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Sunday, 17 February 2013

Dirty Street Magic: Creatures from Beyond

The last street magic post was all about basic spell casting. This one is about another key component of street magic, summoning, binding and controlling entities from elsewhere.

The worst that can happen when casting a spell is that you suffer a bit of mystical blowback that wipes you out for a few days or weeks. For summoners, the stakes are slightly higher; you dying, all the people nearby dying, everyone in the creature's path dying, and that sort of thing. So, it's important to take proper precautions. Or not, if you prefer to live on the edge.

As with spell casting, the base difficulty is fantastic (+6), however most entities are capable of offering some resistance to the summoner's call and that raises the difficulty.

Although different magical traditions have different specific methods the stages of summoning are broadly similar across them all.
  1. Legwork
  2. Preparation
  3. Call
  4. Control
  5. Dismiss
Legwork
Finding out about the entity you are trying to summon is very important. Otherwise, you could end up with nothing or the wrong critter entirely. Mechanically, this requires a Gnosis test to create an advantage relating to the target of your summoning.

Preparation
The place that you are summoning the entity in should be prepared. Anything from a simple circle scratched in the dirt to a detailed sand painting three days in the making. Regardless, the intent is the same, for the summoner to declare a defined area where "There Is No Will But My Own". This aspect or one like it is created via a Gnosis check for use in the Call, Control or Dismiss phases.

Note that extras in the form special ink, powder or inscription for use in the preparation phase can be created in advance using suitable skills, usually Gnosis and/or Crafts.

Call
This is the part where you use your secret knowledge to call out to the being and draw it  to you. Gnosis check leveraging the legwork that you put it earlier.

Control
OK, so you summoned a thing from the realms beyond. Now you can try and bargain with it but it's probably pretty ticked off that you brought it here. Controlling the thing is a contest of Will, first to be three shifts clear of the other wins. 

If you win then then you may give the creature a command which it will obey within the limits of its ability. Watch out though, they can be very literal in the interpretation of their instructions. Alternatively they can be devious and slippery in their interpretation.

If it wins then it's loose in the world and probably off to do no good. Of course the first thing it will probably do is try to kill you but you brought it on yourself.

Dismiss
Assuming that you gained control over it then you can dismiss it with relative ease, no roll required. Otherwise, assuming that you're not dead, you need to call the creature back and bring it under control in order to dismiss it. Or alternatively you can hunt it down and make it dead.