Alchemist True

Alchemists are the proto-scientists and chemists of the period of the game. They study the ways in which the physical and spiritual worlds interact through natural science, philosophy and even a smattering of the spiritual principles of Metaphysics. Speculation on the nature of the universe, on the hidden nature of both mineral and organic substances, often absorbs them.

The work of the Alchemists encompasses both of what are known today as inorganic and organic chemistry, as well as pharmacology, geology, theoretical physics and a smattering of natural philosophy. From a very esoteric, philosophical, and spiritual point of view (to avoid confrontations of faith) they seek to classify the elements with their dialectic, Aristotelian reason and logic. Empirical test and study are considered to be neither the scholar’s method nor the medieval way of thought, except in the pursuit of specific projects (not whole, transferrable concepts). They explore the secret spiritual natures of physical things through their special skills, to evoke or imbue spiritual properties, create elixirs (derived from the Arabic for the Greek for “dry tincture”), potions, philters, powders, unguents, salves, and a wide variety of other similar unique substances, to make life a little easier or simply for the sake of accumulating knowledge.

In the pursuit of their arts, Alchemists make a common study of the physical properties of substances; the effects of applying heat and cold, their expansion with heat and contraction when cold, the fact that water is the exception to the rule, expanding as it freezes. They know of the weathering process, the properties of erosion and the resulting deposition, currents and tides, and the like, the changes that decomposition brings, the heat it generates. The lore of the earth is of special interest, too; the soil, such as that special soil used by artists to make their green-earth color; gems and stones like lapis lazuli ground for use in making the finest blue hues, rocks, metals, crystals, ores such as sulphur, cinnabar (mercury ore) ground by artists to make an intense red hue; how they interact with fire, water, and air; the nature of carbonization, the uses of ashes and soot, like the lampblack (literally soot from a lamp) used by artists as a pigment.

The Alchemist’s “Speculum”

Even though Alchemists are almost indelibly associated with scholasticism, the Alchemist True Trade can be considered as either a set of skills acquired from among the broad and diverse curricula of the universities OR the product of a formal, traditional apprenticeship, instead (player’s discretion), bringing an entirely different flavor to the character’s background. In order to have a formal university education as the source of an Alchemist True character’s Trade knowledge, the player must equip him/her also with a formal Scholastic Trade. In this case, he/she is presumed to have graduated with a PhD in Natural Philosophy & Metaphysics.

Whether a player decides his character’s knowledge of Alchemy stems from formal scholastic pursuits at university or through a traditional apprenticeship, this Trade represents no less a scholarly disposition and frame of mind.

As a reflection of the trade’s scholastic nature, every Alchemist is required to put his Linguist, Literatus, and Scrivener skills to good use during the course of his education/apprenticeship in keeping records of his lessons and lab work. By the time he completes his doctorate or apprenticeship, he has also compiled a Speculum,

The Speculum is an encyclopædic overview of the Alchemist’s art, knowledge and skills, a notebook of all known materials and substances, their appearances accompanied by meticulously rendered illustrations, their characteristics, common origins and usages, and also a wide variety of recipes or formulæ for many common substances and compounds (as follows).

This is a source book of trade knowledge kept on hand for general reference, containing knowledge to guide further exploration of the arts, and to aid in managing and coordinating the lore he gathers regarding the specific Trade Skill specialties.

The main volume of the Alchemist’s Speculum contains (AWA x 10) + [(TR) x (40 – AWA)] pages. 

Over the course of time spent earning each TR, once brought into play, the Alchemist is assumed to accumulate an additional (40 – AWA) pages (on average) of scribbled notes, thoughts, insights, theories and discoveries to add to his Speculum. 

In additional to this volume, the Alchemist is required to keep another journal or notebook for the knowledge of the specific Trade Skill specialties (chandlery; scents and perfumes; pigments and dyes; combustibles; caustics; drugs, poisons and venoms; substances prepared to carry an enchantment; etc.), a separate volume for each, but nonetheless also considered to be part of his Speculum.

Each Trade Skill volume of the Speculum has (40 – AWA) + [(AWA) x (Trade Skill SL)] pages in it. 

Over the course of time spent earning each SL in each Trade Skill, once brought into play, the Alchemist is assumed to accumulate an additional (40 – AWA) pages (on average) of scribbled notes, thoughts, insights, theories and discoveries to add to his Speculum. 

IF the Alchemist has the Herbal and/or Apothecary Trade(s) and/or the Forage Life Skill, the player must add those TR’s and/or SL’s to his Alchemist TR for the initial volume in determining the number of pages and also to the SL’s of the individual Trade Skill specialties for each additional volume of his Speculum he must keep, for these broaden the depth of the Lore the Alchemist possesses regarding the secrets of the Trade and the individual Trade Skill fields of study.

Once brought into play, the Alchemist Simple character is expected to continue to keep his Speculum after the fashion of a journal, recording his on-going work and researches, every project he has completed, his successes and failures, over the course of his career, used as a reference to consult as he formulates new projects, and to refresh his memory when he wishes to repeat old ones.

The character is responsible for maintaining all his Speculum volumes as he rises in TR and SL’s, so it’s important he makes sure the materials are kept on hand for maintaining these records, and that they are replenished when the increases in his SL’s indicate those materials have been depleted.

To exercise his Trade, the Alchemist must also have a lab to work in. This consists of a hodge-podge of beakers, vials, terracotta vessels, flasks, scales, weights, measures, alcohol lamps, mortars and pestles of various sizes, various sorts of tubing or piping, an astrolabe, alembic, furnace, crucibles, etc., as described for the Alchemist’s Lab in Appendix D.1.

Despite the fact that this Trade is called Alchemist, “Simple”, it encompasses quite a portfolio of capabilities. The above equipment is required to perform the main functions of his alchemical arts: Calcination, Coagulation, Fixation, Dissolution, Digestion, Distillation, Sublimation, Separation, Ceration, Fermentation, Multiplication, and Projection. 

Calcination involves heating a substance in either an open or closed vessel, usually resulting in oxidation, often to produce a black, carbonized substance of some kind. The process and the substances it produces are ruled by Aries, a fire sign.

Congelation and fixation are the processes used to make a substance stable and solid, non-volatile, processes ruled by Taurus (earth) and Gemini (air). These are an essential step in the pursuit of the elusive Philosopher’s Stone, as the volatile liquid mercury was thought an essential element.

Dissolution and digestion are processes of washing and purifying, ruled by Cancer (water) and Leo (fire), respectively. In the pursuit of the White Philosopher’s Stone that produces silver, these processes were used on the substance in the alembic to wash, whiten and purify.

Distillation and sublimation are used to render and recondense the vapor or essence of a substance, in reflux distillation, ruled by Virgo (earth) and Libra (air), respectively. 

Separation can include such processes as filtration, decantation or distillation of a liquid from its residue, ruled by Scorpio, a water sign.

Ceration is a process whereby a material is made soft and wax-like, ruled by Sagittarius, a fire sign.

Fermentation is the special process whereby a slow, subtle “digestive” heat is created within a substance, so the special properties of the substance can manifest, ruled by Capricorn, an earth sign. This process is essential in the working of alchemical magick, and in preparing substances to contain a magickal charm, but it is also used to describe the process by which these substances work to transfer their influence when used in the material world. In the process of creating the Philosopher’s Stone this was one of the last few steps, when the nature of the Stone truly began to manifest.

Multiplication is the process used to augment the power of the substance so it can be used many times over, generally ruled by Aquarius, a water sign. This step consists of manipulating any number of other processes to infuse additional power into a substance.

Projection is simply the name for the process of reducing a substance into the form in which its power is finally applied to its task: powder, salve or unguent, potion, elixir, etc.

These terms are not really necessary to the successful use of the Trade under the rules of the game, however. The Alchemists’ traditions and arts are cloaked in fancy, esoteric terminology and allegories to conceal their lore, as they were historically. These processes are traditionally only ever discussed in terms of not only their ruling signs but their ruling planets, and the mythological figures for whom the planets are named. All of this subterfuge was deemed necessary to protect the secrets of their Trade from the curiosity of laymen. It is included here primarily for the benefit of roleplaying the Alchemist character.

Trade Skills

While they are intimately associated with things magickal and mysterious, however, the Alchemist’s knowledge of the above processes (among others) enable him to brew, concoct, distill, render, etc. (as applicable) many of the common, mundane substances or materials used or produced by a number of different more “ordinary” trades. The Alchemist, Simple in particular focuses much on the knowledge and practices of these trades, as well as a few of the more rare, dangerous, and/or exotic substances (depending on what other Trades the Alchemist’s full portfolio includes, as follows), all described by the Trade Skills:

The craft of Chandlers, the pursuit Chandlery, is one of the more common among Alchemists, Simple, producing soap of citrus, glycerin and rosewater, or caustic soda and animal fat (tallow) or high quality olive oil, and/or candles of all qualities, bayberry, tallow or rushlights, are an easy product of the Alchemist’s skills. While there are common artisans that specialize in one or the other, it is by no means unusual for a craftsman to make both, for they both traditionally use tallow.

Lacquers, Varnishes and adhesives may include a number of such substances, utilizing the bonding properties of wheat, or egg, but commonly involving rendering animal carcasses down for Glue or spirit gum, also providing cleaning substances such as lye and fuller’s earth, highly acidic verjuice, wood ash and caustic soda (used for doing laundry).

The strength of the bond a glue makes is measured by a STR score, just like a character, equal to the POT of the substance made (player’s choice) if it is for paper, cloth, wood, and other porous organics. The STR of the glue is equal to half the POT if it is to affect china, brick, stone, or metals. 

Glues can be made so as to be water-soluble after drying, or not, but the player must state which he is making at the time and make a note of that fact when he records it on his equipment inventory, otherwise you should assume it is water-soluble.

Oftentimes the STR of a glue bond is greater than the effective strength, or Structure Points, of the items glued together, making getting them apart again impossible without extensive damage, barring the use of magick.

Drying times are equal to the STR of the bond, counted in minutes. The stronger it is, the longer it takes to set up, also. This can be shortened by as much as (Alchemist’s AV)%, maximum 60%, at the Alchemist’s option by the use of alcohol or a petroleum distillate as a solvent, but this makes it highly flammable when wet, also.

As GM, you determine the drying or setting-up times for glues using the extent of the surface area covered and the STR of the glue as discussed previously. The thickness of glue applied and how still and tightly the items glued are being held, the humidity, all affect the time to set-up and cure, especially if you feels these factors are not being adequately addressed by the user(s) in-game. 

Judging how much glue is required for each use and when a character finally runs out of the amount prepared is entirely up to you, as GM. 

Rendering dyestuffs and pigments is another area, processing, concentrating, mixing to obtain signature hues, even foraging for the substances or even raising plant matter from which pigments are obtained. While an alchemist may specialize in pigments, paints, hues for dyes, etc., it is to supply the dyers who put them to use, perhaps in conjunction with a merchant manufactory.

Cosmetics and Beauty are another area of concentration, encompassing a range of substances drawn from many disciplines, especially including pigments, like lacquer for nails; henna and other tints for hair; heavier foundations to conceal minor imperfections in the skin, or even wax-based sculpting or modeling putties to correct structural imperfections (also used in the Masquer skill); cremes, foundations, in a wide variety of tints and tones to complement and even emulate each of the humanoid races in each of the complexions from as pale and fair as a Nordic Viking to Mediterranean olive, golden as an Asian, brown as a desert-dweller, or even as dark as a Nubian, and in each of the color ranges (sallow, robust, and medium).

This specialty also includes the colors for shadowing and detailing eyes and lashes, and/or the highly colored face paints in the seven colors of the rainbow for adding fanciful motifs for holidays and special occasions (hearts, flowers, twining vines and leaves, heraldic animals and devices, etc.), even spirit gum for applying jewels or other small ornaments to the face/body.

Extracting essential oils and compounding incenses, potpourri (“rotten pot”), herb-steeped scented oils, moisturizing lotions and cremes and other beauty treatments, and/or producing actual perfumes form another area of concentration. This area of expertise is often combined with that of the Chandler and/or Cosmetics and Beauty.

Because dabbling in the more rare, dangerous, and/or exotic areas of alchemy can be very expensive, most “common” Alchemists [Simple] make their living by focusing on making one of the families of products mentioned above, represented by most of the Trade Skills, to sell for their daily bread. This supports any private researches, but such pursuits are not that common, especially among those plying the more “common” Alchemist, Simple Trade.

Most Alchemists True, capable of producing true magickal effects by their arts, generally have no interest in the common, mundane products or substances mentioned above, as far as any possible public practice for earning their daily bread, however. Such Alchemists are not considered to be in competition for such mundane business, although they may well be in the habit of engaging in their manufacture to provide for their own personal household needs.

By their arts, Alchemists True can manipulate the spiritual properties of a wide spectrum of substances in order to create what are, for the sake of simplicity, called “potion bases”. These are unguents, salves, elixirs, potions, philters, powders, crystals, magick seeds/beans, and a wide variety of other similar substances or items specially prepared to be receptacles for magick. These have no magick of their own but can accept the power of magickal charms, regardless of whether cast by the Alchemist himself or by the hand of another. These hold the power of the charms safely and keep them stable until their power is needed.

In the same vein, so long as the Alchemist is a practitioner of magick, he may make the special candles, incenses, chalks, powders, brazier fuel, and other obscure preparations that make up the consumable supplies called “ritual supplies”, needed to cast Low Magick rituals for his trade, BUT only for those charms he himself knows, UNLESS he is provided with the recipes by the client for whom he makes them.

IF he is provided with the recipes and has sufficient materials to do so, he may concoct ritual supplies for ANY magick-wielding trades and charm.

Like the ritual supplies described in Appendix D.1, those made by the Alchemist are described in terms of POT. The higher the POT of a given packet of ritual supplies he makes, the greater the POT of the ritual that can be performed with it, as charms are rated in the same points of POT. The alchemist may only make supplies to cast one specific charm at a time, but the actual amount of POT made in any given exercise of this skill is up to the player. The greater the amount made at any given time, the higher the DV.

The materials to make ritual and rite supplies cost 1s. 2d. 1hp. per point of POT in magick that can be cast with it. 

IF the Alchemist is also equipped with the Herbal Trade and the Forage Life Skill, he can save 4d. 3fg. per point of POT in the cost of materials by venturing forth and gathering some of them himself.

IF the Alchemist is also equipped with the Apothecary Trade and the Forage Life Skill, he can save 9d. 3fg. per point of POT in the cost of materials by venturing forth and gathering some of them himself.

IF the Alchemist is also equipped with the Apothecary Trade, the Caustics & Combustibles Trade Skill is also available. This includes rendering and purifying treatments for creating torches and flambeaux to flash pots and/or smudge pots. These might be combined with knowledge of pigments, so flashes or clouds of colored fire or smoke are produced.

IF the Alchemist is also equipped with the Herbal Trade, the Drugs & Poisons Trade Skill is also available. This enables the Alchemist to bring the stability and shelf-life inherent in the Alchemist’s works to the Herbal’s healing salves, elixirs and simples, in addition to bringing the a depth of knowledge enabling him to make such things as paralysants, stimulants, sedatives, truth serums and soporifics.

This is a very dicey area of expertise to allow others to become aware of. Public knowledge leaves the character open to socially damaging accusations and law suits.

Each of the areas discussed above (Chandlery, Finishes & Adhesives, Cosmetics & Beauty, Pigments & Dyes, Scents) comprises a separate specialty defined by a Trade Skill that must be developed and tracked in SL, and maintained individually with SP’s.

The base DV for making any of the substances described is equal to the number of drams, cups, gills, or pints, or pots, that he makes in a single exercise (according to the measure in which the substance is discussed above), or gill of waterproof glue. To this, the GM should add the POT of the substance being made, such as glue. For making a glue invulnerable to water, the effective STR is equal to the POT, the base DV, and the DV should be raised by 1/2 (multiplied by 1.5). The DV should be doubled (multiplied by 2) to make it invulnerable to saltwater (sea-, brine). For every effective point by which the STR for the purposes of determining drying time of the glue has been lowered by solvents with high evaporation rates to speed drying, the DV should be increased by 1. 

For making ritual supplies, the base DV is equal to (2 per points-worth of POT) made. 

The quantity made is particularly important in determining time requirements, for it will increase the time needed when larger amounts are made. In the case of ritual supplies, the POT also IS the measure of quantity, as discussed in the rules on Low Magick (rituals) in the Grimoire. 

The time required to make any of the common substances described here, from start to finish including the processing of raw materials (as applicable), is equal to the DV for the task, read in mileways. For making ritual supplies, the DV is divided by 2 and the time read in hours.

The Alchemist’s skills also give him the ability to “can” and store those substances his Trade Skills allow him to make that have a limited shelf life and put them up. He may “can” or “put-up” as much as he can secure materials (heavy pottery or glass pots/jars) and facilities to handle. The character must have lids for each vessel, and requires 0.25 lb’s of wax to seal each one. The containers used in canning should be no larger than 1 quart in volume each.

Once put up, the canned perishables last (1 per 4 TR) years before their shelf life comes into play and they begin to age and then go bad. Once the seal is broken on a canned perishable its shelf life again commences to pass normally.

The costs for canning is 1 ha’penny per gill per pot/jar and 2 pence per jar for sealing waxes, plus the costs for whatever it is the character is canning (as applicable). The costs of the pots/jars is a one-time investment, after purchased they only need to be replaced as broken, and the character then only has to pay for the wax, and perhaps the items to be canned.

Most of the substances made by the Alchemist, even such simple compounds as cosmetics, have a shelf life of only [(AWA + CRD) ÷ 8] + (SL) weeks before they begin to separate, go rancid, or lose their potency. This doesn’t, of course, apply to such simple, stable things as tallow or fine-milled soaps, cleaning solutions, or the like.

Magickal Formulas: “Potions”, etc.

Following the mysteries of the elusive Philosopher’s Stone, True Alchemists can also concoct substances that, of their own essence and the skills of their Trade, yield intrinsically magickal effects. By combining the rare and special ingredients these formulae call for, an Alchemist can unlock the magickal power inherent in their essences to make various substances of magickal effect by means of their own procedures and incantations.

Thus, the skill of making substances that are vessels for carrying the magick of others is considered a single and totally different skill from the individualized skills of making substances whose effects are wholly magickal, in and of themselves, upon completion.

This is one of the main points on which Alchemists, Simple and Alchemists, True differ.

These are called “magickal formulas” that produce unguents, salves, elixirs, potions, philtres, powders, crystals, magick beans, and other similar substances – in the same sorts of forms described for “Potion” Bases previously – that yield inherently magickal effects when properly employed. Both are made in quantities of grams/drams.

Once they are completed, there is NO difference whatever in the appearance or effect of a substance that is the product of a magickal formula and a “Potion” Base that has been successfully enchanted.

The epitome of the Alchemist’s art is the path (Trade Skill) of Magickal Formulas, wherein lies the knowledge of transforming base metals into the noble metals, silver and gold, or discovering the means of longevity through concocting the various forms of the elusive Lapis Philosophicus, the magickal “Philosopher’s Stone”, the Red Stone and the White Stone, or their equally magickal and elusive elixirs. These are the ultimate goal of all serious True Alchemists, the apex of the his study in his pursuit of this particular Trade Skill.

The Magickal Formulas (Trade Skill) is actually made up of up to (MGA ÷ 4) charms (individual skills) that must be developed, tracked, and maintained individually in SL with SP’s, in the same manner as Languages and Musician instrument skills.

Each charm/skill chosen represents a base recipe and a series of closely related recipe variations (much like a recipe in “The Joy of Cooking”) allowing for any of the effects described in that charm’s text, and also encompassing all expressions in regards to the Ars Quintates that its description allows, enabling the Alchemist to create a substance to express any aspect of a charm presented in its description, as he wishes.

These formulas may be freely chosen from ANY of the rosters of Wizard, Witch and/or Druid charms, equally.

IF the Alchemist True is designated as having learned this Trade in university, he is limited to ONLY those charms that appear on the Wizard Trade rosters.

IF all of a Alchemist’s formulas come solely from the charms found on the Witch OR Druid rosters, that character may be designated a member of that Trade (player’s discretion, not a requirement). In this case, the character is bound by the philosophical/religious strictures of that trade. This limits the character to a traditional apprenticeship in training for this Trade, as well. 

The materials created by means of the charms that make up the Alchemist’s Magickal Formulas have only been discussed in a general sort of way, so far.

An Alchemist’s formula might result in a thin (alcohol-based) liquid to be sprayed through an atomizer – perfect to create the “Cloud of Fog” or “Circle of Light/Darkness” magicks, or possibly even one of the various types of “Darts” or other similar weapons, especially fine perfumes to carry “Beguiling” effects. The Alchemist might make powders repleat with glittering and sparkling Disney-esque effects, to be used by the pinch on or inside a fist or glove for the hand/touch oriented aspects of the “Manifest Will” charm, or perhaps on or inside the feet or shoes/boots for a “Fleetfoot” “Surefoot” or similar effect, or even sprinkled over a recipient’s head. A formula can result in an unguent to be rubbed all over a subject or on selective area(s) of the user’s body for a “Slow Blood,” “SwiftHeal” or similar effect, or a liquid to be imbibed after the fashion of a traditional magick potion, or even a bright, shining crystal to be thrown in a target’s face, or upon the ground or crushed to release a “Blinding Flash” or similar charm, or to be hurled at a target to transform in the air into a “dart” of some kind.

The Alchemist may stumble across a formula that produces a handful of special “Size Enchantment” soil providing a “Jack and the Beanstalk” or “James and the Giant Peach” type of effect, or seeds which burrow into the ground and sprout forth with a “Wall of Vines”, “Wall of Thorns”, “Vinesteed”, “Servant of Earth”, or “Plantmaze” magick, or produce little seeds or even seedlings that swiftly grow when planted to bear fruit that yields a particular magick when eaten.

It should be the fumes of the cauldron holding the substance of any “Summoning,” “Call Familiar,” “Charm of Calling” or “Woodland Call” magicks that attract the targets’ attentions and draws them to the Alchemist. The material left over after such a Calling should be useless, or perhaps – if deemed edible – lunch! In cases of formulas for such charms as “Power Cache”, the object in which the Cache is to be imbued should have to be steeped in the cauldron/concoction as it is made, for the entire Time Requirement, in order to take effect. The same process should be followed for any object to be enchanted by the Alchemist, unless you decide as GM that a stoppered recess in the object for holding the Alchemist’s brew is sufficient, or that the sprinkling of a powder over the object or rubbing an unguent or tincture into the object under some sort of involved ritual process is acceptable.

The actual form of the substances Alchemist True characters create are up to your players to negotiate with you, as GM. Some forms make sense for certain effects, where others don’t. The choice of form should be mostly up to the player, BUT only with your approval as GM.

It is your world and this expression of magick must mesh with your vision of it.

The process of concocting any and all substances of Alchemical lore, mundane or magickal, carry with it a Time Requirement to complete, in the same manner as the work of any Craftsman. However, ALL works of a True Alchemist’s magickal formulas that produce substances of inherently magickal effect are considered works of Low Magick, too. 

The CTM required to cast the charm represented by any magickal recipe as a work of Low (ritual) Magick, is ADDED to the mundane Time Requirement (above) to create it, in the same manner as the work of a Druid-Smith (Gowan, Govannon, etc.).

There is no such thing as High Magick (cantrips) or even Common Magick (spells) in the creation of a True Alchemist’s magick. All of his substances are created under ritual Low Magick circumstances using ritualistic procedures. The lab in which he must work takes the place of the traditional practitioner’s ritual kit.

The att. mod’s to prepare any of the formulas for inherently magickal substances are based on the Alchemist’s MGA and CRD scores.

The DV’s for making any of the Alchemist’s magickal formulas are determined not only by the concentration of the POT of the substance but the number of grams or drams (beans, crystals, etc.) being concocted or prepared at one time, as well as the Art by which the Power manifests.

The DV for brewing, concocting or otherwise making any of the Alchemist’s magickal formulas start with the normal base DV according to the POT, the Art to which the resulting magick belongs, always assuming “Low Magick” as the Form, and the Sphere of Power of the formula being used, normally, according to the table in “Magick in Play”. In this case, however, the POT referred to is the concentration of POT per gram/dram being made, NOT the yield.

The base DV is increased according to the volume in grams, drams, magick beans or crystals, etc., of magickal effect the Alchemist wishes to make in a batch. The more he tries to make at once, the more difficult the procedures, rising Progressively. 

In addition, the Magickal Formulas of Alchemy can be as risky as the mainstream, traditional the works of Trade of Wizardry, not only in the potential squandering of a great deal of money in materials, but in the possibility of Bumbles (where those rules are in play).

The works of an Alchemist Wizard can Bumble just as badly as any weaving of a mainstream Wizard’s charms (where those rules are in play). Under these circumstances, Bumbles are combined with physical alchemical accidents.

The various substances and materials to make any given Magickal Formula cost 4d. per gram/dram in the batch, PLUS 1s. 2d. 1hp. per point of POT, per gram/dram.

IF the Alchemist is also equipped with the Herbal Trade AND the Forage Life Skill, he can save 4d. 3fg. per point of POT in the cost of materials by venturing forth and gathering some of them himself.

IF the Alchemist is also equipped with the Apothecary Trade AND the Forage Life Skill, he can save 9d. 3fg. per point of POT in the cost of materials by venturing forth and gathering some of them himself.

Because of the wild and uncertain nature of the forces with which they work in their craft, the fact that an Alchemist pays to gather a certain amount of materials to create a given number of grams/drams of a “potion” for a particular charm is NO guarantee he ends up with the amount that he started out to make. As a matter of fact, that only ever happens under certain rare circumstances.

An Alchemist only ever reaps a percentage of the formula he set out to make.

The percentage he reaps is equal to the amount by which the d100 check to determine the success of the exercise is made, PLUS his SL with the specific charm/formula OR his TR (whichever is greater).

Alchemy was always looked on as a pursuit for the idle rich, for eccentric nobles, historically. This is one of the reasons why.

The Alchemist’s percentage chance of success is determined in the same manner used for any other skill in the game, as provided in the passage headed “Task Resolution”.

For example, an Alchemist attempts to concoct 10 grams/drams of a formula with which he has SL 13 (greater than his TR) and his player rolls 30 below the number needed to succeed in his attempt. As a result, he reaps 43% of the 10 grams/drams he paid for and started out to make, or 4 (30 + 13 = 43%; 10 x 0.43 = 4.3, or 4). 

IF you are using the Heroic Effects rules, the Alchemist player should be offered the option of applying those results to the yield – while never raising it beyond that which the Alchemist originally set out to make. 

In the above example a double effect Heroic Success would allow the Alchemist to reap 8 applications rather than 4 of the 10 he set out to make, while a triple effect success would allow him to reap all 10. These are the only circumstances under which he can ever realize ALL of the batch he is making.

In the repertoire of Alchemists True are a couple remnants of ancient times when their arts were not so sophisticated as they now are. These are known as Bottle Charms and Candle Charms.

These are considered alchemical “folkways” of their craft, because they also depend on common alchemical skills, but they are also considered specialty skills that must be honed as a separate Trade Skill. This is considered a separate form from the character’s Magickal Formulas, and may be substituted as the resulting form for any of those Formulas, the results of which (potion, philtre, unguent, salve, etc.) the player must have negotiated for each Formula with the GM prior to play to determine, otherwise.

Bottles Charms are based on the “Witch Bottle” lore of the 15-1600’s. They must be they are to benefit, when they are beneficial in nature. When they are protective or otherwise beneficial in nature, they must be given to the subject and displayed along with any other knick-knacks in the room in which the subject spends the most time OR buried in the earth on the subject’s property (as applicable, not all subjects will be the owners of the property where they reside). When hostile in nature, they must be buried in the earth on the Alchemist’s own property or on the property of the target.

The effective SL an Alchemist can apply to making a Bottle Charm is equal to his SL with them (he must have the Trade Skill) and the SL he has with the Formula he is specifically brewing in the Bottle.

Candle Charms are one of the oldest folkways of magick, stretching back to the ancient Egyptians and beyond. The Candle Charms of the Alchemist True are NOT to be confused with the ceremonial candle burning that takes place as a part of many of the rituals performed by those who practice more traditional forms of Druidecht, Wizardry or Witchcraft.

What sets Candle Charms apart from most common castings of magick is that each candle (or layer of a candle) provides magick that lasts for a fixed amount of time, in total, burned from top to bottom. While the effect of the charm is set by the maker according to the Charm he is creating and the POT he is investing, which dictates the ultimate amount of time that charm may endure, the one burning the candle has the option of burning the DUR away in any manner he likes, off and on, by lighting and dousing the candle over and over according to his need until it is burned away.

The effective SL an Alchemist can apply to making a Candle Charm is equal to the average of his SL with Candle Charms (he must have the Trade Skill) and his SL with the specific Formula(s) he is imbuing in it, with a bonus based on his SL as a Chandler.

While these forms may place certain constraints on appearance and the likelihood of being recognized for what they are by nature, they have a higher yield than the fancy concoctions that the potions, philtres, salves, unguents, etc. in which Magick Formulas can be rendered. When an Alchemist sets out to make Candle Charms or Bottle Charms, he ends up with exactly what he planned to make. There is no % of loss with them as there is with the former.

Bottle and Candle Charms are optional skills in the same manner as “Caustics & Combustibles” and “Drugs & Poisons.” No Alchemist is required to have either of these skills. 

It is likely that the simpler folk who muster the courage to seek the Alchemist’s skills for magical aid are going to be looking for such items, however. These items describe the limits of the magical skills of Cunning Men and Wise Women Alchemists, who are more easily located than those that practice any sort of conventional magick, or even folkways such as Cabalism or Knot-magick (Great Weavers), so tales of Bottle and Candle Charms are freely and regularly circulated among the common free and landbound folk. Many Alchemists studying at university pick up the Magisters’ condescending attitude towards such “primitive” practices, eschewing their pursuit, but this does not diminish their effectiveness one bit.

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* This serves as a reminder that the additional areas of knowledge and skill that are the result of university training are to be represented by also equipping the character with one of the scholastic Trades described as being the result of a Masters or PhD program.

** indicates the Alchemist must also be equipped with the Apothecary Trade as a prerequisite for this Trade Skill.

*** indicates the Alchemist must also be equipped with the Herbal Trade as a prerequisite for this Trade Skill.

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* indicates the Alchemist must also be equipped with the Apothecary Trade as a prerequisite for this Trade Skill.

** indicates the Alchemist must also be equipped with the Herbal Trade as a prerequisite for this Trade Skill.

† indicates the Magickal Formulas (Trade Skill) is actually made up of up to (MGA ÷ 4) charms (individual skills) that must be developed, tracked, and maintained individually by SL and SP’s, in the same manner as Languages and Musician instrument skills.

†† indicates that up to (AWA ÷ 4) skills in number of this type or category are allowed, each of which must be developed, tracked, and maintained individually by SL and SP’s, in the same manner as Musician instrument skills.

Of this number, the character’s Native Vulgar or “Milk Tongue” tongue, the Scholar’s Tongue (analogue of Latin), and the Philosopher’s Tongue (analogue of Greek) must be included first. What slots are left after these are accounted for may be filled with other languages of the player’s choice, as desired.

The players have no obligation to equip their characters with the full (AWA ÷ 4) compliment of these skills – with the understanding that they are NOT allowed to fill them in retroactively, after they have already brought their characters into active play, just because they WERE allowed them during the Character Creation process.

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† indicates that up to (AWA ÷ 4) skills in number of this type or category are allowed.

In regards to Linguist skills, the High Druids’ Cant, the Scholar’s Tongue (the game world analogue to Latin) and Philosopher’s Tongue (the game world analogue to Greek) must be included.

The players have no obligation to equip their characters with the full (AWA ÷ 4) compliment of these skills – with the understanding that they are NOT allowed to fill them in retroactively, after the character has already been brought into active play, just because they WERE allowed them during the Character Creation process (long since finished).

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Assess & Identify

The Alchemist’s skills naturally includes the ability to Identify or Assess substances or materials and the constituents that make up compounds.

The Alchemist is best served exercising this ability in his complete, home lab, which allows him the advantage of his full TR, but also requires he have the complete collection of his Speculum volumes to consult. 

 Using his abbreviated travel/field lab, an Alchemist is only allowed the benefit of 3/4th’s his full TR, 

 The Alchemist may attempt a raw Field Assessment at only 1/2 his full TR. 

He must also have at least his main, general reference Speculum with him in order to make Field Assessments.

For identifying or assessing various substances, elements, and basic compounds out in the field without equipment, the att mod. is based on the Alchemist’s AWA score, and the TR used to find the AV, unless one of the Trade Skills is a better more accurate choice and has a SL higher than the TR.

IF working in a fully fitted lab, the att mod. for identifying various substances is based on the character’s AWA score.

The character must have at least [30 – (AWA + 1 per 4 TR’s)] drams of any given substance to test for its identity.

For concocting, mixing, distilling, or compounding any substance of the alchemical arts the att. mod’s are based on the character’s AWA and CRD scores.

The base DV for identifying substances and compounds depends on the origin of the materials. If the material or compound to be identified is common, found around the average household like tallow, lye, soap, offal, cotton, wool, flax, blood, ashes, verjuice, iron or steel, lead, copper, tin, brass, or any oxide of these common metals, various household cleaning compounds, and so on, the base DV is 1. 

Those sorts of things found around the yard or out-buildings, like hemp, different kinds of hide, common household garden vegetables and herbs, plants producing common country dyes, different kinds of woods, and so on, have a base DV of 5 to identify. The character require only a relatively small sample of these substances to identify them, just enough to get a good smell, feel, and/or taste sample of it to be sure of it (GM’s discretion), and they may be identified in the field without special tests. 

For compounds more common to towns, like commercial dyes, inks, artists’ pigments, sealing wax, pitch-based and other building sealing compounds, and the like, the base DV for identification is 10. The character requires a larger sample of these things to identify them, a handful or more on which to run tests. 

For those substances containing materials that are not native to the surrounding terrain or region the DV may start at 15. The character needs a lab to properly identify the compound, though field identification may be attempted at half AV. 

You should feel free to raise the DV if you feel the sample the character has isn’t large enough, perhaps by as much as 5, or 10 for things found outside the house, 20 for compounds. 

The time required to identify common substances and making identifications in the field is equal to the DV for the task, read in minutes; for compounds tested in the lab the time requirement is divided by 10 and again read in minutes.

When an Alchemist brews one of his Magickal Formulas, he receives SP’s towards his skill in making that formuls in the same manner described for any Craftsman’s works, PLUS the SP’s that normally accrue from casting Low (ritual) Magick.

Unlike other sorts of more mainstream practitioners of magick (Wizards, Witches, Druids, Hedge-Wizards, Hearth-Witches), an Alchemist is not confined only to the recipes in his Speculum for creating magickal substances. Any formula that he comes across in his journeys is fair game, whether he has skill in them or not. He may attempt these with an effective SL equal to his half his TR, providing that the formula attempted also lies within the Sphere(s) of Power of those skills he already has.

Every time he uses the formula without taking the time to actually learn it and add it to his repertoire, he earns one (1) SP towards actually understanding it, until he has earned enough SP’s indicating he knows it well enough to gain a full SL, establishing an effective SL of 1 with it. In this way he can eventually learn formulas on his own.

Unlike those of the practitioners of other more traditional magick-wielding trades, the Magickal Formulas of the Alchemist True are not automatically memorized and maintained in a special trade memory. They cannot be concocted without the Speculum in which the Alchemist keeps his magickal formulas, the attendant sheafs and scrolls of notes compiled in it.

Upon reaching the Warden LoA with any given Magickal Formula, an Alchemist’s skill and knowledge are considered advanced enough to allow him to execute that formula without need of referencing his Speculum. Doing so reduces his effective SL with it, however, by (SL required to reach Warden LoA).

Sensing Mana & Magick 

Due to their long exposure to the spiritual energies, the mana that powers all magick in RoM, and manipulation of it in the course of creating their various magickal formulas, all Alchemists True are able to Sense the Ambience and Sense Magick, in the same manner as a full trade Wizard, Druid or Witch (as applicable).

The Ambience permeates and overlays every crevice and corner of the Mortal World. While it is always in motion, both the drawing and release of power used in dweomercraft creates a disturbance of its own that passes through the Ambience, regardless of whether it is a Mystic expressing a Feat or channeling miraculous interventions from On High or the magickal work of a Druid (any trade), Witch or Wizard. It causes a ripple-like wave to radiate outward through the Ambience. These disturbances or waves in the Æther are created in part by tapping the Veil between Spirit and the mortal world.

The Arts of the Druid trades and of the Wizard and Witch trades, or even Mystic, affect many other aspects of the character’s life than just those providing him with the ability to manifest magickal or miraculous powers and perform extraordinary feats with it, including the ability to sense these disturbances or ripples over the course of their trade training and magick-wielding careers. This sensation encompasses a see-feel-smell-hear-taste experience that defies any meaningful description to those outside the trade.

All practitioners in the vicinity can automatically feel the gathering of mana and the process of crafting it into a dweomer if it takes place within [(MSS) + (TR)] feet of them, unless there is a barrier sufficient to dampen the disturbance (see “Shielding & Safe Havens”).

Beyond this distance a successful MSS check on d100 allows the practitioner to “feel” it.

The AV to Sense Magick is equal to [(MSS att. mod.) + (AWA att. mod.) + (TR)].

The DV for these checks is equal to the number of feet by which the casting is taking place beyond the practitioner’s prescribed range, 

MINUS the number of points by which the POT of the casting is greater than the practitioner’s MGA

OR

PLUS the number of points by which the POT of the casting is less than the practitioner’s MGA.

The ripples of Noble Sphere magick travel 5 x as far; Sovereign Sphere magick travels 5 x the Noble Sphere distance or 25 x the Common Sphere distance.

When a magical formula is finally completed (whether successfully or not), the power summoned for it crashes back into the Ambience like a stone suddenly dropped into a still pool, causing a wave radiating outward in a sphere from the caster. This is a MUCH stronger wave than the little ripple caused by the process of crafting the magick.

In the case of the True Alchemist, the same initial ripple caused by the process of casting traditional mainstream charms accompanies the process of crafting any of the substances of magickal nature resulting from his magickal formulas. The great disturbance caused by loosing a completed charm also accompanies the successful completion of any of those formulas. This wave can be immediately and automatically “felt” if it occurs within [(MSS) + (TR)] yards, regardless of POT.

For this check, the AV is [(MSS att. mod.) + (TR)], again.

The DV for the MSS check is 1 if the practitioner Sensing Magick is located within (POT) furlongs.

  • IF the POT of the wave when it reaches the practitioner is greater than his CHM or HRT (whichever is greater), the roll should be foregone and the character simply informed. It is deemed strong enough to get the character’s attention immediately and automatically.
  • IF the POT is less than a practitioner’s CHM or HRT (whichever is less) when the wave reaches him, the DV for the MSS check rises by the difference, per point, again in a Progressive manner.

The POT of the disturbance in the case of the Alchemist is equal to the total POT for all grams/drams in the batch he has just successfully completed. IF the d100 check for completing a batch is failed, there is no ripple of power through the Ambience.

After the first (POT) furlongs the wave travels from the practitioner who loosed the magick that made it, the effective POT drops by 1 point in strength every furlong of distance, until it dies out at zero (0).

This raises the DV to sense the wave when it finally reaches the practitioner, by one per furlong per furlong traveled, again in a Progressive manner, MINUS the effective POT of the wave.

Beyond this distance, EVERY magick cast causes a ripple in the Ambience that travels outward in a sphere from the site of the casting (POT x 2) furlongs, allowing the practitioner to “feel” the wave washing over him upon making a successful MSS check on d100.

Not only is a PC able to sense the ripples caused by others’ magicks, his player must understand the fact that every magick his PC casts creates the same disturbance to alert others of the trade who may be in the vicinity.

The lesser, day-to-day activity in the Ambience, those disturbances of (CHM or HRT, whichever is less) in POT or less, are normally screened from every practitioner’s consciousness in accordance with his trade training to protect his sanity, so he can maintain some sense of continuous mortal existence separate from Spirit and his magick, allowing him to interact normally with the mortal world.

Those disturbances he “feels” or senses, whether automatically or as a result of a Sense Magick check, as above, are sufficient for him to note the general direction whence it came. This can provide a link by which any direction-finding charm may be cast to zero in on the point of origin of the disturbance.

The wave of disturbance from the casting of a magick can be used by the clever practitioner to cover the loosing of subsequent magicks, provided he stays within (MGA) yards of the original casting site and is careful to keep their POT smaller than the original magick whose shadow he is trying to use.

This raises the DV for sensing the disturbance by one per point by which the following magick’s POT is less than the one it follows, per point, in a Progressive manner.

This “shadow” of disturbance following in the wake of the wave, equal to the POT of the first magick cast, fades at a rate of 1 effective point of POT per minute.

In practice, the player should be aware of the order in which he casts his magicks if he is concerned over the possibility of disturbing other folk of power, casting rituals before spells before cantrips, and greatest POT to lowest, to use the shadow of the ripple caused by the greater magick to cover those of the lesser magicks cast in its wake.

One never knows whose elbow one may unintentionally jog.

Taking advantage of this phenomenon can be a very useful tactic when one is matched on the battlefield against another practitioner, a means of catching them off guard, of denying them any notice of more magicks to come following the first.

The players and GM alike must be aware that any other practitioner of magick in the same town or its immediate hinterlands (surrounding supporting farmlands) may well note the use of any magicks cast with POT greater than c. 10-15, especially if any of them live in a location that gives them an overview of the town. Any in the closer surrounding villages might take note, as well. Caution is prudent. Careless flinging of magick, especially at high POT, can attract unwanted attention. Rival practitioners may be curious or even irritated if they are in the least bit protective of their territorial rights to monopolize the trade in magick where a character has ventured to practice his craft. Ignorance of the presence of a local rival or guild monopoly is no excuse, in the same manner as ignorance of the law.

This is simply an occupational hazard.

Rivalries keep the already small numbers of those who practice the magickal arts even smaller, and tend to insure that those of lesser power keep a low profile until they are well and truly prepared and sure of their defenses, should such a conflict of interests arise.

There may be certain places in the GM’s world where those of power gather to practice their art by tacit approval, an unspoken bond that may be as strong as any guild charter. These places gain a general on-going disturbance due to regular magickal activity that swiftly becomes evident to those who wield the Arts approaching within range to sense it. The level of activity is rated in POT in the same manner as the prevailing Ambience and added to the DV for sensing any specific magickal disturbance (as described above) that is of lesser POT than that of the æthereal “background noise”. This “white noise” of magickal activity makes sensing other magickal activity so difficult that the MSS checks described previously are required even within the normal ranges at which the Sense Magick ability is commonly automatic and immediate. The DV’s for these checks are increased by the amount by which the POT of the magick in question is less than the POT of the ætherial “background noise” using the same procedure applied when the POT of a magick to be Sensed is less than the practitioner’s CHM/HRT (as above).

Sometimes there is no better place for a character of lesser power to hide his craft than out in the open, under the cover of the disturbances created by his greater colleagues routinely exercising their own craft.

In addition, the level of the Ambience itself may actually work to betray disturbances, high-lighting them. To keep things on an even footing, the POT of the Ambience, of the mana readily available flowing through a given location, is always rated in POT relative to the Common Sphere. The greater the POT of the Ambience, the more magickal energy that is present for the wave of a disturbance to displace. In short, it amplifies the effect of the disturbance, making it more noticeable.

The POT of the Ambience is subtracted from the DV for any Sense Magick check to feel a disturbance.

Magick that is already in existence lies quietly, as a part of the natural world, doing as it was bidden when created. It is much more difficult to sense. The Wizard has the option of casting a bit of Divination to “Reveal” the presence of magicks, should the player have equipped him with that lore, OR ply his skill with a set of dowsing rods or crystal or other pendulum for the same purpose, using it as a guide if he has this Spirit Skill, OR the Wizard may slowly walk about with his hand held out before him to try to “feel” it’s presence by “Seeking” it by Divination.

On the other hand, once a Wizard touches an object which carries an enchantment, or creature or being laboring under an ensorcelment, or steps into an area which bears a dweomer, he feels and knows it and the GM must tell the player (preferably slip him a private note), without the need for a d100 check of any kind. Of course, where Banes and Wardings are concerned, his coming into contact could be rather hazardous to his health and perhaps that of any compatriots accompanying him.

Other than the ability to Sense Magick and having a thorough understanding of “Shielding & Safe Havens”, True Alchemists don’t have any other of the special trade abilities possessed by other Trade practitioners of magick.

True Alchemists have no Spirit Skills. They develop no special, meditational keyed, tiered eidetic memory for Trade Skills and Trade lore, nor do they get any bonus to their M-RES.

Because the magick they create is completely contained within the substances they make, Alchemists can never carry the DUR of one of their charms “at the caster’s pleasure”. Once a substance is used, the DUR of the dweomer is restricted, effectively “tied-off” by definition.

Thus, it is impossible for an Alchemist to get weighed down by Wind held in reserve to support the dweomers they carry, as other practitioners may.

The opening of the “The Life of Magick” is an essential a read for all players of True Alchemists, as well as the passages headed “What is Magick?”, “The Foundations of Magick” and “The Laws of Magick”.

Like the mainstream practitioner of traditional magick (Wizard, Witch, Druid), the pursuit of this Trade Skill continues up through the Spheres of Power, however, High and Low Mana areas have no effect on the compounding of magical formulas.

The Ars Quintates Magica influence the POT for determining DV’s for the rendering of magickal formula the same manner as the works of mainstream tradition castings of magick. Otherwise, the divisions of the Ars Quintates Magica don’t apply to the True Alchemists’ magickal formulas, EXCEPT insofar as the Alchemist character needs to use them to define the specific effects of the magical substances he makes. All aspects described for a charm are available to the Alchemist.

The completed form a formula takes may be varied any way the Alchemist wishes, regardless of the charm it carries and the aspect of that charm it creates, so the Alchemist had best label them carefully.

In addition, Low (ritual ) Magick is the only “form” or “method” that applies to the rendering of magickal formulas, and POT also governs the effects of magickal substances produced by the True Alchemist equally.

“Potions” in Play

When carrying the substances created by means of this Trade on the road, once completed, Alchemist practitioners must take precautions to preserve their work. Seeds should be kept dry and at least moderately cool or they may sprout spontaneously releasing their magick, crystals are going to be somewhat fragile, and powders and such things as elixirs, potions, unguents, and salves should all be kept in sealed containers of some sort, preferably water-tight ones of dark, preferably brown glass or solid crockery to prevent their deterioration by exposure to sunlight. It is up to you as GM whether water, alcohol or some other liquid may thin an elixir, potion, or salve, or dissolve a powder after it has aged awhile. Perhaps by an extra step of preparation a powder might be created that can be reconstituted in order to be used, whether to be consumed or applied topically.

IF properly stored, the substances created by an Alchemist’s Magickal Formulas have a shelf life of (skill AV) months, during which time they maintain their full potency.

IF “put-up” and sealed by the Alchemist’s canning skills, this rises to (skill AV) years, or until the seal is broken, whichever occurs first. In these cases, the (skill AV) months of the substance’s shelf life are not counted until after the seal is broken.

After the shelf life expires, the substance loses one (1) point of the POT of its power, and another every (formula SL) days thereafter until it reaches zero, useless.

Note that those substances that slowly lose their potency dry out and lose fluids vital to their effect until they are reconstituted through the Alchemist’s art. Those substances that simply lose their potency lose 1 point of POT of their effect per (SL under which made) days they age beyond their shelf life. 

In play, the minimum dose of those substances that are to be applied to living creatures and/or beings is equal to (modified STA ÷ 4) in points of POT administered. This dose allows the dweomer to manifest at a POT of only 1.

Once the (STA ÷ 4) minimum to saturate the recipient with a POT of 1 is reached, the POT of additional grams (if dry) or drams (if liquid) administered/taken by the recipient are added to the effective POT of the dweomer’s effect.

IF the recipient has a STA of 20 as a human (no Build modifier) is given 5 POT-worth of a magickal preparation of 1 POT per dram in concentration, its effect manifests with a POT of 1 (STA 20 ÷ 4 = 5).

IF the recipient then takes another 5 drams at the same concentration of POT 1, the effective POT of the dweomer rises to a POT of 6 (1 POT already established + 5 more = POT 6).

For those substances to be applied to objects, the minimum dose is equal to (sum of it’s Size as measured in all three dimensions, length, width & height) in total points of POT. 

An object’s Size Rating is roughly equal to its measurement rounded to the nearest foot (subject to the GM’s ruling), however, in this case all three dimensions are measured, not just one, as is the case with weapons.

Using this minimum dose results in the charm taking effect at a POT of one (1). 

The POT of additional grams/drams administered raise the effective POT of the magick’s effect accordingly.

For example, one dram of a tincture prepared at a concentration of 5 POT per gram/dram applied to a longbow with a Size of 6 (length alone, as width and depth of the object are negligible, being less than 6in’s) isn’t quite enough to affected it (POT 5 – Size 6 = -1).

The first point of POT of the second dram provides a POT of 1 as it finished encompassing the object, and the 4 remaining points of POT of the second dram bring the POT of the charm on the bow up to 5.

Reapplying any given magickal formula once it has been already been applied adds its POT in this manner, but ONLY up to a maximum of [(HRT) + (TR)].

Any POT applied in excess of this limit are simply wasted.

Related Knowledge

Due to the importance of having an extensive knowledge of plants, the products of the earth and animal kingdom, and their properties to creating the various substances with which the Alchemist Trade is concerned, all Alchemists are schooled in the Lore of Herbs and the Lore of the Apothecary.

Indeed, the Herbal and Apothecary Trades are closely, almost intrinsically, Allied with the Alchemist Trade.

IF a player also chooses to equip his Alchemist with the Herbal and Apothecary Trades does he also know how best to handle them the materials and substances, to prepare them, to extract their virtues, and also to render them into the forms best able to preserve their virtues for later use.

The movements of the energies and influences of the heavenly bodies have a direct influence on the work of Alchemists, especially as they are expressed by the Correspondences studied by Astrologists, which Trade is closely Allied. Researched properly, the astrological Correspondences provide a tool to lower the DV’s for making any of the common substances mentioned previously just as much as the magical formulas and the “potion bases” Trade Skills.

IF a player also chooses to equip his Alchemist with the Forage Life Skill, his Lore includes the knowledge of where to find the minerals and herbs he needs, what rock types and formations to look for, what parts of the beasts, and the habitats in which they may be found, when to pick or hunt them.

The Forage skill extends the knowledge of any Trade to which its lore may be applied to include these facets, too.

Without the Forage skill, an Alchemist cannot take advantage of the benefits foraging for his own materials provide. The Forage Life Skill may represent a convenience and greater degree of independence, but it is a convenience and independence that frees the Alchemist from the need to procure his materials from local foragers, huntsmen, woodsmen, apothecaries, and the like.

This form of practice in magick MIGHT be considered by some to be more appropriate to a NPC rather than a PC, unless the PC has one or more other trades to fall back on.

All an Alchemist’s work in his Trade must take place in a lab, so a PC Alchemist-practitioner may end up sitting out of play for large chunks of game-time working on accumulating his store of magickal substances. Their goods take time to create, and they are likely to have precious little time except short breaks in-between projects/plot lines, unless you allow them to divide their days up in the manner described in the passages concerning practicing skills and earning SP’s. The rest of the party must go on about their business perhaps having further adventures and earning more SP’s while the PC Alchemist is closeted in his lab, albeit earning SP’s of his own towards his craft.

Thus, the trade provides some logistical challenges when it comes to adventuring with the rest of the party. Maintaining a stock of substances on hand takes time but, if the party cooperates with the Alchemist, they have a ready store of magick that is guaranteed to work when used, without a hitch or surprise, sparing the difficulties sometimes associated with casting magicks traditionally, on the fly.

For a PC, it is a different style of play.

It’s fine for a NPC to sit around making potions and selling them and accumulating a store of ready-made magickal substances, on the other hand. Such a character makes for a great foil or adversary for the PC’s and dictates the form of a significant portion of the Booty, with a great deal of inherent diversity in appearance.

As a beginning PC, a True Alchemist character may well have enough money to begin play with some of his substances already in hand and have some very strong associated trade knowledge to fall back on. This is actually a very prudent means for carrying around what might otherwise be an overwhelming amount of coin.

The player should NOT be made to roll for success of these, but he must pay for them, and straight d100 rolled for each to determine the % yield realized for each one. You may determine that under the circumstances no result of less than [(d5 x 10) + 30]% is fair. Otherwise the loss in money and materials could be crushing, not at all fair to the player.

Alchemist Simple

Alchemists are the proto-scientists and chemists of the period of the game. They study the ways in which the physical and spiritual worlds interact through natural science, philosophy and even a smattering of the spiritual principles of Metaphysics. Speculation on the nature of the Universe, on the hidden natures of both mineral and organic substances, often absorbs them. The work of the Alchemists encompasses both of what are known today as inorganic and organic chemistry, as well as pharmacology, geology, theoretical physics and a smattering of “Natural Philosophy.” From a very esoteric, philosophical, and spiritual point of view (to avoid confrontations of faith) they seek to classify the elements with their dialectic, Aristotelian reason and logic. Empirical test and study are considered to be neither the scholar’s method nor the medieval way of thought, except in the pursuit of specific projects (not whole, transferrable concepts). They explore the secret spiritual natures of physical substances through their special skills, to evoke or imbue spiritual properties, create elixirs (derived from the Arabic for the Greek for “dry tincture”), potions, philters, powders, unguents, salves, and a wide variety of other similar unique substances, to make life a little easier or simply for the sake of accumulating knowledge.

In the pursuit of their arts, Alchemists make a common study of the physical properties of substances; the effects of applying heat and cold, their expansion with heat and contraction when cold, the fact that water is the exception to the rule, expanding as it freezes. They know of the weathering process, the properties of erosion and the resulting deposition, currents and tides, and the like, the changes that decomposition brings, the heat it generates, the actions of various sorts of acids. The lore of the earth is of special interest, too; the soil, such as that special soil used by artists to make their green-earth color; gems and stones like lapis lazuli ground for use in making the finest blue hues for painting, rocks, metals, crystals, ores such as sulphur, cinnabar (mercury ore) ground by artists to make an intense red hue; how they interact with fire, water, and air; the nature of carbonization, the uses of ashes and soot, like the lampblack (literally soot from a lamp) used by artists as a pigment; their properties, and how best to handle them, especially in extracting their virtues.

The Alchemist’s “Speculum”

Even though Alchemists are almost indelibly associated with scholasticism, the Alchemist Simple Trade can be considered as either a set of skills acquired from among the broad and diverse curricula of the universities OR the product of a formal, traditional apprenticeship, instead (player’s discretion), bringing an entirely different flavor to the character’s background. In order to have a formal university education as the source of an Alchemist Simple character’s Trade knowledge, the player must equip him/her also with a formal Scholastic Trade. In this case, he is presumed to have graduated as a Magister (Masters) in Natural Philosophy & Metaphysics.

Whether a player decides his character’s knowledge of Alchemy stems from formal scholastic pursuits at university or a more common traditional apprenticeship, this Trade represents no less a scholarly disposition and frame of mind.

As a reflection of the trade’s scholastic basis, every Alchemist is required to put his Linguist, Literatus, and Scrivener skills to good use during the course of his education/apprenticeship in keeping records of his lessons and lab work. By the time he completes his doctorate or apprenticeship, he has also compiled a Speculum,

The Speculum is an encyclopædic overview of the Alchemist’s art, knowledge and skills, a notebook of all known materials and substances, their appearances accompanied by meticulously rendered illustrations, their characteristics, common origins and usages, and also a wide variety of recipes or formulæ for many common substances and compounds (as follows).

This is This is a source book of trade knowledge kept on hand for general reference, containing knowledge to guide further exploration of the arts, and to aid in managing and coordinating the lore he gathers regarding the specific Trade Skill specialties.

The main volume of the Alchemist’s Speculum contains (AWA x 10) + [(TR) x (40 – AWA)] pages. 

Over the course of time spent earning each TR, once brought into play, the Alchemist is assumed to accumulate an additional (40 – AWA) pages (on average) of scribbled notes, thoughts, insights, theories and discoveries to add to his Speculum. 

In additional to this volume, the Alchemist is required to keep another journal or notebook for the knowledge of the specific Trade Skill specialties (chandlery; scents and perfumes; pigments and dyes; combustibles; caustics; drugs, poisons and venoms; substances prepared to carry an enchantment; etc.), a separate volume for each, but nonetheless also considered to be part of his Speculum.

Each Trade Skill volume of the Speculum has (40 – AWA) + [(AWA) x (Trade Skill SL)] pages in it. 

Over the course of time spent earning each SL in each Trade Skill, once brought into play, the Alchemist is assumed to accumulate an additional (40 – AWA) pages (on average) of scribbled notes, thoughts, insights, theories and discoveries to add to his Speculum. 

IF the Alchemist has the Herbal and/or Apothecary Trade(s) and/or the Forage Life Skill, the player must add those TR’s and/or SL’s to his Alchemist TR for the initial volume in determining the number of pages and also to the SL’s of the individual Trade Skill specialties for each additional volume of his Speculum he must keep, for these broaden the depth of the Lore the Alchemist possesses regarding the secrets of the Trade and the individual Trade Skill fields of study.

Once brought into play, the Alchemist Simple character is expected to continue to keep his Speculum after the fashion of a journal, recording his on-going work and researches, every project he has completed, his successes and failures, over the course of his career, used as a reference to consult as he formulates new projects, and to refresh his memory when he wishes to repeat old ones.

The character is responsible for maintaining all his Speculum volumes as he rises in TR and SL’s, so it’s important he makes sure the materials are kept on hand for maintaining these records, and that they are replenished when the increases in his SL’s indicate those materials have been depleted.

To exercise his Trade, the Alchemist Simple must have a lab to work in.

This consists of a hodge-podge of beakers, terracotta, glass and metal vessels, vials, flasks, scales, weights, measures, alcohol lamps, mortars and pestles of various sizes, various sorts of tubing or piping, an astrolabe, alembic, furnace, crucibles, etc., as described for the Alchemist’s Lab in Appendix D.1.

Despite the fact that this Trade is called Alchemist “Simple”, it encompasses quite a portfolio of capabilities. The above equipment is required to perform the main functions of his alchemical arts: Calcination, Coagulation, Fixation, Dissolution, Digestion, Distillation, Sublimation, Separation, Ceration, Fermentation, Multiplication, and Projection. 

Calcination involves heating a substance in either an open or closed vessel, usually resulting in oxidation, often to produce a black, carbonized substance of some kind. The process and the substances it produces are ruled by Aries, a fire sign.

Congelation and fixation are the processes used to make a substance stable and solid, non-volatile, processes ruled by Taurus (earth) and Gemini (air). These are an essential step in the pursuit of the elusive Philosopher’s Stone, as the volatile liquid mercury was thought an essential element.

Dissolution and digestion are processes of washing and purifying, ruled by Cancer (water) and Leo (fire), respectively. In the pursuit of the White Philosopher’s Stone that produces silver, these processes were used on the substance in the alembic to wash, whiten and purify.

Distillation and sublimation are used to render and recondense the vapor or essence of a substance, in reflux distillation, ruled by Virgo (earth) and Libra (air), respectively. 

Separation can include such processes as filtration, decantation or distillation of a liquid from its residue, ruled by Scorpio, a water sign.

Ceration is a process whereby a material is made soft and wax-like, ruled by Sagittarius, a fire sign.

Fermentation is the special process whereby a slow, subtle “digestive” heat is created within a substance, so the special properties of the substance can manifest, ruled by Capricorn, an earth sign. This process is essential in the working of alchemical magick, and in preparing substances to contain a magickal charm, but it is also used to describe the process by which these substances work to transfer their influence when used in the material world. In the process of creating the Philosopher’s Stone this was one of the last few steps, when the nature of the Stone truly began to manifest.

Multiplication is the process used to augment the power of the substance so it can be used many times over, generally ruled by Aquarius, a water sign. This step consists of manipulating any number of other processes to infuse additional power into a substance.

Projection is simply the name for the process of reducing a substance into the form in which its power is finally applied to its task: powder, salve or unguent, potion, elixir, etc.

These terms are not really necessary to the successful use of the Trade under the rules of the game, however. The Alchemists’ traditions and arts are cloaked in fancy, esoteric terminology and allegories to conceal their lore, as they were historically. These processes are traditionally only ever discussed in terms of not only their ruling signs but their ruling planets, and the mythological figures for whom the planets are named. All of this subterfuge was deemed necessary to protect the secrets of their Trade from the curiosity of laymen. It is included here primarily for the benefit of roleplaying the Alchemist character.

Trade Skills

While they are intimately associated with things magickal and mysterious, an Alchemist Simple’s knowledge of the above processes (among others) enable him to brew, concoct, distill, render, etc. (as applicable) many of the common, mundane substances or materials used or produced by a number of different more “ordinary” manufacturing trades. The Alchemist, Simple in particular focuses much on the knowledge and practices of these trades, as well as a few of the more rare, dangerous, and/or exotic substances (depending on what other Trades the Alchemist’s full portfolio includes, as follows).

The craft of Chandlers, the pursuit Chandlery, is one of the more common among Alchemists, Simple, producing soap of citrus, glycerin and rosewater, or caustic soda and animal fat (tallow) or high quality olive oil, and/or candles of all qualities, bayberry, tallow or rushlights, are an easy product of the Alchemist’s skills. While there are common artisans that specialize in one or the other, it is by no means unusual for a craftsman to make both, for they both traditionally use tallow.

Lacquers, Varnishes and adhesives may include a number of such substances, utilizing the bonding properties of wheat, or egg, but commonly involving rendering animal carcasses down for Glue or spirit gum, also providing cleaning substances such as lye and fuller’s earth, highly acidic verjuice, wood ash and caustic soda (used for doing laundry).

The strength of the bond a glue makes is measured by a STR score, just like a character, equal to the POT of the substance made (player’s choice) if it is for paper, cloth, wood, and other porous organics. The STR of the glue is equal to half the POT if it is to affect china, brick, stone, or metals. 

Glues can be made so as to be water-soluble after drying, or not, but the player must state which he is making at the time and make a note of that fact when he records it on his equipment inventory, otherwise you should assume it is water-soluble.

Oftentimes the STR of a glue bond is greater than the effective strength, or Structure Points, of the items glued together, making getting them apart again impossible without extensive damage, barring the use of magick.

Drying times are equal to the STR of the bond, counted in minutes. The stronger it is, the longer it takes to set up, also. This can be shortened by as much as (Alchemist’s AV)%, maximum 60%, at the Alchemist’s option by the use of alcohol or a petroleum distillate as a solvent, but this makes it highly flammable when wet, also.

As GM, you determine the drying or setting-up times for glues using the extent of the surface area covered and the STR of the glue as discussed previously. The thickness of glue applied and how still and tightly the items glued are being held, the humidity, all affect the time to set-up and cure, especially if you feels these factors are not being adequately addressed by the user(s) in-game. 

Judging how much glue is required for each use and when a character finally runs out of the amount prepared is entirely up to you, as GM. 

Rendering dyestuffs and pigments is another area, processing, concentrating, mixing to obtain signature hues, even foraging for the substances or even raising plant matter from which pigments are obtained. While an alchemist may specialize in pigments, paints, hues for dyes, etc., it is to supply the dyers who put them to use, perhaps in conjunction with a merchant manufactory.

Cosmetics and Beauty treatments are another area of concentration, encompassing a range of substances drawn from many disciplines, especially including pigments, like lacquer for nails; henna and other tints for hair; heavier foundations to conceal minor imperfections in the skin, or even wax-based sculpting or modeling putties to correct structural imperfections (also used in the Masquer skill); cremes, foundations, in a wide variety of tints and tones to complement and even emulate each of the humanoid races in each of the complexions from as pale and fair as a Nordic Viking to Mediterranean olive, golden as an Asian, brown as a desert-dweller, or even as dark as a Nubian, and in each of the color ranges (sallow, medium, and robust).

This specialty also includes the colors for shadowing and detailing eyes and lashes, and/or the highly colored face paints in the seven colors of the rainbow for adding fanciful motifs for holidays and special occasions (hearts, flowers, twining vines and leaves, heraldic animals and devices, etc.). Spirit gum from the Adhesives specialty can be used for applying jewels or other small ornaments to the face/body/skin.

Extracting essential oils and compounding incenses, potpourri (“rotten pot”), herb-steeped scented oils, moisturizing lotions and cremes and other beauty treatments, and/or producing actual perfumes form another area of concentration. This area of expertise is often combined with that of the Chandler and/or Cosmetics and Beauty. Having the knowledge of the Herbal Trade as well can provide the Alchemist Simple with some independence from procuring his supplies from other Herbals for use in these preparations, especially if he also knows how to Forage for his own materials, which his knowledge as an Herbal then equips him with the knowledge to process and preserve for future use.

By their arts, Alchemists can manipulate the spiritual properties of a wide spectrum of substances in order to create what are, for the sake of simplicity, called “potion” bases. These are unguents, salves, elixirs, potions, philters, powders, crystals, magick beans, and a wide variety of other similar substances or items specially prepared to be receptacles for magick. These have no magick of their own but can accept the power of magickal charms, regardless of whether cast by the Alchemist himself or by the hand of another. These hold the power of the charms safely and keep them stable until their power is needed.

In the same vein, so long as the Alchemist is a practitioner of magick, he may make the special candles, incenses, chalks, powders, brazier fuel, and other obscure preparations that make up the consumable supplies called “ritual supplies”, needed to cast Low Magick rituals for his trade, BUT only for those charms he himself knows, UNLESS he is provided with the recipes by the client for whom he makes them.

IF he is provided with the recipes and has sufficient materials to do so, he may concoct ritual supplies for ANY magick-wielding trades and charm.

Like the ritual supplies described in Appendix D.1, those made by the Alchemist are described in terms of POT. The higher the POT of a given packet of ritual supplies he makes, the greater the POT of the ritual that can be performed with it, as charms are rated in the same points of POT. The alchemist may only make supplies to cast one specific charm at a time, but the actual amount of POT made in any given exercise of this skill is up to the player. The greater the amount made at any given time, the higher the DV.

The materials to make ritual and rite supplies cost 1s. 2d. 1hp. per point of POT in magick that can be cast with it. 

IF the Alchemist is also equipped with the Herbal Trade and the Forage Life Skill, he can save 4d. 3fg. per point of POT in the cost of materials by venturing forth and gathering some of them himself.

IF the Alchemist is also equipped with the Apothecary Trade and the Forage Life Skill, he can save 5d. per point of POT in the cost of materials by venturing forth and gathering some of them himself.

This allows a total savings of 9d. 3fg. per point of POT, reducing the cost of materials to 4d. 1fg. per point of POT.

The Caustics & Combustibles Trade Skill is only available to those Alchemist Simple who are also equipped with the Apothecary Trade.

This encompasses rendering and purifying treatments for creating such things as torches and flambeaux to flash pots and/or smudge pots. These can be combined with knowledge of pigments (above), so flashes or clouds of colored fire or smoke are produced.

The Drugs, Venoms & Poisons Trade Skill is only available to those Alchemists Simple who are also equipped with the Herbal Trade.

This enables the Alchemist to bring the stability and shelf-life inherent in the Alchemist’s works to the Herbal’s healing salves, elixirs and simples, in addition to bringing the a depth of knowledge enabling him to make such things as paralysants, stimulants, sedatives, truth serums and soporifics.

This is a very dicey area of expertise to allow others to become aware of. Public knowledge leaves the character open to socially damaging accusations and law suits, even if only as a means of harassing the Alchemist and damaging his reputation and thus his business.

Each of the areas discussed above (Chandlery, Finishes & Adhesives, Cosmetics & Beauty, Pigments & Dyes, Scents, etc.) comprises a separate specialty defined by a Trade Skill that must be developed and tracked in SL, and maintained individually by means of SP’s.

An Alchemist Simple is able to render quantities of these common substances according to the potency of the substance; soaps and candles of Chandlery by the pound, cleaning solutions, glues and scented oils in gills, or perfumes and cosmetics in drams.

The greater the number of units (pounds, gills, drams, etc.) the character attempts to make in any given project, the higher the DV for the exercise, and the greater the cost. The costs for rendering common substances must be determined by what it is the character is doing, according to the ingredients (GM’s discretion), the specific substances with which he is working, because the options are so varied.

The base DV for making any of the substances described is equal to the number of drams, cups, gills, or pints, or pots, that he makes in a single exercise (according to the measure in which the substance is discussed above), or gill of waterproof glue. To this, add the POT of the substance being made, such as glue. 

For making a glue that is essentially waterproof, the effective STR is equal to the POT, and also provides the base DV. The DV is raised by 1/2 (multiplied by 1.5) for the waterproof feature of the substance. 

The DV should be doubled (multiplied by 2) to make it invulnerable to saltwater (seawater/brine). For every effective point by which the STR for the purposes of determining the glue’s drying time has been lowered by solvents with high evaporation rates to speed drying, the DV should be increased Progressively. 

For making ritual supplies, the base DV is equal to (2 per points-worth of POT) made. The quantity made is particularly important in determining time requirements, for it will increase the time needed when larger amounts are made. In the case of ritual supplies, the POT also IS the measure of quantity, as discussed in the rules on Low Magick (rituals) in the Grimoire. 

The time required to make any of the common substances described here, from start to finish including the processing of raw materials (as applicable), is equal to the DV for the task, read in mileways, EXCEPT for ritual/rite supplies. For making ritual/rite supplies, the DV is divided by 2 and the time read in hours.

Because dabbling in the more rare, dangerous, and/or exotic areas of alchemy can be very expensive, most “common” Alchemists Simple make their living by focusing on making one of the families of products mentioned above, represented by most of the Trade Skills, to sell for their daily bread. This supports any private researches, but such pursuits are not that common, especially among those plying the more “common” Alchemist Simple Trade.

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*the Alchemist must also be equipped with the Apothecary Trade as a prerequisite for this Trade Skill.

**the Alchemist must also be equipped with the Herbal Trade as a prerequisite for this Trade Skill.

† indicates that up to (AWA ÷ 4) skills in number of this type or category are allowed, among which the Scholar’s Tongue (the game world analogue to Latin) and Philosopher’s Tongue (the game world analogue to Greek) must be included.

Of that number, the character’s Native Vulgar or “Milk Tongue” tongue, the Scholar’s Tongue (analogue of Latin), and the Philosopher’s Tongue (analogue of Greek) must be included first. What slots are left after these are accounted for may be filled with other languages of the player’s choice, as desired.

The players have no obligation to equip their characters with the full (AWA ÷ 4) compliment of these skills – with the understanding that they are NOT allowed to fill them in retroactively, after they have already brought their characters into active play, just because they WERE allowed them during the Character Creation process.

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* This serves as a reminder that the additional areas of knowledge and skill that are the result of university training are to be represented by also equipping the character with the Magister scholastic Trade.

Assess & Identify

The Alchemist’s skills naturally includes the ability to Identify or Assess substances or materials and the constituents that make up compounds.

The Alchemist is best served exercising this ability in his complete, home lab, which allows him the advantage of his full TR, but also requires he have the complete collection of his Speculum volumes to consult. 

 Using his abbreviated travel/field lab, an Alchemist is only allowed the benefit of 3/4th’s his full TR, 

 The Alchemist may attempt a raw Field Assessment at only 1/2 his full TR. 

The Alchemist must have at least his main, general reference Speculum with him in order to make Field Assessments.

For identifying or assessing various substances, elements, and basic compounds out in the field without equipment, the att mod. is based on the Alchemist’s AWA score, and the TR used to find the AV, unless one of the Trade Skills is a better more accurate choice and has a SL higher than the TR.

IF working in a fully fitted lab, the att mod. for identifying various substances is based on the character’s AWA score.

The character must have at least [30 – (AWA + 1 per 4 TR’s)] drams of any given substance to test for its identity.

For concocting, mixing, distilling, or compounding any substance of the alchemical arts the att. mod’s are based on the character’s AWA and CRD scores.

The base DV for identifying substances and compounds depends on the origin of the materials. If the material or compound to be identified is common, found around the average household like tallow, lye, soap, offal, cotton, wool, flax, blood, ashes, verjuice, iron or steel, lead, copper, tin, brass, or any oxide of these common metals, various household cleaning compounds, and so on, the base DV is 1. 

Those sorts of things found around the yard or out-buildings, like hemp, different kinds of hide, common household garden vegetables and herbs, plants producing common country dyes, different kinds of woods, and so on, have a base DV of 5 to identify. The character require only a relatively small sample of these substances to identify them, just enough to get a good smell, feel, and/or taste sample of it to be sure of it (GM’s discretion), and they may be identified in the field without special tests. 

For compounds more common to towns, like commercial dyes, inks, artists’ pigments, sealing wax, pitch-based and other building sealing compounds, and the like, the base DV for identification is 10. The character requires a larger sample of these things to identify them, a handful or more on which to run tests. 

For those substances containing materials that are not native to the surrounding terrain or region the DV may start at 15. The character needs a lab to properly identify the compound, though field identification may be attempted at half AV. 

You should feel free to raise the DV if you feel the sample the character has isn’t large enough, perhaps by as much as 5, or 10 for things found outside the house, 20 for compounds. 

The time required to identify common substances and making identifications in the field is equal to the DV for the task, read in minutes; for compounds tested in the lab the time requirement is divided by 10 and again read in minutes.

Canning & Storing

The Alchemist’s skills also give him the ability to “can” and store those substances his Trade Skills allow him to make that have a limited shelf life and put them up. He may “can” or “put-up” as much as he can secure materials (heavy pottery or glass pots/jars) and facilities to handle. The character must have lids for each vessel, and requires 0.25 lb’s of wax to seal each one. The containers used in canning should be no larger than 1 quart in volume each.

Once put up, the canned perishables last (1 per 4 TR) years before their shelf life comes into play and they begin to age and then go bad. Once the seal is broken on a canned perishable its shelf life again commences to pass normally.

The costs for canning is 1 ha’penny per gill per pot/jar and 2 pence per jar for sealing waxes, plus the costs for whatever it is the character is canning (as applicable). The costs of the pots/jars is a one-time investment, after purchased they only need to be replaced as broken, and the character then only has to pay for the wax, and perhaps the items to be canned.

Most of the substances made by the Alchemist, even such simple compounds as cosmetics, have a shelf life of only [(AWA + CRD) ÷ 8] + (SL) weeks before they begin to separate, go rancid, or lose their potency. This doesn’t, of course, apply to such simple, stable things as tallow or fine-milled soaps, cleaning solutions, or the like. 

Note that those substances that slowly lose their potency dry out and lose fluids vital to their effect until they are reconstituted through the Alchemist’s art. Those substances that simply lose their potency lose 1 point of POT of their effect per (SL under which made) days they age beyond their shelf life. 

Related Knowledge

Due to the importance of having an extensive knowledge of plants, the products of the earth and animal kingdom, and their properties to creating the various substances with which the Alchemist Trade is concerned, all Alchemists are schooled in the Lore of Herbs and the Lore of the Apothecary.

Indeed, the Herbal and Apothecary Trades are closely, almost intrinsically, Allied with the Alchemist Trade.

IF a player also chooses to equip his Alchemist with the Herbal and Apothecary Trades does he also know how best to handle them the materials and substances, to prepare them, to extract their virtues, and also to render them into the forms best able to preserve their virtues for later use.

The movements of the energies and influences of the heavenly bodies have a direct influence on the work of Alchemists, especially as they are expressed by the Correspondences studied by the Astrologist, which Trade is closely Allied. Researched properly, the astrological Correspondences provide a tool to lower the DV’s for making any of the substances the Trade Skills allow, as mentioned.

IF a player also chooses to equip his Alchemist with the Forage Life Skill, his Lore includes the knowledge of where to find the minerals and herbs he needs, what rock types and formations to look for, what parts of the beasts, and the habitats in which they may be found, when to pick or hunt them.

The Forage skill extends the knowledge of any Trade to which its lore may be applied to include these facets, too.

Without the Forage skill, an Alchemist cannot take advantage of the benefits foraging for his own materials provide. The Forage Life Skill may represent a convenience and greater degree of independence, but it is a convenience and independence that frees the Alchemist from the need to procure his materials from local foragers, huntsmen, woodsmen, apothecaries, and the like.

True Druids

The men who are Druids alone are men of great magickal talent, wizards by any other name but of a simpler world, an elemental world. They are up-lifted by their exploration of secret and sublime things. They are unfettered by social demands in their search for the secrets of the natural world. These are the Druids proper as they are commonly perceived by the players of TFRPG’s for the purposes of Realms of Myth.

Highly respected, they are very influential socially as well as in magick. In Celtic society they are the teachers (effectively equal to Magisters) and quite often Physicians as well, but consulted for answers about everything from crop failures to disputes over property (questions of law being referred to the Brehons and those concerning social precedence to the Filid first and the Bards if no Fili can be found, however). Their knowledge and expertise encompasses a vast body of knowledge about natural philosophy and the natural world, the movements and habits of animals, properties and locations of useful plants, and the movement and influences of the sun, the moon, the planets, and the stars. In addition to being the repositories of such mundane lore they hold deep knowledge of Spirit and magick, responsible for all ritual and for all contact and relations with the gods. In their religious concerns they are similar to Magi, but lacking the Mystics’ direct patronage and connection to the Outer Spheres of Deity. The gods are only accessible in Celtic society through the Druids in general, except for the divine father god of the tuath (tribe) who can be contacted by any member of his tuath, his own people.

These are the pure scholars of the Druid community. They are part and parcel of the druidecht, striving to embody the ideals of the Celtic Virtues and society. While they represent the faith and where the knowledge it imparts can lead, they do not proselytize, however. They may field a few questions, but when they meet a soul hungry for knowledge of the world through the Celtic ways, they are just as likely to direct them to a nemeton or sacred well being kept by the Fathi for what they seek, unless they have a readily discernable talent for the Path that needs developing.

The Druids are known for holding long discussions between themselves and with foreign scholars, too, about the heavenly bodies and their movements, the size of the universe and of the earth, the physical constitution of the world, and the power and properties of the gods, instructing the apprentices in all these subjects, or gladly debating them with the philosophers of other cultures.

The player should check with the GM to see how he is representing the knowledge of Astronomy/Astrology in his game, how it is to be implemented in play if he wishes to take advantage of this fact.

Discussed briefly previously, the GM needs to make a decision regarding the presentation and use of an Astrology/Astronomy trade or skill, as it figures prominently in the optional rules for the use of magick.

If it is to be included formally, it should also be added to the skills available to those who have taken a degree at university (Magister trade, at least).

If the GM has allowed you to equip your character with more than one trade during character generation, Druid characters have the opportunity and are strongly encouraged during their trade training to strengthen their ties to Nature through the Allied trade of Husbandman, and/or to explore the hidden power of Nature and its world through the Allied trade of Alchemy and/or to nurture Life through the arts of the Allied trade of Leech, Midwife, Herbal, Barber, Surgeon or Physicker.

If you have been granted a sufficient allowance in trades, Allying with the Husbandman trade allows the Druid to also practice his Allied healer (Leech, Herbal, Midwife, Barber, Surgeon, Physicker) trade upon the animals he is trained to take care of, but its SL when doing so is limited to no greater than his SL as a Husbandman.

Ars Quintates *
Divination
Enchantment
Sorcery
Glamourie
Naming
Charms *◊ 1)
High Magick *
Common Magick *
Low Magick *
Spirit Senses *◊
Perception (O)
Direction Sense
Weather Sense
Linguist (P)
High Druids’ Cant
Lore Specialties (P)
The Physical & Metaphysical Worlds
History & Mythology
(ancient & recent)
(domestic & international)
(Church & State)
Classical Literature
Plays & Poetry
The Gods, Religion & Theology
Cultures/Societies
(domestic & foreign)
(ancient & recent)
Mathematics & Geometry
Astrology & Astronomy
Other Areas of Expertise †
 
Alchemist
Artificer/Mechanician
Builder-Architect
Barber
Herbal
Leech
Midwife
Surgeon
Physicker

What other trade(s) you take on for your Druid character to facilitate his druidecht is up to you, if any at all (according to the allowance the GM has made). It is by no means required that you do so.

The True Druids differ from Wizards in that they practice only Divination, Glamourie and Naming from among the Ars Quintates.

The heart of the Druid trade and the true measure of how effective he is likely to be is determined by the charms in his portfolio, however.

What dweomers can he craft?

What can he do with his Arts?

During character generation, you must answer these questions for yourself by choosing the charms or “dweomer-crafting” skills with which your character begins play.

All True Druid characters may be equipped with up to (MGA) charms with which to be brought into play.

These are chosen from the following roster.

Druid Charms

Anchor of Earth

Armorskin (Tree–, Dragon–, Stone–, – Adamant)

Banish Spirit

Beast of Burden (Hearty Hero; Feeble Waif)

Bewitch Wound

Blinding Spray

Bonds of Concordance

Burden Charm (Carefree Burden; Wearisome Burden)

Cache, Dweomer–, Power–

Candle in the Window

Cat’s Tongue

Charm of Common Shaping

Charm of Direction

Charm of Finding

Cloud of Obfuscation, Veil of –

Common Caloric Charm

Commune wi’ Animals (– Elemental Spirits; – Plants)

Draw Harm, Deflect Harm

Druid Sleep

Elf Shot

Enchant Elements

Far Flight; Earthbound

Far Speak; Eavesdropper’s Charm

Fat The Boar; Wasting Hex

Flame Dart

Gas Bag, Bloat

Glimmerfoot, Untraceable Path

Healing Poultice

Hedge of Lances

Ice Dart

Lightning Call

Lightning Hand

Lodestone

The Milk of Mother Nature

Nature’s Hand

Nature’s Saving Graces

Nature’s Teeth

Necromancy

Quagmire

Slick Charm; Stick Charm

SpitFire

Spitting Naja

Stinging Nettle Charm

Stray Sod

Summon Spirit Hound (– Screaming Skull)

Sun Burn

Swift Heal

Swift Rest; Cat’s Breath

Tar Puddle

Tell-Tale

Temperate Charm

Thorn Warding

Thunderclap

Trail Blazer

Veil of Lightning

Walksafe, Undermine Structure

Weather Sense

Weight Charm

Wound Channel

It is very important that the player make a note of which of the Ars Quintates may be used to cast each of these charms, as he may not always want to use the same Art to cast it.

Due to the fact that each charm in the game may be cast by a number of different Arts, the character develops a separate SL for each of the Arts as well as for the individual charms. The SL of the Art used being used as a bonus to the AV for the charm with which it is used. The difficulty to cast a charm, or DV, is determined in part by the Art used for the casting, some are more difficult than others.

 

Disturbances in the Ambience:

Sensing Magick

As mentioned in the Introduction, mana is the spirit and power of magick. As a general force, it is seen by the trained practitioner to permeate and overlay every corner of the Mortal World, constituting a vast continuous energy field known as the “Ambience”, as discussed in the Primer. While the Ætherium is always in motion, both the drawing and release of the power (mana) used in crafting charms or “dweomer-crafting,” creates a disturbance that passes through it, regardless of the trade of the practitioner. This is best described as a ripple-like wave that radiates outward in all directions through the Ambience. These disturbances or waves in the Æther are created in part by tapping the Veil between the Spirit and the mortal world. This sensation encompasses a see-feel-smell-hear-taste experience that defies any meaningful description to those outside the trade.

A Druid can automatically feel the gathering of mana and the process of crafting it into a dweomer if it takes place within [(SPT) + (TR)] feet of them.

Beyond this, a successful SPT check on d100 is needed to allow him to “feel” it.

The AV to Sense Magick is equal to [(SPT att. mod.) + (AWA att. mod.) + (TR)].

The DV for these checks is equal to the number of feet by which the casting is taking place beyond the practitioner’s prescribed range,

MINUS the number of points by which the POT of the casting is greater than the practitioner’s MGA

OR

PLUS the number of points by which the POT of the casting is less than the practitioner’s MGA.

When a magick is finally loosed or cast (whether successfully or not), it crashes back into the Ambience like a stone suddenly dropped into a still pool, causing a wave radiating outward in a sphere from the caster. This is a MUCH stronger wave than the little ripple caused by the process of crafting the magick.

This wave can be immediately and automatically “felt” if it occurs within [(SPT) + (TR)] yards, regardless of POT.

For this check, the AV is [(SPT att. mod.) + (TR)], again.

The DV for the SPT check is 1 if the practitioner Sensing Magick is located within (POT) furlongs.

IF the POT of the wave when it reaches the practitioner is greater than his CHM or HRT (whichever is greater), the roll should be foregone and the character simply informed. It is deemed strong enough to get the character’s attention immediately and automatically.

IF the POT is less than a practitioner’s CHM or HRT (whichever is less) when the wave reaches him, the DV for the SPT check rises by the difference, per point, again in a Progressive manner.

After the first (POT) furlongs the wave travels from the practitioner who loosed the magick that made it, the effective POT drops by 1 point in strength every furlong of distance, until it dies out at zero (0).

This raises the DV to sense the wave when it finally reaches the practitioner, by one per furlong per furlong traveled, again in a Progressive manner, MINUS the effective POT of the wave.

 Beyond this distance, EVERY magick cast causes a ripple in the Ambience that travels outward in a sphere from the site of the casting (POT x 2) furlongs, allowing the practitioner to “feel” the wave washing over him upon making a successful SPT check on d100.

Not only is a PC able to sense the ripples caused by others’ magicks, his player must understand the fact that every magick his PC casts creates the same disturbance to alert others of the trade who may be in the vicinity.

The lesser, day-to-day activity in the Ambience, those disturbances of (CHM or HRT, whichever is less) in POT or less, are normally screened from every practitioner’s consciousness in accordance with his trade training to protect his sanity, so he can maintain some sense of continuous mortal existence separate from Spirit and his magick, allowing him to interact normally with the mortal world.

Those disturbances he “feels” or senses, whether automatically or as a result of a Sense Magick check, as above, are sufficient for him to note the general direction whence it came. This can provide a link by which any direction-finding charm may be cast to zero in on the point of origin of the disturbance.

The wave of disturbance from the casting of a magick can be used by the clever practitioner to cover the loosing of subsequent magicks, provided he stays within (MGA) yards of the original casting site and is careful to keep their POT smaller than the original magick whose shadow he is trying to use.

This raises the DV for sensing the disturbance by one per point by which the following magick’s POT is less than the one it follows, per point, in a Progressive manner.

This “shadow” of disturbance following in the wake of the wave, equal to the POT of the first magick cast, fades at a rate of 1 effective point of POT per minute.

In practice, the player should be aware of the order in which he casts his magicks if he is concerned over the possibility of disturbing other folk of power, casting rituals before spells before cantrips, and greatest POT to lowest, to use the shadow of the ripple caused by the greater magick to cover those of the lesser magicks cast in its wake.

One never knows whose elbow one may unintentionally jog.

Taking advantage of this phenomenon can be a very useful tactic when one is matched on the battlefield against another practitioner, a means of catching them off guard, of denying them any notice of more magicks to come following the first.

The players and GM alike must be aware that any other practitioner of magick in the same town or its immediate hinterlands (surrounding supporting farmlands) may well note the use of any magicks cast with POT greater than c. 10-15, especially if any of them live in a location that gives them an overview of the town. Any in the closer surrounding villages might take note, as well. Caution is prudent. Careless flinging of magick, especially at high POT, can attract unwanted attention. Rival practitioners may be curious or even irritated if they are in the least bit protective of their territorial rights to monopolize the trade in magick where a character has ventured to practice his craft. Ignorance of the presence of a local rival or guild monopoly is no excuse, in the same manner as ignorance of the law.

This is simply an occupational hazard.

Rivalries keep the already small numbers of those who practice the magickal arts even smaller, and tend to insure that those of lesser power keep a low profile until they are well and truly prepared and sure of their defenses, should such a conflict of interests arise.

There may be certain places in the GM’s world where those of power gather to practice their art by tacit approval, an unspoken bond that may be as strong as any guild charter. These places gain a general on-going disturbance due to regular magickal activity that swiftly becomes evident to those who wield the Arts approaching within range to sense it. The level of activity is rated in POT in the same manner as the prevailing Ambience and added to the DV for sensing any specific magickal disturbance (as described above) that is of lesser POT than that of the æthereal “background noise”. This “white noise” of magickal activity makes sensing other magickal activity so difficult that the SPT checks described previously are required even within the normal ranges at which the Sense Magick ability is commonly automatic and immediate. The DV’s for these checks are increased by the amount by which the POT of the magick in question is less than the POT of the ætherial “background noise” using the same procedure applied when the POT of a magick to be Sensed is less than the practitioner’s CHM/HRT (as above).

Sometimes there is no better place for a character of lesser power to hide his craft than out in the open, under the cover of the disturbances created by his greater colleagues routinely exercising their own craft.

In addition, the level of the Ambience itself may actually work to betray disturbances, high-lighting them. To keep things on an even footing, the POT of the Ambience, of the mana readily available flowing through a given location, is always rated in POT relative to the Common Sphere. The greater the POT of the Ambience, the more magickal energy that is present for the wave of a disturbance to displace. In short, it amplifies the effect of the disturbance, making it more noticeable.

The POT of the Ambience is subtracted from the DV for any Sense Magick check to feel a disturbance.

Magick that is already in existence lies quietly, as a part of the natural world, doing as it was bidden when created. It is much more difficult to sense. The Wizard has the option of casting a bit of Divination to “Reveal” the presence of magicks, should the player have equipped him with that lore, OR ply his skill with a set of dowsing rods or crystal or other pendulum for the same purpose, using it as a guide if he has this Spirit Skill, OR the Wizard may slowly walk about with his hand held out before him to try to “feel” it’s presence by “Seeking” it by Divination.

On the other hand, once a Wizard touches an object which carries an enchantment, or creature or being laboring under an ensorcelment, or steps into an area which bears a dweomer, he feels and knows it and the GM must tell the player (preferably slip him a private note), without the need for a d100 check of any kind. Of course, where Banes and Wardings are concerned, his coming into contact could be rather hazardous to his health and perhaps that of any compatriots accompanying him.

During his trade training, all aspiring Druids use their magickal talents to cultivate a meditationally keyed, tiered eidetic memory for the sole purpose of retaining their vast store of magickal lore.

The character’s special trade memory enables him to retain up to [(MGA) + (TR) ÷ 4] charms or specific skills of arcane knowledge in a single AWA-slot, rather than the same amount of space in the character’s memory that such knowledge would occupy if learned by more mundane methods (1 skill per AWA-slot).

This works in a similar manner as other groups of related skills, like languages for a Linguist character, Social Graces, Lore specialties, or weapon skills. Otherwise each skill would fill a whole AWA-slot on its own

In order to maintain the knowledge in his special trade memory, the various nuances of magickal lore in the character’s special trade memory must be refreshed periodically. In order to maintain this knowledge intact, the Druid must meditate, review the entire contents of his trade memory, and practice chanting all of the secret rhyming triads of his craft from time to time, for a period of time dependent upon the number of charms he knows and his SL’s with them and the constituent Arts and Forms of his trade.

The Druid must spend [(number of charms) + (TR)] MINUS [(AWA) + (MGA att. mod.)] in days meditating on and reviewing his Common Sphere charms, minimum one (1). Once completed, he need not meditate and practice his trade lore again for [(MGA) + (TR)] days.

For example, the TR16 Druid Rune has 18 charms, for a base study time of 34 days, and an AWA15 and MGA 16 (att. mod. +3), so he must spend 16 days in meditation, chanting in review, and practicing (18 charms + TR16 = 34; 34 – 18 = 16 days).

For every (MGA ÷ 4) days that the character does not review the magickal skills in his trade memory with one of his reference tomes, his casting AV’s drop by one (1).

For those Druids that keep a written tradition, this penalty can be momentarily avoided by casting directly from the pages of his book, open to the dweomer and Art he is working. It also places the practitioner at risk, revealing the nature of his ability and giving his foe(s) a valuable object to focus on in hopes of thwarting his efforts – one that is HIGHLY valued in the open market, whether it ends up having to be sold on the black market or not.

  • IF the PC does not wish to sequester themselves away to plow through the time required (during which time no other activities might be undertaken), the time may be divvied up in the same manner as a craft project, stretched out over up to (AWA ÷ 4) times the required length so long as at least one (1) daily activity slot (by AWA) is devoted to it every day without exception until it is completed.

For example, Arnaud could spend his last daily activity slot (between supper and bedtime) working at his craft for 64 days (16 days discharged @ 1/4th a day per day elapsed is the same as 16 x 4 = 64 days) and incur no penalties as he goes.

  • IF the Druid lapses in observing this practice and the time for which the character is free of the burden of study has expired, penalties begin to accumulate immediately for weaving charms of any kind, by any Art or Form until he resumes fulfilling that requirement. When he resumes, the penalty does not go away until the requirement is met, BUT it does not get any worse, either.
  • Once this requirement is met, the Druid need not meditate and practice his trade lore again for [(MGA) + (TR)] days.

For example, once Arnaud has completed his 16 days, he is free for the next 32 days (MGA16 + TR16 = 32).

  • IF the player decides to have his character study and practice during his freedom from it, when he doesn’t have to, each full day spent is subtracted from his requirement when he is again required to study. The character’s AWA activity-slots may be used to gradually accumulate day’s-worth of chanting and review/practice, as explained above, BUT only FULL days completed towards this requirement are counted once the time arrives to fulfill the requirement again.

For example, Arnaud’s 15 AWA gives him 4 activity slots per day. If he takes the last of those 4 activity slots to study each evening before bed (as above), to meditate, chant, practice and review for the 32 days while it is not required, he can discharge exactly 8 of those days, cutting the number remaining down to 8 (32 ÷ 4 = 8), down by half. He can continue doing this until his circumstances change due to changes in SL’s and TR.

Even only studying a half day (2 AWA-slots), allowing half the day (2 AWA-slots) for domestic things, adventuring or what-have-you, Arnaud could then discharge refreshing his trade memory in 16 days. Afterwards, he has 32 days of light attention to his Arts.

But the cycle can be varied according the character’s requirement, the number of AWA-slots the character has and the player’s preference, as desired.

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The High Druids’ Cant

The great store of knowledge of things magickal and the specific charms for the dweomers of all Witches, heirs of the Druid trades in the faith of the Olde Ways, of “The Green Lords”, are handed down by the same traditions, orally. Their lore is memorized by rote in typical Celtic rhyming triads using their ancient High Cant.

For all intents and purposes of the game, all magicks in RoM are generally considered to be “formulaic.” That is to say, magick is performed through the use of gestures and some form of chants or incantations handed down from master to student over many centuries, or even millennia in some cases. These have been pre-established by the research of those who have gone before, determined to produce a similar, established effect according to the method used (Divination, Enchantment, Glamourie, Naming, or Sorcery) when performed correctly (depending directly on the caster’s talent and training). This applies primarily to Low and Common magick, (spells and rituals, respectively). Cantrips require no such physical support to cast, having been discovered at a much later date than the Low and Common forms. Cantrips are High Magick because they are the latest and greatest of the powers of magick to be discovered, most effortless in appearance, but most difficult of the three to perform.

The Druids’ training in the lore of the magickal Arts and that of the Witches their heirs has caused them to develop a system for preserving the very roots of language from deep in the past, to the first languages of the first ancient civilizations, for it is in these languages that the Words of Power are hidden that help maintain and control the energy that they draw for their spell and ritual magicks. Language is Power. The Word IS the thing.

The Druids’ Cant is based on the languages of the northern lands, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Scotland and the northern isles, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Cornwall, largely Celtic and Germanic in derivation, where the magickal traditions of the Druids are rooted. The tongues of their ancient forebears, from all the regions those ancestors roamed, have been preserved and forged into one language, that of the Druids’ teachings, and of the Witches who are their heirs, the language in which the Druids call on the gods and the Druids the spirits of Nature, the language in which they converse among their own kind and weave their magicks.

Indeed, all of the magicks worked by those who follow the trades of magick are spoken/chanted in that trade’s secret tongue. Due to the sheer power that it invokes when spoken aloud during spell and ritual casting, all listeners are smitten with overwhelming images and emotions which actually blot out the words themselves. The words themselves are always completely burned out of the memories of any who overhear. The gestures that are required in spell casting and the actions and movements required in rituals always vary a bit from one Druid to the next, as well, so each Druid must discover the variation that works best for him. No two ever practice their Art exactly alike, even when using the same form (spell or ritual) of the same Art (Divination, Enchantment, etc.) for the same specific charm. All these facts make magick extremely difficult to learn, even for those who have talent and a willing instructor, while providing an effectively impenetrable barrier that prevents nosy outsiders from “stealing” the secrets of any of the arts of magick through simple observation.

The character may communicate freely in his secret tongue with any other trade member, Druid, Baird, Filidh, Fiana, Smith, Witch or any other initiated into the mysteries of the Power of their trade, such as a Huntsman of great accomplishment, but never with any not already accepted and initiated into the magickal lore of their trade.

No Druid would ever teach this secret language to any not already initiated into the trade themselves, on pain of a lingering punishment, even death, from his brother practitioners, for doing so is to betray the secrets of the trade and craft of magick – and it is not rendered easily in written language in the first place. Indeed, the trade knowledge of the craft of the Druids is held too valuable to risk writing down by many, for fear of the horrors that would befall them should their enemies obtain such secrets, but those of the Witches that are literate have been known to put their quills to work recording those secrets for fear that they might be lost forever over time.

The traditions of this trade are primarily oral, but the player must decide for himself if he is a traditionalist or more “forward-thinking”, especially when it comes to the use of the rods of the poets created first by the Bards and Filid. Those of the Druid trades are aware that there is a quiet movement to render the lore passed down to the Witches in written form, but it has been so long that they have developed lore of their own, charms that the Druid trades themselves cannot generally emulate. Nonetheless, the very thought of doing so is viewed by many across the whole spectrum of Druid trades as a violation of the ancient trust passed down to them so long ago, a point of contention between the Druids and the heirs and successors of their knowledge and power.

Each of the Five Arts has its own special jargon or vocabulary to describe its special processes and address concerns confined to its practice. If a character is lacking one of those arts, he will also lack the language skills to discuss that art with his colleagues. This will, of course, stand out as a matter of note to his colleagues, if or when it should be discovered.

For those players that opt for their Druid characters to follow a written tradition, instead, the character must be equipped with the requisite Literatus and Scrivener skills.

To meet the needs of life’s eclectic challenges the Druid needs two tomes, both for Common Sphere magicks. The first one travels with him for taking notes on lore he discovers and insights achieved while on the road, almost a diary of his magickal pursuits, while the other acts as a formal repository for ALL his knowledge, polished with glosses and commentary assembled and written as transcribed from the first book. The greater a practitioner’s SL with a given magick, his skill and knowledge with the Ars Quintates and his skills in High, Common, and Low Magick, the more he knows of its inner workings and the more he has to say about it in his tome.

Each book weighs c. 7.25 lb’s and has 100 pages in it, enough for the descriptions of 35 charms at SL1, assuming Art and Form SL’s also of 1, but these books can easily be added to and expanded with the help of a competent bookbinder up to a limit of about 200 (14.5lb’s, more than a stone) OR an absolute maximum of 300 pages (21.75lb’s). It is doubtful that any such character is going to be toting the 200-page book around in their rucksack, and the 300-page book actually requires a case or chest or some such to haul it along on travels, most likely to be carried on pack horse or in a cart or wagon with other supplies and equipment.

  • IF the character is beginning play with SL’s higher than 1, the contents and size of his books must be increased commensurately, additional pages added as play progresses and the character’s knowledge grows, according to the guidelines provided in the Grimoire.

 

Under the Mantle of Power

Those trained to arts of magick have an invisible stamp upon them, the residue of a will that transcends the natural order. This is unnerving to animals and requires an Encounter Reaction check on d100 every time a beast is first encountered. This sets the tone for all subsequent encounters, but it may mellow with the passage of (game) time (GM’s discretion). The sorts of mana the character has used can directly influence this, also. Some of the vibrations of mana available for use are easier in nature than others.

The natural Ambience that flows throughout the mortal world is completely neutral; it merely makes the natural reaction a little more intense, one way or the other.

  • IF the magick-wielding character’s Virtues should outweigh his Vices, his [(CHM att. mod.) + (TR)] is added to make the Encounter Reaction more positive.
  • IF his Vices outweigh his Virtues, his [(CHM att. mod.) + (TR) is subtracted to make it worse, stoking the animal’s fear and provoking its anger.

Under the Optional Rules, there are a number of sources throughout the Mortal World from which the practitioner can draw alternate types of mana. These and the manner of their release into the Ambience for the caster’s use are discussed in detail under the heading “Tools of the Arts”: “Alternate Sources of Mana”.

For those who use Nature Mana (any element, inc. Life, Sun and Moon, Day and Night), the Reaction check roll is always increased by [(CHM att. mod.) + (TR)].

For those who use Life and/or Carnal Mana, or whose strongest skill among the Five Arts is Sorcery or Glamourie, the Reaction roll is either:

  1. a) increased by [(CHM att. mod.) + (TR)] if the Reaction roll is positive,

OR:

  1. b) decreased by [(CHM att. mod.) + (TR)] if the Reaction roll is negative side.

This makes the reaction more extreme, whether for better or worse.

IF the result is neutral, it remains that way, and the creature instinctively resists any attempts to influence that status one way or the other, the same modifier reinforcing the DV to aid in preserving that status.

For those who use Death and/or Blood Mana, or whose strongest skill among the Five Arts is Naming (Conjuring, Summoning and Binding), the Reaction roll is always reduced by (CHM att. mod.) + (TR).

One of the character’s Vices is increased one (1) point every occasion on which these types of mana are used. These are the lowest vibration of power and their use can only corrupt the character’s spirit over time with prolonged use.

On the Character Record Sheet there is provided a place on the Magick Record where all the forms of mana the practitioner might use are listed. The player is responsible for recording the greatest amount of POT used in a single dweomer of each type as they are used in play. Some of them he may never find a use for.

At the greatest extremes, animals may try to either crowd around the practitioner or follow him hoping for some attention or attack him in a rage or seek to escape his presence at any cost, violently if they are restrained, regardless of their normal temperament.

The practitioner may try any Beastmastery he or a hireling may have to try and calm down those animals that react badly, as applicable. Animals may be acclimated and domesticated through the Beastmaster’s craft so as not to react this way to practitioners of magick. This can never overcome any reaction response to those tainted with Blood mana if the beast has already reached sexual maturity. That is a visceral predator-prey response that can only be overcome by raising a beast from birth in the presence of that vibration of mana so the response is never learned.

Casting magicks near any animal commonly triggers the fight-or-flight reaction towards the caster again in the same way, unless the beast(s) have been domesticated to exposure to magick with a degree of skill (SL) equal to or less than the POT of the magicks to which it is exposed. When exceeded, the amount by which the POT of a magick exceeds the Beastmaster’s SL (as applicable) is added to the original [(CHM att. mod.) + (TR)] modifier, making the reaction even more extreme, so the Druid must be careful about using magicks around beasts, particularly if he intends to use a magick, such as a “Soothing Touch” or simply “Thrall” to eliminate all such reactions, to overcome this very stumbling block to his power. Carrying an active dweomer in hand into the beast’s presence elicits the same response. The beast’s presence in this case is defined as anywhere within (beast’s AWA) feet of it, effective POT felt by the beast being reduced by 1 point per foot of distance between the practitioner carrying the dweomer and the beast. Substances that can shield or dampen the vibration of the dweomer may allow the practitioner to approach closer. Casting while in the saddle of a beast unused to such forces is likely to get the practitioner bucked and pitched off the beast’s back before the beast takes off or continues to jump and buck, trampling the intrepid character.

In the same manner, the practitioner or his henchman who is also skilled as a Beastmaster may acclimate beast(s) to tolerate the presence and workings of magick, or he may hire a one to reside with him to work with his animals until he has accomplished this for him.

Due to his repeated and intimate exposure to the power and patterns of the charms he weaves, the Druid also gradually builds up his spiritual defenses against those magicks directed against him that can also be resisted.

A Druid’s (base) M-RES score is innate and protects him from those magicks that may be resisted, even if he is consciously unaware of them. His subconscious grows and becomes trained to be on guard so that in effect he cannot be Surprised magickally, which in the case of any other target would reduce his M-RES to one (1).

When he is aware of a magick directed at him, the Druid receives a bonus of (TR) to his normal (base) M-RES score for resisting those magicks that allow it.

 

Under the Optional END rules, every Druid is trained over the course of schooling in the magickal Arts to develop and harbor within his own spirit a personal reservoir of mana that can be tapped for casting magick.

This personal reserve consists of [(MGA ÷ 4) + (TR)] points-worth of POT in mana, to be used at the player’s discretion.

This resource can be used to bolster a magick that needs to be strong in POT while taking no more time to cast than normal. The player should look on this reserve as being more for use in emergencies when things look dark because it takes time and effort to restore afterwards, a period of rest and meditation where the spirit is opened to the flows of mana and the reservoir slowly refilled.

The mana may only be collected or drawn into the reservoir at a rate of one (1) point per [40 – (HRT)] minutes, but the character must make a point to take the time to settle down in a calm, quiet atmosphere and meditative state, preferably alone, to accomplish this.

IF necessary, the Druid can use the points of POT in mana in the reservoir for physical activities as additional points to add to his END to be spent normally but, to do so, the personal reservoir must be completely emptied, whatever points of POT in mana remaining in it dumped wholly into the physical body, and the procedure for replenishing the reservoir afterwards remains the same.

Unlike physical energy, a practitioner of magick can actually become over-charged with POT in mana, over-filling the personal reservoir until it is brimming-over with spiritual energy. This is accompanied by something of a euphoric feeling, and loosens the bonds between soul/spirit and the body. In effect, the number of points of POT in mana above and beyond what the practitioner can normally contain in his special trade reservoir is counted as equal to points of POT in alcohol consumed, loosening inhibitions, impairing AGL, CRD, and AWA. The same rules are used to describe the effects in play. The character remains in this state until the excess in POT is used up, burned off.

Some magickal folk become addicted to this feeling, like any drug addict or alcoholic. Pursuing this sensation for its own sake rather than for a higher purpose or for accomplishing specific works of magick contributes to the Vice of Gluttony (+1 point in that score for every incident) and leads the character to a place where he requires a HRT check vs. Vice in order NOT to indulge himself in this way anytime he meditates to draw power.

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The practitioners’ bonds with the power of Life and Nature he wields with his Arts also provide a gradual benefit over time.

This life-affirming aspect of the Druid’s Power also grants him a bonus of (TR) to his P-RES score.

This is limited ONLY to the purposes of resisting disease, healing wounds, and recovering from sickness, regardless of whether mundane or magickal in origins.

Steeped so long and so thoroughly in this life-affirming Power, the Druid’s own life-energies will be reinforced, to the point where they are augmented and preserved, slowing the aging process. The GM determines the degree to which the character’s lifespan is enhanced, according to the Sphere of Power of the mysteries into which the character has been introduced.

The Druid only ages one (1) year for every [(1 per 4 TR’s) + 1] years that pass, as long as he is initiated only into the Common Sphere mysteries, to a maximum of 1 year per (MGA ÷ 4) years.

On initiation into the Noble Sphere mysteries, this slows to one (1) year for every [(MGA) + (TR)] ÷ 4 years, to a maximum of 1 year per (MGA ÷ 2) years.

On reaching the Sovereign Sphere, the character only ages one (1) year for every [(MGA) + (TR)] ÷ 2 years, to a maximum of 1 year per [(MGA) + (TR)] years.

Of course, this makes little or no difference to those of the longer-lived races, especially those of elfin blood. For others it is a little bit of insurance against any charms that age the body unnaturally. In the face of such a charm that carries great POT, it at least provides some defense to blunt the effects.

Over the course of the initiation and subsequent trade training, all Druids become highly attuned to the spirits and Powers of nature, knowing intimately the animus of field, stream, beast and fowl, of all of Life. The magick practiced by the Druid trades harnesses the energy of Life shared by all living things universally: plants, insects, animals, and all sentient beings, all forms of life no matter how great or small. In their view, Spirit is invested in EVERY-thing, every substance, every plant, every creature and every being in the world. All are connected together by common bonds of Spirit. These wise folk are bound by their training and the Path that they traverse in gaining their power and knowledge to intercede with the gods and spirits, and so are accountable to them.

Through their magickal Arts, which shine through their very auras, they absorb the vibration and Power of Life, which grants them power over the rootless, restless wandering spirits that can abound in the worlds of fantasy.

To the members of ALL the Druid trades, who are wholly in tune with the wholesome power of Life and Nature, the un-dead are viewed as fetid corruptions of the loving essence of Mother Earth. These creatures embody the antithesis of their philosophy and thus are their sworn foes, especially those whose bodies are physical/material (skeletons, ghouls, wights, vampires, liches, etc.). Un-dead live on anti-life and hunger only to consume the heat and fires of life about them. They are the ultimate perversion and abomination to Druids, to be investigated, pursued and wiped from the face of the earth where and whenever possible. When facing the physical un-dead, no quarter may be given. Un-dead spirits (unlawful ghosts, wraiths, etc.), NOT including lawful hauntings, are similarly horrible to Druids, but lack the physical corruption and may be parleyed with, their destruction postponed, if other business demands, but dispatched back to Spirit they all must be in the end, to restore and maintain the balance between the worlds of Flesh and Spirit.

This power takes the form of the Banish, Command, and Dispel commands. Each of these commands exacts a cost from the character the same as casting a dweomer.

Banish

If successful, the practitioner will cause the target creature or being to flee, speeding away along the easiest and most direct route at its maximum movement rate for (practitioner’s HRT + TR) minutes without ceasing. When the time expires and the creature or being stops its flight, the distance between it and the practitioner who Banished it will mark the radius of a circle centered on the practitioner into which that creature or being will not be able to trespass again for (practitioner’s HRT + TR) hours.

Command

If successful, the practitioner may command any one act, including one of service, of the target creature or being. The creature or being so Commanded will remain under the practitioner’s Power for up to (practitioner’s HRT + TR) hours, or until the service commanded has been rendered, whichever expires first. Demands for information are the most common and universally useful regardless of the nature of the creature or being subjected to the practitioner’s Power. The player should be conscious of the nature of his character’s Covenant in using this Power, and its possible effects on Virtue or Vice.

Dispel

If successful, this Power completely destroys the physical manifestation of the wicked or troublesome creature or being targeted, removing it from the Mortal or Material Sphere and returning its spirit or essence back to the Sphere of Spirit whence it came.

Creatures and/or beings so Dispelled will be barred from interfering in any way in the Mortal Sphere, unable to even TRY to return, for (practitioner’s HRT att. mod.) or (TR) years, whichever is greater. If a creature or being once Dispelled by a practitioner is called back by some agent or ally in the Mortal Sphere, the Dispelling practitioner (TR + HRT att. mod.) will be added to his DV to cross the Vale and manifest physically again.

If the Druid can track down such a creature or being’s physical link with the mortal world, such as the remains of its former body (but not limited to), sanctify and lay them to rest again in hallowed ground, the DV for its return is increased by the POT with which the ground was sanctified.

This power is the most commonly exercised in the Druids’ and Witches’ crusade against the unlawful dead and un-dead. The Druid will have to be careful of lawful spirits though, who may be trying to get the practitioner to redress some grievance.

The Druid’s att. mod. for the use of any and all of these Powers is based upon his CHM and HRT scores.

The powers above are tools for battling or dealing with the willful spirits of the Æther such as the fey, but also the unlawful dead and un-dead, but the Druid must be very careful how he uses them, as those creatures are anathema and Dispelling should be the first response. Banishing is for ill-behaved and wicked spirits, but the Mystic might seek to Command information from his foe before Dispelling him and sending him back to Spirit where he belongs. While also subject to his Power, lawful spirits must be treated justly, for the very fact that they returned to the mortal world in a lawful manner indicates that they have unfinished business and a right to attend to it, or seek help in so doing.

The DV for any and all of these abilities is equal to the POT of the creature or spirit the Druid is facing, the highest among them if more than one, plus the number of others he is trying to affect at the same time. If such creatures have a material form to which they are tied, as some Un-dead do, the STA will be added to this DV.

These Powers can be exercised with the speed of a cantrip, with no Action cost.

The DV’s for Commanding and Dispelling are higher than those for Banishment, and Dispelling DV’s higher than Command DV’s. This may affect his decision to use these powers when he suspects he is facing a particularly powerful foe. In addition, the DV’s for Dispelling un-dead and spirit creatures who have physical bodies or physical components to their manifestations is higher than simple spirits, as they have a physical link to the mortal world, usually some artifact of its previous existence, or a person who dwells upon their loss and lends them the strength to bridge the gap to the mortal world.

This Power extends to both the ancient wild spirits of the elements, regardless of whether they have been conjured to be present in the Mortal World or having stumbled into it on their own, and the creatures and beings of Faerie. Denizens of Færie might be approached with some delicacy and caution, however, due to their also being embodiments of Nature in their own rights, often present in the Mortal World acting lawfully, and sometimes of astounding power, some of them being dwindled nature gods at heart.

 

The Price of Power

It is widely said that the words of men of Power are never to be trusted, but this is a grave misconception, for the stamp of Power upon them affects the meaning of their words. They are vague, evasive, and difficult at best to come to an agreement with, but this is because of the weight that their words hold for them. One should never assume that an understanding has been reached unless the man of Power dealt with says that it is so. Unbeknownst to the public, the Witch’s knowledge and the Power he exercises are almost an entity unto itself with which the PC must come to grips. These men of Power cannot afford many of the illusions and self-delusions that common folk use to make their lives more comfortable. Their magicks depend upon the true names and speech, as mentioned in the description of the trade language. The name is the thing; and for him, the word is the deed.

It is the best kept secret of the trade that a Wizard must not swear to anything that is not so or that he does not fully intend to do. The oath of any character who wields magick of any kind is his bond and should never be lightly given for, if he fails it, his own power will seek to force him to carry it out.

  • IF he swears falsely, his own Power (with POT equal to his TR) seeks thereafter to twist events, making the situation fit his words, increasing the likelihood of a Bumble and then using the event of one to set things right, or forcing him to recant his falsehood, haunting him and inflicting bad luck upon him until he does. One who fails his sworn word can be made a hollow and empty man by fighting his Power; he may even reach a point where he dares not use it.

On the other hand, there is no restriction upon what the Wizard may say. He may lie as boldly as the next man if he makes no pretense of honor and swearing to its truth. Silence is another haven of safety. A man’s words cannot be used against him when he says nothing. Niceties of definition and vague terms are the best friends of folk of Power, allowing them to live comfortably with their power, as they wish. Though tricky, the Wizard can always try to take advantage of vague wording and imprecise or misused terms and assumptions of others to leave himself a loophole even when forced to give his oath.

One of the most famous Celtic vows hinges on this very concept, and is very dangerous to the one speaking it, and so is always accepted as an undeniable guarantee:

.

“May the Earth open up and swallow me,

May the Sky fall upon me,

May the Sea rise and cover me,

May Fires consume me,

If I am forsworn.”

Taliesin

Shamanism and the Celts: The Fellowship of the Wise

 

To swear by ‘sun and moon, water and air, day and night, sea and land’ is another dire oath, indeed. Enforcement of this restriction in general is, of course, subject to the GM’s interpretation and discretion. In aid of this, the GM should refer to the passage concerning “Frivolous Magick” under the heading “Demands of the Trades”.

Unlike the Druids, Witches and other Bronze Age powers that are allied with Færie and vulnerable to the effects of iron and steel, Wizardry is the magick of Man and his Age of Iron and Steel. Together they go hand in hand, without complication or limitation.

The Ars Magica represent an ancient tradition spanning centuries and millennia of history, having provided many high points both light and dark in the annals. Those who practice these Arts are commonly depicted as staid, stodgy, hide-bound and conservative to the point of being living fossils, and one of the excesses of character that makes them a favorite target for the japes of mundane folk is their dignity and the honor and respect that they insist be shown for their Power.

What few understand is that there is a legitimate claim behind that demand.

Every practitioner must always approach the Power with respect.

It should never be used “frivolously” nor “profligately”, to any excess.

The daily pursuit of the craft, performing works for those who are truly in need, making the various tools which can make the practitioner better and more useful when on an adventure (dweomer caches, enchanting carts and wagons, tack and harness or beasts of burden to aid travel), aiding his compatriots to make them more effective, that is all one thing, but to impress a girl one desires or to otherwise tickle her fancy or flatter her vanity in the absence of love, to embarrass a rival for sheer cussedness, or anyone at all merely for spite or to put them down, for a lark to get a laugh – especially at another’s expense, and especially when the target chosen is downtrodden already, to pursue a lust to flatter one’s own vanity, or to accomplish for one’s self anything that could as easily be done by mundane means should be deemed frivolous, especially if the practitioner has servants already to accomplish such things for him. Exceptions to the last condition should include situations where every means available must be used to avoid what would surely be a mortal confrontation with a dire enemy, or any other circumstance where time is legitimately deemed to be of the essence, especially where life and limb of self or another is at stake.

The law of conservation of energy applies in magick, too. Why should the practitioner expend the enormous effort to cast some mighty work of magick that can shake the pillars of the Spheres of Spirit when the same effective end result can be arrived at with a much more economic and tightly focused magick applied more cleverly, after due measure of consideration of the situation and the various ways in which magick might be applied. There is ALWAYS more than one way to skin a cat – so to speak.

Knowledge and canny craft is always more effective that brute force, especially in the use of magick, and has the added benefit of causing less of a disturbance in the world, thus a smaller rebound of the power unleashed.

The exception to this should be putting on a display to give pleasure to small innocent children, providing a spectacle for the pleasure of the hard-working commons, or any other circumstances where the player can justify its use as being in line with an exercise of one of the Virtues or in due payment to alleviate a debt, particularly a moral debt.

“Frivolous” is a subjective term and requires the GM to make judgement calls throughout the course of the game.

In doing so, the GM should be sympathetic AND flexible. This principle concerning the use of magick is NOT a stick with which to beat the PC’s indiscriminately, to make them fear using their Arts, and especially not to make them regret following the trade of their choice. It is to make sure that a certain amount of respect is paid to the power those characters hold. The light usage of magick on occasion should not only be allowed but encouraged. It can help build morale and bring the characters closer together, and sometimes the craft can be used in light and entertaining ways to repay moral obligations, or to reward the deserving whose efforts so often might otherwise go unnoticed. These are all laudable uses of the craft.

The wild beast which is the Power these characters wield is nothing if not full of the Joy of Life.

Those who would “test” the practitioner’s Power are a waste of his time.

Any display of Power simply for the sake of display, to prove his ability, is frivolous by definition.

Even to request a test should be deemed insulting.

If anyone wishes a display of Power as a test they had best come with a task to be accomplished that actually requires attention, the kind of task that in its completion makes a difference in peoples’ lives, to further their goals or restore a situation or condition to its previous, desirable state, especially in a charitable cause that will benefit many.

Magick is a force with a heart and soul that is little understood, but it is known to be alive in its own right – how can it not be? The energy of Life is a major constituent of it! Like any wild beast, magick can be eventually brought to heel under the right conditions, to provide the power to manifest the caster’s desires, but the practitioner should never presume that the beast has been or ever can be tamed by his hand. Magick understands emotions, it knows dignity and honor, and it knows condescension, dismissive attitudes and disrespect, far more sophisticated than any common mortal beast. Thus, when the practitioner stays his own hand and looks for the worthy cause, the opportune moment, and matters of importance it is pleased at being so well-used, it might even be said to purr, a feeling suffusing the caster’s spirit by the time he looses the dweomer. When put to demeaning and frivolous use, however, the Beast seethes. The greater the disrespect and the more frequently it occurs, the angrier the Power can become. Like a slighted lover, all history of noble and proper use of the Arts fades and is forgotten. They are the minimum that is expected of the privilege of having been taught the Mysteries of the craft. All that matter to the Power is the slights and transgressions of the present.

In play, the practitioner should start to get a prickly and uncomfortable feeling when he looses his dweomers every time the Power is used in a frivolous or meaningless manner. The player deserves such a reminder.

The GM needs to make judgement calls on the uses of magick as they occur during play and “keep score” of the number of “Frivolous Magicks” cast. When they reach a sum greater than the practitioner’s own HRT score, the Power begins to seek to balance that score. Once that point is reached, the number of such offenses that have accumulated start to affect the character’s magickal craft.

The DV for casting ANY magick from that time forward suddenly increases by that amount until the offenses have been redressed, how pure its cause or the nature of its use may or may not have any impact (GM’s discretion). When the dice are rolled and the roll to cast a magick is missed, this Frivolous Magick score is added to push the result towards the occurrence of a Bumble.

  • IF a Bumble should be indicated, this number is either a) added to the result to make the result harsher, and also to increase the POT of it, as well, or b) the POT of the Bumble plus the Frivolous Magick score combined determine the POT of whatever magick might wound the practitioner’s pride the most deeply, so as to settle the score.
  • IF the practitioner has, prior to or during the time when the Power has sought an outlet, lied or violated an oath against the prohibition described for the magickal trades, any and all instances added to the Frivolous Magick score and, when the inevitable Bumble occurs, those infractions are the ones on which the Power focuses its efforts to right.

It may be that more than one infraction must be redressed. In this case, the total POT of the Bumble including the Frivolous Magick score might be divided between the issues to be addressed, OR the Power might hold its grudge until all infractions of word are addressed and corrected, saving its own honor for last.

Not until all is put to rights should the GM let the character off the hook, to start over again fresh.

All Druids are responsible for observing all holy days and all holy forms or observances of their faith, including any special restrictions on actions or activities, whether generally forbidden or by the season. The GM must make some decisions in regards to the holidays in the practices of the followers of the “Green Lords”. The bases of their festivals rest upon the high quarter day holidays (Vernal Equinox, March 21st; Summer Solstice, June 21st; Autumnal equinox, September 21st; and Winter Solstice, December 21st) and the cross-quarter days between each of these (Imbolg “IM’olk”, February 1st/2nd; Beltaine, April 31st/May 1st; Lughnasad “loo-NA-sa”, July 31st/August 1st; and Samhain “SA-wain”, October 31st/November 1st).

Special restrictions and observances can be all inclusive, of the nature of “Thou shalt not kill”, “Thou shalt not bear false witness”, “Do no harm”, or may be by the day of the week (no eating blood meats on Fridays, no working on Sunday), or by the season of the religious calendar (sacrifices of the Lenten season, gift-giving during the Christmas season), and so on. In many instances, a Fathi may find himself acting as chaplain for his pagan adventuring party in a similar vein, performing services for them when they are in the wilderlands out of reach of a temple.

In the Celtic calendar there are many candles to be lit for Imbolg and bonfires to celebrate the return of the sun, and again bonfires to be lit on Beltaine. Sheaves of new grain are presented to celebrate Lughnasad, along with feasting and games of skill and physical prowess, also a very popular time for negotiating winter lodgings and trial hand fastings in the Celtic tradition, lasting a year and a day to determine if a more permanent arrangement is acceptable. Samhain marks the end of the year, “summer’s end”, from sam “summer” and fuin “end”. It is Celtic New Years and the festival of the dead, when the gates of the Spirit World and Færie are open wide, celebrated for three nights, during which the final harvest is celebrated with bonfires and feasting and tales of dead ancestors, for whom a place will always be laid at table. All fires in the community are extinguished as the great bonfire is lit, and then all hearth fires rekindled from its flames, bonding the community together. A second bonfire is lit and couples walk between and cattle are driven between them for a blessing and to cure disease, also young men take turns leaping over the flames to show their physical prowess. With summer’s grass gone and the harvest in, the livestock that cannot be supported through the winter can be slaughtered. With the frosts come, the meat can keep for the winter, and the bones of the slaughtered beasts are thrown on the Samhain bonfires. All of these occasions are considered propitious for performing various sorts of divinations, as well.

These duties to religious attendance are required in addition to the time these characters must spend maintaining their special meditationally keyed, tiered eidetic trade memories for magickal lore.

Two specific examples of special observances and restrictions associated with the “Fairy Faith”, or Olde Ways of the Green Lords, can be found among Druids.

All Druids labor under a geis or vow/requirement to wear or carry only items made of pure metals upon their persons (copper, lead, tin, silver, gold, etc), as the mana that they draw for their works of power is tuned to the unspoiled power of Nature in the world about them. For the Druids, it is an important part of their Covenant with the Green Lords. Those who follow these trades have no tolerance for any alloyed metals either (brass, bronze, pewter, etc) either, as their earth essences have been corrupted by these processes, each warring with the other for identity and dominance. However, objects composed of many parts may have their component parts made of different metals, so long as each part be made of a pure metal. Objects constructed in this way are felt to work together, to sing in harmony rather than fight with one another for dominance.

The Druids’ Power reacts in a similar manner to that described for metals when any other materials are similarly mixed, particularly in the clothing that they wear. Mixed fiber fabrics are forbidden them. While the character may wear garments of different fibers (cotton, wool, linen, etc.) together in one ensemble, no fibers may be mixed in the spinning or weaving of any single garment that a Druid wears. Appliqués and applied borders, sleeves made of different fiber material tied on by points, embroidery and similar adornment all fall into the same category as objects made up of pieces composed of different metals, above. As long as the materials used for each part is pure, there is no problem.

Both mixed metals and garments of mixed fibers, called adulterated or adulterine materials, are considered spiritually unclean, corrupting the power worked by the Witch, especially when he is working his magickal Arts, and thus a source of corruption to the soul, leading to sickness in the body and possibly even eventually death.

Wearing any such adulterated materials actually make the Druid feel under the weather, give him flu-like symptoms. The greater the amount of such materials worn, the more sickly he feels until they are removed. Should a character try to work his magickal Arts while wearing such substances the corruption is drawn into his spirit so he falls sick in fact with a malady of POT equal to the POT of the magick worked while so clad, PLUS the number of offending items he was wearing. Until the offending materials have been removed and he has received proper medical attention, he cannot recover. Recovery is administered the same as that for any normal, mortal poisoning.

Furthermore, Druids must avoid all commercially gathered or prepared animal by-products in their dress and household goods, as the slaughter of living creatures and commercial purveyance of their flesh for profit flies directly in the face of their philosophy. While a Witch can wear any animal fur, hide, claw, horn, antler, or other by-product, he must be sure that the beast was slain out of need and that neither the creature’s flesh nor carcass was wasted. In addition, animal goods must not be “over-worked”. One must be able to readily tell what the material is, if not necessarily what animal it came from. Skins must be prepared in such a way that they retain their natural hair, feathers or fur. Feathers must either be gathered singly from cast-offs fallen to the ground or be left on the whole skin of a felled bird to be prepared so that the bird may yet be identified, horn and antler must not be so carven or shaped that they cannot be identified for what they are. Those items worn in violation of this restriction cause the same reaction when the character works his magickal Arts wearing adulterated materials, above.

Druids are steeped in the power of Spirit, but most closely that of Nature, which corresponds to Færie where the dwindling Green Lords find refuge and most comforting rest, and the era when they roamed free and the magickal traditions for those trades were created, the Bronze Age. Some of their lore and magickal traditions predate even that age, lost in the mists of time.

Iron by nature, and steel by extension, are deeply material – the strongest in the mortal world of the Age of Men. Its raw deposits can dampen local availability of mana and subdue the gathering of spiritual energies, even absorb the manifestations of magick. Iron and thus, steel, are the bane of the Powers of Færie. Its touch can dispel Færie magicks and burn the flesh of the Færie-born.

The Druids wield Power closely related and so are forbidden to have more than (HRT + TR) ounces of cold or wrought iron or the same amount in pounds of steel within (MSS) feet of them when they are casting magicks, or suffer a DV penalty to every magick they attempt while in violation.

 

 The DV penalty is equal to the number of ounces of iron or pounds of steel the magicker is carrying beyond the [(HRT) + (TR)] limit.

 

The effects of steel are less than that of iron because in it the iron is mellowed in nature by the carbon that hardens it and the very work of the hand of Man, and sometimes also corrupted with traces of nickel and other metals.

The (MSS) distance to be kept from iron/steel is raised by 1 foot for every point by which the character’s MSS score is greater than his MGA score or lowered by 1 foot for every point by which the character’s MGA is greater than his MSS score.

Where the Optional END rules are in play, any DV penalty imposed on a casting due to violating the iron/steel restriction is added to the END cost for casting the magick, making it more taxing and tiring.

While the Witch may never have any tolerance for carrying iron, he has an allowance of (HRT + TR) ounces of steel to carry on his person without penalty.

 

 Again, the DV penalty is equal to the number of ounces of steel the magicker is carrying beyond the [(HRT) + (TR)] limit.

 

When steel is clad in one of the two noble metals, gilded with gold or silvered instead, the power of the noble metals cancels out the base influence of the iron used to make the steel. Not only are these metals considered “noble”, but they also have great sacred significance. This is the ONLY condition under which a Witch might consider the use of such otherwise “adulterated” materials. In this case, the gilding or silvering doesn’t have the sickening effect it would otherwise.

Among the folk of their faith, the Druids are mindful of their duty to serve. How they fulfill this duty varies with the individual, however. Some stand on ceremony and command respect and gifts and/or the ancient requirement “Cross my palm with silver”. Others work humbly and ask nothing of those they help except what is freely given in return. What never changes is that every Druid serve the need brought to him to the best of his ability, but in return he must warn each and every one that, for such magickal aid as they can render, some change must come into their lives to make room for it. Change is inevitable, the only constant in the universe, and comes even more swiftly when magick’s wild power is invoked to help it along.

While the Witch never knows and cannot predict even by Divination what change may come or when, the fact that they have a little rule of thumb to judge such things is a carefully hidden trade secret. The truer the real need, the more hopeless the cause, the less selfish and more in line with the Virtues the request brought to them for magickal remedy, the more painless and positive the change in their lives once the magick has been given them. In the same vein, the closer the supposed need is to baser wanting and the mire of the Vices, the more selfish the request, the more abrupt, disruptive and harmful the back-lash of Fate in return for the work of magick.

If a follower of the Olde Ways has fallen out of the favor of the gods or offended one or other of the major spirits of the realm and comes to petition for magickal dispensation, especially after first having sought aid from the gods through a Mystic serving the Green Lords and having been denied, he bears what is known as “god-sign” that any Druid or other magick-wielder with the Sight will clearly see, or otherwise will feel upon touching them, or see upon beginning to cast any magick in their presence. It would be foolish for any Druid or Witch to disregard this warning. The sign of the will of the gods will be clearly visible to any and all Mystics when dealing with those of their faith, a sign worse than foolish to ignore. To fulfill the request of one who has been spurned by the Green Lords or the Light incurs a penalty equal to the POT of the magick worked on their behalf that will endure until such time as he has served penance for his transgression.

Though their aspects and demeanors vary, Witches are all bound by their covenant with the Lords of Nature, many aspects of which are shared by the members of the Druid trades, who share their religion. Players must get more complete information on the Lords of Nature in the gameworld from the GM in order to help determine which faction the character belongs to – IF ANY. It is far more common for a character to serve the whole pantheon equally; no specific patron is necessary.

It is of vital importance that the reader become familiar also with the passages titled “An Introduction to Magick”, “The World through a Magician’s Eyes” and “A Primer on the World of Magickbefore also reading through the rules for magick contained in the passages headed “Magick in Play”. There are certain basic essential concepts in those passages that, in concert with the trade descriptions are vital to a clear understanding of magick, its place in the world and how it is created and the rules under which it is used and manifests in the game world, especially in mechanical terms.

Squires

If the player doesn’t want to shoulder the burden of the financial and social obligations of full knighthood for his gentleman or noble character, his may choose for him to rise only high enough to be a Squire. This allows him a certain amount of leeway in socializing with the common folk that a character of full noble rank and standing simply does not have.

On Becoming a Squire

The process of attaining knighthood usually starts about the age of seven to eight, or as young as age five, with the child being sent to be educated in the hall of an ally or liege-lord, as a Page. The position of page has been ennobled by the passage of time. It was originally used to designate a servant of low position, even a cook’s assistant or a lowly messenger boy, as late as the early 1400’s.

William Marshal, son of John Marshal the provisioner of King Henry I (1100-1135) will be used as a point of reference and example in discussing knightly training and the knight’s career. John was in wealth a very minor lord, holding only c. seven knight’s fees, and hereditary Marshal of the king’s household. Like many other aspiring knights, William looked forward to getting no inheritance, being John marshal’s youngest son. Young William started his training in noble society at about the age of eight. As customary in the houses of the nobility, William was fostered in the hall of one of his father’s kinsmen, the great lord William of Tancarville, a cousin. Not all knightly families have the opportunity to foster their children elsewhere, especially in such a prestigious house, and so have to train their own sons. Young William worked as a servant in Lord Tancarville’s hall, serving at the high table and required to help with the chores of the household that were in keeping with his dignity as the son of a titled man,

The Page must learn to be gentle and polite, to enter a room with grace and good manner, to greet all with a modest “God speed you”, an d not to stare at folk or look too boldly so as to challenge or give offense. They must learn to stand straight and tall, and do so quietly, not to slouch or lean against the wall, post, or jamb, and not to handle or fidget with things. Before their lords they must descend to one knee with grace. They must speak only when spoken to, unless they ask first for permission, by which very act they may make themselves seem to be too forward and so must take care to be humble. When responding to their lords they must first make obeisance to them for the honor of recognition by them. These good graces are learned indoors, primarily from the ladies of the household, the master’s wife and her ladies-in-waiting.

In short, all Knights are encouraged in their training to cultivate the social graces of the Courtier, as well. The two Trades go hand in hand.

All Pages must also learn to sit a horse and are provided one to care for and learn to ride. Many are also provided a hawk to care for and learn to fly, as falconry is another art of the knight, a mark of noble blood and breeding. Pages are sometimes used to carry messages, a happy occasion when the news is good, for it is a chance to get out from under the harsh eye of the master and be well-rewarded, for it is customary for both sender and received to offer a gift or coin in gratuity. Lack of physical strength usually keeps the Pages from entering into the service of a knight as a Squire until they reach the age of 12.

William Marshal was admitted to the ranks of Squires when he reached his teens, sometime between the ages of 12 and 14 years, according to custom. The position and distinction of the office of Squire were developed at the turn of the 1100’s, as they gradually gained the honor of serving only knights. Originally squires were the lowest servants of the armies, nothing more than villeins and serfs charged with the lowest duties.

Young gentlemen of devolved knightly blood are also eligible to be raised as pages. By age 12-14, when he has achieved sufficient size and strength, the Page is inducted as a Squire, apprenticed to a knight who will train him in the arts of combat, strategy, and tactics.

The Squire is known by his silver spurs.

When the Page becomes a Squire, donning the silver spurs, his household chores take a lesser role to his responsibility for keeping the arms and weapons of the Knight who is his master clean and rust free and for currying and sometimes exercising his war steed(s), as well as his training in the use of the lance, (long-) sword, shield, the wearing of mail, and perfecting his Horseman skills.

Pages and Squires are clothed and armed by their masters until they can sit a horse securely and carry both lance and sword (c. age 11-12). The Squire is charged with learning the arts of falconry and of the hunt, although NOT the skills of the hunter and of the officers whose place it is to facilitate the hunt, embodied in the Huntsmen trade.

They are schooled in the strategies of chess, and in the finer courts even to learn an instrument and to chant or sing the ballads and deeds of the heroes of Chivalry in good voice. In short, again, the Knight is encouraged to become skilled in the social arts and graces that make of him good company, able to make the lords and his fellow knights “good cheer”, alongside his skills of war. The finding of a place in the household of a wealthy lord and making of good cheer for him and his fellows is a rung on the ladder of the Knight’s career that embodies the apex for many. And for those who achieve that, even a lordship is not too high to aim.

Squires must learn from the stable master to curry the master’s horse(s) and also their own, see that they are kept in good shoes, and work with his master’s beastmaster to break in any new young horses the master may acquire by purchase or conquest, hence the availability of the Husbandman-Beastmaster trade – or Husbandman alone if the full scope of Beastmastery doesn’t interest the player. Once he dons the golden spurs, the Knight need not maintain these skills, and many do allow them to fail, relying on the men in their retinues to attend to those duties. Either way, once Knighthood is achieved, some means for providing the care of his horse(s) must be secured in play.

The Squire is never far from his master unless sent away to attend to or accomplish some matter of his business. He greets his Knight on rising, preparing and attending to his bath, waiting on him at table, and seeing him to bed every night, sleeping on a straw tick or pallet close by his master’s bed, or in the antechamber to his master’s chamber. He must receive his master’s guests, relieve them of their arms and attend to their comforts and entertain them as if they were themselves his masters.

In battle, the Squire is forbidden to touch the master’s sword, which often is also a reliquary containing a small relic of some saint, perhaps a memento of a personal or ancestral pilgrimage. Squires are forbidden to wear a helm of coat of mail or to carry a lance in battle.

At the tourneys, no more than three armed Squires are allowed to accompany each knightly combatant. These are required to wear their lord’s sign or coat of arms and only limited armor. Most commonly, a Squire wears a padded or studded leather garment called a gambeson or aketon. He is limited in his involvement in the melée, bearing broadsword only and fighting only with a javelin or quarterstaff. However, in service to their knights, they are considered non-combatants on the battlefield. Regardless, their responsibilities on the battlefield are very real. The Squire must provide replacements for lost or broken weapons from his master’s pavilion, help with repairs to his mount’s bridle, saddle, and harness, bring in fresh horses, or even to protect his master from capture if he should be knocked down and stunned or injured.

Only those Squires close and regular enough in attendance to be accustomed to carve a lord’s meat (Squires of the Body, senior-most) are allowed at the tournament festivities in the evenings. When or out riding on the hunt and especially in the melee at the many tournaments his master may attend, his duties are much the same.

In case of conflict with his master or any other Knight, the Squire has NO rights to offer battle. He cannot demand duel with him, and is forbidden to even engage any Knight in battle. He is beneath their dignity.

The Squire’s term of service as described lasts five to seven years, occasionally longer, but most commonly seven, ending only when the Squire reaches the age of majority, commonly acknowledged to be 21. Occasionally it is shorter, but it may depend on the customs of the country, and the Squire’s rank by birth and political situation.

The sons of lords are generally knighted at a given age, whatever the legal majority is in that society, as low as 12 among the Salians, but generally 15 among the Germans, and 20 or 21 in accordance with old Roman law in France and England.

Due to the laws of primogeniture, under which only the first born male child can inherit, the heir to a lordship is generally knighted at 17 or 18 so he may assume his responsibilities and continue being trained to assume his father’s position. The younger sons and heirs of lesser lordships generally wait to 20 or 21, however. Younger sons of lords are portionless, without inheritance, and have to have some means of earning their livelihood. Knighthood is the solution for many of them, as war is the province of their class, but a Church education for many others is common, leading to a number of different opportunities.

Philip the Fair was knighted at age 16, but his political position required it. He had succeeded to the throne of the Kingdom of Navarre, in the mountains between Spain and France, and it “was not meet” or considered proper that a reigning monarch should be excluded from the ranks of Chivalry. When the candidate attains no such high office at a young age, the general fashion of knighting at 20 or 21 obtained, as it did with Philip the Fair’s own sons.

The Squire’s apprenticeship is long and hard, and over the years the Squire generally becomes very close to his master, developing a relationship as strong as any true family bond. No Knight who has even a single shred of honor dares raise his hand against the man under whom he served as Squire, a prohibition that can endure for years, if not for life, after leaving his household. In addition, there is a sense of fraternity between those who have risen to the estate of Knight. Out of respect for the hardships and training they all have suffered and the rank attained, they are loath to slay their peers. This does not stop them from confiscating all arms and weapons, horses, and the equipment in victory over their peers, and ransoming them afterwards. When sureties are provided, it is common for the hostage to be paroled on his own recognizance, however.

Due to the means necessary to maintain the lifestyle, many Squires remain at that social rank for some years before taking on the mantle of Knighthood. This is so prevalent, in fact, that it is common practice for the Crown not only to offer mass knightings on special occasions such as the knighting of royal princes and the eves before embarking on important royal campaigns or battles, but also for the Crown to pay for the various accoutrements required for the ceremony, easily as rich as the lifestyle expected of a Knight in itself.

Those Squires who train for but never achieve the gilded spurs of knighthood have the title “Squire” added before their names, or “Esquire” tacked on after.

The fortunes of the branches of the family that do not take knighthood generally fall as they grow apart from the origins of their knightly heritage, and the estate of knighthood is expensive to take up and maintain. These restrictive practices are a major contributing factor to c. 25% of all noble bloodlines failing in the direct line of descent every 100 years or so.

For the purposes of the game, it is assumed that the Squire character has completed his training for the knighthood in its entirety. In skill on the field of battle the Squire character is the equal of any new-made knight. What is lacking here is only social rank. We use the word “only” here advisedly, however, because that difference in rank and precedence changes the complexion of the entire game world for the character. ALL of the social realities, responsibilities and restrictions upon a Squire explained in the preceding text remains FULLY in force. Being on this social track is the player’s choice. It is hoped that the player is able to accept the parameters of the social role of the Squire, especially regarding the knights and nobles he is likely to share company with frequently, as he occupies one of the lower ranks of the noble world.

A Squire whose training is considered complete is fully trained in all the skills of battle, in the same manner described for Trade Warriors.

While every effort has been made to ensure that each and every character has an opportunity to learn to swing a weapon of some sort, or fire a bow or hurl a sling or other such weapons, and also to provide the opportunities to cultivate Brawling and wrestling skills so that all have the means for self-protection, to at least stand their ground in a pitched battle, it is VERY important to understand that there is a great deal more to being a member of one of the Warrior trades than simply swinging a weapon.

Characters opting to follow one of these trades are the product of either some type of school or the tutelage of a particular master. Both sorts of training were widely available across England in the period of the game despite the legislation actually enacted against them in the period. The people were expected to participate in the Fyrd or Militia, and thus at least rudimentary training was made available to them. The Warrior trades are quoted a standard length of apprenticeship in character creation like the rest of the trades, BUT any such training was always at will and subject to the student’s ability to pay the tuition, like any other school, while the apprenticeship to a fighting master is considered equally informal but rather more serious in terms of commitment. This trade represents the efforts of those who pursued this path in favor of any other, and the benefits that accrue.

The real difference between the Warrior by Trade such as a Squire and those that merely swing a weapon for self defense is one of interest and commitment. Those outside the trade are dilettantes with a passing interest. Those within the trade are in it for life, to keep them alive on the battlefield, where they expect their fortune to be found or made. To parallel that commitment is their interest in the martial training, in not only weapons and their various regional variations and differing forms by nationality, but the styles in which they are used and also the men who created and teach (or taught) those styles and made them famous. Some of the greatest styles are described in detail with illustrations in costly books to be handed down – some of them considered useful and instructive standards widely known and observed even a couple hundred years after the original master’s death.

The specific skills for the different types of attacks (Slash, Thrust, Lunge, Aimed Strike, Disarm, Feint, Hearty Blow, and Charge) are provided to allow the character to hone his weapon skills in detail (as applicable, where those optional rules are in play,) as an expression of his own personal style, as a Wizard does with his Five Arts, his cantrips, spells, and rituals, and all his various charms.

A character with the formal training of this trade is allowed a bonus to ALL his attack AV’s and defense DV’s based on the SL of his Game Face skill, as it gradually stills any habitual movements he might make that might give his intended next move or strike away to his opponent. His Savvy skill provides the measure of how well he can read an opponent, especially his body language, and also provides a bonus to ALL attack AV’s and defense DV’s based on that SL. Those of other trades may learn these techniques from those among this trade willing to teach, but the Warrior, Huntsman, and Assassin trades are the only ones allowed to use those skills for such bonuses from the start of play.

The Combinations skills on the skills roster provide a means of using tactics that illustrate a knowledge of fighting styles only available to those who have shown a commitment to pursuing a trade in the arts of war. The Warrior and Assassin trades are the only ones with access to those skills at the start of play.

 

Squire
Shield *
Shield Bash
Rim Strike
Weapons † 11) *
(Common Strike)
Slash
Thrust/Lunge
Aimed Strike
(Entangle)
Disarm
Feint
Hearty Blow *
Charge
Combinations
Dual Attack
Dual Defense
Attack/Defense
Drover/Charioteer (P)
Horseman (P)
Literatus & Scrivener (P) *
OR Secretary (P)
OR Grammar School (P)
OR Finishing School (P)
Open Skills
Brawler/Wrestler
Dodge (AGL)
Game Face (HRT)
Perception (AWA)
Savvy
Search
Sentry
Presence (CHM)
Coerce/Beguile
Player

The (Common Strike) entry is in parenthesis because it is not a separate skill in the same manner that Disarming, Feint, Aimed, etc. attacks are, but is subsumed in the basic Weapon skill. Being able to attack is part of that skill, already filling an AWA-slot. The (Entangle) attack skill is intrinsic to taking a dueling cape, net (after the gladiator’s fashion), etc. skill in the same fashion. Generally speaking, entangling weapons can only be used for Entangling attacks, unless the player can come up with some use by means of the Brawling skill to do otherwise. For those weapons designated as being solely Thrusting weapons (estoc, for example), the Thrust/Lunge skill is substituted for the Common Strike in the same manner, because that is the primary use of the weapon.

The balance of the attack skills listed are subject to AWA-slot limitations, normally.

Violence is an accepted and unavoidable part of the true Warrior’s and Knight’s life, and for those who live by it, a simple fact of life whose religious and spiritual ramifications offer little, if any, deterrent. Indeed, a Squire or other Warrior is expected to be hit hard enough to knock him to the ground no less than 20 times during his trials and training before he is ever considered ready to face battle.

Thus, a Warrior’s will to survive is tempered to a steely edge. He becomes inured to pain and privation over the course of his career, and is no stranger to the ivory grin of death. Warriors learn to endure and even dismiss discomforts that would wear others down, and even the pain of injuries or wounds.

The Warrior’s training provides him with a bonus of (TR) to his P-RES score for the purposes of resisting numbing bodily shocks when struck and maintaining consciousness in the face of the pain of his wounds and in resisting extreme fatigue (if the optional END rules are in play) and the effects of exposure to the elements (heat, cold).

Another benefit of the Warrior’s Trade training comes in the form of a bonus of (1 per 4 TR’s) to the character’s wound allowance for each level of wounding, in turn (OR to his BP’s, if those optional rules are in play).

A (TR) bonus is added to his END score, where that optional rule is in use, and his TR is also added to his CND for the purposes of determining how quickly he recovers his END points (but ONLY for that purpose).

With their trade training providing such benefits, it is small wonder that Warriors are rather commonly noted for their callous lack of sympathy in regards to the complaints uttered by others when suffering physical hardships.

During the Warrior’s Trade training he learns to compensate for and work with his armor, to develop his fighting style that allows him to maximize it’s strengths, but mostly he becomes conditioned to the oppressive heat that can accumulate under it in the midst of a fight, rather more so than those who lack the same intensive training in arms that this trade represents. No strangers are these characters to having to be ready for action on a moment’s notice, or to taking their shifts on Sentry duty, and so inured to discomfort and physical hardship do they become, over time.

The Warrior is allowed to recover his END points normally, provided that optional rule is in play, if he should have a chance to cat-nap or even fall truly asleep while still wearing his armor, unlike those of other Trades.

When the player finally comes to the decision that it is time to seek his Squire’s Knighthood, he must look for an opportunity and a sponsor willing to provide him with the honor of being so elevated. Before the character actually undergoes the elevation or “dubbing”, it is incumbent on the player to become familiar with the information and social background regarding the Knight that is presented in that Trade’s description. It is important that the player be aware of the rights, responsibilities and social role of the rank he plans to attain.

Knights

The name of Knight in describing this trade for the purposes of the game is literal, not merely figurative. There is a grand mystique surrounding knighthood and it is primarily one of glory, born of the virtue of ardimen (bravery and courage in battle). Service in battle, to defend the land and its people from invaders, is the purpose and place of all knights, the source of their political power, wealth and influence, but even more, of their honor.

The furs called “the vair and the grey” are exclusive to knights and may be worn by no other class. These are the mottled white, gray and brown belly furs and the gray back furs, respectively, of the northern squirrel. No matter high, great or powerful the lord, be he prince, earl or duke, if he has not been knighted he may not wear those furs.

Knighthood and the orders of Chivalry, the right to wear the golden spurs, are exclusive even among the ranks of nobles, in a similar manner that lordship is exclusive. Not all knights are lords, and not all lords are knights.

While proof of descent from the blood of Lords is sufficient for training and receipt of knighthood, only the first-born son of the noble knight who lacks a lordship is eligible to be trained and knighted by blood right after his father. Any younger sons of that knight may train and serve as Squires, but they must earn knighthood through service, especially by distinguishing themselves on the battlefield, if indeed they aspire to it. The first-born sons of those Squires bear the same right to be trained and take knighthood as their eldest uncle, so it is possible for the rank of knight to skip a generation in a given branch of the family.

If any branch of a knightly family fails to train for and earn the gilded spurs of knighthood for three generations in succession, that branch loses that right thenceforth. They simply become “gentlemen”. This does not mean that they have no privileges, they still have access through their family to positions in great lordly houses as clerks or officers, and their children may be taken in as pages and grow into positions of their own in the household, perhaps eventually recovering knighthood through service, too.

Those Squires who train for but never achieve the gilded spurs of knighthood have the title “Squire” added before their names, or “Esquire” tacked on after.

The fortunes of the branches of the family that do not take knighthood generally fall as they grow apart from the origins of their knightly heritage, and the estate of knighthood is expensive to take up and maintain. These restrictive practices are a major contributing factor to c. 25% of all noble bloodlines failing in the direct line of descent every 100 years or so.

According to ecclesiastical historian Orderic Vitalis, the Knight is most often reluctant to kill his fellow knights out of fear of the Light and due to a common fellowship of arms, as described for Squires. He should pity his prisoners and allow them to go free on parole when they have provided sureties for their ransom. The good Knight gives largesse and alms to the poor and indigent, and stands as a protector of monks and priests, the weak, and pilgrims. The renowned medieval author Chrètien de Troyes had this to say of largesse in his 12th century romance “Cligés”:

“‘Dear son,’ he said, ‘believe me when I tell you that largesse is the queen and lady who brightens all Virtues, and this is not difficult to prove. Where could one find a man who, no matter how powerful or rich, would not be reproached if he were miserly? What man has so many other good qualities–excepting only God’s grace–that largesse would not increase his fame? Largesse alone makes one a worthy man, not high birth, courtesy, wisdom, gentility, riches, strength, chivalry, boldness, power, beauty, or any other gift. But just as the rose, when it buds fresh and new, is more beautiful than any other flower, so largesse, whenever it appears, surpasses all other Virtues and causes the good qualities it finds in a worthy man who comports himself well to be increased five-hundred fold. There is so much to be said of largesse that I could not tell you the half.”

Service is part of the Knightly ethos, one of the major sources of a knight’s status. The Knight’s place in society often goes hand in hand with the skills of the Courtier, as described in his training as a Squire, for the Knight’s career outside of battle is one of service, especially to his feudal superiors. If the Knight is successful enough to earn the traditional Knight’s Fee (a manor of at least 480 acres, or fief) of his own, the nature of the service expands, as he becomes a “law-worthy knight” and is drawn into the network of Knights in the same district who help with the tasks of local government and justice.

A definite line is drawn in society between Knights who fight for their bread caring for horse, weapons and arms and the Courtier-Knights, however. On the background tables the latter are denoted as Knights of the Bath, also known in the period of the game as “Holy Mary’s Knights”. Even the law acknowledges the difference between these. The insolvent fighting Knight can not be deprived of his war-harness or steed(s) by legal distraint of his moveable property, where the Knight who earns his bread by (political) service at court rather than arms, a Knight of the Bath, would be allowed to retain only his horse under the same circumstances. Battle-seasoned fighting Knights commonly hold their gentler counterparts who may have either no battle skills or no battle experience in a certain amount of contempt. Those who merely profess to fight are generally considered to be men of little or no honor by those who risk their lives exercising their ancient right and privilege, the source of their power and authority. It is an expression of the conflict between their martial roots and trends towards gentility and the rise of politics in medieval society, as mentioned in the Troubadour trade description.

A Knight might aspire to a post as a royal falconer if he apply himself to learn and keep the skills of Husbandry of hawks when training for his trade, especially if he be a Huntsman or Woodsman. He might find himself made a Marshal or Keeper of a royal horse farm if he apply himself to learn and keep the skills of Husbandry of horses. A Knight-Huntsman might become a Ranger, Regarder, Verderer, or other officer of the Forest Law roaming the forest districts. Such work with any of the Beasts of the Hunt (horses, hawks and/or hounds) is considered consonant with his station as a knight.

The Knight known as a miles literatus is uncommon, but that is not just literacy as the name might imply, but true education and scholarship. Most Knights can read and even write [Latin] and [French], necessarily so in the work they are expected to do for the local government.

A Knight with no lands to administer in his own right or fief-rentes to support him is known as a Knight Simple. Knights of this sort commonly follow the tournament circuit in the hopes of winning enough to support their honor and social status, but even moreso to catch the eye of prospective liege-lords to take them in.

The household “Knight in service” is commonly sustained by a combination of fief-rente (the income from certain lands or estates assigned without the lordship over or ownership of those lands), enfeoffed land (carrying a feudal due – servicium debitum, or tenure by military service), and wages, robes and shoes, as well as occasional boon gifts. Fractional holdings, as small as 1/10th a Knight’s fee (48 acres), allow fractional service requirements, such as no castle guard but full field service; fractional duration of all duties; owing suit in the lord’s court-baron.

A knight who has been taken into the household of his lord is called a Knight Bachelor. He is generally supported by a combination of estates (a Knight’s fief) and fief-rentes (the income of lands of which he has no say in the management) or wages and fief-rentes with yearly gifts of robes and shoes, and the largesse of the lord. Knights Bachelor, whether in household service or enfeoffed, owe their liege-lords 40 days service in the field every year without pay in peace or in war, but the liege lord may seek to extend this service with an offer of pay. Knights Bachelor also owe their lords guard and escort duty, and garrison duty, as well, in either royal or baronial castles. Garrison duty might only last 2 weeks in any given castle, but two to three months of duty are owed in total over the course of the year and the Knight might be rotated every few weeks, or assigned duty off and on throughout the year. If needed for field duty in battle, they might be released from garrison, replaced by Sergeants or burgesses owing castle guard by sergeanty.

A Knight Banneret is a seasoned Knight distinguished for his service in the field by the specific royal grant of the right to lead a company of troops during time of war under his own private banner showing his armorial bearings (coat of arms). This banner is marked by its square shape, in contrast to the tapering standard or the pennon or pennoncelle flown by the lower-ranking knights. Bannerets are eligible to bear supporters in English heraldry. In heraldry, supporters are figures usually placed on either side of the shield and depicted holding it up, as the lion and the unicorn in the arms of the English crown. No knight banneret can be created except on the field of battle, and then only when the king is present, or at least when his royal standard is being carried on the field by his appointed representative (i.e., in a royal campaign). A Knight Banneret is expected to be enfeoffed with multiple Knight’s Feoffs to support the greater dignity of that rank and he can never achieve that recognition without being well-seasoned in battle and highly skilled not only in arms but in leadership, also.

The rise of the knight in his trade is a long and arduous odyssey. Having gone through it as the natural and necessary process to becoming a Sacred Knight, however, it is very important that the player be familiar with it as the being part and parcel of his character’s background. If the character came to the status of knight from low birth and/or relatively late in age, he still must have “caught-up” with his peers in achieving this state, and the player should know what that process entails.

On Becoming a Knight

The process of attaining knighthood usually starts about the age of seven to eight, or as young as age five, with the child being sent to be educated in the hall of an ally or liege-lord, as a Page. The position of page has been ennobled by the passage of time. It was originally used to designate a servant of low position, even a cook’s assistant or a lowly messenger boy, as late as the early 1400’s.

William Marshal, son of John Marshal the provisioner of King Henry I (1100-1135) will be used as a point of reference and example in discussing knightly training and the knight’s career. John was in wealth a very minor lord, holding only c. seven knight’s fees, and hereditary Marshal of the king’s household. Like many other aspiring knights, William looked forward to getting no inheritance, being John marshal’s youngest son. Young William started his training in noble society at about the age of eight. As customary in the houses of the nobility, William was fostered in the hall of one of his father’s kinsmen, the great lord William of Tancarville, a cousin. Not all knightly families have the opportunity to foster their children elsewhere, especially in such a prestigious house, and so have to train their own sons. Young William worked as a servant in Lord Tancarville’s hall, serving at the high table and required to help with the chores of the household that were in keeping with his dignity as the son of a titled man,

The Page must learn to be gentle and polite, to enter a room with grace and good manner, to greet all with a modest “God speed you”, and not to stare at folk or look too boldly so as to challenge or give offense. They must learn to stand straight and tall, and do so quietly, not to slouch or lean against the wall, post, or jamb, and not to handle or fidget with things. Before their lords they must descend to one knee with grace. They must speak only when spoken to, unless they ask first for permission, by which very act they may make themselves seem to be too forward and so must take care to be humble. When responding to their lords they must first make obeisance to them for the honor of recognition by them. These good graces are learned indoors, primarily from the ladies of the household, the master’s wife and her ladies-in-waiting.

In short, all Knights are encouraged in their training to cultivate the social graces of the Courtier, as well. The two Trades go hand in hand.

All Pages must also learn to sit a horse and are provided one to care for and learn to ride. Many are also provided a hawk to care for and learn to fly, as falconry is another art of the knight, a mark of noble blood and breeding. Pages are sometimes used to carry messages, a happy occasion when the news is good, for it is a chance to get out from under the harsh eye of the master and be well-rewarded, for it is customary for both sender and received to offer a gift or coin in gratuity. Lack of physical strength usually keeps the Pages from entering into the service of a knight as a Squire until they reach the age of 12.

William Marshal was admitted to the ranks of Squires when he reached his teens, sometime between the ages of 12 and 14 years, according to custom. The position and distinction of the office of Squire were developed at the turn of the 1100’s, as they gradually gained the honor of serving only knights. Originally squires were the lowest servants of the armies, nothing more than villeins and serfs charged with the lowest duties.

Young gentlemen of devolved knightly blood are also eligible to be raised as pages. By age 12-14, when he has achieved sufficient size and strength, the Page is inducted as a Squire, apprenticed to a knight who will train him in the arts of combat, strategy, and tactics.

The Squire is known by his silver spurs.

Squirehood

When the Page becomes a Squire, donning the silver spurs, his household chores take a lesser role to his responsibility for keeping the arms and weapons of the Knight who is his master clean and rust free and for currying and sometimes exercising his war steed(s), as well as his training in the use of the lance, (long-) sword, shield, the wearing of mail, and perfecting his Horseman skills.

Pages and Squires are clothed and armed by their masters until they can sit a horse securely and carry both lance and sword (c. age 11-12). The Squire is charged with learning the arts of falconry and of the hunt, although NOT the skills of the hunter and of the officers whose place it is to facilitate the hunt, embodied in the Huntsmen trade.

Knights are schooled in the strategies of chess, and in the finer courts even to learn an instrument and to chant or sing the ballads and deeds of the heroes of Chivalry in good voice. In short, again, the Knight is encouraged to become skilled in the social arts and graces that make of him good company, able to make the lords and his fellow knights “good cheer”, alongside his skills of war. The finding of a place in the household of a wealthy lord and making of good cheer for him and his fellows is a rung on the ladder of the Knight’s career that stands as the apex for many. And for those who achieve that, even a lordship is not too high to aim.

Squires must learn from the stable master to curry the master’s horse(s) and also their own, see that they are kept in good shoes, and work with his master’s beastmaster to break in any new young horses the master may acquire by purchase or conquest, hence the availability of the Husbandman-Beast Master trade – or Husbandman alone if Beast Mastery holds no interest for the player. Once he dons the golden spurs, the Knight need not maintain these skills, and many do allow them to fail, relying on the men in their retinues to attend to those duties. Either way, once Knighthood is achieved, some means for providing the care of his horse(s) must be secured in play.

The Squire is never far from his master unless sent away to attend to or accomplish some matter of his business. He greets his Knight on rising, preparing and attending to his bath, waiting on him at table, and seeing him to bed every night, sleeping on a straw tick or pallet close by his master’s bed, or in the antechamber to his master’s chamber. He must receive his master’s guests, relieve them of their arms and attend to their comforts and entertain them as if they were themselves his masters.

In battle, the Squire is forbidden to touch the master’s sword, which often is also a reliquary containing a small relic of some saint, perhaps a memento of a personal or ancestral pilgrimage. Squires are forbidden to wear a helm of coat of mail or to carry a lance in battle.

At the tourneys, no more than three armed Squires are allowed to accompany each knightly combatant. These are required to wear their lord’s sign or coat of arms and only limited armor. Most commonly, a Squire wears a padded or studded leather garment called a gambeson or aketon. He is limited in his involvement in the melée, bearing broadsword only and fighting only with a javelin or quarterstaff. However, in service to their knights, they are considered non-combatants on the battlefield. Regardless, their responsibilities on the battlefield are very real. The Squire must provide replacements for lost or broken weapons from his master’s pavilion, help with repairs to his mount’s bridle, saddle, and harness, bring in fresh horses, or even to protect his master from capture if he should be knocked down and stunned or injured.

Only those Squires close and regular enough in attendance to be accustomed to carve a lord’s meat (Squires of the Body, senior-most) are allowed at the tournament festivities in the evenings. When out riding on the hunt and especially in the melee at the many tournaments his master may attend, his duties are much the same.

In case of conflict with his master or any other Knight, the Squire has NO rights to offer battle. He cannot demand duel with him, and is forbidden to even engage any Knight in battle. He is beneath their dignity.

The Squire’s term of service as described lasts five to seven years (the same as a common apprenticeship in any other trade), occasionally longer, but most commonly seven, ending only when the Squire reaches the age of majority, commonly acknowledged to be 21. Occasionally it is shorter, but it may depend on the customs of the country, and the Squire’s rank by birth and political situation.

The sons of lords are generally knighted at a given age, whatever the legal majority is in that society, as low as 12 among the Salians, but generally 15 among the Germans, and 20 or 21 in accordance with old Roman law in France and England.

Due to the laws of primogeniture, under which only the first born male child can inherit, the heir to a lordship is generally knighted at 17 or 18 so he may assume his responsibilities and continue being trained to assume his father’s position. The younger sons and heirs of lesser lordships generally wait to 20 or 21, however. Younger sons of lords are portionless, without inheritance, and have to have some means of earning their livelihood. Knighthood is the solution for many of them, as war is the province of their class, but a Church education for many others is common, leading to a number of different opportunities.

Philip the Fair was knighted at age 16, but his political position required it. He had succeeded to the throne of the Kingdom of Navarre, in the mountains between Spain and France, and it “was not meet” or considered proper that a reigning monarch should be excluded from the ranks of Chivalry. When the candidate attains no such high office at a young age, the general fashion of knighting at 20 or 21 obtained, as it did with Philip the Fair’s own sons.

The Squire’s apprenticeship is long and hard, and over the years the Squire generally becomes very close to his master, developing a relationship as strong as any true family bond. No Knight who has even a single shred of honor dares raise his hand against the man under whom he served as Squire, a prohibition that can endure for years, if not for life, after leaving his household. In addition, there is a sense of fraternity between those who have risen to the estate of Knight. Out of respect for the hardships and training they all have suffered and the rank attained, they are loath to slay their peers. This does not stop them from confiscating all arms and weapons, horses, and equipment in victory over their peers, and ransoming them afterwards, however. That is how they earn their bread. When sureties are provided, it is common for the hostage to be paroled on his own recognizance, however.

Due to the means necessary to maintain the lifestyle, many Squires remain at that social rank for some years before taking on the mantle of Knighthood. This is so prevalent, in fact, that it is common practice for the Crown not only to offer mass knightings on special occasions such as the knighting of royal princes and the eves before embarking on important royal campaigns or battles, but also for the Crown to pay for the various accoutrements required for the ceremony, easily as rich as the lifestyle expected of a Knight in itself.

The Making of a Knight

This text is provided so each player of a Knight character knows and understands what his character has been through to get where he stands at the start of play, and also as a guide or template if any character should be lucky enough to earn the prestigious rank of knight once play has commenced.

Knighting ceremonies are generally held on holy fête days, when the churches draw their greatest crowds. Easter and Whitsunday are the most popular fêtes for dubbing knights. The occasions of weddings and royal baptisms are commonly expanded to include the dubbing of knights. Most choose to be knighted on the anniversary of their own father’s dubbing, however, especially among lesser Lords and the gentry – simple Knights.

Knights of less distinguished families are often created at the dubbing of the sons of other knights, while the dubbing of royalty and distinguished nobility is commonly accompanied by the dubbing 20, 50, or even as many as 100 other new knights as an honor guard. The dubbing of a large honor guard is an expensive and extravagant luxury, as the expenses for the war-harness and costly garments of silk and brocade for the ceremony are paid for by the family of the chief-most lord whose son is to be dubbed.

Trained Squires awaiting knighthood are often knighted on the eve of a great battle, as fighting men are always in demand, especially on the eve of a great royal campaign. Knighting on the field of battle after a heroic showing is often preferred, however, and can often include men of common or even base (landbound) birth. William Marshal finally earned his knighthood at the age of 21, on the eve of a battle when William’s uncle, Lord William of Tancarville, in whose court young William trained, needed to gather men. Before the French defeat at Agincourt, nearly 500 new knights were made. In contrast, the great majority of knights are created in times of peace. The dubbing of a knight is a great occasion for reuniting families which may have been scattered throughout the government, the Church, and the noble families of the realm.

The postulant or novice Knight elects to have either a military knighting or a liturgical ceremony. the military ritual is performed either on the meadows surrounding a castle or on the top of the steps leading to the keep. In the case of a liturgical ceremony, the church of the closest monastery or whatever local religious foundation the family commonly supports is usually patronized.

While every knight theoretically has the power to create another knight, in practice, all candidates by blood look to either their fathers, uncles, or the noble in whose court they took their training for knighthood to perform that ritual for them. Sometimes the liege-lord of the candidate’s father is chosen over a family member, to further cement the tie of the family to it’s lord. The king himself ((or emperor in regards to Germany) might be sought out to deliver that honor, but the previously described old custom (the father elevating his own son) prevailed more often, particularly for younger sons and lesser lords who were trained in the arts of Chivalry at home. In England in particular, the king was eventually able to enforce his right as the ultimate liege-lord of every nobleman of the realm, to become the sole source of knighthood in practice.

The knighting ceremony is called the Ceremony of Investiture. It is a very expensive event usually only enjoyed by the eldest son, unless his family has great wealth, for they must foot the cost for it. This is especially true when the Knight is to be dubbed by the king, for the parents must pay not only for the ceremony itself, but for the attendance of and even greater pomp required in entertaining the king.

There are several parallels between the ceremony of investiture for dubbing a Knight and the marriage ceremony. As the trousseau of the bride is laid out before the wedding, the clothing, spurs, and robes of the aspiring knight are laid out a day beforehand. Gifts are opened and admired and any particularly nice ones sent to the young man are displayed in the hall. At the spread of the news of the knighting, troubadors or minstrels, jongleurs, players, animal leaders and entertainers of all types begin to gather. Those who are rewarded may attach themselves to the knight’s company as long as his gifts and goodwill are forthcoming, even permanently. The presence of such a person in his retinue enhances his social presence and reputation. It can be a lucrative living for them. The poor make a point of visiting the hall of the soon-to-be Knight in search of alms knowing that this special event is a ripe one for the distribution of the largesse of the house.

On the evening two days prior to the investiture, the aspirant’s hair is cut, a symbol of dedication. For the military ritual a single lock may be considered sufficient, but for the ecclesiastical ceremony the aspirant’s head is shaved in a priest’s tonsure (from the crown in a circle, leaving only a fringe). Afterwards the aspirant undergoes a luxurious bath sprinkled with perfumes and rose petals, followed with a massage of expensive scented oils. The bath for the military ceremony may not be quite so rich, unless the family can afford it, but it is a happy affair nonetheless. In the ecclesiastical investiture, the bath is analogous to the anointing undergone when first entering the ranks of the religious, the washing away of the Knight’s sins (baptism). Laughter is prohibited in bath for the ecclesiastical investiture, as is idle chatter, and the massage is forgone as being too worldly a pleasure. An air of gravity prevails, but underneath is a strong current of excitement and happy anticipation. Stepping from the bath, the aspirant may retire to bed, symbol of the ease and comfort he will enjoy if he serves Chivalry, Honor, and the Church well. On rising in the morning, he dresses in the robes for the ceremony.

The candidate preparing for the military ceremony begins preparations the morning of the day before the investiture, proceeding directly from the bath to the ceremonial robes.

For the ceremony, the aspirant is dressed first in a long, white linen tunic with long sleeves, a symbol of his honor and the beginning of a new life free from any sins of the past. For the military ceremony, the tunic may be any color, but generally purple for those of royalty (an association left over from the Roman past) and the “small clothes” underneath this likely of silk. Over this he dons a red hooded robe, signifying the blood he must be prepared to shed and lose himself in the service of the Light, the needs of honor, of King, of country. For the military ceremony this robe may be rich, indeed, lined or trimmed in the grey and the vair, in miniver, or the royal ermine, and need not be red, but may even be of cloth-of-gold if his family can afford it. Last he is wrapped in a black coat representing the death which will one day claim him.

The day before the ceremony, a 24-hour fast is begun. In the evening of the day before the investiture, a younger brother or other young relative carries the Knight’s sword to the nearest religious house and lays it upon the alter, where it will remain for the night. Later, in company with any who may be dubbed alongside him, the aspirant says a little farewell to his family and rides to the church where his sword rests to undergo the Vigil of Arms. It is a wearisome task, 10 hours of steady prayer, meditation, and devotions centering on the honor to be received, the glory to be achieved, the very nature of Chivalry and the Virtues it requires of them, all contained in the Creed of their faith. The entire 10 hours is spent either standing or kneeling on the chill stone floor, never sitting. Neither is the aspirant allowed to speak through the whole vigil, and his fast must endure until after he returns home in the morning – a titanic task for a young man full of anticipation!

All aspirants regardless of the type of ceremony of investiture they will undergo must endure the Vigil of Arms. For the Knight entering a sacred order, it will be the second such investiture he will have undergone, for (historically) all orders of Sacred Knights require the Knight first to have achieved knighthood before he is allowed to enter. The GM is, of course, able to change this detail, allowing the Church to make Knights of its own – this puts Throne and Altar at odds, however. The Crown jealously guards it’s feudal prerogatives, and the right to create a Knight is the embodiment of a military feudal right.

The major difference between the Sacred Knight and the secular Knight is that the secular Knight follows the dictates of the Creed of the Light provide him with guidelines of behavior he adheres to in accordance with his own conscience, for good or ill, and which as a class the Knights largely apply only in their dealings with their peers and the greater nobles. The Sacred Knight, on the other hand, is bound by Vows of a religious order in the same manner as a monk.

On the morning of the day of the investiture, the aspiring Knight and any companions to also be dubbed make their confession to the chaplain or priest (as applicable to the religion of the GM’s gameworld). Afterwards a high mass or grand religious service is celebrated, and the candidate(s) take the Sacrament (or it’s analogue in the GM’s gameworld). He boisterously returns to the hall afterwards, the gravity of the event only partially subduing him. In the hall the fast is broken with a light meal – good white bread and perhaps some venison.

The candidate then appears before the crowd gathered for the occasion and enjoys their welcoming cheers and cries of well-wishes. The trumpets sound, the minstrels play, and then he descends to the carpet or patch of straw laid in the courtyard or in the field before the castle, and all fall silent. His sponsor questions his motives in seeking knighthood, that it not be for vain glory or the pursuit of riches. It is the sponsors responsibility to guard against persons of low character seeking the noble offices of knighthood (regardless of right by noble blood). In the ceremony of investiture, the postulant to knighthood may have as many as five sponsors – usually reserved for the honor of princes, dukes, counts, and earls), one to fasten each spur onto the candidate, one to gird him with his sword, one to deliver the paumée or colée (clout or blow with a fist), and the last to present his steed. Those of lesser birth might have only two persons to perform these offices. Of course, the higher the rank of the candidate, the higher the rank of the sponsors who attend him at his investiture.

The Sacred Knight’s investiture takes place in a church, and a priest delivers a short sermon on the duties and the life of the Knight before the sponsor questions him, perhaps the same priest who will be or has been the Knights teacher in religion. An official of the Church becomes the sponsor of the young Knight – Bishop, Arch-Bishop, Prelate, according to the candidate’s social rank.

The gold or gilded spurs are fastened first in the investiture. If ever he be proven dishonored, the Knight’s spurs are hacked off at the heels – a terrible fate. The hauberk is donned next, and then the helm (usually nasal helm or great helm), studded on the top or at the jointures with semi-precious stones, according to the purse of the candidate’s family. The girding of the sword is the focus of attention and a moment of high emotion for the new Knight, who until that moment has until then been forbidden to even touch it.

The candidate then bends his head for the colée, or blow, after which the sponsor brings forth the steed. The colée, or paumée as it is also called, is a rough clout upon the neck delivered by whomever the aspirant has chosen as sponsor to dub him. This not a gentle blow, but is intended to stagger the young Knight, sometimes bringing him to his knees or even knocking him to the ground. With the clout comes some simple phrase such as “Be thou a good Knight!” or the pious “Love God!”, but a lengthy evocation of the Knight’s responsibilities is also occasionally used, “Be thou brave and upright; remember that you sprang from a race which should never be false. Honor all Knights; be liberal to the poor; love God; and may [the Light] protect you from all your enemies. Go forth!”

The Church, which blesses all oaths of knighthood, commands all knights, sacred and secular, to defend it (the Church) and to turn his sword ceaselessly without mercy against its foes. In return he is promised the certainty of a heavenly reward, borne thence by the angels themselves. The knights are exhorted to avoid all Vice and base actions, to love Truth above all else, to defend the righteous and avenge injustice, to be humble and courteous in all things. One such oath:

“By [the Light], before whom these relics are holy, I will be loyal to (lord’s name and title), and love all he loves, and hate all that he hates, in accordance with [the Light’s] rights and secular obligations; and never, willingly and intentionally, in word or deed, do anything that is hateful to him; on condition that he keep me as I shall deserve, and carry out all that was our agreement, when I subjected myself to him and chose his favor.”

Further sentiments:

“[The Light] commanded that a lord should be loved as oneself …” and “All we ever do, through just loyalty to our lord, we do to our own great advantage, for truly [the Light] will be gracious to him who is duly faithful to his lord.”

According to the noted clergyman John of Salisbury, the prime qualities of the Knight were first Obedience, then Physical Strength, Endurance, Courage, then Sobriety, and finally Frugality of Life, or Temperance. In the oath of the Romance Knights, they swore to protect damsels, widows, and orphans, and all those seeking aid in just quarrels. The player of the sacred Knight character in RoM must pay strict attention to the 7 Virtues set forth previously, avoiding the 7 deadly Vices.

Failing to achieve these standards is common among secular knights, their vanity, greed and lust were commonly held up to ridicule by the chroniclers of the Church, historically. Among the Sacred Knights, such short-comings carry very real punitive consequences, which in some cases might hinder any mystical powers the Sacred Knight would otherwise be able to exercise freely, and ultimately including expulsion from the order.

In the author’s game, the phrase “May this be the only blow you ever fail to answer in kind. Be thou a good Knight!” was used. In England, this ceremony was commonly performed without the clout, or sans paumée. Over time, especially in regards the ecclesiastical ceremony, the clout became a light touch or tap.

Towards the end of the ceremony, the new Knight vaults into the saddle with a flourish. It is a matter of pride that the new Knight leap into the saddle without touching a stirrup, or sans étreir. When the Knight is astride his mount, the shield, painted with his family arms, is awarded him, along with a fine lance. He then gallops around the field to display his prowess for the crowd – and he must gallop! It is one of the elements of the ritual most ardently insisted upon. The new Knight then addresses the lists to tilt at the quintain, the final exhibition of his skill. Sometimes two quintains are set up, one behind the other, to increase the difficulty of the test, but as many as four or five quintains (extremely rare) may be used to prove the strength of the doughty. If successful, the Squire then is finally acknowledged as a Knight. Threats of being disinherited are not uncommon to ensure the success of the pass at the quintain in the end.

If there are several Knights created at the ceremony, they put on a mock combat for the crowd, fencing from horseback, the host of the ceremony brings it to a halt before any are seriously wounded.

After the ceremony, the guests are treated to as many as seven days of feasting, entertainments, and other merry-making, including the distribution of such gifts as the new Knight and his family can afford to all the guests to celebrate the grand event.

All knights, including Knights in sacred Orders, are fully trained in the skills of battle in the same manner described for Trade Warriors.

While every effort has been made to ensure that each and every character has an opportunity to learn to swing a weapon of some sort, or fire a bow or hurl a sling or other such weapons, and also to provide the opportunities to cultivate Brawling and wrestling skills so that all have the means for self-protection, to at least stand their ground in a pitched battle, it is VERY important to understand that there is a great deal more to being a member of one of the Warrior trades than simply swinging a weapon.

Characters opting to follow one of these trades are the product of either some type of school or the tutelage of a particular master. Both sorts of training were widely available across England in the period of the game despite the legislation actually enacted against them in the period. The people were expected to participate in the Fyrd or Militia, and thus at least rudimentary training was made available to them. The Warrior trades are quoted a standard length of apprenticeship in character creation like the rest of the trades, BUT any such training was always at will and subject to the student’s ability to pay the tuition, like any other school, while the apprenticeship to a fighting master is considered equally informal but rather more serious in terms of commitment. This trade represents the efforts of those who pursued this path in favor of any other, and the benefits that accrue.

The real difference between the Warrior by Trade and those that merely swing a weapon for self defense is one of interest and commitment.

Trade Skills

Brawler/Wrestler

Game Face

Horseman

Literatus & Scrivener OR

Secretary OR

Grammar School OR

Finishing School

Perception

Sentry

Presence

Charm/Beguile

Interview/Interrogate

Command/Leadership

Shield

Block

Parry

Rim Strike

Shield Bash

Weapons † 12)

Violence is an accepted and unavoidable part of the true Warrior’s and Knight’s life, and for those who live by it, a simple fact of life whose religious and spiritual ramifications offer little, if any, deterrent. Indeed, a Squire or other Warrior is expected to be hit hard enough to knock him to the ground no less than 20 times during his trials and training before he is ever considered ready to face battle.

Thus, a Warrior’s will to survive is tempered to a steely edge. He becomes inured to pain and privation over the course of his career, and is no stranger to the ivory grin of death. Warriors learn to endure and even dismiss discomforts that would wear others down, and even the pain of injuries or wounds.

The Warrior’s training provides him with a bonus of (TR) to his P-RES score for the purposes of resisting numbing bodily shocks when struck and maintaining consciousness in the face of the pain of his wounds and in resisting extreme fatigue (if the optional END rules are in play) and the effects of exposure to the elements (heat, cold).

Another benefit of the Warrior’s Trade training comes in the form of a bonus of (1 per 4 TR’s) to the character’s wound allowance for each level of wounding, in turn (OR to his BP’s, if those optional rules are in play).

A (TR) bonus is added to his END score, where that optional rule is in use, and his TR is also added to his CND for the purposes of determining how quickly he recovers his END points (but ONLY for that purpose).

With their trade training providing such benefits, it is small wonder that Warriors are rather commonly noted for their callous lack of sympathy in regards to the complaints uttered by others when suffering physical hardships.

During the Warrior’s Trade training he learns to compensate for and work with his armor, to develop his fighting style that allows him to maximize it’s strengths, but mostly he becomes conditioned to the oppressive heat that can accumulate under it in the midst of a fight, rather more so than those who lack the same intensive training in arms that this trade represents. No strangers are these characters to having to be ready for action on a moment’s notice, or to taking their shifts on Sentry duty, and so inured to discomfort and physical hardship do they become, over time.

The Warrior is allowed to recover his END points normally, provided that optional rule is in play, if he should have a chance to cat-nap or even fall truly asleep while still wearing his armor, unlike those of other Trades.

The Career of a Knight

Picking up again the tail of Sir William Marshal, our William made a fine showing at his first battle, fighting under the banner of his uncle William of Tancarville. He defeated many a good Knight, but made one major error that had to have impressed him for the remainder of his days. Out of all the Knights he defeated that day, our William did not pause to take a single hostage or claim a single horse, even after his own steed was slain. All of these would have been his according to the rules of Chivalrous combat. The armor of every man he defeated should have been his, their weapons, their horses, and a ransom from their families or lords as well. Though he left the field of battle with the greatest glory, he ended with badly beaten armor and much-abused weapons. Indeed, he was forced to sell the cloak in which he was knighted to equip himself for the next campaign on which he rode. At 50s. for common war harness, the GM can well imagine how rich and beautiful that cloak must have been, indeed, no doubt furred as well, to bring so fair a price.

Sir William drifted through the world as a Knight Errant for the next 15 years of his knightly career. He travelled the European tournament circuit and grew wealthy on his prowess, earning quite a reputation, as well. It was a dangerous occupation, though, to be sure. Indeed, following one tournament he had to retire to the smith’s to put his head on an anvil and have his helm beaten back into shape enough for him to get it off his head, so badly it was abused in battle.

Sir William was able to gain the notice of young Henry, heir to Henry II of England, and a place in his retinue by his renown. He was growing no younger, and his was a dangerous occupation with no secure income. Sir William was even granted the privilege of dubbing young Henry when he was knighted in 1181. After this Sir Henry went off on crusade to the Holy Land. On the strength of the reputation he earned fighting in the Holy Land, Sir William was added to the train of Henry II upon his return to England afterwards. Since Henry II was not interested in the tournament circuit on the continent, Sir William became a part of the government machine, instead. Eventually, Sir William was rewarded with the guardianship of a few fiefs and a young heiress. According to custom, the revenues of the heiress’ estates went right into Sir William’s purse until she came of age. Finally! A source of steady, secure income, even if only of limited duration. He continued in his service to Henry II for many years, until eventually he was promised the hand of the daughter of the Earl of Pembroke, a great lord. Sadly, as is often the case with royal promises, Henry II died without fulfilling it. Henry’s son Richard (Lionheart) assumed the throne, with whom Sir William had been enemies during Richard’s and his brothers’ many and long rebellions against their father Henry II, fuelled by their contentious mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine. Oops! Fortunately, Richard recognized the value in Sir William’s long and faithful service to his father, and fulfilled the promise of marriage to Pembroke’s heiress. Outliving his older brothers and succeeding to his father’s title of Marshal of the royal household, William became Sir William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke – one of the greatest of the English lords and a central figure in English politics for some 30 years. Earl William died in 1219, at 73 years of age, a tribute to the extraordinary possibilities available to the patient and diligent Knight in the English feudal world. We say the English feudal world because here simply because the social opportunities on the continent were not as available in regards the ranks of nobles. The path of trade and money held far more opportunities for advancement. Then again, on the continent, the father’s noble rank would have passed to all his children equally. The social order of England was more forgiving and permeable in regards to advancement, especially from one generation to the next.

The career of Earl Marshal certainly shone more brightly than that of the average Knight, but the pattern of progress in the feudal hierarchy was a common one among lesser Knights and among lesser lords. The average career of a Knight plying the tourney circuit was 15 to 20 years. Those who failed to achieve notable success and find suitable positions by the age of 40 commonly ended up as administrators of others’ estates, or as well-to-do land holders with (small) estates of their own (law-worthy local Knights of the Shire in England).

Civilian Duties of Landed Knights

Local Authority is composed of Knights, clergy, and freeman. In order to serve the local government’s needs and in the courts in a given shire, a Knight must be “law-worthy”, that is, able to acquit himself in the language of the courts and to read and write and have mastered basic mathematics. It also carries with it the requirement to hold land worth 40s. a year in income within that shire in which his services are sought, In practice, the knight is usually required to hold property not only within the shire, but in the same neighborhood (usually the same hundred, or bordering hundreds). Such a Knight may be referred to in public documents as a Knight of the Shire. A Knight can be rejected by the principles in a case at law for the failure to meet these criteria.

Historically, French was the language of the conqueror, and so of the local law courts, of management and lordship, as well as the king’s court, of all gentlemen. By the late 13th cent. records were rendered in French, Latin and English one after another in the official court Rolls.

“Unless a man knows French, he is thought of little account.”

Robert of Gloucester, l. 13th cent.

Knights are commonly serve the needs of the Justices and in association with the Sheriff and the shire court. Testimony may be sought in criminal cases by a Knight charged by the Justice(s) to do so, or offenders committed to a Knight’s custody. A local Knight can be discharged to inspect the scene of a crime or examine the wounds of a victim of assault. He can be discharged to act in the same capacity as the shire Coroner, gathering information and keeping the record of serious crime prior to trial by royal justice.

“Solidly-based” Knights called on as judges for the Assizes and for Gaol Delivery, or commissioned for assessing and collecting local taxes, taking control of the King’s escheats and wards of the shire, or to inspect the shire’s castles and make report to the government on any defects, as in the case of John de Ladbroke, of the village of Ladbroke.

He might be sent by Justices to view and make report on letters of complaint received.

A jury of 12 Knights is required to hold a grand Assize. Four law-worthy Knights must be summoned by the Sheriff to appear before the justices to elect those 12.

The record of a plea determined in a county court when needed in a royal court must be carried by a Knight. In cases of concords subsequently challenged, a record is required from the local Knights. Essoins of sickness (excuses not to attend court) at the third summons to court requires the dispatch of four Knights of the Shire to verify illness.

In cases of novel disseisin, juries must be composed of Knights, as well in all cases touching on the king’s interests. Survey and valuation of land in dispute must always be made by local Knights.

Local Knights will always keep the field and adjudicate all cases of judicial duel. The record of the wager of battle must be made by four local Knights at the royal capital before any duel.

A prominent Knight might serve as a Justice of Oyer and Terminer; as Sheriff; as a Purveyancer (procuring and organizing the supplies for the royal troops), though high profile Merchants are also preferred due to ability, that being the substance of their trade; Knights of the Shire to Parliament, bringing the petitions from their constituents; Commissioners of Array with contracts of indenture to provide troops in peace and war or for the tourneys, or in the household and tourney, for life or a specified term of years.

Sacred Knights

When groups of Knights gather under the patronage of the Church, sworn to holy orders as stringent as those of any monk, as well as oaths of fealty and service, the Knight is known for the purposes of the game as a Sacred Knight, or by the common name for his order (as illustrated below). By this sponsorship, the Church glorifies the war hero, makes of him a blessed champion, a veritable saint when martyred in battle, his place in heaven assured if he should die while serving the Church on the field of honor.

These orders in which the Sacred Knights are organized share many traits in common, notably all the same social restrictions and expectations to which secular knights are subject, but the style and form of the religious obligations to which they are subject vary from one order to the next, as in the example of the Knights of the Hospital of St. John (The Hospitallers), Poor Soldiers of Christ of the Temple of Solomon (Knights Templar), Teutonic Knights of the Hospital of St. Mary of Jerusalem (Teutonic Knights), Knights of St. Lazarus, Livonian Brothers of the Sword (The Livonian Order), and so on. Indeed, these differences may bring the orders to stand at odds on occasion, as the Franciscan and Dominican monks were in the High Middle Ages, but under the auspices of the Church they are sworn never to cross swords with any of the faithful.

While all Sacred Knight orders historically required all applicants to already possess the state of knighthood, the orders take in common warriors under the same vows who are referred to as Sergeants.

The GM also has the option of stipulating for his game world that the orders may knight those applying if they find their skills sufficient to the honor and glory of the order and the needs of the Church.

The Sergeants wear the same colors as their brothers, the knights, and have much the same duties and responsibilities, but usually a greater share of the domestic duties of the house, as well as eating in a separate hall and being housed in a separate dormitory by the order, in deference to the Knights’ greater status. The Sergeants serving alongside the Sacred Knights have the same opportunities to earn their gilded spurs on the field of battle of any other common Warrior, as well.

The name of knight describing this trade for the purposes of the game is literal, not merely figurative. There is a grand mystique surrounding knighthood and it is primarily one of glory, born of the virtue of ardimen (bravery and courage in battle). Service in battle, to defend the land and its people from invaders, is the purpose and place of all knights, the source of their political power, wealth and influence, but even more, of their honor.

The furs called “the vair and the grey” are exclusive to knights and may be worn by no other class. These are the mottled white, gray and brown belly furs and the gray back furs, respectively, of the northern squirrel. No matter high, great or powerful the lord, be he prince, earl or duke, if he has not been knighted he may not wear those furs.

Knighthood and the orders of Chivalry, the right to wear the golden spurs, are exclusive even among the ranks of nobles, in a similar manner that lordship is exclusive. Not all knights are lords, and not all lords are knights.

While proof of descent from the blood of Lords is sufficient for training and receipt of knighthood, only the first-born son of the noble knight who lacks a lordship is eligible to be trained and knighted by blood right after his father. Any younger sons of that knight may train and serve as Squires, but they must earn knighthood through service, especially by distinguishing themselves on the battlefield, if indeed they aspire to it. The first-born sons of those Squires bear the same right to be trained and take knighthood as their eldest uncle, so it is possible for the rank of knight to skip a generation in a given branch of the family.

If any branch of a knightly family fails to train for and earn the gilded spurs of knighthood for three generations in succession, that branch loses that right thenceforth. They simply become “gentlemen”. This does not mean that they have no privileges, they still have access through their family to positions in great lordly houses as clerks or officers, and their children may be taken in as pages and grow into positions of their own in the household, perhaps eventually recovering knighthood through service, too.

Those Squires who train for but never achieve the gilded spurs of knighthood have the title “Squire” added before their names, or “Esquire” tacked on after.

The fortunes of the branches of the family that do not take knighthood generally fall as they grow apart from the origins of their knightly heritage, and the estate of knighthood is expensive to take up and maintain. These restrictive practices are a major contributing factor to c. 25% of all noble bloodlines failing in the direct line of descent every 100 years or so. If the GM follows the historic model used here, Sacred Knights contribute to the rate of demise of noble bloodlines by the standard vow of chastity imposed on all monks, including warrior-monks such as they.

According to ecclesiastical historian Orderic Vitalis, the Knight is most often reluctant to kill his fellow knights out of fear of the Light and due to a common fellowship of arms, as described for Squires. He should pity his prisoners and allow them to go free on parole when they have provided sureties for their ransom. The good Knight gives largesse and alms to the poor and indigent, and stands as a protector of monks and priests, the weak, and pilgrims. The renowned medieval author Chrètien de Troyes had this to say of largesse in his 12th century romance “Cligés”:

“‘Dear son,’ he said, ‘believe me when I tell you that largesse is the queen and lady who brightens all Virtues, and this is not difficult to prove. Where could one find a man who, no matter how powerful or rich, would not be reproached if he were miserly? What man has so many other good qualities–excepting only God’s grace–that largesse would not increase his fame? Largesse alone makes one a worthy man, not high birth, courtesy, wisdom, gentility, riches, strength, chivalry, boldness, power, beauty, or any other gift. But just as the rose, when it buds fresh and new, is more beautiful than any other flower, so largesse, whenever it appears, surpasses all other Virtues and causes the good qualities it finds in a worthy man who comports himself well to be increased five-hundred fold. There is so much to be said of largesse that I could not tell you the half.”

Service is part of the Knightly ethos, one of the major sources of a knight’s status. The Knight’s place in society often goes hand in hand with the skills of the Courtier, as described in his training as a Squire, for the Knight’s career outside of battle is one of service, especially to his feudal superiors. If the Knight is successful enough to earn the traditional Knight’s Fee (a manor of at least 480 acres, or fief) of his own, the nature of the service expands, as he becomes a “law-worthy knight” and is drawn into the network of Knights in the same district who help with the tasks of local government and justice.

A definite line is drawn in society between Knights who fight for their bread caring for horse, weapons and arms and the Courtier-Knights, however. On the background tables the latter are denoted as Knights of the Bath, also known in the period of the game as “Holy Mary’s Knights”. Even the law acknowledges the difference between these. The insolvent fighting Knight can not be deprived of his war-harness or steed(s) by legal distraint of his moveable property, where the Knight who earns his bread by (political) service at court rather than arms, a Knight of the Bath, would be allowed to retain only his horse under the same circumstances. Battle-seasoned fighting Knights commonly hold their gentler counterparts who may have either no battle skills or no battle experience in a certain amount of contempt. Those who merely profess to fight are generally considered to be men of little or no honor by those who risk their lives exercising their ancient right and privilege, the source of their power and authority. It is an expression of the conflict between their martial roots and trends towards gentility and the rise of politics in medieval society, as mentioned in the Troubadour trade description.

The rise of the knight in his trade, before ever he takes his sacred vows as a monk, is a long and arduous odyssey. Having gone through it as the natural and necessary process to becoming a Sacred Knight, however, it is very important that the player be familiar with it as the being part and parcel of his character’s background. If the character came to the status of knight from low birth and/or relatively late in age, he still must have “caught-up” with his peers in achieving this state, and the player should know what that process entails.

On Becoming a Knight

The process of attaining knighthood usually starts about the age of seven to eight, or as young as age five, with the child being sent to be educated in the hall of an ally or liege-lord, as a Page. The position of page has been ennobled by the passage of time. It was originally used to designate a servant of low position, even a cook’s assistant or a lowly messenger boy, as late as the early 1400’s.

William Marshal, son of John Marshal the provisioner of King Henry I (1100-1135) will be used as a point of reference and example in discussing knightly training and the knight’s career. John was in wealth a very minor lord, holding only c. seven knight’s fees, and hereditary Marshal of the king’s household. Like many other aspiring knights, William looked forward to getting no inheritance, being John marshal’s youngest son. Young William started his training in noble society at about the age of eight. As customary in the houses of the nobility, William was fostered in the hall of one of his father’s kinsmen, the great lord William of Tancarville, a cousin. Not all knightly families have the opportunity to foster their children elsewhere, especially in such a prestigious house, and so have to train their own sons. Young William worked as a servant in Lord Tancarville’s hall, serving at the high table and required to help with the chores of the household that were in keeping with his dignity as the son of a titled man,

The Page must learn to be gentle and polite, to enter a room with grace and good manner, to greet all with a modest “God speed you”, an d not to stare at folk or look too boldly so as to challenge or give offense. They must learn to stand straight and tall, and do so quietly, not to slouch or lean against the wall, post, or jamb, and not to handle or fidget with things. Before their lords they must descend to one knee with grace. They must speak only when spoken to, unless they ask first for permission, by which very act they may make themselves seem to be too forward and so must take care to be humble. When responding to their lords they must first make obeisance to them for the honor of recognition by them. These good graces are learned indoors, primarily from the ladies of the household, the master’s wife and her ladies-in-waiting.

In short, all Knights are encouraged in their training to cultivate the social graces of the Courtier, as well. The two Trades go hand in hand.

All Pages must also learn to sit a horse and are provided one to care for and learn to ride. Many are also provided a hawk to care for and learn to fly, as falconry is another art of the knight, a mark of noble blood and breeding. Pages are sometimes used to carry messages, a happy occasion when the news is good, for it is a chance to get out from under the harsh eye of the master and be well-rewarded, for it is customary for both sender and received to offer a gift or coin in gratuity. Lack of physical strength usually keeps the Pages from entering into the service of a knight as a Squire until they reach the age of 12.

William Marshal was admitted to the ranks of Squires when he reached his teens, sometime between the ages of 12 and 14 years, according to custom. The position and distinction of the office of Squire were developed at the turn of the 1100’s, as they gradually gained the honor of serving only knights. Originally squires were the lowest servants of the armies, nothing more than villeins and serfs charged with the lowest duties.

Young gentlemen of devolved knightly blood are also eligible to be raised as pages. By age 12-14, when he has achieved sufficient size and strength, the Page is inducted as a Squire, apprenticed to a knight who will train him in the arts of combat, strategy, and tactics.

The Squire is known by his silver spurs.

Squirehood

When the Page becomes a Squire, donning the silver spurs, his household chores take a lesser role to his responsibility for keeping the arms and weapons of the Knight who is his master clean and rust free and for currying and sometimes exercising his war steed(s), as well as his training in the use of the lance, (long-) sword, shield, the wearing of mail, and perfecting his Horseman skills.

Pages and Squires are clothed and armed by their masters until they can sit a horse securely and carry both lance and sword (c. age 11-12). The Squire is charged with learning the arts of falconry and of the hunt, although NOT the skills of the hunter and of the officers whose place it is to facilitate the hunt, embodied in the Huntsmen trade.

They are schooled in the strategies of chess, and in the finer courts even to learn an instrument and to chant or sing the ballads and deeds of the heroes of Chivalry in good voice. In short, again, the Knight is encouraged to become skilled in the social arts and graces that make of him good company, able to make the lords and his fellow knights “good cheer”, alongside his skills of war. The finding of a place in the household of a wealthy lord and making of good cheer for him and his fellows is a rung on the ladder of the Knight’s career that embodies the apex for many. And for those who achieve that, even a lordship is not too high to aim.

Squires must learn from the stable master to curry the master’s horse(s) and also their own, see that they are kept in good shoes, and work with his master’s beastmaster to break in any new young horses the master may acquire by purchase or conquest, hence the availability of the Husbandman-Beastmaster trade – or Husbandman alone if the full scope of Beastmastery doesn’t interest the player. Once he dons the golden spurs, the Knight need not maintain these skills, and many do allow them to fail, relying on the men in their retinues to attend to those duties. Either way, once Knighthood is achieved, some means for providing the care of his horse(s) must be secured in play.

The Squire is never far from his master unless sent away to attend to or accomplish some matter of his business. He greets his Knight on rising, preparing and attending to his bath, waiting on him at table, and seeing him to bed every night, sleeping on a straw tick or pallet close by his master’s bed, or in the antechamber to his master’s chamber. He must receive his master’s guests, relieve them of their arms and attend to their comforts and entertain them as if they were themselves his masters.

In battle, the Squire is forbidden to touch the master’s sword, which often is also a reliquary containing a small relic of some saint, perhaps a memento of a personal or ancestral pilgrimage. Squires are forbidden to wear a helm of coat of mail or to carry a lance in battle.

At the tourneys, no more than three armed Squires are allowed to accompany each knightly combatant. These are required to wear their lord’s sign or coat of arms and only limited armor. Most commonly, a Squire wears a padded or studded leather garment called a gambeson or aketon. He is limited in his involvement in the melée, bearing broadsword only and fighting only with a javelin or quarterstaff. However, in service to their knights, they are considered non-combatants on the battlefield. Regardless, their responsibilities on the battlefield are very real. The Squire must provide replacements for lost or broken weapons from his master’s pavilion, help with repairs to his mount’s bridle, saddle, and harness, bring in fresh horses, or even to protect his master from capture if he should be knocked down and stunned or injured.

Only those Squires close and regular enough in attendance to be accustomed to carve a lord’s meat (Squires of the Body, senior-most) are allowed at the tournament festivities in the evenings. When or out riding on the hunt and especially in the melee at the many tournaments his master may attend, his duties are much the same.

In case of conflict with his master or any other Knight, the Squire has NO rights to offer battle. He cannot demand duel with him, and is forbidden to even engage any Knight in battle. He is beneath their dignity.

The Squire’s term of service as described lasts five to seven years, occasionally longer, but most commonly seven, ending only when the Squire reaches the age of majority, commonly acknowledged to be 21. Occasionally it is shorter, but it may depend on the customs of the country, and the Squire’s rank by birth and political situation.

The sons of lords are generally knighted at a given age, whatever the legal majority is in that society, as low as 12 among the Salians, but generally 15 among the Germans, and 20 or 21 in accordance with old Roman law in France and England.

Due to the laws of primogeniture, under which only the first born male child can inherit, the heir to a lordship is generally knighted at 17 or 18 so he may assume his responsibilities and continue being trained to assume his father’s position. The younger sons and heirs of lesser lordships generally wait to 20 or 21, however. Younger sons of lords are portionless, without inheritance, and have to have some means of earning their livelihood. Knighthood is the solution for many of them, as war is the province of their class, but a Church education for many others is common, leading to a number of different opportunities.

Philip the Fair was knighted at age 16, but his political position required it. He had succeeded to the throne of the Kingdom of Navarre, in the mountains between Spain and France, and it “was not meet” or considered proper that a reigning monarch should be excluded from the ranks of Chivalry. When the candidate attains no such high office at a young age, the general fashion of knighting at 20 or 21 obtained, as it did with Philip the Fair’s own sons.

The Squire’s apprenticeship is long and hard, and over the years the Squire generally becomes very close to his master, developing a relationship as strong as any true family bond. No Knight who has even a single shred of honor dares raise his hand against the man under whom he served as Squire, a prohibition that can endure for years, if not for life, after leaving his household. In addition, there is a sense of fraternity between those who have risen to the estate of Knight. Out of respect for the hardships and training they all have suffered and the rank attained, they are loath to slay their peers. This does not stop them from confiscating all arms and weapons, horses, and the equipment in victory over their peers, and ransoming them afterwards. When sureties are provided, it is common for the hostage to be paroled on his own recognizance, however.

Due to the means necessary to maintain the lifestyle, many Squires remain at that social rank for some years before taking on the mantle of Knighthood. This is so prevalent, in fact, that it is common practice for the Crown not only to offer mass knightings on special occasions such as the knighting of royal princes and the eves before embarking on important royal campaigns or battles, but also for the Crown to pay for the various accoutrements required for the ceremony, easily as rich as the lifestyle expected of a Knight in itself.

The Making of a Knight

This text is provided so each player of a Knight character knows and understands what his character has been through to get where he stands at the start of play, and also as a guide or template if any character should be lucky enough to earn the prestigious rank of knight once play has commenced.

Knighting ceremonies are generally held on holy fête days, when the churches draw their greatest crowds. Easter and Whitsunday are the most popular fêtes for dubbing knights. The occasions of weddings and royal baptisms are commonly expanded to include the dubbing of knights. Most choose to be knighted on the anniversary of their own father’s dubbing, however, especially among lesser Lords and the gentry – simple Knights.

Knights of less distinguished families are often created at the dubbing of the sons of other knights, while the dubbing of royalty and distinguished nobility is commonly accompanied by the dubbing 20, 50, or even as many as 100 other new knights as an honor guard. The dubbing of a large honor guard is an expensive and extravagant luxury, as the expenses for the war-harness and costly garments of silk and brocade for the ceremony are paid for by the family of the chief-most lord whose son is to be dubbed.

Trained Squires awaiting knighthood are often knighted on the eve of a great battle, as fighting men are always in demand, especially on the eve of a great royal campaign. Knighting on the field of battle after a heroic showing is often preferred, however, and can often include men of common or even base (landbound) birth. William Marshal finally earned his knighthood at the age of 21, on the eve of a battle when William’s uncle, Lord William of Tancarville, in whose court young William trained, needed to gather men. Before the French defeat at Agincourt, nearly 500 new knights were made. In contrast, the great majority of knights are created in times of peace. The dubbing of a knight is a great occasion for reuniting families which may have been scattered throughout the government, the Church, and the noble families of the realm.

The postulant or novice Knight elects to have either a military knighting or a liturgical ceremony. the military ritual is performed either on the meadows surrounding a castle or on the top of the steps leading to the keep. In the case of a liturgical ceremony, the church of the closest monastery or whatever local religious foundation the family commonly supports is usually patronized.

While every knight theoretically has the power to create another knight, in practice, all candidates by blood look to either their fathers, uncles, or the noble in whose court they took their training for knighthood to perform that ritual for them. Sometimes the liege-lord of the candidate’s father is chosen over a family member, to further cement the tie of the family to it’s lord. The king himself ((or emperor in regards to Germany) might be sought out to deliver that honor, but the previously described old custom (the father elevating his own son) prevailed more often, particularly for younger sons and lesser lords who were trained in the arts of Chivalry at home. In England in particular, the king was eventually able to enforce his right as the ultimate liege-lord of every nobleman of the realm, to become the sole source of knighthood in practice.

The knighting ceremony is called the Ceremony of Investiture. It is a very expensive event usually only enjoyed by the eldest son, unless his family has great wealth, for they must foot the cost for it. This is especially true when the Knight is to be dubbed by the king, for the parents must pay not only for the ceremony itself, but for the attendance of and even greater pomp required in entertaining the king.

There are several parallels between the ceremony of investiture for dubbing a Knight and the marriage ceremony. As the trousseau of the bride is laid out before the wedding, the clothing, spurs, and robes of the aspiring knight are laid out a day beforehand. Gifts are opened and admired and any particularly nice ones sent to the young man are displayed in the hall. At the spread of the news of the knighting, troubadors or minstrels, jongleurs, players, animal leaders and entertainers of all types begin to gather. Those who are rewarded may attach themselves to the knight’s company as long as his gifts and goodwill are forthcoming, even permanently. The presence of such a person in his retinue enhances his social presence and reputation. It can be a lucrative living for them. The poor make a point of visiting the hall of the soon-to-be Knight in search of alms knowing that this special event is a ripe one for the distribution of the largesse of the house.

On the evening two days prior to the investiture, the aspirant’s hair is cut, a symbol of dedication. For the military ritual a single lock may be considered sufficient, but for the ecclesiastical ceremony the aspirant’s head is shaved in a priest’s tonsure (from the crown in a circle, leaving only a fringe). Afterwards the aspirant undergoes a luxurious bath sprinkled with perfumes and rose petals, followed with a massage of expensive scented oils. The bath for the military ceremony may not be quite so rich, unless the family can afford it, but it is a happy affair nonetheless. In the ecclesiastical investiture, the bath is analogous to the anointing undergone when first entering the ranks of the religious, the washing away of the Knight’s sins (baptism). Laughter is prohibited in bath for the ecclesiastical investiture, as is idle chatter, and the massage is forgone as being too worldly a pleasure. An air of gravity prevails, but underneath is a strong current of excitement and happy anticipation. Stepping from the bath, the aspirant may retire to bed, symbol of the ease and comfort he will enjoy if he serves Chivalry, Honor, and the Church well. On rising in the morning, he dresses in the robes for the ceremony.

The candidate preparing for the military ceremony begins preparations the morning of the day before the investiture, proceeding directly from the bath to the ceremonial robes.

For the ceremony, the aspirant is dressed first in a long, white linen tunic with long sleeves, a symbol of his honor and the beginning of a new life free from any sins of the past. For the military ceremony, the tunic may be any color, but generally purple for those of royalty (an association left over from the Roman past) and the “small clothes” underneath this likely of silk. Over this he dons a red hooded robe, signifying the blood he must be prepared to shed and lose himself in the service of the Light, the needs of honor, of King, of country. For the military ceremony this robe may be rich, indeed, lined or trimmed in the grey and the vair, in miniver, or the royal ermine, and need not be red, but may even be of cloth-of-gold if his family can afford it. Last he is wrapped in a black coat representing the death which will one day claim him.

The day before the ceremony, a 24-hour fast is begun. In the evening of the day before the investiture, a younger brother or other young relative carries the Knight’s sword to the nearest religious house and lays it upon the alter, where it will remain for the night. Later, in company with any who may be dubbed alongside him, the aspirant says a little farewell to his family and rides to the church where his sword rests to undergo the Vigil of Arms. It is a wearisome task, 10 hours of steady prayer, meditation, and devotions centering on the honor to be received, the glory to be achieved, the very nature of Chivalry and the Virtues it requires of them, all contained in the Creed of their faith. The entire 10 hours is spent either standing or kneeling on the chill stone floor, never sitting. Neither is the aspirant allowed to speak through the whole vigil, and his fast must endure until after he returns home in the morning – a titanic task for a young man full of anticipation!

All aspirants regardless of the type of ceremony of investiture they will undergo must endure the Vigil of Arms. For the Knight entering a sacred order, it will be the second such investiture he will have undergone, for (historically) all orders of Sacred Knights require the Knight first to have achieved knighthood before he is allowed to enter. The GM is, of course, able to change this detail, allowing the Church to make Knights of its own – this puts Throne and Altar at odds, however. The Crown jealously guards it’s feudal prerogatives, and the right to create a Knight is the embodiment of a military feudal right.

The major difference between the Sacred Knight and the secular Knight is that the secular Knight follows the dictates of the Creed of the Light provide him with guidelines of behavior he adheres to in accordance with his own conscience, for good or ill, and which as a class the Knights largely apply only in their dealings with their peers and the greater nobles. The Sacred Knight, on the other hand, is bound by Vows of a religious order in the same manner as a monk.

On the morning of the day of the investiture, the aspiring Knight and any companions to also be dubbed make their confession to the chaplain or priest (as applicable to the religion of the GM’s gameworld). Afterwards a high mass or grand religious service is celebrated, and the candidate(s) take the Sacrament (or it’s analogue in the GM’s gameworld). He boisterously returns to the hall afterwards, the gravity of the event only partially subduing him. In the hall the fast is broken with a light meal – good white bread and perhaps some venison.

The candidate then appears before the crowd gathered for the occasion and enjoys their welcoming cheers and cries of well-wishes. The trumpets sound, the minstrels play, and then he descends to the carpet or patch of straw laid in the courtyard or in the field before the castle, and all fall silent. His sponsor questions his motives in seeking knighthood, that it not be for vain glory or the pursuit of riches. It is the sponsors responsibility to guard against persons of low character seeking the noble offices of knighthood (regardless of right by noble blood). In the ceremony of investiture, the postulant to knighthood may have as many as five sponsors – usually reserved for the honor of princes, dukes, counts, and earls), one to fasten each spur onto the candidate, one to gird him with his sword, one to deliver the paumée or colée (clout or blow with a fist), and the last to present his steed. Those of lesser birth might have only two persons to perform these offices. Of course, the higher the rank of the candidate, the higher the rank of the sponsors who attend him at his investiture.

The Sacred Knight’s investiture takes place in a church, and a priest delivers a short sermon on the duties and the life of the Knight before the sponsor questions him, perhaps the same priest who will be or has been the Knights teacher in religion. An official of the Church becomes the sponsor of the young Knight – Bishop, Arch-Bishop, Prelate, according to the candidate’s social rank.

The gold or gilded spurs are fastened first in the investiture. If ever he be proven dishonored, the Knight’s spurs are hacked off at the heels – a terrible fate. The hauberk is donned next, and then the helm (usually nasal helm or great helm), studded on the top or at the jointures with semi-precious stones, according to the purse of the candidate’s family. The girding of the sword is the focus of attention and a moment of high emotion for the new Knight, who until that moment has until then been forbidden to even touch it.

The candidate then bends his head for the colée, or blow, after which the sponsor brings forth the steed. The colée, or paumée as it is also called, is a rough clout upon the neck delivered by whomever the aspirant has chosen as sponsor to dub him. This not a gentle blow, but is intended to stagger the young Knight, sometimes bringing him to his knees or even knocking him to the ground. With the clout comes some simple phrase such as “Be thou a good Knight!” or the pious “Love God!”, but a lengthy evocation of the Knight’s responsibilities is also occasionally used, “Be thou brave and upright; remember that you sprang from a race which should never be false. Honor all Knights; be liberal to the poor; love God; and may [the Light] protect you from all your enemies. Go forth!”

The Church, which blesses all oaths of knighthood, commands all knights, sacred and secular, to defend it (the Church) and to turn his sword ceaselessly without mercy against its foes. In return he is promised the certainty of a heavenly reward, borne thence by the angels themselves. The knights are exhorted to avoid all Vice and base actions, to love Truth above all else, to defend the righteous and avenge injustice, to be humble and courteous in all things. One such oath:

“By [the Light], before whom these relics are holy, I will be loyal to (lord’s name and title), and love all he loves, and hate all that he hates, in accordance with [the Light’s] rights and secular obligations; and never, willingly and intentionally, in word or deed, do anything that is hateful to him; on condition that he keep me as I shall deserve, and carry out all that was our agreement, when I subjected myself to him and chose his favor.”

Further sentiments:

“[The Light] commanded that a lord should be loved as oneself …” and “All we ever do, through just loyalty to our lord, we do to our own great advantage, for truly [the Light] will be gracious to him who is duly faithful to his lord.”

According to the noted clergyman John of Salisbury, the prime qualities of the Knight were first Obedience, then Physical Strength, Endurance, Courage, then Sobriety, and finally Frugality of Life, or Temperance. In the oath of the Romance Knights, they swore to protect damsels, widows, and orphans, and all those seeking aid in just quarrels. The player of the sacred Knight character in RoM must pay strict attention to the 7 Virtues set forth previously, avoiding the 7 deadly Vices.

Failing to achieve these standards is common among secular knights, their vanity, greed and lust were commonly held up to ridicule by the chroniclers of the Church, historically. Among the Sacred Knights, such short-comings carry very real punitive consequences, which in some cases might hinder any mystical powers the Sacred Knight would otherwise be able to exercise freely, and ultimately including expulsion from the order.

In the author’s game, the phrase “May this be the only blow you ever fail to answer in kind. Be thou a good Knight!” was used. In England, this ceremony was commonly performed without the clout, or sans paumée. Over time, especially in regards the ecclesiastical ceremony, the clout became a light touch or tap.

Towards the end of the ceremony, the new Knight vaults into the saddle with a flourish. It is a matter of pride that the new Knight leap into the saddle without touching a stirrup, or sans étreir. When the Knight is astride his mount, the shield, painted with his family arms, is awarded him, along with a fine lance. He then gallops around the field to display his prowess for the crowd – and he must gallop! It is one of the elements of the ritual most ardently insisted upon. The new Knight then addresses the lists to tilt at the quintain, the final exhibition of his skill. Sometimes two quintains are set up, one behind the other, to increase the difficulty of the test, but as many as four or five quintains (extremely rare) may be used to prove the strength of the doughty. If successful, the Squire then is finally acknowledged as a Knight. Threats of being disinherited are not uncommon to ensure the success of the pass at the quintain in the end.

If there are several Knights created at the ceremony, they put on a mock combat for the crowd, fencing from horseback, the host of the ceremony brings it to a halt before any are seriously wounded.

After the ceremony, the guests are treated to as many as seven days of feasting, entertainments, and other merry-making, including the distribution of such gifts as the new Knight and his family can afford to all the guests to celebrate the grand event.

The Blessings of a Sacred Knight

All knights, including Knights in sacred Orders, are fully trained in the skills of battle in the same manner described for Trade Warriors.

While every effort has been made to ensure that each and every character has an opportunity to learn to swing a weapon of some sort, or fire a bow or hurl a sling or other such weapons, and also to provide the opportunities to cultivate Brawling and wrestling skills so that all have the means for self-protection, to at least stand their ground in a pitched battle, it is VERY important to understand that there is a great deal more to being a member of one of the Warrior trades than simply swinging a weapon.

Characters opting to follow one of these trades are the product of either some type of school or the tutelage of a particular master. Both sorts of training were widely available across England in the period of the game despite the legislation actually enacted against them in the period. The people were expected to participate in the Fyrd or Militia, and thus at least rudimentary training was made available to them. The Warrior trades are quoted a standard length of apprenticeship in character creation like the rest of the trades, BUT any such training was always at will and subject to the student’s ability to pay the tuition, like any other school, while the apprenticeship to a fighting master is considered equally informal but rather more serious in terms of commitment. This trade represents the efforts of those who pursued this path in favor of any other, and the benefits that accrue.

The real difference between the Warrior by Trade and those that merely swing a weapon for self defense is one of interest and commitment. Those outside the trade are dilettantes with a passing interest. Those within the trade are in it for life, to keep them alive on the battlefield, where they expect their fortune to be found or made. To parallel that commitment is their interest in the martial training, in not only weapons and their various regional variations and differing forms by nationality, but the styles in which they are used and also the men who created and teach (or taught) those styles and made them famous. Some of the greatest styles are described in detail with illustrations in costly books to be handed down – some of them considered useful and instructive standards widely known and observed even a couple hundred years after the original master’s death.

The specific skills for the different types of attacks (Slash, Thrust, Lunge, Aimed Strike, Disarm, Feint, Hearty Blow, and Charge) are provided to allow the character to hone his weapon skills in detail (as applicable, where those optional rules are in play,) as an expression of his own personal style, as a Wizard does with his Five Arts, his cantrips, spells, and rituals, and all his various charms.

A character with the formal training of this trade is allowed a bonus to ALL his attack AV’s and defense DV’s based on the SL of his Game Face skill, as it gradually stills any habitual movements he might make that might give his intended next move or strike away to his opponent. His Savvy skill provides the measure of how well he can read an opponent, especially his body language, and also provides a bonus to ALL attack AV’s and defense DV’s based on that SL. Those of other trades may learn these techniques from those among this trade willing to teach, but the Warrior, Huntsman, and Assassin trades are the only ones allowed to use those skills for such bonuses from the start of play.

The Combinations skills on the skills roster provide a means of using tactics that illustrate a knowledge of fighting styles only available to those who have shown a commitment to pursuing a trade in the arts of war. The Warrior and Assassin trades are the only ones with access to those skills at the start of play.

 

Sacred Knight
Shield *
Shield Bash
Rim Strike
Weapons † 10) *
(Common Strike)
Slash
Thrust/Lunge
Aimed Strike
(Entangle)
Disarm
Feint
Hearty Blow *
Charge
Combinations
Dual Attack
Dual Defense
Attack/Defense
Literatus & Scrivener *(P)
OR Secretary (P)
OR Grammar School (P)
OR Finishing School (P)
Linguist (P)
Scholar’s Tongue
Open Skills
Brawler/Wrestler
Dodge (AGL)
Game Face (HRT)
Perception (AWA)
Savvy
Search
Sentry
Presence (CHM)
Coerce
Command/Leadership
Interview/Interrogate

The (Common Strike) entry is in parenthesis because it is not a separate skill in the same manner that Disarming, Feint, Aimed, etc. attacks are, but is subsumed in the basic Weapon skill. Being able to attack is part of that skill, already filling an AWA-slot. The (Entangle) attack skill is intrinsic to taking a dueling cape, net (after the gladiator’s fashion), etc. skill in the same fashion. Generally speaking, entangling weapons can only be used for Entangling attacks, unless the player can come up with some use by means of the Brawling skill to do otherwise. For those weapons designated as being solely Thrusting weapons (estoc, for example), the Thrust/Lunge skill is substituted for the Common Strike in the same manner, because that is the primary use of the weapon.

The balance of the attack skills listed are subject to AWA-slot limitations, normally.

Violence is an accepted and unavoidable part of the true Warrior’s life, and for those who live by it, a simple fact of life whose religious and spiritual ramifications offer little, if any, deterrent. Indeed, a Squire or other Warrior is expected to be hit hard enough to knock him to the ground no less than 20 times during his trials and training before he is ever considered ready to face battle.

Thus, a Warrior’s will to survive is tempered to a steely edge. He becomes inured to pain and privation over the course of his career, and is no stranger to the ivory grin of death. Warriors learn to endure and even dismiss discomforts that would wear others down, and even the pain of injuries or wounds.

The Warrior’s training provides him with a bonus of (TR) to his P-RES score for the purposes of resisting numbing bodily shocks when struck and maintaining consciousness in the face of the pain of his wounds and in resisting extreme fatigue (if the optional END rules are in play) and the effects of exposure to the elements (heat, cold).

Another benefit of the Warrior’s Trade training comes in the form of a bonus of (1 per 4 TR’s) to the character’s wound allowance for each level of wounding, in turn (OR to his BP’s, if those optional rules are in play).

A (TR) bonus is added to his END score, where that optional rule is in use, and his TR is also added to his CND for the purposes of determining how quickly he recovers his END points (but ONLY for that purpose).

With their trade training providing such benefits, it is small wonder that Warriors are rather commonly noted for their callous lack of sympathy in regards to the complaints uttered by others when suffering physical hardships.

During the Warrior’s Trade training he learns to compensate for and work with his armor, to develop his fighting style that allows him to maximize it’s strengths, but mostly he becomes conditioned to the oppressive heat that can accumulate under it in the midst of a fight, rather more so than those who lack the same intensive training in arms that this trade represents. No strangers are these characters to having to be ready for action on a moment’s notice, or to taking their shifts on Sentry duty, and so inured to discomfort and physical hardship do they become, over time.

The Warrior is allowed to recover his END points normally, provided that optional rule is in play, if he should have a chance to cat-nap or even fall truly asleep while still wearing his armor, unlike those of other Trades.

The Sacred Knight is commonly perceived as and referred to as a “Warrior-monk”, part of a group separate from their secular brother knights. This was especially true in the case of the historic Templars. But beyond simple religion, the order and the faith, there is a touch of the truly divine that clings to the Sacred Knight. He follows a calling closely akin to that followed by a Mystic, and lays upon him like a mantle of Light. There is so strong a tradition and dedication to their spiritual life and duties that Sacred Knights are actually endowed with and develop certain Mystic-like benefits for the purposes of the game. At the apex of his career he may even become blessed with the same abilities as a true Mystic. This sets him apart even from his brother Sacred Knights, who may strive to walk in his footsteps, with but few ever succeeding. The Sacred Knight as defined for the purposes of the game is as rare as the true Mystic, and cannot help but stand out from among his fellows, as the ordained priest who is also a Mystic must stand out. The Sacred Knight as defined here may even be referred to by the fellow knights of his own order as being a mystic by nature (note the lowercase “m”), following the same ways and Path, despite that fact that for the bulk of his career as a knight he must go through a transformation that only in the end culminates with achieving true Mystic status (note the uppercase “M”).

The mantle of the Light laying upon the Sacred Knight has a direct effect on the spirit and morale of those alongside whom they make a stand in battle and can have palpable effects on those to whom they extend moral support in making difficult decisions. The passion and spiritual fervor and dedication to the service of Deity and Mother Church helps protect the Sacred Knights from the temptations of the Vices, the tools of the world of Shadow and Darkness by which good folk are seduced, making of them true beacons of spiritual fire that those darkling enemies cannot abide,

In practice, whenever his prowess, honor or Virtue as a knight is challenged, especially in his role as a representative of the Light, the Sacred Knight becomes surrounded by a subtly sparkling nimbus, a Hero’s Aura.

This is visible to any and all on-lookers. There is always a gleam in the Sacred Knight’s eye, an errant lance of sunlight to limn him and pick him out of the crowd, surrounding him with a shining corona that brings him to the immediate attention of his comrades when he isleading the charge into battle. The wind will always sweep his cloak back and make it billow majestically. It is all part of the Sacred Knight mystique.The visible marks of his status as a holy warrior blessed by the Light is undeniable.

This Aura provides the Sacred Knight with a [(CHM att. mod.) + (TR)] bonus to the AV for morale checks of all compatriots who cannot help but be inspired by him.

In the same vein, the same [(CHM att. mod.) + (TR)] bonus is added to the DV for any morale checks required for the Sacred Knight’s enemies to stand against him, or break and retreat in a rout.

Sacred Knights receive a (TR) bonus to his M-RES when subjected to the magickal powers of spirits and creatures of Shadow and Darkness, and also those of any mortal being attacking him by magickal means who walk in the Shadow of Vice or are committed to the Darkness.

In the same vein, all Sacred Knights receive a (TR) bonus to be applied in making HRT checks to resist the temptations of the world any time he is faced with Vice.

The most common application of the divine Power that lays upon a Sacred Knight is for the Laying on of Hands upon one of the faithful, whether it be family member, trusted compatriot or a complete but worthy stranger, and taking a moment (no less than a whole CS, during which time no other action may be taken) to share a prayer with him, invoking and bestowing his blessing.

This can provide a bonus to any of the subject’s AV’s for whatsoever task he may assay, this starts at one (1) at the end of the first CS and builds by one (1) at the end of every CS he continues to pray with the faithful, to a limit of (SPT att. mod.) or (TR), whichever is greater.

How long this Blessing lasts depends on the nature of the segment of the story in which it is employed (GM’s discretion).

It may last until the next single task attempted is accomplished, if it was invoked to get some truly pivotal task accomplished, or for the duration of a single battle (to be joined soon after), especially when the Mystic and his cohorts are about to face the Unrighteous in some manner.

The Sacred Knight’s touch and blessing in the Laying on of Hands may also be used instead to comfort and calm beasts and beings in an agitated state, removing terror, hysteria, soothing grief or anxiety, alleviating loneliness or sadness (Accidia) especially if of a degree that the sufferer intends himself harm or becomes careless of his own safety.

IF the heightened emotional state is of a magickal cause, the Laying on of Hands can actually act as a Dispelling, with an AV equal to the Mystic’s [(HRT att. mod.) + (SPT att. mod.) + (trade SL)], requiring a d100 check vs. the afflicting magick.

A Sacred Knight is also granted an [(AWA att. mod.) + (SPT att. mod.) + (trade SL)] check on d100 vs. the CHM of those speaking in order to hear the clear ringing of Virtue in the Truth when it is spoken in his presence, or the chuckling twist of the Darkness’ delight in Vice when any falsehood is uttered, so that he may recognize truth and lies when encountered.

IF the Sacred Knight has cultivated the Savvy skill, that SL is also added to his AV.

IF the Mystic reaches out and physically touches a subject, no d100 check is needed, in the same manner as a Wizard touching a magick, he simply KNOWs the truth or falseness of the subject’s words.

The touch of the Sacred Knight can also reveal to him those who lean towards Virtue or Vice (Shadow) and those who stand in Shadow or Darkness. In so doing, the Sacred Knight’s own mystical Light is automatically revealed to any sworn faithful to the Darkness. His touch does NOT reveal what the subjects’ Virtues and Vices of choice are, and he MUST actually lay hands on the subject.

 

Life in a Commandery of Sacred Knights

The life of a Sacred Knight as a Warrior-monk is a completely different world from that of a secular knight. The passage headed “The Career of a Knight” within the (secular) Knight Trade description simply does not apply to a Sacred Knight. The Church must sanction all conflicts to which the Orders send their Sacred Knights. The spoils won in battle are commonly left for others, or merely a token taken to bring to his brothers, to share with them, or otherwise disposed in some charitable fashion. They are sworn to poverty in the world of Flesh. Their riches await in Spirit to be collected. No more so does the passage “Civilian Duties of Landed Knights” apply to Sacred Knights. Sacred Knights do not hold land in their own name, and so cannot stand as “law-worthy” knights, nor be elected as “knights of the shire”. If a Sacred Knight is rewarded with the gift of an estate or other piece of property, it goes to his Order and is administered by them for the benefit of all.

To provide a better idea of the kind of life a Sacred Knight leads when at home in the commandery of his brothers we use as a model the order noted for being the most diligently religious – the Knights Templar. The Templars were bound in a spiritual quest, “gentler than lambs, but fiercer than lions”. Unlike the other orders, the Templars were monks first Warriors second, though easily as dedicated and dangerous as any of the others in battle.

The Templars’ day starts at 3am when they rise for Matins to recite 13 Pater nosters (Lord’s Prayer) and to attend to the other business of the order, especially the horses of the Order. On occasion there is time for a brief nap before Prime.

At 6am the bells of Prime ring and the Templar must attend mass.

Sext is rung at 12:00 noon, and before the Templars take their first meal they must recited 60 Pater nosters, 30 for the sins and transgressions of the living and 30 for the benefit of the deceased to aid in delivering them from Purgatory to Paradise.

Dinner is served in two sittings, the first for the brothers who are full Knights, the second for the commoner Sergeants. All eat in silence, while the clerk (priest) attendant on the order blesses the meal and reads from the holy book [of the Light]. The Templars grew out of the Cistercian order of monks but, while the monks were vegetarians, it was mandatory that the Templars eat meat at least three days a week. Following dinner the Knights retire to the chapel to give thanks for the bounty received.

Nones is rung at 3:00pm and Vespers at 6pm, both accompanied by the appropriate round of prayers.

Vespers is followed by supper, again eaten in silence and accompanied by the reading from the holy book of the faith.

Compline is rung at 9pm, the last service of the day, after which the brothers see to the horses’ needs again and gather for a little moderate communal drinking.

After the gathering of Compline the brothers are discharged until rising for Matins again, and enjoined again to total silence.

When not at war or prayer, the Templars labor on the behalf of the Order. Such things as mending and maintaining armor and weapons or a fraying bridle a knight assays at his Squire’s side, because NO task was too menial or demeaning. Each knight has tasks to perform on his brothers’ behalf, even to tending to pigs, goats, and chickens, or toiling in the fields like a commoner – something that among secular knights would get him stripped of his honor and social rank.

When silence is ordered, the only exception allowed is a legitimate emergency, for which a superior had to addressed in a discrete whisper for permission.

Templar Rule, clause 31:

“When the brothers come out of Compline they have no permission to speak openly except in emergency. But let each go to his bed quietly and in silence, and if he needs to speak to his Squire, he should say what he has to say softly and quietly. But if by chance, as they come out of Compline, the knighthood or the house has a serious problem, which must be solved before morning, we intend that the Master or a party of elder brothers, who govern the Order under the Master, may speak appropriately. And for this reason we command that it should be done in such a manner.”

“For it is written: In multiloquio non effugies peccatum. That is to say: to talk too much is not without sin. And elsewhere: Mors et vita in manibus lingue. That is to say: Life and death are within the power of the tongue. And during that conversation we altogether prohibit idle words and wicked bursts of laughter. And if anything is said during that conversation that should not be said, when you go to bed we command you to say the paternoster prayer in all humility and pure devotion.”

As secretive as any guild of craftsmen, the Templars were concerned that even the junior members of the Order not be exposed to the secrets and inner workings of the Order.

The horses of the Knights were of great importance to the Knights. The rule of the order allowed each Knight up to three horses, despite the seal of the Order depicting two Knights riding one horse in reference to the Poverty to which the Order’s members were sworn. The Master of the Order was allowed up to four horses. All horses of the Order were to be maintained battle-ready, and all to thus to be treated with equal care. Indeed, so important was their care that a disturbance among the horses was one of the few exceptions allowing a brother to depart the refectory table during a meal.

The Pious Life of a Sacred Knight

There is a subtle but distinct difference between those in the Shadow of Vice and those who Walk in Darkness. The Shadow can be flirted with throughout one’s lifetime, and many do. The practice is generally subconscious, though some make it a conscious game. The Shadow can be shed at anytime by confession and/or acts of penance and Virtue, but true intent is everything, and what mortal can judge the state of his own soul? Last Rites are thus a necessity for most folks on their deathbeds.

Walking in Darkness is another matter entirely. It is a conscious submission and dedication to the Darkness, a declaration of war on the Light. Where the Light merely shines and IS and brings comfort and warmth to all It touches with It’s glory, the Darkness can only be where the Light shines not, and so must seek to occlude and eclipse the Light, in the end to destroy it. For, as long as even a spark of Light remains, the rest is really only Shadow, no matter how deep.

To be redeemed from the Darkness and return to the Light requires the same conscious act of will it took to turn away in the first place. It cannot be commanded or coerced. Even under the influence of such magick as may twist the spirit and mind to bend to the Light, the stain of Darkness remains within the heart.

During the course of play it is very likely the Sacred Knight must face foes in battle on behalf of those who cannot do so themselves. In these instances the pious will likely devote their prayers to his protection and support. When the Sacred Knight faces any foe or assays any task, such as entering into battle, with a group of the faithful behind him lending their fervent prayers for his success, be they common folk bent in prayer or monks or priests or other ecclesiastics in some monastery chapel or cathedral he is protecting, the loving thoughts and prayers they are sending on his behalf will have the effect of strengthening the benefits of his Trade.

In effect, the Sacred Knight is granted a bonus of (1 per 4) of the faithful praying on his behalf. This bonus is added to all Trade benefits, abilities, or skills, for so long as the faithful remain at prayer on his behalf.

IF the prayers are led by a true Mystic of the faith, the bonus is equal to his TR, instead, PLUS 1 for each of the faithful also praying on his behalf. In the case of multiple Mystics so lending their devotions, their TR’s are all combined to determine the benefit.

IF the Sacred Knight does not have the benefit of a Mystic to lead prayers on his behalf and the Knight has sufficient time to prepare for the event or task at hand, he will have the option of undergoing a Fast and/or Vigil or even a full Spiritual Retreat (as follow) for the purposes of purification & rededication to temporarily enhance his focus and heighten his abilities and skills.

Fasting is merely an example of purification through abstinence. In the same vein, abstinence from any contact with a substance associated with a Vice (in the case of fasting, Gluttony) will provide the same benefit – a temporary vow of poverty, forsaking any contact with coin or other forms of wealth including the comforts of rich clothing and furs, for example, would do the same. Like a Mystic, the Sacred Knight might mix ashes with his food to show Temperance, taking no joy in the pleasures of feeding the animal needs of the body, or in a similar vein, test chastity by sleeping beside a woman. As a child, St. Nicholas refused his mother’s milk on holy feast days.

This privation provides the Sacred Knight at the end of every full 24 hours completed, up to a maximum of (SPT att. mod. or TR, whichever is greater) with a bonus of 1 point to all Trade benefits, abilities, or skills. This remains with him for as long as (HRT ÷ 4) days afterwards.

Once this duration passes, the bonus declines at the same rate it accrued.

IF Fasting, the Sacred Knight must take care as his trade depends on his physical resources. He is only allowed up to (CND ÷ 4) days before penalties begin to be assessed, regardless of whether the full benefit has been realized or not. Fasting may be undergone no more often than once per month for the purposes of reaping the advantage described.

A Vigil includes similar privation but in many ways at once, both fasting and forsaking physical comfort combined with prayerful contemplation in solitude, in a chapel or other holy place IF one is available. Usually pursued from dusk til dawn, or from dawn to dawn.

At the end of every full hour completed, the Sacred Knight gains a bonus of 1 point, up to a maximum of (SPT att. mod. or TR, whichever is greater) to all Trade benefits, abilities, or skills. This remains with him until the next dawn following.

At the next dawn following, the bonus begins to decline at the same rate it accrued.

A Spiritual Retreat provides the character with the opportunity to engage in devotions and contemplation in a secluded setting, where abstinence and privation may be practiced either periodically as described above, or in moderation continuously at a level that can be sustained for a longer period.

This process reduces the character’s Vice scores and allow the character to improve the scores for his Virtues, but also provides the same benefits as purification by abstinence (Fasting, etc.).

For every full week spent in retreat, to a maximum of one full season, or three months (three full lunar cycles), any and all Vice scores are reduced by 1 point across the board. The benefits of purification by abstinence undergone during the retreat begin to accrue normally at a rate of 1 point per full 24 hours after the first full day the retreat commences, and the benefits endure so long as the retreat continues, fading normally (HRT ÷ 4) days after the retreat has ended.

One full calendar year must be allowed to elapse between each retreat in order to achieve the benefits as described.

 

Upon reaching TR10, the Sacred Knight’s sensitivity to the vibrations of Spirit is considered honed to the point where he is able to discern the approximate degree by which any person he touches leans towards Virtue or Vice (Shadow), and the subjects’ Virtues and Vices of choice.

The touch also provides the Sacred Knight with an AWA check to determine the same of any who come within [(AWA ÷ 4) + (TR)] feet of him, whether they stand in the Light, merely lean towards Virtue or Vice or actually walk in the Shadow of Vice, or truly Walk in Darkness. The particulars of degree and specific propensities in Virtue or Vice still require a touch to perceive, however.

In addition, the Sacred Knight begins to break forth in a Holy Aura similar to that exhibited by a Mystic whenever any Un-dead and/or other spirits or supernatural creatures or beings of Darkness or tainted by Shadow approach within [(AWA) + (SPT att. mod.) + (TR)] yards, revealing their presence.

This wreath of luminous, silvery-blue spiritfire prevents the approach of these unclean spirits or creatures closer than [(HRT) + (TR)] feet. This distance is reduced by one (1) foot for every point by which the creature or being’s Potence is greater than the Sacred Knight’s [(HRT) + (TR)].

Upon reaching TR20, the Sacred Knight’s passion and spiritual fervor are honed to such a state that coming into contact with his Holy Aura causes any Un-dead and/or other spirits or supernatural creatures or beings of Darkness or tainted by Shadow of Potence less than the Sacred Knight’s [(SPT att. mod.) + (CHM att. mod.) + (HRT att. mod.) + (TR)] to flee at its highest movement rate by the simplest and most direct route available for [(CHM att. mod.) + (HRT att. mod.) + (TR)] minutes, after which the creature or being in question is allowed to make a morale check in order to stop and choose a new course of action.

Upon reaching TR40, contact with the Sacred Knight’s Holy Aura causes any Un-dead and/or other spirits of Darkness or tainted by Shadow to halt and holds them helpless and immobile, giving the Sacred Knight the opportunity to destroy their physical manifestations, to Banish or dispel their spirit essence utterly. This requires a [(SPT att. mod.) + (HRT att. mod.) + (TR)] check vs. the creature’s [(HRT att. mod.) + (Potence)] on D100.

This returns any spirits to the realm of Spirit, and provide a DV increase for them to enter the mortal world again equal to the sacred Knight’s TR. Un-dead with physical bodies thus destroyed are not banished to the realm of Spirit but are dispersed sufficiently to be unable to manifest as earth-bound spirits until the waxing of the next full moon following the passage of [(HRT) + (TR)] days.

Upon reaching TR50, the Sacred Knight has accumulated sufficient spiritual maturity and background as well as Trade experience in order to go forth and seek the communion and Grace of the true illumination of the Light in the same manner as any true Mystic. This must be pursued by calling, following omens and portents and even perhaps visitations of divine spirits, and is likely to lead the knight through dangerous wilderness to some unspoiled place that might be counted holy. The process may take up to the entire cycle of the moon (GM’s discretion). When he has finished his pilgrimage into the wilderness and achieved communion with the Divine, having the same ability to Ascend and walk in Grace to dispense miracles as any TR1 Mystic. Those saintly powers that are duplicated between the trades, regardless of their being enhanced by becoming a true Mystic, are measured in power based on the character’s TR as a Sacred Knight. He suffers no loss of power, only an upgrade in the quality of some of the benefits of bearing the mantle of the Light.

CunningMen and WiseWomen

This trade represents the simplest and most basic of local and folk magick in the game. In the point of view of the full trade Wizard or Witch, the CunningMan or WiseWoman stands on the bottom rung of Power. There is likely to be a CunningMan or WiseWoman in almost every shire in the realm to serve the needs of the common folk. These is the ones to whom the common folk will come before any other folk of greater knowledge or Power, with whom they will feel most comfortable, although still fearful of them. One might have to travel a shire or two to find a Hedge-Wizard or Hearth-Witch, and that only adds to the average citizen’s anxiety about dealing with a greater Power, much less having to go to a great city or deep wilderness to find a true Wizard or Witch who wields the High Magick.

Cunning-men and Wise-women are part of the counter-culture of magick in the deep rural areas, reactionaries to the formal social structures backed by the Church. These are the folk that remember the stories of what the world was like when it was truly alive under the ancient Celtic tribes, and they practice a sort of folk medicine. More than full trade or even Hedge-Wizards or Hearth-Witches, the CunningMan or WiseWoman carries on the ancient traditions in folk magick, which plants, fungi, rocks, or animals carry magickal power to hurt or heal that can be unlocked for use by those with the knowledge.

They are closely tied to their knowledge of the Herbal craft, which is how they generally make living, though they sometimes forego the herbcraft in favor of Midwifery or Leechcraft. All are available for either Secondary trades or as an Allied trade. Sometimes the Herb lore is lost in one locality, the master dying before he can pass it on, and the medical skills are all that are left the CunningMan or WiseWoman. The need for healers is far greater and more regular than the need for nostrums and simples, amulets and talismans for love and luck, fertility and a good harvest, which is by and large the extent of the powers they are asked to exercise when called upon. In the small localities where they can be found, the folklore is passed on to the one who shows an interest, and the CunningMan or WiseWoman only hopes for a candidate who also has talent. It does not always happen that way. The prime concern for them is that the ancient lore and folkways not be lost. In many ways they are the heirs of the Witch’s Olde Ways, but much dwindled among the common folk since the coming of the Light.

As a rule of thumb, the minimum requirement for MGA score for this magickal trade is 11. It is rare that a pupil with at least this amount of “talent” can’t be found to teach.

Like the Hedge-Wizard or Hearth-Witch, the CunningMan or WiseWoman may follow either the tradition of Witchcraft or Wizardry. Which tradition, Wizard or Witch, the CunningMan or WiseWoman follows is entirely up to the player.

During his trade training, the CunningMan or WiseWoman uses what magickal talent he may have to cultivate a meditationally keyed, tiered eidetic memory for the sole purpose of retaining his vast store of magickal lore.

They are only allowed to begin play with only (MGA x 0.5) dweomer skills, however, instead of (MGA x 0.75) as for Hedge-Wizards and Hearth-Witches, or (MGA) as awarded to full trade Wizards and Witches.

Like the traditions and lore of the Druids, Bards, Filidhs, Witches, etc., the great store of knowledge of things magickal and the specific skills for their dweomers are all handed down orally, memorized by rote in typical Celtic rhyming triads using the ancient High Cant (Witchcraft) or Ancient Arcane (Wizardry).

The simple nature of the CunningMan or WiseWoman’s trade training is expressed in a few different ways. Between the descriptions of this and the Wizard and Witch trades, the bonuses that CunningMen or WiseWomen derive from their trade training do not accumulate as quickly as would a fully trained Wizard or Witch. The M-RES bonus for this trade accumulates at a rate of (1 point per 4 trade SL’s) instead of (1 per 2 trade SL’s) as it does for Hedge-Wizards and Hearth-Witches, or (trade SL) for full trade Wizards and Witches,

Their AV’s for sensing the Ambience and magick are equal, however, as is the vulnerability of their magick to iron and steel, in the case of Witchcraft (as applicable).

The main differences between CunningMen or WiseWomen and the full trade Wizards and Witches lie in the limits on their uses of magick, however.

This is defined by the tradition in which the character is schooled, whether it was mainstream Wizardry or Witchcraft or one of the several different folkways described under “The Folkways of Magick”, previously.

Those instructed in mainstream Wizardry or Witchcraft follow its forms, just as described for full trade Wizards or Witches. For the reader’s convenience, and also in order to avoid having to repeat the same information over as many times as there are trades of magickal practitioners, the reader is directed to the passages that appear under the heading “Common Elements of the Trades of Magick”, as follows and, especially within those passages, that found under the heading “Under the Mantle of Power”, for this is where most of the vital information concerning the trades’ magickal trade benefits and abilities are detailed.

 

Mainstream Cunning Men & Wise Women

A CunningMan or WiseWoman taught in the mainstream traditions of Wizardry or Witchcraft is skilled ONLY in the use of Low (ritual) Magick.

This in no way limits the player’s choices of the specific dweomer-skills he may choose from the rosters provided in Appendix C. for Wizards and Witches, it only restricts the form in which the CunningMan or WiseWoman may cast them.

When casting his magicks, a mainstream CunningMan or WiseWoman is required to have in hand a Talisman to use as a focus, in addition to the normal requirements of freedom of movement to gesture and the ability to speak clearly to chant or utter the incantations required.

This Talisman takes the form of either a wand equal in length to the distance from the CunningMan’s or WiseWoman’s fingertips to his elbow (1 cubit), a rod equal in length to half his height, or a staff equal in length to the his height, the same as employed by a Hearth-Witch or Hedge-Wizard. Which type of Talisman the CunningMan or WiseWoman carries is entirely up to the player and his character concept. At the player’s option the character may carry all three and vary which one he uses according to the whim of the moment. There is no advantage to using one over the others.

At the base of its construction, each Talisman is made of rowan, oak, ash, hazelwood, or some similar wood of magickal tradition. The Talisman is considered “all-purpose”, designed and constructed specifically for the CunningMan to whom it belongs, in accordance with his starsign, its associated element, the Quality of that sign (fixed, mutable, cardinal), and the planet(s) associated with them, their associated metals, gems, and the like, but grants no advantage whatsoever to casting any magicks the way any other Talisman normally would. The whole purpose of this Talisman is to facilitate the casting of the CunningMan’s magicks – all magicks equally.

Without his wand, rod, or staff in hand to aid him, the character suffers a penalty to his AV’s to cast any and all dweomers. This penalty is equal to [(trade SL required to reach Master LoA) – (current trade SL)], and endures as long as he continues to try to cast his magick until he has his Talisman (wand, rod, or staff) back in hand.

The character must be very careful to protect his focus due to the difficulties he suffers trying to work without it. Wands are difficult to conceal the nature of, while rods like walking sticks or canes and staves are fairly common. If the character should lose his focus or in the event that it be stolen, it takes a long time to make the replacement – as long as a year.

The GM can find the details on the process should it be needed spelled out in the passage on making Talismans under the heading “The Tools of Power”. The general nature of the Talisman in this case means it will have a fair number of aspects incorporated so it can be used for any and all occasions

Alternately, if the player does not like the idea of having to carry an obvious accessible focus to perform his magick (wand, rod, or staff), he may choose another form for his CunningMan’s or WiseWoman’s magick, instead. The player has a choice of several different and sometimes rather colorful folkways his CunningMan or WiseWoman may have been instructed in, instead. These range from the more sedate Cabalists and Knot-Weavers to the more traditional Alchemists, as well as Mediums and Magi, and the exotic Drug- Trance Wizards & Witches.

These conform to the descriptions presented for them under the Hedge-Wizard/Hearth-Witch trade, previously, except that as a CunningMan/WiseWoman, the character is restricted to Low (ritual) Magick only, and only (MGA x 0.5) in number of dweomer skills at the start of play.

This aspect is one the player should give some thought to, as it has a direct and heavy impact on the character and his needs and methods in regards to his craft during play. This dictates the method by which the character casts his magicks, bringing some interesting variations to the process and also to the career path of the CunningMan or WiseWoman.

Choosing one of the folkways described previously indicates that the master under whom the character studied magick was himself schooled only in that form of magick.

Depending on the form or folkway of magick chosen, the CunningMan or WiseWoman may have the ability to progress to the Common and High Magick and then to be free of previous encumbrances on his Power, as described for the Artisan, Master, and WorksMaster LoA’s for mainstream CunningMen above, the equal of any full trade Wizard or Witch.

For the reader’s convenience, and also in order to avoid having to repeat the same information over as many times as there are trades of magickal practitioners, the reader is directed to the passages that appear under the heading “Common Elements of the Trades of Magick”, as follows and, especially within those passages, that found under the heading “Under the Mantle of Power”, for this is where most of the vital information concerning the trades’ magickal benefits and abilities are detailed.

Hedge- or Hearth-Wizards and Witches

The Hedge- or Hearth-Wizard is a ‘lesser’ form (relatively speaking) of the true Wizard trade and the Hearth- or Hedge-Witch is a lesser form of the Witch trade. They are parallel in practices and restrictions, so this description was compiled to tackle both at once. Both represent a few different circumstances among which the player must choose to describe the exact nature of the character’s training in magick.

Every PC practitioner of magick who comes from a trade apprenticeship as opposed to coming through a formal university must have SPT, MSS and MGA scores of no less than 14.

Talent is required to undertake training, according to the traditions the current Masters learned at their own master’s hands. Tradition must be honored. The masters who occasionally deign to take on an apprentice to whom to pass the knowledge they have garnered follow those traditions. No master follows a standard less stringent than the one he was made to measure up to during his own apprenticeship. Only the universities have reduced teaching to a business open to all who can pay the tuition. They allow students of SPT, MSS and MGA of 11, but no lower. however.

Witchcraft is only passed on through trade apprenticeships and cannot be obtained through university education.

The Hedge-Wizard’s or Hearth-Witch’s training, while fulsome in its own way and allowing the character access to a good bit of magick, is nonetheless incomplete from the point of view of a full trade Wizard or Witch, but provides a very rich heritage of folkways through which to enjoy it, as well.

One of the decisions you must make is whether this incomplete training resulted because your character vacated a true apprenticeship with a lone master before he was truly done with the lore he had before him to learn, or perhaps he left his university training satisfied with what he had gained in his knowledge of Wizardry and feeling no need to pursue the apex of the Arts and the university degree (PhD), or perhaps he was disenchanted with the true nature of the Arts once he learned them, disaffected with the other Wizards or Witches after getting into his training, perhaps he found he didn’t have the patience to continue, or in the case of university training, he might have run out of money for tuition and expenses or lost the support of his patron(s). The number of disenfranchised scholars in the university towns looking for a means of income to further their studies, some gainful employment or a generous patron or two, is substantial, but the number of such students are as small among the body of university students in general as the graduated trade members out in the world are among all other craftsmen. The expenses of a student, not merely for room and board but especially for books and in this case materials for his studies in magick, especially Low Magick and perhaps Alchemy (if taken as an Allied trade), are rather steep according to the economics of the period of the game.

If the character vacated a traditional apprenticeship (never a particularly good idea), it is unlikely the master ever truly forgives him and allows him to return for anything more than casual pleasantries ever again, and that only after a sufficient period of time for him to get over his anger and disappointment. It does, will, and can happen, nonetheless, but it may leave the PC in debt for the costs incurred during the apprenticeship, especially if it was a registered apprenticeship.

The university student always has the option of returning to school, as long as he can pay the tuition.

The other possibility inherent in this trade, and that which is generally preferred, is that the character apprenticed himself to a Hearth-Witch or Hedge-Wizard of one the forms of the craft (as follows), who instructed the character in only what he knew of the craft. The character’s education is NOT viewed as being incomplete in any way by such a master, only to those that are full trade Wizards and Witches, who can wield the High Magick.

There is a certain amount of hard feelings between the trades over this hierarchy.

Regardless of whether the character has had any schooling, Wizardry is a scholarly pursuit at its root, so the Hedge-Wizard’s skills include those taught in Grammar School automatically, if it hasn’t been taken as a Petty Skill already. The Witch and Hearth-Witch follow the Druid’s oral tradition, however. No such schooling is included in their trade training.

All Hedge-Wizard characters are bound by the same rules and restrictions binding full trade Wizards in the use of their magick, which the player of the Hedge-Wizard character should take the time to get familiar with. These characters are granted knowledge of the Ancient Arcane trade language used in the casting of their magicks (if appropriate by the type of magick they practice, as follows).

All Hearth-Witch characters are similarly bound to the rules and restrictions of full Trade Witches in the use of their magick, and they are granted the knowledge of the High Cant as well (if appropriate to the type of magick they practice, as follows).

Players of all Hedge-Wizard and Hearth-Witch characters need to make themselves as familiar with the rules under which magick is used in the game just as much as any full trade practitioner. The “incomplete” nature of the Hedge-Wizard’s and Hearth-Witch’s trade training is expressed in a few different ways.

In comparison between the descriptions of this and the Wizard and Witch trades, the bonuses which Hedge-Wizards and Hearth Witches derive from their training accumulate more slowly than those of a fully trained Wizard or Witch.

The M-RES bonus for these trades accumulates at a rate of (1 point per 4 trade SL’s) instead of (1 per 2 trade SL’s). 

Hedge-Wizards and Hearth-Witches have the same meditationally keyed, tiered eidetic memory of any full trade Wizard or Witch, HOWEVER, they are allowed to begin play with only (MGA x 0.75) dweomer skills instead of (MGA) as awarded to full trade Wizards and Witches.

Their AV’s for sensing the Ambience and magick equal, however, as is the vulnerability of their magick to iron and steel.

For the reader’s convenience, and also in order to avoid having to repeat the same information over as many times as there are trades of magickal practitioners, the reader is directed to the passages that appear under the heading “Common Elements of the Trades of Magick”, and especially within those passages, that found under the heading “Under the Mantle of Power”, for this is where most of the vital information concerning the trades’ magickal trade benefits and abilities are detailed.

The main differences between Hedge-Wizards and Hearth-Witches and the full trade Wizards and Witches lie in the limits on their knowledge and uses of magick. The limits on their knowledge and uses of magick are first defined by the tradition in which he is schooled, whether mainstream Wizardry or Witchcraft or one of the several different folkways, to follow.

Mainstream Hedge-Wizards & Hearth Witches

These are sometimes referred to as “true” Hedge-Wizards or Hearth-Witches, much as the simple Druid. Those instructed in traditional mainstream Wizardry or Witchcraft follow its forms, just as described for full trade Wizards or Witches. Having this form of the trade indicates that the character was schooled in what is considered to be the mainstream and most effective and traditional forms of the art and craft of either Wizardry or Witchcraft. The skills and knowledge such a Hedge-Wizard or Hearth-Witch exercises is recognized by every full trade Wizard encountered, but the fact that such a character possesses a “lesser” form of knowledge and skill may not be immediately evident, depending on the circumstances and how much of the character’s craft a colleague gets to observe.

University educated Hedge-Wizards may only be equipped with the “mainstream” class or style of Wizardry. As mentioned, Witchcraft is only passed on through trade apprenticeships and cannot be obtained through university education.

The incomplete nature of the Hedge-Wizard or Hearth-Witch’s training expressed in a few different ways, as follows.

A Hedge-Wizard or Hearth-Witch taught in the mainstream traditions of Wizardry or Witchcraft can only wield Low (ritual) Magick and Common (spell) Magick.

This in no way limits the player’s choices of the specific dweomer-skills he may choose from the rosters provided in Appendix C. for Wizards and Witches, it only restricts the forms in which the Hedge-Wizard or Hearth-Witch may cast them.

When casting his magicks, a mainstream Hedge-Wizard or Hearth-Witch is required to have in hand a Talisman to use as a focus, in addition to the normal requirements of freedom of movement to gesture and the ability to speak clearly to chant or utter the incantations required, and move about the site of the casting when performing Low Magick.

This Talisman takes the form of either a wand equal in length to the distance from the Hedge-Wizard’s or Hearth-Witch’s fingertips to his elbow (1 cubit), a rod equal in length to half his height, or a staff equal in length to the his full height.

Which type of Talisman the Hedge-Wizard or Hearth-Witch carries is entirely up to the player and his character concept. At the player’s option the character may have all three and vary which one he uses according to the whim of the moment. There is no advantage to using one over the others.

At the base of its construction, each Talisman is made of rowan, ash, hazelwood, or some similar wood of magickal tradition. The Talisman is considered “all-purpose”, designed and constructed specifically for the Hedge-Wizard to whom it belongs, in accordance with his starsign, its associated element, the Quality of that sign (fixed, mutable, cardinal), and the planet(s) associated with them, their associated metals, gems, and the like, but grants no advantage whatsoever to casting any magicks the way any other Talisman normally would. The whole purpose of this Talisman is to facilitate the casting of the Hedge-Wizard’s or Hearth-Witch’s magicks – all magicks equally.

Without his wand, rod, or staff in hand to aid him, the character suffers a penalty to his AV’s to cast any and all dweomers. This penalty is equal to [(MGA) – (current trade SL)], and endures as long as he continues to try to cast his magick without, until he has his focus (wand, rod, or staff) back in hand.

The character must be very careful to protect his focus/Talisman due to the difficulties he suffers trying to work without it. Wands are difficult to conceal the nature of, while rods appear like walking sticks or canes and staves are fairly common among travellers. If the character should lose his focus or in the event that it be stolen, it takes a long time to make the replacement – perhaps as long as a year.

The GM can find the details on the process should it be needed spelled out in the passage on making Talismans under “The Tools of Power”. The general nature of the Talisman in this case means it has a fair number of aspects incorporated so it can be used for any and all occasions.

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The Folkways of Magick

For the player who has a taste for something different from the “mainstream” tradition already described, he has the choice of several different and even rather colorful folkways that his Hedge-Wizard or Hearth-Witch master or mistress may have been instructed in, instead. These range from the more sedate Cabalists  to the more traditional Alchemists, as well as Mediums and Magi, and the exotic Drug- Trance Wizards and Witches, and the ancient practice of knot-magick adapted for the purposes of the Great Weavers.

This aspect is one the player should think over carefully. If any approach other than mainstream is preferred, the alternative ancient folkways can have a direct and heavy impact on the character and his needs and practices in regards to his magickal craft once he enters play. This dictates the method by which the Hedge-Wizard or Hearth-Witch casts his magicks, bringing some interesting variations to the process of casting magick and also to the career path of the Hedge-Wizard or Hearth- Witch.

Choosing one of the folkways described here indicates that the master under whom he studied magick was himself schooled ONLY in that form of magick.

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Alchemists

This Trade is expressed in the descriptions of the university curriculi as one of the degree tracks a character can follow, but rather than encompassing all of the possible knowledge that the study of Alchemy can result in, the Hedge-Wizard’s knowledge is centered specifically on two aspects of magick. Those substances when compounded that of their own essence and the Hedge-Wizard’s skill have magickal effects (magickal formulæ for potions, powders, crystals, magick beans, etc.) and those they can make to be vehicles to carry the magicks cast by other magick-wielders.

The Alchemist Wizard is a departure from the usual university-trained trade Alchemist in that he is able to make various substances of magickal effect simply by combining the rare and special ingredients his formulae call for and unlocking the magickal power inherent in their essences through their own incantations, following the mysteries of the elusive Philosopher’s Stone.

The att. mod’s to prepare any of the formulæ for magickal substances are based on the Alchemist’s MGA and CRD scores

Practicing Alchemy can be as risky as the craft described for trade Wizards, potentially squandering a great deal of money in materials in case of an alchemical accident, as discussed under the Scholastic trade of “Alchemist”.

In character creation, the player is allowed to choose up to (character’s MGA x 0.75) in specific dweomer skills from the Wizards’ roster of skills in the same manner as any other Hedge-Wizard. These skills are actually expressed in the form of magickal formulæ for concocting various substances to produce those magickal effects when properly employed.

The Alchemist has a separate formula, and therefore skill, for each of the Ars Quintates that can be used to express a given dweomer.

For example, the Alchemist has three different formulæ for concocting a substance that confers the effects of a Strike Warding magick, one for Enchantment for the protection of objects, one for Sorcery for the protection of living creatures and/or beings, and one for Naming that can be used in either capacity or applied to an object to provide that protection to living creatures and beings when worn.

ALL Alchemist magick is considered Low Magick, as the process of creating any and all substances for which he has formulæ are defined in terms of the time required to make them as any other alchemical concoction PLUS the CTM that would normally be required to cast the resulting magick as a ritual, in the same manner as the work of a Druid-Gowan.

For those substances that are to be applied to living creatures and/or beings the minimum dose is equal to (STA ÷ 4) in points of POT administered. This dose will allow the dweomer to manifest at a POT of only 1.

For this use the STA score is modified for Build.

Once the (STA ÷ 4) minimum to saturate the recipient with a POT of 1 is reached, the POT of additional grams (if dry) or drams (if liquid) administered/taken by the recipient are added to the effective POT of the dweomer’s effect.

IF the recipient has a STA of 20 as a human (no Build modifier) is given 5 POT-worth of a magickal preparation of 1 POT per dram in concentration, its effect manifests with a POT of 1 (STA 20 ÷ 4 = 5).

IF the recipient then takes another 5 drams at the same concentration of POT 1, the effective POT of the dweomer rises to a POT of 6 (1 POT already established + 5 more = POT 6).

For those substances to be applied to objects, the minimum dose is equal to (sum of it’s Size as measured in all three dimensions, length, width & height) in total points of POT.

An object’s Size Rating is roughly equal to its measurement rounded to the nearest foot (subject to the GM’s ruling), however, in this case all three dimensions are measured, not just one, as is the case with weapons.

Using this minimum dose results in the dweomer taking effect at a POT of one (1).

The POT of additional grams/drams administered raise the effective POT of the magick’s effect accordingly.

For example, a tincture prepared at a concentration of 5 POT per gram/dram applied to a longbow with a Size of 6 (length alone, as width and depth of the object are negligible, being less than 6in’s) would not quite be affected by the first dram (POT 5 – Size 6 = -1), and the first point of POT of the second dram would provide a POT of 1 as it finished encompassing the object. The 4 remaining points of POT of the second dram bring the POT of the dweomer on the bow up to 5, and an additional gram/dram brings it to 10.

The POT of any given effect may ONLY be so compounded to be cumulative in this way so long as it is all applied out of the same batch.

Otherwise, only the alchemical preparations of different recipes, compounded by different alchemists may be compounded in POT this way. 

The DV’s for making any of the Alchemist’s magickal formulæ are determined not only by the concentration of the POT of the substance but the number of grams or drams (beans, crystals, etc.) being concocted or prepared at one time, as well as the Art by which the Power manifests.

The DV for brewing, concocting or otherwise making any of the Alchemist’s magickal formulæ start with the normal base DV according to the POT, the Art to which the resulting magick belongs, always assuming “Low Magick” as the Form, and the Sphere of Power of the formula being used, normally, according to table 2-1. in “Magick in Play”. In this case, however, the POT referred to is the concentration of POT per gram/dram being made.

The base DV increased according to the number of grams, drams, magick beans or crystals, etc., of magickal effect that the Alchemist wishes to make in one batch. The more he tries to make at once, the more difficult the procedures. The bonus to the DV is a Progressive one, per (1) per gram/dram being made. 

In addition, each of the areas of knowledge discussed under the Scholastic trade of Alchemist (healing salves and elixirs, common domestic products, combustibles, poisons, paralysant, stimulant, sedative, and soporific drugs, potion bases to carry others’ dweomers, etc.) are also included among the Elective skills for the Hedge-Wizard Alchemist character. The skill of making substances that are vessels for carrying the magick of others is considered a single and totally different skill from the individualized skills of making substances whose effects are wholly magickal upon completion, in and of themselves. In the same manner as the casting of True Magick, which nets the Wizard one SP each in the Art, the Form, and the specific dweomer skills, every time the Alchemist brews one of his magickal formulæ he receives a SP towards his skill in making magickal formulæ in general, and also one SP in the specific skill for the particular formula made.

Unlike those of other trade Wizards, the magickal formulæ of the Alchemist are not memorized and maintained in a special trade memory and cannot be concocted without the tome in which the Alchemist keeps his magickal formulæ and attendant notes compiled, nor may they be made without a complete alchemist’s lab. Unlike other sorts of Wizard, the Alchemist may attempt any formula that he comes across in his journeys with a SL equal to his half his SL at making magickal substances in general, providing that the formula attempted also lies within the Sphere of Power of the skills he already has. Every time that he uses the formula without taking the time to actually learn it and add it to his repertoire, he earns one (1) SP towards actually understanding it well enough to gain an effective SL of 1 with it. In this way he can learn it on his own.

Alchemists do NOT posses any of the special trade abilities possessed by Wizards, no Spirit Skills, nor ability to sense magick or the Ambience, and no enhancement to the character’s M-RES. Nor are they subject to the effects of magickal ENC, as they can never carry the weight of a dweomer. The substances he creates are effectively “tied-off” by definition, but the duration of any given dweomer produced is the Alchemist’s to choose in the same manner as any more traditional Wizard, HOWEVER, the standard of DUR chosen for any given substance made applies to every dose of that substance made in the same batch. ALL of a particular substance that is made at the same time, in the same batch, functions according to the same parameters, as chosen by the Alchemist at the time it was made. For the Alchemist character there is no such thing as a High Magick or even Common Magick, all of his substances are created under ritual Low Magick circumstances using ritualistic procedures and a lab that takes the place of the traditional ritual kit.

If the Alchemist as a beginning PC has enough money and the player wishes to invest it in stock already made, he can certainly begin play with some of the substances for which he has formulæ already in hand.

The Alchemist character may save on the costs of the substances that he makes through the use of the Forage skill(s) under the Herbal trade that is also available as a Secondary trade along with his Alchemist Trade, in the same manner as described for the ritual costs for other Wizards.

The base cost for this process is equal to half the cost of a ritual casting of that magick, or 6d., per point of POT the PC is trying to achieve. The POT for determining the base cost is equal to the concentration of POT per gram/dram the player chooses to make. The total cost is equal to the base PLUS 1s. per gram/dram beyond the first of the substance in the batch being made.

For example, an Alchemist brewing 10 grams/drams of a “Nature Bonds” formula at a POT of 30 per gram/dram must spend 180d. (6d. or half the normal 1s. ritual cost x the 30POT), which is 15s., plus 10s. more for the 10 grams/drams being made, which comes to £1. 5s. If he has the Herbal skill and the knowledge to Forage he could reduce that by half.

The time required to make the Alchemist’s magickal substances is equal to that required to make potion bases to carry others’ dweomers PLUS the normal CTM for the casting of a ritual, though POT is determined by the concentration of POT per gram/dram and multiplied by the number of grams/drams of the substance in the batch being made.

Because of the wild and uncertain nature of the forces with which they work in their craft, the fact that the Alchemist pays to create a certain amount of a given formula for a particular magickal effect does NOT necessarily mean that he ends up with the same amount that he has planned on when he starts out. As a matter of fact, he never will.

The Alchemist only ever reaps a percentage of that which he has set out to make. This is equal to the roll of d100, PLUS the amount by which the d100 check to determine the success of the exercise is made, plus his SL with the specific formula made, as a percentage, but never yields less than one (1) gram/dram. The variable base d100 roll is called the  yield base”.

For example, if an Alchemist attempts to concoct 10 grams/drams of a formula with which he has SL 13 and his player rolls 10 below the number needed to succeed in his attempt, he would add 10 to the Yield Base d100, in this case 32, and also his SL of 13, for a final Yield of 55% of the 10 he started out to make and paid for, or 6 (5.5).

IF the Yield percentage is greater than 100%, it indicates that by the Grace of Fate and his own native skill he has actually achieved sufficient success that the quantity he ends up with is greater than that he started with the materials for, without any additional cost or taking any longer to concoct.

If the GM is using the Heroic Effects Advanced rules, the player has the option of applying these results to the Alchemist’s Yield. In the above example, a double effect Heroic Success would allow the Alchemist to reap 12 applications rather than 6 of the 10 he set out to make, while a triple effect success would allow him to reap all 18.

Bumbles when they occur are always combined with alchemical accidents, depending upon how badly the d100 roll to determine success is failed, according to the rules governing accidents and magickal Bumbles under the Advanced rules.

Up to this point we have only discussed the materials created by the labors of the Alchemist character in general. This is because the actual form of the substances he creates are up to the GM and the player to work out between them.

The Alchemist’s formula can produce thin (alcohol-based) liquids to be sprayed through an atomizer – perfect to create the “Cloud of Fog” (Obfuscation) or “Circle of Darkness” magicks, or possibly even one of the various types of “Darts” or other similar weapons, especially perfumes to have “Beguiling” effects. The Alchemist may come up with powders, glittering and sparkling, to be used by the pinch in the boots for a “Fleetfoot” effect, or to be sprinkled over the recipient’s head. A formula could result in an unguent to be rubbed all over or on selective areas of the user’s body for a “SwiftHeal” effect, or a liquid to be imbibed after the fashion of a true magick potion, or even a bright crystal to be thrown upon the ground and stomped on to shatter and release a “Blinding Flash” or similar dweomer, or to be hurled at a target to transform in the air into a “Stardart”. The Wizard may end up with a handful of special “Size Enchantment” soil giving a “Jack and the Beanstalk” or “James and the Giant Peach” type of effect, or seeds that burrow into the ground and sprout forth with a “Wall of Vines”, “Wall of Thorns”, “Nature’s Saving Grace” or “Plantmaze” magick, or he might produce little seeds or seedlings that grow before the very eyes into a bush or tree bearing a fruit for each gram/dram made that yields a particular magick once eaten.

It should be the fumes of the cauldron holding the substance of the “Summoning” that attracts the target’s attention and draws them to the Alchemist. The material left over after such a Calling should be useless, or perhaps, if deemed edible – lunch. In cases of formulæ for such dweomers as “Power Cache”, the object in which the Cache is imbued should have to be steeped in the concoction as it is made, for the entire CTM, in order to take effect. The same process should be followed for any object to be enchanted by the Alchemist, unless the GM decides that a stoppered recess in the object for holding the Alchemist’s brew is sufficient, or that the sprinkling of a powder over the object or rubbing an unguent or tincture into the object is acceptable.

Whatever the form settled on for a specific magickal formula, it should remain constant for the formula for that particular dweomer for that Alchemist. Of course, if the GM gets inspired and comes up with another form he also likes, he might make the formula belonging to another such Alchemist just different enough that it results in a different type of substance with the same magickal effect. The Alchemist might research the possibility of coming up with a new formula if he is not satisfied with the form that results from the formula he already has or seek the formulæ of others of his craft if he discovers another is already making a preparation he prefers to express a familiar dweomer.

Another aspect that the GM must consider with Alchemist Wizards is the precautions that must be taken when carrying the materials created on the road afterwards. Seeds should be kept dry and at least moderately cool or they may sprout spontaneously releasing their magick, crystals will no doubt be somewhat fragile, and powders and such things as elixirs, potions, unguents, and salves should all be kept in sealed containers of some sort, preferably water-tight ones of dark, preferably brown glass or solid crockery to prevent their deterioration by exposure to sunlight. It is up to the GM whether water or some other liquid will thin an elixir, potion, or salve, or dissolve a powder after it has aged a while. Perhaps by an extra step of preparation a powder might be created that can be reconstituted in order to be used, whether to be consumed or applied topically.

If properly stored, the substances of the Alchemist Hedge-Wizard have a shelf life of (skill AV) months. If “put-up” and sealed by the skills used for canning, which the Alchemist is fully versed in, this rises to (trade SL) years, or until the seal is broken, whichever occurs first. The (skill AV) months of the substance are not to be counted until after the seal is broken in these cases.

Those substances used up during that time have their full potency. After the shelf life expires, the substance will lose one (1) point of the POT of its power, and another every (formula SL) days thereafter until it reaches zero and it becomes useless.

This form of the trade is probably more appropriate to a NPC rather than a PC, unless the PC has a strong second trade. It is fine for a NPC to sit around making potions and selling them and accumulating a store of ready-made magickal substances, it makes for a great foil or adversary the PC’s and dictates the form of a significant portion of the Booty. The PC Alchemist-Wizard must sit out of play for large chunks of game-time working on accumulating a small store of magickal substances, but when he is done, they are a great resource and can spare the difficulties sometimes associated with casting magicks on the spot to tackle challenges. For a PC, it is a different style of play. The rest of the party must go on about their business perhaps having further adventures and earning more SP’s while the PC Alchemist is closeted in his lab, albeit earning SP’s of his own towards his craft.

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Cabalists

The Cabalist performs his magicks by the scribing of the ancient runes upon which the very foundations of the world are laid, like the Norse runes or the Ogham letters of the Celts. The magicks of the Cabalist are focused on the essences and True Names of all that is. They are Master Namers by nature, but not restricted to that particular Art. Instead of the Ancient Arcane language of Wizardry with its five distinct jargons for the Ars Quintates, the Cabalist has his ancient Runetongue Linguist skill instead, and also a special set of runes for each of the five Arts. Due to the ancient roots of this tradition, it is more commonly associated with Witchcraft than with Wizardry. While both are equally available to the player during character creation, those that practice Wizardry by this folkway are considered notable.

Cabalism itself is an alternate Form for both Common and Low Magicks (spells and rituals), to be tracked with its own SL in the same manner as a Wizard’s or Witch’s Forms. A Cabalist can never achieve the equivalent of High Magick with his art, as something must always be writ, even if it is only a single character or rune.

Unlike the Common and Low magicks of mainstream Wizards, Common Cabalist and Low Cabalist Magicks require no incantations or chants of any kind, though many often do chant the names of the runes they are using in a sing-song sort of mantra to aid in casting. This is NOT required, however.

For the most part, the rituals of the Cabalist appear as great varicolored designs made up of winding tracks of runes, looking very much like the sand-painted mandalas of the East.

That which the Cabalist wishes to Enchant or ensorcel, he must write or paint upon, or alternately he must be able to write in something like Balefire in the air, or scribe his runes on the ground, pavement, or floor, or wall, door or shutter, on some object or vessel, or on a hide or parchment and show it to the target, thus triggering the magick to manifest.

Cabalistic spellcraft takes twice as long as a Common spell from a mainstream Wizard to cast (2 Actions for Common Sphere spells, 4 Actions for Noble Sphere spells, and 8 Actions for Sovereign Sphere spells, instead of the normal 1, 2, and 4 Actions), but skill shortens the CTM in the same manner, with the same minimum CTM.

Low Magick takes the same amount of time for a Cabalist to cast as a normal, mainstream Wizard’s ritual.

Naturally, the Cabalist must have his writing tools, equal in description to the Scrivener’s kit listed in the Equipment & Adventure Gear rosters in Appendix F., but also containing a small selection of sable-hair brushes in various sizes. This kit must be treated in the same manner as a mainstream Wizard’s ritual kit, with the same restrictions on allowing others to use it, and the same consequences for failing to do so.

The cost for the ritual supplies of a Cabalist are one-fourth that required of mainstream Wizards for their rituals, and those costs may be defrayed by the use of the Alchemist skill to make those supplies, as described in that trade, and even more of it may be defrayed if the character is also an Herbal with the Forage skill to go out and gather his own materials, as discussed under the Herbal trade.

If the Cabalist is also an Alchemist, he has the special formulæ for making special paints, inks, colored chalks, or crayons, or marking sticks that can only be seen under certain circumstances or lighting, such as Moon Runes, Sun Runes, Celestial Runes, Blood Runes, and the like, and also one that can be painted upon the air which appears as burning “Balefire” or “Wizardfire”, equal to the Wizard magicks of the same names.

Successful casting makes the Cabalist’s runes glow with Power for those who have the Sight to see, but as they are not the key to the power itself but only a prop, simply copying the runes does the uninitiated no good whatsoever.

Divination by a Cabalist must always involve the use of a prop of some sort such as a rune board, or rune-carven bones, or rune tiles, or the like, in the same manner as described under the Spirit Skills. This is the vehicle for his Divination magicks, and he must make his own and keep it with him when he wishes to cast a Divination, or make a new set or improvise a replacement if he should be without or his get lost or stolen in the course of the game.

Unlike other Forms of magick, a Cabalist’s magick is subject to the charm of “Erasure” in the same manner as a “Dispelling”. The Cabalist’s runes are impervious to any mortal means of washing or scrubbing off, no matter the means by which they were applied, they are magickal by their very nature. If the runes of power can be successfully “Erased” by magickal means, the magick is dispelled.

Failure to successfully cast causes the Cabalist’s runes to instantaneously burn themselves up and blow away, though without being a danger to anything or anyone at all in the process. Afterwards the surface is returned to the same state it was before the Cabalist scribed upon it.

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Drug-Trance Practitioners

This special type of Wizard or Witch is dependent upon the drugs under which he received his trade initiation and training, roughly corresponding to mescaline, peyote, betel nut, poppy milk and similar substances commonly used for religious ceremonies and vision quests by Native Americans and indigenous peoples around the world. Without his drugs, the Drug-Trance Wizard or Witch is little better than an over-educated case of frustration, unable to tap the magickal skills in his trade memory due to the fact that it and they were constructed and stored under the influence of those drugs and keyed primarily to that artificially induced state of mind. While the Drug-Trance practitioner can have full use of his trade senses and abilities, to sense magick and the Ambience as described for the Wizard Trade, use any Spirit Skills, even cast magick, his effective SL’s and trade SL are restricted to (1 per 4 trade SL’s), to a maximum no greater than (MGA ÷ 4). This restriction is eased by one (1) trade SL per level of POT of the trade drugs once they are in his system.

Like the mainstream Hedge-Wizard or Hearth-Witch, the Drug-Trance practitioner is limited to only Common Magick (spells) and Low Magick (rituals), but the drugs take the place of their Talisman (wand, rod, staff).

The GM must determine the exact nature of the drug that the Wizard or Witch must use to achieve the trance to use his magick, whether inhaled as a fumitory, like hemp, hashish or opium, chewed like betel nuts and leaves or coca leaves, or chewed and ingested like mescaline or peyote.

The dosage required of the drugs are governed by the Wizard or Witch’s STA, and the effect measured in POT.

The minimum dose is equal to (STA ÷ 4) in total points of POT administered. Use STA modified for Build. This dose allows the drugs to manifest at a POT of only 1. The POT of additional grams (if dry) or drams (if liquid) administered raise the effective POT of the drug’s effect accordingly.

The POT per gram or dram can be affected by the skill of the Herbal having prepared the drugs, however. While a POT of 1 per gram or dram is assumed, the concentration of POT per gram/dram can be altered as the Herbal desires. The higher the concentration of POT per gram/dram the more difficult the drugs are to prepare. Higher POT per gram/dram reduce the amount of the drugs needed to affect the character accordingly.

IF the Wizard or Witch has a STA of 20 as a human (no Build modifier) and is using drugs prepared at a concentration of 3 POT per dram, 6 drams won’t quite do it, and the 7th will put him up to a POT of 2 (6 x 3 = 18; 2 points of the 7th gram/dram finally encompass the Wizard or Witch with a POT of 1, but the 1 point of POT left over brings the POT up to 2. The 8th gram/dram of the same Herbal’s preparation brings the POT of the drugs in the Wizard or Witch’s system up to 5.

The level of POT of the drugs the Wizard or Witch must consume to access his magick depends on the POT in magick he wishes to cast.

When employing Common Sphere drugs, the Wizard or Witch may cast magicks up to (drug POT) in POT. The cost for the drugs required for performing Common Sphere magicks is [(POT desired) + (STA ÷ 4)] in farthings (subject to availability). Use STA modified for Build.

When employing Noble Sphere drugs, the Wizard or Witch may cast Noble Sphere magicks up to (drug POT) in POT, and/or Common Sphere magicks up to (drug POT x 5) in POT. For the drugs required for performing Noble Sphere magicks the cost is [(POT desired) + (STA ÷ 4)] in ha’pence (subject to availability).

When employing Sovereign Sphere drugs, the Wizard or Witch may cast Sovereign Sphere magicks up to (drug POT) in POT, Noble Sphere magicks up to (drug POT x 5) in POT, and/or Common Sphere magicks up to (drug POT x 25) in POT. Those required for Sovereign Sphere magicks should cost [(POT desired) + (STA ÷ 4)] in pence (subject to availability).

The price is naturally higher in those areas where the drugs are harder to obtain.

While the drugs used to cast the magicks of the upper Sphere magicks may also be used to cast the magicks of the lower Spheres (Sovereign Sphere drugs for casting Noble and/or Common Sphere magicks, or Noble Sphere drugs for casting Common Sphere magicks also), the drugs needed to perform the Common Sphere magicks may only be used for the casting of Common Sphere magicks, and the Noble Sphere drugs for casting magicks of a Sphere of Power no higher than the Noble.

All magickal research and learning of new magicks must also be completed under the influence of these drugs, though a simple POT of 1 will suffice, in order to be properly integrated with the rest of his knowledge and skill under the seal of the drug-trance.

The Wizard or Witch is HIGHLY unlikely to find these drugs in markets smaller than those found in regional centers of import/export, or staple towns, primary markets or faires of national importance.

The amount of time required for the drugs to take effect and for the Wizard or Witch to achieve the drug-trance state is (STA) minutes, MINUS the [(POT) + (CND att. mod.)] of the drugs taken, with a minimum of one (1) minute. The player and GM will note that subtracting a negative number is the same as adding the positive integer.

The healthier the character, the more swiftly and efficiently his metabolism can assimilate the drugs. The effects of the drugs start at a POT of one (1) and build at a rate of one point of POT per minute thereafter until their full strength is achieved.

While the Wizard or Witch is under the effects of the drugs that enable him to access the full extent of his skills, knowledge, and magick, his AGL is reduced by (total POT of the drugs in his system) and his AWA raised by half that amount in regards to cognizant senses, but cut by half in regards to the sense of touch. This affects all aspects of the character normally affected by those scores. When his AGL is reduced to zero (0), the Drug-Trance practitioner is unable to move about to care or act for himself. In this case, the Wizard or Witch’s needs must be attended to as long as the drugs continue to suppress his AGL to that degree.

If the character is concentrating upon a single movement using only a limited part of his body (Head/Neck, arm, leg, etc.), this penalty does NOT affect his CRD with it. Because of this, the magicks of the Drug-Trance Wizard or Witch require only the freedom of a hand to gesture or the Wizard or Witch to utter an incantation. The enhanced abilities of the spirit of the Wizard or Witch caused by the drugs allows him to complete the magick in this way without hindrance, unlike mainstream full-trade Wizards. Those who are not accustomed to them in the same intimate fashion as the members of this trade will suffer only their more  debilitating effects, CRD impaired along with AGL.

The length of time that the drugs stay in the system of the Drug-Trance practitioner allowing him to continue to have full use of all his magickal skills is equal to the (POT) of Common Sphere drugs, or (POT x 5) for Noble Sphere drugs, or (POT x 25) Sovereign Sphere drugs, counted in mileways. This can be extended, stretched and ridden up to [(MGA ÷ 4) minutes per trade SL] units longer. As the character’s ability in his trade rises, the better he can utilize and prolong their effects on his consciousness.

Once this time limit expires, the drug’s effects slowly begin to fade, losing one point of POT immediately and another every [(STA) – (character’s CND att. mod.)] minutes thereafter (minimum 1 minute) until it reaches zero.

The practitioner is limited to no more than (CND + trade SL) in POT of the drugs he may safely take for his magick, however. While this effectively limits the POT of magick he can cast, he can try to exceed this limit if he is daring or feels the situation warrants it. Doing so has its dangers, however.

Once the practitioner has exceeded the limit on the POT of drugs he can safely consume, a successful P-RES check must be successfully made in order for him to maintain consciousness

The DV for this check is equal to the TOTAL amount of POT in drugs consumed (not just the amount by which the limit has been exceeded). This DV is doubled for Noble Sphere drugs and quadrupled for Sovereign Sphere drugs.

IF made successfully, the character may maintain his grip on consciousness and function, but requires another such roll every [(P-RES) + (trade SL)] minutes in order to continue to do so.

IF the P-RES check is failed, the practitioner sinks into a coma for so long as it takes the drugs to clear out of his system, and he loses one (1) point of CND. This loss affects all aspects normally affected by CND. Any points of CND so lost return in the same amount of time the character requires to heal a BP of damage.

Except for the special conditions under which their magick must be performed, Drug-Trance Hedge-Wizards or Hearth-Witches are bound by the same rules and restrictions as a mainstream Hedge-Wizards or Hearth-Witches, determining their M-RES bonuses and abilities in sensing magick and the Ambience, the number of magicks they may begin play with, and so on.

Upon reaching the Master LoA, the Drug-Trance Hedge-Wizard and Hearth-Witch is eligible to seek out a master in High Magick and finally learn that Form, starting with SL1.

Upon reaching the WorksMaster LoA, the Hedge-Wizard or Hearth-Witch who has taken the time previously to learn High Magick is able to wean himself off of the drugs he has required up to this point. His knowledge, skill, and understanding of the processes of the Trade and its abilities will have grown to the point where he will have no further need of them to cast his magicks.

Upon learning the new lore and achieving this LoA, the rate at which benefits accrue due to the character’s trade will change to that enjoyed by full trade Witches and Wizards. All discrepancies in knowledge between them will have been remedied.

This is ONLY allowed to those who have taken the time to learn High Magick.

IF the character elects to use the drugs to perform any magick beyond this point in the growth of his knowledge, he will actually gain a 1-point bonus to his casting AV’s for every trade SL earned from WorksMaster LoA onward per point of POT in drugs taken, to a maximum of (MGA att. mod.) per point of POT in drugs consumed.

For the reader’s convenience, and also in order to avoid having to repeat the same information over as many times as there are trades of magickal practitioners, the reader is directed to the passages that appear under the heading “Common Elements of the Trades of Magick”, as follows and, especially within those passages, that found under the heading “Under the Mantle of Power”, for this is where most of the vital information concerning the trades’ magickal trade benefits and abilities are detailed.

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Great Weavers

The player may choose for his Hedge-Wizard or Hearth-Witch to express his magick in a manner modeled on the ancient Norse seidr, closely associated with the cottage craft of weaving, but more specifically with chanting a galdr (incantation, sing., pl. galdrar) with spinning flax or sometimes wool with the spindle and distaff, the energy of the spinning evoking the power of magick and even imbedding it or anchoring it in the fibers themselves. I have expanded on this concept to make the process applicable beyond just spinning to also be achieved by Low magick means through weaving a small (or large) piece of cloth, or by composing a series of woven plaits and/or whole intricate, even layered knots, physically forming the patterns of Power to manifest his dweomers. Great Weavers are also known as Knot-Weavers. Spells being more briefly performed would be embodied in much more modest braids and knots.

Knot-Weavers use the hair of living creatures to weave and knot their magicks into for sorcery, or hanks of twine, grasses, strands of hempen rope of linen fibers, horsehair, or even flowers still on their stems to tie onto objects to express enchantments or weave into bracelets, necklaces, anklets, wreaths to be worn, or woven strands to weave into another plait or knot. The specific means by which the plait and knot(s) are woven and how they are attached are up to the PC to decide at the time the dweomer is cast, but it must be appropriate to the dweomer being created (GM’s discretion).

For example, a fine knot might be twined in the fetlock of a horse to give it a Fleetfoot charm, or in the mane if he has no fetlocks. A chain woven of daisies or some similar wild flower with a folk magick tradition worn about the neck could convey almost any Sorcery intended to protect; a few stalks of wild grasses might be plaited into a braid in the hair, a small plait tied on the handle of a chest for an enchantment on it, around the neck of a bottle, or holding the stopper for it attached to the neck or handle. The player must come up with an idea and work out the details of the execution with the GM’s approval.

The Knot-Weaver begins play with mundane knot-tying as a skill, the equal of any Huntsman or Mariner, at (CRD) in SL (for those using Intermediate rules, at the Master LoA), and the ability to work wonders with weaving plaits and adorning them with chains, beads, trinkets, flower chains, and the like in dressing hair. Indeed, it is possible for the Knot-Weaver Hedge-Wizard to weave a magick into the hair while dressing it in such a way that the subject never becomes aware of it.

This type of Hedge-Wizard or Hearth-Witch is also the equal of any Craftsman Weaver of (CRD) in SL (for those using Intermediate rules, at the Master LoA), able to work reeds and grasses into mats, hangings, and covers; willow withies and similar woody strands into baskets of all shapes and sizes and uses, including those wrapped around bottles and jugs to keep them safe from breakage; even weaving textiles that can vary from intricate tapestry-work to decorative borders, cloth for bedding or clothing, and weave their magickal patterns right into them so to make objects with magickal characteristics, objects whose Enchantments are intrinsic to their fabric. It is this aspect of their trade for which they are named Great Weavers. This aspect of the trade is how they express their Low Magick, handled in the same manner as a Druid-Gowan making any object intended to have a magickal effect, while the smaller plaits and knots are used for the Common Magick.

The spellcraft of a Knot-Weaver takes twice as long as a Common spell from a mainstream Wizard to cast (2 Actions for Common Sphere spells, 4 Actions for Noble Sphere spells, and 8 Actions for Sovereign Sphere spells, instead of the normal 1, 2, and 4 Actions), but skill will shorten the CTM in the same manner, with the same minimum CTM.

Once a Knot-Weaver has woven his plait and tied his knot off, casting the magick, it is impossible to untie or untangle by mundane mortal means until the magick expires. For the purposes of cutting through the plait or cleaving the knot by magickal means or assistance, it has (POT) STP’s. It is just as difficult to try to cut it free of the subject’s hair. If successfully done, however, the magick expires as surely as if it has been dispelled.

For the reader’s convenience, and also in order to avoid having to repeat the same information over as many times as there are trades of magickal practitioners, the reader is directed to the passages that appear under the heading “Common Elements of the Trades of Magick”, as follows and, especially within those passages, that found under the heading “Under the Mantle of Power”, for this is where most of the vital information concerning the trades’ magickal trade benefits and abilities are detailed.

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Magi

The Magus (sing., “MAH-goose”; pl. Magi “mah-GEE”) travels the wide world preaching his holy vision, the path of wisdom and power achieved through his religious philosophy as he pursues the ascetic life of a Mystic, and the secrets of the Universe gleaned from his knowledge of the Arts and Forms of Hedge-Wizardry discussed in this trade description. This may be mainstream or expressed as any of the folkforms: Cabalist, Knot-Weaver, Drug-trance, etc. The Magus believes that all things in the world stand for either good or evil according to some mysterious master plan. For them there is no middle ground, merely indecision. Good and Evil are perceived by them as rival deities between whom one must choose. These are the prime forces in the universe to the Magi, constantly striving against one another, forces they serve as both holy Mystics and as Wizards. The Magi are divided between these two forces, forming two factions, the White Magi serving Good and Light, and the Black Magi serving Evil and Darkness.

The player and GM will please note that this folkway is not available for Hearth-Witches.

The White Magus pays strict attention to the state of his Virtues, and never touching blood nor the blood mana discussed under the Advanced rules, nor come into contact with any dead animal matter nor death mana, for fear of polluting his own spirit. If he turns to mortal sources of mana in the use of his wizardly Arts he will use some more wholesome variety. Intent is everything, and the White Magus is very conscious of not only his motives but also his means, that every exercise of his power be for the right reasons and exercised in an appropriate way. Those who follow this Path of Grace and arcane lore prize it as an exalted profession, spending much time seeking to attain greater wisdom through their power, grateful to be so gifted in their Arts.

The White Magi should be the strongest and most implacable servants of Light in the GM’s world, ruthlessly rooting out the servants of the Darkness and bringing them to the justice of the Light. Their fury against the Darkness is as unrelenting as the servants of the Darkness are subtle and deceitful. They are the smallest of the factions in the struggle of the Light and Darkness, for few are gifted with Grace in addition to having talent for magick.

The Black Magus, on the other hand, is the walking embodiment of the Vices. He is Temptation in the Flesh to those around them, always looking for weakness and Desire, testing to see where he can compromise the souls of those around him. Delving deeply into the tangled web of the deceptive and destructive powers of the Spheres of Darkness, Black Magi seek power and gratification and care not for the cost. Seducing, corrupting, and enslaving the bodies of the dead and/or near-dead, binding the souls of the living to them, even bartering their own flesh and/or souls away a bit at a time, the Black Magus does whatever he must. As long as it brings power or advantage of some sort, the cost can never be too high – particularly if another can be made to pay it.

The very nature of the folk who serve the Darkness provides a source for a fair amount of in-fighting within the various brotherhoods and between the different organizations dedicated to the Darkness. However, the mutual goal towards which they work, that of gaining ever higher and more influential positions in society so they can corrupt more and more the fabric of society, keeps this fighting from getting out of hand, for the more power that the Black Magi and Mystics of the Darkness hold in the world the greater influence the Darkness has upon the fortunes of the community or country. This is one of the major reasons for the general outlawry of the religions of Darkness, aside from the heinous acts committed by many of the priesthoods in their rites.

If the PC is living and adventuring in a highly pantheistic world, his choice of an actual patron deity and religious order is very important to the character persona. Making this information available for the PC’s makes the choice between the deities that much easier, according to the practices of the religious orders that serve them. The GM might make life a little easier for himself by specifying that the Magi possess their own order(s) and work from there. Unlike the full Trade Mystic, the Magus does not begin play being yet able to achieve the state of Grace that enables him to create miraculous manifestations as a true Mystic does. This comes only in time as he rises in trade SL. His link to the divine is strong and constant enough, however, for him to be able to exercise the Feats of a true Mystic. In all other ways, except those abilities that come with the Ascension to Grace, the Magus shares the trade abilities of a true Mystic.

Upon achieving the Warden LoA in trade SL, the Magus must withdraw on a religious retreat as described under the passage “The Pious Life of the Mystic” in order to commune with the Light for (trade SL) days. Upon his return, he is then endowed with the ability to Ascend as a trade Mystic, but only by the use of the holy rites used by the full trade Mystic, not by prayer. This conforms in every way to the rules and procedures presented for full trade Mystics, except that the character’s effective trade SL in exercising this ability starts anew at one (1) here.

Upon achieving the Master LoA in trade SL, the Magus will again need to withdraw on a religious retreat as described under the passage “The Pious Life of the Mystic” in order to commune with the Light for (trade SL) days. Upon his return, his ability to Ascend as a trade Mystic is then transformed in such a manner that he is able to make use of the holy prayers used by the full trade Mystic to Ascend and pursue his miraculous works. This conforms in every way to the rules and procedures presented for full trade Mystics, except that the character’s effective trade SL in exercising this ability starts anew at one (1) here.

It is very important that the player of the Magus character read both the Mystic and Wizard trade descriptions and the rules of magick in depth, so that he may understand the full responsibility and all of the restrictions on his power and position.

As mentioned at the beginning of this description, the player must choose a format for the tradition under which his Hedge-Wizard was instructed in the knowledge of this trade. It is important that the player and reader understand that the Magus is a combination of somewhat limited forms of the two trades. Any of those formats presented under the Hedge-Wizard, Hearth-Witch description are acceptable, and the specific format may well be applied to both the Wizard and Mystic aspects of the trade (GM’s discretion). Indeed, each side of the trade may well have a different format, and perhaps should.

The Magus has the benefit of all the trade abilities described for both Mystics and Wizards, from the Holy Aura, Truthsay ability, and Laying on of Hands and Calming Touch, to the Sense Magick and the Ambience. Where those trades provide exactly the same benefit, it is NOT cumulative, however. The HRT bonus from the Mystic side of his Trade affects the character’s M-RES and P-RES scores, normally, however. The fact that M-RES is enhanced by the bonus from Wizardry afterwards is irrelevant. The bonuses are not identical; rather, they compliment one another, compounded.

The Mainstream Magus is also able to learn High Magick and to achieve the same freedom from his Talisman as he progresses in LoA, as described under Mainstream Hedge-Wizards, previously.

For the reader’s convenience, and also in order to avoid having to repeat the same information over as many times as there are trades of magickal practitioners, the reader is directed to the passages that appear under the heading “Common Elements of the Trades of Magick”, as follows and, especially within those passages, that found under the heading “Under the Mantle of Power”, for this is where most of the vital information concerning the trades’ magickal trade benefits and abilities are detailed.

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Mediums

Mediums are a form of Hedge-Wizard or Hearth-Witch that perform their magicks in conjunction with a familiar spirit, with whom they share their consciousness in a trance state for the purposes of casting magicks. Each Medium has one such spirit and only one with which he works his magicks. These spirits are gained and form a sympathetic bond with their hosts during trade training, and are groomed to be a sort of alter ego. For the purposes of roleplay, the spirit is indistinguishable from the character himself when sharing body and consciousness for casting magick. All of the Medium’s specific dweomer skills held by the Medium’s spirit alter-ego, but the Medium has full use of his trade abilities when he is not entranced and possessed of his spirit agent and has full access to the general knowledge skills of the Ars Quintates and the Forms, and the general Lore of the craft that all characters possess of their own trades and colleagues.

The Medium requires a period of meditation and contemplation to sink into the trance-state through which he may attempt to reach his spirit agent to use his magickal skills.

The character’s AV for joining with his spirit agent is equal to his trade SL, with an att. mod. based upon the character’s MGA score.

The DV for this is equal to the Medium’s own [(CHM score) + (HRT att. mod.)], for he must subdue his own personality and sense of self for his alter ego to join him.

The time required to accomplish this is equal to the DV, in Actions according to the character’s RoA and the rules for tactical play.

The link the Medium shares with his spirit agent is actually embodied in some small personal possession, preferably one that is worn which can donned and doffed as necessary, such as a medallion, a ring, an earring, a cap or hat, a veil, a cloak, robe, or coat, or some similar such. Without this physical link, the Medium’s effective trade SL is reduced by 1/4th normal or (MGA ÷ 4), whichever is less, for purposes of reaching his spirit agent and bonding with him to access his full, true skills and power.

These spirit-focus objects do not radiate magick in any way, though they may show a slight aura of life if subjected to a “Reveal Life” Divination, and then only when the object is lying alone, separated from contact with any living creature or being. Such contact definitely overshadows the focus object’s own small trace of life. The spirit-focus object also shows a bond of resonance with the Medium equal in POT to his trade SL if subjected to a “Read Object” Divination.

When he enters his trance-state, the Medium’s body must be supported in some way, either by sitting in a chair or lying down. If this precaution is not taken, the Medium may fall when the spirits join and injure the body.

If playing by Advanced rules, in addition to the WND cost for the magick cast while his spirit agent is bonded to him, the Medium is required to pay 1 FTG every [(MGA ÷ 4) + trade SL] minutes that he maintains the trance-state and connection with his spirit agent.

In addition, while the spirit agent is occupying the Medium’s body, no P-RES checks are required to tap any of the deeper levels of WND and FTG. While he should be diligent in watching the energy used, it is not uncommon for a Medium to return to a depleted body and have to immediately retire to rest and recoup.

While joined with his spirit alter ego the Medium may move about and act as his normal self, but unable to remember any events occurring during that period of time once the trance and spirit bond are broken. The GM must watch the PC in this, for it is certainly not a license for outrageous behavior, the PC must keep the character consistent, but the spirit’s knowledge separate from the PC host’s.

The alter ego must return the Medium’s body back to the place where it was first assumed. Otherwise, he is not guaranteed to be able to find it again in order to return to it.

If not, the GM must call for a d100 check for the Medium to find and return to his body,

The AV for this check is equal to the Medium’s trade SL, plus att. mod’s based on his CHM and HRT scores.

The DV for this check is equal to the number of feet from the original position that the body is located, minus the Medium’s trade SL. The PC’s spirit waits in the place where it was first displaced from the body to rejoin it.

The Medium is in a very vulnerable state while possessed of his spirit agent, in that any injury done to the body while he is out of it creates a chance that the spirit agent flees the body and leaves the Medium to find the body and return to it as best he can.

IF the Medium’s body is Stunned or numbed by a blow in combat the player must make a successful P-RES check against the number of points of damage suffered.

IF successfully made, the Medium and his spirit agent may continue as before, normally.

IF the roll is failed, the spirit will flee the Medium’s body and it will collapse. The Medium must seek to find it regain it.

Divination is the Art most widely favored by those trained in the trade of the Medium, as most of the dweomers of that Art do not require the Wizard or Witch to move about to any great extent once the bond has been forged with the familiar spirit, thus, less chance of losing or misplacing the body.

While the great majority of Hedge-Wizards and Hearth-Witches who follow this tradition are trained in the ways of mainstream Wizardry or Witchcraft, the Medium and his spirit agent may be trained in any of the folkways described under this Trade description. The player must decide what suits his character concept best.

Wizards

The Wizards of RoM are modeled after the Zarathustrian Magi (mah – GEE) of the Persians (as well as being represented by a trade of their own, which description follows); the Hindu Brahmins; the Egyptian prophets, alchemist-wizards; the Chaldeans of Assyria and Babylonia; and the Samanaeans among the Bactrians. All prospective Wizards tread the Path of the Spirit, but it is not by calling like a Mystic, but through discipline and scholarship that they assail the Path. It is undertaken by an act of will, of their own desire, usually through the prodding of another who has already been trained in the Arts who has seen the talent sleeping in the candidate.

Magickal talent generally expresses itself in one or more abilities commonly referred to as Spirit Senses, or Othersenses, included in the rosters showing the overall portfolio of skills available to those following the Wizards’ Path. These can take a number of forms, as explained in the description in Appendix C. It is often through the raw untrained expression of these senses that the candidates for trade training are identified.

Every Wizard PC who comes from a trade apprenticeship as opposed to coming through a formal university must have MGA of no less than 14.

Talent was required of old, and those traditions are followed by the lone masters who deign to teach these Arts. Only the universities have reduced teaching even these great Mysteries into a business open to all who can pay the tuition.

Wizard PC’s coming to the trade through a university education may have a MGA as low as 10.

Under the tutelage of his master, the novice studies the philosophies that embody the beginning of the Path. When judged ready, he retires to the isolated confines of the bare ascetic’s cell. There he fasts and meditates, laying himself open to terrible visitations and apparitions. In the space of a few nights he may undergo many incarnations of the soul, generally behaving as if mad. This culminates in some dreadful subjective illusion of death or self immolation, demons dismembering him, plucking out his eyes, hunting him down through flames. Then he ascends to Spirit on a cloud, a pillar of smoke or flames, on the back of some animal (commonly for Druids and Witches), or some similar vehicle, to finally achieve stasis, his personality dissolving in cosmic consciousness, union with the Spheres of Spirit.

Afterwards, if he can, he returns to earth via that same vehicle, which retains its magickal significance to him for the rest of his life. Unfortunately, some candidates actually die, suffering massive failures of the physical body, so great are the stresses of the trials and ordeals. Some candidates are unable to pull themselves back out of their cosmic contact, and so never really return, remaining mad in the eyes of the world for the rest of their days. The people of the period of the game sometimes described those who had lost their wits as having been touched by Spirit or the gods, called “goddess prisoners”.

Even the successful candidate who returns to his right mind with his soul in tact can only begin after a minimum of 10 days to stammer out coherent speech, to join the other Wizards, who will recognize the mark of the Path on him, and his new readiness to begin to share the magickal secrets of their trade.

To those who follow the Wizard’s Path, Death holds no fear. It is a fact of the natural world, no more than a change in consciousness, a transition to a higher level of existence. As the Flesh is only a temporarily vessel to hold the spirit and soul, it is considered a doorway between worlds. Along with the act of birth, Death is the means by which the mortal and spirit worlds remain in balance.

New Wizards often take new names as a sign of the spiritual regeneration and rebirth undergone during this process. Most Wizards applying for the final degree under which they will take their magickal training in a university are given new names before entering the master’s hall, told to abandon their old name and life in preparation for this life-changing evolution. Sobriquets like “Master of the Misty Marches”, “Lord Thunder”, “Twilight Huntsman”, “Lightning Rider”, or “Lady Blue” are often coined and adopted during the period of schooling to further obscure the original name. This makes getting a fix on the Wizard through means of bonds of Sympathy much more difficult.

First and foremost, Wizards are folk of Power, the very eldritch Power on which the Universe swings, the embodiment of the only constant, which is Change, named Chaos pure and simple by many who fear it. The Power of magick gathers about these and all other wielders of Power, making them fairly walking nexus’ of Fate insofar as their connection to it never wanes but is always carried with them, whether visible to the untrained eye or not. With their Power they can warp reality to their own needs, and even their own designs and desires, though to use their magick in such a way can have unpleasant consequences. They know well about omens and portents, respecting and observing them, even looking for them or calling for them by their Arts, knowing them for the natural signs of the movements of Power in the world, the natural by-product of the connection to magick they carry.

The Power those who practice magick wield has always been a bone of contention between them and the Church. Some orders within the Church, and a few Mystics along with them, would prefer that all other-worldly Power be left to the gods to dole out, for them to direct its use among the faithful when they are ready to receive it, or when the gods send it to them to use as directed. The greater majority of the pious, Mystics included, are neither so insecure nor so greedy as to think they actually have the right to rule others so, much less the mandate of the gods or the Light to back them up.

Some Mystics and members of the Church cite the effects of iron and steel upon the magicks that stem from the Olde Ways (Druid trades, Witches) as evidence of the superiority of holy miracles and the power of the gods in general, and the lack of such an effect on the magicks of Wizards as at least partial evidence of some infernal protective alliance with the Darkness – regardless of the fact that many Wizards are also pious and religious men. Some Mystics and factions in the Church treat Druids, Witches and Wizards as simply wayward children who cannot see the error of the Path they tread. Some treat them as wicked, willful children, while others rant and rave about godless heathens who defile the very ground they walk upon, accusing the magickal community following any but their own holy Path of Power of being amoral, demon-loving wretches who have wrested the threads of Destiny out of the hands of the gods r the Light to whom they rightfully belong. Another, more patient, gentle and retiring faction simply sighs and offers up their prayers, recalling that ALL Paths of Power lead back to the gods from whom all Power and Wisdom flow, commending them all to the Virtues in the hopes that all find their way back to the proper deities. These gratefully offer thanks that many who follow other Paths of Power still remain pious church-goers dedicated to a life of Virtue, despite their professions and the attitudes of some of the other members of the religious community. The rest of the common folk and the Mystics fall somewhere in-between.

The player must decide for himself where his magick-wielding character fits in, and make sure his GM knows where his character stands, so the GM can ensure the character ends up with a circle of like-minded friends and colleagues and doesn’t have to constantly fight with his own brothers in the trade over his views.

There are many roads to spiritual reward, and every member of the magickal trades understands that his is not the only valid one.

The roles of the Druid trades and the Witches are relatively clear and fairly easy to define, largely based on culture and shared religion, but that of the Wizards is more subtle in nature. In the spectrum of practitioners of magick, Wizards are the true artists and technicians. But the true measure of their quality lies in what they do with it. Some who practice the Arts may simply be curious, or possessed of a drive like a great thirst for the secrets of the universe, but for most the drive fades over time for many, and the few that arrive at the pinnacle of power discover they have no idea what to do with it, having attained it.

Magick is subtle when it has its own way in everyday life, according to the Natural Order, but sometimes the traces of its presence and power are readily discernable, like emotions on the faces of the races of Men. Loves and hates, for example, whether fixed on people or things, are expressions of energy and have magickal power and can be used or manipulated by one who has the knowledge and skill. Those who wield magick see and sometimes even seek these subtle connections in the world to gain greater control over their Arts and the world around them, to increase their effective power. This is why all practitioners tend to be cagey and careful when in the company of their colleagues and others known to have Power, to protect themselves from being victimized by their own connections to the world and the people around them. The stereotype of the lonely, lone-wolf Wizard has emerged due to the conditions imposed by the Wizard’s work. It is no accident. Like any stereotype, however, not all those that follow the Wizard’s Path feel the need to fall into that mold. Some of the more notable among them even actively defy it.

The niche that Wizards occupy who exist in mainstream medieval society is one in which they offer highly skilled and knowledgeable service for hire, in much the same manner as any lawyer or physician. They commonly run in much the same social circles, frequently rubbing elbows. They often do more consulting for the public than actual works of magick, and their rates for the magicks they do cast under contract are usually set by the relative POT of the charm, the Sphere of Power used, whether it is permanent or temporary in nature, and the like.

It is unlikely that a Wizard would actually “hang out a shingle” in the manner of a lawyer or physician to advertise his presence and the service he provides. Many do just fine working in private for a select few high-ranking, high-profile patrons, or simply make themselves known through word of mouth along with the types of services they are willing to provide. Many Wizards only offer a limited number of the magicks from their portfolios for public consumption, generally those over which there can be little if any social friction or debate over morality.

The Power itself pushes those who need Wizardry into the path of the Wizard. Wizards are commonly approached by those needing news of foreign places, providing swift communications, Revealing and Reading and finding things lost or that which they desire, speedy means of travel, limited magicks to employ in battle, or magicks to be cast on or for the client on the spot. Housecalls may be made under special circumstances – or not – and they may allow for contracted periods of service where they take a retainer and pay by the day comparable to any physician or lawyer, with charges for actual magickal services being charged in addition, and recompense for materials for Low Magicks, as necessary. How a Wizard in public or even limited practice conducts his business directly affects his reputation, in addition to the public report of the quality of his work.

It is probable that the Wizards may have a guild to help them deal with the social hierarchy and interact with the world and its “authorities”, but this is up to the GM. The player should check to see if there has been any sort of charter set forth to create a guild for the Wizards, whether locally for a given town or city, or nationwide with local chapters. Due to the individualism of the members, any guilds are likely to be isolated and competing. This opens up a whole new field of competition between the followers of the different Arts and also between the various universities and schools training the Wizards. Certain towns and their guilds are likely to be beholden to certain schools or a given university for the Wizards that come to swell the ranks of their local guild. The libraries kept by each guild are always jealously guarded and tightly administered, but a great resource for their members.

Just because the Wizard has the knowledge and Power does not mean that he has to offer his services for hire, however. Some, deploring the unwashed masses and the often humbling conventions of social interaction in a feudal and seigniorial world, prefer to direct their energies towards research and honing their skills while hunting for ways to increase their knowledge and portfolio of skills in the Arts, picking their way through ancient tomes for clues to where such rare treasures might lie, then pulling teams together to aid them in obtaining them.

Disturbances in the Ambience:

Sensing Magick

As mentioned in the Introduction, mana is the spirit and power of magick. As a general force, it is seen by the trained practitioner to permeate and overlay every corner of the Mortal World, constituting a vast continuous energy field known as the “Ambience”, as discussed in the Primer. While the Ætherium is always in motion, both the drawing and release of the power (mana) used in crafting charms or “dweomer-crafting,” creates a disturbance that passes through it, regardless of the trade of the practitioner. This is best described as a ripple-like wave that radiates outward in all directions through the Ambience. These disturbances or waves in the Æther are created in part by tapping the Veil between the Spirit and the mortal world. This sensation encompasses a see-feel-smell-hear-taste experience that defies any meaningful description to those outside the trade.

A Wizard can automatically feel the gathering of mana and the process of crafting it into a dweomer if it takes place within [(SPT) + (TR)] feet of them.

Beyond this, a successful SPT check on d100 is needed to allow him to “feel” it.

The AV to Sense Magick is equal to [(SPT att. mod.) + (AWA att. mod.) + (TR)].

The DV for these checks is equal to the number of feet by which the casting is taking place beyond the practitioner’s prescribed range,

MINUS the number of points by which the POT of the casting is greater than the practitioner’s MGA

OR

PLUS the number of points by which the POT of the casting is less than the practitioner’s MGA.

When a magick is finally loosed or cast (whether successfully or not), it crashes back into the Ambience like a stone suddenly dropped into a still pool, causing a wave radiating outward in a sphere from the caster. This is a MUCH stronger wave than the little ripple caused by the process of crafting the magick.

This wave can be immediately and automatically “felt” if it occurs within [(SPT) + (TR)] yards, regardless of POT.

For this check, the AV is [(SPT att. mod.) + (TR)], again.

The DV for the SPT check is 1 if the practitioner Sensing Magick is located within (POT) furlongs.

  • IF the POT of the wave when it reaches the practitioner is greater than his CHM or HRT (whichever is greater), the roll should be foregone and the character simply informed. It is deemed strong enough to get the character’s attention immediately and automatically.
  • IF the POT is less than a practitioner’s CHM or HRT (whichever is less) when the wave reaches him, the DV for the SPT check rises by the difference, per point, again in a Progressive manner.

After the first (POT) furlongs the wave travels from the practitioner who loosed the magick that made it, the effective POT drops by 1 point in strength every furlong of distance, until it dies out at zero (0).

This raises the DV to sense the wave when it finally reaches the practitioner, by one per furlong per furlong traveled, again in a Progressive manner, MINUS the effective POT of the wave.

 Beyond this distance, EVERY magick cast causes a ripple in the Ambience that travels outward in a sphere from the site of the casting (POT x 2) furlongs, allowing the practitioner to “feel” the wave washing over him upon making a successful SPT check on d100.

Not only is a PC able to sense the ripples caused by others’ magicks, his player must understand the fact that every magick his PC casts creates the same disturbance to alert others of the trade who may be in the vicinity.

The lesser, day-to-day activity in the Ambience, those disturbances of (CHM or HRT, whichever is less) in POT or less, are normally screened from every practitioner’s consciousness in accordance with his trade training to protect his sanity, so he can maintain some sense of continuous mortal existence separate from Spirit and his magick, allowing him to interact normally with the mortal world.

Those disturbances he “feels” or senses, whether automatically or as a result of a Sense Magick check, as above, are sufficient for him to note the general direction whence it came. This can provide a link by which any direction-finding charm may be cast to zero in on the point of origin of the disturbance.

The wave of disturbance from the casting of a magick can be used by the clever practitioner to cover the loosing of subsequent magicks, provided he stays within (MGA) yards of the original casting site and is careful to keep their POT smaller than the original magick whose shadow he is trying to use.

This raises the DV for sensing the disturbance by one per point by which the following magick’s POT is less than the one it follows, per point, in a Progressive manner.

This “shadow” of disturbance following in the wake of the wave, equal to the POT of the first magick cast, fades at a rate of 1 effective point of POT per minute.

In practice, the player should be aware of the order in which he casts his magicks if he is concerned over the possibility of disturbing other folk of power, casting rituals before spells before cantrips, and greatest POT to lowest, to use the shadow of the ripple caused by the greater magick to cover those of the lesser magicks cast in its wake.

One never knows whose elbow one may unintentionally jog.

Taking advantage of this phenomenon can be a very useful tactic when one is matched on the battlefield against another practitioner, a means of catching them off guard, of denying them any notice of more magicks to come following the first.

The players and GM alike must be aware that any other practitioner of magick in the same town or its immediate hinterlands (surrounding supporting farmlands) may well note the use of any magicks cast with POT greater than c. 10-15, especially if any of them live in a location that gives them an overview of the town. Any in the closer surrounding villages might take note, as well. Caution is prudent. Careless flinging of magick, especially at high POT, can attract unwanted attention. Rival practitioners may be curious or even irritated if they are in the least bit protective of their territorial rights to monopolize the trade in magick where a character has ventured to practice his craft. Ignorance of the presence of a local rival or guild monopoly is no excuse, in the same manner as ignorance of the law.

This is simply an occupational hazard.

Rivalries keep the already small numbers of those who practice the magickal arts even smaller, and tend to insure that those of lesser power keep a low profile until they are well and truly prepared and sure of their defenses, should such a conflict of interests arise.

There may be certain places in the GM’s world where those of power gather to practice their art by tacit approval, an unspoken bond that may be as strong as any guild charter. These places gain a general on-going disturbance due to regular magickal activity that swiftly becomes evident to those who wield the Arts approaching within range to sense it. The level of activity is rated in POT in the same manner as the prevailing Ambience and added to the DV for sensing any specific magickal disturbance (as described above) that is of lesser POT than that of the æthereal “background noise”. This “white noise” of magickal activity makes sensing other magickal activity so difficult that the SPT checks described previously are required even within the normal ranges at which the Sense Magick ability is commonly automatic and immediate. The DV’s for these checks are increased by the amount by which the POT of the magick in question is less than the POT of the ætherial “background noise” using the same procedure applied when the POT of a magick to be Sensed is less than the practitioner’s CHM/HRT (as above).

Sometimes there is no better place for a character of lesser power to hide his craft than out in the open, under the cover of the disturbances created by his greater colleagues routinely exercising their own craft.

In addition, the level of the Ambience itself may actually work to betray disturbances, high-lighting them. To keep things on an even footing, the POT of the Ambience, of the mana readily available flowing through a given location, is always rated in POT relative to the Common Sphere. The greater the POT of the Ambience, the more magickal energy that is present for the wave of a disturbance to displace. In short, it amplifies the effect of the disturbance, making it more noticeable.

The POT of the Ambience is subtracted from the DV for any Sense Magick check to feel a disturbance.

Magick that is already in existence lies quietly, as a part of the natural world, doing as it was bidden when created. It is much more difficult to sense. The Wizard has the option of casting a bit of Divination to “Reveal” the presence of magicks, should the player have equipped him with that lore, OR ply his skill with a set of dowsing rods or crystal or other pendulum for the same purpose, using it as a guide if he has this Spirit Skill, OR the Wizard may slowly walk about with his hand held out before him to try to “feel” it’s presence by “Seeking” it by Divination.

On the other hand, once a Wizard touches an object which carries an enchantment, or creature or being laboring under an ensorcelment, or steps into an area which bears a dweomer, he feels and knows it and the GM must tell the player (preferably slip him a private note), without the need for a d100 check of any kind. Of course, where Banes and Wardings are concerned, his coming into contact could be rather hazardous to his health and perhaps that of any compatriots accompanying him.

Of all the trades that pursue and practice magick, the Wizards are most concerned with the study of the nature, spirit and individual characters of the Ars Quintates, with gaining the insight needed to exploit every advantage of each, understanding the vital importance of the skills of High, Common and Low magick to all the Arts. Every master and every school teaching Wizardry teaches ALL of the Ars Quintates discussed above, as they are the pillars of the knowledge of the trade, a regular part of the curriculum for any school that wishes to have any professional credibility at all. It is essential for aspiring Wizards to be able to appreciate the overall landscape of the power they wield. The emphasis in study is likely to vary from one school to the next depending on the strengths of the masters who teach there, as commonly occurs in the universities, as described in the text under “The Scholastic Trades”. Because of a great master in Enchantment teaching at a given school, that school gains a prominent reputation for that Art, another becoming highly renowned for Divination, and so on. In this way, each of the universities and even the smaller academies or schools may develop a reputation for offering the best in education regarding one of the five Arts, or perhaps two – though one to a lesser extent.

This is one of the major factors that sets each of the universities or schools apart, and it is the characters of their leading professors, the wizards who elect to teach what they have learned, that distinguishes each school and gives it the reputation it has. Shake-ups in the staff of the university can have wide and sweeping impact on the attendance and the type of students that apply to study there. Masters moving by invitation from one school to another are not uncommon, and it is the common practice of the master who moves to take with him to his new school many of those students he has studying under him, that his reputation brought to him in the first place. In the academic struggle to attract students, the need for CHM and the Presence skills are paramount.

In the same manner governing the qualities and reputations of the schools, every Wizard generally establishes a strong affinity with one of the Arts, usually rather early on in his career, and perhaps a second Art to a lesser extent. The Art in which a character is strongest, carrying the highest SL, that which he uses the most and with which he identifies most. It is likely he associates with others of a like mind in the craft, to share ideas and compare notes from time to time, or simply because it is easier to associate and communicate in general with those who have a similar frame of mind and approach to the trade.

The player must make a decision before the start of play as to whether his character has learned his Wizardry from a traditional apprenticeship under a single master, or through taking a doctoral degree in Natural Philosophy at a university that offers magick in the advanced curriculum. The circumstances chosen affect the portfolio of skills available to the character somewhat, and definitely makes a great deal of difference in the sort of environment the character hails from. The differences between the two traditions are clearly evident in the rosters of skills available to each presented side-by-side below.

Wizard (Apprenticed) Scholar-Wizard (PhD.)
Charms (MGA) * ◊ Charms (MGA) * ◊
High Magick * High Magick *
Common Magick * Common Magick *
Low Magick * Low Magick *
Ars Quintates * Ars Quintates *
Divination Divination
Enchantment Enchantment
Sorcery Sorcery
Glamourie Glamourie
Naming Naming
M-RES Shield M-RES Shield
Linguist (P) Grammar School (P)
Ancient Arcane * Linguist (P)
Literatus & Scrivener (P) Foreign †
OR Ancient †
Secretary/Acct. (P) Ancient Arcane *
OR Philosopher’s Tongue
Grammar School (P) Scholar’s Tongue
Lore Specialties (P) Lore Specialties (P)
Astrology & Astronomy Trivium & Quadrivium
Perception (O) History & Mythology
Sense Mana/Magick (ancient & recent)
Spirit Senses ◊ (domestic & international)
  (Church & State)
  Classical Literature,
  Plays & Poetry
  Religion & Theology
  Cultures/Societies
  (domestic & foreign)
  (ancient & recent)
  Mathematics & Geometry
  Astrology & Astronomy
  Elective Areas of Expertise †
  Perception (O)
  Sense Mana/Magick
  Spirit Senses
Sentry
  Presence (O)
  Disputation/Debate
  Interviewer/Interrogate
  Orator

Most universities and schools of the magickal mysteries, and masters tutoring their apprentices, encourage their fledgling Wizards to seek insights of lore and power through the skills of Alchemy, classes in which are also offered. Having this knowledge enables the character to also make many of his own ritual supplies, saving him a fair portion of that expense. It also allows him to create substances like potions, unguents, philters, elixirs, salves, and the like that can carry his magicks, so he need not always be pressed to produce magick spontaneously, under the pressures of the moment. Under the optional END rules, this saves him from the use of his END for castings on the spot. The making of these substances are discussed in detail in the description of Alchemy in the Scholastic Trades, and also in the “Potion Bases” skill in Appendix C.

Since stage magick and cheap sleight of hand illusions are good for the manual dexterity of all aspiring Wizards. The games of the Mountebank are approved by the masters and become common practice among the students of Wizardry in the universities – one more tool with which the older students can torment new, younger students, keeping them guessing where the sleight-of-hand stops and the real magick begins! Outside the halls of academia or the hall of the apprentice’s master, these skills are often needed to make a living in lean times and provide the perfect cover to hide the true knowledge and training of a student newly out of school or hide his true talents in realms or districts whose kings or lords may be unfriendly to the practitioners of the Arts.

If a Wizard favors the company of Shadow Weavers and the art of Glamourie, he is encouraged to cultivate skill as a visual Artisan, far more appropriate than learning Alchemy, as it improves the quality, his attention to detail, in creating not only visual illusions, but the glamours to designed to deceive the other senses, as well.

What other trade the character takes on to facilitate his Wizardry is up to the player’s discretion, if he takes on any at all. It is by no means required that he do so.

The heart of Wizard trade and the true measure of how effective he is in play is determined by the charms in his portfolio, however.

What dweomers can he craft?

What can he can do with his Arts?

During character generation, the player must answer these questions by choosing the charms or “dweomer-crafting” skills with which his character begins play.

All Wizard characters may be equipped with up to (MGA) charms with which to be brought into play.

These are chosen from the following roster.

Wizard Charms

Alarum Charm, Charm of Warning

Anonymous Glamour, Magnetic Presence

Armor Enchantment

Banish Spirit

Battle Charm

Beast of Burden (Hearty Hero; Feeble Waif)

Bell the Cat

Blinding Flash

Blinding Spray

Bonds of Concordance

Bottomless Pit/Puddle

Burden Charm (Carefree Burden; Wearisome Burden)

Cache, Dweomer Cache, Power Cache

Candle in the Window

Cat’s Tongue

Caustic Spittle

Charm of Common Binding, Charm of Common Unbinding

Charm of Common Shaping

Charm of Direction

Charm of Distraction, – Iron Concentration

Charm of Facility, Hex of Bumbling

Charm of Finding

Charm of Mastery, Hex of Incompetence

Charm of Mending

Charm of Occlusion

Charm of Silence, Circle of Silence, Wall of Silence

Circle of Protection

Cloak of Confustication

Cloud of Obfuscation, Veil of Obfuscation

Commune wi’ Shadows

Compass Charm

Conjure Replenishment

Conjure Shadows of the Past

Copy Charm

Displacement Glamour

Dispel Common Magick

Draw Harm, Deflect Harm

Dweomer Ægis

Enchant Light

Enchant Sound

Ensorcel Movement

Far Flight, Earthbound

Far Speak, Eavesdropper’s Charm

Fat the Boar, Wasting Hex

Gas Bag, Bloat

Golden Touch, Contrary Charm

Heroic Appetites, Finicky Belly

Lightning Bolt

Lightning Hand

Loosen, Tighten

Magnetic Gaze, Avert Gaze

Malleable Charm, Charm of Stiffening

Measuring Tools

Mesmerize

Message Charm

Necromancy

Neverbreak, Charm of Fragility

Perpetuate Motion, Dampen Movement

Read

Reveal

Scrivener’s Veil

Scrying Enchantment

Second Sight

Seek Hidden

Seek News

Sharp Sense, Dull Sense

Shining Presence

Slick Charm, Stick Charm

Soft Touch

Soothsay

Speak in Tongues, Babble Hex

Stay Harm

Stealth Charm

Summoning

Swift Heal, Slow Heal

Swift Rest, Cat’s Breath

Sword of Damocles

Tell-Tale, Foe Marker

Temperate Charm

True Sight

Truthsay

Veil of Lightning

Walk in Another’s Shoes

Walk Safe, Undermine

Wander Charm

Web of Awareness

Weight Charm

Window of Resonance

Wound Channeling

Wound Hex

It is very important that the player make a note of which of the Ars Quintates may be used to cast each of these charms, as he may not always want to use the same Art to cast it.

Due to the fact that each charm in the game may be cast by a number of different Arts, the character develops a separate SL for a given charm for each Art by which it can be cast, and the difficulty of the task, or DV, is determined in part by the Art used for the casting.

  • IF the player has chosen to neglect any of the Five Arts, leaving them out in the process of Character Creation, the master he apprenticed under is assumed to suffer from a similar lack, or all five would have been learned.

While no player is required to equip his Wizard with skill in all five of the Arts, and he is encouraged to do so, he must have at least one of them. The lack of any one of them may be a matter of note to friends and rivals alike should it be discovered.

If a character has come into the craft of magick through a trade apprenticeship, the GM can use the charms the character begins play with as a starting point for determining the skills of the master under which the apprenticeship was served, for he must have had all of these and no doubt at least a few more.

 

 

Trade Memory & Maintenance

During his trade training, all aspiring Wizards use their magickal talents to cultivate a meditationally keyed, tiered eidetic memory for the sole purpose of retaining their vast store of magickal lore.

The character’s special trade memory enables him to retain up to [(MGA) + (TR) ÷ 4] charms or specific skills of arcane knowledge in a single AWA-slot, rather than the same amount of space in the character’s memory that such knowledge would occupy if learned by more mundane methods (1 skill per AWA-slot).

This works in a similar manner as other groups of related skills, like languages for a Linguist character, Social Graces, Lore specialties, or weapon skills. Otherwise each skill would fill a whole AWA-slot on its own

In order to maintain the knowledge in his special trade memory, the various nuances of magickal lore in the character’s special trade memory must be refreshed periodically. In order to maintain this knowledge intact the Wizard must meditate, review the entire contents of his trade memory, and practice from time to time for a period of time dependent upon the number of charms he knows and his SL’s with them.

The Wizard must spend [(number of charms) + (TR)] MINUS [(AWA) + (MGA att. mod.)] in days meditating on and reviewing his Common Sphere charms, minimum one (1). Once completed, he need not meditate and practice his trade lore again for [(MGA) + (TR)] days.

For example, the TR16 Wizard Arnaud Osset has 18 charms, for a base study time of 34 days, and an AWA15 and MGA 16 (att. mod. +3), so he must spend 16 days in meditation, chanting in review, and practicing (18 charms + TR16 = 34; 34 – 18 = 16 days).

One of the character’s two tomes must be open and within arm’s reach during this entire process so it may be used as a reference.

For every (MGA ÷ 4) days that the character does not review the magickal skills in his trade memory with one of his reference tomes, his casting AV’s drop by one (1).

This penalty can be momentarily avoided by casting directly from the pages of his book, open to the dweomer and Art he is working. It also places the Wizard at risk, revealing the nature of his ability/activities and giving his foe(s) a valuable object to focus on in hopes of thwarting his efforts – one that is HIGHLY valued in the open market, whether it ends up having to be sold on the black market or not.

  • IF the PC does not wish to sequester themselves away to plow through the time required (during which time no other activities might be undertaken), the time may be divvied up in the same manner as a craft project, stretched out over up to (AWA ÷ 4) times the required length so long as at least one (1) daily activity slot (by AWA) is devoted to it every day without exception until it is completed.

For example, Arnaud could spend his last daily activity slot (between supper and bedtime) working at his craft for 64 days (16 days discharged @ 1/4th a day per day elapsed is the same as 16 x 4 = 64 days) and incur no penalties as he goes.

  • IF the Wizard lapses in observing this practice and the time for which the character is free of the burden of study has expired, penalties begin to accumulate immediately for weaving charms of any kind, by any Art or Form until he resumes fulfilling that requirement. When he resumes, the penalty does not go away until the requirement is met, BUT it does not get any worse, either.

Once this requirement is met, the Wizard need not meditate and practice his trade lore again for [(MGA) + (TR)] days.

For example, once Arnaud has completed his 16 days, he is free for the next 32 days (MGA16 + TR16 = 32).

  • IF the player decides to have his character study and practice during his freedom from it, when he doesn’t have to, each full day spent is subtracted from his requirement when he is again required to study. The character’s AWA activity-slots may be used to gradually accumulate day’s-worth of chanting and review/practice, as explained above, BUT only FULL days completed towards this requirement are counted once the time arrives to fulfill the requirement again.

For example, Arnaud’s 15 AWA gives him 4 activity slots per day. If he takes the last of those 4 activity slots to study each evening before bed (as above), to meditate, chant, practice and review for the 32 days while it is not required, he can discharge exactly 8 of those days, cutting the number remaining down to 8 (32 ÷ 4 = 8), down by half. He can continue doing this until his circumstances change due to changes in SL’s and TR.

Even only studying a half day (2 AWA-slots), allowing half the day (2 AWA-slots) for domestic things, adventuring or what-have-you, Arnaud could then discharge refreshing his trade memory in 16 days. Afterwards, he has 32 days of light attention to his Arts.

But the cycle can be varied according the character’s requirement, the number of AWA-slots the character has and the player’s preference, as desired.

The Wizards’ Cant: “Ancient Arcane

For all intents and purposes of the game, all magicks in RoM are considered to be “formulaic.” That is to say, magick is performed through the use of gestures and some form of chants or incantations handed down from master to student over many centuries, or even millennia in some cases. These have been pre-established by the research of those who have gone before, determined to produce a similar, established effect according to the Art used (Divination, Enchantment, Glamourie, Naming, or Sorcery) when performed correctly (depending directly on the caster’s talent and training). This applies primarily to Low and Common magick, (spells and rituals, respectively). Cantrips require no such physical support to cast, having been discovered at a much later date than the Low and Common forms. Cantrips are High Magick because they are the latest and greatest of the powers of magick to be discovered, most effortless in appearance, but most difficult of the three to perform.

For their own part, the Wizards have resurrected the tongues of the ancient wise men and philosophers over the centuries, forging them into the language of their teachings, the language in which they incant their spells and rituals, in which they keep their tomes of knowledge, and in which they converse among their own kind – the secret cants of each of the schools of wizardry, sometimes referred to as “Ancient Arcane”, or irreverently as “Wizard’s Cant” (double-meaning fully intended). This is essentially a pastiche of the fantasy gameworld analogues of Greek, Latin, Egyptian, Arabic, Aramaic, Babylonian, Sumerian, Akkadian, Pharsee, and the like. This arcane tongue is very critical in both vocabulary and inflection and exceptionally difficult to learn, similar in difficulty to the languages of the Far East, especially the nuances of Mandarin Chinese.

All of the magicks worked by those who follow the trades of magick are spoken/chanted in that trade’s secret tongue. Due to the sheer power that it invokes when spoken aloud during spell and ritual casting, all listeners are smitten with overwhelming images and emotions which actually blot out the words themselves. The words themselves are always completely burned out of the memories of any who overhear. The gestures that are required in spell casting and the actions and movements required in rituals always vary a bit from one Wizard to the next, as well, so each Wizard must discover the variation that works best for him. No two ever practice their Art exactly alike, even when using the same form (spell or ritual) of the same Art (Divination, Enchantment, etc.) for the same specific charm. All these facts make magick extremely difficult to learn, even for those who have talent and a willing instructor, while providing an effectively impenetrable barrier that prevents nosy outsiders from “stealing” the secrets of any of the arts of magick through simple observation.

A Wizard character may communicate freely with any other Wizard trade member in this secret tongue, BUT no Wizard would ever teach this secret language to anyone not already initiated into the mysteries of the Power of the trade and accepted as a full trade member, on pain of a lingering punishment, even death, from his brother Wizards. To do so is to betray the secrets of the trade and craft of magick that every initiate is sworn to keep safe.

The Ancient Arcane Wizards’ Cant is part of the character’s Linguist, Scrivener, and Literatus skills, the same as the Scholars’ Tongue is if he has come to his magickal training through formal education in a university, as opposed to a trade apprenticeship. The LoA of all three language skills begins at Warden, but must be increased to Master LoA in order to have access to Noble Sphere magicks and again to WorksMaster LoA in order for the character to have access to Sovereign Sphere magicks. Otherwise, the Wizard won’t have the vocabulary to be able to properly translate the descriptive texts and incantations for the charms he would learn.

Each of the Five Arts has its own special jargon or vocabulary to describe its special processes and address concerns relating specifically to its practice. If a character is lacking one of those arts, he also lacks the language skills to discuss that art with his colleagues. This must, of course, stand out as a matter of note to his colleagues, if or when it should be discovered.

Wizards follow a written tradition of lore, and this drives them often to search back through the written record of the past to further clues to knowledge and skill, and thus, power. In keeping with this tradition, each Wizard must have completed scribing two tomes before the Wizard leaves the school or master from whom he received his trade training, both for his Common Sphere magicks. The first one travels with him for taking notes on lore he discovers while on the road, almost a diary of his magickal career and pursuits. The second acts as a repository for ALL his knowledge, completely unabridged and polished with glosses and commentary written, transformed as it has been transcribed from the first book. The greater a Wizard’s SL with a given charm, his skill and knowledge with the Ars Quintates that apply to it and his skills in High, Common and Low Magick, the more he knows of its inner workings and the more he has to say about it for the sake of posterity and also for his own reference.

Each book weighs 7.25 lb’s and has 100 pages in it, enough for the descriptions of 35 charms at SL1, assuming Art and Form SL’s also of 1, but these books can easily be added to and expanded with the help of a competent bookbinder up to a limit of about 200 (14.5lb’s, more than a stone) OR an absolute maximum of 300 pages (21.75lb’s). It is doubtful that any such character is going to be toting either of the larger books around in their rucksack. If the character is beginning play with SL’s higher than 1, the contents and size of his books must be increased commensurately. Additional pages can be added as play progresses and the character’s knowledge grows, according to the guidelines provided in the Grimoire.

One of the character’s two tomes must be open and within arm’s reach during the entire process of study and review for the maintenance of his trade knowledge (as described previously) so it may be used as a reference.

Under the Mantle of Power

Due to his repeated and intimate exposure to the power and patterns of the charms he weaves, the Wizard gradually builds up his spiritual defenses against those magicks directed against him that can also be resisted.

A Wizard’s (base) M-RES score is innate and protects him from those magicks that may be resisted, even if he is consciously unaware of them. His subconscious grows and becomes trained to be on guard so that in effect he cannot be Surprised magickally, which in the case of any other target would reduce his M-RES to one (1).

When he is aware of a magick directed at him, the practitioner receives a bonus of (TR) to his normal (base) M-RES score for resisting those magicks that allow it.

Under the Optional END rules, every Wizard is trained over the course of schooling in the magickal Arts to develop and harbor within his own spirit a personal reservoir of mana that can be tapped for casting magick.

This personal reserve consists of [(MGA ÷ 4) + (TR)] points-worth of POT in mana, to be used at the player’s discretion.

This resource can be used to bolster a magick that needs to be strong in POT while taking no more time to cast than normal. The player should look on this reserve as being more for use in emergencies when things look dark because it takes time and effort to restore afterwards, a period of rest and meditation where the spirit is opened to the flows of mana and the reservoir slowly refilled.

The mana may only be collected or drawn into the reservoir at a rate of one (1) point per [40 – (HRT)] minutes, but the character must make a point to take the time to settle down in a calm, quiet atmosphere and meditative state, preferably alone, to accomplish this.

IF necessary, the character can use the points of POT in mana in the reservoir for physical activities as additional points to add to his END to be spent normally but, to do so, the personal reservoir must be completely emptied, whatever points of POT in mana remaining in it dumped wholly into the physical body, and the procedure for replenishing the reservoir afterwards remains the same.

Unlike physical energy, a practitioner of magick can actually become over-charged with POT in mana, over-filling the personal reservoir until it is brimming-over with spiritual energy. This is accompanied by something of a euphoric feeling, and loosens the bonds between soul/spirit and the body. In effect, the number of points of POT in mana above and beyond what the practitioner can normally contain in his special trade reservoir is counted as equal to points of POT in alcohol consumed, loosening inhibitions, impairing AGL, CRD, and AWA. The same rules are used to describe the effects in play. The character remains in this state until the excess in POT is used up, burned off.

Some magickal folk become addicted to this feeling, like any drug addict or alcoholic. Pursuing this sensation for its own sake rather than for a higher purpose or for accomplishing specific works of magick contributes to the Vice of Gluttony (+1 point in that score for every incident) and leads the character to a place where he requires a HRT check vs. Vice in order NOT to indulge himself in this way anytime he meditates to draw power.

The Price of Power

It is widely said that the words of men of Power are never to be trusted, but this is a grave misconception, for the stamp of Power upon them affects the meaning of their words. They are vague, evasive, and difficult at best to come to an agreement with, but this is because of the weight that their words hold for them. One should never assume that an understanding has been reached unless the man of Power dealt with says that it is so. Unbeknownst to the public, the Wizard’s knowledge and the Power he exercises are almost an entity unto itself with which the PC must come to grips. These men of Power cannot afford many of the illusions and self-delusions that common folk use to make their lives more comfortable. Their magicks depend upon the true names and speech, as mentioned in the description of the trade language. The name is the thing; and for him, the word is the deed.

It is the best kept secret of the trade that a Wizard must not swear to anything that is not so or that he does not fully intend to do. The oath of any character who wields magick of any kind is his bond and should never be lightly given for, if he fails it, his own power is sure to seek to force him to carry it out.

IF he swears falsely, his own Power (with POT equal to his TR) seeks thereafter to twist events, making the situation fit his words, increasing the likelihood of a Bumble and then using the event of one to set things right, or forcing him to recant his falsehood, haunting him and inflicting bad luck upon him until he does. One who fails his sworn word can be made a hollow and empty man by fighting his Power; he may even reach a point where he dares not use it.

On the other hand, there is no restriction upon what the Wizard may say. He may lie as boldly as the next man if he makes no pretense of honor and swearing to its truth. Silence is another haven of safety. A man’s words cannot be used against him when he says nothing. Niceties of definition and vague terms are the best friends of folk of Power, allowing them to live comfortably with their power, as they wish. Though tricky, the Wizard can always try to take advantage of vague wording and imprecise or misused terms and assumptions of others to leave himself a loophole even when forced to give his oath.

One of the most famous Celtic vows hinges on this very concept, and is very dangerous to the one speaking it, and so is always accepted as an undeniable guarantee:

“May the Earth open up and swallow me,

May the Sky fall upon me,

May the Sea rise and cover me,

May Fires consume me,

If I am forsworn.”

Taliesin

Shamanism and the Celts: The Fellowship of the Wise

To swear by ‘sun and moon, water and air, day and night, sea and land’ is another dire oath, indeed. Enforcement of this restriction in general is, of course, subject to the GM’s interpretation and discretion. In aid of this, the GM should refer to the passage concerning “Frivolous Magick” under the heading “Demands of the Trades”.

The Ars Magica represent an ancient tradition spanning centuries and millennia of history, having provided many high points both light and dark in the annals. Those who practice these Arts are commonly depicted as staid, stodgy, hide-bound and conservative to the point of being living fossils, and one of the excesses of character that makes them a favorite target for the japes of mundane folk is their dignity and the honor and respect that they insist be shown for their Power.

What few understand is that there is a legitimate claim behind that demand.

Every practitioner must always approach the Power with respect.

It should never be used “frivolously” nor “profligately”, to any excess.

The daily pursuit of the craft, performing works for those who are truly in need, making the various tools which can make the practitioner better and more useful when on an adventure (dweomer caches, enchanting carts and wagons, tack and harness or beasts of burden to aid travel), aiding his compatriots to make them more effective, that is all one thing, but to impress a girl one desires or to otherwise tickle her fancy or flatter her vanity in the absence of love, to embarrass a rival for sheer cussedness, or anyone at all merely for spite or to put them down, for a lark to get a laugh – especially at another’s expense, and especially when the target chosen is downtrodden already, to pursue a lust to flatter one’s own vanity, or to accomplish for one’s self anything that could as easily be done by mundane means should be deemed frivolous, especially if the practitioner has servants already to accomplish such things for him. Exceptions to the last condition should include situations where every means available must be used to avoid what would surely be a mortal confrontation with a dire enemy, or any other circumstance where time is legitimately deemed to be of the essence, especially where life and limb of self or another is at stake.

The law of conservation of energy applies in magick, too. Why should the practitioner expend the enormous effort to cast some mighty work of magick that can shake the pillars of the Spheres of Spirit when the same effective end result can be arrived at with a much more economic and tightly focused magick applied more cleverly, after due measure of consideration of the situation and the various ways in which magick might be applied. There is ALWAYS more than one way to skin a cat – so to speak.

Knowledge and canny craft is always more effective that brute force, especially in the use of magick, and has the added benefit of causing less of a disturbance in the world, thus a smaller rebound of the power unleashed.

The exception to this should be putting on a display to give pleasure to small innocent children, providing a spectacle for the pleasure of the hard-working commons, or any other circumstances where the player can justify its use as being in line with an exercise of one of the Virtues or in due payment to alleviate a debt, particularly a moral debt.

“Frivolous” is a subjective term and requires the GM to make judgement calls throughout the course of the game.

In doing so, the GM should be sympathetic AND flexible. This principle concerning the use of magick is NOT a stick with which to beat the PC’s indiscriminately, to make them fear using their Arts, and especially not to make them regret following the trade of their choice. It is to make sure that a certain amount of respect is paid to the power those characters hold. The light usage of magick on occasion should not only be allowed but encouraged. It can help build morale and bring the characters closer together, and sometimes the craft can be used in light and entertaining ways to repay moral obligations, or to reward the deserving whose efforts so often might otherwise go unnoticed. These are all laudable uses of the craft.

The wild beast which is the Power these characters wield is nothing if not full of the Joy of Life.

Those who would “test” the practitioner’s Power are a waste of his time. Any display of Power simply for the sake of display, to prove his ability, is frivolous by definition. Even to request a test should be deemed insulting. If anyone wishes a display of Power as a test they had best come with a task to be accomplished that actually requires attention, the kind of task that in its completion makes a difference in peoples’ lives, to further their goals or restore a situation or condition to its previous, desirable state.

Magick is a force with a heart and soul that is little understood, but it is known to be alive in its own right – how can it not be? The energy of Life is a major constituent of it! Like any wild beast, magick can be eventually brought to heel under the right conditions, to provide the power to manifest the caster’s desires, but the practitioner should never presume that the beast has been or ever can be tamed by his hand. Magick understands emotions, it knows dignity and honor, and it knows condescension, dismissive attitudes and disrespect, far more sophisticated than any common mortal beast. Thus, when the practitioner stays his own hand and looks for the worthy cause, the opportune moment, and matters of importance it is pleased at being so well-used, it might even be said to purr, a feeling suffusing the caster’s spirit by the time he looses the dweomer. When put to demeaning and frivolous use, however, the Beast seethes. The greater the disrespect and the more frequently it occurs, the angrier the Power can become. Like a slighted lover, all history of noble and proper use of the Arts fades and is forgotten. They are the minimum that is expected of the privilege of having been taught the Mysteries of the craft. All that matter to the Power is the slights and transgressions of the present.

In play, the practitioner should start to get a prickly and uncomfortable feeling when he looses his dweomers every time the Power is used in a frivolous or meaningless manner. The player deserves such a reminder.

The GM needs to make judgement calls on the uses of magick as they occur during play and “keep score” of the number of “Frivolous Magicks” cast. When they reach a sum greater than the practitioner’s own HRT score, the Power begins to seek to balance that score. Once that point is reached, the number of such offenses that have accumulated start to affect the character’s magickal craft.

The DV for casting ANY magick from that time forward suddenly increases by that amount until the offenses have been redressed, how pure its cause or the nature of its use may or may not have any impact (GM’s discretion). When the dice are rolled and the roll to cast a magick is missed, this Frivolous Magick score is added to push the result towards the occurrence of a Bumble.

  • IF a Bumble should be indicated, this number is either a) added to the result to make the result harsher, and also to increase the POT of it, as well, or b) the POT of the Bumble plus the Frivolous Magick score combined determine the POT of whatever magick might wound the practitioner’s pride the most deeply, so as to settle the score.
  • IF the practitioner has, prior to or during the time when the Power has sought an outlet, lied or violated an oath against the prohibition described for the magickal trades, any and all instances added to the Frivolous Magick score and, when the inevitable Bumble occurs, those infractions are the ones on which the Power focuses its efforts to right.

It may be that more than one infraction must be redressed. In this case, the total POT of the Bumble including the Frivolous Magick score might be divided between the issues to be addressed, OR the Power might hold its grudge until all infractions of word are addressed and corrected, saving its own honor for last.

Not until all is put to rights should the GM let the character off the hook, to start over again fresh.

This practice and procedure applies to all members of the Druid trades, Witches and Wizards, alike. It does not really apply to Mystics, however. The respect due the Power they wield is considered a given, and to use it without due consideration would generally be considered unthinkable.

Even one such meaningless and frivolous use of the Mystic’s Power would give them a penalty which would require intense purification to redress, Fast, Vigil or even Retreat. This and the consequences of various violations of the Covenant with the Light and the procedures for making amends are discussed in the GM’s notes for the Mystic trade.

Unlike the Druids, Witches and other Bronze Age powers that are allied with Færie and vulnerable to the effects of iron and steel, Wizardry is the magick of Man and his Age of Iron and Steel. Together they go hand in hand, without complication or limitation.

It is of vital importance that the reader become familiar also with the passages titled “An Introduction to Magick”, “The World through a Magician’s Eyes” and “A Primer on the World of Magickbefore also reading through the rules for magick contained in the passages headed “Magick in Play”. There are certain basic essential concepts in those passages that, in concert with the trade descriptions are vital to a clear understanding of magick, its place in the world and how it is created and the rules under which it manifests in the game world, especially in mechanical terms.

Witches

The Witches in RoM are modeled after the Anglo-Saxon successors to the ‘lost’ or simply deteriorated Druidic lore. In practice, they are much more closely tied to the actual worship or at least acknowledgement and even propitiation of gods and spirits of Nature than their Druid predecessors and mentors, but more specifically the local gods and spirits of the mountains, hills and dales, the beasts of the fields and forests they haunt, of high, wide sky, wind and storm and lightning, and the beasts of the air, of burbling stream and wide, slow river and of the raging sea, the beasts of the water, and hungry fire which consumes all, all the elements – the building blocks of the universe, of the turning of the seasons and the phases of life in the natural world. Druids merely kept the traditional calendar and made sure that the holidays were observed as they occurred and that the rituals were enacted precisely in accordance with the ancient traditions they safe-guarded, while the Witches pay all the Powers due homage in the practice of the Arts, including the denizens of Færie.

Akin to the old Anglo-Saxon folkways, the Witches are tied to the ancient nature gods and especially the spirits and creatures of the mysterious Spirit-realm of Faerie. Their ways are the Olde Ways. The Olde Ways are quiet ways. Rather than traveling about promoting the goals of their deities and the tenets of their religions, proselytizing and exhorting the masses to follow the Færie Faith, most Witches tend to be somewhat reclusive, just as they are commonly portrayed in the fairytales of old. Cunning folk of subtle knowledge, they choose their own personal moral code and morés, commonly follow their own interests in “smaller matters”, though devout holy persons in their own right and loyal to the elemental spirits of the world in “greater matters”. As a group, they lack any semblance of the formal structure kept by the Druid trades on behalf of their peoples, or of the (relatively) “new” Church of the Light.

Despite the fact that the Witches grew out of the Druidic tradition, the Witch traditions come from a much later time when the Olde Ways were being tested by newer religions, being carried by peoples whose numbers were growing as they looked for new lands to settle. Their covenant with Nature reflects a schism between the angry devotees who would strike back in retribution against the invading late-comers who so often condemn the Olde Ways, those sworn to the Dark Covenant, and those who embrace all life and seek ways for all to live in peace and harmony with Nature, those sworn to the Light Covenant. These fall in the same factions as the two camps into which the Færies are divided, the Dark Covenant with the wicked and spiteful Unseelie Folk, still looking for ways to break the power of iron and Man in the mortal world so they can return, and the Light Covenant with the gentler, kinder, yet stern and formidable Seelie Folk who are content enough to live in Spirit but visit the mortal world to intervene when the desire strikes them or conditions seem to warrant it.

The Witches are free of most of the formal religious constraints as maintained by the Druids, and use what are considered unorthodox personal methods of dealing with the divine powers. There is a certain tension between the Witches and the establishment made up of and administered by the Druids, Brehons, Fathi, Filid ands Bards, and the Gowans (who among the Druids favor them most). The latter are socially initiated, ceremonially inducted according to established orthodox methods into the recognized religious establishment and organization. Each of them fulfills a certain prescribed function and holds a certain social rank as a result, as tenants of established offices.

While they have the respect of the local peoples whom they commonly serve, Witches are not nearly as prominent socially as those of the Druid trades, nor do they consider themselves as socially responsible, either.

While their teachings are not quite so scholarly in nature, they echo very strongly the lore and wisdom of the Druids from whom they draw the lion’s share of their lore.

“Truth in the heart, strength in the arm, honesty in speech.”

“The gods must be honored, no injustice done, and manly behavior [integrity] always maintained.”

“Three things from which a true Man must never be moved:
One’s Oaths, One’s Gods, and the Truth.”

“The three highest causes of the true Man are:
Truth, Honor, and Duty.
Among them, Honor above all!”

“The three candles that can illuminate every darkness:
Truth, Nature, and Knowledge.”

These are all prime, basic Celtic principles, framed in the typical Celtic triadic mold. In the end, the Witches believe as the Druids before them, that ALL are answerable for their own conduct and the consequences of their decisions.

Like the Druids before them, the magick of the Witches harnesses the energy of Life shared by all living things universally: plants, insects, animals, and all sentient beings, all forms of life no matter how great or small. In their view, Spirit is invested in EVERY-thing in the world. All is living and connected together by common bonds of Spirit. These wise folk are bound by their training and the Path that they traverse to gain their power and knowledge to intercede with the lesser gods and spirits mentioned previously, and so are accountable to them.

The interests of the Lords of Nature are measured on a clock of seasons and only occasionally do they specifically include the Witches or the folk of the day-to-day world about them, thus leaving most Witches to their own devices and diversions. For the most part, Witches are primarily only concerned with their own pursuits and other folk only insomuch as they affect those pursuits or the Witch’s environment.

Light Covenant Witches, or White Witches, are those who foster the lighter, more benevolent side of Nature. They are the most likely to go about and act in the manner of liaisons, traveling locally to protect the land for its own sake and foster some sort of reverence or respect for it in others. They know the needs of the land and its creatures, but they acknowledge the needs of man and know that they must either learn to live together or end up fighting one another. White Witches can often be found working with the people of the land, those who till the earth and have to glean their living from it, trying to teach them how to live in harmony with their environment. The White Orders do not like to use force but, when their ire is roused, they can be as dangerous and even as vindictive as their brethren of the Dark Covenant – an eye for an eye. Just because they are generally benign in disposition does not mean they do not have teeth.

The Dark Covenant Witches, sometimes called Black Witches (somewhat of a misnomer), are better acquainted with the more dangerous and destructive sides of Nature. They tend to be the most reclusive, and often seem selfish and self-absorbed in the point of view of any people living nearby. They put the needs of the creatures of the earth and all other living things ahead of the needs of the races of Men. Men in the point of view of the Dark Witches are despoilers and in need of correction and often punishment for their transgressions against the living world, rock, root, and beast. In this they share the sentiments of the faction among the fey that would see them supplanted and the right rule of the fey restored. The elfs of the Mortal World they almost never have any grounds to quarrel with. When not pursuing redress of grievances against the races of Men, they interpret their covenant with the nature gods as giving them the role of lord and caretaker, to guide or hinder, cultivate or encourage by their magickal Arts as they see fit.

They know their responsibilities and attend to them.

Dark or Light, Witches can be as implacable as the Immortal Sidhe in their fury when they, the land, or its creatures (whom they also consider to be part and parcel of their magickal domain) are threatened, or the laws of Nature and their faith are broken, for this is the sphere of their power, the heart of the influence they wield.

However, Witches in RoM should NEVER be confused with the horrific concepts and images conjured by Real World 16th and 17th century zealots. The practices and teachings of the Witches described here PRE-date the advent of what became the universal faith of the period of the game, and the subsequent invention of Satanism and “devil-worship”.

Witches are liaisons between the people and Nature, nurturers helping people who ask for it to get along and lead good lives, protectors of nature, warning of its importance, and the reapers of vengeance against those who foolishly flout the Olde Ways and teachings. They are not there to spread the faith of the Green Lords, to inspire it, nor to explain it, that is the job of the Druid trades or the occasional Mystic who has taken on that mission. They serve those who come to them, having at best small local organizations, using the gifts and knowledge borrowed from the more useful teachings of the Druids’ establishment. At the yearly holy quarter day celebrations the Witches sometimes assist the Druids as deacons to a parish priest. In many ways, Witches are the Fiana of the Druid religious community.

To embark on the Path of the Witch is to step outside the accepted, normal routes to the sacred. One who has been rejected by the Druid establishment as unsuitable could take his calling to the Witches. It is the difference between service to the gods and goddesses of the pantheon and service to the great spirits resident throughout the mortal world, the totemic spirits of a shaman, wild primal spirits over defined religion and its doctrine, dogma, and practices. For all of that it is no less rich a religious experience, however, and the Witches’ work with the great spirits does not mean that they do not know and acknowledge the gods and goddesses of the Druids.

The local people of the faith come to the Witches for magickal dispensation, as one might a Wizard, or healing – for what they want and perhaps need, but seek out a priest for reassurance, solace, to pour out their hearts, or to seek shelter or charity. If a follower of the Olde Ways comes to a Witch to petition for magickal dispensation after first having sought aid from the gods through a Druid, regardless of specific trade, or Mystic serving the Green Lords and having been denied, it will leave what is known as “god-sign” on the petitioner that any Witch with the Sight will clearly see, or otherwise will feel upon touching them, or see upon beginning to cast any magick in their presence, and would be foolish to disregard.

To fulfill the request of one who has been spurned by the Green Lords incurs a penalty equal to the POT of the magick worked on their behalf that endures until such time as the Witch has appeased Them for his transgression.

Witch folk are strange. Their Power sets them apart from more mundane folk, and this is one of the primary reasons they do not often or long dwell willingly among them. The presence of the Power within all Witches that marks their Covenant with the Green Lords lays upon them, surrounding them like a mantle. While not nearly so strong as that which a Mystic bears, it is still almost palpable to those who are sensitive to it. While it can shine from their eyes, reflected in their faces as a half-feverish light, it generally only does so when they work their magick or exercise their Spirit Skills (as applicable). Where the special Grace of a Mystic is always visible in his face, especially his eyes, for all to see at any time, a Witch is not so easy to spot except when he wields his trade knowledge or Power.

These facts all serve to explain somewhat the rather extreme personal diversity among Witches as a group, and the widely varying character we see of them as handed down to us in literature. As mentioned, they are rather solitary and tend to be strong individualists. They exist together best at a distance, coming together only to celebrate the great quarter-day feasts of their faith. However, towards the common folk they are mindful of their duty to serve. How they fulfill this duty varies with the individual, however. Some stand on ceremony and command respect and gifts and/or the ancient requirement “Cross my palm with silver.” Others work humbly and ask nothing of those they help except what is freely given in return. What never changes is that every Witch will serve the need brought to him to the best of his ability, regardless of covenant, and in return warn each and every one that for such magickal aid as they can render, some change will come into their lives to make room for it. There must be balance. Change is inevitable, the only constant in the universe, and comes even more swiftly when magick’s wild power is invoked to help it along.

While the Witch never knows and cannot predict even by Divination what change will come or when, the fact that they have a little rule of thumb to judge such things is a carefully hidden trade secret. The truer the real need, the more hopeless the cause, the less selfish and more in line with the Virtues the request brought to them for magickal remedy, the more painless and positive the change will be in their lives once the magick has been given them. In the same vein, the closer the supposed need is to baser wanting and the mire of the Vices, the more selfish the request, the more abrupt, disruptive and harmful the back-lash of Fate in return for the Witch’s work of magick. Those of the Dark Covenant delight in serving the needs of the latter and helping them to the just rewards for their weakness of character.

In contrast to the Druid trades, Witches have a vocation and follow a calling, more like Mystics. Without a series of summonses in dream, trance, vision, or the throes of religious ecstasy to follow the Path of the Spirit, one cannot become a Witch.

The calling to the Path compels a person with a power he cannot resist, drives him to the solitude of the heart of the nearest wilderness area, where he must live for a time. There he fasts and meditates, laying himself open to terrible visitations and apparitions. In the space of a few nights he may undergo many incarnations of the soul, generally behaving as if mad. This culminates in some dreadful hallucination of death or self immolation, spirits dismembering him, plucking out his eyes, hunting him down through flames. Then he ascends to Spirit on a tree or pole with the aid of a spirit-guide in the form of an animal associated with the elemental alignment of his birth, to finally achieve stasis, his personality dissolving in cosmic consciousness, union with the gods, the spirits of the dead, and all the spirits of sky, sea, earth, and primordial fire, his guides and helpers thence forward.

Afterwards, if he can, he returns to earth via that same vehicle, which retains its magickal significance to him for the rest of his life. Unfortunately, some candidates actually die, suffering massive failures of the physical body, so great are the stresses of the trials and ordeals. Some candidates are unable to pull themselves back out of their cosmic contact, and so never really return, remaining mad in the eyes of the world for the rest of their days. The people of the period of the game sometimes described those who had lost their wits as having been touched by god, called “goddess prisoners”. Even the successful candidate who returns to his right mind with his soul intact can only begin after a minimum of 10 days to stammer out coherent speech, to join the other Witches, who will recognize the mark of the Path on him, and his new readiness to begin to share the magickal secrets of their trade.

To any who follow a Path of Power of any sort, regardless of specific trade, Death holds no fear. It is a fact of the natural world, merely a change in consciousness. As the Flesh is only a vessel to hold the spirit and soul temporarily, it is considered a doorway between worlds. Along with the act of birth, Death is the means by which the mortal and spirit worlds remain in balance.

New Witches often take new names as a sign of the spiritual regeneration and rebirth undergone during this process. Most are given new names before entering the master’s hall for formal training, told to abandon their old name and life in preparation for this life-changing evolution. Sobriquets like “Lord Thunder”, “Moon Sister”, “Twilight Rider”, “The Lady of the Lake”, or “Lady Blue” are often coined and adopted during the period of schooling to further obscure the original name. Witches tend to prefer sobriquets embodying a location with which they are or will be associated when done with their training, such as simply “Master of Craig Corrie”, “Mistress of the Misty Marshes”, “Master of Lake Dubh”, “Mistress of the Dapplewood”, or “Keeper of Cranston Moor”. This makes getting a fix on the Witch through means of bonds of Sympathy much more difficult.

Having undergone this spirit journey leaves an indelible mark on the spirit or aura visible to any who have been fully trained in the trade who may be looking for it.

The new candidate’s nascent magickal talent generally expresses itself in one or more abilities commonly referred to as Spirit Senses, or Othersenses, included in the rosters showing the overall portfolio of skills available to those following the Witches’ Path. These can take a number of forms, as explained in the description in Appendix C. It is often through the raw untrained expression of these senses following taking the first steps on the Path that the candidates for further training in the craft are identified.

Every Witch must have a MGA score of at least 14. None can hear the calling to take even the first steps on the Path whose score is not at least that high. Talent was required of old, and those traditions are followed strictly by those who deign to teach the craft.

While studying in their hidden covens, all Witch characters will have the opportunity, and will have been strongly encouraged, to explore the hidden power of Nature and its world through Alchemy and to nurture Life through the arts of healing during their trade training.

For those playing under Intermediate or Advanced rules, characters training as Witches have the opportunity and are strongly encouraged to strengthen their tie to Nature through the Husbandman trade or explore the hidden power of Nature and its world through Alchemy or to nurture Life through the arts of the Healer (any) by way of a Secondary trade, especially Herbal, or as an Allied trade in the case of the Advanced rules.

Having the Husbandman Secondary or Allied trade of course enables the Druid to also practice any Herbal skills he may have upon the animals he is trained to take care of, without penalty or restriction.

What other trade the character takes on to facilitate his Wizardry is up to the player’s discretion, if he takes on any at all. It is by no means required that he do so.

The heart of Witch trade and the true measure of how effective he is in play is determined by the charms in his portfolio, however.

What dweomers can he craft?

What can he can do with his Arts?

During character generation, the player must answer these questions by choosing the charms or “dweomer-crafting” skills with which his character begins play.

All Witch characters may be equipped with up to (MGA) charms with which to be brought into play.

These are chosen from the following roster.

Charms

Anchor of Earth

Anonymous Glamour, Magnetic Presence

Banish Spirit

Beast of Burden (Hearty Hero; Feeble Waif)

Bewitch Wound

Blinding Spray

Bonds of Concordance

Burden Charm (Carefree Burden; Wearisome Burden)

Cache, Dweomer Cache, Power Cache

Candle in the Window

Cat’s Tongue

Charm of Common Shaping

Charm of Direction

Charm of Finding

Cloud of Obfuscation, Veil of Obfuscation

Common Caloric Charm

Commune wi’ Animals

Commune wi’ Plants

Draw Harm, Deflect Harm

Elf Shot

Enchant Elements

Far Flight, Earthbound

Far Speak, Eavesdropper’s Charm

Fat The Boar, Wasting Hex

Gas Bag, Bloat

Glimmerfoot, Untraceable Path

Healing Poultice

Hedge of Lances

Lightning Hand

The Milk of Mother Nature

Nature’s Hand

Nature’s Saving Graces

Nature’s Teeth

Necromancy

Quagmire

Slick Charm, Stick Charm

Spitting Naja

Stinging Nettle Charm

Stray Sod

Summon Spirit Hound, Summon Screaming Skull

Sun Burn

Swift Heal, Slow Heal

Swift Rest, Cat’s Breath

Tar Puddle

Tell-Tale

Temperate Charm

Thorn Warding

Thunderclap

Trail Blazer

Treeskin, Dragonskin, Stoneskin, Skin of Adamant

True Sight

Truthsay

Veil of Lightning

Walk in Another’s Shoes

Walksafe, Undermine Structure

Weather Sense

Web of Awareness

Weight Charm

Witch Steed

Witch Web

Wound Channel

 

It is very important that the player make a note of which of the Ars Quintates may be used to cast each of these charms, as he may not always want to use the same Art to cast it.

Due to the fact that each charm in the game may be cast by a number of different Arts, the character develops a separate SL for a given charm for each Art by which it can be cast, and the difficulty of the task, or DV, is determined in part by the Art used for the casting.

IF the player has chosen to neglect any of the Five Arts, leaving them out in the process of Character Creation, the master he apprenticed under is assumed to suffer from a similar lack, or all five would normally have been learned.

While no player is required to equip his Witch with skill in all five of the Arts, and he is encouraged to do so, he must have at least one of them. The lack of any one of them may be a matter of note to friends and rivals alike should it be discovered.

 

If a character has come into the craft of magick through a trade apprenticeship, the GM can use the charms with which the character begins play as a starting point for determining the skills of the master under which the apprenticeship was served, for he must have had all of these and no doubt at least a few more.

 

Disturbances in the Ambience:

Sensing Magick

As mentioned in the Introduction, mana is the spirit and power of magick. As a general force, it is seen by the trained practitioner to permeate and overlay every corner of the Mortal World, constituting a vast continuous energy field known as the “Ambience”, as discussed in the Primer. While the Ætherium is always in motion, both the drawing and release of the power (mana) used in crafting charms or “dweomer-crafting,” creates a disturbance that passes through it, regardless of the trade of the practitioner. This is best described as a ripple-like wave that radiates outward in all directions through the Ambience. These disturbances or waves in the Æther are created in part by tapping the Veil between the Spirit and the mortal world. This sensation encompasses a see-feel-smell-hear-taste experience that defies any meaningful description to those outside the trade.

A Wizard can automatically feel the gathering of mana and the process of crafting it into a dweomer if it takes place within [(SPT) + (TR)] feet of them.

Beyond this, a successful SPT check on d100 is needed to allow him to “feel” it.

The AV to Sense Magick is equal to [(SPT att. mod.) + (AWA att. mod.) + (TR)].

The DV for these checks is equal to the number of feet by which the casting is taking place beyond the practitioner’s prescribed range,

MINUS the number of points by which the POT of the casting is greater than the practitioner’s MGA

OR

PLUS the number of points by which the POT of the casting is less than the practitioner’s MGA.

When a magick is finally loosed or cast (whether successfully or not), it crashes back into the Ambience like a stone suddenly dropped into a still pool, causing a wave radiating outward in a sphere from the caster. This is a MUCH stronger wave than the little ripple caused by the process of crafting the magick.

This wave can be immediately and automatically “felt” if it occurs within [(SPT) + (TR)] yards, regardless of POT.

For this check, the AV is [(SPT att. mod.) + (TR)], again.

The DV for the SPT check is 1 if the practitioner Sensing Magick is located within (POT) furlongs.

  • IF the POT of the wave when it reaches the practitioner is greater than his CHM or HRT (whichever is greater), the roll should be foregone and the character simply informed. It is deemed strong enough to get the character’s attention immediately and automatically.
  • IF the POT is less than a practitioner’s CHM or HRT (whichever is less) when the wave reaches him, the DV for the SPT check rises by the difference, per point, again in a Progressive manner.

After the first (POT) furlongs the wave travels from the practitioner who loosed the magick that made it, the effective POT drops by 1 point in strength every furlong of distance, until it dies out at zero (0).

This raises the DV to sense the wave when it finally reaches the practitioner, by one per furlong per furlong traveled, again in a Progressive manner, MINUS the effective POT of the wave.

 Beyond this distance, EVERY magick cast causes a ripple in the Ambience that travels outward in a sphere from the site of the casting (POT x 2) furlongs, allowing the practitioner to “feel” the wave washing over him upon making a successful SPT check on d100.

Not only is a PC able to sense the ripples caused by others’ magicks, his player must understand the fact that every magick his PC casts creates the same disturbance to alert others of the trade who may be in the vicinity.

The lesser, day-to-day activity in the Ambience, those disturbances of (CHM or HRT, whichever is less) in POT or less, are normally screened from every practitioner’s consciousness in accordance with his trade training to protect his sanity, so he can maintain some sense of continuous mortal existence separate from Spirit and his magick, allowing him to interact normally with the mortal world.

Those disturbances he “feels” or senses, whether automatically or as a result of a Sense Magick check, as above, are sufficient for him to note the general direction whence it came. This can provide a link by which any direction-finding charm may be cast to zero in on the point of origin of the disturbance.

The wave of disturbance from the casting of a magick can be used by the clever practitioner to cover the loosing of subsequent magicks, provided he stays within (MGA) yards of the original casting site and is careful to keep their POT smaller than the original magick whose shadow he is trying to use.

This raises the DV for sensing the disturbance by one per point by which the following magick’s POT is less than the one it follows, per point, in a Progressive manner.

This “shadow” of disturbance following in the wake of the wave, equal to the POT of the first magick cast, fades at a rate of 1 effective point of POT per minute.

In practice, the player should be aware of the order in which he casts his magicks if he is concerned over the possibility of disturbing other folk of power, casting rituals before spells before cantrips, and greatest POT to lowest, to use the shadow of the ripple caused by the greater magick to cover those of the lesser magicks cast in its wake.

One never knows whose elbow one may unintentionally jog.

Taking advantage of this phenomenon can be a very useful tactic when one is matched on the battlefield against another practitioner, a means of catching them off guard, of denying them any notice of more magicks to come following the first.

The players and GM alike must be aware that any other practitioner of magick in the same town or its immediate hinterlands (surrounding supporting farmlands) may well note the use of any magicks cast with POT greater than c. 10-15, especially if any of them live in a location that gives them an overview of the town. Any in the closer surrounding villages might take note, as well. Caution is prudent. Careless flinging of magick, especially at high POT, can attract unwanted attention. Rival practitioners may be curious or even irritated if they are in the least bit protective of their territorial rights to monopolize the trade in magick where a character has ventured to practice his craft. Ignorance of the presence of a local rival or guild monopoly is no excuse, in the same manner as ignorance of the law.

This is simply an occupational hazard.

Rivalries keep the already small numbers of those who practice the magickal arts even smaller, and tend to insure that those of lesser power keep a low profile until they are well and truly prepared and sure of their defenses, should such a conflict of interests arise.

There may be certain places in the GM’s world where those of power gather to practice their art by tacit approval, an unspoken bond that may be as strong as any guild charter. These places gain a general on-going disturbance due to regular magickal activity that swiftly becomes evident to those who wield the Arts approaching within range to sense it. The level of activity is rated in POT in the same manner as the prevailing Ambience and added to the DV for sensing any specific magickal disturbance (as described above) that is of lesser POT than that of the æthereal “background noise”. This “white noise” of magickal activity makes sensing other magickal activity so difficult that the SPT checks described previously are required even within the normal ranges at which the Sense Magick ability is commonly automatic and immediate. The DV’s for these checks are increased by the amount by which the POT of the magick in question is less than the POT of the ætherial “background noise” using the same procedure applied when the POT of a magick to be Sensed is less than the practitioner’s CHM/HRT (as above).

Sometimes there is no better place for a character of lesser power to hide his craft than out in the open, under the cover of the disturbances created by his greater colleagues routinely exercising their own craft.

In addition, the level of the Ambience itself may actually work to betray disturbances, high-lighting them. To keep things on an even footing, the POT of the Ambience, of the mana readily available flowing through a given location, is always rated in POT relative to the Common Sphere. The greater the POT of the Ambience, the more magickal energy that is present for the wave of a disturbance to displace. In short, it amplifies the effect of the disturbance, making it more noticeable.

The POT of the Ambience is subtracted from the DV for any Sense Magick check to feel a disturbance.

Magick that is already in existence lies quietly, as a part of the natural world, doing as it was bidden when created. It is much more difficult to sense. The Wizard has the option of casting a bit of Divination to “Reveal” the presence of magicks, should the player have equipped him with that lore, OR ply his skill with a set of dowsing rods or crystal or other pendulum for the same purpose, using it as a guide if he has this Spirit Skill, OR the Wizard may slowly walk about with his hand held out before him to try to “feel” it’s presence by “Seeking” it by Divination.

On the other hand, once a Wizard touches an object which carries an enchantment, or creature or being laboring under an ensorcelment, or steps into an area which bears a dweomer, he feels and knows it and the GM must tell the player (preferably slip him a private note), without the need for a d100 check of any kind. Of course, where Banes and Wardings are concerned, his coming into contact could be rather hazardous to his health and perhaps that of any compatriots accompanying him.

During his trade training, all aspiring Witches use their magickal talents to cultivate a meditationally keyed, tiered eidetic memory for the sole purpose of retaining their vast store of magickal lore.

The character’s special trade memory enables him to retain up to [(MGA) + (TR) ÷ 4] charms or specific skills of arcane knowledge in a single AWA-slot, rather than the same amount of space in the character’s memory that such knowledge would occupy if learned by more mundane methods (1 skill per AWA-slot).

This works in a similar manner as other groups of related skills, like languages for a Linguist character, Social Graces, Lore specialties, or weapon skills. Otherwise each skill would fill a whole AWA-slot on its own

In order to maintain the knowledge in his special trade memory, the various nuances of magickal lore in the character’s special trade memory must be refreshed periodically. In order to maintain this knowledge intact, the Witch must meditate, review the entire contents of his trade memory, and practice chanting all of the secret rhyming triads of his craft from time to time, for a period of time dependent upon the number of charms he knows and his SL’s with them and the constituent Arts and Forms of his trade.

The Witch must spend [(number of charms) + (TR)] MINUS [(AWA) + (MGA att. mod.)] in days meditating on and reviewing his Common Sphere charms, minimum one (1). Once completed, he need not meditate and practice his trade lore again for [(MGA) + (TR)] days.

For example, the TR16 Witch Arnaud Osset has 18 charms, for a base study time of 34 days, and an AWA15 and MGA 16 (att. mod. +3), so he must spend 16 days in meditation, chanting in review, and practicing (18 charms + TR16 = 34; 34 – 18 = 16 days).

For every (MGA ÷ 4) days that the character does not review the magickal skills in his trade memory with one of his reference tomes, his casting AV’s drop by one (1).

For those Witches that keep a written tradition, this penalty can be momentarily avoided by casting directly from the pages of his book, open to the dweomer and Art he is working. It also places the practitioner at risk, revealing the nature of his ability and giving his foe(s) a valuable object to focus on in hopes of thwarting his efforts – one that is HIGHLY valued in the open market, whether it ends up having to be sold on the black market or not.

  • IF the PC does not wish to sequester themselves away to plow through the time required (during which time no other activities might be undertaken), the time may be divvied up in the same manner as a craft project, stretched out over up to (AWA ÷ 4) times the required length so long as at least one (1) daily activity slot (by AWA) is devoted to it every day without exception until it is completed.

For example, Arnaud could spend his last daily activity slot (between supper and bedtime) working at his craft for 64 days (16 days discharged @ 1/4th a day per day elapsed is the same as 16 x 4 = 64 days) and incur no penalties as he goes.

IF the Witch lapses in observing this practice and the time for which the character is free of the burden of study has expired, penalties begin to accumulate immediately for weaving charms of any kind, by any Art or Form until he resumes fulfilling that requirement. When he resumes, the penalty does not go away until the requirement is met, BUT it does not get any worse, either.

Once this requirement is met, the Witch need not meditate and practice his trade lore again for [(MGA) + (TR)] days.

For example, once Arnaud has completed his 16 days, he is free for the next 32 days (MGA16 + TR16 = 32).

IF the player decides to have his character study and practice during his freedom from it, when he doesn’t have to, each full day spent is subtracted from his requirement when he is again required to study. The character’s AWA activity-slots may be used to gradually accumulate day’s-worth of chanting and review/practice, as explained above, BUT only FULL days completed towards this requirement are counted once the time arrives to fulfill the requirement again.

For example, Arnaud’s 15 AWA gives him 4 activity slots per day. If he takes the last of those 4 activity slots to study each evening before bed (as above), to meditate, chant, practice and review for the 32 days while it is not required, he can discharge exactly 8 of those days, cutting the number remaining down to 8 (32 ÷ 4 = 8), down by half. He can continue doing this until his circumstances change due to changes in SL’s and TR.

Even only studying a half day (2 AWA-slots), allowing half the day (2 AWA-slots) for domestic things, adventuring or what-have-you, Arnaud could then discharge refreshing his trade memory in 16 days. Afterwards, he has 32 days of light attention to his Arts.

But the cycle can be varied according the character’s requirement, the number of AWA-slots the character has and the player’s preference, as desired.

The Witches’ High Cant

The great store of knowledge of things magickal and the specific charms for the dweomers of all Witches, heirs of the Druid trades in the faith of the Olde Ways, of “The Green Lords”, are handed down by the same traditions, orally. Their lore is memorized by rote in typical Celtic rhyming triads using their ancient High Cant.

For all intents and purposes of the game, all magicks in RoM are generally considered to be “formulaic.” That is to say, magick is performed through the use of gestures and some form of chants or incantations handed down from master to student over many centuries, or even millennia in some cases. These have been pre-established by the research of those who have gone before, determined to produce a similar, established effect according to the method used (Divination, Enchantment, Glamourie, Naming, or Sorcery) when performed correctly (depending directly on the caster’s talent and training). This applies primarily to Low and Common magick, (spells and rituals, respectively). Cantrips require no such physical support to cast, having been discovered at a much later date than the Low and Common forms. Cantrips are High Magick because they are the latest and greatest of the powers of magick to be discovered, most effortless in appearance, but most difficult of the three to perform.

The Druids’ training in the lore of the magickal Arts and that of the Witches their heirs has caused them to develop a system for preserving the very roots of language from deep in the past, to the first languages of the first ancient civilizations, for it is in these languages that the Words of Power are hidden that help maintain and control the energy that they draw for their spell and ritual magicks. Language is Power. The Word IS the thing.

The Witches’ Cant is based on the languages of the northern lands, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Scotland and the northern isles, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Cornwall, largely Celtic and Germanic in derivation, where the magickal traditions of the Druids are rooted. The tongues of their ancient forebears, from all the regions those ancestors roamed, have been preserved and forged into one language, that of the Druids’ teachings, and of the Witches who are their heirs, the language in which the Witches call on the gods and the Druids the spirits of Nature, the language in which they converse among their own kind and weave their magicks.

Indeed, all of the magicks worked by those who follow the trades of magick are spoken/chanted in that trade’s secret tongue. Due to the sheer power that it invokes when spoken aloud during spell and ritual casting, all listeners are smitten with overwhelming images and emotions which actually blot out the words themselves. The words themselves are always completely burned out of the memories of any who overhear. The gestures that are required in spell casting and the actions and movements required in rituals always vary a bit from one Witch to the next, as well, so each Witch must discover the variation that works best for him. No two ever practice their Art exactly alike, even when using the same form (spell or ritual) of the same Art (Divination, Enchantment, etc.) for the same specific charm. All these facts make magick extremely difficult to learn, even for those who have talent and a willing instructor, while providing an effectively impenetrable barrier that prevents nosy outsiders from “stealing” the secrets of any of the arts of magick through simple observation.

The character may communicate freely in his secret tongue with any other trade member, Druid, Baird, Filidh, Fiana, Smith, Witch or any other initiated into the mysteries of the Power of their trade, such as a Huntsman of great accomplishment, but never with any not already accepted and initiated into the magickal lore of their trade.

No Witch would ever teach this secret language to any not already initiated into the trade themselves, on pain of a lingering punishment, even death, from his brother Druids, for doing so is to betray the secrets of the trade and craft of magick – and it is not rendered easily in written language. Indeed, the trade knowledge is held too valuable to risk writing down by many, for fear of the horrors that would befall them should their enemies obtain such secrets, but those of the Witches that are literate have been known to put their quills to work recording those secrets for fear that they might be lost over time.

The traditions of this trade are primarily oral, but the player must decide for himself if he is a traditionalist or more “forward-thinking”. Those of the Druid trades are aware that there is a quiet movement to render the lore passed down to the Witches in written form, but it has been so long that they have developed lore of their own, charms that the Druid trades themselves cannot generally emulate. Nonetheless, the very thought of doing so is viewed by many across the whole spectrum of Druid trades as a violation of the ancient trust passed down to them so long ago.

Each of the Five Arts has its own special jargon or vocabulary to describe its special processes and address concerns confined to its practice. If a character is lacking one of those arts, he will also lack the language skills to discuss that art with his colleagues. This will, of course, stand out as a matter of note to his colleagues, if or when it should be discovered.

For those players that opt for their Witch characters to follow a written tradition, instead, the character must be equipped with the requisite Literatus and Scrivener skills.

To meet the needs of life’s eclectic challenges the Witch needs two tomes, both for Common Sphere magicks. The first one travels with him for taking notes on lore he discovers and insights achieved while on the road, almost a diary of his magickal pursuits, while the other acts as a formal repository for ALL his knowledge, polished with glosses and commentary assembled and written as transcribed from the first book. The greater a Wizard’s SL with a given magick, his skill and knowledge with the Ars Quintates and his skills in High, Common, and Low Magick, the more he knows of its inner workings and the more he has to say about it in his tome.

Each book weighs c. 7.25 lb’s and has 100 pages in it, enough for the descriptions of 35 charms at SL1, assuming Art and Form SL’s also of 1, but these books can easily be added to and expanded with the help of a competent bookbinder up to a limit of about 200 (14.5lb’s, more than a stone) OR an absolute maximum of 300 pages (21.75lb’s). It is doubtful that any such character is going to be toting the 200-page book around in their rucksack, and the 300-page book actually requires a case or chest or some such to haul it along on travels, most likely to be carried on pack horse or in a cart or wagon with other supplies and equipment.

IF the character is beginning play with SL’s higher than 1, the contents and size of his books must be increased commensurately, additional pages added as play progresses and the character’s knowledge grows, according to the guidelines provided in the Grimoire.

 

Under the Mantle of Power

Those trained to arts of magick have an invisible stamp upon them, the residue of a will that transcends the natural order. This is unnerving to animals and requires an Encounter Reaction check on d100 every time a beast is first encountered. This sets the tone for all subsequent encounters, but it may mellow with the passage of (game) time (GM’s discretion). The sorts of mana the character has used can directly influence this, also. Some of the vibrations of mana available for use are easier in nature than others.

The natural Ambience that flows throughout the mortal world is completely neutral; it merely makes the natural reaction a little more intense, one way or the other.

  • IF the magick-wielding character’s Virtues should outweigh his Vices, his [(CHM att. mod.) + (TR)] is added to make the Encounter Reaction more positive.
  • IF his Vices outweigh his Virtues, his [(CHM att. mod.) + (TR) is subtracted to make it worse, stoking the animal’s fear and provoking its anger.

Under the Optional Rules, there are a number of sources throughout the Mortal World from which the practitioner can draw alternate types of mana. These and the manner of their release into the Ambience for the caster’s use are discussed in detail under the heading “Tools of the Arts”: “Alternate Sources of Mana”.

For those who use Nature Mana (any element, inc. Life, Sun and Moon, Day and Night), the Reaction check roll is always increased by [(CHM att. mod.) + (TR)].

For those who use Life and/or Carnal Mana, or whose strongest skill among the Five Arts is Sorcery or Glamourie, the Reaction roll is either:

a) increased by [(CHM att. mod.) + (TR)] if the Reaction roll is positive,

OR:

b) decreased by [(CHM att. mod.) + (TR)] if the Reaction roll is negative side.

This makes the reaction more extreme, whether for better or worse.

  • IF the result is neutral, it remains that way, and the creature instinctively resists any attempts to influence that status one way or the other, the same modifier reinforcing the DV to aid in preserving that status.

For those who use Death and/or Blood Mana, or whose strongest skill among the Five Arts is Naming (Conjuring, Summoning and Binding), the Reaction roll is always reduced by (CHM att. mod.) + (TR).

One of the character’s Vices is increased one (1) point every occasion on which these types of mana are used. These are the lowest vibration of power and their use can only corrupt the character’s spirit over time with prolonged use.

On the Character Record Sheet there is provided a place on the Magick Record where all the forms of mana the practitioner might use are listed. The player is responsible for recording the greatest amount of POT used in a single dweomer of each type as they are used in play. Some of them he may never find a use for.

At the greatest extremes, animals may try to either crowd around the practitioner or follow him hoping for some attention or attack him in a rage or seek to escape his presence at any cost, violently if they are restrained, regardless of their normal temperament.

The practitioner may try any Beastmastery he or a hireling may have to try and calm down those animals that react badly, as applicable. Animals may be acclimated and domesticated through the Beastmaster’s craft so as not to react this way to practitioners of magick. This can never overcome any reaction response to those tainted with Blood mana if the beast has already reached sexual maturity. That is a visceral predator-prey response that can only be overcome by raising a beast from birth in the presence of that vibration of mana so the response is never learned.

Casting magicks near any animal commonly triggers the fight-or-flight reaction towards the caster again in the same way, whether the beast(s) have been domesticated to exposure to magick or not. In these cases, the Reaction is even more extreme: the POT of the magick performed is added to the original [(CHM att. mod.) + (TR)] modifier, so the Druid must be careful about using magicks around beasts, particularly if he intends to use a magick, such as a “Soothing Touch” or simply “Thrall” to eliminate all such reactions, to overcome this very stumbling block to his power. Carrying an active dweomer in hand into the beast’s presence elicits the same response. The beast’s presence in this case is defined as anywhere within (beast’s AWA) feet of it, effective POT felt by the beast being reduced by 1 point per foot of distance between the practitioner carrying the dweomer and the beast. Substances that can shield or dampen the vibration of the dweomer may allow the practitioner to approach closer. Casting while in the saddle of a beast unused to such forces is likely to get the practitioner bucked and pitched off the beast’s back before the beast takes off or continues to jump and buck, trampling the intrepid character.

In the same manner, the practitioner or his henchman who is also skilled as a Beastmaster may acclimate beast(s) to tolerate the presence and workings of magick, or he may hire a one to reside with him to work with his animals until he has accomplished this for him.

Due to his repeated and intimate exposure to the power and patterns of the charms he weaves, the Witch also gradually builds up his spiritual defenses against those magicks directed against him that can also be resisted.

A Witch’s (base) M-RES score is innate and protects him from those magicks that may be resisted, even if he is consciously unaware of them. His subconscious grows and becomes trained to be on guard so that in effect he cannot be Surprised magickally, which in the case of any other target would reduce his M-RES to one (1).

When he is aware of a magick directed at him, the Witch receives a bonus of (TR) to his normal (base) M-RES score for resisting those magicks that allow it.

 

Under the Optional END rules, every Witch is trained over the course of schooling in the magickal Arts to develop and harbor within his own spirit a personal reservoir of mana that can be tapped for casting magick.

This personal reserve consists of [(MGA ÷ 4) + (TR)] points-worth of POT in mana, to be used at the player’s discretion.

This resource can be used to bolster a magick that needs to be strong in POT while taking no more time to cast than normal. The player should look on this reserve as being more for use in emergencies when things look dark because it takes time and effort to restore afterwards, a period of rest and meditation where the spirit is opened to the flows of mana and the reservoir slowly refilled.

The mana may only be collected or drawn into the reservoir at a rate of one (1) point per [40 – (HRT)] minutes, but the character must make a point to take the time to settle down in a calm, quiet atmosphere and meditative state, preferably alone, to accomplish this.

  • IF necessary, the Witch can use the points of POT in mana in the reservoir for physical activities as additional points to add to his END to be spent normally but, to do so, the personal reservoir must be completely emptied, whatever points of POT in mana remaining in it dumped wholly into the physical body, and the procedure for replenishing the reservoir afterwards remains the same.

Unlike physical energy, a practitioner of magick can actually become over-charged with POT in mana, over-filling the personal reservoir until it is brimming-over with spiritual energy. This is accompanied by something of a euphoric feeling, and loosens the bonds between soul/spirit and the body. In effect, the number of points of POT in mana above and beyond what the practitioner can normally contain in his special trade reservoir is counted as equal to points of POT in alcohol consumed, loosening inhibitions, impairing AGL, CRD, and AWA. The same rules are used to describe the effects in play. The character remains in this state until the excess in POT is used up, burned off.

Some magickal folk become addicted to this feeling, like any drug addict or alcoholic. Pursuing this sensation for its own sake rather than for a higher purpose or for accomplishing specific works of magick contributes to the Vice of Gluttony (+1 point in that score for every incident) and leads the character to a place where he requires a HRT check vs. Vice in order NOT to indulge himself in this way anytime he meditates to draw power.

The practitioners’ bonds with the power of Life and Nature he wields with his Arts also provide a gradual benefit over time.

This life-affirming aspect of the Witch’s Power also grants him a bonus of (TR) to his P-RES score.

This is limited ONLY to the purposes of resisting disease, healing wounds, and recovering from sickness, regardless of whether mundane or magickal in origins.

Steeped so long and so thoroughly in this life-affirming Power, the Witch’s own life-energies will be reinforced, to the point where they are augmented and preserved, slowing the aging process. The GM determines the degree to which the character’s lifespan is enhanced, according to the Sphere of Power of the mysteries into which the character has been introduced.

The Witch only ages one (1) year for every [(1 per 4 TR’s) + 1] years that pass, as long as he is initiated only into the Common Sphere mysteries, to a maximum of 1 year per (MGA ÷ 4) years.

On initiation into the Noble Sphere mysteries, this slows to one (1) year for every [(MGA) + (TR)] ÷ 4 years, to a maximum of 1 year per (MGA ÷ 2) years.

On reaching the Sovereign Sphere, the character only ages one (1) year for every [(MGA) + (TR)] ÷ 2 years, to a maximum of 1 year per [(MGA) + (TR)] years.

Of course, this makes little or no difference to those of the longer-lived races, especially those of elfin blood. For others it is a little bit of insurance against any charms that age the body unnaturally. In the face of such a charm that carries great POT, it at least provides some defense to blunt the effects.

Over the course of the initiation and subsequent trade training, all Witches become highly attuned to the spirits and Powers of nature, knowing intimately the animus of field, stream, beast and fowl, of all of Life.

To the Witches, wholly in tune with the wholesome power of Life and Nature, the un-dead are viewed as fetid corruptions of the loving essence of Mother Earth. Regardless of the Covenant of the Witch’s calling, these creatures embody the antithesis of their philosophy and thus are their sworn foes, especially those whose bodies are physical/material (skeletons, ghouls, wights, vampires, liches, etc.).

Un-dead live on anti-life and hunger only to consume the heat and fires of life about them. They are the ultimate perversion and abomination to Witches, to be investigated, pursued and wiped from the face of the earth where and whenever possible. When facing the physical un-dead, no quarter may be given. Un-dead spirits (unlawful ghosts, wraiths, etc.), not including lawful hauntings, are similarly horrible to Witches, but lack the physical corruption and may be parleyed with, their destruction postponed, if other business demands, but destroyed in the end they all must be. Black Order Witches are not nearly so adamant in these views, particularly concerning willful un-dead spirits and lesser forms of undead, particularly simple skeletons safely in their control (GM’s discretion).

Through their magickal Arts, which shine through their very auras, they absorb the vibration and Power of Life, which grants them power over the rootless, restless wandering spirits that can abound in the worlds of fantasy. This Power extends to both the ancient wild spirits of the elements and the creatures and beings of Faerie, but also to earthbound spirits of mortals who have died and shed the mortal bodies, and especially to the unlawful dead and the ‘un-dead’ in particular.

This power takes the form of the Banish, Command, and Dispel commands. Each of these commands exacts a cost from the character the same as casting a dweomer.

Banish

If successful, the practitioner will cause the target creature or being to flee, speeding away along the easiest and most direct route at its maximum movement rate for (practitioner’s HRT + TR) minutes without ceasing. When the time expires and the creature or being stops its flight, the distance between it and the practitioner who Banished it will mark the radius of a circle centered on the practitioner into which that creature or being will not be able to trespass again for (practitioner’s HRT + TR) hours.

Command

If successful, the practitioner may command any one act, including one of service, of the target creature or being. The creature or being so Commanded will remain under the practitioner’s Power for up to (practitioner’s HRT + TR) hours, or until the service commanded has been rendered, whichever expires first. Demands for information are the most common and universally useful regardless of the nature of the creature or being subjected to the practitioner’s Power. The player should be conscious of the nature of his character’s Covenant in using this Power, and its possible effects on Virtue or Vice.

Dispel

If successful, this Power completely destroys the physical manifestation of the wicked or troublesome creature or being targeted, removing it from the Mortal or Material Sphere and returning its spirit or essence back to the Sphere of Spirit whence it came.

Creatures and/or beings so Dispelled will be barred from interfering in any way in the Mortal Sphere, unable to even TRY to return, for (practitioner’s HRT att. mod.) or (TR) years, whichever is greater. If a creature or being once Dispelled by a practitioner is called back by some agent or ally in the Mortal Sphere, the Dispelling practitioner (TR + HRT att. mod.) will be added to his DV to cross the Vale and manifest physically again.

If the Druid can track down such a creature or being’s physical link with the mortal world, such as the remains of its former body (but not limited to), sanctify and lay them to rest again in hallowed ground, the DV for its return is increased by the POT with which the ground was sanctified.

This power is the most commonly exercised in the Druids’ and Witches’ crusade against the unlawful dead and un-dead. The Druid will have to be careful of lawful spirits though, who may be trying to get the practitioner to redress some grievance.

The Witch’s att. mod. for the use of any and all of these Powers is based upon his CHM and HRT scores.

The powers above are tools for battling or dealing with the willful spirits of the Æther such as the fey, but also the unlawful dead and un-dead, but the Druid or Witch must be very careful how he uses them, as those creatures are anathema and Dispelling should be the first response. Banishing is for ill-behaved and wicked spirits, but the Mystic might seek to Command information from his foe before Dispelling him and sending him back to Spirit where he belongs. While also subject to his Power, lawful spirits must be treated justly, for the very fact that they returned to the mortal world in a lawful manner indicates that they have unfinished business and a right to attend to it, or seek help in so doing.

The DV for any and all of these abilities is equal to the POT of the creature or spirit the Druid is facing, the highest among them if more than one, plus the number of others he is trying to affect at the same time. If such creatures have a material form to which they are tied, as some Un-dead do, the STA will be added to this DV.

These Powers can be exercised with the speed of a cantrip, with no Action cost.

The DV’s for Commanding and Dispelling are higher than those for Banishment, and Dispelling DV’s higher than Command DV’s. This may affect his decision to use these powers when he suspects he is facing a particularly powerful foe. In addition, the DV’s for Dispelling un-dead and spirit creatures who have physical bodies or physical components to their manifestations is higher than simple spirits, as they have a physical link to the mortal world, usually some artifact of its previous existence, or a person who dwells upon their loss and lends them the strength to bridge the gap to the mortal world.

 

The Price of Power

It is widely said that the words of men of Power are never to be trusted, but this is a grave misconception, for the stamp of Power upon them affects the meaning of their words. They are vague, evasive, and difficult at best to come to an agreement with, but this is because of the weight that their words hold for them. One should never assume that an understanding has been reached unless the man of Power dealt with says that it is so. Unbeknownst to the public, the Witch’s knowledge and the Power he exercises are almost an entity unto itself with which the PC must come to grips. These men of Power cannot afford many of the illusions and self-delusions that common folk use to make their lives more comfortable. Their magicks depend upon the true names and speech, as mentioned in the description of the trade language. The name is the thing; and for him, the word is the deed.

It is the best kept secret of the trade that a Wizard must not swear to anything that is not so or that he does not fully intend to do. The oath of any character who wields magick of any kind is his bond and should never be lightly given for, if he fails it, his own power will seek to force him to carry it out.

IF he swears falsely, his own Power (with POT equal to his TR) seeks thereafter to twist events, making the situation fit his words, increasing the likelihood of a Bumble and then using the event of one to set things right, or forcing him to recant his falsehood, haunting him and inflicting bad luck upon him until he does. One who fails his sworn word can be made a hollow and empty man by fighting his Power; he may even reach a point where he dares not use it.

On the other hand, there is no restriction upon what the Wizard may say. He may lie as boldly as the next man if he makes no pretense of honor and swearing to its truth. Silence is another haven of safety. A man’s words cannot be used against him when he says nothing. Niceties of definition and vague terms are the best friends of folk of Power, allowing them to live comfortably with their power, as they wish. Though tricky, the Wizard can always try to take advantage of vague wording and imprecise or misused terms and assumptions of others to leave himself a loophole even when forced to give his oath.

One of the most famous Celtic vows hinges on this very concept, and is very dangerous to the one speaking it, and so is always accepted as an undeniable guarantee:

“May the Earth open up and swallow me,

May the Sky fall upon me,

May the Sea rise and cover me,

May Fires consume me,

If I am forsworn.”

Taliesin

Shamanism and the Celts: The Fellowship of the Wise

To swear by ‘sun and moon, water and air, day and night, sea and land’ is another dire oath, indeed. Enforcement of this restriction in general is, of course, subject to the GM’s interpretation and discretion. In aid of this, the GM should refer to the passage concerning “Frivolous Magick” under the heading “Demands of the Trades”.

Unlike the Druids, Witches and other Bronze Age powers that are allied with Færie and vulnerable to the effects of iron and steel, Wizardry is the magick of Man and his Age of Iron and Steel. Together they go hand in hand, without complication or limitation.

The Ars Magica represent an ancient tradition spanning centuries and millennia of history, having provided many high points both light and dark in the annals. Those who practice these Arts are commonly depicted as staid, stodgy, hide-bound and conservative to the point of being living fossils, and one of the excesses of character that makes them a favorite target for the japes of mundane folk is their dignity and the honor and respect that they insist be shown for their Power.

What few understand is that there is a legitimate claim behind that demand.

Every practitioner must always approach the Power with respect.

It should never be used “frivolously” nor “profligately”, to any excess.

The daily pursuit of the craft, performing works for those who are truly in need, making the various tools which can make the practitioner better and more useful when on an adventure (dweomer caches, enchanting carts and wagons, tack and harness or beasts of burden to aid travel), aiding his compatriots to make them more effective, that is all one thing, but to impress a girl one desires or to otherwise tickle her fancy or flatter her vanity in the absence of love, to embarrass a rival for sheer cussedness, or anyone at all merely for spite or to put them down, for a lark to get a laugh – especially at another’s expense, and especially when the target chosen is downtrodden already, to pursue a lust to flatter one’s own vanity, or to accomplish for one’s self anything that could as easily be done by mundane means should be deemed frivolous, especially if the practitioner has servants already to accomplish such things for him. Exceptions to the last condition should include situations where every means available must be used to avoid what would surely be a mortal confrontation with a dire enemy, or any other circumstance where time is legitimately deemed to be of the essence, especially where life and limb of self or another is at stake.

The law of conservation of energy applies in magick, too. Why should the practitioner expend the enormous effort to cast some mighty work of magick that can shake the pillars of the Spheres of Spirit when the same effective end result can be arrived at with a much more economic and tightly focused magick applied more cleverly, after due measure of consideration of the situation and the various ways in which magick might be applied. There is ALWAYS more than one way to skin a cat – so to speak.

Knowledge and canny craft is always more effective that brute force, especially in the use of magick, and has the added benefit of causing less of a disturbance in the world, thus a smaller rebound of the power unleashed.

The exception to this should be putting on a display to give pleasure to small innocent children, providing a spectacle for the pleasure of the hard-working commons, or any other circumstances where the player can justify its use as being in line with an exercise of one of the Virtues or in due payment to alleviate a debt, particularly a moral debt.

“Frivolous” is a subjective term and requires the GM to make judgement calls throughout the course of the game.

In doing so, the GM should be sympathetic AND flexible. This principle concerning the use of magick is NOT a stick with which to beat the PC’s indiscriminately, to make them fear using their Arts, and especially not to make them regret following the trade of their choice. It is to make sure that a certain amount of respect is paid to the power those characters hold. The light usage of magick on occasion should not only be allowed but encouraged. It can help build morale and bring the characters closer together, and sometimes the craft can be used in light and entertaining ways to repay moral obligations, or to reward the deserving whose efforts so often might otherwise go unnoticed. These are all laudable uses of the craft.

The wild beast which is the Power these characters wield is nothing if not full of the Joy of Life.

Those who would “test” the practitioner’s Power are a waste of his time. Any display of Power simply for the sake of display, to prove his ability, is frivolous by definition. Even to request a test should be deemed insulting. If anyone wishes a display of Power as a test they had best come with a task to be accomplished that actually requires attention, the kind of task that in its completion makes a difference in peoples’ lives, to further their goals or restore a situation or condition to its previous, desirable state.

Magick is a force with a heart and soul that is little understood, but it is known to be alive in its own right – how can it not be? The energy of Life is a major constituent of it! Like any wild beast, magick can be eventually brought to heel under the right conditions, to provide the power to manifest the caster’s desires, but the practitioner should never presume that the beast has been or ever can be tamed by his hand. Magick understands emotions, it knows dignity and honor, and it knows condescension, dismissive attitudes and disrespect, far more sophisticated than any common mortal beast. Thus, when the practitioner stays his own hand and looks for the worthy cause, the opportune moment, and matters of importance it is pleased at being so well-used, it might even be said to purr, a feeling suffusing the caster’s spirit by the time he looses the dweomer. When put to demeaning and frivolous use, however, the Beast seethes. The greater the disrespect and the more frequently it occurs, the angrier the Power can become. Like a slighted lover, all history of noble and proper use of the Arts fades and is forgotten. They are the minimum that is expected of the privilege of having been taught the Mysteries of the craft. All that matter to the Power is the slights and transgressions of the present.

In play, the practitioner should start to get a prickly and uncomfortable feeling when he looses his dweomers every time the Power is used in a frivolous or meaningless manner. The player deserves such a reminder.

The GM needs to make judgement calls on the uses of magick as they occur during play and “keep score” of the number of “Frivolous Magicks” cast. When they reach a sum greater than the practitioner’s own HRT score, the Power begins to seek to balance that score. Once that point is reached, the number of such offenses that have accumulated start to affect the character’s magickal craft.

The DV for casting ANY magick from that time forward suddenly increases by that amount until the offenses have been redressed, how pure its cause or the nature of its use may or may not have any impact (GM’s discretion). When the dice are rolled and the roll to cast a magick is missed, this Frivolous Magick score is added to push the result towards the occurrence of a Bumble.

  • IF a Bumble should be indicated, this number is either a) added to the result to make the result harsher, and also to increase the POT of it, as well, or b) the POT of the Bumble plus the Frivolous Magick score combined determine the POT of whatever magick might wound the practitioner’s pride the most deeply, so as to settle the score.
  • IF the practitioner has, prior to or during the time when the Power has sought an outlet, lied or violated an oath against the prohibition described for the magickal trades, any and all instances added to the Frivolous Magick score and, when the inevitable Bumble occurs, those infractions are the ones on which the Power focuses its efforts to right.

It may be that more than one infraction must be redressed. In this case, the total POT of the Bumble including the Frivolous Magick score might be divided between the issues to be addressed, OR the Power might hold its grudge until all infractions of word are addressed and corrected, saving its own honor for last.

Not until all is put to rights should the GM let the character off the hook, to start over again fresh.

All Witches are responsible for observing all holy days and all holy forms or observances of their faith, including any special restrictions on actions or activities, whether generally forbidden or by the season. The GM must make some decisions in regards to the holidays in the practices of the of the followers of the “Green Lords”. The bases of their festivals rest upon the high quarter day holidays (Vernal Equinox, March 21st; Summer Solstice, June 21st; Autumnal equinox, September 21st; and Winter Solstice, December 21st) and the cross-quarter days between each of these (Imbolg “IM’olk”, February 1st/2nd; Beltaine, April 31st/May 1st; Lughnasad “loo-NA-sa”, July 31st/August 1st; and Samhain “SA-wain”, October 31st/November 1st).

Special restrictions and observances can be all inclusive, of the nature of “Thou shalt not kill”, “Thou shalt not bear false witness”, “Do no harm”, or may be by the day of the week (no eating blood meats on Fridays, no working on Sunday), or by the season of the religious calendar (sacrifices of the Lenten season, gift-giving during the Christmas season), and so on. In many instances a Mystic ordained as priest may find himself acting as chaplain for his adventuring party, performing services for them when they are in the wilderlands out of reach of a temple.

In the Celtic calendar there are many candles to be lit for Imbolg and bonfires to celebrate the return of the sun, and again bonfires to be lit on Beltaine. Sheaves of new grain are presented to celebrate Lughnasad, along with feasting and games of skill and physical prowess, also a very popular time for negotiating winter lodgings and trial hand fastings in the Celtic tradition, lasting a year and a day to determine if a more permanent arrangement is acceptable. Samhain marks the end of the year, “summer’s end”, from sam “summer” and fuin “end”. It is Celtic New Years and the festival of the dead, when the gates of the Spirit World and Færie are open wide, celebrated for three nights, during which the final harvest is celebrated with bonfires and feasting and tales of dead ancestors, for whom a place will always be laid at table. All fires in the community are extinguished as the great bonfire is lit, and then all hearth fires rekindled from its flames, bonding the community together. A second bonfire is lit and couples walk between and cattle are driven between them for a blessing and to cure disease, also young men take turns leaping over the flames to show their physical prowess. With summer’s grass gone and the harvest in, the livestock that cannot be supported through the winter can be slaughtered. With the frosts come, the meat can keep for the winter, and the bones of the slaughtered beasts are thrown on the Samhain bonfires. All of these occasions are considered propitious for performing various sorts of divinations, as well.

These duties to religious attendance are required in addition to the time these characters must spend maintaining their special meditationally keyed, tiered eidetic trade memories for magickal lore.

Two specific examples of special observances and restrictions associated with the “Fairy Faith”, or Olde Ways of the Green Lords, can be found among Witches.

All Witches labor under a geis or vow/requirement to wear or carry only items made of pure metals upon their persons (copper, lead, tin, silver, gold, etc), as the mana that they draw for their works of power is tuned to the unspoiled power of Nature in the world about them. For the Witches, it is an important part of their Covenant with the Green Lords. Those who follow these trades have no tolerance for any alloyed metals either (brass, bronze, pewter, etc) either, as their earth essences have been corrupted by these processes, each warring with the other for identity and dominance. However, objects composed of many parts may have their component parts made of different metals, so long as each part be made of a pure metal. Objects constructed in this way are felt to work together, to sing in harmony rather than fight with one another for dominance.

The Witches’ Power reacts in a similar manner to that described for metals when any other materials are similarly mixed, particularly in the clothing that they wear. Mixed fiber fabrics are forbidden them. While the character may wear garments of different fibers (cotton, wool, linen, etc.) together in one ensemble, no fibers may be mixed in the spinning or weaving of any single garment that a Druid wears. Appliqués and applied borders, sleeves made of different fiber material tied on by points, embroidery and similar adornment all fall into the same category as objects made up of pieces composed of different metals, above. As long as the materials used for each part is pure, there is no problem.

Both mixed metals and garments of mixed fibers, called adulterated or adulterine materials, are considered spiritually unclean, corrupting the power worked by the Witch, especially when he is working his magickal Arts, and thus a source of corruption to the soul, leading to sickness in the body and possibly even eventually death.

Wearing any such adulterated materials actually make the Druid feel under the weather, give him flu-like symptoms. The greater the amount of such materials worn, the more sickly he feels until they are removed. Should a character try to work his magickal Arts while wearing such substances the corruption is drawn into his spirit so he falls sick in fact with a malady of POT equal to the POT of the magick worked while so clad, PLUS the number of offending items he was wearing. Until the offending materials have been removed and he has received proper medical attention, he cannot recover. Recovery is administered the same as that for any normal, mortal poisoning.

Furthermore, Witches must avoid all commercially gathered or prepared animal by-products in their dress and household goods, as the slaughter of living creatures and commercial purveyance of their flesh for profit flies directly in the face of their philosophy. While a Witch can wear any animal fur, hide, claw, horn, antler, or other by-product, he must be sure that the beast was slain out of need and that neither the creature’s flesh nor carcass was wasted. In addition, animal goods must not be “over-worked”. One must be able to readily tell what the material is, if not necessarily what animal it came from. Skins must be prepared in such a way that they retain their natural hair, feathers or fur. Feathers must either be gathered singly from cast-offs fallen to the ground or be left on the whole skin of a felled bird to be prepared so that the bird may yet be identified, horn and antler must not be so carven or shaped that they cannot be identified for what they are. Those items worn in violation of this restriction cause the same reaction when the character works his magickal Arts wearing adulterated materials, above.

Witches are steeped in the power of Spirit, but most closely that of Nature, which corresponds to Færie where the dwindling Green Lords find refuge and most comforting rest, and the era when they roamed free and the magickal traditions for those trades were created, the Bronze Age. Some of their lore and magickal traditions predate even that age, lost in the mists of time.

Iron by nature, and steel by extension, are deeply material – the strongest in the mortal world of the Age of Men. Its raw deposits can dampen local availability of mana and subdue the gathering of spiritual energies, even absorb the manifestations of magick. Iron and thus, steel, are the bane of the Powers of Færie. Its touch can dispel Færie magicks and burn the flesh of the Færie-born.

The Witches wield Power closely related and so are forbidden to have more than (HRT + TR) ounces of cold or wrought iron or the same amount in pounds of steel within (MSS) feet of them when they are casting magicks, or suffer a DV penalty to every magick they attempt while in violation.

 

The DV penalty is equal to the number of ounces of iron or pounds of steel the magicker is carrying beyond the [(HRT) + (TR)] limit.

 

The effects of steel are less than that of iron because in it the iron is mellowed in nature by the carbon that hardens it and the very work of the hand of Man, and sometimes also corrupted with traces of nickel and other metals.

The (MSS) distance to be kept from iron/steel is raised by 1 foot for every point by which the character’s MSS score is greater than his MGA score or lowered by 1 foot for every point by which the character’s MGA is greater than his MSS score.

Where the Optional END rules are in play, any DV penalty imposed on a casting due to violating the iron/steel restriction is added to the END cost for casting the magick, making it more taxing and tiring.

While the Witch may never have any tolerance for carrying iron, he has an allowance of (HRT + TR) ounces of steel to carry on his person without penalty.

 

Again, the DV penalty is equal to the number of ounces of steel the magicker is carrying beyond the [(HRT) + (TR)] limit.

 

When steel is clad in one of the two noble metals, gilded with gold or silvered instead, the power of the noble metals cancels out the base influence of the iron used to make the steel. Not only are these metals considered “noble”, but they also have great sacred significance. This is the ONLY condition under which a Witch might consider the use of such otherwise “adulterated” materials. In this case, the gilding or silvering doesn’t have the sickening effect it would otherwise.

Among the folk of their faith, the Witches are mindful of their duty to serve. How they fulfill this duty varies with the individual, however. Some stand on ceremony and command respect and gifts and/or the ancient requirement “Cross my palm with silver”. Others work humbly and ask nothing of those they help except what is freely given in return. What never changes is that every Druid and Witch serve the need brought to him to the best of his ability, but in return he must warn each and every one that, for such magickal aid as they can render, some change must come into their lives to make room for it. Change is inevitable, the only constant in the universe, and comes even more swiftly when magick’s wild power is invoked to help it along.

While the Witch never knows and cannot predict even by Divination what change may come or when, the fact that they have a little rule of thumb to judge such things is a carefully hidden trade secret. The truer the real need, the more hopeless the cause, the less selfish and more in line with the Virtues the request brought to them for magickal remedy, the more painless and positive the change in their lives once the magick has been given them. In the same vein, the closer the supposed need is to baser wanting and the mire of the Vices, the more selfish the request, the more abrupt, disruptive and harmful the back-lash of Fate in return for the work of magick.

If a follower of the Olde Ways has fallen out of the favor of the gods or offended one or other of the major spirits of the realm and comes to petition for magickal dispensation, especially after first having sought aid from the gods through a Mystic serving the Green Lords and having been denied, he bears what is known as “god-sign” that any Druid or other magick-wielder with the Sight will clearly see, or otherwise will feel upon touching them, or see upon beginning to cast any magick in their presence. It would be foolish for any Druid or Witch to disregard this warning. The sign of the will of the gods will be clearly visible to any and all Mystics when dealing with those of their faith, a sign worse than foolish to ignore. To fulfill the request of one who has been spurned by the Green Lords or the Light incurs a penalty equal to the POT of the magick worked on their behalf that will endure until such time as he has served penance for his transgression.

Though their aspects and demeanors vary, Witches are all bound by their covenant with the Lords of Nature, many aspects of which are shared by the members of the Druid trades, who share their religion. Players must get more complete information on the Lords of Nature in the gameworld from the GM in order to help determine which faction the character belongs to – IF ANY. It is far more common for a character to serve the whole pantheon equally; no specific patron is necessary.

It is of vital importance that the reader become familiar also with the passages titled “An Introduction to Magick”, “The World through a Magician’s Eyes” and “A Primer on the World of Magickbefore also reading through the rules for magick contained in the passages headed “Magick in Play”. There are certain basic essential concepts in those passages that, in concert with the trade descriptions are vital to a clear understanding of magick, its place in the world and how it is created and the rules under which it manifests in the game world, especially in mechanical terms.