Spirits of Steam & Sorcery
These rules began as an adaptation of the Fate 3.0 rules, as seen in Spirit of the Century, to the Castle Falkenstein setting. It eventually evolved into a slightly more generic set of rules for any Steam and Sorcery setting, taking some liberties with the Falkenstein setting in the process.
Quick Setting Overview: Castle Falkenstein is an alternate history setting of Victorian high adventure mixed with sorcery, dragons, faeries, and fantastic creations of mad science powered by Steam engines. It is 1870. The Prussians, backed by the Unseelie Court, are threatening war. The British Empire is unmatched in the world. The American West is full of Spellslingers and Aero-pirates, and the 20 Nation Indian Federation have, for now at least, created a massive territory in the Midwest which they defend with their magic. Dragons actually rule China, Faeries live in the forest, and Dwarves have an underground kingdom beneath Europe. Fictional characters, from Sherlock Holmes to Frankenstein’s Monster, all exist here, along with the writers who wrote their true biographies! Numerous Sorcerous Orders guard their mystical lore while waging shadowy battles with rival Orders, including the Freemasons, the Knights Templar, the Druids, and the Illuminati! Steam automatons and vehicles are becoming a common sight, and giant steam-powered war machines have changed the face of the battlefield. The World Crime League, led by Moriarty, is constantly unleashing one dastardly new scheme after another.
To learn more about the setting, I recommend picking up either the original Castle Falkenstein books, or GURPS Castle Falkenstein. The original books include much more flavor text, information, and artwork that bring the setting to life, but the GURPS book summarizes all of the original books into one, and even adds some additional new information. However, you do not need to know the Castle Falkenstein setting to use these rules to create a Victorian era game with both steam-powered gadgets and sorcery!
Character Creation: Characters in Spirits of Steam & Sorcery (SoS&S hereafter) are created in a similar manner to SotC. They choose 10 Aspects over 5 phases: Background, Adult life, 1st Dime Novel/ Penny Dreadful, Co-starring in…, and finally a Miscellaneous final phase. This 5th phase may be a 2nd Dime Novel or a 2nd Co-starring role in another character’s novel, or anything else the GM approves. Landon’s alternate creation phases that feature connections, catch-phrases, etc would also work well.
There is a change from SotC with regards to the Fate Point refresh rate, however. Characters get 1 Fate point per phase, not 2. So they begin with 5 Fate points instead of 10. Also, up to 3 of your Aspects may be left undeclared at the start of play. If Aspects are saved to be declared during play, the character still gets his usual number of Fate points, he just has fewer Aspects to use them on until he fills the open Aspect slots.
Next, the character gets to select skills (1 at Superb, 2 at Great, 3 at Good, 4 at Fair, and 5 at Average, as usual). However, taking a cue from Castle Falkenstein, characters may also choose to extend their pyramid into the negative range, taking 2 skills at Poor and 1 at Terrible in order to gain another additional stunt. The character may also gain an additional stunt by reducing his Fate Point Refresh rate by 1, starting with 4 Fate instead of 5.
Finally, the character’s 5 Stunts are chosen. A 6th and 7th Stunt are possible using either or both of the options above. Then figure out any secondary numbers, such as Stress tracks, and you’re ready to begin playing! (As described below, use 1 Stress track with a starting value of 3, modified by both Endurance and Resolve, and the 2/4/6 Consequences rule.)
Races: Unlike SotC, there are some non-human races in the setting that players may choose. This is done by taking the race as an Aspect during the Background phase of character creation. Additional powers may be gained by taking race-specific Stunts. There are 3 non-human races available in the official Castle Falkenstein setting: Dragons, Dwarves, and Fey Folk. Other common fantasy races are listed after that, in case you want to add them to your SoS&S game, and I’ve included some thoughts on how each might fit in to the Falkenstein setting.
Dragons: An ancient race of magical winged reptiles, dragons are all obsessive collectors of something, whether music, stories, art, weapons, or just wealth. They can glide or fly, breathe fire, and change shape into a specific humanoid form (not just any form, it is the same every time unless they know the Shapeshift lore).
A player might invoke this to: Change to his humanoid shape (changing back to his natural dragon shape is free), breathe fire (doing Might damage to 1 target up to 2 Zones away), improve his claws or bite, perform feats of strength, fly while in dragon shape (they can glide for free, but actually taking off is difficult for them), or remember something through racial memory.
A GM might compel this to: cause the dragon’s hording impulse to take over, cause a racial memory flashback, draconic pride to get in the way, or to have the dragon’s large size and poor manual dexterity (in dragon form) create problems.
Dwarves: Once part of the Faerie races, Dwarves long ago gave up their immortality and powers in order to work with the metal they love. They work in large, underground Dwarfholds, and they are not allowed to select a last name until they have completed a major achievement of some kind, at which point their last name is taken to reflect that achievement. There are no female Dwarves, and most Dwarves have little time for love or marriage, but usually select Fey Folk women when they do.
A player might invoke this to: Aid in crafting or repairing a metal item or gadget, sniff out metal, resisting fire or magical spells, see in the dark, or recall knowledge about Dwarfholds, mining, or underground tunnels and caves.
A GM might compel this to: cause the dwarf’s dour and grumpy attitude or obsession with metal and gadgets to get him into trouble, or to protect or perform a duty for his Dwarfhold, or accentuate his stubby legs or proud beard as a hindrance or complication, inflame the animosity and jealousy between the Wizened Fey Folk and their Dwarven cousins.
Fey Folk: Alien beings that have taken living form, the Fey Folk come in a nearly endless variety. The Fey categories listed are the most common ones, and most should be fairly self-explanatory. Each one encompasses a variety of specific Fey, some of whom may be extremely rare or even unique. Select one when this Aspect is chosen.
A player might invoke this to: Resist poison, open or close a fairy portal, aid the Glamour lore, resist certain spells from the Time lore due to their immortality, plus see specific race below.
A GM might compel this to: affect the faerie with one of the Fey Repulsions, require the fey to keep a promise, or play upon their alien beliefs and attitudes, plus see specific race below. All Fey have an Iron vulnerability (tagged by attackers to do +2 on their attack with iron weapons) and players may also select between 0 to 3 Fey Repulsions when creating the character.
Sample Fey Repulsions: Clothes turned inside out, holy symbols and prayers, iron, bells, salt, horseshoes over a doorway, cannot accept gifts without giving something equal in return, unable to cross running water, unable to enter holy ground, 4 leaf clovers, a chain of daisies, St. John’s Wort, a circle of stones, Ash trees/wood, a stone with a natural-bored hole in it, etc.
Fey Folk categories:
Invoke: Use animal senses or abilities (including claw or bite which aid Fists attacks), communicate with animals, change into their animal form (changing back is free), aid Beasts lore
Compel: Behave as a beast of that type would, crave nature and animal friends, not understand or use complex items or gadgets
Invoke: Blend into a crowd or group, aid Shapeshift lore
Compel: Hide his fey nature from all but true friends, begin to get “lost in the role” and take on the personality of what he appears to be.
Invoke: Hide in shadows, deception, see in darkness, aid Conceal lore
Compel: Cower from very bright light, mustn’t reveal whole truth when lies or half-truths can be used instead
Invoke: Aid in any task if it is directly related to fulfilling a wish from someone holding his lamp, aid in Gateways lore
Compel: Grant a request in the form of a wish to the one holding his lamp
Invoke: Aid Sorcery with their chosen element, resist own element
Compel: Avoid or suffer more damage from opposing element, personalities that match their element (fire is quick tempered, etc).
Invoke: Use Rapport or Leadership, high class social situations, beautiful, aid Heart lore
Compel: Express superiority over and distaste of lower classes, dislike “roughing it” or hardships, haughty air about them
Invoke: Hide in nature, take root to improve stability, knowledge of herbs and plants, pass through wood, aid Plant lore
Compel: Prevent destruction of trees/plants, enjoy sun and water
Invoke: Scare or intimidate others, become intangible (not vs iron, return to solid for free, lasts 1 scene max)
Compel: Often disliked and feared by mortals, many legends about them, mistaken for ghosts or other undead.
Invoke: Might and Endurance tests, melee combat, large size, thick skinned
Compel: Nasty tempers, impulsiveness, gullible/easily tricked, feared
Invoke: Hide, avoid attacks, fly faster, use tiny size to their advantage, aid Cantrips lore
Compel: Use tiny size to their disadvantage, such as lifting something or being taken seriously, very playful and flighty nature
Invoke: Build or craft things, possess rare knowledge, do the work of many (reduces the time to complete a task), aid Create lore
Compel: Animosity, jealousy, and competition with Dwarves (who were once part of the Wizened), not refuse a contract or offer of payment for work, tinker with something, curiosity
Automatons: These are steam-powered robots with a calculation engine for a mind (or, in some cases, a human brain…) While they are most often Companions, a player may decide to play the Automaton as his character instead.
A player might invoke this to: Use his hydraulic strength, avoid injury, follow programming, resist magic (you are already harder to affect because you’re a “technological device”)
A GM might compel this to: Follow programming, malfunctions, lack of creativity, have his heavy metallic body cause problems
Beastmen: While Castle Falkenstein included the Beastmen with the Fey Folk, OGL Steampunk and Victoriana made them a separate species. If you would prefer to have Beastmen in the setting that are not Fey Folk, just use the Beasts category of Fey as listed, but they don’t get any of the Fey Folk’s common abilities or limitations.
Elves: Elves are another offshoot of the Fey Folk, like Dwarves, but they did not choose to leave. A princess of the Fairest once fell in love with a Green of relatively low birth. The girl’s parents worked a spell to punish the Green, and stripped him of his immortality. In just a few hundred years he would be dead, and their daughter would forget about him. But she loved him deeply and wished more than anything to be with him, even for just a few hundred years, so she used the same spell and became mortal herself (though still extremely long-lived). Thus was the Elven race created from their offspring. Unlike the animosity between Dwarves and Fey, Elves are still on fairly good terms with the Fey, especially the Fairest and Greens, though some Fey see them as unfortunate, flawed, and pale “imitations” of Fey.
A player might invoke this to: enhance eyesight and hearing, hide in forests/nature, employ elven beauty and grace, aid relations with Fairest and Green Fey
A GM might compel this to: Accentuate either the haughty nature of his Fairest heritage or the devotion to forests and nature from his Green heritage
Goblins (Gnomes/Gremlins): Goblins are a race of small, schizophrenic creatures that love to tinker with machines. It is not sure where they came from… some scholars say they are related to Orks. Others claim that not all of the Wizened who gave up their Fey nature became Dwarves, and that some botched the transformation and became Goblins instead. If the Goblins know the truth, none will say… Goblins can switch forms at will (no Fate point needed), because while they look and think quite differently, their abilities are identical in both forms, unlike a Dragon.
A player might invoke this to: Build gadgets and technological items (Gnome form only), destroy or cause a malfunction in a gadget or item (Gremlin form only), smell metal, resist Mind spells, talk with burrowing mammals
A GM might compel this to: Involuntarily switch forms when presented with an opportunity to either build/repair or destroy a gadget and give in to the compulsion, have his shy and cowardly nature or love of playing tricks on people take over
Halflings: The Halflings tend to wander a great deal in their younger years, as they are filled with a desire and a curiosity to see and explore the world. When they become older, they tend to settle down into a rural community of burrows and hovels, living a simple life with good food, wine, and lots of festivals and celebrations.
A player might invoke this to: use his small size to his advantage, resist fear or intimidation, climb things, look innocent or childlike
A GM might compel this to: suffer wanderlust, invoke intense curiosity, show little respect for personal property and privacy, use small size to his disadvantage.
Orks: Savage green-skinned hordes that destroy and pillage all in their way, Orks are feared by most civilized people, and that’s just the way most Orks like it. Individual Orks that are not part of a horde are often bodyguards, bounty hunters, mountain men, or mercenaries-for-hire.
A player might invoke this to: Aid Might and Survival tests, use his savage and brutal nature in combat or for intimidation
A GM might compel this to: Orks respect strength and follow only a strong leader, they have poor manners for polite company, they have bad reputations, not very deep thinkers
Sorcerous Order: From the Illuminati to the Templar Knights, the Spellslingers to the Order of Ra, there are a variety of Sorcerous Orders in the Falkenstein setting. Taking one as an Aspect means you are a member of the group, with all attendant rights and responsibilities, including access to that Order’s Lorebooks. This allows you to increase your Sorcery skill. More generic traditions, such as Dragon Magic, Voodoo Magic or Dwarven Rune Magic, or more specific information such as the Master that you apprenticed under also are acceptable. This Aspect gives you your first Lore for free, chosen from those available to your order. Learning additional lores requires stunts.
A player might invoke this to: call upon his Order or teacher for help, remember the location of a chapter house nearby, aid in preventing Harmonics or casting a spell appropriate to his Order.
A GM might compel this to: have the Order or teacher require his services, have a rival Order come after him, follow the teachings/goals/requirements of his Order.
Skills: Driving and piloting are not as common in Falkenstein as they are in 1920’s pulp. Combine the Drive and Pilot skill into one that encompasses the stunts and abilities of both (as well as water craft), and call it Drive. There is also a new skill, Sorcery, which allows the casting of magic spells and the gathering of Mana. However, to take the skill at anything other than Mediocre (+0) requires an Aspect to explain why. Certain racial Aspects are a valid reason for increasing the skill, but the most common is a Mystical Order Aspect. Since Sorcery of Mediorce level or lower has no effect, it may not be lowered to Poor or Terrible if that character creation option is used.
Resolve: This skill is used by sorcerers to avoid Harmonics.
Sorcery: This is the skill used for gathering mana and casting spells. You may not increase your Sorcery skill without first taking a Sorcerous Order Aspect to explain which tradition of magic you belong to, or how you learned your magic. Also, you may not decrease your Sorcery skill if you choose to lower 3 skills to get an additional stunt. The character gets one Lore for free, but any additional ones must be bought with stunts.
Endurance: One Hit to the Body – The description of this stunt doesn’t match the name at all, and it is made obsolete by Man of Iron anyway. So replace the book’s stated effect with the following: Once per scene, the player may spend a Fate point to reduce the damage of any attack to 1 hit. If the 1 point slot is already filled, it rolls up normally.
Engineering: Universal Gadget – If a Fate point is spent, the character may exchange his item for another one and reallocate his points, as though he’d not yet used this Stunt.
Fists: Flow Like Water & Weapons: Flawless Parry – In addition to the full defense bonus, this stunt may also be used when attacking. By taking a -1 on his attack rolls, he increases his Weapon defenses by 1 until his next turn.
Automaton: Armor plating (requires Automaton Aspect) – The Automaton has 1 point of Armor. This stunt may be taken up to 3 times, and each point of Armor reduces all hits by 1.
Automaton: Built-in Gadgetry (requires Automaton Aspect) – It has some weapons or gadgets built into it. This is pretty much identical to the Personal Gadget stunt; you get 3 improvements on a device. However, this device is actually a part of the automaton. It may not be given to another character, disarmed, etc. You also have 1 additional Improvement you can select: Retractable. Without this, the device is always visible. With it, it may be withdrawn into the body and hidden when not in use.
Dragon: Armored Scales (requires Dragon Aspect) – While in dragon form, you have 1 point of Armor. This stunt may be taken up to 3 times, , and each point of Armor reduces all hits by 1, but if taken more than once, you may not also take the Powerful Wings stunt as you’ll be too heavy.
Dragon: Dragon Magic (requires Dragon Aspect) – Many Dragons have an innate magic passed down through racial memory. Fire, Shapeshift, Ward, and Heart are the most common lores, though others have been known.
Dragon: Firecast (requires Dragon Aspect) – This Dragon can breathe fire with less difficulty. It can do Might damage to a single target up to 2 Zones away for free (no Fate point), or it can augment this by paying a Fate point to do one of the following: Add 2 zones to the maximum range, add +2 to the damage (not more than double MoS, as usual), or affect 1 whole zone.
Dragon: Second Nature (requires Dragon Aspect) – This Dragon is very comfortable in his human form, and changing to it is easy for him. It requires no Fate point to change to human form. Also, he is able to combine his 2 shapes and pay a Fate point to become a draconic humanoid, with the claws, bite, wings, and breath weapon of his dragon form, but the size and dexterity of his human form. He can only maintain this form a short while, changing to either his human or dragon shape at the end of the scene.
Dragon: Powerful Wings (requires Dragon Aspect) – With this stunt, the dragon can take off and fly with relative ease, requiring no Fate point. Their powerful wings are also able to whip up a “Battering Wind” aspect, which affects all creatures in the same zone as the dragon, friend and foe. This is a Might-based maneuver, and if Spin is achieved, the target is knocked down.
Dwarf/Goblin: Darkvision (requires Dwarf or Goblin racial Aspect) – Dwarves are used to living underground and working in poor light, and some have developed the ability to sense heat and very low light in order to see in the dark. This stunt has 2 effects: first, it negates all vision penalties for darkness without the need to invoke his Dwarf aspect. In the case of contested rolls (like Stealth), it eliminates any bonus the other party receives for darkness. Second, he has a limited ability to spot heat sources, including warm-blooded creatures that are invisible to normal sight or are hiding in the fog, etc. If they are simply shrouded in fog or such, he gains +2 on his Alertness check to spot them. If they would normally be invisible, he gets a normal Alertness check vs their Stealth to try and find them. If the target is room temperature, this ability will not work. Darkvision extends 2 zones.
Dwarf: Dwarven Craftsmanship (requires Dwarf racial Aspect) – When working on gadgets or constructions made of either metal or stone with the Engineering skill, this Dwarf is naturally talented. The Item Quality of such things he makes is increased by +2 for free, which effectively reduces the time and minimum Workshop Quality required to build it (see pg 213).
Dwarf: Fireproof (requires Dwarf racial Aspect) – instead of having to invoke his Dwarf aspect to provide limited protection against heat and fire, a dwarf with this Stunt is completely immune to all ordinary heat and flame, and gains 2 points of Armor against magical fire. Note that any clothes and gear he is carrying does not benefit from this protection.
Dwarf: Resist Magic (requires Dwarf racial Aspect) – When a Dwarf with this stunt is affected by magic, he adds a +2 on his Defense. If he goes to a Full Defense, the total bonus is only +3. Combined with the ability to invoke his Aspect for still more protection, a dwarf with this stunt is exceptionally hard to affect with magic. However, the downside is that this Stunt is always in effect, and hinders beneficial magic as well as harmful.
Fey Folk: Fey Magic (requires Fey Folk racial Aspect) – The Fey are able to learn Glamour, Shapeshift, and any lore specifically mentioned for that type of Fey (i.e. Plant lore for Greens)
Fey Folk: Incorporeal (requires Fey Folk racial Aspect) – Haunts already have this ability as they have fewer qualities to tag or compel than most Fey. But other Fey can learn this stunt as well, allowing them to spend a Fate point to become incorporeal to all except iron and magic. Shifting back is free, and the effect ends after the scene. A Haunt who takes this stunt is able to become incorporeal for free, and remain that way indefinitely.
Fists: Fighting Style (Kung Fu, requires Martial Arts) – This stunt allows the Martial Artist to select a single Fighting Style from these choices:
Defensive Style Gets +2 defense while in a Defensive Stance instead of +1, and gains +1 defense in a Balanced Stance
Offensive Style Gets +2 damage while in an Offensive stance instead of +1, and gains +1 damage in a Balanced Stance
Balanced Style Does not suffer -1 damage in a Defensive Stance, or -1 defense in an Offensive Stance
Mysteries: Body Control – This stunt allows the character to use Mysteries in place of Endurance tests in cases where mind over body or breathing or blood flow is concerned. It would be useful for holding your breath under water, feigning death, even resisting a snake bite. It does not count for the additional Stress boxes, though.
Sleight of Hand: Escape Artist (Requires Legerdemain) – The character is skilled at escaping from rope, chains, hand-cuffs, traps, and other confinement. He may use Sleight of Hand in place of Burglary to open locks and in place of Athletics to escape from bonds, and he suffers no penalty on his roll for being bound, unable to see the lock, etc. He still needs something to pick a lock though, unless he’s also a Hatpin Maestro.
Sorcery: Area Effects – The character is adept at affecting larger areas rather than individual targets. The caster may choose to make his Base Target 1 Zone instead of 1 individual for free, instead of -2 Effect.
Sorcery: Eldritch Skill (Req: Mystical Theory in Practice) - The character as become very used to substituting Sorcery for 1 specific skill, such that it has become almost second nature. This provides him with 2 benefits: First, he may substitute Sorcery for that skill as many times in a scene as he wants, it doesn’t count for the Mystical Theory in Practice limit. Second, so long as he does not try to Gather Mana or use Unraveling, he does not risk Harmonics either. Note that it still counts as casting a spell and can be detected as magic, it requires the words and gestures, suffers a penalty in a Dead Magic zone, etc. Common choices include Weapons, Stealth, Rapport, Mysteries, Alertness, and Sleight of Hand. For Guns, see the Spellslinger stunt below.
Sorcery: Gather Mana – The caster has learned how to gather the ambient mana in an area to power his spells. If you decide to Gather Mana before casting a spell, make a Sorcery roll against a difficulty determined by the amount of mana in the area. If the roll is successful, roll 1dF to see how much mana you got: minus = 1 point, 0 = 2 points, and plus = 3 points. You may divide the mana between the casting roll and the Harmonics roll, aiding one or both. The spell must be cast within the next round or else the gathered mana is lost. Casting a spell with Gathered Mana can be dangerous though, because whatever Mana you spend to aid in the casting of the spell increases it’s effective level for the purpose of Harmonics as well. For this reason, many sorcerers choose to allocate at least some of the mana they gather to the Harmonics roll, to offset that increase. Also, you may not increase a spell’s level to more than double by gathering mana. So if you are casting a level 1 Cantrip, gathered mana can increase the Effect only 1 point, to 2. All the rest must go toward resisting any Harmonics. Finally, Gathering Mana can be risky. A roll of 4 -‘s means that you suffer a mana drain. You are unable to Gather Mana again for the rest of the day, and suffer -1 on all Spellcasting during that time as well. If you roll 4 +’s, you experience a mana surge. Add 2 to the amount of mana gathered this round, but you take damage equal to the total mana gathered (this can be reduced by taking Consequences, as usual).
Very High Mana DC Average (+1), Mana Surge on +3
High Mana DC Fair (+2)
Normal Mana DC Good (+3)
Low Mana DC Great (+4)
Very Low Mana DC Superb (+5)
Mana Dead Zone DC Fantastic, (+6), Mana Drain on -3
Sorcery: Greater Summoning – You may give the creatures you summon another 3 advances.
Sorcery: Harmonic Convergence – The Sorcerer has learned how to somewhat mitigate the Harmonics of spellcasting. If the spellcasting roll is only a +1 or -1, there is no need to check for Harmonics, the imbalance is slight enough that he can overcome it.
Sorcery: Mystical Lore – The Sorcerer has learned an additional Lore. It should be chosen from those available to his Sorcerous Order unless he has had access to another source of Lore.
Sorcery: Mystical Theory in Practice - Similar to the Science stunt “Theory in Practice”, once per scene, this stunt allows you to spend a Fate point to substitute your Sorcery skill for any other skill you can justify with your known Lores. The skill check is counted as casting a spell, so it may also be modified by Unraveling or Gathering Mana, as usual, and it’s subject to Harmonics, as any other spell.
Sorcery: Spellslinger – The character has a specially prepared Spell Gun that allows him to use his Sorcery in place of his Guns skill. This works the same as Eldritch Skill, except it has no prerequisite, it is always subject to Harmonics, and it requires the use of the Spell Gun as a focus. One benefit of the Spell Gun is that it fires pure magical energy, so it never runs out of bullets and it can affect even ghosts or other intangible creatures. Another benefit is that a Wild Spell nearly always affects the target of the attack, not the Spellslinger, and if the attack achieves Spin, the Aspect lasts for the rest of the scene instead of just 1 round. The Spellslinger typically chooses not to resist a Wild Spell with a Harmonics roll, though he can if he wishes. However, each of the 6 Magic Bullets in a Spellgun has a specific Aspect that it creates, so the choices are not as wild and freeform as typical spellcasting. Common examples include “Fear!”, “Nasty burns”, and “Glimpse the spirit of Death!” Spellslinger may be chosen in place of the free starting lore a Sorcerer gets, and in fact, most have no formal spellcasting ability.
Sorcery: Subtle Caster – This stunt reduces the Effect penalty for subtle castings. You may cast either Still or Silent or pretend to cast a different spell for free, or only suffer a -2 for both Still and Silent.
Sorcery: Talisman - This Stunt provides a mystical talisman that aids your spellcasting. It may be a holy symbol, a wizard's staff, voodoo potions and powders, etc. The Talisman is a mystical Gadget, and is built the same way. You may select 3 Improvements from the list below, or from the standard Gadget Improvement list.
• Mana Battery: The item contains 3 points of Mana which recharge daily. While holding the object, a Sorcerer able to gather mana may draw 1 or more of these mana points to fuel his spell casting as a free action. Using this mana still increases the difficulty of the Harmonics check, as usual.
• Mana Amplifier: While holding the object, a Sorcerer gains a +1 on all attempts to Gather Mana.
• Essence Knot: While holding this Talisman, once per day a Sorcerer with the Unraveling stunt may unravel the Essence Knot in the item instead of himself. This is a free action, as usual for Unraveling, but he does not suffer the damage for doing this. The Essence Knot counts as a Mild Consequence, allowing the alteration of 2 dice.
• Extend Spell: While holding this Talisman, the Base range for all of your spells is “unaided sight” for free.
• Expand Spell: While holding this Talisman, you may affect an additional target, or a Technological target, for free.
• Enduring Spell: While holding the Talisman, you may increase the duration of your spells by 2 steps on the time chart for free.
• Empower Alteration Spell: While holding the Talisman, all spells to create or suppress Aspects get +1 Effect bonus.
• Empower Combat Spell: While holding the Talisman, any Eldritch Combat attack spell the sorcerer casts does +1 damage.
• Empower Defensive Spells: While holding the Talisman, all Block spells cast have +1 Effect.
• Empower Divination Spells: While holding the Talisman, all Assessment/Declaration spells cast have +1 Effect.
• Empower Summoning Spells: While holding the Talisman, any creatures summoned get +1 Advance.
• Lore Amplifier (costs 2 Improvements): While holding the Talisman, the Sorcerer gets a +1 Effect bonus to all spells cast from a specific Lore.
• Harmonics Shield: All Backlash damage suffered by the caster is reduced by 1 point.
• Subtle Casting: While holding or wearing the Talisman, all your spells may be cast subtly for 1 less point of penalty than usual
Sorcery: Unraveling – The Sorcerer has learned how to tap into his inner reserves of magical energy, damaging himself with either Stress or Consequences in order to augment the power of his spells. The exact description of the Consequence suffered is usually related to the spell being cast, somehow. Using Unraveling allows the caster to set a number of dice on the casting roll as automatic +’s: 1 die for a Stress point, 2 dice for a Mild Consequence, 3 for a Moderate, and all 4 for Severe. That number of dice are set aside with a + showing, and any remaining dice are rolled and added to them to find the total casting roll.
Weaker and Stronger weapons: Different weapons may have different damage capabilities. A single Improvement can either increase all damage by 1, or increase it against a specific common target type by 2 (such as opponents wearing metal for an electrical charge, or against the effects of cover or wearing armor for AP rounds.) Weaker weapons, such as a pocket knife, may suffer a -1 (or more) decrease in damage in exchange for another improvement (such as “Additional Capability: Swiss Army knife – a dozen tools in one!” or a whip’s ability to grab things at range and intimidate animals or a poisoned dart that does little physical damage but requires an Endurance check to resist the toxin). A successful hit always does a minimum of 1 point of damage, even with the penalty. The penalty simply makes it less likely you'll do 2 or more Stress in a single attack. Bonus damage from more deadly weapons, however, can never do more than double the Margin of Success achieved on the attack. So if you barely hit someone with a 2-handed sword (1 MoS), you can’t apply the full +3 bonus, you are limited to doubling the MoS for a total damage of 2 points.
Sample weapon values:
Damage Sample attacks
-1 Defensive Stance, Blowgun, dart, knife, dagger, holdout pistol, whip, improvised weapon
0 Balanced Stance, hand weapons, swordcane, arrows, staff, handaxe, standard pistol
+1 Offensive Stance, battle axe, large pistol, light rifle, heavy flail or warhammer, bastard sword
+2 2-handed sword, hammer, or axe, large rifle, machine gun, polearm
+3 or more Bombs, heavy weapons, death rays, infernal devices
• Shotgun: A shotgun slug does +2 damage with a range of 3 zones. Buckshot does +3 damage within 1 zone and +1 two zones away (its maximum range).
• Stances: A person trained in Fists can choose to use a Balanced stance (no changes), a Defensive Stance (-1 damage, +1 defense against other Fists attacks), or an Offensive stance (+1 damage, -1 Fists defense).
Other weapon modifiers:
Lethal this weapon does two boxes of damage - one at the shift and one more below the shift
Stunning Any targets hurt by this weapon suffers a -1 supplemental action recovering on their next round
Penetration this weapon ignores 2 points of armor
Area Effect all targets in the zone must defend against this weapon
Accurate You may tag this as an Aspect to gain +2 on your attack
Fast You get a +2 on Initiative while using this weapon
Entangling A target hit by this weapon can’t move unless it escapes from the tangle with a Fair Athletics check
Lethal bonus damage never rolls up. If the boxes are already filled, or the MoS is too low to fit the extra boxes, ignore them. Also, while the 1st damage Improvement may be taken without penalty, each additional one requires a flaw to be taken as well. Magical bonuses are an exception, they don’t require offsetting penalties.
Large Size 1 requires both hands
Large Size 2 must be mounted on a vehicle or wheels, such as a cannon
Large Size 3 mounted in a massive vehicle or train car, or immobile
Preparation 1 requires a supplemental action to ready before each attack
Preparation 2 requires a full round action to ready before each attack
Preparation 3 requires several minutes to ready between each attack
Inaccurate targets may tag this Aspect to gain a +2 on their defense
Unwieldy (melee weapons only) This weapon is too heavy to parry well, you suffer -1 on Weapons defense
Unreliable (technological weapons only) A Malfunction roll is needed on rolls of -2 or worse, not just -4
Malfunctioning Gadgets: While the anachronistic Steam-tech of the Falkenstein setting is highly advanced, with everything from automaton servants, calculation engines, and Aerocruisers, it is prone to malfunction at the most inopportune times. Whenever a user rolls 4 minuses on his 4dF roll while using a gadget, or whenever the GM feels it’s appropriate and decides to Compel a Malfunction check, or when the gadget has lost all of its Stress boxes and someone still tries to use it, roll 4dF on the chart below.
|-4 or -3||The device goes up in a spectacular explosion! The Force is equal to the quality of the gadget, and the Area is twice the size of the gadget. (See Explosions, pg 272) Characters can try to reduce the damage with an Athletics roll. Success means they suffer only a consequence (lowest one available), while failure means they are taken out. The gadget is completely destroyed.|
|-2||The device begins working in reverse! A weapon does it’s normal damage to its user instead of the target, a vehicle only drives backwards, etc. It remains this way until fixed, with a difficulty equal to the Quality of the gadget, and a few hours time.|
|-1||The gadget catches on fire! It does 1 point of damage per round to anyone holding it, or within a vehicle. If the fire is put out quickly (within a number of rounds equal to the gadget’s stress boxes), the device is usable again. If allowed to burn longer than this, it is destroyed.|
|0||The gadget makes a weird noise, belches steam or smoke, and fails to operate for 1 round. After that, it operates normally again.|
|1||Failure is imminent! It works normally for 1 more round and then sputters and dies. It will require a few hours time and a repair roll equal to the Quality of the gadget to get it working again.|
|2||Out of control! The gadget goes wild! A weapon uncontrollably attacks anyone around it each round, a vehicle takes off at top speed with no way to control the direction, etc. A repair roll equal to the Quality of the item is needed to get it back under control, taking a minutes time (or whatever the GM feels is dramatically appropriate).|
|3 or 4||The item starts shaking and giving off smoke or steam as it tears itself apart from the inside. Users/passengers are blackened with smoke and blinded while they are in the same zone as the gadget, but otherwise unhurt. The gadget is destroyed.|
Stress Track: The Stress Track is handled a little differently than SotC. There is only 1 track, not 2, and characters get a base of only 3 points instead of 5, but both Endurance and Resolve add to it. At the end of the track is 1 additional box, “Taken Out”. The Consequences are not part of the track. Instead, taking a consequence reduces the damage of an attack. A Mild one reduces it by 2, a Moderate by 4, and a Severe by 6. Each may only be taken once unless you have a stunt that grants more. If the reduction is enough to completely eliminate the attack’s damage, only the Consequence is suffered. If there is still additional damage left over, the appropriate box is also checked off.
|Miniscule||up to 1’||0 Stress boxes, -3 Might, +3 Stealth tests|
|Tiny||1’ - 2’||1 Stress box, -2 Might, +2 Stealth tests|
|Small||2’ - 4’||2 Stress boxes, -1 Might, +1 Stealth tests|
|Medium||4’ - 8’||3 Stress boxes, no adjustments|
|Large||8’ - 16’||4 Stress boxes, +1 Might, -1 Stealth tests|
|Huge||16’ - 32’||5 Stress boxes, +2 Might, -2 Stealth tests|
|Gigantic||32’ - 64’||7 Stress boxes, +3 Might, -3 Stealth tests|
|Colossal||64’ +||10 Stress boxes, +4 Might, -4 Stealth tests|
Creatures of various sizes have a variety of inherent bonuses and penalties. Characters may still tag their race (or a size-related Aspect) for additional bonuses and effects.
Consequences: Moderate and Severe Consequences carry an additional penalty. See the chart below for the details:
|Mild||It may be tagged by a foe with a Fate point for +2 or a reroll, as per the normal rules.|
|Moderate||Not only may a foe tag it for +2 or a reroll, you must take a supplemental action the next round to recover from the shock/pain of the wound being targeted. Like any supplemental action, this causes a -1 penalty on any dice actions that round.|
|Severe||A foe may tag it for either +3 or a reroll +1, and the character must take a supplemental action (-1) next round to recover from the shock/pain of the wound being hit.|
Healing: Stress heals at a rate of about 10 minutes of rest per box. A Mild consequence takes about 1 hour to recover from. Moderate consequences need at least a night of rest or similar relaxation to remove. Severe consequences might take days or even a week to heal, and then it is reduced to a Moderate consequence for a day after that. At the GM discretion, some consequences may not be removed until proper treatment is administered or conditions are met. For instance, if you took “Out of Bullets!” as a Mild consequence, it may take more than an hour to find more bullets if you are in the Sahara.
Casting Spells: To cast a spell, choose the base power of the spell you wish to cast (up to your Sorcery level for most lores, or 1 for Cantrips) and roll 4dF. If you declare Aspects after your roll when playing SotC and SoS&S, then spend the resulting Effect levels on any Augmentations you want after the casting roll. If you declare Aspects before you roll in the rest of the game, select your Augmentations before rolling to cast the spell. Either way, in order to successfully affect a target, the remaining Effect result after Augmentations are chosen must meet or exceed the defenses of the target. Physical spells are usually resisted by an Endurance test, Mental and Social by a Resolve test. If a target chooses not to resist the difficulty is Mediocre (unless it’s already lower than that, in which case there is no change). The DC to affect an object is either its Quality or the Sleight of Hand of its wielder, if that’s higher. The DC to make an Assessment or Declaration is decided by the GM based upon how significant it is, how appropriate to the lore, etc. DCs are typically between Mediocre (fairly minor Declaration) to Great or more (for major changes using a non-optimal lore).
|Range||Base: 1 Zone per 2 levels in Sorcery. Average = same Zone only Fair – Good = 1 Zone Great – Superb = 2 Zones Fantastic – Epic = 3 Zones Legendary = 4 Zones -1 Effect per step: unaided sight, up to 1 mile, up to 10 miles, up to 100 miles, up to 1000 miles, up to 10,000 miles|
|Duration||Base: Instant or a Few Moments (up to 1 rd per 2 levels of Sorcery) -1 Effect per 2 time steps|
|Targets||Base: Single target. -1 Effect per doubling of number of targets. -1 Effect: if target is Technological, or has a lot of technological objects. -2 Effect: Change from individual targets to numbers of Zones.|
|Subject||Base: Either extremely well known to the caster, or within unaided sight. -1 Effect: Acquainted with subject, or possesses an object intimately tied to the subject (hair, nail clipping, favorite coat worn daily for years, etc) -2 Effect: Don’t know the subject, but has been thoroughly described or seen picture of them, or have a casually worn or carried possession belonging to them -3 Effect: Subjects are completely unknown to caster.|
|Subtlety||Base: It is obvious that the caster is casting a spell, both visually and audibly. He must have his hands free and be able to speak in order to cast the spell. -2 Effect: Choose 1: silent spell, still spell, or pretend to cast a different spell -4 Effect: Spell is both still and silent|
|Ritual||Base: It takes a round to cast a spell, “a few moments” on the time chart +1 Effect: For every 2 steps longer that you take to cast the spell, you get +1 Effect. A minute = +1, 15 minutes = +2, a few hours = +3, a day = +4, etc.|
|Cooperative Casting||Base: Only the caster is involved in casting the spell +1 Effect: Spellcasting can benefit from the bonuses for group size if the assistants have the Sorcery skill.|
Harmonics can occur when the mana is out of balance. If the net result on a casting roll was positive (+1, +2, etc), the caster must make a Harmonics roll to prevent the spell from going Wild. If the net result of the casting roll was negative, he must make a Harmonics roll to prevent Backlash. If the net result was 0, the mana was in balance and no Harmonics roll is needed.
To make a Harmonics test, roll your Resolve against the power level of the spell that was cast (plus any Gathered Mana allocated toward the casting roll, minus any allocated to the Harmonics roll.) The base power level is the level of the spell you attempted to cast, not the result of the casting roll. So if you attempted a Superb (5) spell, but got a +2 result to make the actual spell Epic, you still only roll against a Superb difficulty. Similarly, if you got a -2 result lowering the actual spell cast to only Good, you must still roll against Superb. You can choose to cast a lower level spell than you are capable of in order to make the Harmonics roll easier.
If the caster succeeds on the Harmonics test, the spell goes off as normal. If he fails, however, it means that while the spell functions as intended, either the caster and/or some other targets near the caster, or the scene itself, also gains a new Aspect of some kind. The GM is able to declare just what the Aspect is, though if the player succeeds on his Harmonics roll and the casting roll was 4 +’s, the player may choose an Aspect instead. Almost anything is possible, but the Aspect is usually related in some way to the spell that was cast. A spell to create water may also create a “Dense Fog” aspect, a spell to summon a wolf may also cause the caster to gain the “Howls at the Moon” aspect, and a spell to hurl lightning at a foe may also give him the “Filled with Static Electricity” aspect. The effects usually last for as long as the spell’s duration was to be, though there have been cases that last much longer or shorter times, sometimes even permanently… If the Sorcerer wishes, he may choose not to resist a Wild Spell with a Harmonics roll, instead just allowing it to occur and hoping that it may be useful in some way.
If he succeeds on the Harmonics test, the caster is unharmed. If he fails, he’ll suffer some damage or psychic trauma from the spell’s imbalance of negative energy. He’ll be hit for a number of points of damage equal to the difference between the Spell Level and the Harmonics roll. For instance, if he casts a spell that was Superb level (5), and his Resolve roll was only a 3, he’ll suffer a 2 point hit of damage.) If the casting roll was 4 –‘s and the caster failed his Harmonics check, it will create an explosion centered on the caster and affecting everyone in the zone with that damage! While he can choose to automatically fail his Harmonics test (taking a Mediocre result), he will seldom have a reason to do so, except perhaps if he’s surrounded by enemies and rolls 4 –‘s…
Effects of spellcasting:
The caster may choose to perform any of the following, so long as he can justify it with his Lore. Not every lore is well suited for every effect, and some may not be able to perform a given effect at all. The GM has the final say, and he should increase the difficulty of somewhat improbable effects or forbid them entirely.
• Assessment or Declaration: The caster can divine information concerning his Lore, using the rules for Assessment and Declaration (see pg 83-84).
• Attack/Defend: Spells can be used to cause damage or defend against attacks, with the Effect counting as the damage or armor level (see pg 58).
• Block: A caster may establish a Block appropriate to his Lore. One common use is to create a barrier that has a Border rating equal to the Effect of the spell (see pg 60-61.)
• Controlling a Target: Compare the spell’s Effect level to the target’s Quality or Resolve. If the spell achieves success, you may request 1 service of the target (answer my questions, guard me, leave here and don’t come back, etc). The control ends when the Duration is up, even if the service has not been completed. If the spell achieves Spin, the caster may issue as many commands as he wishes during the duration of the spell. If the target is asked to do something which would likely kill it, or is strongly against its moral code, beliefs, fears, etc, it gets a Resolve/Quality test against the spell’s Effect level to try and break the control, and it can tag any relevant aspects if it has Fate pts.
• Creating/Summoning a Companion: The effect level is the number of Advances you get, and it automatically receives “Summonable” and “Variable Summons” for free (see pg 77-78 and the Companions section below). This also includes the ability to banish summoned beings of the type you can control. If the banish Effect matches or exceeds the summoned creature’s Quality, it’s sent back to where it came from.
• Maneuver: A success creates a Fragile Aspect that only be tagged or compelled once during the duration before it vanishes, while Spin creates a Sticky Aspect that maintains itself unless significant measures are taken to remove it, and may be tagged or compelled multiple times until the duration runs out (see pg 71-74). Remember, like all maneuvers, the 1st tag is free, later ones cost a Fate point. Examples include “Speed of the Gazelle”, “Cold as the Grave”, “Strong as an Oak”, “Hands of Stone”, “Fear of Death”, etc.
• Other Effects: The caster may also create other minor effects that pertain to his lore not covered by the above, with the GM’s permission.
These are the 25 most common lores that sorcerers are able to learn, though it is not an exhaustive list of all possible lores. Players and GMs may create new lores using these as a guideline.
Air – This lore allows the Sorcerer to control and shape the air, causing strong winds or calming them, making it difficult for someone to breathe, summoning or controlling an air elemental, or taking a bubble of air with you underwater, among other uses. It is great for Blocking or creating Aspects such as “Massive headwind/tailwind”. For damaging opponents, Air lore also allows him to create bolts of lightning.
Beasts – This lore allows the caster to talk to animals and have them perform tasks for him. You may control existing animals or summon animal Companions. The Beast Lore also covers the creation of Aspects such as “Heart of a Lion”, “Claws of a Badger”, or “Blind as a Bat”.
Cantrips – This is not actually a lore of its own, but rather a collection of minor spells from various other lores. If Cantrips is chosen as an Additional Lore, the caster should then specify 1 lore per level of Sorcery from which he may cast Cantrips. (So a Great Sorcerer who selects Cantrips would choose 4 other lores). The Cantrips act the same as any other spells but are limited to a spell level of 1, rather than your Sorcery level.
Conceal – If you want to hide something, this is the lore for you. From concealing your thoughts or feelings to becoming invisible, this spell acts as a Block against all attempts to sense that which you are concealing. It can also be used to create Aspects, such as “Blends in” or “Inscrutable”, and as a defense against attacks in combat.
Create – This spell lets the caster create ordinary objects from thin air. Simple tools, weapons, a barrier, etc are all possible. The object only lasts for the duration of the spell, and the more complex or intricate the object, the harder the difficulty to create it. A simple solid object with no moving parts (like a ladder of shield) costs 1 Effect, an item with moving but non-mechanical parts (like a bicycle or dresser with drawers) costs 2 Effect, and an item with mechanical parts (like an autogyro or gun) costs 3 Effect. Targets is used to determine the maximum size of the object, starting with the size/weight of 1 normal man. The GM makes the final call on how difficult any particular object is, and exactly duplicating another object (as opposed to creating something in a general category) is at least +1 Effect or more. Extra Effect points can go toward improving the quality of the item, which starts at Average Quality (1 Improvement per point).
Destroy – This spell will destroy non-living materials, disintegrating stone, rotting dead wood, and rusting metal in a matter of seconds. The difficulty is based on the Quality of the material or gadget, with cloth or paper being much easier to destroy than stone or metal. It can place Aspects such as “This place is gonna collapse!”, “Watch out for the potholes”, or “Weakened by Rust”. It can destroy barriers and borders, reducing their level by the spell’s Effect.
Dreams – This lore is the control of sleep and dreams. It can cause others to fall asleep, allows the sorcerer to walk through the target’s dreams, to send nightmares or messages to others by dream, or even attack them in their dreams. It can allow the mage to witness a target’s secret fears and desires through their dreams, and the sorcerer can even receive a prophetic dream with this lore.
Earth – Another of the 4 basic elements, this lore allows the shaping and control of earth and stone. It can be used to attack with flying rocks, to create a sand or dust storm to blind people, to encase them in stone, to erect stone walls, create or control an earth elemental, or open passages through solid rock. You may only command existing earth and rock, not create stones from thin air (See the Create power for that). Unnatural shapes created by this spell fall apart after the duration expires.
Fire – Another of the 4 Elements, this lore allows the control of heat and fire. Unlike the other elemental lores, you can actually create fire with these spells, igniting flammable material or hurling balls of fire. You can also create or control fire elementals, create smoke, increase or decrease the intensity of a fire, create walls of flame that damage anyone stepping through them, etc.
Gateways – This spell allows the caster to create temporary portals between locations or dimensions, and to detect, open, or close a portal that already exists. The most common use of the spell is to teleport from one place to another. The Range is the maximum distance between the ends of the gates, and the duration is how long the gateway stays open. Opening a gateway to another dimension can be fairly difficult, but certain times and places can weaken the borders between dimensions and allow an easier passage. For instance, the Faerie Realm can most easily be reached from natural settings on a solstice or equinox. This spell also allows you to create small dimensional “pockets” for storing goods, or for making a house seem much bigger inside than out. An Instant Gateway is simply teleportation.
Glamour – This lore is most common among the Fair Folk or sorcerers with some fey blood. It allows the caster to create illusions, and he has 2 main types he can create: Images and Mirages. Images are illusions created from lights and sound, while Mirages cause a target to see illusions that are entirely within their mind. Images are limited by size, but they are not limited by the number of viewers as they are actually created from light and sound. Images uses the Targets augmentation to determine the size of the image or sound, not how many can see it. The base size is equal to (or smaller than) 1 medium sized figure (or the sound 1 person can make), and it can be increased from there to create larger sounds and images. It can create areas of darkness or light as well. With Mirages, there is no limit to the size of the illusion… it can be as small or as large as the caster wants since it’s all in the mind of the target. However, the Targets augmentation is the number of people that can see it, because each mind must be fooled separately. Unaffected targets don’t see the Glamours at all. It costs 1 Effect per sense you wish to affect. Glamour can disguise a person or object, but it can’t make it invisible, use the Conceal lore for that.
Heal – This lore covers the healing of any sort of wounds and afflictions. The caster may allocate his Effect total as follows: It costs 1 Effect to heal 1 Stress box, 2 Effect to heal a Minor Consequence, 4 to heal a Moderate consequence, and 6 to heal a Severe consequence. He may mix and match these as he likes… for instance, if he gets a Superb (5) Effect, he might heal 1 Minor and 3 Stress, or 1 Moderate and 1 Stress. Any previous healing within 24 hours is subtracted from the Effect total of another Healing spell. So, if a second Heal were attempted on the above subject within 24 hours, they’d need to subtract the previous Effect of 5 from the result.
Heart – This lore deals with sensing and creating emotions. You can make someone love you, forget their fear of spiders, or manifest an overwhelming fear of kittens by implanting, erasing, or altering emotional Aspects, and you can read the deepest desires or fears of a target. It can also send an empathic message, consisting of emotions and feelings about someone or something rather than specific words. Note that you can’t actually control how the target will react to the emotions… in the case of fear, they may flee in terror, attack wildly, or simply cower. Use the Mind lore to actually control minds.
Metal – This lore allows the caster to manipulate metal. He can shape metal, create or control a metal golem from it, erect metal barriers, repulse it or attract it, repair damaged automatons, etc. Any unsupported shape or amalgamated creation will fall to pieces when the spell ends.
Mind – This is a powerful and feared lore, the ability to read and control Minds. It can probe someone’s thoughts and memories, make them believe your stories, send them a telepathic message, or cause them to forget you were ever there. You can plant suggestions and temporarily create, erase, or alter someone’s mental Aspects. Note that you cannot detect, create, or alter the target’s emotions, as those are controlled by the Heart lore, and you can’t alter their perceptions, as that is the Glamour lore. Mind mages sometimes forget this limitation and direct a mind controlled subject to attack someone they love, or act in a way this is diametrically opposed to their morals, and such a command gives the subject a chance to break free (and tag the relevant emotional Aspect to help him).
Necromancy – This spell allows you to communicate with the dead and animate corpses. When creating an undead servant, the Effect level is the number of Advancements the Companion has, and it gets “Summonable” and “Variable Summons” for free. Many animated dead are mere soldiers or laborers, only able to use physical skills that don’t require much thought, such as Fists, Might, and Stealth. However, if the right body is found, a person who was highly intelligent or socially adept in life may retain some measure of those skills after death as well. Necromancy allows the caster to control already existing undead, as well as the power to create Aspects related to death, blood, corpses, etc, such as “Stench of death” or “Chill of the Grave”.
Plants – This lore allows you to move and control wood and plants. It can be used to cause plants and trees to attack foes, to block movement by rapidly growing plants that grab at intruders, to warp and destroy wooden objects and structures, to make flowers bloom out of season, control or create a plant creature, etc. While it can cause seeds and plants to quickly grow, it cannot create plant life from nothing. Many Plant Mages therefore like to carry a variety of seeds with them. This spell also allows the caster to bestow Aspects such as “Strong as an oak”, “Covered in leaves”, or “Only needs water and sunshine.”
Reveal – The opposite lore to Conceal, it will reveal all manner of information. It can pierce illusions, show the invisible or shapeshifted, find lost objects or people within range, clairvoyantly scry on a subject, translate an unknown language, divine the powers of a magical artifact, etc. It can’t reveal thoughts or emotions, though, as that is the domain of Mind and Heart respectively, and it can’t show the past or future, which requires the Time lore.
Shapeshift – This lore allows the caster to alter his or another target’s form. It takes 1 point of Effect per Size category shifted, plus 1 Effect for minor cosmetic changes such as 1 young human male to another young human male, 2 Effect for moderate changes that significantly alter the form, such as a man to a woman, or a man to an ogre, 3 Effect for major changes in appearance such as a man to a bird or a fish. The target gets any inherent non-magical abilities of the form… he may fly as a bird, swim as a fish, gains a point of Armor as an armadillo, etc. He may also allocate any additional Effect points to imitate a specific individual, such that the points act as a bonus to Deceit when he tries to impersonate them. This power is unable to alter the physical composition of the target… to turn someone to wood or stone, see Transform.
Spirits – This lore allows the caster to converse with Spirits and exact services from them. This lore covers both the spirits of the dead and the many types of nature spirits. The caster can attempt to command existing spirits, or summon a spirit Companion. Spirits also allows the caster to astral project his own spirit. While astral projecting, your body falls into a coma, but your spirit is freed to fly around and observe. It is invisible and intangible, however spells or abilities that sense or affect spirits will work on the astral form as well.
Telekinesis – This lore allows the sorcerer to move and manipulate things with his mind. The Effect is the amount of Weight Factors that can be lifted or moved (see SotC pg 258). Any additional Effect points allow the object to be carried or thrown, with a cost of 1 Effect for the 1st Zone, 2 more for the next, 3 more for the next, etc. Once cast, objects can be simply moved as a supplemental action, but taking other actions with it (manipulating it, grappling with it, etc) will require a normal action. The caster (and others) can fly with this power… it takes 2 Effect to lift a normal man, 3 Effect to fly 1 zone per round, 5 Effect to fly 2 zones per round, and 8 Effect to fly 3 zones per round. If the caster attempts to grapple with an opponent telekinetically, he has an effective Might of Terrible at 1 Effect, Mediocre at 2 Effect, Fair at 3, Great at 4, Fantastic at 5, etc.
Time – The manipulation of Time is a rare and powerful lore. It can be used to seize the initiative (Effect of spell is added or subtracted from target’s initiative), slow time to enter suspended animation, glimpse the past or future, attack someone by withering part of their body, cause someone to repeat an action they just took, and create Aspects such as “the world appears to be in slow motion!”, “the ravages of old age”, or “déjà vu!” Actually travelling through time is extremely difficult, and so far no one has perfected it, or will admit it…
Transform – This lore allows the caster to temporarily alter one material into another. He cannot affect thin air, there must be something at least as substantial as a heavy fog to manipulate. Also, he cannot change the actual physical shape of an object as that falls under Shapeshift. It requires 1 Effect to make minor changes (one metal into another kind of metal), 2 Effect for moderate changes (stone to metal), and 3 Effect for major changes (flesh to stone).
Ward – The purpose of this lore is protecting against the supernatural, and dispelling magical effects. Wards can be created against any specific lore, such as a Ward Against Time, Ward Against Gateways, Ward Against Shapeshifting, etc. In these cases, the Effect of the ward reduces the Effect of any spell from the named lore that targets the protected people, place, or things for the duration of the ward. If it affects an area, it acts as a border against creatures created or controlled by that lore from entering or leaving the warded area. A Ward Against Mana can also be created, in which case the ward’s Effect is a penalty on Gathering Mana. A more general Ward against Spellcasting can be created, and it will affect only the 1st spell cast at the target within the duration and then vanish. Finally, Ward also allows the dispelling of spells already in effect. The caster must name the lore he wishes to try to dispel (such as Dispel Fire Lore or Dispel Glamour). If he is wrong, the Dispel will have no effect (but let him roll anyway and don’t say why it failed to work). The Effect of the Dispel is compared to the Effect of the existing spell. If the Dispel is higher, the existing spell is dispelled. If the Dispel achieves Spin, it keeps going and tries to remove the next spell of that lore if multiple spells are on the target, checking each in order from the newest to the oldest. If the existing spell wins, it is still reduced by 1 Effect level, unless it achieves Spin, in which case it is not affected at all. For a cost of 1 Effect, that caster also is instantly alerted when his ward is activated.
Water – The last of the 4 elemental lores, Water allows the caster to control water in all its forms, from steam to liquid to solid ice. You can condense water from the air to cause rain, cause a massive wave to pound your foes, create slick ice on the ground, hurl icicles, animate or control water or ice elementals, and cause standing water to quickly evaporate. You can also cause Aspects such as “Dehydrated”, “Icy ground”, and “Soaking wet”.
Sorcerous Orders and their Lore:
Although based on the lores given in the original Castle Falkenstein game, some Orders have had their lores changed or added to for the sake of balance. Sorcerous Orders from the supplements are included as well, and players and GMs are free to make up their own Orders. A character may choose 2 minor orders instead of 1 major order. A character may only tag his Sorcerous Order Aspect to aid in the casting of the spells listed for that order.
Illuminati Mind, Gateways, Reveal, Cantrips
Golden Dawn Necromancy, Spirits, Wards, Cantrips
Freemasons Glamour, Transform, Create, Cantrips
Knights Templar Shapeshift, Telekinesis, Heart, Heal
Temple of Ra Time, Metal, Conceal, Cantrips
White Lodge Dreams, Reveal, Destroy, Cantrips
Order of St. Boniface Heal, Wards, Mind, Create
Druids Air, Earth, Fire, Water
Indian Magic Beasts, Air, Heal, Spirits
Cabinet of Cups & Wands Glamour, Telekinesis, Gateways, Cantrips
Order of Cthonian Time Time, Wards, Reveal, Shapeshift
Chamber of El. Mysteries Reveal, Metal, Ward, Cantrips
League of Isis Shapeshift, Heal, Heart, Cantrips
Order of Prospero Reveal, Beasts, Plants, Air
Path of the Spirit World Spirits, Heal, Ward, Dreams
Jester’s Guild Ward, Glamour, Heart, Cantrips
Foursquare of Harlech Plants, Beasts, Water, Earth
Great Pipestone Lodge Shapeshift, Spirits, Beasts, Reveal
Foursquare of the Red Tower Necromancy, Destroy, Fire, Reveal
Steps of the Sun Air, Earth, Beasts, Spirits
Order of the Golden Mean Earth, Water, Metal, Wards
Way of the Liquid Breath Reveal, Spirit, Transform, Air
Garden of Fragrant Consciousness Spirits, Glamour, Reveal, Cantrips
Way of Rock (minor order) Earth, Ward
Path of Water (minor order) Water, Destroy
Bamboo Grove (minor order) Plants, Telekinesis
Wind Flutes (minor order) Air, Glamour
Students of the Worms (minor order) Heal, Shapeshift
Optional Spell Memorization rules:
For those that prefer to limit freeform spellcasting and instead use spell memorization, the rules are posted here:
Minions and Companions:
The rules for summoning creatures with sorcery rely upon the Minions And Companion Reloaded rules, posted here: http://evilhat.wikidot.com/companions-and-minions-reloaded
End Note: This is not an official work, and is not intended for sale or to infringe in any way on the Castle Falkenstein copyright. It is not endorsed by R Talsorian Games, SJ Games, or Evil Hat Productions. It is simply an attempt to translate a setting I love to a system I love, and I think the 2 go together well. Readers are encouraged to buy the Castle Falkenstein books to learn more about this incredible setting. The purpose of this work is not to reproduce the entire setting, only provide suggestions on how to adapt it to FATE v3 / SotC rules.