Continuum II: Shield Cantrips

   For today, it’s one of the most basic forms of magic in Continuum II – Cantrips. As befits one of the most ubiquitous forms of magic in the game, the list of known cantrips was quite long. This particular sublist will cover one of the most popular types – shield cantrips.

   Cantrip Magic, drawing upon the modest reserve of magical energy which accumulates in any living creature, is the simplest and easiest of all forms of magic. That power is immediately to hand, focused, and attuned. It is inherently readily handled by the user – and the mere desire to use it is enough to get it partially shaped. Minor talents, basic magical training, or comparatively trivial talismans – such as the infamous “Cantrip Rings” – will suffice to channel it. Even more usefully, the simple instinct for self-preservation allows anyone with defensive cantrips available to use on of them per round as a reflex action, albeit at the cost of a “+2” on the user’s next initiative check.

   Unfortunately, Cantrip Magic is also the weakest form of spellcasting. The complexity of any given effect is moderate at most, and the personal mana which powers it is a very limited resource. Gods, fey, and spellcasters may build up substantial reserves – the residue of the energies they channel in other ways – but everyone else will only have a little based on their Endurance and the level of natural magic in the world they live in.

   On the other hand, Cantrip Magic is by far the most common form of magic in Continuum II. Minor mages, dabblers, and laymen use it, minor talismans and amulets produce and sustain cantrip effects for a time, embedded cantrips affect whatever inanimate object they’re embedded in permanently, and focusing talismans – such as those aforementioned “Cantrip Rings” – can focus their wearer’s personal mana into a list of up to seven cantrips whose patterns are embedded in item.

   The stuff is everywhere – and so a list of cantrips can be quite important. Their classification is somewhat arbitrary, but an awful lot of people are interested in defensive charms – of which the most common variety is Shields.

   Shield Cantrips create magical fields of force. Such fields may be variously shaped, solid or viscous – and can be very selective about what they affect. While cantrip-level magic is usually insufficient to animate such fields, it can evoke them fairly readily. Even at this minimal power level, such fields have many uses – some of which are described in the following selection of specific cantrips.

  1. Airsoles: Creates a repulsive field between the user and the earth, allowing him to walk three to six inches above the floor. While this does not reduce the pressure he or she exerts on the floor, it does let the user avoid any physical contact. The caster may also use the field as a “sled” by reducing it’s friction with the ground, but this makes it impossible to stand upright. The effect lasts up to 2D6+6 rounds.
  2. Aversion: A basic defensive charm, aversion gives the recipient a +1 bonus on his DR and RR (Defense Rating and Resistance Rating) for ten rounds. It is not cumulative with other magical defenses.
  3. Awakening: Sets up a spherical ward with a maximum radius of six feet around the caster which will awaken and/or alert the caster if it is penetrated. The ward will only function once, and will dissipate within 12 hours in any case.
  4. Bobble: Creates a force-bubble up to one foot across with a “padded” interior surface. The bubble must fully enclose its target to form, takes 12 points of damage to burst, and lasts up to ten minutes.
  5. Caldwell’s Containment: Seals any small vessel with a field of force, preventing accidental spills and inadvertent mixing with the surroundings. This in no way inhibits using the contents as the field is maintained by the users will. It will remain as long as the user can spare a little bit of attention for it, thereafter it fades away in 2D4 rounds.
  6. Cocoon: Cushions a single body-wide impact – such as a fall, being struck by an avalanche or runaway cart, or some similar personal disaster. The cantrip will absorb half of the damage inflicted up to a maximum of 21 points.
  7. Corona: Gives the user an aura of energy of whatever type he desires. The aura of flame, cold, electricity, or whatever, lasts for 1D4+1 rounds, and does 1 point of damage to whoever contacts it while it lasts. It also offers some minor protection from its “type” of energy and its opposite, absorbing up to three points of such damage per round. Specialized variants are limited to a particular type of energy but last for 1D4+4 rounds.
  8. Countermagic: Dampens incoming magic, reducing it’s “casting level”. Cantrips are reduced by 2x the users level, L1 spells by 1x and L2 spells by 1/2x. Spells reduced below the minimum necessary casting level are negated. This cantrip remains in force for ten minutes, and is a common part of minor magical duels.
  9. Cushion: Creates up to six square feet of invisible “padding”, about equal to two inches of foam rubber, on or about whatever surface the caster touches. It’s often used to cushion seats, headrests, and fragile objects. The effect lasts up to 2 hours per level of the user.
  10. Deflection: Diverts up to three darts, two daggers or arrows, or one spear. Larger missiles suffer a -4 penalty on their AR (attack rating). All the attacks affected by the cantrip must occur in the same round.
  11. Filtersphere: Sets up a sphere of force which repels some class of things. While relatively weak, the sphere makes an effective selective filter. The general version only lasts for 1D4+1 rounds but can be attuned to any class of things the user desires, specific variants last for 2D6+18 rounds. Normally the sphere only surrounds the users head, it can be expanded up to a 4 ft radius but this halves both the effects and the duration. Likely “targets” for the sphere include toxic gases, microorganisms, water pollution, insects, and sand. The sphere cannot resist any significant force, thus it is of little use against anything much larger then a hornet. Set against toxic gases it would protect the user from stale air, odors, and so on, but would only offer a +3 on RR (Resistance Rating) against nerve gas.
  12. Flameshield: Protects a small (six inch radius maximum) fire, candle, or torch from wind and water short of total immersion, for half an hour or until the caster sets the fire source down, whichever is longer.
  13. Forcebolt: Strikes any one target within 40 feet, doing one point of damage for every three levels of the user or part thereof up to a maximum of eight points. A simple physical attack, this charm allows no saving throw but cannot affect creatures who require magical weaponry or specialized attacks to harm. Variants which use bolts “charged” with various types of energy do an extra point of damage with side effects according to the type of energy, but can be dodged with a RR, as the “charge” makes the bolt clearly visible. Such variants include firebolts, icebolts, lightbolts, electro-bolts, and many others.
  14. Forcefield: Provides the recipient with +1 toughness for 2D4+1 rounds. Banefield variants are tuned against specific types of attacks and provide +3 toughness against them, but are useless otherwise. Common banefields include; fire, lightning, flesh, claws, iron, stone, and arrows. Others are certainly possible, but are rare.
  15. Gauntlets: Provides the protection of heavy, watertight, insulated, gloves without having their bulk and impedance. The `gauntlets’ provide 6 / 12 / 36 points of protection against blows / energies / chemicals for (2D4+ casters level) rounds
  16. Hammertouch: Gives the recipient a +2 bonus to his or her unarmed AR (attack rating) and DB (damage bonus) for 2D4+1 rounds.
  17. Hinderfield: Slightly impedes the movements of any single target within 30 feet. The victim suffers a “-1” initiative penalty for 2D4+1 rounds.
  18. Insulate: Insulates up to twenty square feet against any one form of energy. The charm can insulate a potential of 12 points for up to an hour, lesser potentials proportionately longer. The typical hot dinner will remain hot up to 48 hours or so.
  19. Lightwall: Creates a field which blocks the passage of light. It has a maximum area of 120 square feet, and cannot reach more then 10 feet from the user, but the form is otherwise up to the caster. The user can set the field to absorb, reflect, scatter, or pass light from either side independently but cannot change it later. As the field only affects photons, it can’t “reflect” magical effects such as the “gaze of medusa” – although it can block occult effects that must be seen to take effect. The field vanishes 2D4 rounds after the caster stops providing the bit of attention it takes to maintain it unless it is intentionally dropped earlier.
  20. Maldweld’s Unseen Stilts: This charm creates a pair of invisible force field constructs, shaped as stilts, the caster can use them as a normal pair of stilts for the charms duration of 1D6+12 rounds. The stilts are only quasi-tangible, they can be entangled or grabbed but cannot be “damaged” by mundane means. Magical or energy based attacks totaling 12 points of damage will destroy them. Variants include Maldweld’s Vaulting Pole, Maldweld’s One- Plank Bridge, Diving Board, Skis, Sled, and Prybar. As most of these have either greater solidity or greater resilience, they only last for 1D4+1 rounds.
  21. Mindward: Erects a low-grade psychic shield for ten rounds. During this time the user gains a +3 RR (Resistance Rating) versus mental attacks. The `Dreamward’ variant provides basic protection from psychic disturbances for 12 hours, but only works while the user is asleep.
  22. Mirrorshades: Creates a set of protective magical `safety goggles’ which offer the user protection from excess light, some physical protection, and +3 on his or her RR (Resistance Rating) against visually oriented effects. They last for up to thirty rounds.
  23. Mittens: Creates a pair of heat – retaining fields equal to heavy woolen gloves/earmuffs/socks/a cap/etc. without their bulk and encumbrance. The charm lasts for one hour per level of the caster.
  24. Mold: Creates two square feet of “solid” surface, shaped as the caster envisions. The field is relatively fragile, but can still be used as a mold, ladle, tube, or light duty clamp. It lasts up to one hour. More specific variants create particular, and somewhat more durable, forms – such as “Caldwell’s Cauldron”.
  25. Muffle: Dampens sound passing into or out of a six foot radius of the user. This gives those within the field a +2 RR (Resistance Rating) versus sonic attacks, a +3 on stealth, and a -2 on relevant perception checks for up to 30 rounds. A variant which affects only outgoing sound exists, it aids `stealth’ only. Other variants exist – including one which affects items. It’s often used to prevent weapons from emitting sound when drawn/used, and lasts for up to ten minutes.
  26. Oilskin: Repels water and fluids containing high percentages of water from the user, preventing actual contact for up to 30 minutes – unless great force is applied. In such cases the liquids effect is halved but the repulsion is immediately negated. The bubble created is very thin; it holds enough air to breathe underwater for about one minute before the oxygen is exhausted, whereupon drowning proceeds normally.
  27. Oven: Traps heat from a small (maximum radius of one foot) fire in a small glowing sphere, for baking, forging, refining, or other high temperature work, for up to 4 hours.
  28. Overshoes: Gives the recipient feet and lower legs protection equal to heavy, watertight, boots for up to 30 rounds per level of the caster. More interestingly, “overshoes” can spread the users weight over a 1 Foot radius of his foot, serving as excellent snowshoes.
  29. Pinch: Summons up a pair of small force disks which attract each other powerfully for the few seconds they exist, clamping together on anything in between them. The discs are about an inch across and can materialize up to six inches apart within a range of 30 feet. The resulting “pinch” can snuff candles or small lanterns, startle and annoy larger creatures, kill bugs, pull small objects together, and so on.
  30. Plug: Temporarily plugs a hole, this includes doors, windows, and pits. Sadly, the force-field plug isn’t enormously strong – and doesn’t last all that long. The plug can take twelve points of damage before breaking and lasts for up to (one hour divided by the plug area in square feet). High pressure differences will quickly destroy larger plugs, but they are totally unaffected by corrosives, poisons, etcetera. “Caulking” is a common variant, it stops seepage between fitted surfaces for up to a week if no significant leaks were present to begin with.
  31. Shanty: Creates a tiny hemispherical shelter around the caster. Up to two other men can squeeze within – if they’re willing to sit on top of each other. The shelter will reduce the wind velocity within by up to 15 MPH and will effectively keep out rain, snow, and small insects. Anything much larger will penetrate it easily. A Shanty lasts up to 24 hours, as long as the caster remains in the immediate vicinity, and can either spare a little attention to maintain it, or sleeps in it. They’re usually clear, but may be colored if the caster desires. If this option is chosen, no one can see in or out of the shanty.
  32. Shield: Absorbs six points of damage from any single attack. It is not cumulative with itself. Variants specialized against attack forms are effective against 8 to 12 points of damage depending on how specifically they are attuned. Possibilities include physical or energy damage (8 points), fire (9) electricity (10), and “Necromantic Bolts” (12).
  33. Snuff: Hinders the flow of oxygen into flames. While larger fires have sufficient `draw’ to overcome this effect, up to 12 candles, 4 lanterns, 2 torches, or one small (one foot across maximum) fire may be extinguished using this charm. All such targets must be within forty feet of the caster.
  34. Static Charge: Covers up to a pound of small objects with attractive or repulsive fields of energy, causing them to attract or repel both each other and anything that contacts them. Regardless of the number of items, the total force is unchanged, hence the speed bestowed is roughly constant. The force is not very powerful, but it suffices to hold dust to surfaces, send marbles scooting around madly, or break up most liquids into a cloud of droplets. It lasts 2D6+3 rounds during which repelling objects will bounce, roll, and shift around. Attracting objects will stick to things. One variant erratically shifts from attraction to repulsion and back, to scatter small objects more effectively.
  35. Stepping Stones: Conjures up to 6 small force-discs across a gap of up to 20 feet at anything up to a 45 degree angle. They will last up to one minute per level of the caster.
  36. Suppress Aura: This charm sets up a field around the user which contains and damps the bioenergy fields that living beings normally radiate. While this interferes with some psychic abilities, and gives users claustrophobic feelings, it blocks forms of passive detection which rely on picking up this “aura”. It also blocks the bioenergy interactions which govern feelings about people, making it useful to those with things to hide. Sadly, this often makes people nervous in itself, they subconsciously expect to feel something beyond a blank barrier when interacting with others. It works for up to half an hour. Specialized variants act as “filters” to conceal specific data, such as a demonologist’s negative energy links. These work for up to an hour.
  37. Umbrella: Can be up to six feet across, if relevant, it can take six points of damage before being destroyed, and will last for up to three turns without attention. If the caster can spare a little attention for it, it can be maintained indefinitely.
  38. Warding Gesture: This charm creates a magical field attuned to some specific menace in an attempt to “hold it off”. This gives the user a +2 on his RR (Resistance Rating) against a particular attack – or can briefly hold back enchanted or conjured creatures. Lesser creatures can be driven back a few feet for 1D4 rounds, although a successful resistance check reduces this to 1D4 counts. Greater beings are merely delayed for 1D4 counts. Warding Gestures are not cumulative – and each successive use against a being reduces the duration of the effect by one.
  39. Windfetter: Increases the air pressure immediately about the user to double it’s local level or sea level normal, whichever is less. The effect persists for up to 30 minutes per level of the caster.
  40. Windward: Creates a thin `bubble’ around the caster that blocks the normal exchange of gases with the surrounding air. The bubble has an initial radius of up to six feet, but will expand or collapse thereafter in response to external air pressure, as it can’t maintain any significant pressure differential. Unevenly applied pressure, such as that produced by even modest winds will destroy the bubble immediately. The bubble is immobile and will last up to ten rounds.
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