Shadow in Storm
I’m going to be running the powers a little differently to the way I have in the past (and the way the rulebook advises), so listen up. You’ll still be able to buy the basic level of a power, as you normally would, although I’ll be reducing the price of each so that it’s at an appropriate level. However, when considering advanced powers is where things get a little different.
In the stock rules, getting an advanced level of any power is a second, smaller point deposit which grants you instant access to any and all of the boons that a particular advanced power can offer. However, I’ve decided this is rather abrupt, so we’ll be using a modified system in its place.
Firstly, the advanced version of a particular power can be bought multiple times. Each time that points are put into advancing the scope of a power, the character gains one facet of that power, chosen by the player (unless I decide that an alternative is more appropriate). This way, each and every iteration of an advanced power will grant a unique element to the player. By the same merit, some NPCs will have unique powers because of this specialization.
You will only be able to progress past the basic level of any power if you are working toward learning new things with that power in-game. There is a certain amount of effort that might need to be expended to reach a higher level of a power; however, this does not mean that you should practice the powers in seclusion until you are overtly powerful. Your characters will only achieve any growth through conflict (and the experience gained with it). Taking part in the story as well as training your abilities with a power is the best way to achieve unique advancement.
One thing to note is that you can get ideas for abilities with Powers by observing what other people can do with their Powers. Want to see what you can do with Trump? Watch a Trump Artist to see if they know any tricks you don’t. If you see them do something cool that you can’t achieve presently, this could be an expansion of your advanced power that you could work upon gaining in game. Of course, those aren’t the only abilities open to you. Creating new ones is as simple as making something up and checking it with me.
No single Power can do everything. Logrus has abilities that Pattern cannot duplicate, for example. You may be able to mimic the effects to a degree, but the actual functioning is going to be different. The idea is that each individual power will be unique, with it’s own strengths and weaknesses. Essentially that is what I will consider before I decide whether or not an ability will make it into the game.
Basic Pattern Mastery Cost: 30 Points.
Advanced Pattern Increments: 10 Points.
Pattern allows you to shift through Shadow, and to manipulate the underlying order inherent in Shadow. That is the key to understanding how it works. You look for patterns, and you change them, using the force of your will. The main restrictions on Pattern are that you have to be moving to use it, you have to be able to see details in your environment, and you can only use it in Shadow. Amber is immune to the manipulations of Pattern.
Pattern allows you to move through Shadow at two basic speeds: Shadow Walk or Hellride. A Shadow Walk is the normal mode of transport, where you move at a reasonable speed, changing one item in your environment at a time, until you arrive. It is moderately tiring, and not all that quick. A Hellride involves traveling at great speeds, making numerous extreme changes in your environment as you travel, and using tricky shortcuts like caves and tunnels. It is extremely tiring, but very quick. Normal creatures, including humans, can be driven mad by Hellrides, due to the unsettling experience of moving this quickly through Shadow, and the strain the movement puts on a mind.
The power of the Pattern is gained by traversing an actual ‘pattern’ that is only found in several specific locations. Only when (or if) a character successfully makes it to the centre of this pattern will its powers be bestowed upon them.
One other note: walking the Pattern, especially for the first time, can kill you. If things go poorly or you are very tired, I will do my level best to make you make a mistake. If you make a mistake, like stepping off the Pattern, or moving the wrong way on it without first reaching the centre, or falling down, you will die. I hereby absolve myself of any blame for such things. The Pattern is an item of great and Primal power. It is not now, nor will it ever be, safe.
Once someone has walked the Pattern once, however, subsequent walkings will become quicker; both in-game and meta-game. This is for the purposes of not bogging down the game as well as general plot interest.
Some ideas for advanced abilities using Pattern are:
- Faster transport through Shadow.
- Editing or erasing a Shadow.
- Misleading someone who is currently shifting through Shadow.
Basic Logrus Mastery Cost: 25 Points.
Advanced Logrus Increments: 5 Points.
Logrus allows you to shift through Shadow, and to pull item through Shadow to you. It does this by drawing on the disorder inherent in every Shadow, looking for the loopholes in the underlying order, and exploiting them. When you use the Logrus to travel through Shadow, you reach out and find your destination, and pull yourself to it. This means that, while you don’t have to be able to see as with Pattern, you do have to be able to move to propel yourself through Shadow; the Logrus can’t do it all. Travel in this manner is always a Hellride.
Movement in either direction using the Logrus is quite quick, but it can take a great deal of time to find the location before you begin moving. Anywhere from several minutes to over an hour may be required to locate the item or Shadow you are looking for. Summoning the Logrus to mind generally takes 30-60 seconds of uninterrupted concentration, although the distance from the Courts of Chaos is a large factor in summoning it. Once it is summoned, the search takes time depending on how well you know the place/item youíre looking for, how specific you are about your request, and how far you have to reach through Shadow to find it.
Passing through the Logrus has the same dangers as walking the Pattern, with the added problem of madness. If you do make it through the Logrus, you go mad for a time, the length of time dependent on several factors such as your condition when you started. It can take your character out of play for a time, so be warned. The Logrus may be a little less deadly than the Pattern, but it has its own perils.
Possible advanced abilities with Logrus include:
- The summoning of primal Chaos.
- Molding Shadow Ways.
- Inflicting the madness of the Logrus on another.
- Summoning and controlling demons.
Basic Trump Artistry Cost: 20 Points.
Advanced Trump Increments: 10 Points.
Trump allows you to communicate mind-to-mind with an individual pictured, or to travel to a person or place pictured. It draws on a type of sympathetic imagery, created by meditative attention paid to the act of creation, and the construction of a card which involves symbolism and depiction which capture the core identity of the place or person on the Trump. A functional Trump is cool to the touch, and an active one is actually cold.
Contact with another person through a Trump puts both parties in mind-to-mind contact, with no defenses up. Mental conflict initiated at this point can be extremely brutal, and only the fact that Trumps are really only used this way in time of war keeps people using Trumps; doing this sort of thing is generally viewed poorly, and can result in repecussions.
Trump communication is not directly visible to those not involved. While the direct experience of Trump contact is visual and auditory, even involving the other senses in some cases, it is all occurring in the mind of the people in contact. Thus, it is safest to not interrupt someone who is gazing into space, or at a card in their hand, whether or not they’re speaking.
As far as Trump contact is concerned, the initial stage is a signal ‘feeling’ within your head, only noticeable by you. You can choose not to answer it, but you cannot choose not to notice the feeling in the first place. General etiquette is encouraged, and is expected by most Trump users. This means call for a reason, call at a reasonable time, don’t keep calling every five minutes, and behave yourself when you’re in someone else’s mind.
New advanced abilities with Trump could include:
- Opening Trump Gates.
- Creating storage trumps.
- Identifying incoming calls.
- Creating Trumps in forms other than card form.
- Using the memory of a Trump you have drawn instead of the card to contact or travel to the subject.
Basic Shapeshifting Proficiency Cost: 15 Points.
Advanced Shapeshifting Increments: 15 Points.
Shapeshifting lets you change the form of your body into a shape other than your own. It works through the vehicle of the Chaos that is necessary for life, existing in every cell of your body. Anyone with Chaos blood has the potential to learn to Shapeshift. However, contary to the offical rules, I’ve decided that shapeshifting should not be a requirement fro walking the Logrus; however, not having shapeshifting will increase the duration and severity of the inflicted madness.
Shapeshifting to one of your basic forms (human, demon, archetypal, or primal) takes a minute or two. It takes a couple of minutes to shift to another form that you’ve practiced. It take ten to fifteen minutes to try to take on a brand new form, and you will not be very skilled in using it until you’ve worn it for several weeks. While this doesn’t make a huge difference with regards to being a white dog instead of a black dog, it does make a big difference if you try to move around on more legs than you’re used to, or try to fly if you’ve never had wings before.
Learning a new shape just takes time. You can do cosmetic variation on a known shape fairly simply, taking only a day or two to get the right look down, so that you have a brand new version of the shape which you can assume fairly quickly. For something more extreme, it takes a careful study of the subject before you start shifting, and several weeks of practice with the form before it goes on your practiced list.
New ways to use Shapeshifting include:
- Acquiring the Powers of the form you take on.
- Shifting between forms more quickly.
- Shifting your mind and personality.
- Shifting at a cellular level to become a different substance, or overcoming the mass restrictions.
Basic Broken Pattern Mastery Cost: 15 Points.
Advanced Broken Pattern Increments: 5 Points.
Technically this is a sub-variant of the Pattern, but I believe it deserves its own section due to its unique workings and cost. A Broken Pattern is a version of the Pattern which has been reflected (albeit imperfectly, with breaks) into nearby shadows. Only the Broken Patterns that are closest to Amber are safe to walk. To gain the power of a Broken Pattern, you must pass through the breaks in the path to the middle, instead of following the path.
Other than that, the workings of the Broken Pattern are largely similar to the regular Pattern. However, when using the Broken Pattern, a character must be constantly wary not to fall to the corruption of the Pattern or stumble into one of the many ‘breaks’ that materialize when using the power.
Advanced powers of the Broken Pattern can be gained by traversing each safe Broken Pattern individually, eventually building up to the power of the Pattern, yet still intangibly imperfect.
Basic Power Word Mastery Cost: 10 Points.
Advanced Power Word Increments: 10 Points.
Power Words are quick access to basic magical effects. They are quick to use, and quite powerful, but of very short duration. Each Power Word is either a word or gesture that can be invoked in about a second, which is tied to the basic rules of existence. Power Words are manifestations of some of the underlying structure that infuses both Order and Chaos, drawing on primal principles to produce their effects. Effects are instantaneous in nature, but recovering from them may take time. For example, Resume True Form forces a Shapeshifter instantly back to its true form, but doesn’t hold it there. It will, however, take the Shapeshifter some time to change to a different form.
When Power Words are chosen, each one may be selected as a word or a gesture. If you want one which is both, you need to take it twice. You cannot use a spoken Power Word if you can’t speak, and you can’t use a gestured Power Word if your hands are bound.
Advanced versions of Power Words might:
- Increase the range or duration of the effects.
- Produce far more powerful effects.
- New Power Words may be devised, following the style of the existing Power Words.
Basic Sorcery Mastery Cost: 15 Points.
Advanced Sorcery Increments: 15 Points.
This is the study and ability to use external sources of power to shape reality to your will. While it exists in many Shadows, only Amberites and Chaosites are able to use Sorcery in different Shadows, as the nature of magic changes from Shadow to Shadow. The basic power source for Sorcery is the ambient magical background energy existing in the Shadow, which is drawn upon with the Magical Energy micro-spell. Advanced study allows different power sources, such as Pattern and Trump, to be employed.
Sorcery is primarily an academic Power, involving research, study, and effort to craft, hang, and maintain spells. Spells are prepared leaving key variables undefined, and then stored on a special artifact until needed. The casting time of spells varies depending on their complexity and the variables left undefined, ranging from half an hour to several days. Releasing the spell requires that the variables be defined, and the spell be released from the storing item.
Sorcerors, without using spells, can create minor magical effects: they can light fires, create lights, dust their rooms, chill a drink, heat food, etc. Nothing that is directly hostile, and nothing that affects more than what they can see. If a significant amount of energy is expended, a powerful sorcerer can work with raw energies. However, this is tiring and is only practical for a short amount of time. Preparing and hanging spells is much more-energy efficient, as well as being quicker to unleash in general.
Advanced Sorcery abilities could include:
- Reaching beyond the Shadow you are in to effect your spell.
- Gaining access to different power sources to produce special effects.
- Removing your dependency on the nature or magic in the Shadow you are in.
Basic Conjuration Mastery Cost: 20 Points.
Advanced Conjuration Increments: 20 Points.
Conjuration is the crafting of items beyond the scope of mere craftsmanship. It draws upon deep and secret knowledge and understanding of the nature of matter, and the proper reverence for the act of creation. With the appropriate tools and time, a Conjuror can even create life.
It is the tools and time that are the limiting factor. While each Conjuror has his or her own method of crafting, they need their tools to do their work, whether it is a forge, a machine shop, an alchemical laboratory, or a cloning tank. While Conjurors can and do shape things out of pure will, these items are ephemeral, and fade quickly. The time it takes to create an item varies based on the complexity of the thing created.
Like Sorcerors, Conjurors can, without using their tools or spending too much time on it, produce minor items instantly out of the air. These items will be small and inoffensive: a penknife, a handkerchief, a bird which immediately flies away, a piece of paper, a ball which casts light like a lantern, or so on.
Advanced Conjuration may consist of such abilities as:
- Fast Conjuration.
- Gaining the ability to unmake things.
- Creating things out of intangibles/abstract items, such as thoughts, memories, and opinions (Correspondences or High Compellings).