Continuum II: Alteration Cantrips

   Here we have the next section of the Continuum II Cantrip list – in this case, Alteration Cantrips. We also have a repeat of the basic information on Cantrips, but – for those who’ve read the previous post – it’s been offset for easy skipping.

   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 here’s the section on Alteration Cantrips – one of the groups which is most commonly used as tools.

   Alteration Cantrips:

   These cantrips deal with making small changes in what you’ve already got – whether that means some lesser transformation, rearranging things, or imbuing the target with new or unusual properties. They do not create, summon, or animate things, materials, or conditions. Cantrip-level magic lacks the power to make major permanent alterations, but with the entire environment to work with, there’s always something that can be done.

  1. Alter Slickness: Affects an area up to 3 feet across, making it either far more, or far less, slippery then usual for up to an hour. A reasonably smooth surface can be made either extremely slippery or to offer excellent traction. An area which is already either extremely slippery or rough can either be made even more so or be reduced to ordinary levels of traction, it cannot be changed to the opposite extreme. Creating a slippery area directly under someone, or making an item in someone else’s possession slippery allows both a resistance roll and then a roll to compensate in time – but creating a slippery spot in front of a running creature only allows a roll to compensate, not one to prevent the effect. Making a surface rougher usually improves the footing, but the effect may be resisted if desired. Variant forms include Bozo’s Banana Peel (increases slipperiness only, but affects an area five feet across) and Griptight (improves the users traction – granting a +2 bonus on climbing and applicable balance rolls).
  2. Alter Temperature; Chills or warms an inanimate object by up to forty degrees Fahrenheit. Living targets are better able to maintain their body temperature, and receive a resistance check. Even if they fail, the charm only inflicts mild chills or fever. There are two exceptions; using this charm to return a creatures body temperature to normal is fully effective, while such very small creatures as individual mice and clouds of bugs have too little mass to resist effectively, and can be killed using this charm. It works normally on masses of up to sixty pounds, larger masses are affected proportionately less.
  3. Antivenin: This charm requires a “dose” of whatever poison is to be countered and one vitality point worth of the casters blood. Prompt administration of the resulting antitoxin will permit another resistance roll. If used in advance, the recipient’s next resistance check versus said poison gains two bonus levels of success. Sadly, the antitoxin’s effects only last for three hours.
  4. Ardath’s Psycho-Sensitive Surface: Makes the surface pigment of an area of up to 20 square feet sensitive to psychic energy, causing it to reflect images from the nearest mind. While most often used for entertainment, this is sometimes used as an interrogation tool, a display, an aid in psychoanalysis, or to create transient art. Sadly, very few minds are capable of projecting clear images; the results are often tangled up with symbols, extraneous material, and blurred memories. This can be reduced with high intellect or wisdom – or simply by staring at the image and concentrating on correcting it. The charm lasts for up to an hour. Variant forms include Mindbrush (the surface only remains sensitive for three minutes, after which the image “freezes” permanently), Mirror Of The Depths (attuned to subconscious images rather then to conscious ones, the effect is sometimes useful in meditation, recovering lost memories, or when “chasing” fugitive thoughts), and Soulshadow (makes mirrors draw occasional subliminal images and influences from the darker depths of the subconscious. It remains active until an hours worth of material has been presented, which often takes weeks of split-second snatches. It can lead to greater stability and self-knowledge in those with high wisdoms – but tends to induce discord and misery in most victims.)
  5. Bandage: Neatly seals and disinfects a wound, curing one point of damage and eliminating both any existing infection and any danger of future infection barring major contamination of the site of the injury.
  6. Bludgeon: Alters the inertial properties of a blunt weapon, making it less massive when swung and more massive on impact. A weapon so treated gains a +1 damage bonus for the next ten minutes. The Streak variant gives a +3 damage bonus, but only works for a few seconds. It’s usually applied to missile weapons.
  7. Cleanflame: Causes a small (such as a modest campfire at a maximum) fire to burn “clean”, without producing soot or excess fumes, for up to twelve hours. Such fires have unusually hot, dim, blue, flames and are slightly more fuel efficient then normal fires.
  8. Condense: Will promptly condense up to a thousand cubic feet of mist into water in a vial held by the caster. This can be reversed to create a mist from a vial or other source of water. The “Dry” variant draws off dampness and excess water from an area of five cubic feet within a range of ten feet. It’s commonly used on herbs, after it rains, to season wood, and to unstick doors. “Dry” can be reversed to dampen things, with the obvious results.
  9. Corrosion: Subjects an object to the effects of a small vial of acid, applied to whatever point the caster touches, without actually producing the acid. Living things susceptible to such attacks will take 1d4 points of damage unless they successfully resist the effect.
  10. Cure: Affects up to ten pounds of fish, meat, hides, or other unliving organic materials, drying and preserving the material – albeit relatively crudely and for a limited time; the material will start to degrade again after a month or so unless further measures are taken. Greater masses will require multiple applications.
  11. Deodorant: Erases the users scent for thirty minutes, although it will not erase any scents picked up after the initial casting.
  12. Engrave: Removes up to one cubic inch of material from a surface according to the pattern envisioned by the user. This is commonly used to engrave lines or simple pictures on an item or to “finish” a surface by removing irregularities.
  13. Fireproof: Renders any single object weighing up to 12 pounds “fireproof” – or at least resistant to heat and flame. While such objects may be ruined by heat, they cannot be set alight and will resist minor amounts (the first four points of damage) of heat and flame.
  14. Fireveil: “Spreads” the flames of a small (up to one foot in diameter) fire into a sheet or dome of up to 2000 square feet. The charm will remain in effect for ten minutes or until the user cannot spare the minimal concentration needed to maintain it.
  15. Flavor: Alters the flavor of anything even remotely edible, making it taste like whatever the caster wants it to. It can affect up to ten pounds of material (“food” is more or less optional) per casting, beyond that point it only serves as seasoning.
  16. Float: Provides sufficient buoyancy for even badly encumbered characters to stay afloat for up to twelve hours. This cantrip is designed for water, attempting to use it in substances of lesser density is proportionately less effective – to the point where attempting to “float” in gases is generally pretty useless.
  17. Fractionate: Allows the user to simply “pour off” or precipitate out any single component from up to a pint of liquid. It’s effectiveness is usually (88+1D12)% and it doesn’t work on subatomic particles and such; you can’t “pour off all the electrons”. You could, however, pour off the water and leave the salt behind.
  18. Glasshape: Causes up to half a pound of glass to “flow” into whatever form the user envisions, so long as none of the desired dimensions exceed two feet. It can also be used on plastics, clays, and other semi-liquids, as well as liquids – but liquids tend to simply revert to puddles as soon as the user ceases to concentrate.
  19. Iceflame: Causes a small (1 foot diameter maximum) fire to “burn” cold for up to four hours. This does not affect it’s other combustion products, including light and smoke.
  20. Join: Fuses or bonds together two pieces of similar, inanimate, materials provided that the two pieces fit together reasonably well. The actual area affected can be anything up to one square foot and the seam will be almost undetectable, but the objects to be affected cannot be moving, resisting, or in the possession of a creature who wishes to resist.
  21. Lase: Projects a thin, but high intensity, beam of light up to sixty feet, doing (Caster Level/3) points of damage to its target (roll an attack at +10 Attack Rating to hit). It requires a tiny gem or crystal in a reflective metal setting (five silvers from any jeweler in desperate need of work or 4.95$ from a junk shop). Use of the cantrip destroys the crystal. A gold-sheathed crystal rod worth five hundred silver pieces can be reused indefinitely, but if you can afford that, why are you bothering with this?
  22. Lighten: Alters the weight of an object, commonly to lighten it, although the charm can be “reversed”. The charm can alter the weight of an object by up to forty pounds, but cannot reduce it below 10% of reality. It remains effective for up to twenty minutes. The Powerlift variant can reduce the weight of an object by up to 200 pounds but only lasts for thirty seconds. It has a range of twenty feet, if it targets an item in the possession of another creature, that creature is entitled to a resistance check, as is any creature directly affected.
  23. Melding: This cantrip fuses 2 small items together, such as a gem and a ring. The charm interlinks their surface molecules harmlessly, but quite permanently. This is about equal to using a drop of “super glue”. Unlike the Join cantrip, the interface will be obvious, and the area affected will be much smaller, but the materials need not be similar or unresisting.
  24. Mistweaving: Allows the user to mentally mold a rough form out of fog, mist, smoke, etc. The shape may not exceed ten feet in any dimension, and lasts up to a maximum of twenty minutes.
  25. Patch: Neatly seals over small holes in cloth or leather items by “stretching” and rejoining the edges of the material. These repairs can be detected if the item is examined closely, but are still of excellent quality. A variant form which stitches seams or joins is known; like patch, it can be reversed.
  26. Phase: Allows the caster to turn a part of his body briefly immaterial, commonly the hand. Anything fully enclosed in the hand also becomes immaterial, this can be used to remove an object from a closed box. Common variants include Daggerphase (Makes a dagger or other small item immaterial for a single throw through armor, a door, or whatever), Piercing Thrust (Lets the user strike a single blow through an obstacle, such as a door, wall, tree, or shield, by momentarily making a weapon “out-of-phase” with a small patch of the obstacle), and Shed (Lets the user “step out” of his clothing, armor, or whatever). Despite many attempts, you can’t “enclose” something which extends through your phased hand, so you can’t use this charm to pull out people’s internal organs or pieces thereof. However, as a side effect, the user can touch things which are using a similar intangibility technique.
  27. Pickle: Promptly pickles up to twelve pounds of appropriate unresisting stuff, impregnating it with vinegar (the variety is optional). Minor variants can infuse appropriate targets with salt, sugar, or a variety of other simple compounds. The Infusion variant impregnates an unresisting object with whatever substance you happen to have handy, an is used in making everything from scented candles to assorted medicines.
  28. Press: Leaves the recipients clothes dry, pressed, and adequately starched. Sadly, it doesn’t remove stains and dirt, you need the Veneer cantrip for that.
  29. Shadowflame: Causes a small (up to a maximum of one foot in diamater) fire to burn “black” for up to 12 hours, producing no light. The fires production of heat, smoke, etcetra, is unaffected.
  30. Sharpen: Puts a fine edge on about six linear feet of metal – enough for a sword, two or three daggers, or a selection of smaller items. Due to the residual effects of the charm such weapons gain a +1 damage bonus on their next hit, provided that it occurs within the next seventy-two hours – and that the weapon is not dulled somehow beforehand.
  31. Stack: Manipulates small-scale odds affecting an item the user is manipulating for one minute – long enough to shuffle and stack a deck of cards, to roll dice several times, or to flip a few coins. Sadly, the result is as the user directs, not as he or she might desire; you can “randomly” shuffle the cards into the order you want; you can’t have the noodles in your alphabet soup spell out the secret of life when you stir them unless you already know it. (Sadly, this influences character-based rolls, not the ones the player makes).
  32. Stiffen: Renders up to ten pound of material – typically a length of rope or piece of cloth – rigid for ten minutes. Such materials are, sadly, limited by their original strength. Rope is about as difficult to break as a wooden stave, rigid cloth can usually be shattered fairly easily, and so on.
  33. Sympathy: Places the casters nervous system briefly in “resonance” with that of a reasonably similar being within thirty feet. As the user is prepared for the feedback involved, he can try to trigger some basic movement or action during these few seconds. Barring a successful resistance roll, targets can be made to twitch, giggle, sneeze, scratch, cough, wink, yawn, step forward, jerk slightly, start, or whatever. Successfully inducing such a problem in combat gives the victims opponents a +2 advantage for the round. Remember that the attempt to cause such an action requires some gesture towards it on the part of the user. Specific variants (Twitch, Yawn, et al) bypass this need and inflict a -2 penalty on the opponents resistance check.
  34. Tailor: Makes minor alterations on clothing according to the pattern envisioned by the caster. A minor variant (Cobble) makes similar alterations on such things as shoes and leather accessaries.
  35. Tinker: Makes minor repairs or alterations on small metal objects, such objects will show traces of skilled repair if examined. A minor variant (Potter) works similarly on ceramics. Unsurprisingly, many other variants exist.
  36. Unspill: Regathers the contents of a small, recently spilled, container, provided that the contents are no more then thirty feet away and could reasonably be restored to their container. You can’t recover liquid which has soaked into the ground, but you can collect seeds, the contents of a puddle, or tacks.
  37. Veneer: Alters a very thin layer of surface material on an object or small group of objects. Some possible effects include; removing or adding dust, grime, dirt, and tarnish, polishing or dulling things, removing paint or varnish, changing the color (this usually wears off in a month or so), smoothing out scratches, and so on. The Glaze variant has somewhat deeper effects but only affects the color, it can require many months to wear off. Herkin’s Unseen Clothing turns objects of up to the thickness of heavy cloth transparent for 1D6+14 minutes. As usual, items in someone else’s possession allow them to make a resistance check, and all versions of Veneer have a range of about 30 feet.
  38. Waterproof: Renders any single item of up to ten pounds “waterproof” – as resistant to water as if it had been thoroughly oiled or waxed. The effect will persist until the surface is seriously damaged on a solid surface, such as wood, but will fade within a few months on porous surfaces, such as cloth.
  39. Weaken: This cantrip expands any natural weaknesses in a few ounces of material – a section of rope, a bowstring, a link of chain, the center of a staff, the bolt of a lock, or the base of a dagger are all likely targets – with a 50-50 chance of causing a failure next time it’s stressed. Sadly, this will not work on enhanced objects, on anything more than thirty feet away, or have much effect on really large objects (although it may result in a nasty chip), and characters may make resistance checks for objects in their possession.
  40. Woodworking: “Softens” up to a cubic foot of wood, allowing the user to do up to the equivalent of three hours of work on it in a mere ten minutes.
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