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Old 01-04-2017, 02:15 AM   #1
Icelander
 
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Default [Ritual Path Magic or Path/Book] Life-sustaining warmth ritual

I need to know how to write up a ritual that kept a terminal hypothermia victim alive. The caster was untrained, using Wild Talent.

Background: I'm running an 80s horror-mystery game where three FBI agents come into a small community on a minor errand tangentially connected to a major serial killer investigation and become involved in an occult mystery. The title is Cold Night in Maine (link to a GoogleDrive with notes, scenic pictures and casting photos of characters). Here is the forum thread on it and here's a thread on 80s stuff connected to the game.

Maria Lucia de la Guerra Estevez (PC) has Wild Talent with some modifiers, including Emergencies Only, Focused (Magical), Retention and Wild Ability. She also has Magery 0 and some minor new age mumbo-jumbo as a Dabbler, but no real knowledge of supernatural things. She does have Dabbler for Philosophy (New Age)* and skill scores of 11-12 in Philosophy (Aikido - Optional Specialiation Morihei Ueshiba) as well as Theology (Shinto - Optional Specialisation Omoto-kyo).**

Her player wanted to use her unknown affinity with the supernatural to keep a girl, Rebecca Danzig, from dying. Ms. Danzig was in a coma when the PCs found her, suffering from severe if not terminal hypothermia and there was reason to believe that her extremities were frostbitten and might start to mortify. She's also dehydrated and malnourished, perhaps even to the point of death.

Fantasy style healing magic will not be featured in the campaign, at least not magic that visibly regenerates injuries in seconds. Subtle succour is in genre, especially if the injuries being fixed are not visibly large-scale destruction, but more a matter of a minor adjustment to internal regulation of temperature.

Magic in the setting will probably use Path/Book or Ritual Path Magic without Ritual Adepts.*** Earth is No Mane to Very Low Mana, with occasional exceptions related to special places, special times and special beings.

Now, the PCs are in such a special place at a special time, but the magical influences around them are heavily aspected toward winter, cold, hunger, darkness and something else, something that Special Agent Frank Corelli (PC) would probably call evil, outdated and reactionary as that term is in the eyes of 'modern' Californian people from the 1980s.

Ritual elements: On the other hand, the PCs are carrying protective charms specifically designed to protect from the evil spirits that cause the cold and hunger, given to them by a wise Native American in some sort of spirit trance. Agent Estevez also has some of the mushroom paste that Joseph Greybear used to enter the trance.

All the PCs also wear crosses with personal significance to them, having all been raised Catholic, with at least one religious person close to them during childhood. Special Agent Rene Ledoux (PC) also takes care to throw down all the carefully posed ritual objects with creepy significance that were surrounding the girl when they found her.

Using these things as ritual focuses, as well as using the fierce protective need of Agent Corelli toward an innocent girl in danger, Agent Ledoux's hatred of the cold and love of warmth and Agent Estevez's own overflowing affection for her fellow creatures, Agent Estevez attempts to draw on the warmth and strength of the three FBI agents to help Rebecca Danzig to live and be healthy. She calls out to the spirit of Joseph Greybear to aid her, guide her and teach her how to let the golden light of their love bring Rebecca back to life, let her coma turn to healing sleep.

The player rolled well, for an effective success by 5 even with penalties, against any Path I might have ruled this required. So I didn't bother with precise calculation. But, since the PC has Retention and had some 20 unspent points lying around, I'll have to decide before the next session what ritual she was using and what Abilties and Spells she ought to be able to spend points on.

Questions that need answering:

1) What Paths were involved in the ritual and can Agent Estevez spend points on them all?

2) Did the ritual require any Advantages that Estevez didn't have, but used Wild Abilities to use for the attempt?

3) In the Path/Book system, Agent Estevez basically cast Succour. Maybe I'll just go with that, but it has the flaw that there is no system to create new rituals. Does anyone have suggestions on how to use the Path/Book system, but still be able to adjudicate new rituals?

4) How would one write up the ritual Agent Estevez performed in Ritual Path Magic?

*She's raised in 80s California and has Eidetic Memory.
**She's a 4th Dan in Aikido.
***More precisely, they'll exist under limited conditions and/or even outside normal reality. Meeting one will be the culmination of an adventure and probably a very hostile meeting.
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Old 01-04-2017, 03:45 AM   #2
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Default Re: [Ritual Path Magic or Path/Book] Life-sustaining warmth ritual

For Path/Book magic, this was clearly the Path of Health, and Estevez should be able to spend points on that skill, and on Ritual Magic skill. The advantages required depend on how you implement Magery for Path/Book, see Thaumatology p123. Given the circumstances, my guess would be that the world normally requires Magery to do magic, which nobody has, but the special circumstances made up for that.

Those circumstances may also provide a bodge for the ritual design problem. Path/Book doesn't have a design system other than eyeballing new rituals to be comparable to existing ones. It started life as the GURPS Voodoo system, and it's still well-suited for spirit-mediated magic. So if there are spirits around that do what the caster wants, which is quite plausible for this variant of Succour, then the ritual is possible. If not, then not.
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Old 01-04-2017, 05:57 AM   #3
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Default Re: [Ritual Path Magic or Path/Book] Life-sustaining warmth ritual

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
For Path/Book magic, this was clearly the Path of Health, and Estevez should be able to spend points on that skill, and on Ritual Magic skill. The advantages required depend on how you implement Magery for Path/Book, see Thaumatology p123.
Requires Magery (can attempt at -5 without it) and no normal humans have Ritual Adept would apply whether I decide to go with Path/Book or Ritual Path Magic.

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Given the circumstances, my guess would be that the world normally requires Magery to do magic, which nobody has, but the special circumstances made up for that.
Well, Agent Estevez does have Magery 0, the result of an earlier Wild Talent use, when she tried to make sense of a ritual that Joseph Greybear was performing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Those circumstances may also provide a bodge for the ritual design problem. Path/Book doesn't have a design system other than eyeballing new rituals to be comparable to existing ones. It started life as the GURPS Voodoo system, and it's still well-suited for spirit-mediated magic. So if there are spirits around that do what the caster wants, which is quite plausible for this variant of Succour, then the ritual is possible. If not, then not.
It had already been established in play that Joseph Greybear had eaten a lot of magic mushrooms in order to astrally or spiritually travel to the place where the dark spirits of the chenook were expected that night. So Agent Estevez's player had every reason to assume that Joseph Greybear would be present in spirit and prepared to oppose the cold and hungry spirits.

Greybear appears to be connected to forces inimical to the chenook, having been born on Wolf Island in the St. John River and representing, through name and heritage, the protective aspects of the bear and wolf, those friendly to humanity.
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Old 01-04-2017, 07:08 AM   #4
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Default Re: [Ritual Path Magic or Path/Book] Life-sustaining warmth ritual

In RPM I would gravitate toward 'Lesser restore body', but 'Lesser strengthen energy' would work to me also

It is 'in the nature of' living humans to be warm, pliable, and not dieing of hypothermia, so I would go with Lesser
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Old 01-04-2017, 07:37 AM   #5
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Default Re: [Ritual Path Magic or Path/Book] Life-sustaining warmth ritual

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
For Path/Book magic, this was clearly the Path of Health, and Estevez should be able to spend points on that skill, and on Ritual Magic skill.
As noted this might have been Succor all by itself, especially the clause where lasting crippling injuries heal as temporary crippling during the duration. This might take care of the damage to extremities if you got it in place before the tissue went necrotic.

With that in place to take care of long-tern injuries leading to fatality the Ritual's First Aid aspect might have been enough to handle death by Shock. all Path of Health as noted.

However, had a fully trained P/B mage been there he might have tried an Endure Elements to stop the hypothermia damage in addition. A tricky question about could you afford the time presents itself for that option.

Anyway, Endure Elements is p.143 from Path of Elements or Nature with Nature beign more likely in a Native American-influenced paradigm.
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Old 01-04-2017, 09:27 AM   #6
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Default Re: [Ritual Path Magic or Path/Book] Life-sustaining warmth ritual

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
1) What Paths were involved in the ritual and can Agent Estevez spend points on them all?
For P/B, Path of Health. For RPM, either Path of Body or Path of Energy. If she lacks the core skill (for either system), she should be able to spend a point on it; if she has that core skill, she should be able to spend a point on the Path skill. (Or if she lacks the core skill you can be nice and let her spend a point on both; really, that won't break anything.)

Quote:
2) Did the ritual require any Advantages that Estevez didn't have, but used Wild Abilities to use for the attempt?
Since you're using Limited Non-Mage Ceremonies for P/B, there are no required advantages there, and RPM doesn't require any advantages either.

Quote:
3) In the Path/Book system, Agent Estevez basically cast Succour. Maybe I'll just go with that, but it has the flaw that there is no system to create new rituals. Does anyone have suggestions on how to use the Path/Book system, but still be able to adjudicate new rituals?
It's an art, not a science, much like designing new standard magic spells. Sorry!

Quote:
4) How would one write up the ritual Agent Estevez performed in Ritual Path Magic?
Spell effect: Lesser Strengthen Body, Lesser Restore Body, or Lesser Strengthen Energy (choose one).

Spell modifiers: Since you're only trying to keep her alive, I'd go with just Duration and Subject Weight. It's tempting to suggest Altered Traits, Temperature Tolerance, but really we're past that point where that would have made a difference.
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Old 01-04-2017, 09:57 AM   #7
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Default Re: [Ritual Path Magic or Path/Book] Life-sustaining warmth ritual

Personally, with the metaphysical setup preventing the characters from magically creating/enhancing warmth - hence them transferring it from themselves to the victim - I'd probably go with Lesser Transform Energy, Transform being a decent go-to for taking x from one thing and giving it to another. If there is indeed a bit of healing going on, go with Lesser Transform Body as well for taking health from the agents and giving it to the victim. The lost energy/health would likely take the form of FP damage, which I'd probably allow to count toward willing sacrifice (if the characters don't sacrifice anything, they still get a bit drained, just not enough to count as damage). The various described trapping are probably enough for a modest discount (5%-10%) on energy cost, and the description of drawing on the various personal traits of the assembled cast I'd probably count for another 5% or so.

Note this is for RPM.
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Old 01-05-2017, 09:57 AM   #8
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Default Re: [Ritual Path Magic or Path/Book] Life-sustaining warmth ritual

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
Personally, with the metaphysical setup preventing the characters from magically creating/enhancing warmth - hence them transferring it from themselves to the victim - I'd probably go with Lesser Transform Energy, Transform being a decent go-to for taking x from one thing and giving it to another. If there is indeed a bit of healing going on, go with Lesser Transform Body as well for taking health from the agents and giving it to the victim. The lost energy/health would likely take the form of FP damage, which I'd probably allow to count toward willing sacrifice (if the characters don't sacrifice anything, they still get a bit drained, just not enough to count as damage). The various described trapping are probably enough for a modest discount (5%-10%) on energy cost, and the description of drawing on the various personal traits of the assembled cast I'd probably count for another 5% or so.

Note this is for RPM.
Corelli and Lexoux gave up 2 HP and 3 FP each. Estevez, not having been wounded and having been carried by Ledoux through the snowstorm (and relying on getting back that way)*, gave up 4 HP and 9 FP.

*She was not wearing boots or other cold weather gear on her feet. Instead, she had on fluffy bynny slippers. Pink ones. The PCs were also carrying spare lavender bathrobes, fluffy slippers and thick, luxurious towels. All go towards wrapping Ms. Danzig and hopefully counting as a metaphysical representation of warmth.
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Old 01-05-2017, 02:03 PM   #9
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Default Re: [Ritual Path Magic or Path/Book] Life-sustaining warmth ritual

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Originally Posted by PK View Post
For P/B, Path of Health. For RPM, either Path of Body or Path of Energy. If she lacks the core skill (for either system), she should be able to spend a point on it; if she has that core skill, she should be able to spend a point on the Path skill. (Or if she lacks the core skill you can be nice and let her spend a point on both; really, that won't break anything.)
Fair enough. And thanks for weighing in with your deep magickal lore.

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It's an art, not a science, much like designing new standard magic spells. Sorry!
Which is a pity, as in all other ways, the Path/Book system has always provided the exact feel I want in a secret magic campaign. But I've always needed more rituals than are provided in Thaumatology and not really had a good way to make them.

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Spell effect: Lesser Strengthen Body, Lesser Restore Body, or Lesser Strengthen Energy (choose one).
I'd probably aldo elect to have Joe Greybear's astral assistence with the ritual count as the effect of his Path of Crossroads rather than acting counter to the intent to aid by making the ritual harder to cast by adding another Path. The mushrooms and Estevez's Autotrance Perk allow her to accept help with the ritual from a magician not present in body.

As for the choice of Path, I'd rather have the PC able to perform rituals related to good health than fireballs, so Body. And I guess it's a Restore effect, as even TL8 medicine couldn't otherwise save Ms. Danzig's extremities from necrosis or her life, really.

Ideally, I'd like the PC to have Path of Health even if I go with RPM. The Paths can be changed according to setting. Are you aware of any RPM system or arrangement of Paths which makes life-giving, warming, healing and purifying rituals an entirely different Path from cold, life-stealing, diseased and harming rituals?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PK View Post
Spell modifiers: Since you're only trying to keep her alive, I'd go with just Duration and Subject Weight. It's tempting to suggest Altered Traits, Temperature Tolerance, but really we're past that point where that would have made a difference.
Technically, by TL8 medical assumptions, Ms. Danzig's hypothermia was far enough advanced that nothing natural could have brought her out of the coma or prevented her eventual death. The PCs were aided in their ritual by the fact that none of them knew that and that there were no witnesses.

While they were performing the ritual, the PCs had barred the doors to the wind (which was rapidly dying down anyway), turned on several electric heaters and lit some old belly stoves. They also swaddled Ms. Danzig in dry, warm towels, and bath robes while surrounding her with their own warm bodies, under a protective shield of outer clothing.

Once Ms. Danzig's temperature is magically restored to a survivable level (by reducing the PCs's temperatures), she'll survive non-magically and they'll move her some 100 yards to a well-heated luxury cabin which has a fine sauna and hot tub, among other luxuries. So it's an instant spell effect, acting to correct a mortal condition.
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Old 01-10-2017, 01:07 PM   #10
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Default Conservation (-ish) of energy magical system?

To help me decide on a magical system, which system is the best fit if I decide that any magic that creates energy or matter ought to be astronomically expensive or even impossible for almost all mortals, but placing a finger on the scales of fate by transfering energy or manipulating 'luck' is something ritual magicians rely on?

Sort of like Discworld magic, but even more limited. Every magical effect would have an equal and opposite reaction, often in a way that risked the magician or demanded sacrifice.

Can I do this in RPM and if so, does anyone have advice?

Is there another system in Thaumatology or another GURPS supplement which would be a better fit?
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