A talisman has the following traits:
The Arete serves as the rating of the talisman. Its sphere ratings may not exceed the Arete, nor may the number of rotes in it. The current quintessence may never exceed 5 x Arete.
By putting background dots in Talisman, the mage is granted a magical item that can be used by any mage for a limited number of effects. By putting background points into Fetish, the mage is granted a magical item with free will that has more power than a Talisman, but also has a free will and personality of its own.
Both Fetishes and Talismans have an Arete rating, and all effects used by the item are made using the item’s Arete. Also, both have Quintessence pools which may be used to reduce the difficulty of rolls made by the mage (whether the effect is from the Talisman or an effect by the mage), but each use of the Fetish or Talisman costs a point of Quintessence from the item and once the item is drained of Quintessence, it may no longer be used until recharged (typically, a Prime 3 effect requiring a source of Quintessence to recharge from).
The Arete of a Talisman is equal to [number of dots spent on Talisman X 2], Quintessence is equal to [Arete X 5], and gives a number of Sphere Levels to create effects with [1 dot gives 1 level, 2 dots give 3, 3 dots give 6, 4 dots give 10, 5 dots give 15 levels]. Also, a Talisman is limited to effects equal to, or below, the rating of the Talisman. A Talisman may be given more Sphere Levels by decreasing Arete (and also the Quintessence), with each dot of Arete dropped giving 2 more levels. Also, a Talisman may be infused with a particular ability, with every Sphere Level lost giving two dots in a single ability, or one dot each in a pair of abilities.
For instance, a mage spends 3 dots on Talisman. This automatically gives him a Talisman with Arete- 6, Quintessence- 30, and 6 dots to spend on Sphere Levels (however, since the Talisman is rated at 3, no effect may be higher than 3). The mage chooses to lower the Arete to 5, and this gives him a total of 8 Sphere Levels. He puts 3 levels into a Correspondence effect (it teleports him to Stonehenge, from anywhere in the world), and 3 in Forces and the last 2 in Prime (he can create moderate sized Fireballs). All rolls to use magick are made by the mage, rolling the Talisman’s Arete (of 5). Any Paradox incurred is given to the Mage.
While Talismans are powerful and hard to construct, Fetishes are even greater and more demanding (literally!). The Arete of a Fetish is equal to [number of dots spent on Fetish X 2 +1 (maximum of 10)], Quintessence is equal to [Arete X 5], and gives an increased number of Sphere Levels to create effects with [1 dot gives 2 levels, 2 dots give 5, 3 dots give 9, 4 dots give 14, 5 dots give 20 levels]. Like a Talisman, a Fetish is limited to effects equal to, or below, the rating of the Fetish. A Fetish may not be given more Sphere Levels by decreasing Arete. But, a Fetish may be infused with a particular ability, with every Sphere Level lost giving two dots in a single ability, or one dot each in a pair of abilities.
For instance, a player spends 4 dots in Fetish. This gives him a Fetish with an Arete- 9, Quintessence- 45, and 14 dots for Sphere Levels. He decides he wants a Fetish with the ability to drive people insane (a Mind 4 effect), destroy them with cancer (an Entropy 4 effect), create swarms of flies (a Life 3, Prime 2 effect), and sense demons (Spirit 1). All rolls are made using the Fetish’s Arete, IF the Fetish allows itself to be used. Any Paradox incurred is given to the Mage.
While Fetishes are more powerful than Talismans, they do have their costs. Also, any Fetishes a player takes during character creation are automatically useable by the mage (but not necessarily friendly). See “Fetish Construction” below.
Activate by rolling Arete vs. talisman’s rating. Successes determine duration of activation. While active, rotes may be used at cost of quintessence.
An active talisman may be used as a focus for a spell. If so, the user may use the talisman’s quintessence, and may replace his Arete rating and / or any of his Sphere ratings with those of the talisman.
Talismans may be created in game or beforehand. The same rules apply. For a talisman purchased as a background, use background rating points or freebie points instead of XP in the process below, and don’t spend any Quintessence. You must explain how you got the talisman as a background, but it starts game with full quintessence.
First, you must define what you want to make, and choose a physical form. You may then do research (using Intelligence + Talisman Lore) to determine appropriate special materials, etc. Quest for as many special materials as you desire.
Go to a Horizon realm, and perform the following steps. This is ritual magick, with a maximum of one roll per hour. Making a powerful Talisman takes a very long time.
You now have an empty Talisman. You may charge it by channeling quintessence into it, as normal.
Charged items are like Talismans, except that they may never be recharged. They are created with a fixed amount of Quintessence, and may never gain more. When they run out, they become normal items again. Unlike Talismans, they may not be used as spell foci. Charged items may only contain up to 5 points of Quintessence per point of Arete. Many of their rotes will require more than one Quintessence be spent (at my option), especially if they are vulgar.
Creating charged items is similar to creating Talismans, but much quicker and easier. Use the rules above, with a few changes. First, enchanting requires only Prime 3, not Prime 4. Second, you don’t need to spend XP for Arete or Spheres, only Quintessence. The fifth step is to add Quintessence to the item. This is the only time that charges may be added – before the enchanting ritual is completed.
The steps for Fetish creation for mages are much like Fetish construction for Garou (as presented in “Werewolf: Storytellers Handbook”). However, the Fetish created by a mage is usually much more powerful than the Fetish created by a Garou, as the Garou Fetish is limited by the power of the spirit it contains, while the mage’s Fetish is powered by the spirit and the mage as well. Mages must plan what kind of Spirit is needed for the Fetish (usually a Wits+Spirit Lore roll, with a difficulty of 7. Each additional success reduces the difficulty of the preparation by 1).
Then the mage must prepare the materials for the Fetish (Intelligence+Spirit Lore, Occult, Enigmas, or any other Ability the Storyteller deems appropriate. Difficulty is equal to [desired Fetish rating + 3], with each additional success reducing the difficulty of the questing by 1).
Then the mage quests for the spirit itself (the mage usually summons it to him using Spirit 2 or 3, but some mages have quested in the umbra using Perception+Spirit Lore (difficulty equal to [Fetish rating +3])).
Next the mage negotiates with the spirit, trying to convince it to aid him and join in a Fetish. Mages may use Mind/Spirit magicks to dominate and threaten, impassioned speeches, bribes and geasa, or any of a number of other means. Once the Spirit accepts (see the chart on page 127 of “Werewolf: Storytellers Handbook”), the mage must finally seal the spirit within the Fetish (a Spirit 4 effect).
Once crafted, the Fetish has an Arete equal to the [spirit’s (Willpower+Rage+Gnosis)/3 rounded down to the lowest full number]. The spirit’s current Power is converted to Quintessence, and it may hold a total of Quintessence equal to [Arete X 5] (spirits tend to favor those who do not rely to heavily on their Quintessence and keep them regularly fed). Also, after creation the mage may be expected to do further favors for the Fetish to keep it happy.
The powers of the Fetish are limited to the nature of the Spirit it contains, and the power of the mage. A powerful ice elemental spirit has the power to create snow storms, but not shoot shards of ice (even though such effects are conceptually within the spirit’s power); a mage crafts a Fetish and gives the Fetish the ability to create snow storms as well as ice shards (both are powered by the spirit within). Even though ice shards aren’t one of the spirit’s powers, it fits the spirit’s “paradigm”. Storytellers should be generous, but not allow themselves to bullied, when determining what a spirit can and can not empower within a Fetish.
Also, even though the term “spirit” is used above (along with a shamanistic mindset), the rules are identical for Technomancers and others. The “flavor” of the proceedings would be quite different however.
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