Faith and Magic

In the world of Misrule, supernatural abilities come from one of two sources:

  • Willpower-based magic comes from the Fae: The fae are known for making bargains, and their magic is certainly on the table. Magicians have demonstrated such wide ranging powers as the ability to spy on people through their dreams, to walk through walls or to manipulate objects at a distance. Magicians bargain with the fae to learn new spells, and all spells have a very specific and rigid effect. The ability to find the fey with the spell you want to learn is very useful. As is the ability to then get on their good sideā€¦
  • Faith-based magic comes from a God: Through the blessing of a patron deity, priests can evoke both large scale effects and those centred upon the faithful (or those who seek to harm them). Whilst minor abilities may be effected through mere prayer, the more dramatic effects must be evoked through the correct ritual - and the required sacrifice. Priests borrow power from their patron deity, and must work to keep it happy. However they can request custom rituals that take time to manifest. Most rituals require advance planning before casting.

For clarity, we refer to willpower-based (fey) magic as spells cast by magicians, and faith-based magic as rituals cast by priests.

General Notes

Unless explicitly stated otherwise in the spell description:

  • Your Willpower or Faith skill level determines only what you can cast and not how powerful the effect is. A level 1 spell/ritual cast by a character with Willpower/Faith 5 has exactly the same effect as one cast by a character with Willpower/Faith 1.
  • However, the level of the caster does make a difference if the spell or ritual is (metaphysically) opposed, for example through the use of Cold Iron.
  • Almost all spells and rituals require the caster to be physically present at or near the effect. Do not expect to buff your friends and let them do all the hard work!

Willpower-based Magic

CC-BY-NC-ND https://www.flickr.com/photos/brenda-starr/ Willpower-based magics are taught by the fey. To cast a fey spell you require two things:

  1. Knowledge of the spell. Such knowledge is normally sought directly from one of the fey. Different fey know different spells. Alternatively another human may teach you the spell.
  2. Sufficiently high Willpower. Every spell has a willpower rating. This is the minimum level of the willpower skill you need to cast the spell safely.

Willpower specialisations

Magicians have noticed that by adopting an archetypical persona they find casting related magics easier, though at the cost of making opposing magics more difficult. For example, if you adopt the persona of a Highway man, spells for ambush and combat are easier to cast, whilst spells for spying on far off enemies or empowering armies would be more difficult.

The act of developing such a persona takes a considerable amount of time, and once adopted it is hard to change the universe's perception of you. This is represented mechanically as being a specialisation of the Willpower skill, called a trope.

Working with someone over a prolonged period of time (eg a major action) will often provide clues as to how the universe perceives them, especially if you particularly look for them.

Learning Fae Spells

  • It takes a major action to learn a spell. If the fey requests something in return, this can be combined into the same action.
  • If you wish to teach another PC a spell you have learned, you must both put in a major action.
  • You may use a spell the same turn you learn it (unlike faith-based rituals).

Casting Fae Spells

  • You may cast several spells as part of a major action - but excessive use of spells will degrade your concentration.
  • To control a spell, you require a willpower score at least as high as the spell's willpower rating. Your willpower score may be affected positively or negatively by your trope (willpower specialisation). Your willpower score may be affected negatively by your environment (eg casting under archery fire) unless you have a quirk or skill that cancels this.
  • You may attempt to cast spells of higher level. This will end badly for you and anyone else in the blast radius.

Example Spell: Oathbinding of Cormag

Almost all fey know a variation on this spell. Below is a mild variant from a weak fey.

In the context of this spell, an Oath is sworn from one bound by the oath (known as the oathbound) to another party (known as the oathholder). The caster of the spell (the oathbinder) need not be oathbound or oathholder, but must be in the presence of both oathbound and oathholder when the oath is sworn. The oathbound must swear the oath willingly and in full knowledge that this spell is being used to bind the oath. The oath may not be cancelled without the use of another spell that explicitly cancels it.

  • The oathbound fully determines the wording of the oath they swear by what they say as the spell is cast. They are innately aware of the wording of any oaths they are bound by. They are not innately aware of the consequences of breaking the oath.
  • The oathbinder is innately aware of the wording of the oath they bind and the consequences of the oath being broken. They are not innately aware of the identity of the oathbound.
  • The oathholder is innately aware that the oathbound has sworn an oath that they hold. They are not innately aware of the wording or the consequences of breaking it.

Whilst the oath is one directional, it is common practice to exchange oaths if one is conditional on another. Traditionally the first person swears to do perform action A if the second person performs action B. The second person then swears to unconditionally perform action B.

A year and a day after the casting of the spell and the binding of the oath, the effect of the spell is resolved. If the oath has been kept, then the spell will fade without consequence. However, should the oath have been broken [as adjudicated by the GMs], then the oathbound is cursed as an oathbreaker. They will never enjoy food or drink again: milk turns sour in their mouth, meat desiccates upon their tongue and bread fresh from the oven tastes of ash. It is not unknown for the spell to give the oathbound a preview of the effects of not fulfilling the oath should it near expiry without being completed.

It is immediately apparent to all users of fey magic if someone is the subject of such a curse. Most fey will refuse to deal with such an individual.

OOC: This spell may be invoked in session, please notify the GMs if you wish to do so. The oathbound player will need to provide the GMs with a written version of the wording (this can be OOC), in addition to providing the same wording in an electronic form (by email or on a turnsheet). Alternatively the spell may be performed as part of a minor or major action.

Important: Due to the administration overhead, each character may be bound by at most two active oaths (however if an oath is just about to expire we won't count it - this allows you to effectively swear one oath each turn if you wish). You may, however, be the oathholder or oathbinder for as many oaths as they wish.

Willpower: 1

Faith-based Magic

CC-BY-NC-ND https://www.flickr.com/photos/brenda-starr/ Faith-based magic is tied to the saint (for Christians) or deity (for Pagans) you pray to (from now on referred to as patron deity). Faith-based magic requires three things:

  1. The goodwill of your patron deity. You are channelling their power, if they are not pleased with you then they may well withhold their power when you call for it.
  2. Sufficiently high Faith. Every ritual has a faith rating. This is the minimum amount of faith required to channel the power safely.
  3. Divinely-inspired knowledge of the ritual. You cannot learn the correct forms of a ritual from another follower; your understanding can only come from your patron deity for you to complete the ritual to their exacting specifications.

Faith specialisations

Whilst all priests are dedicated to a particular pantheon of Gods, they need not dedicate themselves to a particular Saint or God. Such generalists priests have the advantage of being able to choose an appropriate Saint or God to solve each problem. However, by dedicating oneself to a particular Saint or God a priest gains the ability to channel more of their power, but finds it more difficult to perform rituals outwith their patron deities's purview. Indeed by going to another deity they may anger their patron.

This is represented mechanically as specialisations of the Faith skill. By taking such a specialisation you are indicating you are a dedicated priest of the named patron deity, who will view themselves as having a particular claim on you. However, you will also be granted inner lore of the priesthood, including a short list of your deity's trademark rituals (though you will still need to seek divine inspiration of the full details before attempting to perform them).

Learning rituals

  • You perform a service to further the aims of your patron deity, taking a major action. The main purpose of this action must be to please your patron deity and not to further some other aim. This act of devotion should be in line with what your deity prefers. For example, St Christopher may be impressed by the man who builds a series of shelters for travellers, whilst Agrona would much prefer the wholesale butchery of a small enemy village.
  • Whilst performing this devotion, you pray for a ritual to help with a specific situation (suggestions of effects welcome but may be ignored).
  • Asking for rituals that go against your patron deity's ethos or fall outside their jurisdiction may fail. Or end very badly.
  • You receive the ritual description as part of your turnsheet response.
  • Unlike willpower-based magic, you can not use the ritual on the same turn you learn it. For example if you perform your act of devotion on Turn 4, you may not use the ritual until Turn 5.

Casting a ritual

  • Every ritual calls for a specific sacrifice. This could be as mild as spending 24 hours in a dark room, or as involved as burning someone alive inside a giant wicker man.
  • Unless stated otherwise, the sacrifice should be completed within the 24 hours preceding the casting of the ritual, or as part of the ritual itself.
  • Impressive rituals are likely to result in greater effects. For example, a ritual to Taranis, Lord of Storms, conducted atop a high peak at night before the light of twenty bonfires and backed by the thunder of a thousand drums will give you a much bigger storm than one performed behind a bush in the ten minutes no one is looking.
  • Using an appropriately crafted building such as a cathedral may also enhance or modify the effects of a ritual.
  • To channel a ritual, you require a faith score at least as high as the ritual's faith rating. Your faith score may be affected positively or negatively by how closely the situation is aligned to your patron deity (i.e. your faith specialisation).
  • No sacrifice, no effect. If your ritual is interrupted it may be restarted so long as the sacrifice has not been spoiled.
  • You may sacrifice yourself to channel a ritual that is one level higher than your faith (you are consumed by the power as it flows through you).
  • Otherwise, you may not attempt to cast rituals of higher level.

Example Ritual: Purification

This ritual is available in some form through almost all patron deities. The sacrifice will often vary.

Sacrifice: Undergo fasting and ritual scourging.
Effect: The priest performs a ceremony of exorcism on a target person or area. Any outside religious influence not of their particular god or saint is forcibly removed. The priest will be able to tell when the ceremony has completed, but should be aware that for heavily corrupted areas this may take some time. The performance of an exorcism is very apparent to the corrupting influence, that may well send guardians to stop the priest.
Faith: Equal to level of effect to be removed.


CC-BY-NC https://www.flickr.com/photos/han_shot_first/ Through the right crafting methods it is possible to enhance an item with power, though the art is shrouded in secrecy by its practitioners. The basic principles are however obvious to all with spells or rituals who contemplate the matter.

Willpower-based enchanting

  • You can invest part of yourself representing a spell into a well crafted item (the more potent the spell, the higher the quality required).
  • Such items can be used by their wielders to cast a single spell as if you were there doing it yourself.
  • You may withdraw your will from the object through a short meditation, returning it to its original, finely crafted, but non-magical state. It could then be enchanted with a different spell. You do not need to be anywhere near the object at the time.
  • Masters of the craft have strongly suggested that you limit yourself to at most one item at a time.

Faith-based enchanting

  • All faith-based enchantments are powered by a relic at their core that must be incorporated when the item is made.
  • More finely crafted items are able to bring out more of the relic's power.
  • The exact nature of the item's power depends on the nature of the item, the relic, the God involved and the purpose of its crafting. (OOC: please tell us what you're aiming for.)
  • Such items have been known to grant visions and otherwise affect their owner.
magic.txt · Last modified: 2015/10/17 17:40 by gm_jonathan
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