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The Library of Babel: New Types of Grimoires

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  • The Library of Babel: New Types of Grimoires

    I enjoyed the section in Signs of Sorcery on the different forms that Grimoires can take as well as their variations in function. To that end, I wanted to come up with a few more flourishes and twists that a mage might add to their spellbooks for one reason or another. Chime in with your own ideas too, please; one can never read too much.

    Codices

    The holistic context of any Grimoire can take on nearly any appearance or function, limited only by the creator's imagination and purpose. Some tomes go beyond mere window-dressing, however, and incorporate the semiotics of the text into the magical process itself. Favored especially by devoted Legacy members, a Codex is a Grimoire that provides not just spells, but an entire prefigured paradigm from which to cast them, whether religious, occult, cultural, or even scientific. For this reason, they tend to be coveted by both Mystagogues and Libertines, and can often serve as useful teaching tools for newly Awakened mages who still think of magic within their own cultural context.

    Systems: A mage can create a Codex by casting Scribe Grimoire with an additional Reach and point of Mana. Similar to Legacy Yantras, casting from a Codex allows a willworker to utilize particular Yantras related to the Codex even if their symbolism doesn't directly relate to the spell (the mage designates a number of such Yantras equal to Potency when creating the Codex). In addition, the creator can require that certain spells utilize these particular Yantras; failure to employ them applies their normal bonus as a penalty to the spellcasting roll. At Storyteller discretion, a researcher can consult a Codex on its subject matter as if it were a Library with a dot rating equal to half the dot rating of the Codex itself.

    Seals

    Summoning Supernal Entities can be a bit of a crapshoot. Even with the right Attainments, you're never fully assured of which one you're going to get until it's too late. You needed to receive the Boon of the Angel Iophiel, but instead you got Gilgamesh. Hate to see it happen. Enter the solution: A Seal is a document describing a particular Supernal Entity in superb detail: its description, lore, symbology, Trial, Boon, and more. They're invaluable for mages seeking to treat with specific manifestations of the Supernal, and possessing one can make all the difference between a successful summoning and a catastrophic one.

    There are occasionally rumors of Seals that allow for mages to summon beings from realms outside their own Path, but such texts are considered to be considered the work of archmasters, who are politely and respectfully shunned from Awakened society for a good reason.

    Systems: Seals are created with a Prime Weaving spell that incorporates both of the targeted entity's Arcana at three dots, and is Withstood by Rank. The caster must have either successfully summoned the targeted entity before, or fully Scrutinized it. A mage can use a Seal to summon a particular Supernal Entity. This does not overcome the limits of Path (eg, a Moros can't use a Seal to summon an Anachronism), but it does give a mage without the proper Targeted Summoning a fine-tuned degree of control over who answers their call (they must still possess three dots in the entity's Ruling Arcanum, however). If the mage also has the appropriate Targeted Summoning Attainment, the ritual gains an additional free roll before risking Abyssal intrusion. Buyer beware: Certain Supernal entities do not enjoy being repeatedly called on, and may task, compel, or trick a mage into destroying its associated Seal.

    A Nasnas can create Abyssal Seals to summon Acamoth and Gulmoth associated with their Dur-Abzu in a similar manner. A cunning and malevolent Scelestus probably disguises the Grimoire as a Supernal Seal in the process.

  • #2
    Oathstones

    A type of Daimonomikon used to harness the power of Left-Handed Legacies in a controlled fashion.

    Rumors speak of a crystalline block in the Censorea, with sentient blood running through invisible veins, forming the High Speech rune of the Timori, dynamically creating bloody pages of instructions to suit the needs of students. It is said it quivers in fear and the blood retreats as prospective black ops agents are told of the price of its secrets.

    Systems: It is created by the supernal summoning of an entity of both of the Legacy's Arcana, with Rank equal to the highest tier of Attainments it can teach. The creator must negotiate an oath for anyone using it, with 3 sanctions of escalating severerity that will be magically enforced upon violators. To learn the Legacy, initiates must willingly undertake the oath.

    The first oathbreaking punishment is something minor, like a twist of bad luck or being rendered mute for a while. The second is always a heavy price, like having a strong sympathetic connection killed or being found by one's enemies at a most vulnerable time. The third sanction is always the same, to become an Oathstone. For if one cannot learn, they will teach.
    Last edited by KaiserAfini; 07-04-2020, 07:14 PM.


    New experiences are the font of creativity, when seeking inspiration, break your routine.

    The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists (Mind/Time)
    The Szary Strażnik, an Obrimos Legacy of Scholars of the Glyphs of Fate (Fate/Prime)

    Comment


    • #3
      Holocrons

      Mastering Arcana outside one's specialty can be a pain, requiring one to barter for the tutelage of a mentor. To solve this matter, the Libertines have deviced a way to modify a soul stone into an tutor, allowing it to pass on what the original owner knew. While such an invasive modification of the soul draws concern from mage society, the Libertines see it as a small price to pay for the free spread of information.

      Systems:

      This is created with a Patterning of Death and Prime. It transforms the target soul stone into a Rank 1 ghost possesing the vessel. This allows it to use its media to teach the mage any Arcanum the soul stone owner knew at the time of the soul stone's creation. Because of this, its usual for computers and high tech displays to be employed as the best interactive teaching aids.

      However, whether the Holocron is willing to teach or not is a completely different matter. It is only concerned with passing on its knowledge to those the creator would find worthy, denying access of higher level secrets to those it deems not ready and will employ its abilities to defend the knowledge if needed.

      +1 Reach: The ghost is Rank 2

      +1 Reach: The effect is Lasting.


      Schattenspiels

      The ability to see the future can be a powerful tool for those that know how to wield it. No path is truly closed if one knows the routes that lead to it. But often one can be blinsided by factors they didn't even know about. Mere rotes of foresight are not enough to teach how to make the most out of every situation. Inspired by Kriegsspiel, the original war game, the Arrow deviced the Game of Shadows to help them craft their strategies to conquer even the most complex battlefields.

      Systems:

      They are created by applying a Potency primary Patterning of Time and Prime onto a game board. In order to use it, each participant must spend a mana and have a representational yantra of the side they will play. Up to [Potency] players can participate at once.

      The pieces and the rules shift to represent the current situation and each participant is instantly aware of the new rules. Each one has a symbolic name and image, so interpreting what they mean is an important part of the game (the Sun In Rags, the Marooned Tide, The Court of Miracles, Sacrifice, The Lips Dipped in Poison, The Wire Opera, the Shadow of Unbeing, the Shield, etc).

      Each player has a number of Doors equal to the highest of their Wits+Composure or the represented side's plan (the GM provides the value, zero in case they do not have a plan mental equipment and rather employ broad strokes), whichever is greater.

      Going by initiative order, on their turn they can choose a target and attack them by rolling Wits+Composure against a defense calculated by the opponent's Wits+Composure, opening one Door per success. A player who has all their Doors opened is eliminated and the one who defeated them gets one free turn.

      Each roll represents a move or counter move, the board using the symbolism to Prophesize the course of the conflict. Sometimes pieces can be taken out, have an effect applied on them or vanish mid move, suggesting something more may be afoot than what is currently perceived.

      A game normally takes a scene, but particularly complex scenarios or obsessive users can take longer.

      With conjunctional Forces 3, it can be applied to digital media.

      +1 Reach: The effect is Lasting

      (Inspired by the short story The Board is Set, by Gav Thorpe)
      Last edited by KaiserAfini; 09-08-2020, 07:03 PM.


      New experiences are the font of creativity, when seeking inspiration, break your routine.

      The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists (Mind/Time)
      The Szary Strażnik, an Obrimos Legacy of Scholars of the Glyphs of Fate (Fate/Prime)

      Comment


      • #4
        Ecological:
        The information is stored in the pattern of a distinct living system, such as a garden or glade. One needs to unveil the pulse of life in that area to read the spells. By spreading out the burden, the individuals in the ecology are less injured. (Performing this requires a combined casting of Living Grimoire and Fracture Grimoire at sufficient Scale, but it needs to be cast as superlative ability to adapt into the future. Thus, this is more likely the result of discovery than creation.)

        An example could be a large, sealed jar in a lab window. Careful study of the various plants and animals within is a fairly simple Mystery. Figuring out the patterns mapped by the consumption of resources is sufficient to demonstrate the initial patterns of the spell, revealing which sorts of targets are required to operate on. Watching the flow of life and reproduction uncovers the various permutations of the mana that are required to achieve the desired effect. Life and Death spells can be stored in such a grimoire in a very straightforward manner.

        Vision
        The spells of the grimoire are stored in a mental pattern. This mental pattern can only be accessed by sympathy. It can be placed in an anchored astral fortress that anyone who dreams a certain type of dream can uncover or linked to a specific ambition or membership. The what of the link defines the how of the access. A limitation of this form is that there needs to be some sort of sympathy between the mental state and the spell itself, as well as any who would access it. After achieving the proper mental state, though, the access is essentially instantaneous.

        Creating such a grimoire requires stabilization of Fate and Mind beyond the normal requirements of a grimoire. It is generally assumed to be the work of archmastery or some difficult and subtle Mystery.

        One example of a vision could be the specific feeling of loss after a race that you trained for and fought hard for due to someone else being just that little better. Such a grimoire could teach Honing the Form or Enhance Skill as a response to the failure or Emotional Urging as a means of sharing such pain in the future.

        Another example could be the feeling of terror and exhilaration from jumping off of a cliff towards some boulders. If dashing one's head against the rocks is the key to some astral Synese, a cleverly chosen vision could accompany entry. Spells relating to emotional control, opening things, the leap, etc. are all fair game for such a grimoire.


        Mystery Arts
        The grimoire's spells can be hidden inside specific forms and processes that, if followed, reveal their information. If the processes are misapplied or improperly learned, the mystical significance fails or, worse, is corrupted. If a process isn't properly performed, it become less linked to the supernal truth behind it. A successful process reveals the spell. Slightly erroneous performance corrupts the spell itself, presenting a rote that is warped. (Signs and Sorcery p82) . More dramatic errors either warp it worse, granting both forms of hitch, or reveal abyssally tainted version or simply fail.

        A given process reveals only one spell, but it's common to include multiple related procedures. The procedure must symbolically represent the spell encoded in some manner.

        To prevent corruption, such secret teachings are often recorded in a book form that must be carefully interpreted to be able to access the secrets. Alternately, involved tests of capacity are set up to require excellence in transmission. In some cases, even with such efforts, branches of teachings splinter off. It's not always clear which of the various mystery arts contain the truths. Sometimes, one branch maintains some of the procedures for some spells and another maintains others.

        Sometimes, the spells aren't merely warped, but significantly changed. Some alternate branches of a mystery art develop spells that have never been tracked to a mage. Orders differ in interpretation of that. FC tend to consider it strong evidence that Humanity is Magical. Mysteriuim tend to consider this magic adapting according to its own will.

        E.G.
        The Viper Fist Ryu teaches a martial art that goes back generations. Their founder was a mystical warrior of great renown. Unfortunately, there was a split in the ranks a while back, and most of the teachings about the viper's strike were taken by the masters that focused on that and the other branch remained more focused on everything else, teaching the viper fist as more of a consequence. Both branches act as a partial grimoire, but also managed to retain a single spell each: The Viper Fisted Masters contain Death 4's Withering. The Viper Fist Dragon (they kept the name) carry Time's Acceleration, instead. If both arts can be mastered sufficiently, a combined signature kata can be performed to access Veil of Moments and Enervation can be suddenly understood.

        Progressive:
        The Grimoire stores spells in a fashion that builds up required knowledge. Study of the first spells can eventually reveal the next set of spells, and so forth.

        E.G.
        The Dreamer's Folio is a tome containing mundane writing that explains the general theory of astral and dreams and how they relate to the mind. It also has sections devoted to the process from a specifically spell-focused approach. To begin using the grimoire requires study. This is an Opactiy 1 Mystery that, once uncovered, reveals the secrets to using the grimoire for the base spells. Mental Scan and Know Nature are clear. Memorizing these rotes or cutting through a Mystery of Opacity 3 unlocks access to the next tier of rotes. In this case that's Dream Reaching and Memory Hole.
        Last edited by thenate; 07-05-2020, 11:04 PM.


        Grump, grouse, and/or gripe.

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        • #5
          Is it rude to ask for an example of each new type?
          Especially the ones with weird creation requirements. I need some help visualizing how people interact with some of these.


          Thoughts ripple out, birthing others

          Comment


          • #6
            I certainly don't consider it rude to ask unless you form the question badly.


            Grump, grouse, and/or gripe.

            Comment


            • #7
              I don't think its rude at all either. Here is the example I based the Schattenspiels on:

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFGDqDL2sX4&t=722s

              This one for the Holodcrons:

              https://starwars.fandom.com/wiki/Sith_holocron/Legends

              For the Oathstones, I imagine the prospective black op being called to a Censorea by the Hierarch and a Sentinel, the kind of room they would have to agree not remembering if they refused the offer. They would get a very serious talk on their exemplary service, what an investment of trust this opportunity is, that they would be expected to get their hands dirty with the Attainments, etc.

              They would state to the prospective initiate that they would have to learn under careful supervision in the Censorea, that they would need to agree to a binding non-disclosure oath and that abuse of their Legacy Attainments would have ever greater consequences due to the Oathstone's power, before pointing out that the one they one they are about to read was a predecessor who messed up.


              New experiences are the font of creativity, when seeking inspiration, break your routine.

              The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists (Mind/Time)
              The Szary Strażnik, an Obrimos Legacy of Scholars of the Glyphs of Fate (Fate/Prime)

              Comment


              • #8
                Sanguine

                Blood is more than just a collection of nutrients, as science would have you believe. It is a tangled web of sympathies, from the temporal ones that link us to our ancestors, to the spatial ones that links us to our action and even less obvious links exists, like the one between all the spirit motes that compose us and the Shadow. But more importantly, it is the vessel that channels our Gnostic might, the ichor that makes manifest our Supernal Will. Those that know how to follow the channel back to the author's Fallen seat of self will find their efforts to learn mystic secrets greatly enhanced. But hold thine thirst for knowledge in check, o eager one, for once you imbibe of the blood, it also imbibes of you. Both Banishers and Prelates have been known to use them to subsume wills to their twisted cause.

                Systems:

                This is a consumable Grimoire crafted using Space 3 and Prime 3. Creating it requires at least one drop of blood from each contributing mage. Anyone who drinks the blood gains the rotes contained within without needing to spend Arcane XP or time learning them. However, they also have one of their Obsessions overwritten by one of the rote contributor's Obsessions, chosen at random. This is a package deal, gaining one grants the other and removing one excises the other. In case there are more rotes available than Obsessions, the ones granted are chosen at random. The maximum number of users possible is determined by the scale factor. In case of an unwilling victim, the effect is resisted via Resolve, with the remaining Potency determining how many rotes are imposed.

                +1 Reach: The caster can specify which rotes have priority in overwriting Obsessions.

                +1 Reach: Contributors can choose a specific rote to associate with a specific Obsession.

                +1 Reach: The effect is Lasting
                Last edited by KaiserAfini; 09-07-2020, 09:18 PM.


                New experiences are the font of creativity, when seeking inspiration, break your routine.

                The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists (Mind/Time)
                The Szary Strażnik, an Obrimos Legacy of Scholars of the Glyphs of Fate (Fate/Prime)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Notarikon

                  During the Nameless War, being able to hide oneself was the safest way to escape the Diamond's retaliation. In order to do so, some groups started creating ways to share Shadow Names, confusing investigators by mixing this with disguises. This conjured the illusion of impossibly skilled Nameless heroes that would show up everywhere. It is said that building on this idea of shared responsibility was how the philosophy of the Blank Badges was born.

                  Systems:

                  This is created with a Prime 2, Fate 3 spell cast upon an item symbolizing the Shadow Name. Without expanding scale factors, this would be the Shadow Name of the caster. Each dot of Potency can host a copy of that same number of dots of Shadow Name (Potency 5 and scale 2 could host 3 dots of Mithradates's Shadow Name and 2 dots from the one for Belenus).

                  Anyone using the Notarikon may draw upon any one of its hosted Shadow Names at a time and they gain the Nimbus of the contributor while doing so. However, each one comes with an appropriate Bane that will block their use for a scene.

                  +1 Reach: Each Shadow Name comes with an appropriate Ban. Should users break it, they lose its benefits and suffer the Shadow Name's dots as a hex to their spellcasting until they atone with an appropriate task. For 1 more Reach, breaking the Ban also imposes an appropriate Doom at the same number of dots of the Shadow Name. These only continue in effect while holding the Notarikon, but it "remembers" users who broke with a role.

                  +1 Reach: The effect is Lasting

                  Shorthand

                  Grimoires are by their nature dangerous. If an enemy seizes one, they can do great damage to one's cause. In order to remedy this, Arrows have deviced a way to carry them into dangerous areas, allowing them to quickly use up any contained rotes in case capture was imminent.

                  Systems:

                  This is created with a Prime 3 spell and a point of mana. It creates a traditional Grimmoire, which can be studied normally. However, users can choose to cast from it normally rather than utilizing double ritual time, gaining all the benefits of the Grimoire assisted cast. However, this uses up the rote, erasing it from the Shorthand.

                  +1 Reach: The effect is Lasting

                  Clamavi

                  A sinister type of Grimmoire developed by the Seers to steal rotes from mages they interrogate. Initially it was used on electric chairs, allowing them to reap magical secrets as they worked on breaking their captive's will. Modern members of the Praetorian favor utilizing them in their sonic cannons, flamethrowers or rail guns.

                  Systems:

                  This is created with a Prime 3 and Forces 3 spell cast upon a power source. Whenever an attached device causes harm against a user, if the spell's Potency is above their Composure, it tears a rote it does not know from the target and stores it within the Grimmoire. Destroying it restores all stolen rotes to their original owners.

                  +1 Reach: The effect is Lasting
                  Last edited by KaiserAfini; 09-08-2020, 12:54 AM.


                  New experiences are the font of creativity, when seeking inspiration, break your routine.

                  The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists (Mind/Time)
                  The Szary Strażnik, an Obrimos Legacy of Scholars of the Glyphs of Fate (Fate/Prime)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Revelation

                    A type of Grimmoire whose rotes bring the caster to the attention of a chosen Supernal being. Every time one is cast, it emmits a brief beacon, possibly drawing their attention. Sometimes authors use them to pass on their Legacy in secret, calling its entity to only initialize the worthy.

                    Some even used them to provide readers with mentors. Alchemists and crafters are known to create Revelations to make sure their traditions and life's work are preserved.

                    Seers, especially Prelates, normally create them to bring unwary Pentacle mages to the attention of their Exarch, sometimes giving up the knowledge of rotes all too easily to guarantee their conversion or termination. This is the reason why captured Seer Grimoires must be slowly, carefully and methodically analyzed, to determine if they are safe for use or must be sealed in a Censorea.

                    Those with an aptitude for the summoner's craft, or authors particularly paranoid about their work being misused, entreat these entities beforehand to guarantee the mentors also act as their spies.

                    Systems:

                    This is created with a Prime Ruling spell that incorporates the target entity's Arcana at 2 dots. Only Rank 1 entities the caster has previously summoned or Scrutinized can be targeted.

                    Whenever a caster uses one of these rotes, roll a chance dice. On a success, their flawless spell control stops the beacon from being lit. On a failure, register a point of Notice, or 2 for a dramatic failure. When 10 points are accumulated, the caster gains the entity as their Supernal Watcher.

                    In case an Exarchial yantra is applied to the spell, the caster gains the Exarch's Notice as per the rules above. This grants the Exarchal Dreams Condition rather than Supernal Watcher. Non-Seers taking this option are subject to gaining Notice themselves when creating this Grimoire, as per normal rules. Prelates can choose to grant this property to the Revelation, for their favored Exarch, without the need of a yantra.

                    By using Fate's Conditional Duration, the caster can fine tune the rote so that the beacon can only be emitted under certain conditions (the right time, place, user, etc).

                    +1 Reach: The Watcher is instead Rank 2.

                    +1 Reach: The effect is Lasting
                    Last edited by KaiserAfini; 09-10-2020, 11:30 PM.


                    New experiences are the font of creativity, when seeking inspiration, break your routine.

                    The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists (Mind/Time)
                    The Szary Strażnik, an Obrimos Legacy of Scholars of the Glyphs of Fate (Fate/Prime)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Singleton

                      All knowledge is precious and deserves to be preserved. But not all of it is safe or meant to be distributed. Warped rotes, Abyssal spells and other terrible secrets should only be studied in the direst of times and with the greatest care. The more programming savvy members of the Free Council developed these Grimmoires for just these situations, allowing them to transport dangerous finds back to Lorehouses and Censorea with far less risk of their dangerous lore being propagated.

                      Systems
                      These are created by spending an extra Reach when casting Scribe Grimoire. This makes it so copying the rote erases it from the old medium and inscribes it into the new, making sure only one copy exists at a time.

                      While this does not stop a mage from learning it first and then writing it down, it does discourage them from spreading it for some quick profit. It also means that the user will rely on the Grimmoire while learning the spell, making it easier to track and giving for chances for them to learn of its risks before internalizing the knowledge.


                      New experiences are the font of creativity, when seeking inspiration, break your routine.

                      The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists (Mind/Time)
                      The Szary Strażnik, an Obrimos Legacy of Scholars of the Glyphs of Fate (Fate/Prime)

                      Comment

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