Ruling Planet: Mercury, Pluto
To “Read” is to sort through the vibrations of the energy of an object, creature, or being to learn its intimate details, the high-points of its history, all about what it is made of and how it works, from the impressions that the personal energy of the living leave upon their belongings, the echoes of their auras as absorbed by the objects close to them, to the state of health of living bodies or the cause of death of bodies deceased, or magicks current or past. When dealing with living creatures and beings it is commonly called Reading Auras. It is a delicate process whereby the caster ever so gently touches the energy of that which he is Reading, communes with it, and attempts to pull forth information on its condition, composition, and those people and things that have affected it most prominently, learn everything he can about it and its past history, but without corrupting its vibration with the caster’s own or tampering with it. In the case of magickal dweomers, to Read all he can of the vibration left behind on it right down to the one who crafted it. This dweomer requires the caster to hold the object in his bare hand(s).
Objects, especially personal belongings can be very informative when read, and objects such as traps & snares if detected before they can be tripped can be “Read” so that their secrets may be known and the danger they pose avoided.
IF the caster also has the Spirit Skill of Psychometry, its SL is added to the casting AV and ALSO to the effective POT of the dweomer, but AFTER it is cast (i.e., it does NOT raise the casting DV, as using a greater amount of POT normally would).
In the same vein, much useful information may be gleaned by Reading Substances such as drugs, poisons, or alchemical preparations, whether in their native form or after they have been introduced to a body. In the latter case, the caster will be able to determine the purpose method of use of and proper dosage of alchemical potions and preparations, or switch to Read Magick and discover the exact nature of the dweomers these may contain.
In Reading a body everything having to do with the state of health can be ascertained, noting where a poison is attacking the body, or drugs, or disease, or identifying the extent of injuries, to help save life and limb, as well as Reading the natural habits and origins of both beasts and people. In dead bodies, the cause of death can be Read with certainty, or the cumulative factors where more than one cause was at work. If able to act before too much time has passed, the caster may even Read a vision of the last moment of the deceased’s life, through his own eyes, or with greater skill, the last few moments leading up to his death.
No matter what is to be “Read”, its presence must already have been discovered and established by either the use of a “Reveal” dweomer or some more prosaic skill(s), or “Sense Magick” in the case of dweomers.
For example, the caster must be able to identify the presence of a drug or poison in Reading the body before him, regardless of whether alive or dead, before he may switch to “Read Substance” to identify that drug or poison or the pathways through which it functions in order to come up with a treatment, or better still, an antidote. Of course, this assumes that the caster is also a member of one of the healer trades, specifically Physicker or Herbal, otherwise he would have knowledge on which to base a diagnoses and treatment.
The caster may find that Reading magicks can be somewhat hazardous, however, for some dweomers the caster may approach to Read with this magick may be Warded, in the same manner that people, beasts, objects, and places can be Warded against trespassers. Even the gossamer touch of the dweomer used to Read a dweomer’s secrets can trigger a Warding that has been placed on it. Using a “Read Magick” dweomer of SL less than that of the Ward placed on a magick he is trying to Read does just that, automatically triggering the Warding to strike the prying caster, while a “Read Magick” dweomer greater in SL than the Warding guarding the dweomer he is attempting to Read requires a successful check on d100 vs. (Warding SL + MGA att. mod. of the caster) to get past it or to Read the Warding dweomer itself, using the Reading character’s (MGA att. mod. + SL) as the AV.
Enchanted items and more complex magickal artifacts and the various tools of those who wield magick, which may bear multiple dweomers, yield knowledge of their properties only if, once the number of magicks in them have been Revealed by that focused casting on the object alone, each dweomer in the object is Read specifically and directly.
The caster may Read only one sort of thing at a time. If in Reading an Object he comes across a Substance he wants more information from, he would have to let the “Read Object” dweomer go and cast a “Read Substance”
Each step the caster progresses in a Reading, each piece of information he gleans, assumes (Size, for objects; for traps use POT), or (modified STA, for bodies of creatures or beings), (POT) for drugs, poisons or alchemical preparations, or (dweomer POT) CS’s, MINUS the Reader’s SL, minimum one (1) CS, in concentration and meditation over it to obtain, as applicable (GM’s discretion), like peeling back the layers of an onion.
IF the level of information the caster is trying to Read is greater than the POT used to cast the “Read” dweomer, a successful (MGA att. mod. + SL) check on D100 is required vs. the cumulative levels of information we is attempting to gather beyond that POT, in a Progressive manner.
For every step of information equal to or less than the POT used by the Reader, no MGA check is required, merely the time and effort as defined above to Read it. The SPT checks will be required to glean any information from a layer greater than the Reader’s SL. In order to have the power to get there, the effective POT of the Read dweomer must be no less than the number marking the degree of information the Reader wishes to be able to reach with his efforts.
For example, if the caster has SL10 and is about to Read an object to find out whether it is a Touchstone, Master Work or a Master’s Tool, as described in the Grimoire, he will need to make successful SPT checks to get from the 10th layer to reach the 14th layer of information, and the effective POT of his dweomer must not be less than 14.
The information that may be gathered and the order in which it may be accumulated are set forth under the two headings “Objects” and “Magick” in numbered paragraphs representing the order of the layers of information through which the caster must work. This is the reason why the paragraphs are numbered.
Reading Bundled Magicks
The fact that a magick that has been Revealed is a bundle can only be discerned by Reading the bundle. To determine how many magicks are in a bundle will have a DV equal to the number of dweomers in the bundle, for each dweomer in it, as follows : 1 for the first; 3 for the second (1 + 2); 6 for the third (1 + 2 + 3); 10 for the fourth (1 + 2 + 3 + 4); 15 for the fifth (1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5), and so on. In the case of the bundle above, the DV would be 10 (1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = 10).
The Wizard must Read the magicks in a bundle one at a time, separating them out ever so carefully working from the outside into the core, or from the magick last added to the bundle backwards through the rest, in order, until the core or first dweomer in the bundle is reached. Starting with the outside the last dweomer laid on will be first and easiest to Read. For each dweomer in the bundle Read, the DV for Reading the rest of the magicks further into it will go up.
For example, a bundled casting on a door of a Frost Hand Bane to protect it of POT 15 and SL 5, a Wizard Seal with POT of 10 and SL 16 on a door with an Alarum Enchantment of POT 5 and SL 10, with the magick itself being protected by a Charm of Nausea of POT 20 and SL 10 should any try to tamper with it, would have a DV of 50 to Read, with the glare from so many sources of Power packed so tightly together.
However, the order of enchantment was “Wizard Seal”, “Alarum Enchantment”, “Frost Brand Bane”, and finally “Charm of Nausea”, and the reverse is the order in which they must be “Read” and, if so desired, later dispelled.
The DV for “Reading” the first dweomer, the “Charm of Nausea”, will be 20 (SL20). Progressing past that to the “Frost Brand Bane” the DV rises to 25 (SL20 + SL5); then to 35 for the “Alarum Enchantment” (20 + 5 + 10), and then 51 for the “Wizard Seal” (20 + 5 + 10 + 16). The deeper into the layers of the bundle one Reads, the more difficult it becomes. The core dweomer of a bundle is usually the embodiment of the entire purpose for the existence of the bundle in the first place.
The highest POT of any of the dweomers in the example is 20, so no more than that will be needed to Read that bundle. For every point of POT by which the dweomers in the bundle are greater than the POT of the caster’s Reading, the DV for the SPT checks to get through it increase Progressively.
While much of the information described as being revealed may not be immediately important to the GM and the workings of his campaign or the adventure at hand, and so should not be disappointed when all of the possible information cited above is not immediately supplied. The GM may not have it to give or need a moment to come up with it. On the other hand, this may be a way of getting at the tidbits of information which the GM may be cleverly concealing, that last piece which could cause all of the other elements of an adventure or campaign to fall into place. The player may also find the GM relating facts later in an adventure on the basis that they would have been revealed to the character when he cast such a magick previously.
The use of this skill in reading the magicks of others and seeing how others use the power will also earn SP’s for the caster in general experience towards making progression checks in the general magickal skills (Forms, Arts) or the specific skills if they also are skilled in the magick they are “Reading”, the same is true of those “Reading” manufactured objects who also practice the specific craft (trade) of the manufacture of the object “Read”.
None of the aspects of this dweomer may not be resisted.