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Old 03-26-2024, 03:41 AM   #41
Prince Charon
 
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Specialist Magic-Users

Embodier lenses

A few specialist lenses centered around a quite versatile ritual, starting with a sort of 'core' lens:

Embodier

Advantages
Magery 0 [5] and 25 points selected from Allies [varies], Energy Reserve [3/level], Higher Purpose [5/level], Magery [10/level], Modular Abilities (Only for Allies with Minion, -40%; Magic, -10%) [varies], Path/Book Adept (Embody Only, -80%) [2/level], Reputation [varies], or Social Regard [5/+1 reaction].

Perks

Extra Option: Penalty Adjustment (Embody). [1]

Subtotal: 31


Disadvantages

Up to -25 points selected from Compulsive Behavior, Obsession, Overconfidence, Megalomania, Reputation, Social Stigma, Stubbornness, or appropriate Quirks.

Subtotal: Up to -25


Features


Skills

<core skill> [8] IQ or IQ+1
Path of Spirit [IQ/VH] [8] IQ

and 8 points in Craft skills, Hidden Lore ('Spirits' or '<spirit type>'), Leadership, Savoir-Faire ('Spirits' or '<spirit type>'), or Tactics.

Techniques

Embody (H) Path of Spirit-5 [10] Path of Spirit-0 (Path of Spirit+4; see Notes)


Subtotal: 34

Total: 40 to 65

Notes

'Extra Option: Penalty Adjustment' is a perk which must be bought separately for each ritual: The two skill levels listed for Embody are the effective skill (which cannot exceed the technique's base skill) and the skill for purposes of removing penalties only. In this case, the Embodier may have additional penalties of up to -4 without lowering effective skill, but still cannot raise effective skill above their base skill. GMs may prefer to forbid this perk, or require it to be a leveled perk, in which case the costs should be adjusted accordingly.

Leadership is useful for getting self-willed Embodied spirits to do what you want, but isn't needed for instinctively-obedient minions (those with Reprogammable, Slave Mentality, or similar). Tactics, on the other hand, is useful for combat regardless of whether your minions obey automatically, or need convincing. Savoir-Faire (Spirits) or Savoir-Faire (<spirit type>) depends on how granular your setting is in this context: Savoir-Faire could be one skill for all types of spirits, or different required specializations for demons, angels, elementals (or each type of elemental), Fae (if they're spirits), nature spirits, et cetra. The same is true for Hidden Lore.

(I might build a rather ambitious Embodier later, who plans to create a new race or group of races. Also have thoughts on creating an Imporviser, below, with a concept that works mostly for Supers settings.)


Continued below.
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Warning, I have the Distractible and Imaginative quirks in real life.

"The more corrupt a government, the more it legislates."
-- Tacitus

Five Earths, All in a Row. Updated 12/17/2022: Apocrypha: Bridges out of Time, Part I has been posted.

Last edited by Prince Charon; 03-26-2024 at 05:33 AM.
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Old 03-26-2024, 03:42 AM   #42
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Specialist Magic-Users

Related Lenses:

*Improviser
Advantages: Path/Book Adept (Time (or Time 2), Space, Material; Embody Only, -80%) 3 or 4 [6 or 8]; may have a Mystic Symbol or Familiar that helps cast {material}-Shaping, or the main Adept advantage covers both rituals, instead of only Embody. Improvisers with Energy Accumulating styles will often have some level of Energy Reserve, as well as Regeneration (ER Only, -0%).
Perks: Depending on the setting, an Improviser could need Rules Exemption Perks to allow them to use Embody on things worn by others, or at a distance, or not made by caster, or similar limitations a GM might apply to Embody; in other settings, such perks may be unneeded (due to one or more of those not being forbidden), or unavailable (because the GM really doesn't want to allow them).
Skills: The core skill should probably be Ritual Magic or Thaumatology, but any skill that would not make rapid improvisation seem out-of-character works. Most Improvisers will have Path of the Elements, or another Path of Book that includes one or more forms of {material}-Shaping (below).
Rituals: {material}-Shaping (possibly multiple forms).
Notes: The Improviser focuses on creating quick, temporary familiars, sometimes even animating equipment carried, ridden, or worn by opponents, be they vehicles, weapons, tools & miscellaneous items, or even jewelry, clothing, or armour, where that's possible. GMs should think carefully before allowing this Lens. There are games where it works well, even some non-silly games, but there are a lot more where it would be very disruptive unless nerfed.

{material}-Shaping
Effect Shaping: Path of the Elements-5 or Path of <specific Element>-4 (possibly Path of Metamorphosis-3); 1 hour.
Energy Accumulating: 8 points.

A range of similar rituals affecting specific types of material, most often the Elements or other important materials of your style's magical philosophy (e.g. 'Trash-Shaping' fits a style designed for an urban setting, but it could still work for random natural ground-litter in a forest; 'Cloth-Shaping,' if it exists, would apply to all fabrics, while 'Plant-Shaping' would work on most of them, as well as other plant-based materials, but fail on wool or nylon). Inspiration might be taken from the various Shape <Element> spells in GURPS Magic - e.g. for most solid materials, this ritual functions rather like the Shape Earth spell, and for liquids (oil, mercury, sulfuric acid), like Shape Water, et cetra. Specific forms may have a higher or lower cost, skill penalty, and/or time requirement, based on both the difficulty of shaping the material, and factors within the style's philosophy. This ritual is often used by Embodiers, especially Improvisers, to make new bodies quickly, a purpose which may be inappropriate to some styles and philosophies. If you want to make more than just crude shapes, an Artist skill is very helpful.


*Golemmacher
Advantages: Magery 0 changed to Blessed, Clerical Investment, True Faith, or similar; Magery Talent changed to Power Invesiture. Close to Heaven Talent, Devotion Talent, and Higher Purpose are common options.
Disadvantages: Disciplines of Faith; Duty or Sense of Duty are common.
Skills: The core skill is Religious Ritual (Hebrew) or Theology (Hebrew); Symbol Drawing (Gematria) is a complementary skill. Artist (Sculpting) or similar artistic skills are also needed.
Rituals: Some will have a form of {material}-Shaping (often Earth-Shaping or Clay-Shaping), while others would find that objectionable on religious grounds; the rabbiim have probably not come to an agreement.
Notes: While this Lens is meant for a worldline similar to Qabala (GURPS Steampunk pp134-138), but using Path/Book Magic, it would require little or no modification to adapt to many other timelines, and not much more to adapt to another religion.


*Mad Roboticist
Advantages: Artificer Talent.
Disadvantages: -15 points from any of Compulsive Behavior, Delusion ('I am not a magician.'), Megalomania, Obsession (<something mad>), and Paranoia. Reputation is a possibility, but only if their deeds or theories are well-known.
Skills: The core skill is Engineer (Thaumatronics); Path of Spirit might be changed to something like 'Book of Robotics.'
Notes: At lower TLs this would be a Mad Automatonist, Mystic Puppetmaster, Spiritual Dollmaker, or similar; the core skill and Book skill would probably need to be different, and the Delusion might be ridiculous (or absent). Dr. Frankenstein also fits this concept, albeit using different skills and 'starting materials' than most (he'd probably benefit more from the Thanatologist Talent). Dropping some or all of the mental disadvantages gives you an Esoteric Engineer specializing in robotics.


*Future Lich
Advantages: Thanatologist Talent. Some have a disturbing form of Higher Purpose, but not all GMs allow that.
Perk: Has a conditional ritual set to Embody himself as a lich when he dies. [1]
Disadvantages: Reputation or Social Stigma; Obsession (Undeath) and Megalomania are quite common.
Skills: The core skill is Ritual Magic (Necromancy).
Notes: Pretty much the fantasy stereotype of a necromancer. Applying this lens to a sea captain could potentially result in a ghost ship with a skeleton crew. The actual 'body' for the Lich is most often an item, the phylactry (often a Mystic Symbol allowing the spirit levels of Path/Book Adept that they may not have had on their own in life), with which the Lich can possess a corpse or unresisting living being at a distance, generally through rituals the user knows. Some liches are arrogant enough to simply use the body they had in life as their phylactry, and a few of those may become vampires this way. The sea-lich mentioned above might have the ship (or some vital part thereof, like the ship's bell) as the phylactry.


*Familiar Master
Advantages: Animal Empathy or Beastmaster; Magery 0 changed to Channeling (Aware, +50%; Specialized: Nature spirits, -50%) or Medium (Specialized: Nature spirits, -50%), Magery Talent changed to Spirit Control or a similar Talent.
Skills: The core skill will usually be some form of Ritual Magic or a Hard 'Channeling' skill; Animal Handling (<any>) and Veterinary are especially appropriate, while Teaching may be.
Notes: You might have one powerful familiar, or several less impressive ones, but having them is important to you. You might also be a trainer, Embodying new familiars for other magicians, and helping them learn to work together (in which case you need Teaching at a decent level).


*Diabolical 'Puppeteer'
Advantages: Magery 0 changed to Channeling (Aware, +50%; Specialized: Demons, -50%). Close to Hell Talent is somewhat common. A few may have a disturbing form of Higher Purpose, but not many GMs would allow that.
Disadvantages: Reputation or Social Stigma; various others, often getting worse as time goes on.
Skills: The core skill will usually be some form of Ritual Magic or a Hard 'Channeling' skill. Hidden Lore (Demons) is less common than it probably needs to be.
Notes: A type of specialized Diabolist who is both possessed by demons, and aids them in possessing others. The name of the lens is deliberately ironic.


*Spiritual Architect
Advantages: Master Builder Talent; some will also be Close to Heaven, Close to Hell, or Close to the Earth, depending on their faith, if any; Devotion Talent is also a possibility. Possibly Magery and/or Path/Book Adept will have some form of 'Buildings Only' or 'Locations Only' limitation (and Magery will often be bought at a fairly high level due to the need to affect a large area); Higher Purpose is a common option.
Disadvantages: Disciplines of Faith, Duty, and Sense of Duty are common enough to be mentioned, but are not required, as some Spiritual Architects are not especially religious.
Skills: The core skill may be some form of Symbol Drawing (Sacred Architecture) or Mathematics (Sacred Geometry), though other options are certainly possible. Architect and other construction skills are strongly recommended, and usually required.
Notes: Also called a Dungeonmaker, in settings where that fits. Another one that GMs should think carefully about before allowing to PCs, this is someone who builds (or manages the construction of) structures that have a certain life and intelligence of their own. Doors open and close, stairs and even rooms may move, and various magical effects occur which may help or hinder those within, or even nearby. A Mystic Shipbuilder would be conceptually similar, though the details would need to change.


Thoughts?
__________________
Warning, I have the Distractible and Imaginative quirks in real life.

"The more corrupt a government, the more it legislates."
-- Tacitus

Five Earths, All in a Row. Updated 12/17/2022: Apocrypha: Bridges out of Time, Part I has been posted.

Last edited by Prince Charon; 04-07-2024 at 08:30 AM.
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Old 03-28-2024, 09:25 AM   #43
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Specialist Magic-Users

You may have noticed that I did not include the Summon ritual in those lenses. There are several reasons for that, some of which vary by GM or setting. First, the Summon ritual in the book defaults to Path of Spirit at no penalty, and in settings where this is used, or where the Embodier rarely or never summons more difficult spirits, there's no point in listing it. That said, some GMs may split Summon into several rituals with different characteristics - Summon Demon might be one ritual, or several related rituals, perhaps even being a different ritual for each Named demon; likewise, there may be one Summon Nature Spirit ritual (which might also cover Elementals), or a few, or many.

Some Embodiers might not know Summon at all - the Mad Roboticist comes to mind - or might choose not to use it, either way letting whatever spirit wants that body take it. Also, an Embodier might prefer to create a thought-form (aka tulpa; see also GURPS Horror p81), perhaps rather customized, and bind that to the body.
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Warning, I have the Distractible and Imaginative quirks in real life.

"The more corrupt a government, the more it legislates."
-- Tacitus

Five Earths, All in a Row. Updated 12/17/2022: Apocrypha: Bridges out of Time, Part I has been posted.
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Old 03-31-2024, 06:17 AM   #44
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Specialist Magic-Users

Had a weird thought last night or early this morning, mostly about the Improviser, but it could fit some other sorts of Embodier (including Diabolocal 'Puppeteers,' though the wise would not trust them to do this): Assume an Embodier whose advantages are not much help for emergency healing (or not good for Healing Magics at all), but who needs to heal someone. If they have time to summon the right spirit, they could temporarily Embody it in the person in need of healing, and the spirit's own abilities could start healing the subject. Depending on the setting, this might be quite difficult, and could have a wide range of possible consequences, benefits, or both. An Embodier who specializes in Possession Healing (for lack of a better term) might have one or more specialized Summon rituals for the purpose, but the thought in my mind was just something an Improviser or other Embodier does when a better healer isn't available.

So, can you think of any barriers to this working, or potential consequences (apart from 'a demon or other hostile spirit starts using the subject's body') or benefits to this? Any other thoughts on it?

A related thought is that an Embodier might instead summon a spirit with healing abilities into a separate body, and have that being do the healing; I think that's how most Embodiers would handle the situation, but desperate times can lead to otherwise quite strange decisions.
__________________
Warning, I have the Distractible and Imaginative quirks in real life.

"The more corrupt a government, the more it legislates."
-- Tacitus

Five Earths, All in a Row. Updated 12/17/2022: Apocrypha: Bridges out of Time, Part I has been posted.
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