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Wizards

Murgatroyd is an example Wizard.

Wizards are practitioners of a pragmatic form of Hermetic magic known formally as Ars Magicka, but colloquially known as Wizardry. This is a very flexible and adaptable tradition that combines free-form Rotes, mystically infused artifacts and alchemical ephemera, and personal "internal" magic.

Descended from older Hermetic traditions such as Ars Mercuria (aka Spellbinding), Ars Mysteria (aka Mysteria), Ars Artifexia (aka Artificing), and Ars Alchemia (aka Alchemy), and initially a poorly regarded upstart craft seen as lacking purity and elegance by many of the adherents of the traditions it borrowed from. But while the "whatever works" ethos of Wizardry may lack the coherency of a narrower art, it more than makes up for it with utility, and over the centuries it flourished to eventually become the dominant form of Hermetic magic in the modern era.

Due to its derivative and inclusionary origins, Wizardry encompasses many subsects, houses, schools, and heritages...including some strains handed down from a single master to an apprentice over and over again through history, and some family styles practiced solely within a particular lineage. As such, though there is definitely a superset of characteristics that categorize the notion of Wizardry, individual Wizards are quite diverse.

Vocation

The basis of Wizardly practice is represented on a character by taking the Wizard Vocation at a step appropriate to the character's level of mastery. An apprentice would take the Wizard Vocation at a d4, a journeyman at a d6, a master at a d8, and a archwizard at a d10.

Wizard

Practitioners of a pragmatically broad tradition of Hermetic magic.

Wizards are first and foremost academics and proceduralists with elaborate rituals and precisely defined rote spells, backed by comprehensively thorough magical theory and lore.

The pursuit of wizardry is a lifelong affair of deepening study and mastery of the nuances of the symbology and formal theories the art is founded upon. An old Wizard is usually a force to be reckoned with, but also a sage of the esoteric to be learned from.

The Wizard Vocation allows the following special Exploits:

  • Exploit: Immediately recognize and recall highly detailed esoteric lore regarding a subject with magical or legendary significance (GM's discretion applies).
  • Exploit: If you are using your Hermetic Ritual SFX you may also double the Ability trait you are stepping up and keep an extra die for your total.
  • Exploit: You may spend a full Panel preparing to cast a spell allowing you to step down your Spells trait one fewer steps than normal when adding it to the dice pool for an action taken during your next Panel.

Vocational Variations

Some Wizards take one or more Signature Exploits for their Wizard Vocation to represent specialized training, particularly esoteric lore, a personal quirk, or a practice of their specific subsect of Wizardry. This option offers an economical (in terms of Advances) and fun way to differentiate and add nuance to a Wizard; some thematically appropriate examples are provided below.

Signature Exploit: You may clear your Ego Stress or step down Ego Trauma.
Signature Exploit: When using Spells to emulate Summoning, don't step it down.
Signature Exploit: You may double your Violence trait when casting an offensive spell.
Signature Exploit: You may use your Wizard Vocation die as if it were Durability or Warding until your next Panel.
Signature Exploit: You may use a Transition Scene to create a d8 Asset or two d6 Assets representing a specific kind of minor magical item or enchanted object. This Asset lasts until it is removed by someone or when it is no longer relevant to the narrative. You may grant an Asset created in this way to another character to use.
Signature Exploit: You may use a Transition Scene to create a Complication with a step equal to your Wizard Vocation die, representing a mystical ward protecting an area no larger than a zone against a specific kind of supernatural entity; such entities must overcome the Complication to enter or to leave the protected area.

Ability Sets

The bulk of a Wizard's capabilities are defined in Ability Sets; all Wizards have at least a Mystic Ability Set and a Wizard Ability Set. A Wizard might also have one or more Ability Sets that represent significant magical items.

Mystic Ability Set

Wizards are first and foremost Mystics, and thus all Wizards without exception have a Mystic Ability Set, in which various Ability traits and the Supernatural Aura Limit that is common to Mystics are contained. Though individuals vary in the exact composition of their Mystic Ability Set, the most common basic Mystic Ability Set is provided below.

Mystic

Senses: d6
Stamina: d6
Willpower: d6
Warding: d6

Limit: Supernatural Aura: You have a supernatural aura that is detectable by those with special senses. Gain one (1) Plot Point when this becomes a Complication for you.

Internal Mastery

Wizardry includes a sub-discipline of internal magic, accrued over time as the Wizard's own body and essense is slowly tranformed by exposure to magic. While not equally emphasized by all of the various subsects of Wizardry, some of the most fundamental benefits of these mysteries such as extended lifespan, the ability to sense the supernatural, and to protect one's self from supernatural forces are nearly universally taught; this is well represented by the Mystic Ability Set.

However, more advanced practitioners of the internal arts of Wizardry can develop superhuman qualities, including but not limited to various forms of immortality, becoming resistant or even immune to mundane harm, attaining sufficient cosmic awareness to sense or manipulate probabilities, and other more subtle and esoteric powers. This can be represented by taking additional Ability traits and / or SFX in a character's Mystic Ability Set.

Wizard Ability Set

In addition to the Wizard Vocation and a Mystic Ability Set, a Wizard character must also take a Wizard Ability Set with the Spells trait and the Hermetic Ritual SFX, and by default usually also includes the Lexical Limit and the Restrainable Limit.

Generally speaking a Wizard's Spells trait should be one step higher than their Wizard Vocation step, but a Wizard that favors theory over practice, or who dabbles in adjacent crafts such as Alchemy, or who specializes in certain types of magic might have a Vocation step equal to their Spells trait. Similarly, a precocious Wizard who's natural talent outstrips their formal education might have a Spells trait two steps higher than their Vocation step. However, a Wizard's Spells trait step should never be lower than their Wizard Vocation step.

An example is provided below for a baseline Master Wizard Ability Set. This basic Ability Set is easily adjusted to represent a baseline apprentice by setting Spells to d6, or a journeyman by setting Spells to d8, and an archwizard by setting Spells to d12.

Master Wizard

Spells: d10

SFX: Hermetic Ritual: If you have the time and materials to prepare and execute an elaborate hermetic ritual you may step up one of this Ability Set's traits for one action.

Limit: Lexical: Requires time and materials (spellbook, scrolls, etc) to change what other trait this Ability Set's Spells trait is currently being used to emulate.

Limit: Restrainable: You cannot use traits or SFX from this Ability Set if you are physically restrained and / or lack access to necessary materials. Gain one (1) Plot Point when this becomes a Complication for you.

Wizard Ability Set Variations

The default Wizard Ability Set is a baseline, a starting point for Wizard characters. However there is plenty of room for individual Wizards to distinguish themselves, and for subsects of Wizardly traditions to be represented as well.

Internal Mastery Redux

While those Wizards who focus their magic inwards walk a more difficult and elusive path to mastery, potentially progressing less rapidly than other Wizards, those who persevere eventually become quite formidable. This is easily represented by a Wizard character focusing on internal mastery spending Advances to pay off the Lexical Limit and / or the Restrainable Limit normally taken in a Wizard Ability Set. With either or both Limits removed, a Wizard becomes much more flexible in their ability to adapt to a given situation.

Differentiation

Much can be done to differentiate a Wizard by taking additional Ability traits and / or SFX, or even one or more additional Limits, in their Wizard Ability Set.

Some Wizards take the Spells trait more than once, allowing them to emulate multiple other traits simultaneously. This can be cost prohibitive in terms of Advances, but it is quite effective.

Some Wizards take one or more other Ability traits to represent mastery of a particular kind of spell, to avoid the dilution of potency that comes from stepping down the Spells trait to emulate other Ability traits. For instance a Wizard that is particularly good at teleportation magic can take the Teleport trait, and a Wizard that is particularly good at offensive magic might take the Hex trait. Any trait taken in a Wizardry Ability Set in this way is understood to be a Mystical Ability when used by that character and further to be used by "casting spells" in keeping with the Wizardry theme, subject to the Restrainable Limit, and boostable by the Hermetic Ritual SFX where applicable.

Some Wizards have personal quirks or practice sub-traditions within the broader umbrella of Wizardry, and represent these with additional SFX and / or Limits. For instance a Wizard that is potent but lacks control might take the Unleashed SFX, while another Wizard might take the Surge SFX to represent their ability to use their personal distinctions, vocational acumen, or natural aptitudes to enhance their spellcasting. Similarly a Wizard that struggles to create long lasting effects might take the Maintained Limit, and a Wizard that requires prolonged study to learn how to cast each category of spell separately might take the Known Spells Limit.

SFX: Unleashed: You may step up or double one of this Ability Set's traits for one action. If the action fails, add a die to the doom pool equal to the normal die rating of that Ability trait.
SFX: Surge: In a dice pool including one of this Ability Set's traits you may remove two dice of equal steps from the dice pool; if you do you may step up one of the removed dice and put it back into your dice pool.
Limit: Maintained: Assets and Complications created by this Ability Set's Spells trait require active maintenance and are removed from play if the caster is stressed out, asleep, unconscious, or leaves the Scene. On the plus side the caster can decide to remove any and all Assets or Complications they have created using this Ability Set's Spells trait at will.
Limit: Known Spells: This Ability Set's Spells trait requires the caster to maintain a list of other Ability traits they have learned to emulate, and requires one or more dedicated Transition Scenes be spent for each new Ability trait learned. A character starting play with this Limit can choose one Ability trait they already know how to emulate per step this Ability Set's Spells trait has.

An example is provided below for a Master equivalent Wizard Ability Set that applies some of these options, resulting in a Wizard character more focused on using magic in battle. Though more expensive in terms of Advances it provides a foundation to build a more combat capable sort of Wizard, particularly in combination with one or more magical items, and / or Signature Exploits.

Master Battle Wizard

Spells: d8
Hex: d8
Counterspell: d8

SFX: Hermetic Ritual: If you have the time and materials to prepare and execute an elaborate hermetic ritual you may step up one of this Ability Set's traits for one action.

SFX: Unleashed: You may step up or double one of this Ability Set's traits for one action. If the action fails, add a die to the doom pool equal to the normal die rating of that Ability trait.

Limit: Lexical: Requires time and materials (spellbook, scrolls, etc) to change what other trait this Ability Set's Spells trait is currently being used to emulate.

Limit: Maintained: Assets and Complications created by this Ability Set's Spells trait require active maintenance and are removed from play if the caster is stressed out, asleep, unconscious, or leaves the Scene. On the plus side the caster can decide to remove any and all Assets or Complications they have created using this Ability Set's Spells trait at will.

Artifice and Alchemy

Wizardry includes a sub-discipline of magical Artificing and also Alchemy. Some Wizards employ both practices, others partake of one or the other, and some learn neither. A given Wizard's stance on this topic depends primarily on whichever subsect of Wizardry they happen to practice, but some Wizards lack the knack for it, and others who were not taught by their master or school take up the study on their own later in their careers. And of course, even Wizards who don't personally manufacture magical items might acquire one or more made by others.

Wizards who practice Alchemy simply take the Alchemy Vocation and follow the guidelines given in the Alchemy document. Given their split focus Wizard-Alchemists tend to be less advanced in spellcraft than other Wizards of similar experience and less advanced in alchemical achievements than other Alchemists of similar experience, but the hybrid of both complementary arts can be quite potent. A small but significant minority of Wizard-Alchemists have existed since the earliest days of the tradition and it is a respected sub discipline within the Wizardly community.

Similarly, Wizards who practice Artificing simply take the Artificing Vocation and follow the guidelines given in the Artificers document. Many of the more adventuresome types of Wizards favor learning Artifcing and making various protective and offensive items for themselves as such artifacts are extremely reliable in heightened circumstances such as violent confrontations.