Nephilim FATE Magic — Alchemy

Note: I am slowly converting Nephilim, an old Chaosium game, over to Dresden Files FATE. I am just flopping all the posts on my blog because I can tag and collect them all later. This stuff is in no particular order. You can buy Nephilim in PDF from DriveThruRPG for ~$17. You should also buy Dresden Files RPG.

Where Sorcery is the Nephilim bread and butter and Summoning is the Nephilim big stick, Alchemy is the particle physics of the Nephilim universe.

Alchemy is quantum weirdness and super string theory and math applied to the mystical realms.  It allows Nephilim to dig around in the superstructure of the universe beneath the ley lines of Ka and mess with the fundamentals.  In the right hands – or, more to the point, the wrong hands – Alchemy is powerful.

The roots of Alchemy starts, much like Summoning, in the Jewish communities of the Levant in the 1st century AD after the Coming of the Fool.  It slowly spread down into Alexandria and into the Arabian Peninsula.  Mostly developed in the burgeoning explosion of science in the new Muslim Caliphate centered in Iraq, the core research was laid down first by Geber the Arab (721-815) and later the Persian Avicenna (980-1036).  Alchemy spread back into Western Europe through Moorish Spain where it was pushed and pulled and manipulated into its current form.  Albert Magnus (1193-1280) codified it in his book Liber Mineralia.  Once Western European Nephilim laid hands on the core foundations of Alchemy, many disappeared into their laboratories convinced it was the key to unlocking the power of the Universe without needing to ascend to Agartha.  Infinite Godlike power in the here and now.

Where Summoning is about angels and demons and Enochian language and spirits and religious trappings, Alchemy is cold, clinical and mathematical.  Alchemists consider themselves the true scientists of the Nephilim underworld using tools and experiments and hypothesis to slowly build the science of Alchemy.  They have an alchemical liturgy not unlike higher mathematics to describe their work and turn alchemy into repeatable, reusable formulae.  Alchemists believe if they come up with the right mathematical formulae describing magic, power and substance, they can manipulate a universal spirit underlying all things – the Spiritus Mundi.

The center of the Alchemist’s world is the Athanor, a mystical oven used to burn down powders and forge substances used in Alchemical formulae.  The Athanor is a small, brick domed square tower, about five feet tall.  Inside the Athanor is a small egg-shaped glass vessel in a sandbath over a fire.  Whenever a Nephilim Alchemist reincarnates, he first finds a good place to work with decent ventilation, and then he builds a new Athanor.

In practice, Alchemical spells are pre-prepared powders the Nephilim carries around in vials in a pocket of a jacket or a bag.  Instead of needing to murmur the words of a Focus, as in Sorcery, or drawing a Pentagram to Summon a creature at the time of casting, the Alchemist uses “Just in Time” casting with powders to evoke prepared change.

Next… some basic rules for Alchemy and how Alchemy in FATE is radically simplified from Alchemy in BRP.

Wikis and PDFs

I am getting near to the end of my conversion and I will go back to posting normal stuff with the occasionally interesting Nephilim RPG seed on my blog, probably to the relief of most everyone.  I’ve been thinking about what to do with the conversion that all two of you are reading and decided to a four step process — so complex it is almost a flowchart:

1. Collect the posts and populate a wiki.  Add lots of other “game”  information to the wiki, like a huge list of summonings and descriptions of the Major Arcana and Secret Societies and game seeds and that stuff.

2. Bang around with the conversion for a while in a playtest setting.

3. Occasionally scrape some of the cooler stuff and post it on the front page on Mr. Blog.

4. Once happy with conversion, produce a PDF for download linked too off my blog.

I am on step 0.5a: dither about technology.

I spent the entire week looking for a good way to put together a WP + Wiki combination with the WP as the root and the wiki as pages of the site. The best I can find is to set up an independent Wiki build in a /wiki directory under root and theme the wiki to look as close to the CSS running on the blog as possible.

I did look at the WP/Wiki embedded solutions and only found two that came near to working: WP-Wiki and WordPress Wiki.  They were both underpowered, slow, and had a difficult time linking across pages with wiki tags.  Neither were more powerful than writing flat pages and hand-crafting the URLs.  Neither provided much in a way of good Wiki functionality.  Wordpress Wiki might be better with the paid-for version, but why would I shell out $35 when the internet is littered with Wiki software?

Bluehost offers me four possibilities of wiki software:

  • MediaWiki, the Great Standard
  • PmWiki
  • DokuWiki
  • WikkaWiki

I have a comparison chart of the different systems generated over here on wiki matrix.  It sort of feels like a push between DokuWiki and MediaWiki.  The biggest difference seems to be that DokuWiki uses file storage and MediaWiki uses the database.  My gut tells me I should simply use the ANSI Standard and not fret even though it isn’t mobile friendly, but MediaWiki has terrible support for commenting systems.  (Although this may cure my issues.) On the other hand, DokuWiki only has simple tables.  Decisions, decisions.

If my aim was to give a full encyclopedia fronted by a blog, it might be worth migrating to a full-blown CMS like, yah, Drupal, but that’s more power than I really need.  I need a blog, I need an easy way to generate static content, I need comments on the static content, and that’s about it.  The WP wiki plugins are terrible and the static page authoring tools are too wimpy, so I need a wiki that works but I don’t need a huge moving van.

I do wish the WP Wiki plugins were more usable because they would have my life much simpler.  I was stunningly unimpressed.  Sure, I got my themes, but they worked spectacularly poorly with WP-Wiki surprisingly better than the WordPress Wiki plugin.  The WordPress Wiki plugin didn’t seem to do wikilinks at all and the WP-Wiki didn’t know how to build subdirectories.  I may give them another shot, though, before I bite the bullet and stand up a second system.

So that’s where I’m going with this.  I’ll have a report once it is up and running.

Nephilim FATE Magic — A Few More Summonings

Note: I am slowly converting Nephilim, an old Chaosium game, over to Dresden Files FATE. I am just flopping all the posts on my blog because I can tag and collect them all later. This stuff is in no particular order. You can buy Nephilim in PDF from DriveThruRPG for ~$17. You should also buy Dresden Files RPG.

This is it.  A few more to round out the Summoning category before moving on to Alchemy.

The Armor of Those Who Are Born of the Sowed Teeth
Circle: Seals
Element: Earth
Rupture: Disappearance
Duration: Until next Thursday
Skills: Conviction (+2), Intimidation (+3)
Description: The Summoning appears as a set of black armor. It feels like black leather but resists damage like black onyx. It fits precisely to the Summoner’s body. The Summoner can put the armor on and off. It resists damage as Armor:5. It defends both physical attacks and mental attacks.

The Powerful Pale Queen of Pain with Tears of Flame
Circle: Pentacles
Element: Moon
Rupture: Capture: the Queen sets the Crown of Thorns on the Nephilim’s Head
Duration: 24 hours
Skills: Conviction (+5), Intimidate (+5), Weapon: Crown of Thorns (+5)
Description: Invisible except for Ka-Vision, a beautiful woman appears dressed in a flowing white dress with reddened eyes dripping with blood. She wears a crown of thorns upon her head.

The Queen follows the Nephilim around for the duration of the Summoning until the Nephilim points out the victim. Then the Queen removes the Crown from her head and places it on the victim’s head. The victim must make a contested roll against the Queen’s weapon to avoid the Crown. If the victim resists, the Queen screams in frustration and disappears. If the Queen wins the contest, the Queen sighs in relief and disappears.

Instantly the victim goes mad as the Crown assaults his mind with paralyzing visions. The only way to remove the Crown is to make a mental check against the Crown to accept the Crown willingly. If the contest succeeds, the Crown disappears. Otherwise, the one doing the freeing now wears the Crown. Certain summonings, like the Prince of Salt Wisdom, can dismiss the Crown at will.

The Undine Ualama, Lord Principality of the Third Gate
Circle: Keys
Element: Water
Rupture: Unbelievably bad things
Duration: 1 request
Skills: Conviction (+7), Empathy (+7), Presence (+7), Rapport (+6), Lore (+7), Scholarship (+7)
Description: The summoning of Ualama, Lord Principality of the Third Gate requires the voluntary acquisition of the negative Aspect Ualama’s Geas. Ualama will decide the details of the Geas based on the Contract negotiations. Dismissing Ualama requires sacrificing 500lbs of pure treasure in a giant convocation of flame. And even then, Ualama will leave at a comfortable saunter.

Ualama appears as a nude wizened old man or woman with long hair and a body made of flowing liquids. Ualama speaks quietly, and all who are not the Summoner must make a mental contest roll against Ualama’s Presence to avoid being possessed by incredible sexual longings. Should bystanders succumb to these urges, all heterosexual couplings are fruitful.

The Summoner may make one request of Ualama. It has all knowledge of all Water Sorcery and Summonings, but does not teach or inscribe them on the souls of Nephilim. However, it can make the effect of one Water Sorcery spell permanent on the Summoner — and this is any Water spell up through Grand Secret.

Typically, Summoners ask Ualama to perform a favor in love or sexual attachment. Ualama can make a target fall in endless love with the Summoner. It can make a cowardly man brave or a brave man craven, no matter the man. If the Summoner wanted to ask Ualama to turn a great politician or political leader into a shaking coward, Ualama can do that. Ualama can also imbue a target with virtue far beyond the target’s original capacity. But this is all sort of a joke to Ualama, who finds all this relationship nonsense quite funny.

Many say Ualama is one of the few Nephilim who have ascended to Agartha and chosen to rule over mystical planes instead of becoming One with Enlightenment.

Nephilim FATE Magic — Example Summonings!

Note: I am slowly converting Nephilim, an old Chaosium game, over to Dresden Files FATE. I am just flopping all the posts on my blog because I can tag and collect them all later. This stuff is in no particular order. You can buy Nephilim in PDF from DriveThruRPG for ~$17. You should also buy Dresden Files RPG.

The Nephilim sourcebook has far too many summonings to convert and post to the blog.  If I did, the blog would be even worse than it is now.  It would be all Nephilim Summonings, all the time.  But here are a few…

Those Who Creep and Nibble
Circle: Seals
Element: Earth
Rupture: Befuddlement
Duration: Until Next Thursday
Skills: Conviction (+1), Intimidation (+1), Athletics (+5), Dodge (+2), Weapons (Teeth) (+2)
Description: These little house-cat sized imps with razor claws and enormous teeth can climb anywhere. They only attack inanimate matter. They can eat anything given enough time. While chowing down, the air is full of the sounds of mastication, gurgling, chewing, mashing, and general enthusiastic eating.

The Dark Governors of the Powers of Pestilence
Circle: Seals
Element: Water
Rupture: Capture – only the Summoner will incur the attack
Duration: 14 minutes
Skills: Conviction (+2), Presence (+2), Weapon (Gas) (+4)
Description: a gas cloud appears in the pentacle and dissipates into the atmosphere. Everyone in the radius of the gas except the Summoner smells the most horrible, foul odor imaginable. Those afflicted by the smell must survive an Endurance contest vs. the Gas Weapon of the Governors. Failing the contest, the victim is overcome with nausea, convulsions and vomiting. Victims may faint after being overcome. If the contract ruptures, only the Summoner is overcome with nausea.

The Minister of Peace, Clothed with Beryl
Circle: Pentacles
Element: Air
Rupture: Capture — the Summoner will be the only one targeted by the Summoning
Duration: 30 minutes
Skills: Conviction (+3), Presence (+3), Rapport (+3), Empathy (+4)
Description: The Minister is a fully sentient Summoning. He’s also fairly difficult to control once he appears. Nonetheless, the Minister of Peace is a translucent man with a sweet, rich, deep voice. When he speaks, no one can fight, either physically or verbally. He dismisses Sorcery, Summonings and Alchemical Formulae hanging in the air. His presence creates a feeling of love and friendship between all human beings and with nature in general. Once he establishes peace, he pronounces a 15 minute long sermon on the futility of hatred and disappears in a puff of smoke.

Sandolphon, Princess of the Ashim, Queen of the Wind Rose, Countess of the Cardinal Points
Circle: Pentacles
Element: Air
Rupture: The Nephilim takes boxes of Mental Stress and the Summoning leaves.
Duration: The time to execute one task.
Skills: Conviction (+6), Presence (+5), Rapport (+4), Scholarship (+7), Lore (+7)
Description: Sandolphon is a very beautiful winged woman with bluish hair and eyes. She wears a javelin, a sword, winged sandals, and a toga. Her presence is majestic and sensual.

Sandolphon can:

– Decipher any Air sorcery invocation and translate it for the caster into any language.

– Correct transcribed or otherwise partly ruined Summoning Rituals for other Summonings.

– Locate a Stasis, even if the owner is not Incarnate.

– Answer any question of human knowledge or history.

– Show the caster a one minute scene of anything happening anywhere at that time, but the Nephilim must stipulate the scene.

– Move objects through the air. She will move a human-sized object for free but she demands gifts of items of knowledge and wonder for greater weights.

Sandolphon will teach the caster “the Daughters of Lul of Faltenin,” the Summoning for her sword. It is a terrible instrument of destruction (Weapon: 6). She only teaches the Summoner the invocation of her sword if the Summoner is an Air Nephilim, has already concluded its pact with Sandolphon and agrees to never transcribe the Summoning for others.

The Summoner gains a +1 shift bonus to negotiating the Contract with Sandolphon if he offers her the gift of new written knowledge.

I’m not sure all my skills are working out great. They would need to be playtested a little. The rest seems to work, though.

Nephilim FATE Magic — Summoning Mechanics

Note: I am slowly converting Nephilim, an old Chaosium game, over to Dresden Files FATE. I am just flopping all the posts on my blog because I can tag and collect them all later. This stuff is in no particular order. You can buy Nephilim in PDF from DriveThruRPG for ~$17. You should also buy Dresden Files RPG.

How to Summon 101

1. Determine the Complexity of the Summoning.  This is the target Summoning’s Conviction.  If the Complexity is higher than the Summoner’s Lore, the Summoner must find ways to gain bonus shifts to equal to or overcome the Summoning’s Conviction.

  • If the Summoning’s Element is equal to the Summoner’s Element, the Summoner receives +1 shift to overcome Complexity.
  • If the Summoner is in a Plexus, the Summoner receives +1 shift to overcome Complexity.
  • If the Summoner is in a Nexus, the Summoner receives +2 shifts to overcome Complexity.
  • If the Summoner has a Focus, the Summoner may use the Focus to overcome Complexity.
  • If the Summoner has applicable Aspects, the Summoner may invoke the Aspects for proper shifts.

2. The Summoning arrives.  Social Combat begins.  Deceit, Intimidation and Rapport are typically used to attack; Empathy and Rapport to defend.  The player can throw other skills in for good measure during combat if they fit — Conviction and Discipline may get involved.  Presence modifies the stress track.

3. Rules for combat starts on page 197 of Dresden Files: Your Story.  This includes throwing in bribes, using Aspects, and giving gifts. The Summoner will exchange with the Summoned Attacks, Blocks and Maneuvers until one side or the other is Taken Out.

4. If the Summoned Creature is Taken Out, the Summoned Creature agrees to terms with the Summoned.  The creature carries out the contract.

5. If the Summoner is Taken Out, the Contract Ruptures.

Rupture

Should the Summoner fail the social contest with the Summoned, the Contract Ruptures and the Summoned has the upper hand.  Depending on the Conviction of the creature, the kind of Summoning, the level of failure against the Summoning, and the GM’s perchance for handing out pain, ruptures are from Gentlest to Harshest:

Disappearing: the creature returns to its plane of origin.

Immobility: the creature just sits there in the Pentacle during the entire duration of its Contract. It cannot be dismissed; it just sits there.

Flight: the creature escapes from the Pentacle and flies loose until its Contract expires.  It is fully visible to humans and Nephilim alike.

Befuddlement: the creature executes the Contract in the wrong way.

Attack: the creature turns its powers on the Summoner.  This begins Physical Combat between the Nephilim and the Summoned Creature.  Once the Nephilim defeats the creature, the Summoned returns to its home plane.

Capture: the creature turns its powers on the Summoner and begins Physical Combat as above.  Should the Summoned Creature Take Out the Summoner, the Summoned Creature will attempt to carry the Nephilim off to its home plane.

Possession: the creature turns its powers on the Summoner and begins Physical Combat as above.  Should the Summoned Creature Take Out the Summoner, the Summoned Creature will kick the Nephilim out of its Simulacrum and walk off with it.  The Nephilim must immediately find a new host body or return to its Stasis.  The Summoned Being in the Simulacrum may stay on the physical plane wreaking havoc until defeated.

Nephilim FATE Magic — Two Fisted Summoning

Note: I am slowly converting Nephilim, an old Chaosium game, over to Dresden Files FATE. I am just flopping all the posts on my blog because I can tag and collect them all later. This stuff is in no particular order. You can buy Nephilim in PDF from DriveThruRPG for ~$17. You should also buy Dresden Files RPG.

Here’s a basic overview of how it works:

Summoning is different than Sorcery.  Sorcery is about reaching into the magical lines which wrap the world, exerting mental will, and forcing the magic to respond.  Either it works or the caster loses control and it flies everywhere.  Summoning is about having a conversation.

Drawing the Pentagram is the simple bit.  The Summoner references the right Pentagram in a dusty tome, finds the words, locates a good basement, and executes. If the strength of the Summoning Pentagram overcomes the will of the Summoned, the Summoned pops into the center of the Pentagram.  This almost always works if the Summoner is even passably good at this trick, has the right Stunts, and a half-way decent Lore.  Getting the Summoning to appear is a purely mechanical exercise.  A Summoner’s understanding contested against the Summoning’s willingness to show up.

And there stands a pissed off Summoning, trapped in a Pentagram, interrupted from whatever it was doing five seconds before, glaring at a Summoner and wondering if the Summoner is tasty on toast.  What happens next is a straight up social contest.  Talk fast, little Summoner, or else the thing standing there will reach for the ketchup.

Summoning moves into a haggle mode.  The Summoner can lie, can plead, can persuade, can use any social tools at its disposal.

The Summoner talks.

The Summoning listens.

Either the Summoning agrees to do what what Summoner wishes — one week, one day, one hour, one question, one task, whatever the Contract stipulates — or the Summoning ruptures.  The bigger the Summoning, the worst the Contract failure, the bigger the Rupture.  Ruptures are, as they say, bad.  How bad?  It depends on how big of a trick the Summoner was trying to pull.  Some Summoners quickly disappear, never to be seen again.

Should the Summoning agree to hang around and do something, sometimes for a price, the Summoner gets to walk off with said Summoning hanging around them invisibly and at their command.  Should Those who Creep and Nibble, a perfectly useful Assiah-plane, Seals-level, Earth-inclined Animal Summoning show up, and the Summoner cons them into sticking around and listening to him, the Summoner can order them to eat cars, couches, hats, deck chairs, holes in yachts, anything the Summoner wants consumed for a whole week.  Yay!

But fail to establish a Contract with the Procurators Whose Eyes are Basilisks or Ruby?  They like to force their Summoners to get on their knees and confess all their sins…

Stunt Refresh Cost

Summoning costs Refresh just like Sorcery.  Nephilim FATE has three levels of Summoning: Seals, Pentacles and Keys. These Stunts attach to the Lore skill.

First Circle Seals -2
Second Circle Pentacles -3
Third Circle Keys -5

Keys, the highest level, is very difficult to purchase in character generation. The rules reserve Master-level Summoning for NPCs, both good and bad. A character may purchase Seals and Pentacles in Character Generation.

Next up, flat out mechanics.

Nephilim FATE Magic — Realms of Summoning

Note: I am slowly converting Nephilim, an old Chaosium game, over to Dresden Files FATE. I am just flopping all the posts on my blog because I can tag and collect them all later. This stuff is in no particular order. You can buy Nephilim in PDF from DriveThruRPG for ~$17. You should also buy Dresden Files RPG.

As the Kabbalists sat in their secret covens and probed the worlds beyond the physical, the Summoners discovered four new planes of existence.  They drew pentacles and drew servants from…

Assiah, also known as Olam Asiyah, the weakest of the four spiritual realms.  The Realm of Action, the Nephilim easily invoke the creatures here and pull them forth to do their bidding.  This is the world of Korrigans, of Fairies, of Elementals, of Those who Creep and Nibble and Those who Inhabit the Sunset Homes.  Assiah is associated with the Tarot suit of the Pentacles.

Yetzirah, known as known as Olam Yetsirah, the World of Formation. Yetzirah is the Astral World, a plane of lesser devils and angelic servitors with glimmers of independent intelligence, elementals who embody concepts and creatures smart enough to bargain. These are the Princes of Salt Wisdom and the Spirits of the 24th Part of an Instant, those who stay until the day is favorable for their return. Yetzirah is associated with the Tarot suit of the Swords.

Briah, or Olam Beri’ah, the World of Creation, the planes of Heaven and Hell, the dwelling worlds of true Angels and Demons. They are cunning and wise and good and more evil than human comprehension. The Angels and Demons stand in their Choirs and bow before their Archangels. While the Angels and Demons hate one another, they hate Nephilim more, and do not stand to be summoned for trivial requests. They have full autonomy, full intelligence, and are difficult to control. Briah is associated with the Tarot suit of the Cups.

Atziluth or Olam Atzilut, is the World of Emanation. Atziluth is the dwelling place of the Arch Angels and the Demon Lords, of Gabriel and Beelzebub. They are proud and some have spent millennia worshipped as deities. These beings are the most dangerous of all to summon, for they greatly desire escape from their Pentagrams to walk the world of Men and they love to drag Nephilim slaves to their domains to serve them for eternity. The contracts with these beings are life-and-death pacts and drenched in blood. Atziluth is associated with the Tarot suit of the Wands.

Note: for those interested, Summoning is where Nephilim and In Nomine cross in super interesting ways, especially when it gets down to Contracts and Rupture. We’ll leave that exercise up to the reader for the time being. Suffice to say, one can assume In Nomine angels and demons can agree on one thing: they do not like these strange inhuman elemental endlessly incarnating abominations called Nephilim who can speak the forbidden Enochian tongue of Heaven and Hell and summon angels and demons to a Pentacle and force their bidding for a day short of a week.

Nephilim FATE Magic – Summoning

Note: I am slowly converting Nephilim, an old Chaosium game, over to Dresden Files FATE. I am just flopping all the posts on my blog because I can tag and collect them all later. This stuff is in no particular order. You can buy Nephilim in PDF from DriveThruRPG for ~$17. You should also buy Dresden Files RPG.

In the second decade after the Death of the Fool in Judea, a cluster of Nephilim of a highly Kabbalistic Jewish bent clustered around a single Nephilim named Simeon bar Yokkai.  Clutched in this nigh-Agarthan Nephilim’s hands were the final scribblings of the Fool which told of worlds beyond the physical full of creatures waiting to be controlled and enslaved by Nephilim will.  Only through chanting the right syllables in the right manner could the veils be pierced and a Nephilim could invoke a creature to come to its side.  Simeon bar Yokkai called his application of Kabbalistic Theory Invocation.

When he passed beyond this world — by ascending to Agartha or simply passing on to a new Incarnation — his followers scrabbled through the dust of a Roman-dominated Levant and picked through the leavings of two thousand years.  From lost scrolls found buried beneath Solomon’s Temple to the new Gnostic beliefs of Alexandria, they cobbled together a new magic they called Summoning and, much to their surprise, it worked.  From their pentagrams scratched out in the dust, creatures emerged and demanded bargains and contracts for their services.  The creatures came, and Nephilim conversant in Summoning found themselves more powerful than their Sorcerous brethren, for while a spell sword may last an hour, a summoned sword may last a week.  And where Wahlsinn drives a man mad, the Powerful Pale Queen of Pain with Tears of Flame causes madness and unspeakable infinite torment.

Good times.

In modern times, a summoner draws the pentacle on the ground to restrict the movements of the summoned creature.  He chants the Invocation and calls to the creature in Enochian, the language of worlds beyond the veil.  If the word reaches the creature, it appears and the test of wills begins.  Some summonings are merely beasts or mindless apparitions, but some are full Angels and Demons with wills and plans of their own.  Should the summoner win the contest, he forges a contract with the creature for a certain time — a day, a week, until the next full moon.  But should the summoner fail the contest, the summoning ruptures and the angry summoned creature can enact its vengeance.

Summoners swear by their craft.  These Nephilim abandoned the well-trod sorcery path to Agartha to reach into the nether realms to converse with beings of power, great and small, and harness that power to the Nephilim’s whims.  Summoners claim the few known summonings of the Keys, the most powerful summonings, far outstrip the pedestrian castings of Grand Secret spells, but these summoned creatures are intelligent and malevolent in the extreme.

Nephilim summoning involves the four planes of metaphysical existence beyond the physical, the circles of summoning and the realms, the contracts, and the ruptures should summoning fail.

 

Nephilim FATE Magic – A Nice Bit of Spleen

Note: I am slowly converting Nephilim, an old Chaosium game, over to Dresden Files FATE. I am just flopping all the posts on my blog because I can tag and collect them all later. This stuff is in no particular order. You can buy Nephilim in PDF from DriveThruRPG for ~$17. You should also buy Dresden Files RPG.

The last post on Nephilim Sorcery shall be examples of the system in practice.  And then I start on the fun stuff: Summoning.

Elijah the Moon Serpent Nephilim with his Stasis from an Ancient Egypt so Ancient even those who are called “Ancients” consider it Ancient, incarnated, much to his incredible consternation, in a homeless, alcoholic ex-Physics Professor.  No one is going to miss the man as Elijah uses the Simulacrum to his own ends but occasionally the human trapped within complains.  Not often.  Normally it dreams in the magic of Man: mathematics.

Elijah has no library yet so he must stick to spells he inscribed on his soul.  He has learned through his many lives Lower Sorcery and Higher Magic so he has the capacity to cast a wide variety of spells once he locates them. But, without the physical Foci for the spells, he is momentarily screwed — except for the spell he has inscribed on his soul, Spleen.  Sure, Spleen is a Lower Sorcery spell, but it’s a Moon spell, it’s easy, and he can cast it at will.

Being a Moon Serpent Nephilim and being inclined through his Metamorphosis and his nature to cause random havoc, Elijah takes a bus to a nearby shopping mall.  He begins walking the halls and Spleening random targets.  Spleen causes mild scene-long mental confusion. It is resisted by the target’s Conviction.  The average Conviction of a random human target is 2.  It’s Fair.  It’s a bit more than Average but not quite Good.  It’s Fair.

Elijah’s Lore is a 5 (see his sheet without magic). This is spell is easier for him to cast because it is of his Element. The words sit better in his mind than other spells. He easily overcomes the Complexity of 2. Elijah’s Conviction is just Average — he’s great at understanding spells but sort of lame at actually casting them. He can only bring one shift of power to this spell, but that also means its easy for him to cast. He rolls and gets a 0 ( – + 0 0 on Fudge Dice) and his Discipline is a +1 so he can control the 1 shift of power he brought to the spell. However, the Complexity is a 2 and he has to control up to the Complexity. He needs a tad more power. Elijah rolls again:

+ 0 0 + = +2 on Fudge dice + +1 Discipline = +3

He has controlled 4 shifts (+1 on the first roll and +3 on the second) of magic. Elijah controls a Complexity 2 spell with a effective Lore of 6 (+5 Superb Lore and +1 for it being a Moon spell) and controls up to the Complexity of the spell with his terrible Conviction and Discipline.  He casts a whole bunch of Spleens on the denizens of the Mall. It’s nothing fantastic but it kills an afternoon in mild mayhem.  Success!  Of course he should work on raising that Discipline because then, more likely than not, it will just work.

Elijah could have failed to control the spell. Now, it is not that he could not cast the spell, because he can, but it gets away from him. On failing to Spleen, Elijah could absorb the spell and take a backlash of the difference between the failed Discipline roll and the target number.  He would take the backlash as physical stress and continue with the spell.  It wouldn’t be much as the amount of power controlled is simply one shift.  But Elijah wouldn’t take backlash if he didn’t have to because that’s a selfless action and Moon Nephilim are selfish beasts.  Backlash is only when he cares the spell fires and, on a fun traipse through a mall, he doesn’t much care.

Instead, Elijah deals with the fallout of a failed spell. Had Elijah failed to Spleen his intended targets, and he let the spell go haywire, it could potentially Spleen at a far more powerful level than he wanted. Instead of a fun afternoon of Spleen, he may melt the minds of the shoppers in the mall. He would develop a fascinating Problem with getting away with the scene of chaos as people froth at the mouth and go mad.

Important to note: spleen really is a single target spell so technically Elijah is shuffling around the mall, mumbling in tongues to himself, and spleening over and over.  This is a little high maintenance as major chaos is concerned.  There’s a summoning (the Kerabim of Exasperation and Confusion) that will do what Elijah wants with range.  And that’s why next up is Summoning.

This system feels a little complicated but it is far simpler than casting a spell in the original BRP system which required considering the astrological signs and calculating a number of bonuses and penalties and reconciling Ka vs. the Sorcery skill before rolling d100 to cast the spell.  The big thing here is the spell actually casts — it’s controlling its power that’s tricky.  And best of all, no magic points (ch’awe) to count.

Quick Roundup

For thaumaturgical spells like Spleen, the flow is:

– Determine complexity of the spell.  Lower Sorcery < Higher Magic < Grand Secret.

– Overcome complexity with Lore + Bonuses — Foci, Plexus/Nexus, particularly excellent copies of the spell, Aspects, etc.

– Regardless of die rolls, if the caster overcomes the Complexity of the spell, the spell always casts.  Does it cast correctly?  Or well?  That’s another story…

– Control the power of the spell with Conviction up to the level of the Complexity.  The power may be split up into manageable pieces depending on how long the caster wishes to cast the spell.

– Roll Discipline to control the lines of elemental magic in the spell.*

– If the caster controls the spell, it fires correctly.  Some spells have a magnitude of success depending on the number of success shifts.  Resolve the result.

– If the caster fails to control the spell, he can either absorb backlash and continue rolling or deal with the fallout of magic lines of elemental power run amok.

If the spell is a Higher Magic weapon or armor spell (as indicated by adding to Fists, Weapons or Armor):

– The spell has no Complexity.  A focus with the spell suffices.

– The caster determines how powerful a weapon or armor they desire.  Matching Element gives one free shift to Conviction.

– Caster takes 1 shift of mental stress over Conviction.  If Bob the Fire Djinn wishes a sword of 7 shifts and has a Conviction of 5, he takes 2 shifts of mental stress to summon his weapon.

– Caster rolls Discipline.  He gets a free shift if the Element of the spell is his Element.  Bob is casting a fire sword spell, so he gets 1 free shift.  If he was standing in a Plexus he would get 1 extra free shift.  In a Nexus, 2.

– Bob has a Discipline of +3.  He gets the free bonus of +1.  He rolls a 3 on Fudge Dice.  (+ + 0 +).    He manages to control the sword and how has a Weapon: 7 until the end of the scene.

* I am considering Element bonus to Discipline as well to make casting easier. So a Moon Nephilim casting Spleen gets a +1 to overcome Complexity (he GETS the spell) and a +1 to cast (it’s easier for him to control lines of Moon Elemental Power). That would make all the rules align nicely.

Nephilim FATE Magic — Inscribed Spells and Personal Foci

Note: I am slowly converting Nephilim, an old Chaosium game, over to Dresden Files FATE. I am just flopping all the posts on my blog because I can tag and collect them all later. This stuff is in no particular order. You can buy Nephilim in PDF from DriveThruRPG for ~$17. You should also buy Dresden Files RPG.

Inscribing a Spell

When a Nephilim pops out of its Stasis and incarnates into its new Simulacrum, it has nothing: no books, no mystical laboratories, no places to work, no Foci.  It may have the Stunts up to Grand Secret — it can cast any spell it pleases — but it cannot cast the spell unless it possesses the spell.  The moment a Nephilim incarnates into a new body it immediately begins the hunt for new spells* to rebuild its library.

However, some Nephilim figure out the trick of tattooing the Foci for their favorite spells directly on to their souls via a mystic ritual. An Inscribed Spell requires no Focus — no books and no extra preparation. The Nephilim may cast this spell at will. The spells travels with the Nephilim from Incarnation to Incarnation.

An Inscribed Spell can be from Lower Sorcery, Higher Magic or Grand Secret. All the penalties for casting a more complex spell applies. For example, if the Nephilim inscribes Spleen, it will have a much simpler time wandering around spleening targets than if it has the Grand Secret analogue, Wahnsinn, inscribed, a spell requiring a room and Foci and concentrated magicks and plenty of chanting. Wahnsinn still requires the Complexity and trappings of a full Grand Secret spell.

A Nephilim cannot inscribe a spell of a level greater than the Stunts it has. Thus, a Nephilim cannot inscribe spells for Higher Magic or Grand Secret if it lacks the Stunts for Higher Magic and Grand Secret.

All Inscribed spells, regardless of level, are -1 Stunts. A Nephilim can have many Inscribed spells as it can maintain without having less than 1 Refresh.

Personal Foci

Sorcerers who practice Higher Magic or greater craft for themselves a Personal Focus. The Focus is a physical object that helps the sorcerer focus its concentration on the spell. These items are crafted to the sorcerer’s personality. They can be religious items, items typically related to Sorcery (rings, staves), books, or other personally suiting items. The form of the Focus is intensely personal and varies from Sorcerer to Sorcerer. All Sorcerers who have mastered Higher Magic possess or may create a Focus.

A base cost for a Focus is -1. A Focus may be upgraded twice for a total cost of -3. A Focus grants between 1-3 shifts of bonus depending on the power of the Focus.

A Focus can add +COST to Lore (to overcome Complexity), +COST to Conviction (to gather power) or +COST to Discipline (to cast). This is identified at the time of purchasing the Focus.

When the Sorcerer has a Focus and reincarnates into a new Simulacrum, the Sorcerer must either:

1. Create a new Focus or…
2. Locate its old Focus. The old Focus may be anywhere and may require an Adventure to locate and retrieve.

The choice is up to the GM depending on Dramatic Necessity.

A Focus may be paired with an Aspect during Incarnation if the player wishes but this incurs equal benefit to above and being able to Invoke the Focus as an Aspect.

Yes, the Nephilim’s personal Focus can also be its Stasis. The Nephilim will never misplace its Focus! But it also cannot be locked in a vault, it gets used in dangerous Sorcerous rituals, and has to be toted around into battle with Templars. On the one hand, the Nephilim can have a mighty keen ancient broadsword covered in sacred runes as a Focus and a Stasis. On the other hand, if something happens to that Stasis — and we wouldn’t want another to happen to the Stasis — things get mighty interesting mighty fast.

(I’ve noticed I have changed my rules for Foci slightly so they will be folded into the Sorcery rules once the Sorcery rules are complete.)

LiveJournal was down last week so if you are only following on LJ here’s links to last week’s posts:

* Sorcery (ver. 1)
* Lower Sorcery Spells (Chart)
* Higher Magic and Grand Secret Spells (Chart)

All Nephilim FATE posts.
Any obvious similarities between a Nephilim and a Bookhound of London is merely a happy coincidence. And interestingly, plenty of cross-over in content, if not system.