Making imbued items

Preparations

Prerequisites

The caster needs to know all the Arcana for any spell he wishes to imbue into an item. If he doesn't know the arcanum he can't imbue it. The «Ritual Synergy» merit from Tome of the Mysteries can help circumvent this, of course, making it a very popular merit for item crafters,

With Prime 3 you can make imbued items, but only with a Prolonged (Scene) duration. At Prime 4 you get Advanced Prolongation, which means you can now reach Indefinite duration. So until you become an Adept of Prime you cannot create permanently imbued items, "only" temporarily imbued ones.

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Raw Materials

The Sacrament for an Imbuing spell isn't an item to be destroyed, but takes the form of the item to be imbued. You need an item to bind the spell into, after all. However, mage runs on symbolism. If the item is not «fitting», then the casting roll suffers a -1 penalty as if you were missing a Sacrament from the spell. This also reduces the base pool. Trying to imbue a light spell into a random rock is not thematically fitting, while imbuing a light spell into a crown of gold is. As such, mages don't usually go around imbuing totally random stuff.

Secondly, just like with Sacraments, especially valuable or rare items may give a bonus to the casting roll. This explains why Perfected Metals give their +1 to the crafting roll: They count as a particularly good Sacrament, but only for the spells that they are symbolically linked to (as explained in Legacies: The Ancient).

Other methods to gain this bonus might be to use historically important items (the actual Sword of Caesar for example, or the actual Hope Diamond), or to spend extra time and money to prepare the item: Carving it with runes, preparing it with ointments and rituals of purification and such. This is, in the end, an ST call, but encourages more occult trappings and goings-on within the process.

This Sacrament-bonus may be from +1 to +3 depending on quality, rarity, value, symbolism, thematics, item design and coolness. But this counts as a bonus, not an increase to the base dice pool, with the aforementioned Perfected Metals being a notable exception: The bonus they provide counts as part of the Base Dice Pool.

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The Imbuing Process

The mage casts the "Imbue Item" spell on the targeted object, where the required number of successes depends on how much potency, duration, and other factors he wants the imbued spells to be capable of. Once the Extended rite of the "Imbue Item" spell is finished the creator (or another participant) must cast each of the spells to be Imbued, as Extended/ritual casting(s), effort no matter how quickly the spells can normally be performed. The total successes of these imbued spells may not exceed the Potency of the "Imbue Item spell.

Example: If you want three spells imbued, each with 5 successes, then the "Imbue Item" spell needs to have a minimum Potency of 15, otherwise the spells will not «fit», the Imbue spell cannot contain their scope.

Once all the mana is paid, all the spells are cast and the ritual is over, then the item is finished.

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Using the Item

Just like in the merit description, you activate the item by rolling your Gnosis plus the rating of the Arcanum used when imbuing the spell currently being activated. The successes you score is the number of successes the spell gets, as with normal spellcasting.

Example: If you use a Wand of ''Healing Heart'' and roll 3 successes, then it's just like if you'd cast the Healing Heart spell with 3 successes, healing 3 damage. Simple and effective.

Example: Polgara the Sorceress has Matter 4, and is imbuing a Chalice with ''Shape Liquid'' (a Matter 2 spell). Whenever someone wants to use the Chalice, they would roll a dice pool equal to their own Gnosis +4, even though the spell is only lvl 2, because Polgara had Matter 4 when she added the spell to her Chalice (unless she for some reason chooses to willingly imbue the item with reduced capacity).

For items of unknown creator or origins it is always assumed that the Arcanum level in the item is the lowest rating required to imbue the relevant spell(s) it contains, unless its description specifically says otherwise.

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Details & Options

Limited Capacity

There is one caveat here: An activation roll can never produce a result with more potency than the spell which was imbued. If the healing spell was only imbued with a potency of 2, then no activation can ever benefit from a potency over 2. Every activation will only ever heal a maximum of 2 points of damage. This means that while creating a magic item it is prudent to have a good potency on the spells cast into it, which in turn requires a higher potency on the Imbue Item spell.

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Spell Factors

Then again, you might want to have the spell affect two people at once. Or make a shielding spell last twice as long. During a normal spellcasting this merely requires you to suffer a dice pool penalty on your casting roll. With an item, however, this is not normally possible unless the imbuing process planned for such an eventuality.

When casting the spells to be imbued the character can dedicate successes to duration factors, area factors, target factors and so on. When using the magical item it then becomes possible to activate the spell with these factors, by taking the normal dice penalties on the activation roll itself. The factors «pre-programmed» into the item become the maximum capabilities of that item.

Example: A healing wand which was imbued with a maxium Target factor of 4. It would still only affect one target if used normally, but by taking a -2 penalty on the activation roll it would affect 2 people, and by taking -4 it would affect 4 people. It could not affect more than thar, even with a higher penalty, because more successes were not dedicated to target factors when it was imbued.

In this way large and flexible spells can be imprinted in an item, but this requires a very competent imbuer, since it requires a higher potency on the Imbue Item spell. It also tends to give less powerful effects in return for flexibility, as there's a limit to how many successes can be imbued, and spending it on Spell Factors means they aren't being used to increase the limit on activation results.

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Persistent Items

When planning to make a Persistent item you still need to score a Potency equal to your desired number of successes on the spells to be added, but the "Imbue Item" spell also requires an additional +5 successes simply to manage producing and sustaining a persistent effect. This is in addition to the levels of Potency you will most likely have to 'spend' on Duration factors in order to reach 'Indefinite', though no matter how many always-on spells you add to an item this extra +5 cost for ''Persistence'' is only required once.

The biggest limitation here is that the Potency of a persistent effect cannot be higher than the creator's base dice pool for the spell in question.

Examples: If you want to make a persistent Prime Sight item then the Potency cannot be higher than your base pool for Prime Sight. If your base dice pool for casting, say, Mind Shield happens to be 7 dice, then you cannot imbue a persistent item with a Mind Shield Potency above 7.

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Mana Capacity

By dedicating successes from the "Imbue Item" spell towards mana capacity instead of spell storage the item gains the ability to hold and store mana. It can hold 10 mana +1 per spell imbued into the item, though of course it does not produce these points itself. Any mana stored in the item can be used by the character to pay the costs involved in activating the item's effects, but unlike an Artifact the wielder doesn't have direct access to spend this mana for any other purpose.

Adding mana capacity 'takes up' 2 successes from the ''Imbue'' spell, +1 per spell that will be added to the item.

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Extended Activation

Just like some spells take an Instant action to cast while others need an Extended action to pull off it's possible to imbue an effect so that it can be activated as an Extended action. This takes up capacity from the "Imbue Item" spell, as most of these things do, and the 'costs' are as follows:

  • To enable an item to be activated as an Extended action: 5 successes
  • It's only possible to roll for activation a limited amount of times before the Extended action is over (just as with Extended spells): The maximum number of intervals is 1 per success spent on this, to a maximum equal to the relevant spell's base dice pool.
  • Dedicate a number of successes, up to a maximum of the caster's current Gnosis, to determine how long it takes to activate the item. The intervals takes as long time as if it were cast by a mage with Gnosis equal to the number of successes spent on this.

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Conditions, Preparing & Triggers, oh my!

These effects, and others, are still under review to see how well the current ruleset handles their imbued forms, but for now they can be added more or less like so:

  • each effect capable of being Prepared beforehand (time 2) has to spend potency to cover the successes used to determine how long the spell can be held before evaporating, which works pretty much like any other Spell Factor. These do still inflict a penalty on the activation roll when the wielder wants to employ this option.
  • each Prepared effect that can have a Conditional Trigger (Fate 2+Time 2) requires 1 success, and careful evaluation from ST about what sort of item it is, why and how it can be triggered like this. Do remember that even preparing a trigger costs +1 mana, even if the spell never ends up being activated anyway.
  • target exemptions 'cost' 1 success for each category of target which an effect reacts differently to.
  • ad hoc: various individual spells may have other parameters or options which may or may not require more imbuing potency in order to add more than the basic level of effect.

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Relinquishing the Item

Once the entire casting process is over, the creator can spend 1 permanent dot of Willpower to relinquish the item. Every single spell inside it is now relinquished as well, tied up in the item itself. Like it says in the Imbued Item description of the core book, it cannot be dispelled like normal spells.

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Full example of (intentionally very complex) Imbuing

Skaft the Obrimos wants to create a pair of Hypnotic Spectacles. These will be imbued with «Emotional Urging» and the mind version of «Aura Vision». Since he has Mind 2 and Prime 4 he can do this. The ST rules that the idea of using glasses to change someone's emotions by looking them in the eyes is thematically fitting enough to give the Sacrament bonus.

Skaft decides that he wants a maximum potency of 10 on the emotional urging facet, and he wants the Aura Vision to be Persistent, aiming at a potency of 6 for that spell, and the spectacles will have a Mana Capacity. He also wants the emotional urging to have the potential for a bit of duration, and so aims for a maximum duration of 12 hours.

In total his Imbue Item spell now requires a number of successes: 5 for Indefinite duration on the imbuing itself, 10 for "emotional urging" max potency, 2 for the "emotional urging" max duration, 4 for the mana capacity, 5 for letting the "Aura vision" be a Persistent effect, 5 for the "Aura Vision"s own Indefinite Duration, and 6 for the Aura's maximum potency. That's a total of 37 required successes on the imbue item spell.

Skaft's base dice pool on the Imbue Item rote is 10, which means he can roll ten times during the ritual. If he takes the extra time to chant High Speech as well this gives him an expected mean result of 40 successes if he performs the full ritual, so he has a good chance of making it work. His "Aura vision" base dice pool is 8, so he fulfills the requirements for his desired Persistent Potency of 6.

The finished item

  • As long as they're worn, the spectacles grant a Potency 6 aura vision.
  • To activate them you roll Gnosis + 3, and any result is capped at 10, inflicting Emotional Urging for a scene on whomever you're looking into the eyes of.
  • By taking a penalty on the activation roll, either -2 or -4, the effect lasts either two hours or twelve hours respectively.

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This is about as complex as the system gets, and 90% of the items created will be much simpler and streamlined (unless the player intentionally chooses to do otherwise).

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