Duration (DUR) of a Dweomer

The effects of many charms that wreak physical changes in the world or that change the state of physical objects are usually permanent, remaining until time or someone’s personal industry undo them, through natural causes and wear. The damage wrought by most attack magicks that inflict harm do so by some means of some physical agency, and thus the results are permanent until healed – the damage does not simply go away once some period of DUR has passed AND the damage cannot be made to simply go away by casting a dispelling on wounds inflicted. Similarly, a pit, motte, moat, or pile of loose earth and stone, flower petals, or anything of the kind does not simply go away after being conjured, and cannot be sent away by casting a dispelling upon them. Such manipulations of the physical world are permanent in nature until time or workmen come along and fill them in, smooth them over, or cart them away. A conjured pile of ice and snow dropped from a height on a foe and burying him melts away only in due course of time, but only according to the prevailing weather conditions, but this certainly doesn’t revive the foe that was crushed, buried and suffocated beneath it. Again, the effects of such uses of magick are permanent by nature.

In a similar manner, there are a wide variety of battle magicks such as “Scorching Wave;” “Cold Snap;” “Fire Bomb;” “Weapon of Ice” (Dart/Bolt/Spear, etc.) and of fire; “Far Strike” (aspect of Far Touch); “Thunderclap;” “Witch Wound;” “Lightning Bolt;” “Lightning Ball;” and the like, that produce a force to inflict damage on a foe. These have no duration beyond the amount of time it takes them to discharge their damage, but the effects and the aftermath of their unleashing are permanent in the same manner. None of these magicks have a limit of DUR on their effects in regards to their victims (except for certain aspects, as provided in their descriptions). All charms that function in this manner in regards to DUR are noted as such in their descriptions.

Some charms alter states of spirit or emotion, suppress the wills of foes or subvert their personalities (“Mesmerize”; “Druid Sleep”; “Memory Seal”; “Thrall”; “Charm of Amity/Enmity”, etc.), and especially those that even violate the natural order of things, such as making a tree bloom and bear fruit in mid-winter, or causing the season of Spring to rise and “Reign” in a limited area for the benefit of the caster, and those that otherwise alter the natural state of the target or subject (“Slick Charm”; “Thorn Charm”; “Size Charm”; “Weight Charm”; “Armor Enchantment”; “Charm of Perversity”, and the like). These are limited in the amount of time they can endure in the world once they have been cast, though many of these may be made just as permanent as those described above through the caster’s efforts, under special circumstances to be discussed later.

In game terms, this time limit is referred to as a dweomer’s Duration (DUR).

While based directly on a charm’s POT, DUR is also a matter of choice, and can be set to expire exactly when the caster desires. This can be when a certain set of conditions are met, or it may be tied off to a timing device either natural (sun, moon) or artificial (mechanical clock, clepsydra), all at the caster’s discretion. The DUR of a dweomer that does not make a permanent change (as described above) depends on the POT of the dweomer and the caster’s needs.

At the conclusion of a successful casting, the caster “ties off” the last threads of power, so to speak, before letting loose of it. This effectively breaks any link with it. At his discretion, he can tie its DUR to something that can measure out and mark the period of time for which he wishes it to endure, according to his need and the limits of its power.

A dweomer’s DUR once tied off is equal to a number of units of time equal to either [(caster’s HRT) + (TR)] OR (POT), whichever is greater.

You are ALWAYS  free to use fewer units of DUR than your character is allowed by HRT or POT, at any time, at your own discretion and without penalty or further benefit, as long as you notify your GM.

The units in which the DUR is counted starts with Pulses, as shown on the first line of the “Units of DUR” table, following, BUT larger units may be used. 

The caster may count the number of time units of the DUR of his charms (as above) in ANY of the unit sizes listed on the table above, UP TO that listed for its POT;

HOWEVER

The number of time units allowed a dweomer are reduced by the minimum amount of POT listed in the POT column for its size.

For example, if a dweomer has a POT of 30, the player might assign it a DUR of 30 Pulses; 25 CS’s (POT 30 – 5); 21 minutes (POT 30 – 9); 17 mileways (POT 30 – 13); 13 hours (POT 30 – 17); 9 offices (POT 30 – 21); 5 half-days (POT 30 – 25); or 1 day (POT 30 – 29), at the caster’s discretion, depending on the situation and his needs.

The length of the limited term of DUR must be stated and written down in a clear manner so there is no confusion about how long the charm is to last. The caster MUST specify when he wishes the dweomer to expire within the bounds described above, i.e.. “until the chiming of the bells call the faithful to Vespers tonight” when he uses offices, as he ties the charm off onto the bells in the church tower nearby; or like Cinderella at the striking of the hour of 12 midnight as the DUR is tied off to the palace’s mechanical clock to time the hours, or any number of hours up to four may be specified in tying the DUR to an hour-candle (a standard sized candle marked with red rings which mark the passing of the hours as the candle burns down, a common medieval convention); months are timed by counting from the next dark, first quarter, half, third quarter or full moon, or waning quarter next occurring, and then that stands as the marker for the passing of the months from then on, in a similar fashion to the counting of days and half-days, as described in the notes for the “Units of DUR” table; the seasons begin and end on specific days according to the length of days and nights (Spring Equinox, Summer Solstice, Autumnal Equinox, Winter Solstice), and the next that occurs following the loosing of the dweomer ends the first season as recognized by the dweomer and mark the beginning of the second for the purposes of DUR.

The Celts marked the beginning of Spring with Imbolg and the beginning of autumn with Lugnasad, and so the Witches and Druids and their ilk should also, and the members of these trades can use these to time the expiration of dweomers, or specify that they last “until snow flies” or “until the leaves fall”; “a year and a day” is a common medieval convention, perfect to be used to measure the limits of DUR of a dweomer that has the potential to last that long, or “the darkest day of the year three winters hence” to set a date of the Winter Solstice three years in the future. In a seaside town, the charm could be tied to the cresting of high tide or the lowest ebb of low tide, counting two cycles of each, every day. THIS aspect in particular is where the roleplaying really enters into the mechanics of magick.

 

Units of DUR

POT DUR Units
1 to 4 Combat Segments
5 to 8 minutes
9 to 12 mileways
13 to 16 hours
17 to 20 offices *
21 to 24 half-days **
25 to 28 days †
29 to 32 weeks
33 to 36 fortnights
37 to 40 months
41 to 44 seasons
45 to 48 years
49 to 52 eons ††
53 to 56 decades
57+ generations #

 

* Offices are rung by the Church in the period of the game every three (3) hours, however the hours of darkness and light are each divided into 12 periods called “hours” regardless of the season and the actual duration of the periods of light and darkness relative to one another, so the offices are not true to clock time, even in those places where clocks have been introduced (usually by the local merchants to govern business hours).

** The first half-day to be counted towards the passing of the DUR of a dweomer whose DUR is limited commences with the rising of the sun, noontide (exact mid-point between sunrise and sunset), the setting of the sun or mid-night (exact mid-point between sunset and sunrise) next following the loosing of the dweomer, whichever occurs first. The DUR is then counted from sunrise to sunset, noontide to mid-night, sunset to sunrise, or mid-night to noontide thenceforth, as applicable.

† The setting of the sun next following the loosing of the dweomer will mark the end of the first day of DUR counted in days for all characters who are members of the Druids trades or who are Witches, and all subsequent days counted from sunset to sunset, in accordance with the historical practices of the Celtic cultures. For Wizards, Mystics, Hedge-Wizards, and CunningMen and WiseWomen who practice Wizardry the days are counted from sunrise to sunrise.

†† The eon comes from the Greek aionios to denote the passage of a period of time of indeterminate length, anywhere from 3 to 10 years in common usage or a generation or more in duration. For the purposes of the game it is defined as a period of 5 years.

# Historically, a period of 15 years might be more accurate. However, with health conditions being much better in a fantasy gameworld than was historically true, a generation is considered to be a period of 20 years, as it currently is in the modern world.

 

Open-ended DUR

Up to this point we have only discussed charms or their dweomers as closed, finished works – “tied off” on completion so they can be “loosed” in to the game world. But magic is not so cut and dried by nature in general, so in practice it shouldn’t (always) be so confined either. The concept of DUR has also another side to it that is far more organic, in keeping with the spirit of magick itself.

Your practitioner is also allowed to cast a charm that is not already permanent by nature in such a way that, after it is complete and loosed into the game world, it remains connected to him in Spirit, by a slender filament of Resonance.

This allows him to maintain it “at his pleasure,” for so long as you like.

Through this link, the practitioner has a chance to sense any sort of tampering with his work, such as suppression or masking by an opposing dweomer, which a successful MSS check on d100 grants. Similarly, he is automatically alerted if a dweomer he is maintaining this way is dispelled. Once a charm has been “tied off” normally, as previously described, your caster has no such link by which to monitor the state of his dweomer in this manner.

The caster’s “pleasure” may extend throughout his entire lifetime, only to be broken by the event of his death, making it essentially permanent in effect by dint of his will that it be so. Even in the event of his death the thread by which it had been held could be picked up by another quick and savvy practitioner if one were present at the event of his death and the burden might continue to be carried, extending its DUR for another lifetime.

A dweomer being carried “at pleasure” may be dispelled, let go and erased, whenever desired, from any location regardless of distance (as it is a part of him), at the caster’s own discretion. Once let go, it may not then be recovered, however. That act is final severing of the tie between them. It must be cast anew if wanted/needed again.

To represent the energy invested in maintaining the connection with a charm maintained “at pleasure,” a small portion of the casting cost in Wind remains invested and may not be recovered until it is finally dismissed. This in contrast to charms that are “tied off,” of which the Wind cost to cast is immediately recoverable, normally, like those spent on any other task.

Out of the Wind cost to cast any Common Sphere charm, 1/10th is held in reserve, unrecoverable, as long as it is maintained in this way.

Out of the Wind cost to cast any Noble Sphere charm, 1/5th is held in reserve, unrecoverable, as long as it is maintained in this way.

Out of the Wind cost to cast any Sovereign Sphere charm, 1/3rd is held in reserve, unrecoverable, as long as it is maintained in this way.

In the case of hexes or curses, which are distinguished as afflictions of unpleasant circumstances or impairment to the target’s person, such as general ill-luck, clumsiness and a propensity to drop and break things, negative modifier to encounters with animals or constant or recurring wracking pains, dizziness, cramps, boils, nausea, flatulence, shingles, parasites, “Færie Reel” or “Totentanz” (also called the “Dervish Hex”), even partial or total paralysis and especially any similar affliction rendered as a “Progressive Hex”, the DUR is generally left open-ended, the caster carrying the thread for as long as deemed necessary. In many cases, this can give a dweomer fatal consequences.

Regardless of whether tied off or carried at pleasure, these types of magicks can be transferred in a manner that is not available to other forms of magick used to punish or attack.

By the simple, humble declaration of fealty (assuming fealty has not been sworn previously), or reiteration of one’s status as the victim’s man along, or by the freely stated wish to take up his master’s or mistress’ (magickal) burden, the dweomer can be transferred from the original target and taken on in the victim’s stead. Assuming it is being maintained at pleasure, the transfer is likely to be a matter of note to the caster, who receives a MSS check on d100 to notice the change.

This loophole may be closed by the caster if he simply includes a condition by which the curse or hex may be forgiven and expire, such as returning stolen property, making good on a promise, as in a promise of marriage, or of a gift of goods or property, regardless whether formal contract or verbal agreement, agreeing to a course of action the Wizard desires, such as leaving a certain property, house, village or town, carrying a burden such as the Wizard and/or his goods from one place to another, moving from one place to another, making a pilgrimage to a particular shrine, or foreign country, to drink from a certain river or well in a particular shire, or foreign country, to fetch or steal one object from someone and give it to another or to the Wizard, or any of a myriad of variations on these themes.

Once the condition specified has been met, the dweomer (curse) automatically expires and dissipates, making good the caster’s word. Having created the loophole himself, he has no further choice in the release from the curse when those conditions are met. The magic itself abides by the caster’s words. The practitioner’s word is his bond, as explained in “The World & Life of Magick.