Monday, February 17, 2014

FIVE MAGICAL ADVANTAGES AND A DRAWBACK!

Here are the advantages and drawback from the Magic Sourcebook by Dan Greenberg. 

The Ritual Disciplines saw quite a bit of expansion to include new powers and powers I felt were left out. I also edited them to make their descriptions more approachable to those who do not have a Scholar in the DC Universe and to make them a little less Vertigo-y. 

I likewise revised the Ritual Disciplines found in my Advantages post from December. I like Ritual Disciplines a lot and use them frequently, especially when playing through Dungeons & Dragons- style fantasy campaigns. It really helps when designing spellcasters. I just give the caster the powers that correspond to his discipline.

Advantages:                                                                                                          
Area Knowledge (Dimension) (Cost: 20)
               Characters with both the Dimensional Travel Power (or Characters who use Sorcery to mimic Dimensional Travel) and Area Knowledge of an individual dimension may automatically travel to that dimension without making an Action Check as long as the Travel Distance between his current location and the destination is less than or equal to his APs of Dimension Travel. Area Knowledge in no way affects Banishment of Summoning attempts.
               Area Knowledge of an entire dimension is useful only to facilitate Travel to that dimension. Characters with detailed knowledge of the lands within a dimension must purchase a separate Area Knowledge Advantage covering those lands.

Connections (Cost: Variable)
Earth’s Mystical Community (Cost: Low 15, High 20)
           Earth’s Mystical Community is an informal collection of all of the notable and generally benevolent mages and occultists on Earth, including Shadowpact, John Constantine, Zatanna, Baron Winters, Deadman, Mister E, Doctor Occult, Jason Blood, Manitou Raven, Zauriel, Madame Xandau, Doctor Strange, and most Earth characters with an Occultist score of 7 APs or higher and a heroic Motivation. Specifically excluded from the Mystical Community are the Swamp Thing, the Spectre, Ghost Rider, and most mages and occultists with villainous Motivations (Felix Faust, Tannarak, Tala, etc.). A Character who has a High-Level Connection with Earth’s Mystical Community is well-known to occult circles and easily recognizable by anyone with an Occultist score of 7 APs or higher. Most Characters with such a connection are themselves members of the Mystical Community and may occasionally find themselves on the receiving end of another member’s request for aid. A Character with a Low-Level Connection with Earth’s Mystical Community has some knowledge and the acquaintance of one or more members of this community, but does not have easy access to these individuals. Characters described in the Magic Sourcebook who are included within the Mystical Community have an “MC” notation listed after their occupation.


Cosmic Entities (Cost: Low 15, High 20)
           Cosmic Entities are potent magic wielders who tend to operate outside the Earth dimension. This group incudes the Demon Etrigan, Neron, Doctor Fate, the Olympians, the Asgardians, the Spectre, the Sandman, Dread Dormammu, Ghost Rider, and the Phantom Stranger. Specifically excluded are all of the extremely potent otherwordly entities such as the Voice that commands the Spectre, the Source, Death, Rama Kushna, the Lords of Order and Chaos, Kisemt, and Eternity. Almost all Characters who have a Connection with one or more Cosmic Entities spend a great deal of time dimension hopping and are easily recognized by most of the important personalities hailing from the extra-dimensional realms. Note that the Cosmic Entities are not an organized group, and it is more likely for a Character to have a connection with an individual entity rather than all of them. Characters described in the Magic Sourcebook who are considered Cosmic Entities have a “CE” notation listed after their occupation.



Magical Background (Cost: 10)
               Magical Background is what separates a muggle from a wizard. A character with a magical background can claim the mystical legacy of the homo magi- those born with the ability to wield magic. No true human character may purchase any significant Mystical powers, especially Sorcery, without first purchasing this Advantage.
               All characters with the Magical Background advantage are inherently magical in nature and may be detected using the Magic Sense power.




Artifact/Ritual (Cost: Variable)
               These two Advantages are both identical to the Gadget advantage described in the DC Heroes 3rd Edition Rulebook except that they allow a Character to begin play with an occult Artifact or to know an occult Ritual. To begin with an Artifact or a known Ritual, a Character simply pays the Artifact or Ritual’s Hero Point Cost. No Wealth Checks or dice rolls or any sort are necessary to create Artifacts or Rituals earned through this Advantage.
               Neither of these Advantages may be purchased after a Character is created. Obtaining new Artifacts and Rituals once play has begun is always conducted using the procedures described under the appropriate Occultist subskills.


Scholar (Ritual Discipline) (revision) (Cost: Variable)
          Characters with the Occultist (Ritual Magic) subskill may purchase one or more special Scholar advantages known as Ritual Disciplines. These advantages increase their effectiveness whenever they perform occult Rituals mimicking certain specified powers. A Character purchasing a Scholar advantage in one of the Ritual Disciplines described below receives the standard -2 Column Shifts OV/RV bonus to the Occultist Action Check necessary to perform any Ritual mimicking the effects of one or more of the Discipline’s listed Approved Powers. Furthermore, the character with a Scholar (Ritual Discipline) advantage also receives the Column Shift bonus when using the Occultist (Occult Knowledge) subskill to gain knowledge pertaining to their area of expertise. Those with Sorcery also receive a +2 CS to their RV against the mystical backlash of mimicking an Approved Power. Finally, a character who purchases an Approved Powers, gains a -1 FC Bonus to the cost.

---Alchemy (Cost: 25): Alchemy, the Ritual Discipline that spawned science, has a tainted reputation among contemporary occultists, although it is still practiced intermittently in the modern world. History is filled with tales of alchemical triumphs- turning lead into gold, the great crucible, the universal solvent, creation of the Philosopher’s Stone- but over time, the sacred lore of alchemy has been lost and corrupted. Today, alchemy has become a magic most associated with crafting Artifacts and potions and it almost as much in common with science as it does with magic. Approved Powers: Acid, Cell Rot, Disintegrate, Healing, Glue, Poison Touch, Matter Manipulation, Slick, and Transmutation.
              
---Darkness Magic (Cost: 25): Darkness and Light are palpable forces with lives of their own. Darkness is symbolic of the hidden, lost, and unknown. It feeds on fear, obfuscation, deception, confusion, and secrets. Approved Powers: Aura of Fear, Cloud the Mind, Confusion, Darkness, Energy Absorption, Fog, Mystic Freeze, Shade, and Shadow Animation.
              

---Demonology (Cost: 25): This is black magic, the darkest and vilest of all disciplines. Demonologists call upon the denizens of Hell for knowledge and power. The power is vast and sinister and it always comes at a terrible price. Demons and devils like Neron and Mephisto are always listening and those that call will be answered, gaining wishes, power, and boons at the cost of their soul. Be careful what you wish for… Those that sell their soul often find that the power gained is little better than a terrible trick! Approved Powers: Aura of Fear, Cloud the Mind, Dimension Travel (Summoning and Banishment), Enchantment, Exorcism, Flame Animation, Mystic Fire, Personality Transfer, and Phobia.
              
---Divine Magic (Cost: 25): Divine Magic is the antithesis of Demonology. Its disciplines draw upon the powers of the Holy Omnipotent: the Voice, the Source, God- whatever He is designated. Those drawing on such incredible power have an ally unlike anything else in the Multiverse, but they must obey His law and work to His aims, not their own. Approved Powers: Broadcast Empathy, Compel Truth, Damage Transference, Healing, Iron Will, Exorcism, Regeneration, Life Sense, Magic Resistance, Truesight, and Turn Undead.
              

---Elemental Magic (Cost: 40): The four elements- earth, air, water, and fire- were understood by the mages of ancient Atlantis as the cornerstones of all matter and the building blocks of reality. The scientists of the modern world loudly criticize elemental theory, but have inadvertently re-endorsed it. In categorizing matter into gas, liquid, solid, and energy, they have come full circle to rediscover the air, water, earth and fire understood by the Atlanteans. Like Alchemy, Elemental Magic shares a few strong bonds with science.
               In the comics, each of the four elements is inert on the basic level, but alive and intelligent on a metalevel. Each regularly spawns its own protector to safeguard the biosphere and protect the living planet, such as Swamp Thing or Man-Thing. Approved Powers: Air Animation, Air Control, Earth Animation, Earth Control, Flame Animation, Flame Control, Plant Animation, Plant Control, Plant Growth, Speak with Plants, Water Animation, Water Control, and Weather Control.

---Immortality Magic (Cost: 20): Throughout history, so many mages have sought to cheat death that their efforts have spawned an entire Ritual Discipline dedicated to the goal. It was originally the core goal of Alchemy but has diverged over time. As Alchemy grew more and more to be about simply making Artifacts, Immortality Mage remained true to the original goal of living forever. Approved Powers: Age Manipulation, Mind Over Matter, Regeneration, Sealed Systems, Skin Armor, Sleep, Suspension, and Vampirism.


---Necromancy (Cost: 25): Necromancy is the art of death and the antithesis of Immortality Magic. Its practitioners are skilled in the manipulation of the very essence of life and the dark energies of unlife. Among their triumphs are the reanimation of dead tissue and the entropic disintegration of solid matter. Approved Powers: Animate Dead, Aura of Fear, Cell Rot, Disintegration, Necroscope, Phobia, Sleep, Spirit Drain, Suspension, Turn Undead, and Vampirism.

---Soothsaying (Cost: 20): Soothsaying is one of the oldest and most widely practiced Ritual Disciplines. It is the magic of knowledge and lore, seeking to divine patterns in the random that will unlock understanding of the universe and the future. Pagan oracles, gypsy fortune tellers, and wise astrologers all make use of soothsaying, each with a special focus: cartomancers prefer Tarot cards, astrologers use star charts, numerologists juggle numbers, palmists examine lines on the human hand, oracles gaze into fires and smoke while taking potent hallucinogens, fortune tellers gaze into crystal balls- the list is nearly endless. Approved Powers: Awareness, Empathy, Intuition, Mind Probe, Postcognition, Precognition, Remote Sensing, and Truesight.


---Voodoo (Cost: 25): Voodoo is a cult magic that draws its power from the unseen Loa, bargaining with them for favors, vengeance, and knowledge, exchanging worship and voluntary possession in elaborate rituals. The most famous of voodoo abilities are the use of the sympathetic magic (voodoo dolls) and the creation of zombies. Approved Powers: Animate Dead, Aura of Fear, Cloud the Mind, Eye of the Cat, Fortean Rain, Hex, Necroscope, Personality Transfer, Plague Touch, Poison Touch, Speak with Spirits, Spiritual Drain, Swarm, and Voodoo.

Drawback:                                                                                                            
Magician’s Code (Bonus: 15)
Many older occultists and sorcerers live up to a stringent code of honor dating back to the magi of ancient Atlantis. The Magician’s Code, as it is called, has four provisions.
1.       A magician must bear the price of magic without emotion. This means that any suffering inflicted on the magic user that results from his practice of the Art (that is, Occultist Rituals or Sorcery) must be met with stoicism. Sargon the Sorcerer was ashamed to have violated this tenet temporarily just before his death during the battle against the Shadow Creature.
2.       A magician may never take unfair advantage of another magician. In other words, magic-using Characters may not launch surprise attacks against other mages or attempt to defraud them for personal gain.
3.       A magician may not share the secrets of the Art with anyone but a duly recognized apprentice.
4.       A magician is never allowed to refuse hospitality to a visit colleague. A mage must always accept a visiting mage into his home, regardless of whether the visitor is a friend or enemy. Visitors taking advantage of such hospitality, of course, are required to honor their host’s reasonable requests and are enjoined from harming the host in any way for the duration of the stay. Violating either of these conditions instantly removes the host’s obligation.
Any Character who purchase Magician’s Code and violates any of these tenets automatically forfeits any Hero Points he would have gained during the current adventure. Not all magicians must purchase this drawback. In fact, most modern magicians, such as John Constantine and Zantanna, do not place any faith in the Code. Doctor Strange and Doctor Doom, by contrast, both do!


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