Mythos Magic [mysteries] – requires a mythos-flavored aspect
Note that this stunt is tied to an aspect. 'Appeasing' or 'exercising' their nature (or the forces responsible for it) will keep stunt in good working order. GMs should make note of how well the characters are doing with respect to their aspect.
Mythos magic uses the gadget rules and functions like Universal Gadget or Rare Artifact. Unlike those stunts, Mythos Magic may have as many improvements as the caster's player likes, but using mythos magic is always dangerous because it has the possibility of backlash (see BACKLASH below). If the caster fails to defend against backlash, more than one improvement will increase the resulting stress. Mythos magic can create effects, enhance the caster or other people, or create/summon things or creatures. If a caster attempts to enhance someone who does not want to be enhanced, resolve it as a contest, based on the attack type of the spell (see ATTACK TYPE). Like Rare Artifact, once used, the stunt may be only be used in the same way for the rest of the session (see also DURATION). Also like Universal Gadget and Rare Artifact, this stunt may be taken more than once to allow for different effects during a session.
Mythos magic never requires Weird Science, because Elder Things are always tied to it!
RULE OF ONE FUNCTION
Mythos magic should have one function at a time — swiss army knife magic doesn't really fit with the flavor. Magic that summons creatures should not also boost the caster's abilities; use another instance of mythos magic for that (i.e. you need to take the stunt at least twice).
Mythos magic should have a flavor appropriate to the casters mythos aspect. The aspect will probably indicate a 'realm of influence' that can guide the GM and player in creating the right feel for the magic. For example, if the caster is a Dreamlands Adept, the magic effects will be related to the Dreamlands. Instead of a flight spell, a Dreamlands Adept might summon a Nightgaunt to carry him. A caster with the Innsmouth Look might grow poison claws when he uses Mysteries in place of Fists.
Magic which lasts more than the length of the caster's action (like armor, created or summoned things, etc.) will either last until the end of the scene or the end of the session (determined at first casting of the session). A spell cannot be used again until after its duration has expired. So, if a session-long summoned creature is destroyed, it cannot be summoned again during that session with that spell, once extra stress boxes from scene-long armor are used up, the spell cannot be reused until after the scene is finished.
For attack and/or defense spells, the caster chooses type of attack (SotC, p58):
- defender uses fists/weapons/athletics, affects health,
- defender uses resolve/empathy, affects composure,
- defender uses resolve, affects composure,
- defender uses resolve/deceit, affects composure,
- defender uses might, no stress,
- nervous system or fatigue
- defender uses endurance, affects health,
- defender uses might, affects health,
Whenever a character uses mythos magic, unseen elder minions make a Fair (+2) Mysteries attack on the caster. If the caster fails to defend, the spell still succeeds but the caster takes stress from the backlash (adding the number of improvements on the spell after the first to the stress). If the spell requires a Mysteries roll anyway (like if it's an attack spell), continue to use the Mysteries result for the rest of the action (i.e. the contest simply determines how much backlash there is). Roll for backlash once for every action in which a caster actively uses mythos magic (which includes initially casting the spell). Summoned/created things only trigger backlash on initial casting because the magic is in the creation or summoning, not in their continued existence (they don't stay around forever, however: see DURATION). If the caster receives a consequence from backlash, it should be appropriate to the mythos aspect and spell effect (a phobia, a mutation, or a bad odor perhaps).
- Basic Backlash (most mythos magic)
- elder minions' MoS is applied as stress to caster's composure track (sanity, fear, anger, etc.)
- Extreme Backlash (Elder Power magic)
- elder minions' MoS is applied to both of caster's stress tracks
- Feedback (Crippling magic)
- if the defender succeeds in his defense, his MoS is applied as backlash to the caster (modified by excess spell improvements, of course). Note that since basic and extreme backlash do not prevent the successful use of Mythos Magic, feedback may result in extra backlash on top of the effects from elder minions
Suggested uses of improvements from standard gadget rules
- Additional capability
- want to see in the dark? This is it!
- Alternate Usage
- lets caster use the spell in place of a skill (like for defense)
- spell functions as a gun or weapon (uses spell as skill)
- negates stress roll-up for one-point hits.
- +1 to uses
- adds two additional stress boxes to the caster (choose health or composure) or creation
- +2 for specific uses (like extra effective against Orcs)
Mythos Improvements (in addition to those in the gadget rules)
- Elder power
- stress for successful attacks affects both of defender's stress tracks (causes extreme backlash):
- Crippling (causes feedback)
- caster plays out an entire conflict with the victim during a single action. This is more-or-less instantaneous, so it negates most types of intervention (other players can contribute fate points and aspect use, subject to GM approval).
- summons or creates (who knows?) something of weight factor 0. Extra applications increase WF by 1. If workmanship is an issue, use applicable caster skill roll (engineering, art, etc.) to determine resulting quality.
- provides the given stunt (caster must either have the required prerequisites or they must be supplied by the spell). Companions and minions are summoned or created (who knows?) by the Mythos magic. Additional Stunt improvements can provide additional Advances to companions or minions, as with the applicable companion or minion stunt.