Continuum II: Conjuration Cantrips

   Here we have the next portion of the Continuum II Cantrip list – in this case, Conjuration Cantrips. These cantrips deal with summoning or “creating” something, whether entities, objects, or forces. The distinctions are fairly simple; entities have independent existence in their own right, and are merely forced into local manifestation or “embodied”. Creating objects usually involves binding local matter to a conjured pattern or drawing it from somewhere in the immediate vicinity. Forces are the easiest of all, they simply require pouring some energy into the pattern. Most conjurations only last until the pattern decays, but some very simple, self-maintaining, or externally-supported patterns may remain stable indefinitely. Conjuration cantrips are among the weaker cantrips; major conjurations simply require too much power for personal mana to supply.

   For those who haven’t been reading this series, here’s a repeat of the basic information on Cantrip Magic. For those who have been, 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 Conjuration Cantrips – charms which seemingly produce something from nothing.

  1. Air Helm: Surrounds the users head with a bubble of pure air for up to three minutes.
  2. Animate Teddy Bear: This charm requires someone who will really love and appreciate an animated teddy bear as the charm is powered by the recipients emotions. Thus the bear will remain animated as long as it remains loved. If the recipient has bad dreams the bear will chase them away by drawing off the negative emotions which trigger them. Trivial variants of this charm apply to other small dolls and toys.
  3. Blaze: Force-feeds oxygen into an existing flame, causing it to flare up wildly to roughly double its normal intensity for 1D4+2 rounds.
  4. Body Animation: Animates a single human or near-human body within thirty feet for up to one hour. Unfortunately, making it act requires moderate concentration and, at best, such “zombies” are weak and clumsy. One point of vitality damage from any source will dispel the effect.
  5. Breeze: Summons a pleasant, cooling breeze in a twenty foot radius of the caster. It normally persists for 3D20 minutes and is barely capable of making candles gutter, but the entire force of the cantrip can be expended in a single round to create a breeze capable of blowing leaves and bits of paper around, and possibly even capable of blowing out exposed candles.
  6. Brew: Makes up to a quart of tea from either water or appropriate herbs, although using this charm effectively requires a pot or cup to keep the resulting brew in.
  7. Caldwell’s Kitchen Conjuration: Summons up some small kitchen tool or pinch of some ingredient. Unfortunately, anything much larger then a pinch is strictly temporary. Variants usually summon up something in particular, such as salt, vinegar, oil, common spices, or honey. These are permanent, although the quantity is still limited to a few tablespoonfuls.
  8. Change: “Breaks” a coin into smaller change up to a maximum value of one gold piece, one platinum piece for games on the gold standard. This does not transmute elements; it simply turns one coin into an assortment of smaller ones.
  9. Conjure Key: This handy charm produces a force-pattern matched to the pattern of a nearby, and relatively simple, lock. This doesn’t always work, and works less often as the locks become more complicated, but is still suffices for a lot of the simpler locks.
  10. Conjure Micro-Elemental: Summons a tiny elemental spirit (DR 6, Vitality 1, 1-3 inches tall, can be fairly annoying if it attacks). When it arrives roll 1D20, on a 1-19 its controlled by the caster. It will not leave a sixty foot radius of its summoner or stay for more then ten minutes. Casting this cantrip requires a bit of the appropriate element or something related to it, such as tinder for fire micro-elemental.
  11. Dagger: Creates a dagger of magical energy for 1D4+1 minutes. The weapon is effective against creatures that require low-end (magical or “+1”) magical weaponry to damage normally and can only be used by the caster, but is otherwise treated as a normal dagger.
  12. Drawthread: “Fires”, and then draws back in, a thin and sticky thread up to about sixty feet long. The maximum possible force exerted is about 40 pounds, but it’s more then sufficient to fish dropped keys out of the sewers and such. Apprentice-children have been known to find far more bothersome uses for this charm.
  13. Edwin’s Winged Pie: Actually, this charm just summons up a hurtling mass of fluffy flavored stuff, but is has much the same effect as hitting someone with a real pie. Variants include Darnek’s Pointless Whatsit (Produces a small item which certainly seems like it ought to have a significant function of some sort), Bozo’s Banana Peel (Fairly obvious), and Lee’s Just Desserts (Exactly the sort of pastry they deserve). The edible variants provide very little in the way of nutrition or even empty calories, but are reasonably tasty if you like simple sugary flavors.
  14. Flare: Fires a glowing energy ball up to one hundred and eighty feet, where it will pop in a flash of light like a bottle rocket. A trivial variant produces a puff of smoke about five feet across, the color of the smoke – if any – is up to the caster.
  15. Flash: Blinds those in a fifteen foot radius for 1D6 counts (about six seconds each) unless they make a successful resistance check – or simply aren’t looking.
  16. Fuel: Doubles the burning time of a small (maximum of one foot in diameter) fire, up to a maximum limit of twenty-four hours.
  17. Fumigate: Conjures a strong smelling cloud of vapors which will, if given time in an enclosed area, kill or drive away any and all small creatures within it. The original cloud is about two feet across and will suffice to fumigate a volume of up to four thousand cubic feet.
  18. Glimmerwind: Summons a small cloud of sparkling points of light which will “drift” away in whatever direction the caster desires. The cloud is very pretty and lasts up to one turn but does nothing else except to dust surfaces with glittering motes. This is occasionally useful in revealing hidden obstacles or in the dark.
  19. Grand Entrance: Essentially, this small charm simply feeds a “pulse” of magical energy into the users aura, producing a swirling mist of light (or darkness.) and a very brief, short-ranged, telekinetic pulse (similar to the Microkinesis cantrip). This usually manifests as things like a chill breeze, a swirling in the mist, or doors opening without actually being touched.
  20. Handlight: Actually, this cantrip comes in an enormous variety of individual variants – auras, glowing balls of colored light, sparkling lightshows, necromantic corpse-lights (these last a lot longer, but you need something that’s decaying to make it work), and dancing flames. Whatever the variant, the “basic effect” is simply to produce a light sufficient to illuminate a five to ten foot radius tolerably well, much like a good flashlight or a small lamp. The basic version lasts up to ten minutes per level of the caster, the corpse-light variant lasts for up to one hour per level of the caster.
  21. Implement(Various): Each of these cantrips conjures up a particular implement for up to an hour. Such implements must be relatively common, simple, and of reasonable size. Some of the more common implement cantrips are: Net (butterfly type), Crowbar (light), Hammer, Cup, Pliers, Spade, Pot, and Rope (30 feet).
  22. Mapmaker: Summons a minor entity which takes its direction from what the user sees, and is capable of imprinting a passable “sketch” of scenes, areas, and items on whatever surface the user indicates when casting the charm. The entity will remain for up to two hours, or until a drawing is complete. While this is most often used to produce “automatic maps” , other uses are obviously possible. The “Secretary” variant summons an similar entity capable of taking dictation at normal conversational speed for up to an hour. It can only “hear” the caster, and some specific start / stop signal must be specified when the charm is cast, as the secretary isn’t really intelligent.
  23. Material(Various): Conjures a small quantity (up to a pint at most) of some reasonably common and fairly amorphous substance. Some of the more common cantrips of this type are Beer, Glue, Oil, Vinegar, Varnish (only a cupful or so, but the caster can have it spread thinly over a surface on arrival), Hash (arrives hot or cold as desired) and Bread. All such conjured materials are of average to poor quality. Foodstuffs contain a fair number of calories, but are woefully short of vitamins, minerals, and flavor.
  24. Mindraven: This cantrip allows the user to shape a small portion of his personal vitality (usually 2 points) – and give it the form of some small animal. Various variants create different kinds of creatures – although venomous ones are painful and irritating at most unless the user has an especially noxious personality. The user remains mentally linked to his creation, but it otherwise is pretty much equivalent to a normal creature of it’s type. If it’s somehow destroyed, the user must choose between losing his vitality points permanently – or taking 3D6 points of neural damage (requiring days or weeks to heal at one point per day). As a rule mages only create a single creature at a time. It tends to get confusing otherwise.
  25. Mousetrap: This is placed on any small opening or object, anyone other then the caster who voluntarily contacts the charm will release it with a sharp pop, taking one point of damage unless a resistance check is made. The cantrip is not cumulative with itself, leaves a telltale rune, and fades in about a week.
  26. Net: This charm summons a small net, suitable for catching butterflies, scooping up fish, and so on. The net will last for up to an hour. A variant called “Nydils Instant Hammock” produces a string hammock, already hung wherever practical. It lasts as long as the caster is within thirty feet and subconsciously continues to maintain it. Any attempt to take the hammock down will inevitably ruin its fragile webbing. Note also that hammocks are not known for extreme stability.
  27. Perfume: Applies “just the right amount” of fine perfume to the recipient, alternatively, it can be used to apply far too much crummy perfume to any single target within thirty feet. This is a minor social problem and makes the victim far easier to track by scent.
  28. Philbert’s Phantom Pfennig: Produces a “generic” coin – one very common to the region in which the spell is cast, and of very small or minimal value – sufficient, perhaps, for a package of gum. If coinage is scarce in the setting, the “Pfennig” will disappear within 1D6 hours. Otherwise it is real and permanent. Whoever is responsible for coinage in the area will usually look upon the user of this spell as counterfeiting – but such authorities are usually far more worried about higher-order variations of this effect. As a rule, most people have better things to do with their personal mana anyway.
  29. Pigeon: Conjures up a pigeon which will remain up to one hour per level of the caster. If somehow given directions it will follow them faithfully. Variant forms summon other small, insignificant creatures, some of which are more or less permanent. Most such charms have a range of sixty feet and offer some slight degree of control over the creatures initial action(s). Such variants include charms that summon ordinary mice, gnats, insects, bees, spiders, frogs, salamanders, grass snakes, roaches, hamsters, hummingbirds, and others. More impressive, if less enduring, charms summon up things like lions, tigers, and bears. Sadly, such large creations are more image then substance, but they still look and sound vary impressive for the few moments they last. On the bonus side, they are more fully under the control of the caster; if you want to open the door to reveal a rearing, roaring, lion, than this is the charm for you.
  30. Rune: Inscribes whatever glowing symbol the user traces in the air, where it will remain for up to one hour. The symbol may occupy an area of up to four square feet and illuminates a radius of about five feet. The user may have it crackle, sparkle, or seem to burn if he or she so desires.
  31. Sealant: Conjures a small quantity of tarry goo, capable of sealing small holes, cracks, and such, in a surface of up to 25 square feet. Alternatively, it can be used to evenly coat and seal an area of up to five square feet, rendering it quite waterproof.
  32. Seance: The effects of this cantrip are highly variable. In essence, it issues an invitation for a spirit in question to appear and lets it tap into a bit of the caster’s physical energies to use to produce some minor effects (half Str and Dex). Sadly, this can only reach spirits which are linked to the area the Seance is performed in – whether that’s because someone – a close relative, adopted child, student, major enemy, or even murderer – the spirit is linked to is present , because some sort of artifact linked to the spirit is being used, or even because it’s being performed over the spirits body or at it’s tomb or place of death. Even if a link exists, the spirit must still be available – reincarnated or imprisoned spirits are not available – and interested enough to bother manifesting. Note that some spirits are strong enough to either manifest their own powers if someone is foolish enough to offer them a link to the material plane or to possess the caster. This can be useful – say, if you call on the spirit of a mighty holy warrior through his sword to help you complete his mission – or quite disastrous – if, say, you happen to unintentionally call up the spirit of the witch-king of the demon empire. It’s best to already know something about an item or spot before using it as the focus for a seance.
  33. Spike: Produces and magically inserts up to three normal iron spikes, suitable for climbing, jamming doors, and holding beams together. This cantrip is not effective on anything that won’t hold still for the insertion.
  34. Spray: Propels a fine spray of any liquid the caster carries onto any target the user points to within thirty feet, the quantity is equal to one small vial per every four levels plus one vial, or less at the users option. The “Powderpuff” variant hurls a puff of powder from any vial the user happens to be carrying onto, or into the face of, any single target within twenty feet.
  35. Stir: Summons a “disembodied hand” which can be set to stirring pots, working a pestle, fanning, basting, turning roasts, or any other small, rhythmic, repetitive task for up to thirty minutes per level of the caster.
  36. Timekeeper: This charm is closely related to Mindraven and Mapmaker, in that it embodies a very small, boring, and methodical portion of the user’s mind as an external entity – A tiny figment capable of keeping track of the time, counting things, and other simple accounting tasks while the user does something else nearby. Only the user can perceive or interact with his figment, but it can be “set” to time things and tell the user when they’re ready, to keep an eye on a nearby area and “sound the alarm” if anything changes, and so on. Unfortunately, the “entity” cannot be sustained at ranges over about thirty feet.
  37. Rolls in the 37-40 range normally referred back to one of the cantrips with a lot of worthwhile variants – Caldwell’s Kitchen Conjuration, Implement, Material, or Pigeon. That gave those useful and highly individual charms a better chance of turning up when making random cantrip items – always the most common sort of magic item.
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