Eclecticism: An Elucidation

There is no eclecticism school of magic.

At its core, eclecticism is the process of taking bits and pieces from one or more schools of magic, and combining what one perceives to work best from them in order to develop spellcasting abilities. While they can practice what a school preaches, at least in regards to the spells they know which refer to such, eclecticists do not follow a school of magic in and of itself.

It's easy to believe otherwise, however. This is because all of those who do not follow one of the twelve known schools of magic suffer the same difficulties in walking an eclectic path. Similarly, those who disregard schools of magic to go their own way often devise various spells to aid themselves in that endeavor, mystical formulae which can readily be confused with school spells.

And this is why, even within the Book of Magic itself, eclecticism is often referred to as a school. It's easiest to classify spellcasters by assigning them all to one of thirteen schools. Easier, at least, than attempting to describe the unique process every individual eclecticist utilizes in order to cast spells, since each of their specific methods are technically a distinct school of magic!

The Eclecticist

A mage who ascribes to the eclectic method of sorcery eschews schools of magic, instead acquiring what knowledge they can from other wizards regardless of their magical backgrounds. As such, eclecticists most often have a bizarre mixture of magical abilities that don't seem to complement each other at all. However, his or her spells are most often the precise abilities an eclecticist needs the most.

As practicing what a mystic school preaches is a much easier road to walk, why don't eclecticists? It's possible that they were originally tied to a mystic school, but were drummed out for one reason or another. Or, alternately, they weren't considered worthy by the instructors they had access to. Finally, perhaps they simply felt they knew better than those selling what the magical schools were offering.

Regardless of the purpose behind their lack of adherence to a mystic school, the important thing to note is the persistence of an eclecticist. Despite the lack of camaraderie a school provides, much less moral and philosophical support when studying the ways of magic, eclecticists never quit. They kept at it until they mastered the spells they have, despite the odds arrayed against them!

Something others should keep in mind.

The Benefits of Independence

Drawing one's magic from the practices of various mystic schools gives a caster insight into how they all function. The practical perk of this understanding is that an eclectic mage may learn any school spells, not just their own. If randomly generating an eclecticist, one may make use of table 3 to pick which school their next school spell will come from, if they so desire.

When studying spells after they begin play, an eclecticist may adopt them at -2 CS to the rank wielded by their source, instead of the standard starting rank - limited by the campaign's power ceiling, of course. This more than makes up for the Karma penalty eclecticists suffer when advancing their magical career, as well as the price they must pay to acquire access to the sorcery of others.

Finally, though eclectic sorcery does not allow for the creation of ceremonial areas in and of itself, its practitioners may utilize those crafted by the adherents of mystic schools if necessary. However, the bonus to a spell's rank that a given ceremonial area provides does not apply if casting school spells that don't match its character. In other words, a geomancy school spell won't be bolstered in a technomancer's lab.

The Detriments of Independence

The lack of an overarching structure in an eclecticist's magical education has its costs. Whether attempting to master a new spell or improve an existing one, an eclectic must pay thirty percent more Karma than other wizards do. This alone assures that a thaumaturge of the eclectic sort has a hard road ahead of them, as their careers will typically advance much, much slower than that of other wielders of magic.

However, this penalty assumes that the eclecticist has no magical teacher to assist them in their travails, as is the case when attempting to research an all new spell, or deriving one from the spell books of another caster. If actively tutored by another mage, regardless of what school they ascribe to, an eclecticist may reduce this penalty by half, to fifteen percent.

The trick in achieving such tutelage is that most sorcerers have no reason to teach an eclecticist, even if a would-be instructor is also an eclecticist! Thus, it will fall upon an eclectic magician to convince such individuals to share their knowledge, and the reduction in the usual penalty for magical advancement may or may not outweigh the cost such teachers would impose upon their ersatz student.

the Inhibitor of Injustice: A Sample Eclecticist

Eclecticism is pretty straight-forward in the conceptual sense, though sometimes translating that into a functional character can be easier said than done. As such, it seemed that it would behoove the Book to provide a sample of eclectic character generation for your gaming use. To better reflect eclectic magic, I thought I would roll this character up mostly randomly, using my 5mm percentile dice!

Determining the Inhibitor of Injustice's Basic Abilities

Starting by rolling up this eclecticist's ability scores, I achieve results of 42, 65, 71, 25, 50, 14, and 09. This translates into a base of Good (10) Fighting, Excellent (20) Agility, Good (10) Strength, Poor (4) Endurance, Remarkable (30) Reason, and Excellent (20) ranked Intuition and Psyche. Since we have two gambles available to us, I opt to use them on Endurance and Psyche.

I choose the 'easy' table for the first, and manage to roll 00! That gives me a +4 CS to this eclecticist's Endurance, raising it to Remarkable (30). I then roll the second, on the 'lenient' table, and a dice result of 70 provides a +1 CS bonus - to also equal Remarkable (30). I had initial misgivings about my dice rolls, but those two gambles really give this character a good start.

Wrapping things up here, I add the rank numbers of this eclecticist's Fighting, Agility, Strength, and Endurance to attain a Health score of 70, and do the same with their Reason, Intuition, and Psyche rank numbers to reveal a Karma score of 80. A die roll of 01 (ouch) consigns this character to the abject poverty of Feeble (2) Resources, and they will begin play with a Popularity score of zero (0).

Determining and Quantifying the Inhibitor of Injustice's Magical Abilities and Appliance

Knowing I'm building an eclecticist, I skip table 3 to roll 49 on table four, meaning this mage will begin play with three spells. My tiny dice give me 17 and 30 (a personal spell, Disguise), 80 and 26 (a dimensional spell, Dimensional Transit), and I opt for one school spell. A roll of 70 on table 3 indicates we have a physiomancy spell, with a subsequent roll of 52 pointing us towards Personal Weaponry.

The problem with this is that this final spell occupies two spell slots, meaning that either I need to reroll, or one of my previous spells simply has to go. Doing so is messing with the idea forming in the back of my head for this character, but I can ditch dimensional transit as a spell, and instead place that ability in the character's magical artifact, as opposed to rolling up yet another magical effect for that. Fortuity!

Rolling three times on table D, my results of 84, 14, and 64 give this character's Disguise spell an Amazing (50) rank, their Personal Weaponry spell an Excellent (20) rank, and their Dimensional Transit, granted to them by the auspices of the Widdershins Wand, a rank of Incredible (40). Since the Wand has the strong portable limitation, this is subsequently raised by +2 CS, to the rank of Monstrous (75).

This character's sole spell rank gamble, on the 'traditional' table, raises their Personal Weaponry rank by +2 CS with a result of 68.

Determining the Inhibitor of Injustice's Background Information

I like to individualize characters with quirks, so I am adding some here. Though one can roll quirks, I choose Magical Aptitude as a beneficial mental quirk, and Personal Code as a deleterious mental quirk. This greatly improves the character's spellcasting ability, and saddles them with a behavioral oddity that will affect the character's behavior and many important decisions they will make.

Rolling an 80 on table 30, I find this eclecticist will possess six talents! Results of 89 and 60 point towards Shields, 76 and 30 grant Criminology, 47 and 56 provide Multiple Attacks, 59 and 30 give us Power Skill (for Disguise), 91 and 62 reveal Shields (again), and 16 and 31 indicate Manipulation. To make everything fit together a bit better, I then change Shields 2 to Natural Weapons 2.

On table 40, a roll of 13 means our new eclectic wizard will only have two contacts to start the game with. Most of the time, this would be a mystic master, but our eclecticist walks their own path, heeding no master. No, their only contact is the mysterious organization that points them towards their latest targets. That's right, this eclectic sorcerer is a deadly, cross-planar assassin!

Determining the Inhibitor of Injustice's Origin Story

The Calamity of Corruption, Ferdinand Maier is notorious throughout the multiverse, even if no one actually knows who he is. The Destroyer of Despotism, he works tirelessly to liberate the downtrodden in plane after plane, wherever he finds it. The Assassin of Autocracy, he has bumped off more tin-pot dictators around the multiverse than even he can keep track of these days.

As a young German boy, Ferdinand grew up viewing the consequences of fascism firsthand, his land blasted and divvied up after it perpetrated so many crimes against the world. Vowing to work against such evils, he wandered the earth, eventually learning about magic. However, no one wanted to teach him, his would-be tutors wary of his German origins after what they did during World War II.

Thus, Ferdinand took it upon himself to learn magic on his own, and in time an inherent predilection for the trade became apparent. While he has difficulty acquiring new sources of sorcery, he's managed a few spells that allow him to wander the multiverse with impunity. He now topples one villainous regime after another as the Inhibitor of Injustice, either working alone or alongside like-minded allies!

Eclecticism Spells

Whether they practice the teachings of no magic school or all of them, eclecticists nonetheless have developed a small number of tools over the years to assist them in life on the outskirts of mystical society. Sometimes they must research these themselves, while other times they must pay another eclecticist for the privilege of studying them - often dearly.

The thirteen known eclecticist 'school' spells include the following:

L M O S T U V

L

Linguistics
Type: Eclecticism Spell
Duration: special
Cost: 1 point per rank

Linguistics is the super human ability to quickly learn new languages. These languages can come in literally any form, from spoken words to physical gestures to computer codes to pheromone signals. Once a language is mastered with this ability, the super linguist can understand any communications using it, though communicating back might be nigh-impossible if the linguist lacks the appropriate means to do so.

Characters with linguistics can master new languages amazingly fast, depending on what they've got to work with. With a proper language teacher or extensive reference materials, a language can be learned in an hour. It takes a day to master a language just from eavesdropping on one in use, or from random written samples. Exotic communication forms (data flow, pheromones) take a week or more to decipher.

A super-powered linguist can use this ability to learn a number of languages equal to its power rank. In order to master more, a character must either master additional language talents (during character generation or via character advancement) or raise the rank of this ability higher. If they try to exceed this number, a new language learned will erase the character's knowledge of an existing one (character's choice).

The difficulty of learning a language depends on how similar it is to one's native tongue. A contemporary language from one's world adds +2 CS to a linguistics FEAT, while dead languages from such add but +1 CS. Humanoid alien languages are resolved at the linguistics rank, while data languages and non-sentient animal 'tongues' apply -1 CS. Stranger languages (pheromone signals, photonic expression, etc.) apply -2 CS.

A more temporary use of linguistics involves the breaking of codes and encryption. Since this ability is defined by translating other communication systems into something the character can understand, linguistics can readily demolish any sort of attempt to obscure information from them. A super-human linguist may decrypt any encoded information at a +3 CS to either their Reason or linguistics rank, whichever is higher.

Locational Memory
Type: Eclecticism Spell
Duration: maintenance
Cost: 1 point per rank

Something of a passive ability, locational memory allows its possessor to quickly recall anywhere - or anywhen - they've ever been. This is an ideal ability for those travelers who have a tendency to get lost, or who wander way off the beaten path. The power allows immediate recall of places the character has been with a simple FEAT roll, its difficulty depending on where a location is relative to one's current positioning.

Recalling any location previously visited in the current space-time only requires a green power FEAT roll. Remembering precisely where one has been if that location was visited in a different universe or time period requires a yellow FEAT. Red FEAT rolls are only necessary if the character tries to produce the seven dimensional coordinates of a place that is both in another plane and temporal frame.

M

Mental Trap
Type: Eclecticism Spell
Duration: 1d10 turns + maintenance, if desired
Cost: 1 point per rank

A mental trap is just that, a psychic ambush its wielder can set when expecting like assault. This can be done at any time, lasting 1d10 turns unless specifically maintained. A mental trap works by unleashing psychic energy when a psionic effect interacts with its wielder's mind. When this occurs, the trapper can inflict the trap's rank in Karmic damage if they pass a FEAT roll against the intruder's Psyche rank.

Whether or not this ambush on the mind of a would-be psychic snoop is successful, it will nonetheless impede the use of his or her abilities. Their target will be alerted to the use of such, after all, and they will suffer a -2 CS penalty to the power they attempted to use in the first place, -4 CS if they actually suffered damage while doing so (it's rather bad for the concentration).

Metabolic Focus
Type: Eclecticism Spell
Duration: special
Cost: 1 point per rank

Something of a self-destructive ability, metabolic focus allows one to cannibalize their own bodily energies in order to enhance their super human abilities. For each point of Health the wielder of this ability sacrifices, they may add a direct, one point boost to the rank of any power they desire. This lost Health is gone, and must be healed normally (a good reason to also have regeneration, or to hang out with a healer).

The duration of this enhancement, whether applied to an instantaneous or maintainable power, is 1d10 turns - most often enough to last for the duration of a battle, but not always. There's no limit to the number of times one can enhance a power with metabolic focus, though the amount of enhancement per use is limited to either the metabolic focus power rank or the enhanced power's rank +1 CS, whichever of the two is higher.

Mimicry
Type: Eclecticism Spell
Duration: 1d10 turns + maintenance, if desired
Cost: 1 point per rank

Their magic being a hodgepodge of spells and styles from vastly differing sources, an eclecticist does not receive many of the benefits other sorcerers enjoy (their benefit when learning new spells notwithstanding). They don't get a lot of the situational bonuses that their peers receive while actually casting spells - at least, unless they've caught wind of the mimicry spell.

This eclectic school spell is designed for sorcerers who have drawn spells from a variety of other schools in their travels. What it does is, while active, attune the eclectic mage to a specific school of magic. This allows them any casting bonuses that would otherwise apply to a body of the chosen education. For instance, an eclecticist casting faerie dust while holding a Fey magic wand would receive a +1 CS if properly attuned.

Mimicry can only tune an eclecticist to one school of magic at a time; switching to another requires a recasting of this spell. This can be something of a pain when rapidly alternating between one school's spells and another's, but allows the eclectic mage to get the most bang for their buck. Finally, mimicry can only grant such bonuses if its spell rank is of equal or greater rank than the spells it would enhance in this fashion.

O

Origin Sense
Type: Eclecticism Spell
Duration: 1d10 turns + maintenance, if desired
Cost: 1 point per rank

The wielder of an origin sense has the ability to look at a being, and to determine a) if they possess super-human abilities of any type, or b) what form those abilities take. The first of these is rather simple; unless a target is cloaking its nature somehow, origin sense will determine whether or not they have powers on a green FEAT. This is somewhat binary in nature, though (you either have powers or you don't).

An origin sense is more useful when its wielder can determine what kind of powers his target possesses, however. A yellow FEAT can showcase things like the origin of one's powers (hence the name), determining things like aberrant genes, sorcerous training, deific imbuement, etc. Red FEATs are required when trying to guess what specific power(s) a body has access to - can they fly or shoot ray beams out their eyes?

This power often comes in a much more limited form. Some people only have the ability to detect mutants, or psis, or whatever. Such 'handicapped' versions of origin sense are considered extremely limited, and thus function at a +4 CS (or alternately cost four points less).

Origin sense itself only functions in a relatively close range, as is determined by the Near range table.

S

Self Control
Type: Eclecticism Spell
Duration: permanent (no maintenance required)
Cost: 1 point per rank

Self control is an ability exhibited by those who have a deep, personal understanding of just who and what they really are. Whether born (or created) with this intrinsic knowledge or having developed it after months (or decades) of meditation, characters with the self control power are keenly aware of themselves and their place in the multiverse. This hard-won information may or may not come with a heavy burden.

While one might expect such a person to be centered and at peace with the multiverse, the truth is that self control simply removes one's ability to delude themselves about their basic nature. Whether the character likes this nature or not is another story, and their primary motivation may very well be to either express this true self at all costs, or to work with all their might to change it (either for the better or the worse).

Assuming the character is actually wrapped up in their own existence above all else, at any rate. While some use the knowledge self control grants as the impetus to focus on oneself, others use it as the driving force behind whatever it is they want to do with their lives, whether this involves protecting the world they live in or attempting to take it over!

And for those that are more action-oriented, self control confers several passive benefits during the course of play.

For starters, those with self control have a better than normal ability to recall past events. Intently aware of their own minds, the possessors of this ability can more easily remember the many and various circumstances that led up to their current state of existence, both large and small. This allows them to recall past events and information at either the self control power rank or their Reason (mem) score +1 CS, whichever is greater.

Similarly, once people have attained self control, they are often quite capable of acting without conscious thought. Their minds are well trained, and have achieved a balance of sorts between the conscious and unconscious self. This allows them to use an initiative modifier that is based either upon this power rank (as if it were an Intuition score) or one's Intuition score +1 CS - again, whichever is higher.

Finally, it is incredibly hard to sway someone with self control from their desired course of action, whether with mundane debate skills or overt mind control capabilities. Self control allows its wielder to resist the effects of external influence (if not actual psionic damage) at either its power rank or the Psyche (will) score of its possessor +1 CS, whichever of these two is higher in value.

T

Transient Magic
Type: Eclecticism Spell
Duration: special
Cost: 1 point per rank

Transient magic is a spell which has been temporarily installed within an inanimate object (or objects, depending). When so charging an item with magical power, the possessor of this ability may place any spell or spell-like power they possess into it, doing so at any rank up to that of the transient magic ability's. This is similar to the process of alchemy, except that arcane formulas are not involved.

Furthermore, this process requires a number of minutes equal to the rank number of the spell or magical power deposited into the item. Creating transient magic is quite time consuming, but nonetheless allows the character with this ability to share his or her magic with anyone else they desire, often a great advantage when exploring parts - or universes - unknown.

Generally, transient magic can sit idle for any amount of time, but there's only so much of it available to whoever holds the item imbued with magic. These temporary spells can be used for 1d10 turns before running out. This is true whether the power granted has an instantaneous effect (such as an eldritch bolt) or can be maintained (such as a flight spell).

U

Ultimate Talent
Type: Eclecticism Spell
Duration: maintenance
Cost: 8 points (flat cost)

Characters with an ultimate talent possess the ability to use it in a super human capacity, above and beyond what they (or anyone else, for that matter) can do through training and experience alone. While the ultimate talent can represent a sort of untutored prodigy of some kind or another, it generally assumes its wielder began with some sort of training centered on the talent in question.

In game terms, the ultimate talent allows one to use the enhanced talent at a +3 CS to its ordinary effectiveness. This Column Shift represents a drastic increase in proficiency with the talent, above and beyond anything else someone can attain through training alone. This can quickly add up with higher level talents to create a character who is in all likelihood the most proficient person on the planet with said talent.

Which is kind of the point.

Most talents may be the recipient of the 'ultimate' treatment. Those which may not include heir to fortune and student, for these are more along the lines of backgrounds than skills. Certain talents, such as leadership and performer, offer different benefits besides a CS. One should triple the benefits they provide in lieu of a mere CS, though a +3 CS is also allowed in the event that a FEAT roll is required of them somehow.

V

Vapors
Type: Eclecticism Spell
Duration: 1d10 turns + maintenance, if desired
Cost: 1 point per rank

The vapors spell conjures strange, otherworldly mists. These mists can issue forth from somewhere on the caster, from seemingly nowhere, or perhaps from something in the environment. They can be of any color, though are usually consistent from casting to casting - but not always. When first cast, the vapors spell immediately fills up the area its creator currently occupies with these mists.

These mists will then spread out from their area of origin, filling out further adjacent areas each turn, until they blanket everything within Near distance. While cloaked within these mystical vapors, the caster cannot be seen whatsoever - whether using standard or enhanced senses. Even nonapparent vision has to work hard against these vapors, needing to defeat its intensity before functioning properly.

Of course, the creator of the vapors can see just fine, thank you very much. This allows him or her a +2 CS in combat against those who cannot see them, and unless they can find them via other senses, the foes of a vapor-cloaked individual suffer a -4 CS to hit them.

Variable Sorcery
Type: Eclecticism Spell
Duration: special
Cost: 1 point per rank

Variable sorcery is similar to the variable power ability, save that it is used to duplicate magic skills. These can be either the learned talent-equivalents used by sorcerers, or natural magic powers a character may have access to (whether due to mystic evolution, freak accidents, or whatever). Variable sorcery, when used, can copy a magic power possessed by anyone within Very Near range with a simple green FEAT.

This new magic power functions at the variable sorcery rank, not its original intensity. This won't affect the source of the magic power, and unless they're a paraprobabilitist, said source may have no idea that one of their tricks was duplicated. Once the variable sorcery power is set, it remains available to the wielder of such until they duplicate another magic power, at which point they 'forget' the old one and 'learn' the new one.

When the old form of variable sorcery is forgotten, it is gone forever - unless copied again at a later date. While variable sorcery can be used to acquire any kind of magic power, it does not function on technology, regular or psi talents, or other knowledge. Furthermore, it cannot be used to copy non-magical powers; while variable sorcery could copy the teleportation spell, it can't copy the equivalent non-magical or psionic abilities.

As a spell, variable sorcery has a unique duration. While the power itself has an 'instantaneous' duration, its effects are continuous. Its wielder need not maintain variable sorcery to keep what they have acquired in this fashion, and if the power is blocked somehow (such as with annulment), it will return when that effect expires, leaving only when variable sorcery is reused to acquire a new ability.

Variable Talent
Type: Eclecticism Spell
Duration: special
Cost: 4 points (flat cost)

The character with a variable talent is capable of trading in one skill for another. When variable talent is invoked, it can copy a skill that anyone within one area possesses. This new skill will function at the level its original possessor had with it. Variable talent will not affect the source of the skill, and said source may in fact have no idea that his or her knowledge has been duplicated.

Once the variable talent is set, it remains available to the wielder of such until they duplicate a new skill, at which point they 'forget' the old talent and 'learn' the new one. Once the old form of variable talent is forgotten, it is gone forever - unless copied again at a later date. While variable talent can be used to acquire any skill, it does not function on powers of any stripe.

In other words, it can copy something like the physics talent, but not a mutant power, psionic ability, magical spell, or even a high tech device. Copying the talents of another is automatic - no FEAT roll required (as the power lacks a rank to speak of).

As a spell, variable talent has a unique duration. While the ability has an 'instantaneous' duration, its effects are continuous. Its wielder need not maintain variable talent to keep what they have acquired in this fashion, leaving only when variable talent is reused to acquire a new skill.

Vocal Control
Type: Eclecticism Spell
Duration: 1d10 turns + maintenance, if desired
Cost: 1 point per rank

While many characters can easily manipulate their voice to some extent, altering its pitch or sometimes producing a relatively accurate impersonation of someone else, the power of voice control enhances this ability to a super human degree. This allows the character with vocal control to engage in all manner of feats with their voice that are seemingly impossible - or that usually require a lifetime of training.

The simplest trick one can produce with vocal control is audio mimicry. A mere green power FEAT roll allows a character with vocal control to precisely reproduce any sound they have ever heard. The best sources of sound to mimic are live, as recordings invariably introduce some manner of distortion to the sound. However, most human ears cannot discern such in digital copies of sufficient quality.

Instead of just reproducing sounds one has heard previously, vocal control can also simulate similar noises. This derivative use of vocal control can create original sonic events, which is a great way to speak in someone else's voice if they haven't uttered the precise words one wants them to say. Others are allowed an Intuition (alt) FEAT, opposed by the vocal control power rank, to see through such a ruse.

Another valid use of vocal control is the fine art of speech throwing. By subtly altering the output of their vocal chords, characters with this power can create the illusion that sounds issuing forth from them are, in fact, coming from elsewhere. This use of vocal control also allows an Intuition (alt) FEAT to detect such a ruse, but can be used anywhere within Very Near distance of its wielder.

It's important to note that while a character with vocal control can produce all manner of sounds, they are still limited in the overall volume of such that they can produce. Without additional powers (such as sound generation), a vocal controller cannot produce inherently damaging noise; imitating the sonic attacks (or whatever) of another character will simply produce their racket at a non-damaging level.

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