Voodoo: An Elucidation

What most think of as Voodoo originated in West Africa, and was a localized mystic school until countless numbers of its adherents were enslaved, and subsequently relocated to the Americas. Despite ceaseless attempts by others to stamp Voodoo out over the centuries, the art continues to flourish and evolve, numerous variations on its basic themes expressing themselves everywhere it has taken root.

The vast majority of those associated with the lore of Voodoo are not spellcasters. No, they are merely adherents of an otherwise conventional philosophy, one observed by millions of people worldwide. However, a rare few practitioners of Voodoo possess the knowledge and fortitude to interact with Loa, powerful spectral entities, and thus master the ability to wield functional wizardry as a result.

Players interested in adopting the role of characters who practice Voodoo are encouraged to research the subject further, naturally. While this elucidation focuses on the game mechanics of casting Voodoo spells, it does not delve deeply into the centuries upon centuries of traditions that depictions of Voodoo in movies and comics used as a basis for what follows.

The Voodoo Practitioner

Wielders of Voodoo (houngans for males, mambos for females) have at their disposal aspects of the alchemy, clericism, and entreatism schools. They can produce transient magical items (potions, powders, oils, etc.), call upon the spectral entities that roam this world (and beyond) for knowledge and power, and even benefit from the worship of their ancestors. They can do all this within the context of their art.

What this means is that practitioners of Voodoo normally use their magical powers to defend or otherwise help others, instead of furthering their own ends. They might perform healing or other magic as is necessary, protect the innocent from vengeful Loa, or otherwise do what it takes to keep their chosen community alive. They can do this primarily due to their relationship with the spirits of their ancestors.

On the other hands, both bokors (male) and sorciéres (female) are those who have sank so low that they wield magic to benefit only themselves. Practitioners of this stripe are known to work magic with 'both hands', using both good and evil to further their personal agenda and aspirations of power. Corrupted practitioners of this type are the bane of all followers of the Voodoo philosophy.

Loa

Intrinsic to the philosophy, practice, and/or faith of Voodoo are the Loa, spectral entities that exist near humanity in higher dimensions. Loa are a complex class of beings, ranging from recently passed mortal souls to the remnants of old gods long dead and almost forgotten. While a few of them may have been divine at one point, and some folks might worship them still, Loa are not gods in and of themselves.

Furthermore, despite being technically deceased souls, Loa can nonetheless exert influence over the living, whether subtly or overtly. This is one reason so many Voodoo spells involve these ghostly beings - a given area is generally teeming with Loa. Whether to garner information from them or to protect a body from their predations, dealing with Loa is a large part of practicing Voodoo.

Sometimes, this involves parley to gain knowledge, whether to solve a mystery or to master new magic. Other times, it concerns Loa riding mortal beings like a horse, after a fashion, in order to let them enjoy the fruits of the material world for a time. Still more encounters with Loa are completely random affairs, occurring during otherwise mundane events whenever it strikes their fancy.

They're dead, after all. What else to they have to do with their time?

Voodoo Foci

While Voodoo offers its practitioners a balanced array of skills with which to ply their trade, some sorcerers prefer to specialize in certain aspects of the art. Such specialists do not lose access to the common abilities wielded by their peers, so much as they simply focus on one kind of Voodoo above all others. In other words, specialist practitioners gain access to another school's spell selection!

Those wielders of Voodoo who prioritize the creation of magical items, whether temporary or permanent in nature, may also draw from the school spells of alchemists. Voodoo casters who primarily engage in negotiations with Loa may, on the other hand, learn entreatism spells. And finally, those Voodoo casters who actually worship the spirits of their dead ancestors may instead master spells of clericism.

One need not immediately decide if they wish to be a 'regular' caster of Voodoo or one who specializes in one of these three facets of the school - individual casters are assumed to be unspecialized until they specifically declare otherwise. However, once an individual practitioner of Voodoo chooses to specialize their choice is essentially permanent, meaning that they can't switch from one specialty to another.

And, thus, cannot gain access to more than one bonus school spell roster as a result.

Voodoo and Belief

Regardless of how one wishes to express Voodoo, their potency with the art is often influenced by those who observe it in action. Belief in oneself is important, of course, but parleying with the souls of the living and the dead renders a Voodoo caster subject to the power of others' belief, as well. This is one reason they are often so ostentatiously dressed - making an impression on others is absolutely vital.

If a given Voodoo wielder is thought to be powerful by others in the vicinity, whether they are admired or feared for how they wield that power, they will receive a +1 CS to the rank of all spell FEATs they attempt. This bonus is raised by another +1 CS if such FEATs are attempted in the context of a magical ceremony, which most often has a large array of observers present, for various reasons.

Similarly, if a practitioner of Voodoo loses this respect or is made to appear the fool, this bonus is instead transformed into a -1 CS penalty, -2 CS if the wizard is particularly humbled in an encounter. The duration of such spell modifiers, positive or negative, is dependent on the overall standing of a Voodoo caster within his or her community in general, as well as the campaign's overall history.

Hoodoo Larry: A Sample Voodoo Practitioner

Building a character who wields Voodoo is a bit odd, since it tends to incorporate portions of numerous other magical schools into itself. To better showcase one of these fine folks in action, a sample Voodoo wielder is provided for your gaming use. This individual will be generated from start to finish right here, utilizing the systematic character generation method. Let's see what we can do with fifty points!

Determining Hoodoo Larry's Basic Abilities

I generally lowball magical characters' ability scores to preserve points for later use, though I'm not today! I opt for Good (10) Fighting (one point), Typical (6) Agility (no points), Good (10) Strength (one point), Excellent (20) Endurance and Reason (two points each), Remarkable (30) Intuition (three points), and Incredible (40) ranked Psyche (four points), for a total of thirteen points.

Adding up their Fighting, Agility, Strength, and Endurance rank numbers, I find this Voodoo artist has a Health score of forty-six. Similarly, their Reason, Intuition, and Psyche rank numbers add up to a Karma sum of ninety. I go ahead and grant them a Resources rank of Excellent (20) for four points, but do not bolster their Popularity rating any (I will leave this to roleplay and victories over their enemies.

Determining and Quantifying Hoodoo Larry's Magical Abilities and Appliance

Skipping table 3 as always, since I know I'm building a Voodoo caster, I divvy up most of their remaining points (thirty-three) for spells. I choose Good (10) ranked Healing / Others, in the form of potions (weakly limited, three points), Excellent (20) ranked Spectral Sense and Forgetfulness (five points each), and Incredible (40) ranked Vodun (sixteen points, as it costs two points per rank).

That soaked up twenty-nine points, leaving us only four to work with for everything else. Bearing in mind that I need a few points for background information, I choose to give our Voodoo artist a blowgun which, upon firing darts, coats them with a magical poison. Strongly limited twice (once for being portable and hard to replace, once for using injectable poison), we can buy this at Remarkable (30) rank for only two points.

Determining Hoodoo Larry's Background Information

Having drained almost every spare point this character has to purchase their Voodoo spells, I opt to take two negative quirks, in order to eke out a talent or two for this character. Enemy and Jinxed give me an idea, what with the singular talent I am considering, and I decide this hero's bad luck inadvertently ruined their former partner's life, causing them to vow vengeance... at all costs!

With two extra points granted by those quirks, I take the Law Enforcement background talent, which costs two points. However, it comes with Guns and Law bonus talents, as well as two bonus contacts. I've decided that this character was a mundane police officer, their Jinx notwithstanding, until their life took a turn for the fantastic, so this sole background skill is all I really need to make that work.

A level 2 mentor is all we can afford with our remaining points, which is reserved for a houngan or mambo who taught our caster everything they know about magic. That being said, we do have two bonus contacts from the character's Law Enforcement talent, one of which is the police department they still work for, while the other is a federal agent that warns them when occult dangers wander into their jurisdiction.

Determining Hoodoo Larry's Origin Story

As is the case with the Percipient, Hoodoo Larry began his career as a seemingly mundane police officer. However, officer Lawrence 'Hairy Larry' Olivier Williams has been Jinxed since his youth, a trait originating in a curse cast upon his great-great-grandfather prior to the Civil War. Though Lawrence himself is innocent of any wrongdoing, he is nonetheless punished due to the dark deeds of his ancestors.

Ashamed of the skeletons haunting his family tree, Lawrence became a police officer in order to serve his community, an effort to make up for the horrors his family inflicted upon it two centuries ago. Though Lawrence has done well in this capacity, his partners have a distressing tendency to die horribly as a result of his Jinx, though the last managed to avoid this - even if she was mutilated in the process.

Sensing his distress, a local Mambo reached out to Lawrence, in an attempt to help control his strange nature. Joining her Voodoo practice, he ultimately learned how to harness the power of the Loa, even if she was unable to lift his family curse. Utilizing his new skills, Lawrence continues to protect his community from threats both mundane and fantastic, and plans on keeping up the good fight.

Assuming his last, surviving partner doesn't end his career prematurely, that is!

Voodoo Spells

There are thirteen known spells that are inherent to the Voodoo school of magic. Most of these involve denizens of higher dimensions, what mediums tend to think of as the spirit plane. Others involve the manipulation of others to some extent, whether or not the power of suggestion is at play. Either way, these spells help to paint a picture for players, showcasing what this mystic school is all about.

B I L P S T

B

Body Control
Type: Voodoo Spell
Duration: maintenance
Cost: 1 point per rank

A perverse form of puppetry, body control allows its wielder to directly control the physical motions of a target within Near distance. This involves manipulation of the actual 'meat' of its victim, which means said victim must resist this power with his or her Endurance (res), instead of their Psyche (will). If the target fails a resistance roll against body control, the wielder of this ability may control their motions however they like.

Victims of this power may find themselves dancing, possibly in ways they never thought possible (or desirable), running away as fast as they can, beating themselves senseless, freezing in place, unable to talk or move, or anything else the body controller wishes. Those under the sway of body control may attempt another FEAT roll to resist this ability each turn it is applied to their person.

A character using body control may manipulate the actions of more than one person at a time. Of course, each person added improves both the difficulty of manipulating everyone involved as well as the possibility of their breaking free of such insidious control. Apply a -1 CS for each person after the first that a body controller attempts to manipulate with this ability.

I

Integral Control
Type: Voodoo Spell
Duration: maintenance
Cost: 1 point per rank

This power allows its wielder to actively manipulate the integral physiological systems inherent to another. Such uses can be beneficial, but for the most part this ability is used to the considerable detriment of its targets. When wielded to harm others, integral control will inflict its power rank in SD Metabolic damage, and targets within its Very Near range may readily resist the effects of this power with their Endurance (res) score.

Some of the more common (but by no means only) offensive uses of integral control include the following:

L

Loathing
Type: Voodoo Spell
Duration: instantaneous effect
Cost: 1 point per rank

Loathing is defined as an extreme disgust, almost irrational in nature. Using this ability, a character can instill a sense of loathing in a target, directed at quite literally anything. Those who fail a Psyche (will) FEAT roll against this power's will hate the indicated object of their loathing with every fiber of their being, and must pass a second Psyche (will) FEAT roll to avoid expressing this hatred physically.

Inanimate objects will be smashed to bits, living beings will be beaten senseless, and so on. Loathing can be applied instantaneously, but the effect of this power lasts for 1d10 turns, often more than enough for someone to sow chaos... or to create a truly impressive diversion. Once this duration has expired, the affected individuals will return to normal, though they may have to explain their actions - possibly in court!

Loathing can be used upon any target within Near distance of its wielder.

P

Pain
Type: Voodoo Spell
Duration: maintenance
Cost: 1 point per rank

This useful ability allows its wielder to generate subtle bio-electric signals, which resonate in the nervous systems of others within Very Near distance. These signals, when grounded in the bodies of others, cause them to experience great pain - albeit with no apparent source of injury. If one fails an Endurance (res) FEAT roll against this power rank, they will suffer the effect of an inflicted Stun result.

Naturally, the high and low pain tolerance quirks will modify this FEAT roll accordingly.

While in a pain-induced stun, victims of this power can do little other than react to the overwhelming stimulus. This may involve writhing uncontrollably on the ground, screaming in blood-curdling agony, or fleeing the scene in a panic. Those affected by this power may attempt a new FEAT roll to resist each turn, until the effect has ceased or they have left the area of its generator.

The pain power is a great way to neutralize opponents without physically harming them. Sure, they may not be happy about the use of this ability, but it beats broken bones and bullet wounds. Of course, seriously abusing this power can lead its victims to ultimately developing strange mental quirks as a result, but that's usually as a result of overexposure to its effects - not just day to day usage.

Pain itself can be used on either one person or on everyone within its area of effect. The latter reduces its intensity by -2 CS but otherwise works the same.

Phobia
Type: Voodoo Spell
Duration: instantaneous effect
Cost: 1 point per rank

This ability dredges up the greatest fear of its target and overwhelms his or her conscious mind with the thought of it. The wielder of phobia does not have access to this fear via this ability alone, but nonetheless forces their target to face said fear (whatever it may be) directly. The effects of this power can be staggering against most people, literally causing them to be unable to act due to the paralyzing fear it instills.

Phobia affects it target if he or she fails a Psyche (will) FEAT roll against its power rank. If the affected character has a specific phobia quirk, they attempt this FEAT at the appropriate negative column shift. Characters who succumb to this power receive a new FEAT to shrug the effect off each turn, but phobia will remain in effect until the victim can finally pass this FEAT - which can be hard with particularly phobic characters.

Phobia functions within Near range of its wielder.

Psychoplasm Animation
Type: Voodoo Spell
Duration: instantaneous effect
Cost: 2 points per rank

Psychoplasm is a form of imaginary matter that is generally resident in higher dimensions - the seventh, to be precise. It's a material that is highly subject to the mental impulses of others, and typically does not occur naturally in our plane of existence. By using this ability, however, one can allow some psychoplasm to seep into our universe, and then shape it however they desire!

Essentially, one can use psychoplasm animation to emulate the effects of the various matter generation powers. One can shape the summoned psychoplasm into raw matter, specific objects, or even seemingly living beings. The only stipulation on the items created through psychoplasm is that they are limited in effect by this ability's power rank - in every possible aspect of their existence.

Psychoplasmic objects are limited to a m.s. equal to this power's rank, as are abilities possessed by psychoplasmic beings shaped by this power - whether they be growth (to emulate raw size), speed (for flying entities), or anything else. One can draw forth an amount of psychoplasm equal to this power's rank in 'pounds' each turn; making larger objects simply takes multiple turns, until all the necessary material has manifested.

The products of this power are very short lived. Unless their continued existence is specifically maintained, psychoplasmic objects persist for a number of turns equal to this power rank on a green FEAT, a like amount of minutes on a yellow FEAT, and a similar number of hours with a red FEAT result. This ability may not create permanent objects, as psychoplasm generally tries to return from whence it came as soon as possible.

Generally. However, due to the quirky nature of psychoplasm and the higher, mental realms it hails from, objects created with the material once it has been drawn into our universe will on rare occasions take on a life all their own. This is a double edged sword, as the objects so created become permanent entities - but immediately slip from the grasp of their creator, whether animate or otherwise.

S

Soul Control
Type: Voodoo Spell
Duration: maintenance
Cost: 1 point per rank

The character with this ability may exert influence over any spectral entities in his or her vicinity. Such souls can consist of the spirits of the dead (whether they're freshly so or those that linger on), people with the astral projection or spectral freedom powers, or even random beings from higher dimensions who happen to have blundered into the area. This power can be used on such souls in a variety of fashions.

The first involves simply warding them off. This is useful when someone is the victim of a haunting, or any other nuisance caused by the dead. Soul control can be used to craft a zone that spectral entities cannot enter - unless they can pass a Psyche (will) FEAT roll against this power rank, that is. The size of such a forbidden zone is a sphere with a radius that extends out to Very Near distance.

If soul control is consciously maintained, this ability can protect its wielder from unseemly influence and possession by such entities, or even the 'threat' of conversation with such. However, it can also be used on a specific person, object, or location. If this is the case, the protection that soul control offers will last for a number of hours that is equal to its power rank number.

Secondly, soul control can be used to imprison a spectral entity. If such a being in one's vicinity fails a Psyche (will) FEAT roll against this power rank, they can be contained within the very body of this power's possessor. Once imprisoned, a soul cannot leave until they can succeed in a contest of will against either the soul control power rank or its wielder's Psyche (will) - whichever of the two is higher.

Such an effort is highly useful when trying to take a disembodied combatant out of the fight, even if temporarily. Such an imprisonment can be made more permanent if used in conjunction with the internal universe power - which places the imprisoned soul there, instead. A soul so shunted into such a plane is then essentially stuck... unless they possess the ability to dimensionally transit, that is.

Finally, soul control can grab spectral entities in the vicinity and literally bond them to nearby objects or life forms. Such objects can be anything, whether a freshly built (or repaired) body, a dog, a tree, a robot, or a baseball bat, as long as it doesn't already possess a soul. If dumped into something inanimate, the soul inside cannot actually act unless said object has the ability to do so (as would, say, an automobile).

When one attempts to bind them in such a fashion, spectral entities may resist this ability, as well as ultimately attempt an escape from such a binding, as if being warded from an area - though the exact opposite has, in fact, occurred. The thing to keep in mind, however, is that a soul so bonded to an object, whether it is living or inanimate, might be perfectly all right with their new circumstances.

This is most often the case with the spirits of the dead, who see such a fate as being preferable to whatever reward - or punishment - they imagine is due to them in their afterlife!

Spectral Gestalt
Type: Voodoo Spell
Duration: maintenance
Cost: 2 points per rank

A spectral gestalt is a composite entity created by the minds of several super human individuals. When activated, this ability will create an all new body for the merged minds to inhabit, comprised of the imaginary form of matter known as psychoplasm. The physical and mental ability scores of this transient body will be the average of its composite beings' scores, raised by +1 CS for each doubling of individuals who comprise it.

Two component minds will raise the ability scores by +1 CS, four component minds will raise them by +2 CS, and so on.

The powers a spectral gestalt possesses will be those of its constituent beings. All of its creators' powers can be wielded by this entity, and usually with greater intensity; the ranks a spectral gestalt uses its special abilities at gain a column shift equal to that which enhances its ability scores. Thus, a gestalt comprised of eight individuals will use all of their super human abilities at a +3 CS!

Limited to a ceiling of the spectral gestalt power rank itself, that is.

At the same time, spectral gestalts often possess additional powers above and beyond those of its constituent entities. When this ability is first gained, its possessor has the option of placing one or more of their powers within the gestalt; they alone can't use them, but must build the gestalt to access the ability. Such placement counts as a strong limitation to the powers so constrained, and raises their final ranks by +2 CS.

The appearance of a spectral gestalt will usually be consistent, and is most often defined when the power is first acquired.

The personality of the created, imaginary being can be reflected in one of two ways - though this can vary, depending on its makeup. It may be a distinct, individual entity, which can act independently and even converse with its constituent creators... who can also act on their own to a lesser extent. Of course, they do so at a -2 CS to all their ability and power ranks while their spectral gestalt is extant.

Alternately, the spectral gestalt may literally draw the minds of its creators into itself. This means multiple consciousnesses are active within it and able to use its abilities at once, though the gestalt is, of course, limited by the normal rules for multiple actions. This may cause a bit of confusion if its creators are at cross purposes or motivations, but can alternately allow an entire group to act as one.

Without the hassle of physically merging their bodies, as is necessary with a corporeal gestalt.

If defeated, a spectral gestalt will channel a psychic backlash into its creators' minds. If it exists as a distinct, independent being, the spectral gestalt's defeat will merely prompt a Stun check on its constituent minds. If its creators' minds are actually within it when defeated, they will definitely be Stunned for 1d10 turns, perhaps more when the defeat of their spectral gestalt was particularly brutal.

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

A spectral sense is one which allows its wielder to perceive intelligences Near oneself that are only present in adjacent, higher dimensions. This primarily consists of astral forms and actual entities which might be around the equivalent mindspace, but can also showcase beings in other coterminous realms, or even local disembodied spirits. Unless hidden somehow, these intelligences will be revealed on a green FEAT roll.

Once a spectral entity is revealed, the wielder of this sensory ability can not only see and hear it, but can communicate back! While a restligeist cannot really communicate, being a non-sentient 'echo' of one's presence, a poltergeist readily can - and usually will. Astral forms and the like may or may not communicate depending on their desires, though usually one in the area is there for purposes of espionage or other subterfuge.

Spectral sense is a powerful tool for investigators of the paranormal, and many a seeming charlatan has made use of this ability to earn a quiet living for themselves. It is an essential ability for true mediums, as well as anyone else who works with the formerly living.

Spectral Vampirism
Type: Voodoo Spell
Duration: instantaneous effect
Cost: 2 points per rank

A variant on the standard ability, spectral vampirism allows its wielder to feed upon the souls of others, whether still living or existing free of a body, in order to recover lost Health. As do other forms of this ability, spectral vampirism requires contact with the would-be victim. Upon touching the target, a spectral vampire may drain an amount of their Intuition and Psyche equal to this power rank.

This assumes the target is unable to resist; spectral vampirism can be fought off by passing a Psyche (will) FEAT roll against its rank. If this FEAT fails, the spectral vampire may drain his or her victim of as much or as little spirit as they wish, up to their power rank number. Every additional turn they do so, the target is allowed another FEAT roll to resist the wielder of spectral vampirism.

If this resistance FEAT is successful at any point during the feeding process, the target will immediately repulse the spectral vampire, gaining immunity from further assaults with this power from this spectral vampire (though not from other characters with this ability, or any other vampiric powers the assailant may possess). Upon managing this, the target should note this resistance in the event of future assaults (just in case).

If a spectral vampire is at full Health when they drain their power rank in spectral energy from a victim, they receive a +1 CS to their Strength, Endurance, Psyche, and all their power ranks save for this one (additional drains do not enhance them further). This boost lasts for 1d100 turns, after which point the character with spectral vampirism returns to their normal capability. Gaining another, like boost requires another feeding.

The risk in using this ability is twofold. First off, there's the danger of contagion. Draining someone of their soul completely is considered a lethal attack. If the victim of such an attack fails their Kill check, they will begin to lose Endurance ranks until either first aid is administered or they die. If such an individual dies, they will rise again as an undead creature, a spectral vampire that feeds on the souls of others to survive.

Secondly, if a spectral vampire kills with this ability (accidentally or otherwise), they must pass a Psyche (will) FEAT against the intensity of their own spectral vampirism. If this FEAT fails, they will become addicted to the spiritual energies of others, and will require them to function as well. While addicted, the character with spectral vampirism suffers a loss of power each day they do not feed upon the souls of others.

This loss comes in the form of a -1 CS to their Strength, Endurance, Psyche, and all of their power ranks save for this one. In order to avoid this loss, the addicted spectral vampire must drain an amount of spiritual energy equal to their spectral vampirism rank each day, and if at a penalty, a like amount to recover each -1 CS lost. The only way to shake this addiction is to go cold turkey - and that's not easy.

Withdrawal from the spiritual energy of others causes the CS penalties to mount, until the character's indicated ability scores and power ranks reach Shift 0. This prompts an Endurance FEAT roll, per a Kill result. If this FEAT fails, the character immediately dies, and will eventually rise as a spectral vampire themselves. If it succeeds, they may attempt a Psyche (will) FEAT to overcome their addiction.

If this Psyche FEAT succeeds, the character is 'cured', and may begin to recover lost ability and power ranks at a rate of +1 CS per day. If the Psyche FEAT fails, however, the character must wait another day, and repeat the Endurance FEAT to see if they live long enough to attempt another Psyche FEAT to beat the urge. This continues until the character either dies or overcomes their addiction.

If a character with spectral vampirism has ever been addicted to the spiritual energies of others, using the ability again may cause a relapse - even if they've physically recovered from the ordeal. Every time the character uses this power afterwards, they must pass a Psyche (will) FEAT, the failure of which indicates an immediate relapse into addiction. If they pass this FEAT they'll be fine... until the next use of this power, at least.

Naturally, an undead creature dependent on the souls of others to persist cannot shake this requirement. This process only applies to still-living wielders of spectral vampirism, and not its many victims.

Sympathetic Magic
Type: Voodoo Spell
Duration: special
Cost: 1 point per rank

One of the oldest kinds of magic in existence, sympathetic magic allows a mage to use a part of someone, however insignificant, in order to hold power over them. This most often takes the form of a drop of blood, a lock of hair, or even a nail clipping. In a pinch, the caster can use a possession of the target, like a sock or necklace or whatever, but improvising in this fashion applies a -1 CS penalty to the spell.

With this component in hand, the caster of sympathetic magic can create a stand-in of the target if desired. This provides a +1 CS to its spell rank, but is not at all necessary (it's just a spell focus). This symbolic version of the target can take any form, often coming in the configuration of a doll of some sort - or even something as simple as a figure made from sticks.

But why bother with all this, you ask?

Using sympathetic magic, a wizard can cast spells upon the target regardless of where they're at; sympathetic magic functions on the Far range table, extending the caster's other spells to at least that far out. This spell even includes a sensory link, allowing the caster to experience anything the target currently is. Said target is allowed a Psyche (will) FEAT to resist, even if they don't know what they're rolling against.

Furthermore, sympathetic magic can be used to inflict direct damage upon the target. The caster can use a single sample to cause an amount of damage equal to this spell's rank number, either all at once or over time. After that, the component is expended, and another must be acquired. This is why, when using the spell in a long-term campaign against someone, it pays to have many parts of them handy!

V

Vodun
Type: Voodoo Spell
Duration: 1d10 turns + maintenance, if desired
Cost: 2 points per rank

Intrinsic and vital to the Voodoo school of magic, vodun is an invitation for a Loa, a sort of spiritual entity, to 'ride' one's body for a while. Vodun can be cast in one of two ways, each having a good and bad side. The first is the immediate form, which allows a mage to open themselves up to spiritual possession instantly. This takes a few seconds (which is good) but you never know which spirit will show up (which is bad).

Alternately, one can perform something of a ritual, if they hope to acquire the attention of a particular Loa. This takes considerably longer, and the base odds of the desired Loa taking enough interest to show up is one percent, increased by one with each turn spent performing the ceremony. Ensuring with relative certainty that the chosen Loa will 'ride' oneself takes a full ten minutes (one hundred turns).

While being ridden by a Loa, a mage will take on aspects of such. This can be a literal interpretation (Damballa, for instance, often manifests as a large white snake; one could receive a bonus to their Agility and Escape attempts while being ridden) or more spiritual in nature (Damballa is considered the father of all Loa, and as a source of life may thus grant abilities related to water or rain while riding a mage).

The effective ranks of such abilities (whatever they wind up being) will not exceed the rank of the vodun spell. There are a large number of Loa in existence, and these entities can grant all manner of abilities depending on their nature. This may require a bit of research on the player's part, but said research may pay off after they realize just how versatile a working knowledge of Loa capabilities can make them.

While being ridden, a mage is somewhat aware of what they are doing during this time, but their mind is temporarily merged with that of the Loa, who will help (or not) as it sees fit. In fact, the Loa may use the mage's abilities as well as its own to further its personal agenda, which may or may not coincide with the mage who called it forth. Such is the nature of powerful, otherworldly beings.

One can attenuate this problem somewhat by developing specific entreaties to the Loa of choice; this may take a lot more effort, but can save the mage several headaches in the long term. Of course, some wizards are perfectly happy to roll the dice, such as they are, in order to get something of a random set of extra abilities each time they wield the vodun spell.

W

Weakness Generation
Type: Voodoo Spell
Duration: instantaneous effect
Cost: 2 points per rank

The somewhat bizarre power of weakness generation allows its possessor to hobble others with debilitating weaknesses. If the target cannot pass a Psyche (will) FEAT roll against the rank of this power, he will be the temporary recipient of a weakness. This transient weakness is determined randomly upon its creation; since it is random in nature, it may not negatively affect the target at all - or it may kill him outright!

The time a victim of this power is saddled with a new hindrance depends on the FEAT made when it is used. A green FEAT will make the weakness last for a number of turns equal to this rank number. A yellow FEAT extends this time to a like number of minutes, and a red FEAT instead raises the duration of a weakness to a number of hours equal to its rank. Once this time has expired, the target returns to normal.

Assuming the weakness didn't get him killed in the meantime, that is.

Return to the Book of Magic!