Magic, much like magnetism or electricity, is a way to tap into the energy of the cosmos that surrounds and permeates all of existence. With the proper formulas and force of will, anyone can manipulate these energies to influence the material world. There is no black or white, the result of the application of these energies is a result of those who execute them.
All magical actions require some type of ritualistic formula commonly known as a Spell. While it may be as simple as lighting a candle, or as complex as a multi-person blood ritual, the core of each is the same – using words and actions one can create a predetermined outcome.
There are no printed working spell books. The best that a player can hope for is the notebooks of others who have tinkered with these forces; experiments at best. If a spellbook or scroll is found, the formulas are deliberately left incomplete so that only those initiated in the use can add the missing elements – a standard practice among the magically trained. Each of these works would have its own primer to unlock the full power of the magic therein.
NOTE: Any attempts to publish any working spell formulas are always met with overwhelming destruction by powerful people.
How to Cast a Spell
One must have the specific formula, specific words, material components and the Mental Stress to power the Spell. Then the caster must roll to against the overcome. The more complex the Spell the more difficult the overcome roll will be. In the event that a Spell is successful, it will generate a one time effect.
Succeeding with Style: Desired result is achieved. Spell formula is proven stable and reusable without rolling again. Effects last for an entire scene.
Succeeding: Spell works as planned. Effects last for an entire scene.
Tie: Spell works as planned, but has a possible negative side effect. Effects are used as a one time boost.
Failing: Spell fails completely and has a possible negative side effect.
Spells are not without their costs. Each time a Spell is attempted, it drains the caster of a number of Mental Stress boxes. The more powerful the result the more Mental Stress boxes are required to complete the Spell, hence the need for multi-person rituals.
It is recommended that you increase the cost of a Spell depending on the complexity of the formula and the strength of the target of the spell. A basic formula, using only one component and a simple action would cost only 1 Mental Stress, however a Spell requiring multiple steps might require multiple spells to complete successfully, taking the Mental Stress of many individuals to complete.
In the event that multiple people are present in the immediate area of a ritual, the Mental Stress should be randomly drained from individuals.
Negative Side Effects
When casting a Spell and a tie or fail is rolled, a possible side effect may occur. Roll again and anything below a zero roll will result in a consequence aspect added to the caster.
Spell Consequence Examples:
- Temporary Amnesia – Player’s mind goes blank for the next scene.
- Opposite Effect – Spell works, but has the exact opposite effect.
- Paranoia – Something’s not right… can you feel them watching us?
- Influence of Evil – The Voices are encouraging you to do bad things
- Marked by Evil – Player(s) are a magnet for evil things.
- Insanity – Player should make sanity checks to ensure their mind survives the effects of the eldritch
- Spell Explosion – The Spell components combust in a ball of green fire causing minor Physical Stress
Spells can be combined with other spells to increase the effectiveness or to extend additional bonuses in the final spell. For example, in order to cast a magic circle, one should first cleanse themselves and the area (Cleansing Spell), then proceed with casting the Magic Circle, which in turn will add additional protection for a summoning spell, and so on.
Below is a sample list of common spells with components and costs associated. This is by no means a definitive list, but a starting point for your own game. In addition, these spells, while positive on their own, can be chained together to create a greater effect – such as summoning and binding ghosts and demons.
Effect: A magical binding is simply a spell, or working, that restrains someone metaphysically, preventing them from doing one-thing specifically.
Components: A picture of the person you will be binding, a black ribbon, a black permanent marker, and a black candle
Formula: Take the person’s picture, and hold it at eye level. Using the black permanent marker, put a black X over their face. Now, pick up the black ribbon, and begin wrapping the person’s picture (specifically their face, then proceed down) while saying, “I bind you (person’s name) from doing (action), (action) against other people, and (action) against yourself.” Repeat until you have wrapped the entire ribbon around the picture. Drip some of the black candle wax over the ribbon’s end. Draw an equal armed cross over the entire thing and say, “It is done.” Then take the picture outside and bury it.
The spell affects the person by restricting them from taking the describe action without first making an overcome against the the spell’s casting result. ex: Dr Smoothat binds his victim from confessing to the police against him. He casts binding against them with a combined roll of +7 (arcanum skill + fate roll). The victim could not talk to any police (even if they are not known by the victim to be the police), until they made an overcome vs the +7.
Cost: 2 Mental Stress
Effect: One player gets a free Fate Point added to their pool
Components: 1 White candle
Formula: Burn the white candle completely under a full moon.
Cost: 2 Mental Stress
Effect: Remove negative, evil or spiritual aspects from a person or zone.
Components: Sage, Sandalwood or Frankincense and Sea Salt
Formula: Burn sage, sandalwood or frankincense. Sprinkle sea salt around the area. Repeat the following words, “Any energy that doesn’t serve me, please leave now. You don’t belong here. I am sending you home. Thank you.”
Cost: 1 Mental Stress
Overcome: 0 (adjust for severity of the entity or energy being cleansed). Note: a tie will only cleanse for a temporary time.
Effect: A sacred circle has several purposes, the most significant of which is to define an area where formal ritual work can be performed. A circle is a place in which the rules and conditions are different to that of the everyday world. A circle is not a barrier, but a doorway to another world. To contain any magical energy raised and to prevent its dissipation until it has been used up, is another purpose of the circle. Adds 2 additional Mental Stress points to the caster’s pool, in addition to restoring the casting cost of the spell.
Components: Cleansing Spell, a flat pentagram symbol, two black candles, an athame, or sword, a small bell, a bowl of salt, a bowl of water, a chalice and a saucer.
Formula: Cleanse yourself and your chosen area with a Cleansing Spell (see above). Place the components on an altar that is to be the center of the circle. Light your candles. Holding the blade, walk around your circle, and say: “With this sacred blade I cast the circle of my craft. May it be a doorway to a sacred circle beyond time and space.” Stand in front of your altar, pick up your bell, and say: “In the names of the Gods and Goddesses, I cast this my magic circle.” Then ring the bell. Return to the North and raise your blade high in front of you. Call out: “Bear witness, Spirits of the North.” Go to the East, South and West and repeat at each. (exchanging the correct direction for the word in the spell.) At the altar, put your bowl of salt on the pentagram and lower your blade into the bowl of salt, saying: “I exorcise thee, so that it may be purified and may aid me well.” Put your bowl of water on the pentagram, take a pinch of salt and sprinkle it into the water. Lower the blade of your athame into the water, saying: “I cleanse and consecrate thee and ask you to bless this circle. Let it be!” Pick up and hold the consecrated bowl of water and walk slowly around the circle again (still clockwise), and sprinkle a few drops along the line of the Circle, saying: “I consecrate this sacred circle by the powers of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water.” Pick up your chalice, pour a small amount in the saucer, then take a sip yourself. Afterward, place the chalice back on your pentagram.
Cost: 3 Mental Stress (although it will be restored upon completing the formula)