Example Rotes

Banshee's Wail

Forces 2/Mind 2

An effect native to the Isles, this rote is typically vulgar, but may be coincidental if used late at night in the moors or ruins of Scotland by a female mage of a morbid bent. Each tradition has a different ritual for how the effect builds up, but it always ends with the caster screaming at the top of her lungs. All of this sound is focused and amplified by the effect to eardrum-splitting levels while being attached to an emotional impulse of Fear. Those who suffer from the effect typically are left alive but terrified.

System: The Forces component enhances the sound of the mage's scream into a tangible, sonic force, usually absorbing and dampening all other sounds in the area to add to the effect. The Mind component adds a Fear impulse, typically causing victims to flee, cower, or even pass out. Successes are typically divided evenly between Damage, Mind Effect, and Targets. Each success spent on targets either adds 5' to the radius of the effect (affecting everyone but the caster with the full effect) or adds an additional focused target, determined by the mage at the time of the casting (Thus, it might be more effective to use the former option in a press of foes but the latter option against a handful of widely spaced foes). Each success of damage does two bashing wound levels to all targets, soakable normally but bypassing all armor that does not cover the majority of the body. Each success of Mind Effect imposes the need to Fear; targets who are aware that they are being magicked may resist this impulse with a Willpower roll (difficulty of the caster's Charisma + Intimidation), with each success cancelling out one of the mage's. Targets that do not cancel all successes will cower, flee, or pass out depending on their normal response to extreme fear, and even targets that do succeed will suffer a penalty equal to the original number of Mind effect successes on all of their next turn's actions.


Return the Bolt

Correspondence 2/Matter 2 (Possibly with Life 3)

This is a very simple and effective but vulgar effect. By opening a small Correspondence window, the mage may catch and re-direct bullets or arrows shot at her (or, actually, any target though this is harder). Attackers may find themselves the victim of their own bullet, or be accused of shooting their allies in the back.

System: A mage who has learned this rote may abort to it like a dodge when under attack by projectiles.  A Correspondence window is placed that momentarily catches and re-orients a projectile without removing any of its kinetic energy. The mage must make a reflexive Wits+Alertness roll against difficulty 6 to actually catch the bullet, and equal or beat the shooter's attack successes (the difficulty increases to catch bullets aimed at other targets within view of the mage). Failure means the window misses the bullet entirely, and the target is hit for full effect, but the mage can add as many successes from the magick roll as are necessary to beat the attacker's successes (by widening the window). The first success of the magick roll is needed to affect the bullet, and additional successes on the roll (that aren't used up trying to catch the bullet) act as attack successes against any target with a direct line to the mage, including the original attacker (using the projectile's original base damage).

The Life 3 variant of the rote turns the mage's entire body into the Correspondence window at the moment of impact. This increases the difficulty and paradox of the effect, but does not require a roll to actually catch the bullet (and can only be used to re-direct attacks against the caster). For mages of a physical bent this variant might resemble a highly-trained deflection, rather than the opening of a mystical portal, and thus is coincidental in some locations.


Horus' Banishment Field

Forces 2 (Possibly with Mind 1/Correspondence 1)

Another simple but vulgar effect, this effect generates a field of force dampening around the mage. Bullets slow and stop, Forces attacks loose some of their potency, and falls no longer prove a serious threat. However, this cocoon of Forces can sometimes be a hazard, as it also limits sensory information received by the caster and his own physical attacks.

System: This effect may be aborted to like a Dodge if known as a rote. Forces creates an area around the mage's body that disperses incoming forces in all directions but towards the mage. One success may be put into duration at the mage's discretion, and all other successes go into effect. Each success in effect provides two extra dice of soak against all energy-based attacks, which includes most physical attacks and allows the character to soak Lethal damage. These dice should be rolled first, and if the attack's damage is completely negated then the attack did not penetrate to the mage's skin. Unfortunately, each effect success blocks non-hostile forces as well. Add the effect success to the difficulty of all Perception rolls made by the mage, and to the difficulty of all physical attacks made by the mage (including via a weapon as the field typically extends over small carried items, as well as limiting the mage's ability to swing at full force).

The Mind/Correspondence variant of the rote sets up a multi-task observation of all nearby conditions, dampening the field when an attack is not imminent. The effect is performed normally, save that successes can be spent on the perception effect as well as the force field. Perception effect successes negate the force effect successes when not serving as soak. For example, six successes on this variant allocated to provide 1 Duration, 3 Forces Effect, and 2 Perception Effect means that for the rest of the scene the mage gains +6 soak dice against energy damage, but only suffers a +1 difficulty to Perception and attack rolls (which would have been a +3 difficulty without the 2 successes spent on the Perception Effect).


Hermes' Acrobatics

Entropy 2/Forces 2 (Possibly with Correspondence 1 or Mind 1)

A much more coincidental effect than a simple Forces field, this effect makes the caster harder to hit by making her adept at dodging attacks. Bullets miss by the bredth of a hair, fireballs are caught in a lucky crosswind that takes away some of their heat, and the mage dives just a little farther out of the way of falling debris. The only drawback is that the mage must have full ability and willingness to move in order to take advantage of the effect.

System: Forces creates a field of minor re-direction effects that cause objects to veer in a direction opposite the one the mage is moving towards. Entropy decreases the probability of a hit and increases the probability of the mage's attempt to dodge. One success may be allocated to duration, and the rest must be placed into effect. This effect cannot be used as an aborted action, even as a rote, and multiple action penalties are in effect if trying to activate the rote and dodge on the same turn. Each effect success grants two extra dice on all Dodge rolls to avoid energy attacks and kinetic projectiles. Against melee or brawling attacks this protection extends to +1 die to Dodge rolls, rather than an automatic success, since such close range attacks are much harder to deflect with Entropy-based "lucky dodges."

A variant of the rote with the addition of Correspondence or Mind allows the mage to allocate successes to Abilities Enhancing Magick, making Dodges lower difficulty in addition to the extra dice.



Life 2 (or Life 3 to affect others)

A much more coincidental version the standard healing rote, this effect does not heal wounds but does prevent them from being immediately deadly. Releasing a brief wash of Life energy, ruptured blood vessels heal closed and cease bleeding. All other effects of the wound persist, but at least the subject is no longer bleeding to death.

System: Life releases a healing effect that helps the body to help itself. Each success on the roll adds a die to Stamina for the purposes of resisting bleeding, and immediately allows another roll to cease bleeding (generally requiring successes equal to the current number of Lethal wounds). One success can be spent into duration to have this benefit persist for any further wounds in the same scene.

The Life 3 variant works on others besides the caster. The only difference in the effect is the slightly higher difficulty and that one success must be spent for a target other than the caster.


Adrenaline Rush

Life 3

Invoking a surge of power, the mage mimics the effects of an adrenaline rush. This effect is coincidental in the midst of incredibly trying circumstances, but even when used casually the Paradox generated tends to take the effect of the stress fractures and bruises normally suffered by those coming off of a feat of adrenaline-based strength.

System: Life temporarily boosts the mage's physical attributes for the next turn (including the rolls made for the next turn's actions). Half of the successes provide a bonus to Strength, one quarter provide a bonus to Dexterity, and the last quarter provide a bonus to Stamina. Traits can usually go above 5 without gaining extra Paradox, as the effect is short lived enough to not draw down further Paradox energies in most cases.


Wracking Paralysis

Life 3

Releasing a potentially killing effect, the mage instead directs his attack to nerve clusters and muscles, attempting to make it too painful for the target to move. A successfully paralyzed individual suffers incredibly torture whenever she tries to do anything but hold still and breathe.

System: Life gives the target extra wound penalties whenever she tries to move. One success is required for the target, and one may be spent to extend the duration of the effect to a scene, and all other successes are applied to effect. The target may roll Stamina each turn of the effect to resist some of the effect levels, with each success at difficulty 6 temporarily negating one of the Effect successes. All un-resisted effect successes translate to a -2 to all of the target's physical actions. Actions that are only partly physical, like most magickal effects that require movement as part of their casting, suffer only a -1 per effect success. A target that has a penalty equal to or greater than Stamina+Athletics is generally unable to take miscellaneous physical actions that would not normally require a roll (such as moving), unless they are obviously governed by a trait combination that is greater than the penalty.