Quick and Dirty Magic

Spheres in General

1 Perception: limited to you and your immediate surroundings. Also needs to be specific – not “all forces” but “infra red”; not “all spirits” but “nearby wraiths”

  • Makes it relatively easy to see in the dark (Correspondence, Forces), figure out what is in a safe (Matter), read someone’s aura (Mind, Spirit), interpret an omen (Entropy) or know the precise time

2 Distant Perception, Small Changes and Wards: your perceptions can extend farther beyond yourself and your surroundings; you can bend and shape and make minor changes, and you can create wards

  • Enables you to perceive a distant location (Correspondence), increase or decrease ambient heat (Forces), bend a steel bar (Matter), command a wraith (Spirit), change someone’s luck (Entropy)
  • Generally speaking, will add or subtract dice rather than deal damage directly. When used to deal damage, it is bashing, except in the case of a weapon infused with quintessence, which can deal aggravated damage if it normally deals lethal
  • Wards set a barrier of successes that must be surpassed in order for magic from a given sphere to affect you. Once the ward is surpassed, all of the successes rolled over the target are taken into effect (wards count against your ongoing effects)

3 Transformation, Conjure from Nothing with Prime 2: here you can make simple changes to things governed by the Sphere, including damage and repair, or you can summon from nothing by adding Prime 2 to the rote.

  • Grow claws or wings (Life), step sideweays into the spirit world (Spirit), read someone’s mind or enter into their dreams (Mind), astrally project (Mind), teleport (Correspondence), corrode an object to ruin (Entropy), log into the Digital Web (Correspondence), speed up or slow down time for someone (Time)
  • When dealing (or healing) damage directly, it is equal to successes rolled x 2, +1 if you are using Forces, and aggravated damage if you are using Prime

4 Dramatic Changes: any change you can imagine, but still somewhere within the ‘rules.’ So you can make an incredible substance with Matter, but not yet an impossible one. You can transform yourself into a huge wolf, but not a fire-breathing dragon. You can summon a storm, but not a sharknado.

  • Summon a tornado (Forces, lots of successes), bring others with you to the Umbra or Astral realm or Digital Web (Correspondence or Mind or Spirit), curse a whole family (Entropy), step outside of time (Time), create a Wonder (Prime), be in two places at once (Correspondence)
  • Remember to roll you specialty die if you have one that applies

5 Shatter Rules: here you can use the Sphere to do the impossible. A material that has no friction. A self-aware artificial intelligence. A place that is simultaneously in your living room and on the Moon.

  • Travel into a future or a past (Time), bring all of someone’s fate to bear at once (Entropy), transform into a dragon (Life), build a new Umbral realm (Spirit), create a new Node (Prime), make two places the same place (Correspondence)

Common Combinations

  • Using a sphere at 3 and Prime 2 lets you create something from nothing
  • Using Correspondence equal to the highest sphere used lets you use spheres at any distance
  • Using Spirit equal to the highest sphere used lets you use spheres across the Gauntlet in a spirit world
  • As above, but for Mind and the Astral Realms
  • Spending one quintessence and using Prime 2 in a damaging rote can often make that rote deal aggravated damage
  • Effects can be held with Time 4 and then released at a later time. These count toward your limit of ongoing effects
  • Effects can also be held to an ‘if-then’ trigger with Entropy 2 and Time 4

Magical Defenses

Just as you can roll one defense per round for free, you can roll one magical defense for free as well. When you are the target of a magical effect, you can roll your Arete at difficulty 5. To get around this, mages can charge up an effect, rolling an extended Arete roll before it is released.

Modifiers to the Arete Roll

  • Base difficulty for all magic: Sphere level +3
  • Vulgar magic, but with no witnesses: +1 difficulty
  • Vulgar magic, with witnesses: +2 difficulty
  • Drawing on your hubris: take one Paradox and roll your Resonance as dice. All or nothing.
  • Spending Quintessence, as sacrifice or tass or in its pure form: -1 difficulty per point spent, and you can’t spend more pure Quintessence than you have dots in Avatar per turn
    Spending Willpower: 1 willpower for +1 success, if you don’t botch
  • Trying something new to you, or something you just made up: +1 difficulty
  • Using a tried-and-true rote you’ve created or been trained in (that is written out): -1 difficulty
  • Using a unique (irreplaceable) focus that you can’t perform this rote without: -1 difficulty
  • Spending lots of time researching, choosing an auspicious time, etc.: -1 difficulty
  • Attempting magic at a particularly inauspicious time: +1 difficulty
  • Trying to do magic without your usual focus: spend 1 willpower, and make a mark next to the focus you’re ignoring (on the way to overcoming it)
  • Attempting magic without any foci: spend 1 willpower, +1 difficulty, and no marks next to any foci
  • Performing magic near a Node: -1 difficulty
  • Example: performing magic including a sacrifice of 1 tass, after lots of research, at an auspicious time, using foci you’ve overcome and a tried-and true rote, near a Node would be: -5 difficulty
  • Example: ignoring all of your foci, at the worst possible time, while a bunch of Sleepers are watching you do something vulgar: +4 difficulty (or Sphere +7)

Quick and Dirty Magic

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