Difference between revisions of "Thaumaturgy"

From Obscura

(Fast Channelling)
(Limitations of Thaumaturgy)
Line 58: Line 58:
  
 
===Limitations of Thaumaturgy===
 
===Limitations of Thaumaturgy===
The Compulsion-Concealment Exclusion, Law of Appearance, Law of Immediacy and Law of Presence are [[Natural Philosophy#Limitations|limitations of all natural philosophy]], thaumaturgy included.
+
====Compulsion-Concealment Exclusion====
 +
Compulsions are possible, but the target will always be aware of the compulsion.
  
Due to the Law of Presence rituals must be begun in touch range of the target.
+
Compulsions can always be forcibly resisted by becoming incapacitated.
  
Also due to the Law of Presence, divining the present in other places, or the future, is impossible. Divining the past of an item, character or location that’s present is possible. Divining magical history (for example, if an item was used in a ritual or exposed to an elemental effect) is far more reliable than divining mundane history (Investigation or Intuition are more appropriate tools for this). Divining the present in your current location is possible, but will usually be strictly inferior to a proper Investigation.
+
Influence is possible without the subject necessarily knowing it, but then the influence cannot be powerful enough to be a true compulsion.
  
Thaumaturgy also has the additional Law of Idempotency:
+
====Law of Appearance====
* Performing the same ritual (or an improvised ritual with a similar effect) on the same target twice in one day is likely to be much less effective than usual and may be dangerous. This is especially true if performed by the same lead.
+
It is impossible to magically conceal something from mundane detection. I.e. invisibility is impossible, as is blocking sound.
 +
 
 +
It is possible to conceal something from divination, but not to give a false result. Divination focused unambiguously on a concealed target will yield information about the concealing effect.
 +
 
 +
====Law of Immediacy====
 +
Both magic and alchemy seem to need an act of will to set off their effect, otherwise they remain inert. Trying to apply any sort of automatic condition, trigger or time delay is simply impossible.
  
 
Thaumaturgy effects tend to break on sunrise. Making an enchantment that lasts longer than overnight is very hard.
 
Thaumaturgy effects tend to break on sunrise. Making an enchantment that lasts longer than overnight is very hard.
 +
 +
====Law of Presence====
 +
Affecting a target at range is incredibly difficult. Rituals are touch range by default. Extending to 5m range is possible for simple effects (for example those [[invoker]]s use in combat). Any further than that is completely infeasible even for minor effects. Affecting an area centred on your location is much more feasible however.
 +
 +
Divining the present in other places, or the future, is impossible. Divining the past of an item, character or location that’s present is possible. Divining magical history (for example, if an item was used in a ritual or exposed to an elemental effect) is far more reliable than divining mundane history (Investigation or Intuition are more appropriate tools for this). Divining the present in your current location is possible, but will usually be strictly inferior to a proper Investigation.
 +
 +
====Law of Idempotency====
 +
Performing the same ritual (or an improvised ritual with a similar effect) on the same target twice in one day is likely to be much less effective than usual and may be dangerous. This is especially true if performed by the same lead.
  
 
=== Example ===
 
=== Example ===

Revision as of 13:27, 29 July 2019

Thaumaturgy is the art of multiple people working in concert, through the medium of ritualistic gestures, symbols, intonation and actions, to create elemental resonances and dissonances and affect the world. Specifically, thaumaturges can learn to manipulate the world through the use of Rituals.

Performing Rituals

to perform a ritual, you need to either know the ritual as a formulaic ritual, or perform an improvised ritual.

Taking the Lead Ritual skill for an element grants the ability to improvise rituals of that element, and knowledge of the formulaic Consecrate ritual for that element.

Additional formulaic rituals can be learned by taking the Learn Ritual skill, learning one formulaic ritual each time.

Powering the Ritual

  • Silver and gold provide one poncelet of power per silver ducatto.

Rituals are performed by channeling power through the ritual participants, who must control it. The most readily available power can be extracted from precious metals - gold and silver. One poncelet of ritual power can be drawn from one silver ducatto.

Controlling the Ritual

The easiest way to control power is to increase the number of participants in the ritual. Each participant can safely control one poncelet of ritual power. By pushing themselves, the lead can control one additional power.

  • Participants can control one poncelet each.
  • The lead can take a WOUND to control one additional poncelet.

If any of the raised power is not controlled at the conclusion of the ritual, the ritual will still succeed but fallout occurs.

For each poncelet of power that is uncontrolled the attending ref will resolve a card of fallout at the conclusion of the ritual. There can only be as much fallout as there is controlled power, or the ritual is cancelled.

The Ritual Performance

There are no set rules how a ritual must be performed, and different thaumaturges perform rituals in wildly different ways. It seems as long as the participants believe it will work, it usually does. However, activities that involve the participants working in harmony are known to be particularly effective, such as chanting, singing, dancing or other ritualistic movement, or making music

  • The ritual lead and participants must roleplay for at least 1 minute in a way that it’s clear to a casual observer within 2 metres that a ritual is happening.
  • Rituals must be begun strictly in touch range of the target, after that there is some flexibility. The ritualists must stay in the general vicinity of where the ritual was started. If the target moves away they are still targeted by the ritual.
  • The target does not have to be unresisting.
  • As with other roleplayed skills, a ritual can be cancelled at any time by the lead without penalty by stopping roleplaying (either by choice or by force). All wounds and sacrifices and ability uses are not consumed if the ritual is cancelled.
  • If the leader leaves or is forced out of the ritual area the ritual is cancelled.
  • The amount of power must be declared before the ritual is performed, and can’t be added or removed later. If for some reason the power can’t be provided at the end of the ritual (i.e. the ducatto is stolen) then the ritual is cancelled.
  • If a non-lead participant stops roleplaying, any control they’re contributing is lost from the ritual. The ritual lead can take a WOUND to channel more power (if they aren’t already), or the ritual can continue and cause fallout.
  • If a ritual has a defined effect and there’s no intended fallout, it can be performed without a ref. If performing a ritual without a ref and fallout somehow would occur, the ritual is cancelled instead.

Thaumic Refrain

Some rituals can be cast on multiple targets with a single ritual performance by causing the ritual performance to “echo”. For all intents and purposes the ritual is cast multiple times at the completion of the performance (including consuming the resources for all castings), but only one performance is required. This can only be done if the ritual causes no fallout (should it somehow unexpectedly cause fallout, it is performed once and stops).

Fast Channelling

During the darkest moments, a thaumaturge can draw on a measure of last resort. They can shorten the cast time of a ritual to 10 seconds. Such fast channelling tears through the body of the ritual lead, causing them to become terminal after the effect of the ritual is discharged. Fallout from rituals done in this way is directed in to the ritualist instead of outward, negating it.

Consuming Souls

It’s possible to use souls to power a ritual. This requires a willing possessor of a soul to be present that the ritualists can draw on. The soul of a single human can provide 8 poncelets of power, with the added advantage that this power does not need to be controlled by the ritualists - its sentient nature means it readily follows the thaumaturge’s designs. Souls of participants or the lead can be used. Consuming someone’s soul kills them instantly, after the effect of the ritual is discharged.

Formulaic Rituals

The Consecrate formulaic ritual is learned by taking the Lead Ritual skill, and more can be learned with the Learn Ritual skill. New formulaic rituals can be created by performing an improvised ritual then codifying it in downtime.

Improvised Rituals

Thaumaturges can design custom rituals that go beyond the scope of codified thaumaturgy.

  • A thaumaturge can only safely perform one improvised ritual per day
  • Improvised rituals are significantly more costly for the effect than codified rituals, and even then are likely to have unexpected side effects.
  • Thinking about a ritual during the week is far more likely to produce a good outcome, especially for ambitious rituals.
  • The result of an improvised ritual may vary, even if the same improvised ritual is repeated at a later time; codification will remove this uncertainty.
  • Even with preparation, improvised rituals are not guaranteed to succeed as intended. Unlike formulaic rituals, the outcome of improvised rituals may depend on the style and approach of the ritual performance and/or decisions they make during the ritual.

Once performed successfully an improvised ritual can be codified in downtime, making it a ritual that can be performed reliably.

Limitations of Thaumaturgy

Compulsion-Concealment Exclusion

Compulsions are possible, but the target will always be aware of the compulsion.

Compulsions can always be forcibly resisted by becoming incapacitated.

Influence is possible without the subject necessarily knowing it, but then the influence cannot be powerful enough to be a true compulsion.

Law of Appearance

It is impossible to magically conceal something from mundane detection. I.e. invisibility is impossible, as is blocking sound.

It is possible to conceal something from divination, but not to give a false result. Divination focused unambiguously on a concealed target will yield information about the concealing effect.

Law of Immediacy

Both magic and alchemy seem to need an act of will to set off their effect, otherwise they remain inert. Trying to apply any sort of automatic condition, trigger or time delay is simply impossible.

Thaumaturgy effects tend to break on sunrise. Making an enchantment that lasts longer than overnight is very hard.

Law of Presence

Affecting a target at range is incredibly difficult. Rituals are touch range by default. Extending to 5m range is possible for simple effects (for example those invokers use in combat). Any further than that is completely infeasible even for minor effects. Affecting an area centred on your location is much more feasible however.

Divining the present in other places, or the future, is impossible. Divining the past of an item, character or location that’s present is possible. Divining magical history (for example, if an item was used in a ritual or exposed to an elemental effect) is far more reliable than divining mundane history (Investigation or Intuition are more appropriate tools for this). Divining the present in your current location is possible, but will usually be strictly inferior to a proper Investigation.

Law of Idempotency

Performing the same ritual (or an improvised ritual with a similar effect) on the same target twice in one day is likely to be much less effective than usual and may be dangerous. This is especially true if performed by the same lead.

Example

Alice, Bob and Charlie are on a linear together and hear that a group of enemies is coming to get them. Alice has mastered the Ruination ritual, and they have a little time, so they decide to prepare it.

The ritual can summon one destructive bolt per poncelet of power. They decide that they'll all participate, which allows them to control 3 power, so they prepare the ducatto and start the ritual.

The enemies come early and the ritual isn’t quite done yet, so Charlie decides to leave the ritual to keep them busy. The ritual will now have one poncelet of uncontrolled power. Alice decides to take a wound to control this power and the ritual continues.

Charlie isn’t faring too well, so Bob also decides to leave the ritual. Alice can’t take another wound to control the power. Since there's a ref present, she decides to cause fallout rather than cancel the ritual, and informs the ref of this.

The ritual completes and the ref draws a single fallout card, which is MASS MAGIC TRIPLE, and calls it. Alice then takes a WOUND call due to her wounding herself to control extra power (she currently has no mortal wounds, so is fine, for now), and unleashes 3 MAGIC DOUBLEs on the enemies. The party wins, and since it's now the end of the encounter, Alice asks the ref for her mortal wound card.