02. The Runelands
Associated Skills: Craft, Standing, sometimes Network.
Concepts: Alchemist, Illusionist, Gadgeteer, Master Hacker, Gremlin in the Works.
Artifice • Divinity • Elementalism • Sorcery • Relativistics
The School of Artifice is about knowing how things work, and moreover how they go together. It's the kind of genius that invents, that innovates and expounds. It's gleeful, steampunk full-throttle mad science. As a result, a creative Artificer can always have a device or technique on-hand to accomplish one of the Four Actions. Whether these are kit-bashed together as field-expedient modifications, painstakingly pre-crafted in a shop during downtime, or conjured on the spot, the rules for this are straightforward: Make a Skill roll and spend some mana. .
Artifice is unique among the schools of magic in that it doesn't have to be particularly magical at all. Whether its effects describe conjuring material objects 'out of thin air' or the result of long hours spent in a workshop tooling devices, this system's equally adroit. Wondersmiths tend to have worker's hands and a craftsmanlike approach to magic to understand concepts and ideas associated with the Craft, and as it's capable of producing items of magic and technology with equal facility, it unsurprisingly provides an income in the form of Standing.
Wondersmiths can only create non-living material, though this distinction is largely academic since it is perfectly capable of modifying and constructing undead or mechanical Minions.
Craft: At no cost, the character can produce useless, colour items. If the character spends an action sorting through the inevitable accumulation of these things whilst grumbling under one's breath, they get a +1 bonus on any roll related to practical Artifice on their next action.
At a cost of 1 MP, the character can produce something useful but unexceptional, such as a weapon or the right tool for the job at hand. There’s no skill roll associated with this, it’s just an enabler for subsequent skill rolls. This effect is identical to the Craft Stunt Always Making Useful Things, but it's cheaper.
At a cost of 2MP, the character may create something which allows him to use his magic skill in lieu of another skill so long as he can physically describe how the object allows for the specific roll. This is particularly good at creating signature items which may themselves become Extras, as Carmack amply demonstrates.
Create an Advantage: Power Reservoir
It's no secret that magic requires Power, and that Power isn't always easy to get one's hands on. To ameliorate this somewhat, Artificers have developed means of creating reservoirs of magic Power for later use. These may take any sort of shape the magician desires, for example, a collection of talismans, an alchemical battery, or any of the more usual accoutrements (such as a staff or familiar) may be so employed. Power stored this way decays at an interval of one point of power per week, or until used, whichever is soonest. A magician may carry a number of MP equal to his Personal Pool in this fashion. These MP are in addition to any Peripheral pool drawn from outside sources.
Artifice and Summoning: Building Relationships.
At a cost commensurate to its power level, the character can produce specialty Minions, either by building new ones or augmenting existing ones. The caster selects the form of the creature and its primary skill, and the GM fills in any secondary skills as needed. At 3MP, this creature will have a Fair (+2) apex skill, which can be increased on a one-for-one basis by spending extra MP. Once the level is settled on, the caster makes a magic roll with a difficulty equal to the level of the creature. If the roll fails, the result is imperfect; it might still function, but it has a number of unexpected complications equal to the margin of failure. One or two complications might be inconvenient, but three or more is likely to produce an out-of-control threat or other big problem. See Minions for more details.
Tweaks and Peculiarities: Sonic Screwdrivers and Green Lantern's Ring
With a change in color, this also becomes an excellent system to handle certain sci-fi gadgets, especially ill-defined, all-purpose tools like sonic screwdrivers and their ilk. In this case, the physical manifestation is replaced with technobabble and interaction with technology. In this case, replace Craft with Network. Effect 0 is an array of accidental electronic effects, effect 1 is largely unchanged, but effect 3 basically allows for Artifice to be used as super-hacking, doing anything that the local equipment is capable of. Effect 4 only applies when there’s an existing unit to plug in.
It’s also possible to use this model to represent glowing energy constructs of the sort favored by comic books. In this case you remove the bonus from Skill 1, and make a failure of Skill 4 require more MP (on a one-for-one basis).