The Basics - Magery

Hedge Magic

Simply put, Hedge Magic is totally up to the Narrator. Hedge Magic is the magic of the Empire City Generation. It is published in countless volumes of witchcraft and ritual magic available at almost any commercial bookstore, most of which are meaningless, mumbo-jumbo crap. Whether or not these things actually work... Well, according to most of "civilized" society, no, it doesn't. However, enough people believe in the possibility of magic, and even more practice it, that some effect may be elicited through these "modern" rituals. The limitation of Hedge Magic is that it is inundated by mundane reality, and therefore may only be used to alter probability in unremarkable ways.

Bobby wants a job so he casts the "Neidajawb" incantation on page 57 of his Cute Lil' Book 'o' Spells. The effect of his strong willpower bends the probability in his favor, but only if he goes out and looks for a job. He does indeed find work. The spell either worked or he simply caught a break via the power of positive thinking.

Hedge Magic may not be used for direct attacks nor can it defend against the effects of High Magic, below. The Narrator may set variable opposition for an Overcome or Create Advantage action or may simply declare that "there doesn't seem to be any effect", at their discretion.

High Magic

True Magic, Thaumaturgy, Sorcery... by any name the power remains the same. This is the fireball-slinging, corpse-raising, item enchanting, mage armoring kind of magic found in high fantasy settings. Some of this information will be very similar to that found in Powers, especially for practitioners of The Way (below), but details may differ and in either case gathering all of the information regarding magic use in a single section simplifies the lives of both wizardly PCs and their Narrators.

The Art

The Art is ritual magic and is, potentially, far more potent than the Way. What the Art lacks in immediacy, it makes up for in impressiveness. Long lasting effects, summoning, and effects that influence a large area are the arena of the Art. Unlike the Way, the Art consists of spells and arcane knowledge, requires magical ingredients, special incantations, and many of the trappings of magic with which one may already be familiar such as cauldrons, wands, and circles of power.

Rituals take one hour per rune (below) involved to cast. Other practitioners of the Art may assist, reducing casting time by 10% for each successful roll. Each failed roll adds 50% to casting time or causes the ritual to fail completely, lead mage's choice.

The Way

The Way is the skill of influencing the primal forces behind magic to produce an almost unlimited variety of effects. The Way is often referred to as the Warrior's Way, as magic-users who specialize in this more immediate application of magic tend to lean towards combative lifestyles. The Way has no spells; it instead features Rotes (below), which are the skills necessary to influence the forces behind magic to produce the desired effect. While not as dramatically powerful as the Art, the Way is immediately and personally potent.


A character must take at least one aspect that allows pursuit of a magical path. This is generally going to be a form of apprenticeship or otherwise intensive training. Divine intervention is also a possibility.

Examples: Student of Mordavious Darcsol, Deathlord; Practitioner of the Way; Artificer Prodigy; Chosen of Gaia

A character will usually only ever practice one school of magery and within that school be a practitioner only of either the Art or the Way. Exceptions exist, but are almost always only among those who are either naturally or unnaturally very long lived.

The Art and the Way are the two Disciplines of High Magic. Each discipline is host to several Catalysts (below). In the Art these methods are called Runes. In the Way they are called Rotes.


Each school teaches specific Catalysts, the methods of application that shape the raw elements of magic, the reagents. Some offer healing, others illusion. To access the next level of catalyst in a school, you must have already mastered (purchased with stunt points or refresh) two of the preceding level in that school. In other words, to get level 2 catalysts, you first have to have two level 1 catalyst. The level 1 catalysts have no other prerequisites outside the required aspect.

Each school also teaches specific Reagents. Each magical formula will employ the use of at least one reagent and one catalyst. For instance, an attack performed by a practitioner of the Way of Mortuum might involve the Rote (the Catalyst) of Flictus (Harm) and the Reagent of Mortis (Death). For an Elementalist to escape, they might use Kinetikos (Movement) and their element of choice, such as Aqueas (Water), to ride a water jet to a low rooftop.

As you might be able to surmise, magic use is very flexible and limited only by creativity and application of methods.

Each rote of the Way costs its level in Stunts and/or Refresh (see The Basics - Character Creation for more information). Given the Trilogy standard of six stunts, you could purchase two level one rotes for two stunts (one each) and two level two rotes for four stunts (two each). This would "unlock" level three for you just as soon as you have three more stunts/refresh available to purchase one, such as after completing your third major milestone as well as make you an Adept (below) in your school. You could gain a Master level rote a bit sooner if you were willing to sacrifice nearly all your refresh to do so as long as you don't mind being at the mercy of the narrator.

The Art, while slower and requiring much of preparation and concentration, is also much more powerful and so its methods—runes—are more costly to purchase. Runes cost double their level in stunts. Therefore a level one rune is two stunts whereas a level three rune would be a jaw-dropping six stunts to purchase!


Possession of level one methods makes a character an Apprentice of that school. An "Apprentice of Mortuum" or "Mortuum Apprentice", for instance. Apprentices receive +2 to any roll involving the teachings of their schools. They may only employ one catalyst and one reagent at a time.

The Art

Apprentices of the Art may affect any or all targets they can perceive in their own zone and every adjacent zone.

The Way

Apprentices of the Way may affect themselves or a single target they can see in their own zone.


Those who have learned level two methods are Adepts. Adepts have +4 to any roll involving that school. They may combine up to two catalyst and up to two reagents to produce a much greater variety of effects.

The Art

Adepts of the Art may target as an Apprentice, above, and may additionally affect an area of up to a square kilometer (0.38 square miles) from a distance of one kilometer (about 0.6 miles) from the epicenter.

The Way

Adepts may Target as an Apprentice, above, and may additionally affect their entire zone or any number of targets they can perceive within it, or a single target they can perceive up to three zones away.


Attaining a third level rote denotes the skill of a Master. Masters receive a total of +6 to their magic-related rolls in their school. They may combine up to three catalysts and up to three reagents in a single incantation.

The Art

Masters of the Art are capable, with enough preparation, of affecting an area equal to five square kilometers (about two square miles) from a distance of five kilometers to the epicenter. That would be a circle with an approximate diameter of 2.5 kilometers, covering an area from Midtown Manhattan to Union Square.

The Way

Masters may target as adepts and apprentices, above, and may also affect an entire zone up to three zones away or a single target up to five zones away.


In each school there is a final method—a capstone. In order to purchase the ultimate method in any school, a student must first possess at least two level three methods and then spend four stunts for the rote of the Way or a whopping eight for the rune. An individual who has attained this level of mastery is a Wizard of that school. A Wizard adds a total of +8 to rolls in their school.


There are nine great Schools of Magery, each a unique entity and mutually exclusive. This is not to say that knowledge in one School will necessarily prevent one from gaining experience in another, rather that knowledge of one School does not carry over to another in any way. The psychology and technique of each School is distantly removed from all others, as each of the disparate paths to magic have developed in practical isolation for millennia or longer.

Vulgar Mages

In the beginning, of course, there were no schools and no teachers. Even long after magical traditions were well established there remain those who strike off on their own and by curiosity or necessity find their way into the manipulation of mana by experimentation. Swamp witches, hermits, outcasts and students gone rogue will all fall into this category. Whatever they call themselves, students of the primary schools call them "vulgar mages".

Artifice and Alchemy

Rather than shape the raw forces of mana with long, boring rituals or spasmodic bodily contortions, the proto-scientists who spend their time not with dusty tomes but instead tinkering in a cluttered workshop and only occasionally blowing themselves to pieces manipulate natural forces and bend natural law with their creations. While artifice and alchemy seem to sometimes stand opposed to the older magical paths, the basis of their work is part of the same fundamental system. Rather than practicing the Art or the Way, alchemists and artificers pursue the Craft.


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