Inferno magic: The Conjurers

Magic in Inferno is a tricky beast. There are three houses in the Inferno club who practice magic – House Cancer are conjurers, House Scorpio are enchanters and House Pisces are Magi. Each group do magic in a fundamentally different way and I want these to give magic in Inferno a very specific feel.

L’Envoûteuse (The Sorceress), Georges Merle, 1883

(Collection of the Art Fund, Inc. at the Birmingham Museum of Art; Purchase with funds provided by the Children of the Vann Family: William O. Vann, Sally V. Worthen, Robert D. Vann, in memory of Suzanne Oliver Vann, AFI.2.2009)

The conjurers of House Cancer

House Cancer are conjurers, able to perform magical effects seemingly instantaneously and out of thin air, but the practice is actually very different. Cancerian magic works by summoning entities from beyond the veil and making pacts with them. Once a deal is made the entity invisibly shadows the conjurer until its services are called on.

In game terms this means that conjuurers need to find entities that can perform the kind of services they want, summon them, and agree a price for their services before they can do magic. The more powerful the entity being summoned the harder the challenges will be. As summonings take days they should usually take place in ‘downtime’ between games.

In time a conjurer might have a ‘spellbook’ listing many entities, all able to perform different services in exchange for different prices, and might have some, or all of them on call at any one time. Although there are side effects to having creatures from beyond the veil following you around 24/7…

To help GMs come up with entities on demand I’ve written some tables for use in the game. These list the appearance, powers and price of an entity. And because the internet is wonderful lets me turn it into an online generator for anyone to use. This generator produces a single, weak entity, which a new conjurer would be confident of controlling.

Invoking entities

When a conjurer summons an entity they get a certain number of reputations with it. Each time they invoke it they spend one of those reputations. Particularly powerful entities might require more than one reputation to be expended to invoke their powers. When a conjurer has expended all their reputations with an entity they have to summon it anew. Conjurers can also spend reputations to restrain entities by putting conditions on the price they have agreed with it.

If a conjurer wants more reputations with an entity they can agree to a higher price. This will always be in keeping with the first price, but escalate the requirement. For instance a conjurer summons the following spirit

“An Owl, with a burning beak. It has the power to command the weather. In exchange you must permit it to vandalise a statue.”

Finding themselves in urgent need of a snowstorm, but lacking sufficient reputations the conjurer agrees a new price with the entity. After a bit of thought the GM suggests “It agrees, provided you permit it to desecrate a holy place after invoking it.”

Dealing with entities should lead conjurers down dark, and questionable paths. But in exchange they get to wield extraordinary powers.

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