Mage: the Awakening – Enchanting Guide

Enchanting is the practice of applying magic to inanimate objects; specifically, to things, rather than places, people, or animals. The archetypal enchantment is an Indefinite-duration Imbued or Enhanced Item, but other forms exist, useful in their own circumstances.

The Perfected Metals

Commonly misunderstood weapons in an enchanter’s arsenal, the Perfected Metals are both more and less significant than one might be led to believe. They are created by moving one of the seven classical metals – gold (orichalcum), silver (lunargent), copper, iron (siderite), tin, lead and mercury (hermium) – in and out of a Twilight state dozens of times. Each transition from ephemera to matter and back boils away a little bit more of the metal’s base nature until, finally, all that is left is the perfected metal. There are no commonly-accepted names for perfected copper, tin, or lead; while useful, they are regarded as too “common”, even in their perfected form, for that level of attention.

Perfected metals are not, themselves, magical, though they do have properties inexplicable by modern science. If subjected to chemical or physical analysis, the results are utter, incomprehensible nonsense though not, importantly, Disbelief. Scientists will typically discard the samples as contaminated. Those that insist on publishing regardless invariably get dismissed as cranks.

Metals can be perfected by any process capable of shifting the metal into and out of a Twilight state enough times, though the Death Arcana provides the easiest and most straightforward method. Other realms – even the Shadow or Underworld – do not cause any sort of transformation.

The most noteworthy property of Perfected Metals is that all spells used to enchant something made of them – that is, any spell cast upon them and affecting them – receives a +1 equipment bonus to its casting. They can be alloyed together, but only by the application of Supernal magics; most mages know of Forge Thaumium. Electrum Magicum and a handful of other alloying spells are known, but primarily of interest to specialists. Mundane attempts to alloy Perfected Metals with each other or with mundane substances fail; the substances stubbornly refuse to mix. Other properties are at the discretion of the presiding Storyteller, though they may not provide an equipment bonus for a non-combat task more than +2 higher than equivalent tools composed of mundane substances (to a maximum equipment bonus of +5), and may not provide any bonus for combat tasks. This benefit is part of the base equipment rating, and is not part of the modifier cap. Alloys of perfected metals do not have this bonus; each alloy has its own rules. (Legacies: the Ancient, pg 76; MET: the Awakening, pg 300)

Imbued Items

Imbued Items are those enchanted with the Imbue Item (Prime 3) spell. Rather than alter the properties of the item itself, Imbue Item confers upon it the ability to call down magic from the Supernal Realms. The magics of an Imbued Item may apply to the bearer – referred to as a persistent effect – or be triggered at their command – a contingent effect. Imbuing an item, even with very simple effects, requires many hours of painstaking ritual, even for the most enlightened masters. Atlantean Runes are invariably employed to decrease the effort required to make the enchantment Indefinite. Conditional Durations may be used as well, but rarely are; few mages are willing to risk a cunning foe disarming them in the midst of danger.

The primary purposes of Imbued Items are threefold. The first is to allow a Mage to carry more spells on their pattern than they would ordinarily be capable of, as Imbued Items count as half as many spells for the purposes of Spell Tolerance. The second is to allow a Mage – or Sleepwalker – to cast a spell which would normally be unavailable to them. A nominal investment in Prime and some cunningly-chosen contingent effects can rapidly compound a Cabal’s effectiveness. The third is to bypass the duration cap of one month on spells affecting a “living” pattern, as an Imbued Item with a persistent effect will reapply the effect as long as it is borne with no extra effort on the part of the enchanter. (Though occasional refuelling of its mana supply may be required)

It is worth noting that Imbued Items are still subject to Disbelief; those with clearly magical effects can be disenchanted quite quickly when subjected to the scrutiny of Sleepers. Even “permanent” enchantments – created by sacrificing a dot of Willpower – are vulnerable. The “bearer” can also be defined in a variety of different ways for persistent effects. Imbued Items are known that apply their spells to anything placed within them, or to the object to which they are attached, for example. (MES Awakening Addendum; MET: the Awakening, pg 74-75)

Example

Tammy Thyrsus wants to use Imbue Item to create a ring that can heal others (Healing Heart, Life ***) and identify illnesses and injuries (Healer’s Trance, Life *). Healer’s Trance is Covert and costs no Mana to cast; Healing Heart is also covert (though healing Aggravated damage may make the spell susceptible to Improbability) but does cost 1 Mana to cast. Additionally, Tammy wants the ring to carry its own mana store so that she has something to fall back on to activate the ring if she is otherwise exhausted.

Tammy must cast the spell in downtime. Each Imbued Item takes one downtime plus one for eachadditional spell imbued, meaning this will take her two downtime actions to create. During this time Tammy has her full success limit for the Imbued Item spell to build the item with. (MET: the Awakening p. 148). So, Tammy can have as many successes as her base pool for the Imbued Item spell (Gnosis + Prime for fast casting, Composure + Crafts + Prime for Rote casting).

Tammy has the Rote and has a pool of 12, allowing her to distribute 12 successes to the casting. She will cast this spell with an indefinite duration, requiring 5 of her 12 successes, but decides to carve delicate Atlantean Runes on the ring, bringing that required total down to 4.

12 successes – 4 success (+ Runes) for an indefinite Imbued Item = 8 successes remaining

The remaining successes are used to determine the Potency used to build the actual Item, which is done as per the Imbued Item merit. One dot is used for the “base cost” of Imbued Items, but she also must spend one dot for the basic spell factors. (MET:tAw, pg 148)

8 Potency – 1 Potency for an Imbued Item = 7 Potency remaining

Tammy must now use Potency equal to the Arcanum rating of the highest spell she is Imbuing. (Healing Heart, Life 3)

7 Potency – 3 Potency for highest Arcanum = 4 Potency remaining

One dot must be provided for the additional spell, Healer’s Trance, regardless of its Arcana requirements.

4 Potency – 1 Potency for additional spell = 3 Potency remaining

Tammy is lucky, she is not setting up either power to be persistent. If she were, it would require an additional dot – and she would be required to be able to cast that spell using Advanced Prolongation factors. Tammy will, however, devote one Potency to providing a Mana Pool for the item. Since it has two spells Imbued, the item can contain 12 points of mana: 10 base, plus one for each spell.

3 Potency – 1 Potency for Mana Pool = 2 Potency remaining.

Since she’s got the item she wants, Tammy elects not to use her remaining Potency to empower it further. She sums up the total dots for the merit for her new Imbued Item:

1 (base Imbued Item cost)

+ 3 (Highest Primary Arcana of Imbued Spells)

+ 1 (One additional spell)

+ 1 (Item has a Mana Pool)

= 6 dots, costing 12 XP once finalized.

(Note from MES aNST Awakening: there was an error in this example; an extra point of Potency had crept in and neither the author nor I noticed it. It has since been corrected)

To finalize the spell, Tammy must pay the full Mana cost at the end of her downtimes. (1 for the Imbue Item Spell, 1 for Healing Heart, 1 for Mana Pool = 3 Mana), and then she must release the spell. If any spell she was Imbuing was Vulgar she would also need to test for paradox. She may release the spell by spending a Willpower dot (undispellable), a Willpower point (can be dispelled), or may use any of the alternate methods detailed in Tomb of Mysteries (p 128). Note, please see the Awakening addendum as some of the release methods are only valid for specific spells.

Enhanced Items

A variety of magics can produce Enhanced Items. Any enchantment that affects the item directly, improving its durability, function, or any other characteristic qualifies, though strictly only if the benefit is Indefinite in duration and the spell relinquished by its caster. Spells to create Enhanced Items will generally be cast using ritual magic in downtime; in these circumstances, it is strongly recommended that characters simply be given their full success limit to build the enchantment. The particulars of the spells making up the item should be noted, and the final Enhanced Item dots calculated from the total effect. Any spell that does not have its own cost formula under the Enhanced Item merit (or its various expansions) is treated as a “special property”. If the special property is one that can sensibly be applied multiple times, count its cost once for each application.

Worthy of special emphasis is that the Enhanced Item Merit is effects-based. It does not matter how many or how few spells are used to arrive at a given result. The only thing used to calculate the final dot rating of the item is how it diverges from the original basic, mundane object. Note, too, that only persistent enchantments qualify; Lasting or effectively Lasting effects, like Plasticity (Matter 3, MET:tAw pg 295), do not need to be bought as Enhanced Item properties, as they become part of the item’s basic, mundane state once the spell completes.

Perhaps the most famous “special property” is for the item to be made of or incorporate Thaumium, a benefit worth 5 points. Created by Masters of Matter as an alloy of perfected gold, silver, and mercury – one size point’s worth of each per final size point of the Thaumium – Thaumium can counter spells cast against its wielder and inflict grievous wounds, thought it is immensely expensive and requires considerable training to make. A Demesne and experienced ritual assistants are a great help. Thaumium items bought at character creation are built with 8 successes divided among mana capacity, size, structure, and durability. Those made in play should be constructed as any other ritual spell. (MET: the Awakening, pg 71, 300; MES Awakening addendum) Note that the example under the Forge Thaumium spell is incorrect; the base cost of making the spell of Indefinite Duration is 5 successes. (MET: the Awakening, pg 152)

Property Created by Spell Page References
Increased Durability Alter Integrity (Matter 3) MET:tAw, pg 71, 293
Increased Structure Alter Integrity (Matter 3) MET:tAw pg 71, 293
Increased Size Alter Size (Matter 5) MET:tAw pg 71, 300
Increased Equipment Bonus Alter Efficiency (Matter 4) MET:tAw pg 71, 297
Decreased Size Alter Size (Matter 5) GotV pg 204, MET:tAw pg 300
Armor Alter Armoring (Matter 4) Awakening Addendum
Bulletproof Bulletproof (Matter 2) Awakening Addendum

Two new spells have been added in the MES Addendum to produce Enhanced Item properties without corresponding printed spells: Alter Armoring and Bulletproof.

Example

Martin Matter is a Master of the Matter Arcanum and wants to enhance his Kevlar vest to provide more protection. The default armor rating of his vest is 2/3, giving the vest a base Durability of 3. At this point, Martin can elect to use the Alter Armoring spell from the Awakening Addendum to raise the melee Rating by one. If he wants to do more than that, he’ll need to use Alter Integrity to raise the Durability up to enable the armor to be made stronger. Martin’s player consults the reference table in MET Mage: the Awakening to detail how many Dots must be distributed to raise the durability, and elects to allocate one dot to raising the Durability by 2. (Per the table in MET: Awakening p. 71)

With the Durability now at 5, Martin can use the Alter Armoring spell to raise the Melee and Ranged ratings up to a maximum of 5. Each increase of either rating will add one to the dot value of the Enhanced Item. Raising both rating to 5 will require 5 dots (Melee 2 +3 = 5 / Ranged 3 +2 = 5).

The result is a 6 dot Enhanced Item.

1 dot:  Durability +2

+3 dots: Melee Rating

+2 dots: Ranged Rating

= 6 dots.

This results in a Kevlar vest with Armor 5/5 and a Durability of 5. Martin must be able to cast Alter Integrity and Armoring using Advanced Prolongation factors if he wishes to make these changes permanent. If he does, he must then release the spell with a Willpower dot expenditure to make it permanent, a Willpower point if he is willing to risk his work being dispelled, or he may use one of the alternate release methods detailed in Tomb of Mysteries p. 128. As long as the spells on it are of Indefinite Duration and relinquished, the item will be a six-dot merit costing 12 xp to purchase.

Alchemy

The final, and perhaps least well-known, discipline of enchanting is the art of alchemy. Alchemy allows spells to be suspended in magically refined variations on mundane substances, such as oils or powders, creating a potent alternative to hung or contingent spells. (Tome of the Mysteries, pg 145) It can also be used to produce potent, long-lasting animated servitors. The explanation of Alchemy is detailed enough that further discussion here would be extremely redundant.