Common Sphere Charms

In this section of the Grimoire are presented the descriptions of the (Common Sphere) magicks for the game. At the head of the description for each magick is the name encompassing its most general principle or function. Some may have more than one name, especially those that provide control over a principle that can be varied from one extreme to another. Following the name is the “Art”, denoting which of the five different Arts that together define the types of magick that may be used to cast the magick in question. No other Arts but these may be used for that purpose. After the “Art” entry is the “Ruling Planet”. This is provided for those playing in games where the GM is allowing the use of the Correspondences discussed in “The Tools of Power”, to let them know what planets to look to, to see if the stars and planets are in alignment either in favor of casting of the magick in question or hindering the caster’s efforts. In some cases, the influence of more than one planet may apply. Following this is the “Sphere”, or Sphere of Power, to which the magick in question belongs.

The Noble and Sovereign Sphere magicks are currently being reserved, so all that are presented are, by default, considered Common.

Each single entry generally (but not necessarily) encompasses one entire skill centering on one specific principle and all the manners in which it can be used or applied. In many cases each skill has a number of different ways in which it can be used. For the sake of clarity when used in play, each such specific aspect, use or application of the dweomer is provided with an additional name. These are verbal cues to help keep the GM and players on the same page, communicating clearly about what each intends, when the characters are using their charms.

While some effort has been made to provide the magicks in the game with appealing descriptive names, it simply was not possible to do so for all, while for others a number of appealing names presented themselves, especially in regards to some of the specific aspects or applications of the magicks.

Despite the names provided, any given magick may well be known by different names in various regions or among different groups of magick practitioners, and the GM is likely to make use of this fact. Indeed, the GM is encouraged to add a little roleplaying to the whole process when some practitioner of magick is discussing the trade and its magicks with a colleague. The PC may well end up denying any knowledge of a given magick simply because it has become familiar to the NPC by another name entirely. The name of a magick may be attached to the name of the inventor, as in the case of “Caradoc’s Most Puissant Summoning for a Devastating Plague of Insects” (“Plague Hex”), sometimes shortened to “Caradoc’s Insect Plague”. This just as easily as “Guiborc’s Fortuitous Charm for the Making Whole of Items Broken” (“Charm of Mending”), or “Balustrix’s Inscrutable Mantle” (“Charm of Occlusion”), and so on. This gives the magicks more character and can make them much more fun. It also brings the game world history of the craft and the Ars Magica into play and adds the color of the famous practitioners who have gone before, commemorating their contributions. When a character wants to research new magicks or the craft of his trade in general, these high-profile icons of the Arts become signposts they can follow in their researches, and this can get the PC’s thinking in more general terms when seeking mention of specific magicks – the reference might be the magick the character is looking for or one closely related … or it might be a new magick of the GM’s own crafting. This approach makes adding new magicks of the GM’s own design much easier and FUN, as well.

 

Magick Description Notes

 

Previous Personal Experience

Throughout the text of a great many of the magicks can be found a common requirement that the caster specifically have previous personal experience with the substance, object, creature or being on which the dweomer is to be cast or fixed, or similarly the location affected or the destination in regards to travel magicks, especially when they are not within RNG (sight). In these cases, the caster must have no less than 50 – [(AWA) + (trade SL)] day’s-worth of exposure/study with the particular site/object/substance.

In the case of living creatures and/or beings, the creature or being’s HRT score is substituted for the caster’s AWA in the above equation and the result read in weeks. In the case of beings and persons of human-level consciousness, their CHM score is substituted and the result read in months.

As long as the subject of a dweomer is known to the practitioner to the extent defined above, it matters not where the target lies, whether it be within RNG (sight) or not, so long as the cardinal compass point (N, E, S or W) that lies nearest the target’s location is known, then the practitioner can consign the dweomer to that ruling direction and let it loose. It will find its way along the Bond of Resonance built between them.

This restriction is also VERY important to Shadow Weaver characters and any other practitioners creating the Glamours of objects, substances, creatures or beings that lie outside the realm of the practitioner’s experience, according to the background provided for the character, whether by the player himself or default to the GM.

Some leniency for common objects, materials, creatures and races that commonly dwell in the social milieu and geographic region should be made by the GM, but otherwise the practitioner’s own experiences should be examined and evaluated closely by the GM in regards to the application of his magickal skills.

Levels of Achievement (LoA’s)

Throughout many of the magick descriptions the widening of the scope of the caster’s capabilities with them as he improves in SL, and more specifically in his LoA. In a similar manner to the mundane trade abilities/skills with which a character cam earn the right to learn a new aspect or trick, BUT in some cases the new aspect may simply be expressed as the widening of the scope of a magick’s effect as a direct result of the character’s work with that skill, of the growth in his own knowledge and experience with it. In these cases, no additional schooling is required before the character may exercise the new aspects of a magick’s affect once he has achieved the SL required to reach the LoA in question (unless it is specifically stated otherwise), so the reader must be alert to the difference and be looking for it.

In some cases, a character may earn a chance to research and learn a related but somewhat different adaptation of a skill, which may even may provide a bridge to a greater Sphere of Power. These opportunities mark points of departures and the effective establishment of new skills or skill groups, starting with SL1 all over again. SL with that skill or group of skills is then cultivated anew, like any other, through practice/use.

The benefit of the higher LoA is represented by the additional flexibility and wider scope granted. When exercising the aspect of knowledge of a higher LoA, his effective SL for using that knowledge is reduced by the SL required to achieve that LoA in the first place. Only further practice and use beyond that point provides a greater degree facility and skill with the knowledge of the higher LoA’s of any given magick.

Bonus Increments

Any description in which some range of units or quantities is noted as increasing “per 2 SL’s” or “per 4 SL’s”, or the same in application to points of POT in a magick, the character will receive benefit of every two or four SL’s he has earned, or fraction that he is currently earning. In this way the character is granted whatever the base allotment is for the units or increments in question adding one (1) from SL’s 1 to 2 or 1 to 4, adding another from SL’s 3 to 4 or 5 to 8, and so on.

This works in the same way as described for trade abilities and skills.

Augmenting Size vs.

Conjuration by Augmentation

Augmenting Size is NOT the same as a Conjuration by Augmentation.

Increasing the Size of a piece of cloth by 16 times (POT squared) does indeed make it 16 times larger, BUT it also makes the weave 16 times coarser. Suddenly, the silky-fine cloth of 70 threads to the inch is only 4 very thick threads to the inch!

Conjuration by Augmentation maintains the original status of the material itself in its original form, 70 threads to the inch in the example mentioned, and simply generates more of the same. Augmenting Size does just that, but only that – it makes the object, and every constituent piece of it, bigger.

Ranged Magick in Combat:

To Roll “To Hit”, or Not to Roll

When the practitioner casts an attack magick he has the option to either wind the charm around his chosen target(s), thus including M-RES in the DV for the casting, or to weave it without creating that link in the process and simply letting it fly with such skill as he may have with hurled or ranged weapons.

The former practice, winding the charm around a target, guarantees that the target(s) is(are) to be hit and his(their) M-RES has been overcome, when the casting resolution roll is successful. For this purpose, the highest M-RES from among the targets is added to the casting DV, PLUS one (1) per additional target to be hit by the weapons being conjured/fired/hurled by the charm.

  • Rolling just under the highest result indicating success indicates the target is affected by only 1/4th POT hurled by the caster.
  • Within the % dictated by the next line up in the same column on the Task Resolution Table indicates the target is affected only by 1/2 POT hurled by the caster.
  • Within the % dictated by the second line above in the same column on the Task Resolution Table indicates the target is affected by only 3/4 POT hurled by the caster.
  • Only by rolling the % dictated by the third line above in the same column on the Task Resolution Table, or less, indicates the target is affected with the full POT hurled by the caster.

The result of the casting in regards to effective POT applies equally to all in the group hit with the charm in this case. Due to the constraints of STA, some targets may slip free of the charm when struck with reduced POT.

When the practitioner simply weaves an attack charm without creating a link in the process and simply lets it fly, the player of the practitioner must make a successful roll “to hit” for each “weapon” (Arrow, Dart, Javelin, Sword, Knife, Ball, Bolt, etc.) hurled/fired by the charm. For the purposes of resolving these unsecured magickal strikes, use the caster’s best Hurled weapon AV for those targets within that RNG, or his best Ranged Weapon AV for targets at longer RNG. If he lets fly at a target at extreme RNG, his applicable Ranged Weapon AV is halved, or drops to 1/4th in cases where the target is more than double Long Range in distance.

  • The DV with which the target is hit is the same used for resolving mundane ranged weapon attacks, according to the rules for combat, normally, whether Parry, Block, and/or Dodge, BUT ONLY when the threat and the direction whence the magickal threat approaches is judged to be apparent or has been brought to the target’s awareness so he may adjust his position (as appropriate) to see it coming.
  • IF there is no reason for the target to avoid the touch of the bearer of the charm he is affected by the dweomer inherent in the Touch with complete Surprise.
  • IF the target’s awareness of the danger he is in or the direction from which the threat comprised by the dweomer is approaching is limited or he is unaware, he is subject to being Surprised, any defenses allowed and the actual value of the DV the target may provide will be hampered, in some cases severely so. Even if a target is able to see the practitioner gesture and incant a spell, there is NO way to anticipate the form the magick takes on manifestation (unless the target is a practitioner who has the same skill in his own portfolio).
  • This “to hit” roll is made in addition to the roll required to determine if the magick was successfully cast in the first place.
  • It ALSO allows the target to make an independent M-RES check vs. the casting AV of the charm if he is indeed struck to determine the extent of the effect (full POT, 3/4, 1/2, 1/4, or zero, fully resisted)

Those magicks to which these rules apply are clearly marked.

The bearer of a Touch charm must always roll “to hit” the target he wishes to inflict with the Touch charm, when that target is aware that the practitioner’s touch is in some way dangerous to him.

There is always the possibility of the target determining that the contact is socially awkward and thus to be avoided, which could certainly turn the situation into a tactical one for the determined bearer of the charm, BUT the GM should keep in mind the social practices of shaking hands when making new acquaintances within the same social strata, or kissing both cheeks in greeting, to kiss a fair lady’s hand, or the Kiss of Peace among the clergy. Higher than average BTY and CHM scores can serve to make what would otherwise be awkward contact much less awkward and more acceptable, especially if the bearer of the charm has appropriate skills in Social Graces to smooth over the approach and exchange.

Magick in Combat:

Rolls “To Hit” & Hit Locations

Where the GM is using Hit Locations (highly encouraged), magicks that require a roll on d100 “to hit” their targets in the manner described above, the Hit Locations of those that strike true are needed.

At the GM’s discretion (highly encouraged), the practitioner might be allowed some influence in determining the Hit Location of a magickal attack once it has been resolved that it has hit (regardless of the conditions under which it has), in the same manner allowed to those who have truly Mastered a mundane weapon skill are allowed to nudge the Hit Locations to make more effective strikes without having to specifically make a more difficult “Aimed Strike”. In the same manner, the caster’s player is allowed to choose any location on the Hit Location table which falls within a range of (caster’s AV with the attack charm in question) above or below the number the GM himself has rolled for the Hit Location result.

For example, the caster of a Barb, Dart, etc. who also holds a lock of the target’s hair, guaranteeing the hit. The GM rolls (xx) result for the Hit Location, checking table (xx). This would normally indicate a hit location of (xx), however, a lock of hair is a strong tie of Resonance, the GM wants to allow the caster some say in the severity of the hit. The caster’s AV to cast the dweomer was 15, so the GM takes the (xx) he rolled initially for the location and adds 15 to it and subtracts 15 from it to create a range and then checks the table to see what hit locations lie within that range. The table shows x, y, and z, and the GM writes these down on a slip of paper and passes it to the player and tells him to choose. This must be done swiftly and with NO interference from any other players.

This allows the caster to take advantage of the vulnerabilities of targets that have been previously wounded, when those prior wounds fall within the orb of his influence on the Hit Location Table.

IF the player of the caster consults any other player, however, or stops to tell them what is going on or what the choices are, this opportunity is immediately lost and the original hit location stand as rolled. The character does not have time for any of that. The decision to influence the missile’s flight must be made in the blink of an eye, an additional nudge of the will through the power of the lock of hair in his hand as the dweomer is loosed.

IF the practitioner possesses and has invoked a bond of Resonance with his target in casting the magick in question (NOT a bond of Sympathy, howsoever strong it might be), the caster might be allowed, at the GM’s discretion (highly encouraged), to actually choose the specific Hit Location, so the GM need not roll.  

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Materials Affected

In a number of charms the materials the dweomer may affect is a function more of skill than of the POT drawn, generally true of charms that Shape or Mend, or conjure substances from thin air, and certain types of Enchantments. While the POT of the dweomer has a definite role to play, as ever, it will not take him all that far. The caster’s skill is deemed to play an even greater role, gradually allowing him to exert his will over ever tougher materials.

SL Materials Affected
1-7 vegetation/green plants and herbage, whether rooted, green and living or dead and dried, including reeds and withies; any and all organic fibers such as linen and/or jute, hemp, cotton, silk, and textiles or clothing made of them, and/or household items and gear made of such materials; all equivalent soft materials (GM’s discretion)
8-15 calcite, limestone, gypsum, chalk, shale, alabaster, serpentine (most common marbles), rock salt, amber, galena (silver-bearing lead ore), talc, soapstone, dolomite, Douglas fir, yellow pine, cherry, black walnut, California redwood
16-24 common glass, obsidian, opal, sandstone, ceramics/earthenware, faience (manufactured fused decorative “stone”, used much for making jewelry and for setting in jewelry as decorative “jewels”), etc., birch, beech, ash (rowan), oak, maple, bamboo, teeth, claws, bone, tusks, antlers
25-30 porcelain (high-fire ceramics), flint, gneiss (granite), quartz, hematite, agate, garnet, feldspar, pumice, tropical (Brazilian) walnut, tropical (Brazilian) cherry, tropical (Brazilian) teak, tropical (Brazilian) mahogany (rosewood)
31-39 softer metals such as lead, tin, low or dark pewter, copper, brass, silver and gold
40+ harder metals such as “high”, “fine” or white pewter, bronze, iron (cast OR wrought) and steel (any), sapphire, diamond

To the effective SL for reading the table results, add a bonus based on the POT of the dweomer (1 per 4 points).

Progressive Hexes

A Progressive Hex is a manner in which a magick may be cast upon attaining a certain degree of skill (Level of Achievement, or LoA, where those rule are in use). It makes of the magick a recurring curse whose effects build up over time until it reaches the total POT at which it was cast, BUT continuing to afflict the victim at that maximum POT repeatedly, with no ultimate limit. It is designed for use with the optional open-ended DUR rules, and such hexes are always assumed to be maintained at the caster’s pleasure, until he believes his victim has suffered long enough and dismisses it, or expiring automatically with the demise of the victim, as applicable.

Most uses of this charm make nuisance dweomers such as those that make hair and nails grow into serious hindrances, or potentially dangerous or even deadly. The “Flux” aspect of the “Command the Body” charm can eventually dehydrate a victim to death, “Bloat” can be similarly progressive until the victim is swallowed by it and suffocates, a “Fat the Boar” charm used in this manner adds to the victim’s bodyweight until it crushes/suffocates the victim, thinner deducts from STR, STA and CND until the victim can no longer even stand under his own power, until he eventually withers and dies, as “Sands of Time”, “Frozen Doom”, “Petrifaction”, “Withering” and a number of other charms may be made to “creep” even more slowly than normal upon the victim unto the point of death.

The effect of the dweomer wrought as a Progressive Hex starts upon the victim at a POT of 1, and the second time the effect increases to a POT of 2, the third increasing to POT3, and so on and so forth until it achieves the full POT at which it was cast. The DUR of this kind of charm must always be maintained at the caster’s pleasure (Optional DUR Rule), until the victim’s death or the caster relinquishes the charm.

The amount of time elapsing between the occasions at which the charm recurs may be chosen from the units of duration on the table in the same manner that the units of duration may be chosen for any dweomer whose DUR is tied off, but only the base unit, not in multiples as would normally be the case for a common charm.

Those magicks that can be rendered in this form are clearly marked as such in their descriptions.

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Progressive Bases, Bonus’ & Modifiers

Any time a bonus or modifier is labeled “Progressive” it indicates a compounding number, adding the number of the bonus to those before; i.e., 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), and so on. Each step is factorial. This is used extensively in building Correspondences, and also in determining DV’s under a WIDE variety of circumstances.

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Magickal Damage

In the description of a charm designed for combat or to otherwise inflict harm, ”(magickal damage)” is equal to the POT of the dweomer (equal in this case to the POT used to measure damage from physical weapon strikes) + (1 per 4 charm skill SL’s)] OR up to [(HRT) + (1 per 4 charm skill SL’s)], whichever is greater.

This may be diminished at the caster’s discretion by individual points, as desired, if the caster wishes to diminish the effective force or damage potential of the dweomer, even to the point of stipulating that a charm carry only a single point of POT or damage.

Most dweomers inflict damage that can be absorbed by the target’s armor and severely reduced, especially in the cases of more physically insubstantial or superficial form of attack like frost or fire or an enhanced or even supernatural sharpness in cutting or piercing that directly diminishes AR first, where some inflict impact damage that is readily reduced by armor, less focused on destroying the target’s armor and more definitely felt through it (where those rules are in play, GM’s discretion).

Magickal damage that can be defined as primarily impact or concussive is likely to bring the combat rules for Knock-Back into play if it is sufficient in magnitude, where those rules are in use (GM’s discretion).

The manner in which a dweomer inflicts wounds and interacts with any armor worn is dictated by the nature of the attack, the way in which the magick works, the force generated that is actually causing the damage and the form in which it is expressed, according to its description, whether it be frostbite, fire, electrical, acid, poison, cutting, bludgeoning, etc.

Proportional Damage

The use of the phrase “applied proportionately” is used occasionally in reference to damage being inflicted by various magicks, or to which “the rules of proportional damage” apply. This is commonly applied only to those dweomers which strike or affect several BP areas all at once (and only where those rules are in play, of course), particularly by means of some sort of physical force (impact, concussive), as opposed to most Common Sphere magicks which generally strike only a single BP area at a time.

In effect, this rule calls for the dividing down of the amount of damage inflicted in play into 1/4 values and applying them to the target or victim’s body by matching fractions according to the portion of BP’s allotted to each. Thus, 1/4th portion BP areas suffer only 1/4 damage, 1/2 portion BP areas suffer 1/2 damage, 3/4th’s portion BP areas only suffer 3/4th’s damage, and full damage is only suffered by the Torso BP area.

This practice is followed due to the fact that some sorts of damage inflicted over wide areas of the body (multiple BP areas) or over the entire body all at once can only be absorbed in proportion to surface areas of the regions affected relative to one another (relating directly to BP divisions).

Damage from heat or cold, acid, or the burning aspect of an electrical charge is NEVER delivered “proportionately”, while physical concussion damage generally always is.

Radiant Elemental Damage:

Fire and Frostbite

Fire damage, and the heat damage inflicted by electrical-based attacks, chars the flesh away or takes the temper from metals. Even though some of it may grow back over time, the amount is limited to no more than half of what was burned away. Frostbite damage actually kills the flesh on a cellular level, visible by the tell-tale blackening of the dead flesh as the cells rupture. Frostbite damage normally cannot be healed back at all.

When any magick that carries with it elemental heat or frostbite sufficient to inflict wounds, especially when it is described as being radiant, that power is considered potent enough to inflict a wound/points of damage even as it swiftly streaks towards its target, on all those located within (magickal damage ÷ 10) feet of the PATH between the caster and the target or point at which the charm is directed (the center of its AoE, as applicable) – generally a straight line.

Those directly along the path of the charm (without being IN the path, for having interposed themselves they then become the target) are subject to the full (magickal damage ÷ 10) in POT. For every foot by which they are removed from the charm’s path that drops by one (1) point.

In many cases it is not going to be sufficient to exceed the wound thresholds of those it passes to actually inflict a wound, BUT it is certainly enough to knock the AR of any armor down a few points.

Fire and frostbite damage may be Channeled away by magick, regardless of the agency by which the damage was suffered, whether natural or magickal, BUT it must again be addressed before [(wounded character’s CND) + (caster’s MGA) ÷2] + (1 per 4 charm SL’s)] hours pass. Otherwise it may only be Restored or Regenerated, as per the charm of the same name. At the GM’s discretion, where magick is used to aid the healing, the limit on the healing of burned flesh might be raised to 3/4th’s the damage suffered, OR at best all healed back less 1 (one) point. Where magick is applied to attempt to bring the body to heal itself, the GM might allow 1/4th the damage suffered to be brought back, but ONLY when the magick is applied within [(wounded character’s CND) + (caster’s MGA) ÷2] + (1 per 4 charm SL’s)] hours. At best, the GM might allow as much as 1/2 to heal back, but never so much as the fire damage is allowed.

The GM is cautioned against easing these restrictions much, if at all, for there must be real and lasting consequences to the dangers the PC’s face in order for them to maintain a proper respect for their characters and their mortality. The same principles apply here as are discussed in the passage on Character Mortality in the GM’s Toolbox

Fine-Tuning the Magick

Throughout the text of the magick descriptions, references made to tuning the response of a magick to specific or particular individual or type of target is mentioned.

It is expected that each casting of any dweomer that can be tuned in this way be made to the needs of the moment, to respond to the approach or entry into the AoE of a single general type of creature, being, thing or force deemed undesirable for the moment. This class of magicks are intended to be varied at need from one casting to the next to defend the AoE against the approach of members of specific races, or sexes, or members of specific trades (such as any Assassins, Knaves or Rogues, or Tinkers, Chapmen, Players, beggars or other itinerant wanderers), or any combination of these factors, i.e., so that a magick could be tuned to only respond to dunlas Courtesans with green eyes in the service of the Queen, or to Tinkers and Smiths of the blood of William Smith of Tewkesbury that are born in the shire of Alfshaime, or to those who are descended from the blood of princes who have reached 7 years of age or more.

In the same vein, these magicks can be tuned to respond to specific species of beast in particular (horse, hawk, hound, rat, cat, crow, etc., including lycanthropes that change into a beast the Circle is tuned to, but only for so long as they maintain that beast shape, being expelled once they turn to the beast shape, however), undead, færie folk, living plants, or the like or up to (POT) individual beasts (whether they bear a given name or not), those of a particular family or bloodline, those who wear a particular badge or crest, or specific individuals within RNG (sight), or with which the caster is familiar through previous personal experience, or of whom he possesses some means of transcending that limitation (lock of hair, personal belonging, or other bond of Resonance).

At the practitioner’s discretion, the magick may be tuned to respond only to intent, protecting those in the AoE or specifically those bound into the charm when it is specifically described as a Circle in its title, reacting only to those creatures and/or beings that brear hatred or malice towards them, or carry a specific intent to harm.

Each such level of criteria stipulated in who is to be screened out raises the casting DV in a Progressive manner, per level of criteria added.

Other ruling planets may apply to the casting of this magick according to the nature of that against which the Circle is protecting, i.e., Mercury and Moon when tuned to beasts; the Sun when tuned to all living things; Mercury when tuned to neighbors, siblings, and/or cousins, or Scholars in general; Venus when tuned to those of any of the Social Trades, especially Players and Courtiers or Rogues, or members of any and all Artisan trades; Mars when tuned to any of the Warrior trades or Surgeons; Jupiter when tuned to members of the Clergy class and/or Scholar-Lawyers; Saturn when tuned to members of the government, those serving the cause of government, and/or all authorities including the entire class of landed nobility; Uranus and Neptune when tuned to magick, Wizards or Mystics, with Neptune especially in regards to Glamourie and Mercury in regards to Divination; Pluto in regards to all minerals and substances from beneath the surface of the earth and members of the trade of miners, or un-dead; Pluto and Moon in regards to lycanthropes, and so on.

Magicks in “Opposition”

The player and GM will observe that some magicks are noted as “opposing” other magicks. Indeed, many of the skills encompass not only a particular magickal principle or force but its opposite, as well, due to the Law of Polarity. A single skill commonly encompasses both ends of the spectrum of a given force’s use – thinner and fatter, heavier and lighter, bigger and smaller, faster and slower, either hurling weapons, firing missiles, or jumping and leaping farther or shortening such distances, and so on. Both aspects will be addressed in the description. part and parcel of the same dweomer skill. A magick may be used to mask or suppress the effects of any magick that it opposes, or may be used in the same manner as a Dispelling, to undo or erase the magick it opposes completely and permanently. The player must state which he intends when invoking the Rule of Opposition.