An Incantation is a bit of magic bound up in the world. Some say the gods never created the world thoroughly and left parts undone, locked away by divine magic. Incantations are the keys to this potential, but also a promise made to secret powers that once unleashed, the chaos will take some specific form. Incantations aren’t flexible spells or routes to greater and greater power. Each one completes a simple task so long as the witch performs its required ritual perfectly, and with supreme focus. Where many of a witch’s other abilities rely on intuition, Incantations require rote learning to perform correctly. They permit only the slightest stylistic flourishes — a cry to Mary instead of The Morrigan, perhaps — and so require investment in a Mental Merit: Incantation
Incantation Procedure Edit
Once the character learns an Incantation, he may use it by following this procedure:
Ritual Requirements: Each Incantation can only be cast in a particular time, place, or both, such as at under the full moon or at a murderer’s grave. The Incantation also requires specific materials: certain herbs, say, or worms boiled in a cauldron. Only then can the witch perform ritual acts to rouse the Incantation’s magic.
Circle, Amulet, or Potion: The witch must decide whether the Incantation’s power affects an area (circle), is bound to an object that can be moved (amulet), or is stored within an object that is later consumed (potion). Incantations possess one great limit compared to other forms of magic, in that they cannot truly affect distant targets unless an amulet or potion is brought to its location. The exception is To Summon a Being, which draws the target to a location. Note that “circle,” “amulet,” and “potion” are examples and general names, and a length of red string that expends its magic when tied to someone might count as a “potion” for rules purposes. A circle need not be truly circular, but can define a space with no more than a 50-foot radius. An amulet is transferrable, and can be stolen from or secreted on a person.
Willpower Expenditure and Roll: At the ritual’s conclusion, spend one point of the witch’s Willpower and roll her permanent Willpower (difficulty 8). Only one success is required to bring about the Incantation’s full effect. Additional successes may only be useful if some supernatural power might interfere with the Incantation, in which case the successes scored serve as a general measurement of its strength.
If the roll fails, nothing happens, but the materials are no longer fit for the Incantation, and must be replaced if the witch wants to make another attempt. On a botch, malformed magic ripples through the witch, causing sudden pain and illness. This inflicts one level of aggravated damage and leaves a mortal bedridden for a few days.
Incantations and Other Magic: Incantations cannot undo the effects of Path magic, Disciplines, and Awakened magic. They’re inferior to all of these, and these forms of magic can undo Incantations using their usual systems for countermagic, as if each Incantation were a one-dot power that scored one success.
Sample Incantations Edit
The following Incantations represent a small sample of those learned by witches, and have been selected because the undead may find them of interest. Design more using these as examples.
For Luck Edit
Witches shift fate with this Incantation, calling on saints or gods to reorder the normal course of destiny.
Ritual Requirements: The witch defines one narrow circumstance (“in battle with a sword,” or “when I argue with the tax collector,” for example) while inscribing the names or symbols of powers that will intercede for the beneficiary. The ritual must be cast outdoors, but out of sight of the stars — heavy clouds are typically required.
System: Cast in a circle, the Incantation benefits one person of the witch’s choice for activities taking place within it, granting a –2 reduction on the difficulty of dice rolls related to the circumstance three times, each chosen by the beneficiary’s player. An amulet provides this same benefit to anyone wearing it. A potion gives the imbiber one automatic success, which can be stacked with personal Willpower expenditure, on one future, applicable dice roll of the beneficiary’s choice.
For Wounds Edit
This Incantation treats serious wounds. It can even knit and smooth the dead flesh of Cainites, though it is less potent than the power in their blood.
Ritual Requirements: In all cases, the witch must acquire the source of the injury: ash from a fire that burned the victim, or a weapon that struck her. (Thus, it can’t be used in cases of immaterial or very distant sources of injury, such as body-ripping magic or the sun.) In a magic circle, the witch touches the source to the victim. In the case of a potion (usually a poultice, actually) someone (not necessarily the witch) must touch the source of harm to the potion before the injured party imbibes it. Once cast, the Incantation must be used before the following midnight.
System: The Incantation heals one level of aggravated damage or two levels of lethal damage.
To Bestill the Grave Edit
Witches know that in cursed times and places, the dead shake off grave earth and walk, offending natural cycles. Cainites find this Incantation of singular interest, viewing it not as a way to ensure the peace of death, but deny their enemies childer.
Ritual Requirements: On a moonless night, the witch invokes the Creator or the powers she believes reign over death. She honors an effigy of one of the dead with traditional grave rituals, and includes some payment for the psychopomp, such as a silver coin.
System: Cast in a circle, the Incantation ensures that no being can be brought back from death. Their bones cannot be magically animated, and they cannot receive the Embrace. They do not become wraiths or otherwise persist beyond death. This doesn’t affect anyone returned from death outside of the circle, or from before it was enchanted. An amulet ensures its bearer cannot be brought back from death, no matter where he is. These effects last for the life of the witch, suggesting an easy way to nullify them. This Incantation cannot be crafted into a potion.
To Find Treasure Edit
Witches are often called on to find hoards left by dead lords, vanished Roman settlements, or bandits. This is a well-known Incantation not only because of its utility, but because witches pretend to know it to bilk fools out of coins, because it takes money to find it. Despite the name, the Incantation can be used to find items with no monetary value, but not the living or undead.
Ritual Requirements: Under the full moon, the witch burns or buries an example of the treasure being sought: Roman coins for a Roman hoard, for instance. It need not come from the source being sought, but should have two points of association (“gold” and “Roman,” in the prior example). Fraudsters typically ask for more money, and only pretend to destroy it.
System: Cast in a circle, the Incantation gives the witch a vision of the treasure’s exact location, if it lies within the circle’s bounds, and a rough idea of how to get to it (if it must be dug up or sits in a chest, for instance). A potion gives its user a vision of the nearest items of that type and its immediate surroundings, along with its direction at the time the potion was consumed, but no other information.
An amulet pulls in the direction of the nearest items of that type, but provides no other information. The amulet continues to possess this power until its bearer touches or sees treasure of this type, or until the next full moon.
To Summon a Being Edit
A witch must learn a separate summoning Incantation for every type of being she wishes to summon. In the case of humans, Cainites, demons, spirits, and intelligent individuals in general, the Incantation summons a specific individual — one could devise an Incantation to summon Lucita the Lasombra, but must learn it anew for one of her childer. In truth, witches most often use this to summon animals, who may be called as a class — any boar will do. A demon may aid or damn a summoner, but a deer feeds her and wanders out of the king’s forest, besides.
Ritual Requirements: This Incantation may only be cast in a circle or as a potion (actually an effigy or item with the being’s name on it, which is destroyed when the subject arrives). The witch must possess part of the subject’s body (fur from an animal species or an individual’s hair or baby tooth, for example) or in the case of ephemeral beings, its secret, “true name.” Otherwise, the Incantation’s specifics vary from one example to the next, and typically include at least one other burdensome element. It can only be cast once per day.
System: This is a difficult Incantation. If the initial Willpower roll succeeds, roll Charisma + either Hearth Wisdom (for animals, people, nature spirits, and fae) or Occult (for demons, Classical elementals, and other supernatural beings associated with “high magic”) at a difficulty of the summoned entity’s Willpower + 3. In the case of a potion, make the roll when the potion is used, even if the witch is not present.
If the roll succeeds, the entity feels compelled to travel to the summoner’s presence as quickly as possible for the next three days, until time runs out or it arrives. The summoned being uses its full cleverness to come as quickly as possible while avoiding undue risk. The being gains a vision of the summoner (witch or potion user) and knows that person is responsible for its compulsion. If the roll fails, nothing happens. If the roll botches, the being gains the vision, but not the compulsion to come.
Once summoned, the entity is under no compulsion to obey the summoner’s commands. The witch often bargains with sacrifices and vows of service in kind. These are perfectly ordinary negotiations, though of course magical beings often have abilities that enforce such oaths, assuming they don’t rip an impetuous witch in half for calling them.
Spirits and werewolves with a Rank higher than 3, vampires below 11th Generation, and beings of comparable power may not be compelled with this Incantation, but receive the vision and a sense of the summoner’s location for the three-day duration.