Friday 5 July 2024

Spell Catalysts

(Art by Zezhou Chen)

Here’s an idea that struck me - I like metamagic and I like magic instruments (cf. my Wonder Worker), so I’ve been pondering how I might implement these things.

Here are catalysts.

The first eight are from something I’ve been noodling at, the last four are from Aclas.

The thing to keep in mind is that Catalysts have HP. Presumably a fighter can hit your Catalyst with a manuever, or a called shot, or what have you. Regardless, they also lose HP in the following cases:
  • In the MD paradigm,
    Catalysts lose 2* [highest] HP on a double/Mishap, and 3*[highest] on a triple/Doom.
  • In the Spell Points paradigm 
    Catalysts lose HP when [cost] is higher than [level], losing HP equal to the difference. (i.e., casting a 2nd Level Spell with 5SP deals 3 damage to the Catalyst).
In both cases, the Catalyst gives the caster its Backlash effect, (perhaps with a save?) if it drops to 0HP for any reason. Backlash lasts, say, a Season, or perhaps a month - fine tuning required.

Volatile Catalysts are gone when they drop to 0HP, otherwise, once their HP is restored, they can be used again.

These ones are for MD…
  1. Meian PalebranchA hefty, pallid branch, partially translucent, broken from the boughs of Meia Seda, Tree of New Life. Clear sap glistens where the soft, pliable bark has split like skin. (3 Slots)
    +4 [sum] for spells related to Plants or Flesh, or to spells cast within the borders of Meia Seda.
    Backlash: Pervasive Lethargy. 13HP (Heals 3HP per day immersed in freshwater, but poisons the water it’s immersed in.)

  2. Moonstone Polished stone of marbled indigo and black, surrounded by mist. Blends into shadow. (1 Slot).
    +5[sum] for spells related to Evasion, Illusion and Darkness. Cannot cast spells related to Fire and Light.
    Backlash: Invisibility. 6HP. (Can only be repaired by Lunar Clergy).

  3. First Sun RelicA heavy, leafless branch of coppery wood, resplendent with fiery light and covered all over in gleaming droplets of amber, in which are suspended the golden insects of earlier times. (3 Slots). 
    Allows the use of the Lingering Spell Metamagic. +2[sum] for Fire, Light and Life Spells.(Lingering Spell - Increase any mentioned time unit in a spell by one step: Second > Minute > Hour > Day > Week > Month > Year > Decade > Century > Millenium).
    Backlash: Total Dendrification. 20HP (Regenerates 2HP at Dawn).

  4. Naran Bellstaff A heavy staff, made of lunar alloy and pockmarked with holes – it is a hollow tube, open at the top, and, when focused upon, levitates by the caster’s side – ready to be rung. (3 Slots).
    +3 [sum] to all Sound-related spells. Further +3 [sum] to all spells when stationary, levitating and focused upon to the exclusion of all else. When saving against harmful sound based effects (siren’s song, suggestion spells, fear-inducing screech) save with a +6 bonus.
    Backlash: Deafness. 18HP (Requires a Bellmaker to repair).

  5. Glass KnifeA triangular blade of blue-green glass, with a Lunar rune of concealment scraped into it. An implement of secret society magi. (1 Slot).
    +6[sum] when casting spells on those unaware of your presence. Also a light weapon.
    Backlash: Face-blindness. 3HP. Volatile.

  6. Scabrous MaskBones, reeky hide and animal teeth. Bone slats give the eyes a compound look. Found among the darker elements of the Weserian clans, among whom it is said the god of plague was born. (2 Slots carried, 0 worn).
    +6[sum] to all spells when the caster has an illness and is suffering the symptoms. +2[dice] to all spells when the caster has 3 or less HP.
    Backlash: Vomiting. 9HP (Can be repaired by anyone with a sewing kit and a few animal bones).
  7. Shed DragonhornA branched white antler, as tall as a man – most are marbled through with thin streaks of bright colour, like red, gold or blue. The tines are still wickedly sharp. (3 slots)
    +5[sum] for spells related to Fire, Water and Pride. Will not cast spells for the self-effacing, humble or cowardly. Acts of reckless bravery add +3[dice] to the next spell cast with the Dragonhorn as a Catalyst. Also serves as a crude medium weapon.
    Backlash: Scale-growth (Permanent) and Heavy Burns. 13HP (Can only be healed by a Dragon Apothecary.)

  8. Holy Eclipse StaffA tall, thin staff of ebony, atop which stands a silver disc clutched in an arc of reddish mahogany. The disc is polished to pure reflectivity. (3 slots)
    +3 [sum] to all Light and Darkness spells. Allows the caster to Reverse Spells.
    Backlash: Radiating Darkness. 12HP (Can be repaired by a carpenter, whitesmith and solar priest working together.)

And the Aclan Catalysts, in theory designed for Spell Points…

In this case, I’ve felt the need to add [result], which is the number in the [cost] box after you’ve spent any SP you’re going to spend on the spell, in order to not have it seem like the Catalysts make the spells more expensive - then again, there could be design space there…

This Spell Points stuff is still in early days, I’ll admit.

  1. Phosphoryllium Powder A loose handful of glowing powder, doubtless salvaged from the cracked internal chamber of a vis-powered phoslamp. Common tool of a shitty wizard. (0 Slots)
    Glows brightly whenever SP is spent by the holder, a minute per SP spent. +1[result] to Light spells.
    Backlash: Bright Flash (Like the Flash of a Heliograph Camera). 1HP. Volatile.

  2. Malediar RodHeavy rod of shimmering, volatile red metal - the so-called “Silver of Hell”. (2 slots)
    +6 [result] to all spells. Deals thaumoradiation damage to the caster equal to the spell’s [level].
    Backlash: Violent Explosion. 10HP (Can be healed with a metal forge and more malediar). Volatile.

  3. Psycho-alcazarA weighty crown of pinkish crystal, malediar and gold, with diamond eyeshields on little folding arms. A work of the ancient era of great magic, created by the Church of the Maker to empower their trusted magi. (1 Slot)
    When worn, +4 to mental Saves. +2 [result] and +1[level] to mental spells
    Backlash: Mental Breakdown. 20HP (Can currently only be repaired by angels).

  4. Portable Lightning LoomA backpack-sized version of the famous magical machine which made Muscar an international technological leader - well, centuries ago before the Wilds took it, anyway. A casing of brass, teak and gold, all fizzing malediar wires and clicking copper gears, built around heavy storage tanks full of chemical goo saturated with heavy metals. (4 Slots)
    +4 [result] to electrical spells. During a thunderstorm, the Loom can extract atmospheric energy, storing 1d6SP per 10 minutes of operation. The Loom can store up to 15SP for the use of the caster.
    Backlash: Catastrophic Anbaric Discharge (Save vs. Death). 12HP (Irreparable).

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