02. The Runelands
The Runemarks • Gods and Monsters
In all the cases below, pairing the source of power with an aspect makes it more robust. Non-aspected power sources are far more subject to disconnection at a GM’s whim.
Items of Power can contain a small amount of mana, but must be kept on hand and used in conjunction with spellcasting. The vast majority of these are expendable trinkets or components, which provide their charge and then are useless. The creation of such trinkets takes a day’s effort in an appropriate environment—such as a lab for an alchemist, a forest for a druid and so on—a moderate cost, and a roll at Great (+4) difficulty. Success fills the item with one MP, and success with style fills it with 2 MP. A character can only maintain a number of such items equal to the numeric value of their magic skill. And yes, this means that stealing rival magic foci and locking them away is a great way to steal a rival’s power. It is also possible to create a more powerful item, one that replenishes itself daily. Doing so requires a month’s effort at great cost, and a similar difficulty. A magi may only have one such item, which makes it even worse if it is stolen.
Places of Power grant mana to those who are attuned to them according to the specific rules of the place. Most often, they grant a single MP at sunrise each day, which must be used that day or lost at the next sunrise. However, certain places of power have unique benefits (such as granting extra MP, allowing the mage to keep a reservoir of 3MP, or allowing the attuned mage to breath underwater) or limitations (MP only usable for fire magic, all MP lost if you kill a seagull, etc.).
Once the character has attuned to a location, the benefit remains in effect indefinitely, though many locations grant extra benefits if the character is actually present, most often with accelerated mana gain. However, getting and keeping attunement is rather tricky.
Places of power are hotly sought after by magi and other magical beings, so there is usually a current owner with a vested interest in the place, especially since most places of power have a limit on the number of people who can attune to it. But even without worrying about such guardians, it is not always obvious how to attune to a particular place, so knowledge and research may be required.
You will lose your attunement to a place of power if someone else attunes and kicks you out, either by taking your slot—if the place is at capacity—or by actively removing your connection. Details will depend on the location.
As such, places of power are greatly valued by mages, but are also drivers of much magical politicking and bargaining. No one wants to spend all their time protecting their places of power, but everyone wants as many attunements as they can manage to get, and that balance is the linchpin of many a magical cabal.
Beings of Power offer many of the benefits and qualifiers of places of power, but they skip the middleman. The mage cuts a deal with a being of power, agrees to abide by its rules, and gets a certain amount of power—and possibly other benefits—in return for the being getting constant insight into that power’s use, and allowing the being a constant connection to the mage—a connection that may well see use in further bargaining.
The exact nature of beings of power can vary—gods, spirits, totem beasts, fae lords, axiomatic universal constructs, or nearly anything else might be a being of power. The trick with such beings is figuring out how to get in touch with them. For some, it’s easy, but for others, it may involve uncovering some deep secrets.
There is nothing that keeps a magi from forming pacts with multiple beings, at least until those pacts come into conflict with one another. At that point, the player may discover that breaking these pacts also has a price.