Zheung Bao Shun, A.K.A. “The Ninja”

   Here we have another new Shadowrun character: since the player is still having some trouble finishing up, I’ve taken what he had finished up over at his blog and done some final touching up. Some historical development, and additional notes, are still in order even if he decides to use most of this writeup – but hopefully this will help him out a bit.

   Bao Shun is an aspected healing mage who went a little heavy on the cyber. He is not the greatest mage out there and certainly not the best street samurai – but he is frighteningly competent at a wide range of things.

   Basic Setup: Resources 30 (3 MNY Resources, 68 KNY Initial Funds), Magic 18 (Hermetic Life Mage. Limited use of Sorcery/Healing spells only, Conjuration/spontaneous darkness spirits only, and Enchantment/health-related foci only. 35 Karma, initial Karma Pool 1), Attributes 16 (26 Points), Race 0 (Normal Human), and Skills -2 (25 Points). Total: 62 Points.

   Darkness Spirits have the powers of Accident, Concealment, Confusion, Darksight, Fear, Illusion, Influence, and Materialization. They usually take rather twisted and ominous forms, such as “Goblins” or “Demons”.

   Edges: Overspent on Basic Expenditures (2), Bonus Dice/+1 die when casting spells or conjuring with ceremonial preparation (Common, Minor, 2). Reduced Target Numbers (-4 on Sorcery target numbers while casting health spells with 15 minutes of ceremonial preparation; Uncommon, Minor, 4), Mana Focus (3), Longevity (greatly extended natural lifespan, 1), Geneware (Innate Mnemonic Enhancer II that reduces spell Karma costs [+1d on memory-related intelligence tests, +2 on language tests, may default to intelligence at only +3 for knowledge skill checks, -2 to a minimum of 1 on the Karma costs for learning spells and skills, .4 BI], Reflex Recorder/+1d to Stealth/Sneaking [.1 BI] [2 for ,5 BI +2 for reducing spell karma costs, net 4], Reduced BI [to 0, 1], Reduces Spell Karma Costs [2]), State of the art (reduces availability ratings by 6, has access to betaware, 2), and Cybertolerance (reduce cyberware essence costs by 20%, 3). Total of +22.

   These have been notably modified from the original design:

  • The Reduced Target Number modifier has been changed from Major to Minor effects, halving the cost. Why? Because – if the character has time to ritually cast a health spell – it’s unlikely to be a major thing. Healing just takes time, and for anything else he can simply try again anyway.
  • I’ve eliminated the Arcane Affinity/Symbolic Darkness because it doesn’t fit the definition of the Edge. I think that what the player was looking for was a Bonus Die, so that’s what I’ve put in.
  • I’ve replaced the Bonus Force Points with the Geneware edge, since it suits what the player had in mind – conserving Karma as far as learning spells and skills goes – very well indeed.

   Flaws: On File with the Yakuza (moderate influence, -2) and Shiawase (moderate influence, -2), History (-4#), Bad Karma (needs double the usual Karma to increase his karma pool, -5), Allergy / Pollen (-1), Membership (founding member of “The Ninja” (Provides physical backup, use of facilities, and equipment. Difficulties include enemies, being on file with them, reporting, assorted duties, and dues, net -2), Psychological Quirk/Obsession with his Way of the Ninja (a ninja is mysterious, professional, efficient, stealthy, resourceful, mysterious, and does not kill for free, Common, Mild, -2), Psychological Quirk/Regards contracts as sacred (Common, Moderate, -3#), Miser (-3), and Addiction/Danger (-3). Total of -22 (-10, -7 Exempt Flaws, -10/2).

   Disadvantage points over 10 are normally halved, but those marked with an # are exempt from this.

   These have also been modified: I added the “Regards Contracts as Sacred” both because it seems to fit and to get a few extra points for that Geneware modification and upgraded Addiction / Danger to -3 (Very Common, Mild) because opportunities to indulge such an addiction by putting yourself in danger are very common for a player-character.

 

Basic Statistics:

   Basic Attributes: Body 6/9, Willpower 6/9, Quickness 6, Intelligence 6/8, Strength 1, and Charisma 1. Note that many of these are likely to be modified by spells, which may also modify the dice pools noted below.

   Special Attributes: Reaction (Q+I)/2 = 6 (9), Reaction = 6+1d6 (9+4d6), Magic 6 (after Initiations), Essence 4.09, Body Index 0

Dice Pool

Source

Dice

Astral

(I+W+C)/2

6

Magic

(I+W+M)/3

7

Combat

(Q+I+W)/2

11

Hacking

(MPCP+Int)/3

2

Karma

Experience

1

Task

Ware Based

3

Skillsoft

Ware Based

6

 

Active Skills (25), Knowledges (+30).

Sorcery(spell casting)

5(7)

 

Spell Theory (Casting)

2(4)

Conjuration

4

 

Conjuring Theory

1

Biotech

6

 

Biology

3

Stealth

6

 

Psychology of Perception

3

Enchantment

3

   

0

     

Health Spell Design

6

“Pointless Skills” (9)

   

Spell/Spirit/Body interaction

6

Horticulture

6

 

Biomedical Engineering

4

Cooking

3

 

Yakuza Organizations

2

Languages (9)

   

Assassins of the American west

3

Ninjaese v327

1

 

Corporate Magical Researchers

3

Chinese

4

 

Astral Security Systems

3

Read/Write Chinese

2

 

Physical Security Systems

3

Japanese

2

     

Read/Write Japanese

1

     

English

2

     

Read/Write English

1

     

   Karma Expenditures: (35 Initial + 10 Purchased):

  • Level two Initiate (25):
    • Level 1: Magic Rating Protection (reduces effective magic rating by 2 when making magic loss checks), Attunement (+1 Magic Rating), Maintaining (may maintain a spell without penalty).
    • Level 2: Astral Sight, Attunement (+1 Magic Rating), Maintaining (may maintain another spell without penalties).
  • I’ve dropped the Quickening for now because it costs Karma – and Mr Ninja won’t have any to spare for awhile. On the other hand, this version can sustain two spells without penalty and can lock in up to six more by anchoring magic points into them – although the last three would have to be cast at lower and lower forces. That usually isn’t worth doing unless they’re all-or-nothing spells.

   Spells (20 Karma. All initial spells -2 for enhanced memory, most -1 for Fetish Required [indicated by an “*”]).

Spell

Force

Target

Drain

Heal

4

10-Ess

(F/2)Wound Level

Increase Cybered Body

4*

Body

(F/2)+2 M

Increase Cybered Willpower

4*

Willpower

(F/2)+2 M

Increase Cybered Quickness

4*

Quickness

(F/2)+2 M

Increase Cybered Intelligence

4*

Intelligence

(F/2)+2 M

Increase Cybered Strength

4*

Strength

(F/2)+2 M

Increase Charisma

4*

Charisma

(F/2)+1 M

Decrease Cybered Body

4*

10-Ess

(F/2)+2 S

Increase Reflexes III

4*

Reaction

(F/2+3 D

Oxygenate

4

4

(F/2)+2 L

Nutrition

4

10-Ess

(F/2) L

Dentistry

4*

10-Ess

(F/2)+1 L

Flesh Shaping

4

10-Ess

(F/2)+2 M

DeepSleep

4*

4

(F/2)+1 L

Forget

4

Willpower

(F/2)+4 S

 

   I’ve dropped the Exclusive Casting, since it would keep you from casting one of these spells while sustaining anything else – which doesn’t seem to be what you had in mind. I’ve also dropped “Fast” (since I’m not sure what it was supposed to be). On the other hand, you’ve also picked up DeepSleep and Forget, both of which could easily come in handy.

Cyberware

  • CyberTorso, +2.5 Body, Cyberaccepts 3 Essence. 1.5 Essence, 120 KNY
    • Holdout-II, Screened versus instrumental detection, sealed (contains his optronic deck), abdominal. 8 KNY, 0.2 Essence (in Cybertorso).
  • CyberSkull, +.5 Body, Cyberaccepts 1.5 essence. 0.75 Essence, 75 KNY
    • Coldwire I/Pain Centers (Reduces wound penalties by two levels while active, but user cannot feel pain). 2 KNY, .1 Essence (in Cyberskull)
    • Datajack with Direct Neural Interface and Knowsoft Link. 2 KNY, 0.3 Essence (in Cyberskull)
    • Transducer-8, 16 KNY, 0.8 Ess (in Cyberskull)
    • Cybereyes (.2) with integral I/O Link (.1) and Camera (.4). 12 KNY, .2 Essence (in Cyberskull, save for .02 added to Skull for convenience).
  • Mark-40 Skillwires-6, 600 KNY, 1.2 Essence. 10% (.12) in CyberSkull, 30% (.36) in Cybertorso. Net .72 Essence.

   Base Costs: Cybertorso 1.5 Essence (hosts .56), Cyberskull .77 Essence (hosts 1.50), Skillwires .72 Essence. Total: 2.99 Essence, 827 KNY. Alphaware and Cybertolerance changes this base to 1.91 Essence and 1654 KNY.

Basic Optronic Deck Pocket Computer (In Holdout):

  • Chips: Memory/Processing x3 (3000 MP, 300 KNY), Support I/O (-), Inertial Positioning System (2 Chips, 5 KNY), 4x Chipjack Expert Drivers (6 Chips, 30 KNY).
  • Loaded Programs:
    • Biocontrol-9/3 Specific Functions: Iron Will (+3 Will, +6 versus interrogation and mental control), Painkiller (reduce effective levels of wounds by 9 boxes), Superman (enhances the user’s physical attributes by a total of +1 per 2 levels as he/she selects. This can be maintained for up to (Body) minutes per day with reasonable safety – but overdoing it does one box of damage per minute or part thereof. The user must resist 5M fatigue when he or she “comes down”). 324 MP, 162 KNY
    • Mentat Mentat V (+2 Int, +3 Task Pool) 125 MP, 13 KNY.
    • Skills Packages (all at Rating-3). Grand Total: 1000 MP and 105 KNY.
      • Combat: Blades, Staves, Knives, Throwing, and Projectile Weapons,
      • Physical: Agility, Endurance, Slight of Hand, and Strength.
      • Technical: Computer, Demolitions, Electronics, Investigation, Mechanics, and Survival.
      • Social: Etiquette, Fast Talk, Interrogation, Intimidation, Leadership, Negotiation, Performance, and Psychology.
      • Vehicle: Bike, Car, Fixed-Wing Air, Hover, Motorboat, Rotor, Submersible, and Vectored Thrust.
      • Knowledges: Chemistry, Cryptography, Physics, Seattle Lore, and Structural Engineering.
      • Languages: French, German, Italian, Inuit, Russian, and Spanish.
    • Databases: Encyclopedia Britanica and World Atlas (20 MP), Detailed Maps of Seattle with Water, Sewers, and available floor plans (5 MP),
  • Net Memory Used: 1450 MP.
  • Net Cost of System and Programs: 615 KNY.

   Now, it would be nice to have all those programs up to rating-6, but it would cost another 315 KNY and quadruple the memory requirements, since rating-6 is four times as expensive as rating-3. Not quite practical yet – and with the Expert Drivers our Ninja can do pretty well anyway. We’ll see how much money is left later on – but at the moment it doesn’t look like it’s going to be much anyway.

Combat Basics:

  • Armor: Secure Jacket (5/3), Secure Ultravest (3/2), and Armored Cap +1/+1. Net 7/5. This has no penalty while he has his Quickness boosted to 9+, but below that it will start causing problems.
  • Primary Weapons
    • Narcoject Dart Pistol: 6D Stun, 8 Shot Clip.
    • Dikoted Ninken Force-8 expendable spell focus: (STR+3)S, Reach 1, Weight 1. Base cost of 1 KNY, +7 KNY Dikoting +12 KNY Enchantment = 20 KNY.

   This weapon is a short sword with one normal blade and one saw blade. Original ninken were made for cutting into buildings, floorboards then assassinating the occupants with but a single tool. So is this one. It is mostly made to pierce wards and other astral barriers. As an active focus it is dual natured and can attack astral barriers and other astral things. It only is expended if used to cast a spell, but can be activated multiple times making it dual natured and prepared to use.

   That’s a cute idea, and a character could do pretty much the same thing with a normal spell, so why not?

Other Expenditures:

   Basic Equipment: Secure Jacket, Ultravest, and Armored Cap (1.5 KNY), Narcoject Pistol and 100 Darts (5 KNY), Tool kits for Chemistry and Metalworking (2 KNY), Goggles (50x Magnification, Low-Light, Thermal, and Flare Protection, 5 KNY), Micro-Camcorder (2.5 KNY), Micro-Recorder (R6, 3 KNY), Signal Locator (R10, 2 KNY), White Noise Generator (R10, 15 KNY), 50m Rope and Grapnel (.3 KNY), Respirator/Pressure Regulator (.75 KNY), Pocket Secretary (2 KNY), and a Survival Kit (.1 KNY). 3x Antidote-8 Slap Patches (1.2 KNY), 2x Trauma Patches (1 KNY), 10x Stimulant-6 Patches (1.5 KNY), Basic Docwagon Contract (5 K), six months prepaid low lifestyle safehouse (6 KNY), one month medium lifestyle (5 KNY), and 10 Health Spell Fetishes (5 KNY). Total: 65 KNY.

   Gear Total: 2354 KNY.

Special Purchases

  • Ten Spell Points (250 KNY): See Spells, earlier.
  • Patron (50 KNY)
  • Connections (25 KNY)
  • Income: 6 KNY/Month (150 KNY with complications: this is his ninja teaching stipend).
  • Grab Bag/Ninja Gear (150 KNY). This normally covers things like shuriken, swords, poisons, monowire, smoke pellets, more modern surveillance and counter-surveillance gear, and basic medical supplies. 25KNY in ninja weapons with a loss allowance of 1d6 +3 KNY.
  • Six Extra Contacts (First two free, total 8, 30 KNY)

   Grand Total: 655 KNY on special purchases, total 3009 KNY. Well, we can pretty reasonably assume that 9 KNY worth of basic gear was paid for out of his starting cash – or is simply from his ninja gear grab bag. Close enough.

Known Contacts So Far:

   “Shurasen” (truename unknown) is a free darkness spirit. “He” was originally summoned by a fellow researcher that worked with “The Ninja”. They were making an attempt to save time (and to save on ritual elements) by passing control of the spirit back and forth between them to replenish favors. Shurasen lasted for several months like that. Both researchers made extra effort to make the spirit comfortable because they recognized the fact that eventually one of them would fail – and it might go free. This unfortunately made Shurasen (it chose that name for itself when asked for something to call it after a few weeks of being passed back and forth) somewhat strange even before he became free. When it broke free due to The Ninja’s lapse in concentration, it left and disapeared for a few years. Both mages coauthored a paper on the subject of spirit juggling risks and benifits and nearly forgot about it.

   Shurasen likes to collect secrets, but does not sell them for anything but “better” secrets. It tends to value things that are known by as few people as possible over more useful information. It keeps tabs on magical research and objects of magical power. It likes to arrange magical services but hardly ever preforms any itself for any cost not best described as highly inflated. It also buys and sells anything related to magical power including magical power itself (if it can get a hold of a seller and discover a way to actually do that). The Ninja met Shurasen again while preparing for a spell in a cave somewhere outside of Seattle. Shurasen offered to help for a completely ridiculous fee. He paid it just to get a chance to find out what happened after it became free. They soon developed a decent working relationship.

   Shurasen has a base/shop somewhere in the barrens, but it is annoyingly hard to find possibly due to a concealment power over the door or some other means. Wondering around a specific block will usually result in it revealing its self if you have been introduced before. It has a pocket secretary somewhere that it can be reached from as well. Aside from being intentionally mysterious, it is generally a strict business being with a fairly overinflated notion of what it would charge for taking ANY personal risk. Shurasen will never stick its head out for anyone and expects the same from anyone it deals with. It applies this strategy to its business dealings and its retention of customers. This has given it a reputation for dependability and reliable service.

 

Personal History

  • 2001 November 13 Boa Shun was born in china and had a mostly unremarkable childhood. He was one of the first children to be discovered with magical talent. He trained hard to become the best healer he could become until his country and life fell apart around him. Right when he hit prime drafting age, China started its civil wars.
  • 2019-2024 Spent a few years as a combat medic among other things…
  • 2025 Eventually faked his own death after his village massacred…
  • 2025-2033 Street doc in Japan…
  • 2027 got married and had a daughter. (No, I am NOT naming family members for anyone. This is up to the player)
  • 2028-2038 Work for Yakuza for a while for the money and security…
  • 2031 Got cybered using Yakuza contacts after a few hot operations found their way into his office.
  • 2033 Eventually become small time assassin…
  • 2035 Wife finds out and kicks him out for endangering their daughter. He refuses to argue the point…
  • 2035 Sent to America (San Francisco)…where he took up the name “The Ninja”…
  • 2036 Discovered others using same name…
  • 2037 The Shanghai Incident. Bao Shun meets Kimiko.
  • 2037 Founded “The Ninja” and went freelance, but still works for the Yak’s at a discount… Imperial Japanese forces seize San Francisco.
  • 2039 Started an off and on relationship with a Yakuza rising star, Raku Daodoji. She refuses to let it become serious so as to not interfere with work on her “career”.
  • 2044 after a bad run nearly killed him, he tried to retire to a life of magic research and got cyberware upgraded by employers…
  • 2045 Relationship with Raku heats up again, and heads toward marriage.
  • 2045 Instrumental in the creation of “Shurasen”
  • 2046 Went back to the shadows after he figured out that he could not stand living without the constant thrill of running, but avoided assassination missions for the most part…
  • 2047 Raku calls off the wedding after several postponements.
  • 2048-2049 Kimiko retires and Bao Shun hears about it.
  • 2053 Went on vacation in Seattle and met Kimiko again. Decided to entertain himself by messing with her appartment. She took way longer than expected to notice him…

   The player is planning to fill in more details later; he needs to get some information from the player of Kimiko Nelson for tie-ins – such as where they met and what happened…

Art-Based Magic

   Really good art has a magic of it’s own. In magical worlds this is just a bit more literal than is commonly believed. Painting, sculpting, dance, gardening, flower arranging, and many other forms of art are all perfectly valid ways to produce art-based magical effects.

   Artistic magic allows the user to cast a very limited set of spells using (Void + a relevant skill), producing effects of up to (Chosen Skill Level/2, rounded down). Unfortunately, a mystical artist cannot acquire more than one spell per skill level, all of them must be expressions of his or her art, all of them must be purchased as Innate Spells, and – unless the artist is also a Spellcaster – must be powered with Chi Points (many artists buy extra Chi Points dedicated to powering them) or purchased with the self-powered option.

   Performance artists require only one action per spell level to create their effects, but artists working in solid media must actually produce a piece of art designed to create a particular effect – although they can use it in a single round thereafter.

   In general, other people, and even other magical artists, cannot use such an item to produce magical effects. While exceptions have been reported, they’re the exception (very very lucky rolls) rather than the rule. Using another character’s art requires 1) a Chi Point, 2) a successful casting check using raw Void, 3) three rounds, 4) a situation of great stress and/or dramatic appropriateness.

   Typical artistic magic draws on the Guuzou Kami spell list, as well as the list of art-specific spells below. Many of the manipulative artistic magic spells are, however, so subtle as to be practically undetectable.

  • Level One Art Spells: Influence (conveys a subtle message to a selected group), Atmosphere (grants nearby target an extra die on a user-specified die roll), Diversion (inflicts a one die penalty on any three user-chosen die rolls of a nearby target), Attraction I (draws in passers-by, who will give the work serious consideration), Lesser Suggestion (your art can make a thought occur to the audience), Done with Style (you produce your art with great style and beauty), Patronage (if there is anyone in the area who might sponsor your arts, you will encounter them under favorable circumstances).
  • Level Two Art Spells: Encouragement (grants a selected target +1S1 on any roll, stacks to a maximum of +5S5), Attraction II (draws small animals and birds which will behave as if tame), Provocation (your art can bring out a strong emotion in a target), Impersonation (you can convincingly simulate someone else’s style, gaining +4 free steps towards any relevant impersonation, forgery, tribute, or mockery), Lesser Warding (you may provide an individual with 5 points worth of Gifts or a group with 2 points worth each, although they must be the same for each), Confusion (you can unsettle a target, inducing hesitation and uncertainty), and Dread Realization (you may negate all of a targets free steps for a single die roll).
  • Level Three Art Spells: Mirage (your art can generate a convincing illusion related to its form), Spell Disruption (your art can counter spells), Attraction III (draws large animals, which will behave as if tame), Divert Fate (your target must reroll a check; you select which result is used), Wind Dance (you may perform your art on an unsuitable medium, whether that means painting in the air or dancing on a bamboo leaf), Mesmerize (your art becomes the center of attention for a time), Inspire (you may grant your target a free step on any three die rolls of your selection).
  • Level Four Art Spells: Mass Provocation (you can bring out strong emotions in large groups), Attraction IV (you may draw specified groups of people to your art), Distant Echos (you may transmit a message over great distances to a selected group, all of whom will spontaneously see something that “reminds them” of your intent), Compulsion (you may inflict an overwhelming command on a target), Reflections (you may use your art to increase or decrease a targets effective reputation or social status), Embodiment (you may summon forth at least a limited version of the reality which your art represents, although it is unwise to overreach yourself. A variant form in which you merge with what you have called forth exists), Haunt (the ideas which you have put into your art will haunt your target, disrupting his or her slumber, meditation, and studies).
  • Level Five Art Spells: Transporting Depictment (your art can serve as a portal to the places that it portrays; such “locations” are not necessarily real), Mists of Reality (you may use your art to evade a situation, or it’s consequences, entirely), Attraction V (your art may call forth spirits), Greater Warding (you may grant a sizable group 5 points worth of Gifts each, although they must be the same for each), Transformation (a targets reality changes to match what you depict), Mesmerize Crowd (you may hold the attention of a small horde), Hypnosis (your art can implant hypnotic, and post-hypnotic commands in those who view it).

   If men can truly touch the deep forces of creation and emulate the gods, it may be in the creative inspiration of Artistic Magic that they come closest to realizing that power.

Exotic Magic Systems

   Word Magic is purchased as Spellcasting and includes Egyptian Heka Magic, Cabalistic Magic, and quite a lot of Folk Magic. While it uses the standard spell slots, spell level limitations, and spell casting times, it employs five special skills – Creation (associated with Air), Preservation (Earth), Transformation (Fire), Destruction (Water), and Divination (Void) – rather than specific spells. Practitioners normally have access to the first four skills, but access to the Divination skill is a rare gift, and must be purchased as access to an exotic field of magic.

  • Word Mages may weave spontaneous skills of up to level (Skill/2, rounded down), as long as that is equal to or less than their Spellcasting Level. To do so successfully requires a casting check using the relevant magical attribute and skill against a difficulty of (Step Size) x (Spell Level +2). The level of any given spell effect is assigned by the game master.
  • Sadly, a spell which fails by more than two steps can go drastically wrong at the option of the GM. Characters using charms crafted to produce specific effects (as per making Scrolls) get a bonus step when invoking those effects.
  • Word Magi may select one skill with which spells are treated as being one level lower than usual, but must select a second in which they are treated as being one level higher than usual if they choose to do so.
  • Characters who begin as Word Magi gain Skill 2 in two fields and Skill 1 in each of the others
  • Characters using Word Magic, whether directly or through devices, may opt to bind and command Spirits, rather than casting spells directly. While this bypasses the usual spell level limitations derived from the character’s (skill/2) and spellcasting ranks, or from an items level (trivial/minor/major), the casting roll is still required to properly direct the spirit – and if it fails at all the spell will go drastically wrong. If it fails by 11 or more, the spirit is freed, and may do as it pleases. If you’re going to try and command spirits, it is best to treat them with great courtesy, to do favors for them, and to never call on them unnecessarily. The choice between binding spirits and casting spells directly is permanent once made, although characters may opt to learn acquire the second method as a secondary technique as usual.

   Mantra or Invocation Magic is purchased as Spellcasting and includes classical Ceremonial Magic (where effects are prepared in advance and bound until needed), “Vancian Magic” (as featured in older editions of Dungeons and Dragons and the writings of Jack Vance), the magic of Amber, and – to some extent – the classical “Mantras” of India.

  • The usual spell slots, level limitations, and casting rolls used in standard Spellcasting apply, but the casting check is two steps more difficult and is made in advance.
  • Mantra Magic does not, however, require any special skills or specific spells: the user is free to attempt to produce any effect within his level limitations. However;
  • To cast a spell a Mantra Mage must spend at least half an hour chanting and gathering energy. He or she then makes the casting check to bind that energy into a spell, declaring what any available steps will be used for after the roll. Fortunately, if the practitioner does not like the check result, he or she is free to try again.
  • The spell, whatever it may be, is then “prepared” and occupies two relevant spell slots until released by the utterance of a final word – requiring but a single action regardless of the level of the spell in question.

   Personal Magic includes Inherent Magic, Mana Shaping, and pretty much all other systems of “personal” magic. It’s purchased as Spellcasting, and uses the standard spell slots, spell level limitations, and spell casting times. The Casting Check is based on Spellcasting Rank and on a game-master selected attribute appropriate to the spell list.

  • Personal Magi are unaffected by local magical conditions, and can enhance their spells by investing additional personal energy in them – raising and focusing it through dance, chant, ritual, drumming, and similar practices (granting up to four free steps) – or by simply expending a portion of their own vitality/taking damage (up to four steps worth of wounds for a similar number of free steps on their casting check).
  • Personal Magi must use a limited, themed, list: suitable lists include the Art Magic, Black Magic, Guuzou Kami, Nymic Magic, Negative Chi Magic, and Psychic Power spell lists.
  • Personal Magi must buy their spells as Innate Powers to use them.
  • Personal Magi using charms crafted to enhance specific spells get a free step when casting the matching spell. The difficulty of creating such things is (Step Size) x (Spell Level) x 2.
  • Personal Magi may use any spell slot for any spell. Sadly, using slots which are ill-suited to the spells risks backlash – inflicting one wound on the would-be caster per point by which a nymic mage misses the casting check.
  • Finally, Personal Magi may work some of their spells over arcane links, such as a targets blood, hair, or true name.

   Rune or Totem Magic is purchased as Spellcasting, and uses the standard spell slots, spell level limitations, and casting checks, although the casting time is always a single action. However, a Rune or Totem Mage permanently fills each spell slot that becomes available with a particular Rune – a flexible spell that can be cast at various levels to produce a variety of effects. For example, the Rune of the Salamander could be used to light a campfire or warm a chilled individual at L1, to cast a bolt of flame or illuminate an area at L2, to scorch a modest area or produce a blinding flash of light at L3, to erect a temporary wall of flames or heat weapons and armor to unbearable temperatures at L4, and so on. Unfortunately, this flexibility and ease has it’s price: rune and totem magi cannot power their spells with Void slots or C’hi. If a runemaster has Fire 3, and has taken the Salamander Rune twice and the Hare Gift (a totem of speed and agility) once, he can use the Rune twice and the Gift once before he has to rest or meditate to refresh his magic.

  • Characters who begin as Rune or Totem Magi may use their void slots to learn a secondary field of magic. Characters learning Rune and Totem magic as a secondary field may learn up to (Void) runes, but must devote a void slot exclusively to each rune they learn.
  • Rune and Totem magic may use medicine bundles, carved staves, and other awkward foci to get a free step on the Rune the item was constructed to aid. The difficulty of creating such an item with an appropriate skill is (step size x 6).

   Kabari or Clerical Magic draws on the energies of particular deities or dimensions directly. A kabari mage can draw on the energies of his or her own Realm, as well as the energies of any two “nearby” Realms (IE: the game master may rule that some realms are not available), or on the power of any three locally-active Deities. Sadly, while Realms are somewhat more flexible about what you can do than most Deities, you cannot draw on the energies of a realm while you’re actually in it without an additional special (10 point) Technique.

  • Kabari Magic is purchased as Spellcasting, and uses the standard spell slots, spell level limitations, and casting times. However, the user may opt not to bother with a casting check, instead simply assuming a check of (Spellcasting Level + 1) x (Step Size) plus any Free Steps – a minimal success for their best spell effects.
  • If a Kabari Mage does opt to roll, they use an Attribute relevant to the Realm or Deity in question and their Total (not Spellcasting) level.
  • Kabari mages may produce any effect suited to the nature of the Deity or Realm they channel, but but cannot produce effects of a level higher than (the relevant trait – 2) or other effects at all.
  • If they do opt to “learn” a specific “spell” they receive a free step when using it. If they upgrade it to an “Innate Ability” they receive two. If they create a specific talisman to aid in its use (at a difficulty of creating such things is (Step Size) x (Spell Level) x 2), they gain yet another.
  • Kabari Magi power their spells with whatever slots are appropriate to the effect or with Void slots. Characters learning Kabari magic as a secondary field must power it with Void slots, as usual.
  • Characters who begin as Kabari magi begin with four specific effects on which they get a free step.
  • Kabari Magi tend to find themselves entangled in the affairs of the beings and realms they draw upon. Many or most Spirits employ Kabari magic – although they do get some extra spell slots to use.
  • Additional realms may be added by going to the realm in question, finding a powerful native spirit, killing it, and absorbing its spirit into your own. Aside from the difficulty of such a quest, and the risk of shattering your own spirit, this tends to drive you quite mad.
  • Additional Deities may be added by going to see the deity in question and persuading it to allow you to draw upon its powers. This is also quite awkward.

   Likely realms for Kabari mages to draw on include:

  • Battle Realms are associated with raw physical strength, and provide unsophisticated effects involving raw destruction, violence, and combat enhancements.
  • Chaos Realms are associated with agility and evasiveness, and provide effects which involve luck, entropy, and disruption, ranging from pranks through sabotage and on to major disasters.
  • Dream Realms are associated with alertness and perception, and provide effects involving visions, phantasms, scrying, and illusions.
  • Elysian Realms are associated with charisma, and provide personal augmentations and ability enhancements.
  • Heavens (home to the powers of good and to truly enlightened souls) are associated with the intellect (since only sapient beings can be truly good), provide effects involving light, purity, and healing. Sadly, Heavens are often non-interventionist, and thus “distant”. In many settings this is the ONLY realm normally unavailable to mortal kabari magi.
  • Hells (realms of evil and torment) are associated with the intellect, since only sapient beings can be truly evil, and provide curses, destructive and corrupting magic, and evil information.
  • Limbos (realms of the restless and unappeased dead) are associated with physical endurance, and provide effects which sap vital energies and kill.
  • The Material World (usually the campaign setting) is associated with Positive Chi (unless far gone in decay and generally negative, in which case it is associated with Negative Chi), and provides effects involving growth, life, and the binding or release of spirits and forces.
  • Order Realms are associated with mental endurance and willpower, and provide effects involving structure, patterns, and communicating with, summoning, or asking for the assistance of the dead who are not otherwise destined.
  • Realms of Renewal are associated with mental endurance or willpower, and provides effects involving renewal, survival, and second chances.
  • Wylds (realms of plants, animals, and wilderness) are associated with physical dexterity, and provide effects which manipulate or enhance plants and animals or which grant plant or animal powers to other beings.