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 Sorcery: Cursing

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Posts : 421
Join date : 2010-01-30
Age : 42
Location : Australia

PostSubject: Sorcery: Cursing   Fri Jul 02, 2010 4:31 pm

One of the oldest forms of magic, a curse imparts some bad wish onto an offending party. This ranges from the Evil Eye to a group malediction. Though anybody can direct ill will at someone else, this Path allows you to vent your spleen with real effect. At its most basic level, such a curse quickly fouls up its victim's life, then dissipates. At its worst, potent Cursing can last for generations.

The severity of the Curse is usually bound to the dots in your Severity rating (the dots in his Path), and the effects usually only happen once. With a number of successes, however, you can make nasty things happen to more than one person in a given group. A magician cannot Curse someone more severely than his skill allows (i.e., above the dots he has) if working alone. If he works with a group versed in the same Path, however, his anger carries more clout.

The basic system for Cursing is simple: First, decide how much punishment you want to inflict (within your ability, of course), spend one turn per level of Severity magically collecting and focusing your (character's!) hate, then discharge it in some cathartic fashion (a scream, a dance, a venomous e-mail message, etc.). From there, you roll Manipulation + Intimidation to work the Effect and spend a point of Willpower. Your successes get divided between Relation and Severity (player's choice), allowing you to customize a Curse. That Curse's Effect strikes soon afterward. At some point and in some way, it is determined by the Storyteller, not the magician; you can choose who you want to hurt, but not how it happens.

If, for example, Jaymi Darkangel (with three dots in Curse) rolls four successes when Cursing her landlord, she could choose to inflict a serious inj ury on him, or cause embarrassment to both the landlord and his wife. Two days later, the landlord trips and falls, breaking his leg (Severity 3). If Jaymi had decided to humiliate the family instead, the fall might have ended in a pile ofdogfeces; the wife, meanwhile, burns the brownies for her first PTA meeting (Severity 2). Simple, but effective!

Unlike most forms of Hedge Magic, Cursing can focus the will of a group into a force more potent than anything a single magician could muster. By acting in concert (see "Teamwork"), an angry pack of Curse-skilled hedge witches can bring down death and worse upon their enemies. In such cases, each additional member grants a new dot to the pool, adding to either Severity, Relation or both. Jaymi, therefore, could use up to four levels of Severity if she teamed up with Cheryl of the Five Rose Sect to cutse the landlord, and her difficulty drops by one. In the case of group Curses, set the initial difficulty at 8 for simplicity.

Curses do not force events to happen or rearrange the laws of nature (that's True Magick's providence). They do, however, subtly nudge things or people already in motion toward the caster's intent. A hedge wizard's Curse may take days or even months to occur, but it will happen. Someone successfully Cursed may not immediately walk through a plate glass window, but she may find herself under a falling windowpane the next time she passes a construction site. In magickal terms, such events are always coincidental and will only strike when a strong possibility exists for them to.

An especially skilled magician may invoke the Death Curse. By spending all her permanent Willpower, that wizard's player can add that Willpower to her Curse dots, and divide the total as she sees fit between Severity and Relation. The character then turns into a mindless husk and dies soon after, burned out by inner hatred. A witch with minimal skill in Cursing might only get four or five dots to spend, but a powerful one could wither a whole family!

Supernatural creatures may be Cursed, but can resist the Effect with a successful Willpower roll. This roll's difficulty will usually be 7 or 8, but might go as high as 9 if the magician is especially powerful or successful. Naturally, the being in question has to be aware of the Curse in order to resist it. Shott problems will probably just happen and be done with, but a prolonged Curse can be discovered with a little work (consulting the spirits, checking auras with Prime magick or Auspex, reading probability with Entropy, etc.). A mage's or magician's Arcane Background can take successes away from a wizard attempting to Curse her on a one-for-one basis.

As any wise practitioner knows, rearranging the paths of fortune can backfite. Botching a Curse brings the effect back at the caster in ways that should delight the most sadistic of Storytellers. Even if the roll is successful, there's always some kind of fallout from a Curse, especially if it's a severe one. The nature of this payback lies more with storytelling than with systems, but should be in line with the general power of the Curse and the ill will of the magician. Backt ipples range from dropping an expensive item (and having to pay for it) to foreclosure, physical aliments or sudden disappearing acts on the parts of one's friends.

No Curse needs to be used at full potency. You can choose to revoke the Cutse at any time prior to its effect. A magician skilled in this Path can also try to undo another's Curse with a Wits + Subterfuge roll (difficulty 9) and a Willpower point.

Roll: Manipulation + Intimidation

Cost: 1 Willpower

Severity Effect (Path rating)

* A brief inconvenience (dropping an object, saying something stupid, closing a door on your fingers, etc.)

** A slip-up that results in a lasting injury or embarrassment (stepping on glass barefooted, throwing up on the Japanese Prime Minister, breaking an heirloom, etc.)

*** A serious injury or illness, not incapacitating, but painful and inconvenient (broken limb, hernia, gunshot wound, etc.)

**** A lasting illness, not fatal, but debilitating (infection, stroke, heart attack, Alzheimer's disease, etc.)

***** Death, usually by some ghastly means (decapitation, impaling, mangling, torture, disease, etc.)


* One person only ** One close relation or friend *** Two similar relations (male heirs, lovers, parents) **** All close living relations or friends ***** All relations and friends! 5 + Relatives or friends for generations to come

Price of Failure

As described above, a Curse can boomerang on its caster. A failed roll discharges the malediction into the surrounding area, peppering it with bad fortune (Storyteller's option as to what happens after that). A botched Curse roll infects the sorcerer with her own hatred, dropping the spell's effects into her lap.
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