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Skip Navigation LinksContent>Magic>Magic Systems>Validus Familiaritas>Piedragemas>System
Piedragemas System
Validus Familiaritas


Piedragemas System Piedragemasi Piedragemas Variations
Gemstone Power Sets Piedragemasi Package Deals  
Piedragemas is part of the Validus Familiaritas archetype.
GM Notes on Piedragemas
Piedragemas (PAY-drah-GEH-moss) is a type of Arcane Magic that uses Gemstones as Foci for various flatly defined and organized Magical effects.
Casting Model
Piedragemasi is a form of "Familiarity Casting", where in there is a set list of Magic abilities and a character buys a Familiarity with each Magic ability they wish to be able to use.
All Piedragemasi have a Power Skill called "Gemstone Lore", which is EGO Based. This Power Skill is used to learn new Powers and also serves as a combination Knowledge Skill and Professional Skill for Piedragemas if necessary.
The adjoining chart illustrates relative skill levels by Gemstone Lore roll, and the cost for each level. The associated titles don't have any actual literal meaning; they are merely meant to be illustrative.
Gemstone Lore: Power Skill (EGO based)
Real Cost: 3 points
A Piedragemasi can also opt to instead buy a separate Gemstone Lore Power Skill per type of Gemstone, such as Ruby Lore (Power; EGO Based). A Piedragemasi gains a flat +2 Bonus to their Power Skill if it applies to only a single Gemstone. However, the Power Skill must still be EGO Based.
This option might prove to be more economical to a Practitioner that only intends to use one or two types of Gemstones, but is generally inefficient for practitioners that intend to have a broader mastery.
Ruby Lore: Power Skill (EGO based)
Real Cost: 3 points
There are a number of Gemstones (listed below), and by default each Gemstone contains five Powers. Two of the Gemstone Powers are "Basic" and have no more than 15 Active Points, while two are "Advanced" versions of the Basic Powers with up to 30 Active Points, and finally each Gemstone has a Signature Power with between 31 and 45 Active Points.
Instead of paying the Real Cost of Gemstone Powers, Piedragemasi instead take Familiarities with the Powers granted by various Gemstones. This Familiarity allows them to use the relevant Power as if it were a Power on their Character Sheet.
Familiarity with a Basic Power costs 2 points, and a Familiarity with an Advanced Power costs 3 points. When a character has both Basic and both Advanced Powers for a given Gemstone, they gain access to the Signature Power of that Gemstone for free.
EXAMPLE: Gordaan Vreeahl has the Basic and Advanced Inertia Field, as well as the Basic and Advanced Trap Familiarites of the Amber set. This cost him 10 Character Points. Because he has all four Basic and Advanced Abilities for the Amber set, Gordaan has the ability to use the Signature Stasis Field ability from the Amber set for free.
Since the Piedragemasi are only paying a few points for Familiarities instead of the Real Cost of their Powers they could quickly get out of hand if not tightly limited. Thus the list of Powers available is deliberately extremely restricted. A Piedragemasi can only take the Powers specifically listed for their Gemstones, which is to say that players cannot just write up any given Power, pay a couple points for a Familiarity with it, call it "Gemstone SFX" and start using it.
To buy a Familiarity with an Advanced Gemstone Power a character must already have the applicable Basic Gemstone Power.
EXAMPLE: To take the Advanced Blast Familiarity from the Ruby set, Gordaan Vreeahl must first take the Basic Blast Familiarity.
It is possible for some Gemstone sets to not be available or commonly known in some areas, or perhaps at all in a given Campaign setting. In all cases check with the GM ahead of time to determine what Gemstones are available to a given Piedragemasi.
For higher powered campaigns GM's might allow a player to design thematically appropriate Power Constructs that are more powerful or different from the common set of Piedragemasi Powers and pay the Real Cost for them directly. If allowed, these abilities should each be appropriate to one of the Gemstone sets that the player has all the Familiarities for.
The normal Real Cost for such Special Powers is paid for by the Character, and these Special Powers have the same SFX as a normal Gemstone Power. Because the Character must pay the normal Real Cost, there is no Skill Roll or other obstacle required for them to learn the new Special Power (unless the GM chooses to impose one), and they do not need to take a Familiarity for the Power.
However Special Powers are still restricted by the Gemstone Power design requirements (below); such Powers exist outside the structure of the Gemstone Familiarity schema, but not the Power mechanics. The only exception to this is that such abilities may take RSR: Gemstone Lore if the player wishes (or the GM insists).
The impact of the cost in Character Points should be sufficient to keep this sort of expansiveness under control in most cases, but GM's are recommended to monitor the practice for potential abuse.
EXAMPLE: Gordaan Vreeahl has mastered the Ruby Set, but would like a more powerful Blast Power. The GM allows Gordaan to make a more powerful version with Autofire and more dice of effect, but Gordaan must pay the full Real Cost of the Power rather than simply take a Familiarity with it.
Gordaan Vreeahl's Personalized Ruby Bolts: EB 9d6 (vs. ED), Autofire (3 shots; +1/4) (56 Active Points); Extra Time (Extra Segment, -1/2), OIF (Ruby; -1/2), Requires A Gemstone Skill Roll (-1/2), Concentration (1/2 DCV; -1/4);
Real Cost: 20 points [6 END]
There are a number of restrictions which apply to this type of Magic Use, as follows.
This type of Magic has a set list of predefined Powers, called "Gemstone Powers". Further each Gemstone set has specific Powers available to it, and the list is closed.
Basic Powers have a maximum of 15 Active Points, Advanced Powers are between 16 to 30 Active Points, and Signature Powers are between 31 and 45 Active Points.
Gemstone Powers have the SFX of Arcane, Magic, Piedragemas, and whatever Gemstone set a Power originates from. These mandatory SFX cannot be altered by any means, including Variable Special Effects.
These various SFX are interacted with as normal for the HERO System; thus a Magic User of another System casting a Spell that Dispels Arcane Magic could affect Piedragemas Powers. Similarly, if such a caster had a "Detect Ruby" Spell they might detect a Piedragemasi using a Ruby Gemstone Power with a good PER check for their Detect, while a "Detect Piedragemas Magic" Spell would easily detect a Piedragemasi currently using a Gemstone Power.
Unlike some other Magic Systems, the actual initiator of a Gemstone Power does not have much of a "mystic signature" with their Magic use. The Gemstone Lore Powers are very homogenous and generic in this regard. To detect and recognize the "signature" of a specific Piedragemasi after the fact would require an appropriate PER check to be made by five or more.
NOTE: The Ruby Gemstone Power of Advanced Blasts is always Magic, always Arcane, always a Piedragemas Power, and always from the Ruby set.
Piedragemas Spell Design Restrictions
  • No Power may be on Charges
  • No Conscious Control and Independent may not be taken on any Power
  • All Powers must either cost END by default or take the "Costs END" Limitation
    • Powers may take Reduced END
    • Powers may take "Costs END Only to Activate" where allowed by the rules normally
      • All Costs END only to Activate Powers must have a defined termination, expressed either as a duration or a specific and reasonably common event
  • Powers must require a Focus to be used
    • These FOCI must be Obvious
    • Since any Gemstone of the Appropriate type will do for a Focus, the Focus must be Inaccessible.
    • The Focus must consist of a Gemstone of the type appropriate to the Power set; thus all Ruby Powers must require OIF: Ruby
  • Powers must have a minimum of -1 in Limitations
  • No Power can Require a Skill Roll to be cast.
    • A Spell may Require an additional Skill Roll to take effect
      • such as a Spell requiring a Persuasion skill roll
The single greatest restriction on this Magic System is that all Spells must cost Endurance to activate. This serves to restrict the frequency of Magic Use over a short term period, such as combat scenes. It also prevents or discourages certain Power Constructs from being used by Piedragemasi due to mechanical conflicts or inefficiency.
A Piedragemasi explicitly may not have Endurance Reserves for their Gemstone Powers.
All Gemstone Powers must have Limitations totaling to a minimum of -1 (preferably exactly -1), and must cost Endurance to activate or use. Gemstone Powers that grant Characteristic bonuses  (if any) must take No Figured Characteristics.
All Gemstone Powers must take OIF: (Appropriate Gemstone). This counts as part of the mandatory -1 in Limitations. Thus Powers in the Ruby set must take OIF: Ruby, and Powers in the Diamond set must take OIF: Diamond.
Piedragemasi do not have a concept of "Specializing" in a formal sense, but some Piedragemasi focus on one Gemstone and could be said to be "Specialists" in a literal sense.
Practitioners of Piedragemas can use Armor and suffer no real penalties for doing so (other than non-proficiency penalties if applicable).
Creating New Magic Items
Piedragemasi have a simple form of Magic Item creation;  they can "charge" gemstones with relevant Powers from the appropriate Gemstone Power set. Thus a Ruby could be Charged with Powers from the Ruby set, and so on. A Piedragemasi may only do this for Gemstone sets that they have completed; thus to "charge" an Opal a Piedragemasi must have all the Familiarities from the Opal set. Such Magic Items are always Ephemeral (Non-Recoverable Charge Based), and are called "Charge Stones".
To create a Charge Stone, a Piedragemasi must meditate with the Gemstone to be "charged" for a number of hours equal to the normal Real Cost of the Power being enchanted into the Gemstone. This time does not have to be uninterrupted, but the GM should assess an additional skill roll penalty for excessively fragmented meditation.
At the end of this period of meditation the Piedragemasi makes a Gemstone Lore Skill roll at -1/10 Active Points in the Power being added. If successful the Gemstone has been "Charged" and is ready for use by the Piedragemasi.
Obviously, the Piedragemasi must have an actual Gemstone of the appropriate type to enchant in this fashion. By default any gem of the appropriate type will do regardless of quality, but some GM's might prefer a more finely grained approach requiring a gem of a certain cost and or size. Using all of the Charges does not expend an enchanted gem so the same gem could be used repeatedly, holding different Powers from the same Gemstone set each time if desired.
The Gemstone Powers must be used as is with only two exceptions. First, Non-Recoverable Charges must be added to the Power; in some cases this may necessitate the removal of Reduced END or Costs END Only To Activate Advantages. Secondly, Trigger may be added to a Power in any configuration for this purpose only.
NOTE: It is typical for Piedragemasi producing such items for sale to set a Trigger to work when ever a special "word" is uttered so that whomever they sell it to can use the item.
EXAMPLE: Gordaan Vreeahl has the entire Sapphire Gemstone set and wishes to make a Charged Stone containing the Sapphire Advanced Force Shield Power. He wants this particular Charged Stone to have 125 uses and for each use to last about 5 minutes -- log enough to get out of an altercation if necessary.
Gordaan plans to sell the item for a tidy profit so he sets the Shield to work on a Command Word type trigger.
The final result mechanically is a 30 Active Point, 9 Real Cost construct. It will take Gordaan 9 hours of meditation, followed by a Gemstone Lore Skill Roll with a -3 penalty to successfully "Charge" the Gemstone. Also, Gordaan must have a Sapphire to Charge; no other type of Gemstone will work to hold a Power from the Sapphire set.
Sapphire Advanced Force Shield Charge Stone: Sapphire Advanced Force Shield: Force Field (10 PD/10 ED), Hardened (+1/4), Trigger (Command Word; +1/4) (30 Active Points); 125 Charges which Never Recover (-1 1/4), OIF (Sapphire; -1/2), Extra Time (Delayed Phase, -1/4), Concentration (1/2 DCV; -1/4);
Real Cost: 9
Recommended Monetary Cost: 270 xc