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Old 08-07-2017, 01:22 PM   #1
Lameth
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Default Cabal Magic question

In the Cabal book, along with various other resources for ritual magic, it gives examples of items and components that can be used to increase your magic. My question is how many things can you combine into one single item? As an example, if you can use Steel, Diamonds, Blue, and effigies of owls, can you simply make a steel owl, with blue diamond eyes on only use that one item for now on to empower your magic ritual, and not need anything else, and still get all the bonuses?

I feel this is somehow cheating and removing the theme of ritual magic, right? Or am I being to hard? Or maybe an idea of only limiting two elements per item?

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Old 08-07-2017, 03:55 PM   #2
Kelly Pedersen
 
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Default Re: Cabal Magic question

I'd argue that having items that give you several Decanic bonuses isn't "cheating" at all - it's actually embracing the whole point of the system, which is that mages who cast in the Cabal style will have a whole bunch of weird occult items on them. Any convenience benefit for having one item that gives a bunch of bonuses is generally going to be countered by the fact that that item is almost certainly going to be remarkable. Anyone might have a stick of cinnamon gum, a flashlight, and a stick of laurelwood incense on them, making it easier to cast a Light and Darkness spell. Happening to have a a lozenge pendant divided into four alternate black and white squares, made of alternating laurel and hazelwood, framed in applewood painted yellow and set with carnelians, all on a gold chain on you, well, that's going to stand out a lot more.

Incidently, there's an old Pyramid article that's still available as a sample online, "Decanic Focusers", that provides objects for all the decans. If you do end up letting people do this in your game, it's an excellent resource for how the various objects might look. I got the example object I used for PhoubÍl, above, from there.
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Old 08-07-2017, 04:22 PM   #3
Ulzgoroth
 
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Default Re: Cabal Magic question

Does the system there have oppositional elements? If you've got to worry about the possibility that for some spells your delightful half-dozen correspondences in a single item isn't usable because two of them are unfavorable, that seems interesting...
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Old 08-07-2017, 04:27 PM   #4
johndallman
 
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Default Re: Cabal Magic question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelly Pedersen View Post
Any convenience benefit for having one item that gives a bunch of bonuses is generally going to be countered by the fact that that item is almost certainly going to be remarkable.
Carrying around a reasonably comprehensive set of materials for decanic workings is distinctive in its own way. When someone who knows about this stuff searches your luggage, there really isn't any way they'll fail to realise what you do.
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Old 08-07-2017, 04:33 PM   #5
Captain Joy
 
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Default Re: Cabal Magic question

I'm going with my gut here (I read the book a long time ago, but am not recalling any specific ruling), but I say: yes.

Of course, it would also be perfectly reasonable for a GM to set limits for a specific campaign. Besides a simple cap, you might also consider using the cost of materials as the limiting factor. E.g. $1 for +1, $10 for +2, $100 for +3, etc. So a crudely whittled owl painted blue would get you the +1. If it was finely crafted, or made of $10+ worth of steal instead of wood, you'd get the +2. If it had (blue) sapphires worth $100+, you'd get the +3. If it had blue diamonds for eyes worth $1000+, you'd get +4. You get the idea.
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Old 08-07-2017, 04:36 PM   #6
Lameth
 
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Default Re: Cabal Magic question

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Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
Does the system there have oppositional elements? If you've got to worry about the possibility that for some spells your delightful half-dozen correspondences in a single item isn't usable because two of them are unfavorable, that seems interesting...
Yes there is.
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Old 08-07-2017, 04:37 PM   #7
Lameth
 
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Default Re: Cabal Magic question

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Originally Posted by Kelly Pedersen View Post
I'd argue that having items that give you several Decanic bonuses isn't "cheating" at all - it's actually embracing the whole point of the system, which is that mages who cast in the Cabal style will have a whole bunch of weird occult items on them. Any convenience benefit for having one item that gives a bunch of bonuses is generally going to be countered by the fact that that item is almost certainly going to be remarkable. Anyone might have a stick of cinnamon gum, a flashlight, and a stick of laurelwood incense on them, making it easier to cast a Light and Darkness spell. Happening to have a a lozenge pendant divided into four alternate black and white squares, made of alternating laurel and hazelwood, framed in applewood painted yellow and set with carnelians, all on a gold chain on you, well, that's going to stand out a lot more.

Incidently, there's an old Pyramid article that's still available as a sample online, "Decanic Focusers", that provides objects for all the decans. If you do end up letting people do this in your game, it's an excellent resource for how the various objects might look. I got the example object I used for PhoubÍl, above, from there.
The PC Sorcerer is having the items made special for him by a craft person. Do these objects need to be crafted in a special way or by the ritualist himself? The NPC he is asking to make these is a Witch with various craft skills that he is asking to make each of these items for him for his rituals.
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Old 08-07-2017, 04:45 PM   #8
Kelly Pedersen
 
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Default Re: Cabal Magic question

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Originally Posted by Lameth View Post
Do these objects need to be crafted in a special way or by the ritualist himself?
Not by the rules as presented in Cabal or Thaumatology (which has the 4e updates for the decanic modifiers system). However, those rules also allow bonuses for materials to go higher if they are "rare or difficult", and I'd be inclined to allow that increase for items that not only invoke all the correspondences, but were also made specifically by the caster, or appropriately constructed by someone knowledgable in ritual. I probably wouldn't allow every modifier to go up to +2, though. Maybe just increase the overall modifier by +1. So, again using the Decanic Focusers article for an example, if you're casting a Light and Darkness spell and you've got the pendant I mentioned before, it gives you +4. But if you carefully crafted that yourself, or had a crafter skilled in the appropriate rituals do it for you, it could give you +5.
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Old 08-07-2017, 04:47 PM   #9
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Default Re: Cabal Magic question

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Originally Posted by Lameth View Post
Yes there is.
What he said :)
So that single item that maximizes your bonus for a particular Ritual will penalize other Rituals. Its more efficient overall to have a kit with various items and mix and match based on current need. However a valuable item or one crafted for a specific Ritual may take less space and be easier to carry around and use quickly.
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Old 08-07-2017, 04:49 PM   #10
Kelly Pedersen
 
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Default Re: Cabal Magic question

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Carrying around a reasonably comprehensive set of materials for decanic workings is distinctive in its own way.
This is certainly true, but I'd argue that special items, crafted to maximize decanic modifiers, are going to be even more distinctive. The magic-aware customs agent is certainly going to be suspicious when they open your luggage and find 20 packs of Big Red chewing gum, pressed orchids, a cross made of laurel and hazelwood, and a black and red checkerboard. But if they find the item I listed above, they probably won't have to be suspicious, they'll know you're going to be casting a Light and Darkness spell with it. Also, single items are harder to subdivide and thus reduce suspicion. I can give my buddy the stick of Big Red gum, carry a couple pressed orchids myself, and arrange to have the cross of woods and checkerboards mailed to me at my destination. The single pendant, on the other hand, is always going to stand out as obvious.
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