The second theme is Writing.
Sealing the Ink • (Dorchadas)
The thaumaturge chants a prayer to the god of writing and holds a quill pen in the smoke of burning incense. After spending 1 Willpower (or 1 mote of Essence), the magic appears in the incense, which slowly sinks into the quill, turning it dead black. For the next hour, that quill will not run out of ink no matter how much writing is done with it. The black slowly fades over the course of the hour until the quill is once again its normal color.
Incense of the Word (Edward_Fortune)
To prepare this ritual, the thamaturge must make paper made from common wood gathered from the upper most branches of a tree and rose petals, and ink made from the blood of a blue feathered bird. The letter must then be written using a quill made from of the bird's feathers. Once the missive is done, the savant spends 1 essence, OR 1 willpower OR takes a health levels worth of bashing damage, and burns the letter, inhaling the smoke and chanting as he does so.
The ashes are collected, and fashioned into an incense, typically a 'joss stick'. (Dex + Lore, diff one, or Dex + Craft: incense, automatic success, to make the thing.) When the incense is burned, the words of the original letter appear on the nearest flat surface.
Cleansing The Text •• (szilard)
The thaumaturge creates a ritual bath of water scented with a complex mixture of rare incense (Resources ••). A cloth is inscribed with prayers by the thaumaturge and soaked in the bath. At this point the prayers disappear and the cloth appears unmarked. This cloth may then be wrapped around a book, scroll or sheaf of papers. If the thaumaturge does this and expends 2 Essence or 1 Willpower, the next person who attempts to read the (presumably unwrapped) writings will find them to be blank. This will only have an effect upon a single individual and will last for, at most, a scene, after which the writing will be visible to all once again. While it is not absolutely necessary to do so, most thaumaturges attempt to wait for the cloth to dry before wrapping a text with it for fairly obvious reasons.
Voice of the Billowing Smoke ••• (Everyl)
This ritual was developed in the days of the Old Realm as a means of securely delivering messages without leaving a "paper trail." It enables a thaumaturge to write invisibly on a piece of parchment, enchanting it so that, when the parchment is later burned, the flames will speak the words written on the page.
The ritual calls for parchment specially treated using a rare kind of oil in a process that takes about two hours (and costs Resources •• per page to be treated). After finishing the treatment, the thaumaturge says a prayer to a particular Lesser Elemental Dragon of Fire, leaving the last word unsaid. He may then "write" on the parchment without using ink; this does not actually leave visible markings on the parchment, but it is indeed recorded. Any dry implement can be used, including a pen, brush, or even the thaumaturge's finger, but the thaumaturge must be careful not to inadvertently press down on any part of the paper that he does not intend to "mark," lest he inadvertently blur some other writing. Because there is no visible mark from this, the process requires a either a Dexterity + Linguistics roll at difficulty 2 or a Dexterity + Craft (Calligraphy) roll at difficulty 1 (increase the difficulty of either roll by 1 if the thaumaturge is not using a proper writing tool) to accomplish successfully; failure results in a garbled message. When he is finished writing, the thaumaturge carefully holds the parchment over a candle flame and says the last word of the prayer, sealing the enchantment. Thereafter, the parchment can be written on normally without affecting the magic involved, and many thaumaturges write misleading dummy messages to take advantage of this.
If at any later time the parchment is touched to a flame, fire will immediately and totally engulf the page. It will continue to burn for as long as it takes to speak the words written invisibly onto the page before winking out. The words are spoken in the voice of Billowing Smoke, a Lesser Elemental Dragon of Fire who was tricked into selling his voice during the First Age. As such, it has difficulty with modern languages; while it will always be intelligible regardless of language, the voice has a thick accent when speaking anything except Old Realm, High Realm, Low Realm, or Flametongue.
Conveying the Hearts Message •••• (FlowsLikeBits)
This ritual allows the thaumaturge to send an unambigous message to a single person using the international language(Essence). The meaning of this message will not be misinterpreted by it's intended recipient. The message does not have to be written by the thaumaturge.
To use this ritual, the writer must first write the intended message faithfully attempting to convey the intended meaning, and then addressing it to it's recipent(the recipient must be unambigous, but does not have to be a specific individual, and their name does not have to be known "my nemesis" or "an Immaculate Monk" or "the girl in the window that night" all work). It only works on one recipient however(this first one who fits, in the case there is more than one possible). It is more important that the writer have a recpient in mind than that they know who they are.
The writer must the lie down in a prepared ritual area with the text upon their chest while the thaumaturge burns candles(Resources ••) and chants prayers to the Maidens for four hours. The thaumaturge spends 1 Willpower or 3 essence during this time, to finish the ritual. After this the message is phyisicaly sent to the recipient. How long it takes and the manner of it's travel are immaterial, but it must be physically recieved by them and in a readable condition.
When read by it's intended recipient(who must be able to read the physical words), they will not only read the words, but understand the writers emotions and frame of mind at the time of writing(if they later change their mind, this is not reflected in the message). They also know who the writer of the message is, and will recognize them if they have met before. Information is also conveyed accuratly, although if the writer is confused, the recipient will also find the result confusing. This effect is not usually dangerous, although it may be unnerving(if the writer is particuarly insane, this may be conveyed to the reader, unless they can make a willpower roll to stop reading. On a failure the reader may get a derangement similar to that of the writer. This is permanant for mortals, but lasts a scene for Exalts). Damage to the message also damages the emotion playback, although they are proportional, so minor damage is usually not that bad.
The existance of this ritual is well known, having made several appearances in popular stories and literature. It is almost impossible to produce a deception with this ritual. The writer must make willpower(5) roll to convey anything other than their true feelings. A failure makes the attempted deception obvious, a botch conveys a different message. The result is that these messages have a high degree of believablity. Bitter enemies who recieve such a message from their worst enemy will know it is in good faith.
A less known ability of this ritual is that it can be rushed. For the price of 3 additional willpower(9 essence) the ritual requirements are not needed and the chanting time is reduced to 1 minute. Obviously, this is rarely used, and most commertial practicers will not admit to being able to do this.
Auspicious Calligraphy of the Soul Name ••••• - Gamlain
This ritual is used by mortal preists the world over to create weapons against inauspiciuos spirits(Or merely their enemies). A prayer strip is prepared of the purest white paper, and the name of a spirit is written on it in the most exquisite calligraphy; The target's true name and nature must be known for such a tailsman to properly be formed. The Thamaturge charges the parchment with 2 willpower (Or six motes of essence) When performing the ritual of enchantment, and spends one more willpower (3 motes) at any time to activate the Soul's Name Tailsman, which must then be applied to the target - a Dex+thrown or MA roll will usually suffice, although the prayer strip cannot be thrown more than 5 yards without use of some other magic. The victim's name glows brightly with essence on contact, and the paper adheres to their body like glue.
The target is frozen in place at the touch of the tailsman, bound by the enchantment of his true name for 1+Essence turns; This functions automatically on spirits with little heavenly authority and supernatural power (Essece 2 or less), but can be resisted by more powerfull spirits and by all mortal beings (Roll Stamina+Resistance or Occult vs difficulty 2 each turn untill succeding, which breaks the magic). These tailsmans never function on beings with an essence of 5 or more.
Souls Name tailsmans retain their enchantment for no more than one lunar month. Those who hunt hungry ghosts frequently know this ritual, as the 'souls name' of a Po Soul is the same for every po soul of a type - each species and exaltation's Po Souls have a different name, but these wretched creatures lack individual names - and it's use is easily recognized (Int+lore diff 1).
Writing Through the World's Door •••••
By praying for 1 turn and spending 3 essence the thaumaturgist is able to send a message to anyone on the same plane of existence, the character must already have the message they wish to convey in their hand and they must burn it in any way they choose, the message then travels through the weave for a number of hours equal to 24 / the sender's essence score. While it travels the charm is open to interference or destruction from anyone with access to the tapestry with an investigation + perception roll (difficulty equal to the user's essence).
When the message arrives it appears above the recipient's head in a minor flash of light, looking slightly charred but perfetly ledgible, if the message has been changed then the recipient and the character who changed the message must make opposed investigation + perception and craft (calligraphy) or linguistics + intelligence respectively.
I'm not sure if Voice of Billowing Smoke is really up to being a level 3 ritual, but it was the first thing I thought of when I saw the subject. Anyone have any suggestions for spiffying it up, if it needs it? -Everyl
- Isn't Linguistics usually used for Calligraphy rolls? -szilard
- Good point. I'll change that a bit... I could swear that I've seen references to Craft (Calligraphy) before, though. I've read bits and pieces of so many books I don't own, though, that I can't be sure... Can anyone clarify that for me? -Everyl
- I'm sure it's Craft (Calligraphy. Sidereal use that ability quite heavily, -dameon16
- You can use Craft (Calligraphy) or Linguistics, says so in Sids. -- OhJames
For Cleansing the Text (Great name). What happens if the next reader attempts to write on the "blank" text? --FlowsLikeBits
- There will be overlapping text on the page the next time someone looks at it. - szilard
- The I don't like 'go mad' rule on conveying the hearts message, but I love the sentiment. The problem is it's too easy to make a 'goes mad' book. I'd allow mortals to willpower every year after the affect has happened to shake of the effects, unless they read the message again, in which case the one year count resets. Edward_Fortune
Looks good, Gamlain! Personally, I might have ruled that the p'o souls of Exalts do have individual names, but that's just a judgement call. Now you must archive this theme and choose a new one! - Quendalon
- Done. :) - Gamlain