Magical forces are explicitly unnatural. No application of sorcerous might is native to the world, and perceptive arcane scholars note that the effects of their spells often have side-effects, perhaps almost imperceptibility minute, that occur in the people, places, and things that they enchant with their magic. Ordinarily these sorts of unpredictable effects are, if interesting, inconsequential. Perhaps a sword remains weakly magnetized after it was sharpened with the Metal Domain of Earth Magic. Perhaps a skeleton key altered to fit the lock you need it to open runs all the impurities in the metal one direction and gives the key an odd sort of appearance under close examination. While a curiosity, it rarely bears much scrutiny, chalked up to a slightly imperfect spell owing to some momentary break in the magicians concentration or focus, perhaps.
However, these effects do have a more troubling effect that all magicians do pay attention to. In living creatures, occasionally magical energies can prove deleterious to their health, usually after long-term or repeated exposure to magic. Headaches, nausea, bleeding membranes, illness, vertigo, temporary madness, deep burns, respiratory issues, even death have been reported after some amount of magical exposure, and much more troubling and serious conditions from extreme amounts of magic. These effects, called Anacrusis by arcane scholars (and sometimes called Spell Sickness by lay people), demonstrate that the human body has limits to how far magic can augment it. The Magician herself can usually endure exposure to her own spells for far longer than others can, usually not suffering Anacrusis unless under extreme and long-term effects, but others she enchants exhibit far less tolerance. Occasionally benefiting from increased reflexes or unnatural charisma seems to be largely without its risks, but those who habitually undergo magical effects or are the subject of particularly powerful spells begin to show signs sooner or later.
Each spell’s construction calls for some amount of Power to be used to invoke the effect, and Anacrusis manifests from the Power portion of a spell (See Spellcraft for more information on Power). When casting magical enhancements on people and items, the discord of Anacrusis builds up over time. Each time a Magician casts a spell on a target, they should also tell them how many Anacrusis Points a spell places on them. These points accumulate and then are removed when the spell ends. If enough are accumulated on the target, effects begin to occur as the magic overawes her. These effects, called “Wyrds,” manifest in a number of ways. If a Staff member is present, they can arbitrate the Anacrusis effect; if just the Magician is present, the Magician should use a random roll on a 10-Sided die to determine the effect as necessary. Magicians themselves are somewhat more resistant to their own effects, and always take 1 less Anacrusis Point from their own magic.
The effects of Anacrusis Points and Wyrds are cumulative, but are not the only ways to gain Anacrusis Points and Wyrds. Long term exposure to spells, being in a magically saturated area, repeated short Duration spells, miscasting magical effects, and other reasons can also cause the accumulation of Anacrusis at Staff discretion. As well, repeated Anacrusis over time can result in permanent changes to a character or item, resulting in personality shifts, mutation, or even wasting away under the need for sustenance from sources that do not exist in this world.
All Magicians have the ability to perform Pattern Alignment to attempt to circumvent a Wyrd. Read about that below.
|Power Range||Anacrusis Points|
At this range, there are no observable effects from spells. The spell functions normally and as expected. This amount of Power is generally considered to be safe.
The subject begins to feel strange and unhealthy. Characters suffer Fatigue immediately, which manifest as unpleasant effects such as nose bleeds, headaches, full body soreness, difficulty breathing, strong irrational feelings and cravings or confusion.
|1||Awful Aura||Must wear a glowing bracelet or necklace. Gain the Abhorrent trait for the next hour, and announce to any who speak to you “You feel extremely uncomfortable.”||One Period, around 8 hours.|
|2||Intestinal Rebellion||You vomit or soil yourself violently, being rendered useless for around 5 minutes. If you are wearing an Outfit it has no positive effect until it is Cleaned, Pressed and Stitched.||Around 5 minutes|
|3||Run at the Mouth||You are overcome with rage and start spouting off incredibly hurtful insults that are beyond your control. You must spend Discipline not to speak the most hurtful or negative thing you can think of to anyone and everyone around you. Each Discipline allows you to simply remain quiet for around 1 minute.||One Scene, or around an hour.|
|4||The Rust||All metal in the area shivers and rusts, puffing iron dust in all directions. All items with a metal component permanently gain the Crude Flaw in a 10 yard radius.||Instant|
|5||Shiversweats||A terrible sense of foreboding and a chill washes over the area, obviously centered on you. Everyone in the immediate area feels shivers run down their spines and a cold, clammy sweat cover their bodies. They all suffer from Fear.||One Period, or about 8 hours.|
|6||Tears of Kuarl||Your eyes begin to weep blood profusely. Gain the Bleed condition on each eye.||Around 5 minutes|
|7||Waxy Earful||You feel a pressure in your head as you lose your hearing, and feel slime drip from your ears. Your ears continually mass produce wax, which pours forth and temporarily Deafens you. After this period you remain deaf until another character spend 5 minutes assisting you in cleaning your ears of the wax||Until assisted|
|8||Witchery||The air seems to thicken a moment before dissipating, and the stench of rotten food and vinegar rises from all around. All ingestible items (food, alcohol, water, potions, poisons, herbs, spices, etc.) turn foul and spoil, becoming unusable and causing vomiting.||One Scene, or around an hour.|
|9||Handfrozen||The bones and muscles of one of your hands wrench painfully tight, unable to move from a specific position, resembling part of an Arcane Sign.||One Scene, or around an hour.|
|10||Magical Disaster||Roll again on the chart of Severe Wyrds.||N/A|
4 and 5
|1||Kin Affected||You feel a sense of foreboding that passes after a quick moment. All of your living kin, to the first cousin level, are affected by a Mild Wyrd. Roll on the previous chart.||N/A|
|2||Sterilized||Your lower gut and loins clench painfully and an ice cold sensation creeps forth. You are permanently rendered sterile and may never sire or carry a child.||Permanent|
|3||Gaze into the Maelstrom||You glimpse beyond the world, beyond the depths of time and space. You immediately gain a Severe Insanity. You may also ask any one lore question of a Storyteller, but can only communicate this to others if you roleplay having a psychotic episode.||Permanent|
|4||Disturbing Diet||You lose your taste for and sustenance from ordinary food, instead wanting (and gaining some strange nourishment from) some unwholesome substance strongly tied toward the Element of the spell that caused this – Fire: Charcoal , Earth: shaved Soft Iron, Air: Incense, Water: Human blood. That item counts as Vegetables for the purposes of feeding that character while this Wyrd lasts. Strangely, higher qualities of these can count as Meat and even Spices – burned Hardwood, blessed coals still burning, hard iron and gold, an Inhaled drug and a Potent Inhaled drug, Highborn blood and the Sangreal Great Noble’s blood. Your strange predilections will be noted by anyone who watches you with Streetwise.||One Chapter (Downtime)|
|5||The Crush||The magic surges through your body and begins to crush and collapse parts of your body at random. You are immediately Downed.||Instant|
|6||Enfeeblement||You feel profoundly diminished and melancholic. You immediately lose one in the Attribute most relevant to the nature of the spell that caused this.||Permanent|
|7||Enraged||You are overcome with unspeakable anger. You will attempt to kill everyone around you, hollering and bellowing but using otherwise the most effective method at hand. If you cannot find anyone you will stalk around to find more.||10 minutes or until Downed or Blackout|
|8||Aethyric Overload||Magical forces overload your body, burning through your blood and mind. If you are a Magician, take Burn 3. If you are not a Magician, every Attribute is reduced by 1.||One Period, or about 8 hours.|
|9||Wyrdstorm||A fierce wind rips through the area, crackling with the scent of burnt air. Everyone in the immediate area is affected by a Mild Wyrd. Roll on the Mild Wyrd table and apply that result to everyone.||One Scene, or around an hour.|
|10||Magical Catastrophe||Roll again on the chart of Crippling Wyrds.||N/A|
|1||Amnesia||You blink, suddenly unable to remember anything. Anything at all, except how to speak and use your Skills and Attributes. You lose all Studies, Maneuvers, Rituals and Techniques. (The Experience is also removed for the purposes of advancement)||Permanent|
|2||Stupefied||Your head burns with intense agony, and a fog rolls over everything. You are rendered Simple, and lose any levels of Academics.||Permanent|
|3||Rageboil||A heat bubbles through the air. Everyone around you is immediately and irrationally enraged by your very existence, and all move to kill you unless they spend 2 Discipline. Even if you leave, affected people will make it their only concern to find you.||One Scene, or around an hour.|
|4||Rampaging Magic||Every Arcanum present in physical form in the immediate area of you is immediately and successively cast with you as the target.||Variable|
|5||The Whelming||The sky cracks open and the light begins to take on an eerie hue. Roll once on the Mild Wyrd table and notify a Staff Member. Everyone in the Local Province (as per Range 7), with the notable exception of yourself, suffers from that effect over the next few minutes.||Variable|
|6||Ripped to Bits||Your body begins to move in every direction at once, hideously tearing itself apart. Take one Crippling Maim of the victim’s choice. It ends as abruptly and hideously as it began.||Instant|
|7||Possession||You become possessed by an entity of unknown origin. You appear to be yourself, but you are not. At dawn, the spirit will leave you, and you will take 8 Despair, minus one for each of your closest friends (people that would normally cause Despair if they died) that you have killed. You do not gain Despair for these murders.||Until Dawn|
|8||Whispers from the Dark||You hear a strange voice that is not a voice. It tells you things that you do not want to hear. See a Staff Member at next opportunity.||N/A|
|9||Ripped From Reality||An almighty bang rips through the air. You are catastrophically and immediately ripped from the world. There is nothing left.||Permanent|
|10||The Daemon||Immediately pause the scene and get a Staff Member.||N/A|
Anacrusis in Objects
Objects as well can be subject to the Wyrding effects of Anacrusis. For reasons that are still poorly understood by Magicians, objects are far less resilient to Anacrusis than people are, though the effects occur more slowly. Objects gain and lose Anacrusis Points at the same rate living targets do, but these effects occur at the end of the Duration instead of immediately. Masterwork objects can endure 1 extra Anacrusis Point before suffering the appropriate effect, and there are rumors of specialized secret Techniques that further stabilize magical power bound into objects, though these are not widely known.
|1||No Change||Some Magicians have reported small changes to objects at this level, such as different coloration, weight, magnetism, even tangibility, but for the most part, objects seem to be able to endure this much magical energy.|
|2||Warping||Objects at this level suffer compression, brittleness, or other effects, and become less durable. Such items gain one “X” on their tag toward ultimately failing and becoming unusable. See the Production page for details on breakage and repair.|
|3+||Ruined||The object suffers some for of strangeness or other and becomes unusable, taking “Sunder”.|
5-6: The Magician gain an effect from the Wyrd that would have targeted solely the Magician, which resolves in its normal duration. The Magician chooses.
1-2: Blazing Passion
You gain the effects of the Harsh Temper Character Flaw. If you already had it, its emotional response becomes more intense. Anytime this comes up, it counts as Catalyst for the next few moments.
3-5: Infernal Appearance
You undergo a physical change in appearance that reveals your attunement to Fire. This is usually piercing, unaturally red eyes, bright red hair, or both, though other things are not unheard of (and may be submitted for consideration). You may not call Trust with anyone who is not presenting as a Magician, and you gain +1 Acuity.
6-7: Smoldering Intensity
Whenever you make a call with the Flame Quality you may call Fear on all onlookers.
8-9: Flickering Hearth
You find the cold and damp extremely unpleasant. You cannot use Camping, per Survival, and in the Winter months, you are miserable
10: Infernal Wrath
When you cast Evocations, you fly into a rage. You must choose one additional target for every Evocation, which can be a foe, but must be a friend or yourself if there are no others available as the power of fire sprays erratically about.
You cannot sleep indoors. During the Downtime you must either use Travel or use Survival’s camping ability to sleep outside the city, otherwise you are treated as per Poverty. During Events, sleeping inside makes you Traumatized in the morning from lack of rest
3-5: Feral Appearance
You undergo a physical change in appearance that reveals your attunement to Earth. This is usually strange, unaturally green eyes, wild, unkempt hair, a bushy, hard to maintain beard, fur in strange and visible places, or a strong musky odor, though other things are not unheard of (and may be submitted for consideration) You may not call Trust with anyone who is not presenting as a Magician, and you gain +1 Acuity.
6-7: Wild at Heart
Being in civilization is deeply uncomfortable, but in the wild your spirit comes alive. For every 10 minutes spent in the Wilderness, you gain 1 Hope. However, you cannot use Trust while outside of the Wilderness.
You gain one Toughness to Disease and Poison per Rest. Your skin turns subtly green in places.
10: Bound to the Seasons
You become affected by the seasonal change. In Winter, you are at -1 Fortitude. In Spring, you are at +1 Speed. In Summer, +1 Fortitude, and in Autumn, -1 Speed. While you are within a Place of Power, you are totally invincible to damage. Respond “Immune” to any source of physical injury.
1-2: Unatural Calm
Your voice loses all emotional affect, and it becomes difficult to stir your feelings. You gain 1 Discipline against any Social Condition per Rest, and you cannot benefit from Performance.
3-5: Tidal Appearance
You undergo a physical change in appearance that reveals your attunement to Water. This is usually strange, fascinating blue eyes, though other things are not unheard of (and may be submitted for consideration) You may not call Trust with anyone who is not presenting as a Magician, and you gain +1 Acuity.
You gain a supreme sense of self-righteousness. You can never be a Follower in Morale and have the Belief: “Never admit that I do not know best.”
8-9: Outside of Time
Your mind’s eye easily pierces through time and place, and you have difficulty engaging in the here and now. Outside of a combat or intense emergency moment, after 5 minutes where someone is not directly speaking to you or asking you a question, you stop paying attention to people around you, and instead become Alert. When a scene ends, you can move on as normal.
10: Outside of Space
Your nature is kairotically bound to the world. You may no longer perform spells that time travel kairotically (though chronos spells work normally). Whenever you target a person with a Paths spell, you may use the relational distance between yourself and the target instead of the physical distance for the purpose of Range.
3: Pathing to a close friend (would take Despair if they died)
5: Professional connection, such as a mentor or apprentice.
7: Someone whose life distantly affects yours, such as a master or sovereign
9: Someone you only know the name of.
Such spells place the path somewhere relatively nearby the target, but not immediately present with them.
You find it difficult to sleep, and when you do, you have strange, terrifying dreams, and you always begin each day at an Event Traumatized. Most of these are forgotten in a haze as you awake, but sometimes you may remember odd ideas or secrets.
3-5: Eyes like the Storm
Your hair gains white streaks or turns completely white. Your eyes are strangely captivating and beguiling. Whenever you make someone Trusting, while holding eye contact, you may call one other Social Condition of your choice. You gain +1 Acuity.
6-7: Justified Paranoia
You are immune to the Trusting Social Condition. You also gain the Belief: “Never cooperate with anyone who appears too trustworthy” (anyone who calls Trusting)
8-9: Supple Mind
Whenever you are targeted by an arcane magical effect, you know that it happened and gain a kind of awareness of the caster’s identity. If you know the person who cast it, you know who cast it. If the caster is unknown to you, it still gives a sense of identity that you would recognize in further castings as the same.
Anytime you cast a spell you may call Obey: “Forget all uses of magic this scene” on someone who saw you casting, once per person, per Scene. They remember the content of what happened, but not that magic was used to do it. You gain the Character Flaw: Sick in the Head for a Severe Obsession: Secrecy.