Oh the power that planning holds...

Thinking about Sorcery?

You should consider Sorcery if:
  • You want a swiss army knife of effects that rewards your creativity and forethought.
  • You want to be able to analyze situations and attack them from multiple angles.
  • You want to have unique tools you can keep unknown to most other players.
You should probably not consider Sorcery if:
  • You want your Powers to just work and not require hoops to jump though.
  • You don't want to deal with Magic always losing to Great Powers.
  • You don't want to have to spend a lot on Psyche.

Sorcery, the only Ranked and Auctioned of the Minor Powers, can be found across almost all of Shadow. Sorcery allows it's practitioners, referred to as Sorcerers, to cast magic Spells of varying sorts. Spells run the gamut of mystical effects and many different Sorcerers across Shadow will state in certainty that it is made up of multiple different divisions. Amberites know this to be plainly false and study Sorcery in it's complete whole. Amber itself is home to many Sorcerers, as are the Courts, and the practice is often highly regarded. Some view Sorcery merely as a diversion from loftier pursuits, but the same amount bend their Sorcerous ability to great and powerful aims.

Casting Spells

Spells, like most things, cost Endurance tokens to use. Spells cost a number of Endurance tokens equal to the number of Lynchpins in the spell itself, or one token if the spell has no Lynchpins. Some spells may cost more Endurance tokens at GM discretion.
While that cost is constant no matter how good a Sorcerer you are, with practice does come speed. If the Sorcerer is only Human Rank Psyche, it takes a full delay to cast her spells. If she is Chaos Rank then nine rounds of concentration, or an extended action, are required to cast the spell. Amber Rank Psyche further lowers that to six rounds of concentration, but it still takes an extended action out of combat to use. Increasing Sorcery Rank also lowers the time required to cast spells, If the Sorcerer is not Human Ranked Psyche and knows an Intermediate Sorcery Ability, her normal Spells take four rounds concentration to use, or a short action. With Advanced Sorcery comes great responsibility and spells that only take two combat rounds of concentration or practically instantly out of combat.
Spell costs are paid upfront and if your concentration is broken you will only be refunded one Endurance for your troubles as the spell is canceled.
If you want to take longer to cast a Spell, you may extend the casting time to a full delay and pay one less Endurance. You can add even more delays to reduce the Endurance cost further, down to a minimum of one token.

Lynchpins

Racking a spell is done out of necessity. Going through all the various variable and metaphysical climates every time a spell is cast is entire tedious and takes an extremely long amount of time. What Sorcerers do to get around this is to create spell that are unfinished, requiring only a few more key aspects to finish the spell itself. These aspects of spells that are "left to chance" are called Lynchpins. The simplification process is also what allows spells to be racked in the first place, because even an Amberite's Psyche would be overwhelmed by a complete spell. The only Lynchpin that is a part of 99% of all spells is the "Magic of Shadow" lynchpin which represents the changing nature of Shadow. The addition of this lynchpin allows the spell to be cast in all Shadows that allow Magic, the Sorcerer merely explains to the Spell what Shadow it is being cast in as she cast it. Which spells are the 1% you ask? The spells that only work in one Shadow, chosen at the time the spell is written. When designing spells before the Throne War, that specific Shadow can only be either Amber or a Personal Shadow of the Sorcerer's own, assuming she has any. One is not assumed to have enough familiarity with the magical nature of other Shadows to design spells as such.
Some lynchpins may need to have a list that they choose from for specific spells, like a generic "Weapon Type" variable in a Living Conjuration spell that makes Warriors. The GMs will alert you when specific lynchpins need to be limited in this way.
Any spell you learn cannot have more Lynchpins than you have Endurance Tokens after a rest, but otherwise the sky is the limit!
GMs may rule that certain "modes" of Lynchpins require extra Endurance expenditures during game, like if you wish you use your "Buttery Surface" spell's "Size" and "Number of Surfaces" lynchpins to cover a whole Shadow Earth city in slick yellow butter.

Choosing Spells

You must come into the game with a list of Spells that your character already knows. These are Spells that your character has practiced and studied enough to do accurately.
These spells are written before Throne War and will be approved by the GMs. The list should be no more spells than one and a half times the amount the Sorcerer can rack at one time.

Magical Signature

All Sorcerers have a specific signature, a sort of magical finger print. All things have an innate bit of magic swirling around them and when a Sorcerer casts a Spell part of that signature goes with it. Sorcerers cannot mask this signature, but only those non-Sorcerers who have observed a Sorcerer's particular signature with repeated exposure and concerted study can recognize it. Other Sorcerers find the task easier.

What Sorcery can and cannot do

Sorcery cannot improvise beyond the narrow confines of its open linchpins; anything else in the spell needs to be studied exhaustively and in person beforehand. This is especially relevant for summoning and teleportation spells; unlike Patternport, where you can vaguely specify where or what you want to go to, with magic you're summoning a specific thing or going to a specific location. If the sorcerer can't have studied something, it cannot be worked into his or her spells.
Sorcery is shadow-specific; you cannot bridge two shadows with magic alone, and any spell that crosses a shadow boundary dissipates harmlessly and instantaneously.
Sorcery is limited in range. Casters are limited to creating effects within the range of their physical senses and about a hundred yards of their person.
Sorcery is limited in scope. By default, spells encompass an effect no larger than a grenade blast. However, a sorcerer can expand the spell's effects by spending additional Endurance tokens: one extra Endurance will stretch an effect down a hallway or fill a large room, while adding two Endurance could make an effect that fills the throne room of Amber. No spell can have an effect much larger than the throne room, and the extra scope must be specified in advance as part of the spell or left as an open linchpin.
Sorcery is temporary. Indirect effects of spells can be permanent, but anything directly changed or created by magic changes back or fades away after no more than a scene. As with scope, the sorcerer can extend this by spending endurance: one extra endurance will make a spell last for a few hours, while two additional endurance will preserve a spell for several days. No magical effect can last longer than about a week, and the duration must be specified in advance or left as an open linchpin. Spells can be made both longer and larger if the sorcerer is willing to spend the endurance to do so.
Affecting a living creature or pointed item directly requires that the sorcerer have complete mental access to the target. One can always cast a spell on oneself, or on any target willing to leave their mind open to the sorcerer. Affecting an unwilling target requires that the sorcerer establish mental domination over them first. If the target possesses less than Human-rank Psyche and the caster is of at least Amber rank, this process is instantaneous and costs no Endurance. Otherwise, Psychic combat occurs as normal.
Sorcery is delicate compared to most other Powers. Any Power Defense entirely prevents magical attack. Any non-instantaneous effects of sorcery can usually be dispelled by a proper application of Pattern, Logrus, or Power Words. Durable magical effects can be removed by shifting the target through shadow, and some shadows can prevent magic entirely. On the other hand, sorcery is generally not affected by the primality of a plane-- it is as easy to cast magic in Amber as anywhere else in the universe.
Sorcery cannot alter the fundamental nature of anything infused with a touch of Power, including trump objects, pointed items, and the royal families of Amber and Chaos. All these things can still be affected by magic--you can still burn a prince of Amber with a fireball, or teleport someone's sword away--but sorcery cannot transform them into something they are not. A Logrus Master cannot turn herself into a glass of wine by magic, nor could she turn her foe's pointed steed into a breadbox.
Sorcery cannot fuel itself--it must come from the power of the caster. Conjurations cannot provide Endurance to the caster in any form.

Conjuration Spells

Spells can contain Conjurations, assuming the appropriate basic ability is known to the Sorcerer. In addition to the cost of any of the spell's Lynchpins, add one Endurance per discrete Mundane Conjuration in the spell to the total cost. If a Mundane Conjuration itself has a quantity multiplier, add one token for Named and Numbered and add 2 tokens for the Horde quantity. Any Empowered Conjurations in a spell cost a number of extra Endurance equal to the Endurance of the Conjuration itself, calculated as per Empowered Conjurations. There is only the usual surcharge of Endurance for a quantity multiplier on an Empowered Conjuration.
Why would you want Conjurations as part of Spells? Because this lets you effectively multitask and execute both spell effects and Conjurations at the same time.

Power Breakdown

Automatic Abilities

Spell Rack

Sorcerers can know and practice a great many spells, but they can only access limited amount of their magical ability at one time. To assist this, Sorcerers create a mental "rack" that allows them to order and organize their mystical abilities for use later. The size of a Sorcerer's Spell Rack is greater as her proficiency in Magic increases. The number of spells is equal to a base 2, plus 1 spell per rank lower than the Sorcerer's own after the Auction, plus 1 for knowing Power Words, plus 1 for knowing Conjuration, plus her Psyche bonus number. Racking spells takes a delay and requires 1 Endurance token. Casting a spell from her rack removes it from the Spell Rack and she can no longer cast that spell until she takes the time to "rerack." You cannot rack multiples of the same spell.

Basic Abilities

Prestidigitation

Sometimes Magic needs to be quick and you realize that. This ability allows you to designate a number of Spells before the Throne War that you can cast in one combat round based off of your Sorcery and Psyche Ranks. You must still pay the full Endurance cost for these spells, but they are almost impossible to disrupt. Choose three Spells. If you have access to Intermediate Sorcery then you may choose an extra Spell, and access to Advanced Sorcery lets you choose another Spell further for a total of two more Prestidigitations.

Combat Casting

The Sorcerer may now rerack during the heat of battle; having practiced the mental exercises required sufficiently Doing so takes 3 Endurance and 3 rounds of full concentration. In addition, if a Sorcerer is interrupted when she is racking her spells normally she may spend the extra 2 Endurance tokens to finish racking her spells immediately.

Conjuration Spell

Spells can now include Conjurations as part of the effect, assuming the Sorcerer knows that ability. She must pay extra endurance on for each spell that is a Conjuration Spell, and all the specifics of the conjuration must be written out beforehand as required with all spells unless Lynchpins specify those certain aspects of the conjuration, as per all Spell. The additional Endurance cost to the spell itself is equal to the amount of tokens that would be spent for the Conjuration as normal (See Conjuration Spells). Multiple conjurations each add their own Endurance surcharge.

Circle Sorcery

Sorcery can take a long while to do, so some Sorcerers have taken it upon themselves to master the ability to weave Magic together in tandem. When casting a Circle Spell each Sorcerer contributing must know Circle Sorcery and they must all have all spent one round conferring together about the specific Spell at some point in the Throne War. This must be done once for each individual Spell, and can even be done as early the round before the Circle Spell is begun to cast. All potential members of the Circle must be able to cast the spell in question and if one of them does not have a Sorcery ability referenced by the spell then she cannot be a member of the Circle. When the Circle Spell is beginning to cast, whichever Sorcerer knows the specific Spell is named as the Primary Sorcerer. The Primary Sorcerer pays the full Endurance cost of the spell and determines the "modes" of each specific Lynchpin for the spell. The other Sorcerers each pay a base one Endurance, and that is increased to 2 Endurance if the spell has 5 or more Lynchpins. Any of the Sorcerers in the circle may then pay an extra Endurance each if they so choose, which will lower the overall casting time of the Circle Spell.
Circle Spells require a number of rounds to cast based off of the lowest ranked (slowest) Sorcerer. You take that Sorcerer's base casting time and subtract one round for each member of the Circle. You subtract an additional round for each Sorcerer who had spent the extra Endurance. Additionally, if the Circle contains both Sorcerers who know Advanced Sorcery and those who know merely Basic Sorcery then subtract another round from the casting time of the Circle Spell. Circle Spells always take at least one combat round to cast. For example, 2 Intermediate Sorcerers can cast a Circle Spell in 2 round if they both spend extra Endurance. Another example, 2 Basic Sorcerers and an Advanced sorcerer take 6 rounds to cast a Circle Spell and can lower that to 3 rounds if they each spend the Endurance surcharge (This is also true for having a Sorcerer of each level!)
If all the participants in the circle have an identical copy of the same Spell on their spells known list, whether through planning together before the Throne War or the use of Advanced Sorcery, then they may attempt to perform a True Circle. For True Circles, the casting time of the Circle Spell is further lowered by another round and the conference requirement is waived as all the Sorcerers are already familiar with the Spell.
The Circle Spell takes effect at the lowest Warfare of the Circle Sorcerers involved, expect for one specific case. If a True Circle spell would have a casting time lower than one round, the spell is performed at the Highest Warfare instead of at the lowest participants level. It still takes one full round of concentration to perform.
Both Circle Spells and True Circles cannot be performed by a solitary Sorcerer, they are purely group affairs.

Intermediate Abilities

Font of Magic

(requires Circle Sorcery)
As a Sorcerer, you sometimes have to learn to draw your power from within. Magic is considered "on" for you at all times, regardless of what the Shadow says. This does not extend to your Conjurations if they leave your grasp. Any magical effect or unattended Conjuration dissipates after one combat round. This ability also does not extend to other members of a Circle that do not have this ability. Whenever you do a magical ability when in a Shadow without magic, whether it be a Spell or a Power Word, you have to spend an extra Endurance as you use your own Magic to over power that of Shadow.
Other Sorcerer's Font of Magic cannot extend to your own personal Conjurations to keep them around, your personal magical signature is required.

Double Cast

(requires Prestidigitation)
Knowledge of this ability allows a Sorcerer to ignore the usual restriction on being able to rack only one instance of a specific spell. With this, she may rack multiples of any spell she knows in her rack and even may fill her entire Spell Rack with only copies of one Spell. Racking multiple instances of the same Spell does not cost any more endurance than usual for Spell Rack.

Know Magic

(requires Conjuration Spell)
Sorcery allows you greater ability to examine other peoples’ Toys and abilities than any other Power. This power requires total concentration and the Sorcerer cannot talk or do much else when using this. Amberites with sufficient Warfare or Psyche will notice the fact that you are looking very intently.
At a long glance, you can tell whether or not an item is magical or conjured unless its aura has been disguised in some way; a short action's observation across a room can give you a good idea of an object’s basic function; and a delay with the item in your hands can give you a point-for-point breakdown of its capabilities. In all cases the speed and thoroughness of the examination is dependent on the Sorcery rank. A Sorcerer who can also use the Pattern Lens or Logrus Tendrils to examine an item will do so significantly more quickly.
When looking at those with the Great Powers however, Sorcerers can feel those as well. If the Sorcerer does not have access to a Power present in an item, she will know that a foreign Power is present and roughly how strong it is, but not exactly what it does. When she does share the Power though, the specifics of the abilities arrays themselves as if an open books. When observing Amberites and given enough time, a Sorcerer can tell what sorts of specific levels of Power that Amberite holds and if they are touching them can even determine specific Shape Forms, Servants of Chaos, Shadow Pockets, and Trump artistry. Use of this power on an Amberite takes an Endurance.
Sorcerers can also analyze Spells with this ability. This is the primary means that Sorcerers use to recognize each others' particular signatures, but it also gives informations about Lynchpins so that a Sorcerer can understand the abilities of her fellows. To use this ability the Sorcerer must usually be present when the spell is cast.

Power Sorcery

(requires Know Magic)
Sorcery and the Major Powers are clearly no match for each other in raw. Many who have access to these awesome powers do not consider Sorcery to be of any use, but a learned Sorcerer knows better. She can combine her Sorcerous insight with the magical energy of the Major Powers for a desired effect. Use of this ability requires knowledge of the specific Major Power in question, and a specific Sorcerer could benefit from any or none of these abilities. This ability is sort of an Umbrella, containing within itself the four separate abilities of Ordered Sorcerer, Logrus Rack, Mystical Form and Magic of Trump.

Pattern is the highest art for an Amberite and it finds itself sometimes imposing itself on the Amberite's entire being. Pattern Innitiates who practice Sorcery are known as Ordered Sorcerers and their Sorcery is the most potent known to Amber Shadow. Some Ordered Sorcerers are rumored to command the blue lines of the Pattern itself...
Mechanically this means that each Spell cast by an Ordered Sorcerer costs one less Endurance token, minimum one, when the Magic of Shadow is that of Amber itself. This bonus still applies when in Tir-Na-Nog'th or deep in the heart of Rebma.

The many tendrils of the Logrus leave a lasting impression on the soul of anyone who dares enter it, not only those of Sorcerers. Those among the Master of Chaos who call themselves Sorcerers have perfected a technigue they call the Logrus Rack. When the Logrus is Manifested the sorcerer has the option to rack some of their spells onto the construct itself. The size of this rack is 2 spells for those who only know Manifest Logrus, but increases by 2 for each tier of Logrus abilities the master posses up to a maximum of 8 spells for those with Advanced Logrus. Those spells can be cast as normal or cast through the tendrils of the Logrus itself, even into other Shadows. Logrus Servants can be set to cast spells and Logrus Multitasking can used to use a single mode of the Logrus while a Sorcerer casts a spell from her Logrus Rack.

In some Shadows, Shapeshifting is thought to be a part of Sorcery though they are truly quite different abilities. The combined knowledge of these powers gives the Sorcerer access to a Mystical Form, one in which the Shapeshifter mingles Sorcerous energy with her very own form. In this form, the Shapshifter may shape her Spells and their mystical signatures. She may choose to mask the signature of her Spells entirely or even to copy the signatures of other Sorcerers that she has previously observed by spending an Endurance token. She also chooses a specific one of her racked spells when she takes the form. As long as she is in this form casting this spell does not remove it from her spell rack and only costs one Endurance. The Sorcerer cast all of her other spells as usual. When the Sorcerer does shift out of Mystical Form she removes the chosen Spell from her spell rack.
Mystical Form can be combined with other forms as usual and costs a number of Endurance tokens equal to the cost of the chosen spell to shift into.

Sorcerers who are also Trump artists have found that the Magic of Shadow can at times be limiting. The Sorcerer gains access to a new Lynchpin when designing spells, that of the Magic of Trump. Normally, Spells cannot be cast through Trump connections and magical effects cannot pass through the rainbow energy. Use of this Lynchpin however allows the Sorcerer to cast spells through and with in Trump connections. Including Magic of Trump replaces the usual require of Magic of Shadow for those Spells. Spells can have both Lynchpins if need be as well, but use of the spell Normally or in a Trump connection still requires you pay the Endurance cost for both Lynchpins.
The Trump connections used with Magic of Trump need not be your own, another Artist could open or sustain the connection themselves.

Advanced Abilities

Boundless Practice

(requires Know Magic)
As an expert Sorcerer, even the Magic of your siblings can seem like an open book. You can now copy the spells of your siblings after you have seen them cast them for an extra 1 Endurance cost. When casting a spell you are unaware of the exact Lynchpins until you are actually casting it as this ability does not give you perfect knowledge of the spell, just the magical where-with-al to reproduce the effect.
With this ability and a previously successful use of the spell being cast, you may participate in a True Circle for a spell you copied if you spend an extra endurance and another member of the Circle knows the Spell naturally.
You cannot serve as the Primary Sorcerer for a Circle Spell with a spell copied through Boundless Practice.

Theurgical Scribe

(requires Font of Magic)
Most Amberites are content to let others plunge into the magical depths and return with fully formed spells, but you find a point of pride to do so yourself. You have the ability to at any point in the Throne War write up an entirely new spell. This new spell you write up cannot be a Prestidigitation, but otherwise functions as any other spell you know and is able to include any Sorcery power within it as normal. After it has been written you can cast it with Circle Sorcery and other Sorcerers can even copy it with Boundless Practice.
It takes 4 delays and 2 Endurance token to write the spell, in normal time. Multiple Sorcerers can work together on the spell, possibly reducing the amount of time it takes to write it.
Theurgical Scribe can be used to copy the spells of your Siblings if they assist you in writing the spell.

Alter Self

(requires Power Sorcery)
This ability allows the Sorcerer to effect her own personal location and abilities with her own spells. She is able to move herself through Shadow with Magic and is even able to increase her natural capabilities. She gains two prewritten spells that she is able to rack named Journey and Sorcerous Might, detailed below . A Sorcerer may choose to use one of her Prestidigitation slots on one of these spells, but only one. Each of these spells ignores usual costing convention; Journey costs 4 Endurance and Sorcerous Might costs 3.

Mind over Magic

(requires Theurgical Scribe and Alter Self)
With this ability, the Sorcerer has delved into the destruction of Magic itself. This is no mere Power Word: Magic Disrupt, this power is the dissolution of Magic. The Sorcerer gains the ability to shut down, disrupt, and remove Magical signatures she so encounters. This ability has a variable Endurance cost and time requirement based upon the effect she wishes to end, but is never faster than a full turn of concentration and never less than 2 Endurance. This power can effect Toys, but the mystical nature of Toys is such that the destruction might not last for too long. GM discretion is used to determine the exact vagaries of this ability in game, but specific examples will be laid out to anyone with the Power prior to the game. Secret examples.

Sidebars

Spell Design

Spells can have any effect, and that can be quite daunting. When choosing Spell effects there are two main strategies. The first is to make Spells that shore up your weakness. No Shape? How about an "Environmental Bubble" spell? No Strength? Design a "Grease" spell to slip out of troublesome grapples! In this way Spells allow you to create a character who might be able to roll with more punches than usual. The other philosophy is to make Spells that play directly into your established game plan. These Spells might create rainbow distractions to allow a Trump to be activated more subtly or make an "Instant Platoon" to lead with your Warfare. Spells support the Great Powers very well and can complement their apparent Strengths easily.
On the third hand, Spells can allow the Sorcerer to do otherwise impossible things as the Ranks go higher, and that shouldn't be overlooked. Invisibility, weather control, Sibling-Seeking-Fireballs, instant buildings, and the list just continues. Attack the problem from both directions: come up with Spells that you think would have many applications, and try to think of specific things you want to do and figure out the Spells that get those accomplished.
When designing your Spells, keep in mind the number of Lynchpins. You want to have widely applicable spells, but you don't want to have to take a rest period after casting only one.

Magic "Off" and Magic "On"

Magic can be turned off and on, like a light-switch. Different Shadows have different natural laws, and one of those Natural Laws is whether or not Magic works. If Magic is not "on," then Sorcery has no effect in the Shadow.

Power Words

Power Words are magic too. They are like tiny little burst of spells, some Sorcerers would call them unrefined while others would counter and say they are the opposite. Regardless, Power Words and Sorcery differ in a two key aspects, complexity and speed. Power Words are faster than any Spell a Sorcerer could dream of but they can never have the same raw power as a Spell.

Gimme some Lynchpins!

Some generic example Lynchpins: Size, Target, Decibels, Duration, Number, Color, Energy Type, Surface Tension, Initial Velocity, etc.
Some example Lynchpins for Conjuration Spells: Furniture Type, Aggression, Shadow Manipulation, Projectile Type, Gas Milage, etc.

Spill the Beans! I want to see Journey and Sorcerous Might!

Journey (4 Endurance)
The Sorcerer moves through shadow, arriving at a new location. She cannot take anyone with her. The Journey is disorienting. The target location need only be vague...
Lynchpins: Magic of Shadow, Target Shadow, Location within the Shadow

Sorcerous Might (3 Endurance)
The Sorcerer concentrates her innate mystical prowess and lets it flow through her. The Sorcerer chooses one Attribute to effect with this spell and for the rest of the scene that Attribute is treated as having an innate Advantage in direct contests. This does not change a Sorcerer's rank or impart a greater Psyche Bonus Number, more Endurance Tokens, better initiative declaration, or more Health Levels. A large enough difference in ranks can functionally negate this Advantage as usual.
Lynchpins: Magic of Shadow, Attribute