The Strength of Magick
Where the Spheres are used as a general division of the magnitudes of charms, a finer measure is needed for the purposes of rating and comparing the effectiveness of specific dweomers created by the use of charms, or of enchanted objects or magickal substances the characters may either find or create through the use of their skills.
The relative strengths of dweomers manifesting in the game world are measured, quantified and compared in the same manner as the Ambience previously, the same that the power, effect or complexity of substances and/or obstacles created by the skills of others which the PC’s can encounter in play, a lock’s or trap’s complexity, a beast’s venom, the alcohol a character consumes, the virulence of a disease, a plant’s poison, or an alchemist’s drug or brew, and the like are measured or counted, by means of a numerical rating system called points of “Potence” (POT), also discussed under “Task Resolution”.
Where the Spheres establish the general degree of power and knowledge required to cast a charm and create a particular dweomer in general terms, the final word in determining which is more or less powerful is arrived at by comparing POT.
POT is also used as the measuring stick for determining specific standing in the power of dweomers created by means of different Spheres of Power.
The amount of power (mana) a practitioner has drawn into a charm is measured by POT. The greater the POT, the wilder and more unwieldy the power becomes, the longer it takes to cast, and the more difficult it becomes to cast successfully.
The measure of POT is applied to all the magicks cast in play, as well as those encountered that were created in the past, regardless of whether by PC or NPC practitioners.
POT also directly defines the extent or magnitude of a dweomer, how strong it is in each of the aspects used to define its limits and the specific effect it has according to its description. In charms that change, aid, or hinder the state or faculty(-ies) of some item, creature, or being, the POT directly governs the degree or magnitude of that effect. What the POT means to the effect achieved by a given charm can be discovered by plugging different POT scores into the text where called for.
What is governed by the practitioner’s SL, in contrast, is his knowledge and skill, ability and facility with drawing and building the power and how deftly he can actually weave the intricate patterns of power, tie off the loose ends (or hang onto those reins), then successfully cast it out into the world.
This is a fine but critical distinction.
The caster’s SL has nothing to do with how strong the magick is, only how good he is with casting it. How strong it is depends on how much power (POT) the caster wants to pull into it. The practitioner’s SL with a given charm affects its POT when it is employed during play only insofar as a higher SL improves his chances of casting successfully when using greater amounts of POT. The more powerful it is, the more difficult the charm is to cast.
Only in certain specific charms does the skill at casting actually governs the effect of a dweomer. In a “Charm of Mending”, for example, the range of materials the charm can effect is governed by a “Materials Affected” table, based on SL and to which the POT merely provides a bonus. The caster’s SL with a charm takes on greater importance than the POT in cases where the dweomer’s effects can be resisted after the fact, over time, with the hopes of breaking it, such as is typical of Bindings, whether physical or spiritual/emotional.
These exceptions are most prevalent among the charms of Glamourie and are the rare exceptions to the rule of POT, clearly marked in the text where they apply.
Exaltation of the Spheres
Once the practitioner of Common Sphere charms has reached the WorksMaster LoA, he is deemed to have gained sufficient experience and background knowledge of the Arts to learn charms of the Noble Sphere … if he can find any.
Once he has found and learned his first Noble Sphere charm, he gains a whole new perspective on the body of knowledge of his Common Sphere charms. This allows him to translate them – or Exalt them – into Noble Sphere magick, at his own discretion to make them far more formidable, even on the fly.
To lift a Common Sphere charm up and Exalt it this way completely changes its vibration, the scope of its Area of Effect (as applicable), the amount of damage inflicted, the difficulty with which it can be dispelled. Doing this also raises the Wind cost and base casting DV to that of the Noble Sphere to which it is being Exalted, however.
When doing so, the practitioner’s effective SL with any/all those lesser Sphere charms he wishes to Exalt is equal to (TR’s earned since gaining knowledge of the higher Sphere).
The same becomes true again of his Common Sphere charms AND his Noble Sphere charms upon graduating to Sovereign Sphere magick.
For example, Eremisia the Unctuous has earned 5 TR’s after learning his first Noble Sphere charm, enabling him to cast any Common Sphere charm as a Noble Sphere charm at SL5, raising all aspects of the dweller manifesting to those of a Noble Sphere charm: Area of Effect, damage, Duration, relative POT compared to other, normal Common Sphere charms, difficulty with which it may be dispelled … and things like Wind cost and base Casting DV.
His Master, Grignatz the Irritible, has has earned 4 TR’s with the charms he has been able to find of the Sovereign Sphere, enabling him to cast any of his Noble Sphere charms as a Sovereign Sphere charm at SL4, in the same manner.
His MGT of 16 dictates a WorksMaster threshold of TR45, which he had to earn to get from Common Sphere to Noble Sphere charms and again from Noble Sphere to Sovereign Sphere charms. Adding his 3 TR’s of Sovereign magick earned after achieving the 45 he had to earn in order to be able to learn it yields TR48 (TR4 – 1; as TR45 itself became TR1), allowing him to cast any of his Common Sphere charms as a Sovereign Sphere charm of SL48.