Advanced Spellbinding

   Today it’s a little something for World Tree: some information from my notes on Advanced Spellbinding.

   World Tree Spellbinding is – as befits a branch of Pattern Magic – fairly straightforward: It still has a quirk or two even in its base form (most notably, you can bind spells that you cannot cast otherwise), but not very many.

   Still, there are some variations:

   Binding a pattern spell cast by someone else is possible – and you don’t even have to spend the Cley you’d normally have to spend to cast the spell, reducing the effective cost by one. Unfortunately, the power level is invariably halved and there are some nasty modifiers to the effective complexity.

  • Attempting to bind a spell cast by someone else adds +10 to its effective complexity.
  • Attempting to bind a spell cast by someone else without having had a chance to study the details of how the actual caster casts it adds another +10 to the effective complexity.
  • Attempting to bind a spell cast by someone else without the caster’s active cooperation – trying to form a cage from cley and trap the spell on the fly – adds another +20 to its effective complexity and requires that you have been delaying your action so as to be ready to do so.

   You can also bind pattern spells cast with advanced modifiers or in other fashions.

  • Hammer-Casting: Attempting to bind a Hammer-Cast spell cast by someone else adds +5 to the effective complexity per extra cley and – if the hammer-cast botches – will almost certainly go off in your face. Attempting to Hammer-Cast and bind a spell yourself requires splitting your concentration, adding +10 to the effective complexity per extra Cley used. Other power-boosting effects – whether from additional spells, innate abilities, or enchanted items – also add +5 to the effective complexity per Cley or equivalent.
  • Feather-Casting: Attempting to bind a Feather-Cast spell halves its power as usual, fails 50% of the time due to the fragility of such spells in any case, and automatically fails if the net power drops below 5. It it’s being cast by someone else, Feather-Casting increases the effective complexity of the spell being bound by 5. If you’re trying to do it yourself, it’s +20.
  • Flicker-Casting: Flicker-Cast spells cannot be bound unless you have one binder ready for each iteration – and even then you simply wind up with a bunch of separate, weak, bound spells.

   There are tales of a few of the Elder Zi Ri and other mighty wizards protecting themselves by binding incoming spells, but that sort of thing is pretty unlikely: anyone capable of binding a spell with an extra +40 complexity modifier applied probably has better things to do with their actions – unless they’re just showing off.


   Spontaneous Spells (including those from innate magical gifts or monstrous powers) may be bound. This works exactly like binding a pattern spell, except that:

  1. Spontaneous spells are wild, powerful, and unpredictable. This adds +2 Cley to the cost of binding them.
  2. The Cley “Cage” must be set up to accommodate the likely variations in the spell. Predicting these requires a Magic Theory check at a difficulty of (3x Improvisations Complexity). Failing that means a 50% chance of the whole thing going off in your face with, as usual for improvisations, unpredictable results.
  3. There’s no way of studying the details of the spell in advance, so the +10 complexity modifier for missing out on that always applies.
  4. There’s a +10 modifier to the effective complexity, simply due to the randomness inherent in spontaneous magic.
  5. Each additional Cley used in a Spontaneous Spell beyond the first adds +5 to the effective complexity.
  6. If you’re trying to bind your own spontaneous spell, there’s another +20 complexity modifier for having to split your concentration. Spontaneous magic is difficult enough anyway that trying to bind a spontaneous spell cast by someone else is actually easier.

   Spontaneous magic is nearly impossible to bind: a complexity-5 improvisation cast by someone else who’s cooperating with you has a minimum effective complexity of (5 + 10 [external caster] + 10 [spontaneous spell] + 10 [no chance to study]) = 35. Plugging that into the general formula for Spellbinding – (Will + Spellbinding + Noun + Verb)>= Complexity + 10 tells us that binding a complexity-5 improvisation will require a pretty powerful mage – and will cost him at least three Cley. Mages that powerful usually have better things to do with their Cley than bind cantrips.


   Spellweaves cannot be bound, simply because they have are built up gradually and have already been starting to work for some time when they’re finally completed. Here simply isn’t any point at which they’re ready to go but not yet active to bind them at. That doesn’t mean that you can’t do some things with Spellweaves that have a similar effect; you just can’t use spellbinding on them.

   I’ll see if I’ve got enough additional information on that to put something up later.

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