333, Chapter Four: Characters

The 333 setting prominently features Ritual Path Magic as an established act-of-life in a relatively realistic modern Earth. This chapter covers some character creation options that are changed or given focus by the setting’s high concept. First of all assumptions, the Tech Level is (5+3), effectively TL 8^, unless the game is set earlier in the timeline, of course. Secondly, the Traits from Thaumatology: Ritual Path Magic page 5-12 are available as the basic building blocks of a 333 mage. Further options for mage Traits are discussed in Chapter Three, amongst other aspects of the setting’s metaphysics.

By default, a Player Character is not required to be a Mage in the 333 setting, or even have anti-magic abilities like Static or Neutralize. A mundane is a perfectly valid character concept, unless the GM specifically plans the campaign around an all-Mage party. Sapient Undead, Constructs or Spirits – ghosts, vampires, golems, liches, household guardians, etc. – might be allowed as PCs, at GM’s discretion.

Advantages

Every relevant Advantage from Ritual Path Magic is available, of course. The 333 setting is an alternate history TL 8 Earth, which means Advantages that are found in other realistic modern day campaigns are available to 333 characters.

Ritual Adept, Magery (Ritual Path)

See T:RPM p.5-6

Ritual Adept can be earned in-play, as can Magery. Some people are born with both (or just Magery), but not the Thaumatology skill, of course.

Magic Resistance, Static (Magic), Neutralise (Magic)

See T:RPM p.5, Powers p.98, Powers p.97-98

Magic Resistance and powers like Static (Magic) and Neutralise (Magic) typically only can be bought at character creation – the GM may allow PCs who started with these abilities to upgrade them with Character Points (more levels, enhancements, buy off limitations) and buy related powers.

Ritual Path Magic Specialist Talents

See Pyramid 3/66 p.18-20, T:RPM p.12

Characters can have Specialist Talents or Natural Caster, not to mention Styles, Higher Purpose (Tradition) and Magical Perks. Wild Rumours and Folklore say that an Adept with Natural Caster 4 is fated to become the Heiromagnus – a supposed sort of Messiah figure for magicians, who will commune with Kether, achieve enlightenment, crush the forces of Daath and usher in a new era of peace and prosperity for humanity. Even those magi who do not believe in such fanciful tales, however, still respect Natural Casters for their talent. Please note that seriously proclaiming yourself to be The Heiromagnus will get you derided as a lunatic with a Delusion on par with proclaiming yourself to be the Second Coming of Jesus, or a ridiculous fraud.

Cultural Familiarity

See p.B23

Any Culture found in the real modern world can safely be assumed to exist in the 333 setting.

Language

See p.B23-25

Any human Language that can be found on real life modern day Earth is also present amongst humanity in the 333 setting. Certain classes of sapient spirit entities also have their own Languages, such as with Daemons and their Daemontongue Language.

Perks

In the 333 setting, magic-using characters will have some Magic Perks from Magical Styles.

Fighting Style Familiarity

See Martial Arts p.49

This perk works exactly as per Martial Arts. In addition to real world Styles, characters of the 333 setting may have learnt the more fantastic Styles featured in Yrth Fighting Styles, Fusion Styles of Ytarria from Pyramid issue 3/61 (pages 25-29) and Technical Grappling, if the GM feels the magically-influenced alternate history could plausibly develop them. Because Humans are the only “racial template” in the 333 setting, some styles born from non-human cultures (like those of Elves and Dwarves, for example) will have different origins, have different traits, or even be non-existent. For example, The Night Way (Martial Arts: Technical Grappling page 46) may exist in the setting because Vampires exist in the setting. The Ulvinger Fighting style from Yrth Fighting Styles page 21 would be developed by shapeshifting mages in the 333 setting. The Silatte style (Pyramid 3/61 page 28-29) was developed in the 333 setting by travelling Western magi and Balinese martial artists. Diabolists and tough daemons may have learned the mysterious black martial art that is the Pugno del Diavolo style (Pyramid 3/61 page 22-24).

Magic Perks

See Magical Styles p.20-33

See Pyramid 3/66 page 9-12 for rules regarding using General and Style Magic Perks from Thaumatology:Magical Styles with Ritual Path Magic. Some Magic Perks are changed or unavailable for a Ritual Path Magic user.

Knower of Names

See Magical Styles p.24

By default, the rules for True Names (Thaumatology page 245) can only be used in the 333 setting by those with this magic perk, either as a style or general perk. As an extra benefit, getting any bonus (even +1) from such rules also allows non-Adepts to avoid the -5 penalty for a lack of Connection (Thaumatology: Ritual Path Magic page 20). Knowing the full True Name of a ritual’s subject also gives a -10% discount on the energy cost, plus another -5% for each corresponding Decan. The perk is uncommon, but still easily learned enough that people are slow to trust unknown magi with their private records. “Use names” or “Mage-names” are what you call a nickname or alias used in public for the sake of avoiding the obvious risks.

Easy Refill

See Pyramid 3/66 p.17

This Magic Perk is a common choice for magi not specialising in the Path of Magic, obviously. Styles which don’t require the Path of Magic often have it as one of their Perks.

Improved Cap

See Pyramid 3/66 p.17

This Magic Perk is limited to a maximum of 2 levels per Path skill. No character may have more than that.

Magical Style Familiarity

See Magical Styles p.20

Pyramid 3/66 page 9-12 gives rules for magical styles within the Ritual Path Magic system, as well as changes to existing magic perks from Thaumatology: Magical Styles to fit them into the RPM system and new magic perks exclusive to RPM styles.

Mass Magician

See Magical Styles p.24

This Magic Perk uses the variant rules on Thaumatology: Urban Magics page 25-26 rather than the original rules of Thaumatology page 51. Additionally, each spectator and conductor may voluntarily sacrifice FP and HP to contribute energy at the same time without needing direct contact with the director. This is very useful for large scale civic projects that require costly rituals and have the full co-operation of the local citizenry.

Natural Alchemist and Natural Thaumaturge

See Pyramid 3/66 p.17

These two Magic Perks are available power-ups in the 333 setting, but a GM trying to downplay the magic market by emphasising costs and supply shortages may restrict them to Style Perks and not General Perks. If nothing else, magi become more threatening in the eyes of the public and magic is cheaper to buy, if these Perks are easily learned without special training.

Ritual Mastery

See Ritual Path Magic p.6

If the GM allows for this perk to be a levelled perk, as per Pyramid 3/66 page 17, it’s probably wise to restrict the higher levels (+3 and +4) as magical Style Perks that can only be bought for in-style rituals. The first level (+2) can be bought freely, as per the default rules, but greater prowess with a ritual needs the focus and esoteric lore of a magical style.

Secret Spell

See Magical Styles p.30

This magic perk is only available as a style perk than as a general perk. It requires specialisation by in-style ritual, and makes it harder to resist; targets of the ritual suffer a -2 to resistance rolls.

Shortcut to Power

See Magical Styles p.30-31

This magic perk is only available as a style perk than as a general perk. It requires specialisation by in-style ritual, and reduces energy cost by 10%, stacking with other reductions.

New Magic Perk: Extra Option (Magical Thinking)

This magical Perk reflects spell casting abilities strengthened by a mindset of obsession with symbology and a lifestyle centred around esoteric ritual – the Mage habitually clings to superstition and focuses on “attuning” himself to the “proper” circumstances (“Don’t cast this kind of spell in a hospital on a Friday if your birthday is in August…”) and “elements” (“I should avoid wearing a white shirt with red pants if I need to cast a spell on something bigger than me and coloured green…”).

In game terms, the character may get a energy cost reduction on all of his spells, if he has mental disadvantages reflecting a dysfunctional and superstitious worldview, such as Disciplines of Faith, Vow, Delusion, Compulsive Behaviour, Obsession and the like. The percentage of the reduction in energy costs is equal to half (rounding down) the sum total of the disadvantages’ negative point values. (So a Vow worth -10 points, another Vow worth -5 points and an Obsession worth -10 points would altogether give a -12% energy reduction.) The GM should be strict about making the sure the player roleplays these disadvantages and suffers consequences for them.

Disadvantages

Human characters in the 333 setting may have exotic or supernatural Disadvantages (Destiny, Divine Curse, Lifebane, Revulsion, etc.) because of some magical cause, but they generally have Disadvantages that realistic modern humans suffer from.

Intolerance

See p.B140

Being intolerant towards all magi or mundanes is worth -10 points. Intolerance of one specific kind of Mage (diabolists, shapeshifters, blood mages, pyromancers, mentalists, necromancers, etc.) is worth -5 points (a Quirk for rare classes of magi).

Mundane Background

See p.B144

In the 333 setting, the existence of magic has been a public fact since the middle of The Cold War (around 1965-1972 C.E., the exact year is set by the GM). If the campaign is set after that Big Reveal, this Disadvantage is no longer available except for exceptionally isolated and sheltered people who have no contact with the outside world. Before the Big Reveal, knowledge and use of magic is a Secret worth at least -10 to -30 points, and most people have this Disadvantage.

Social Stigma

See p.B155-156

The shaky socio-political baggage surrounding magic means a Mage may have a Social Stigma.

Criminal Record applies for magi who cast spells without a License, or practise “left-handed” magic like mind control and daemon summoning. In countries that ban magic across the board (e.g. Saudi Arabia), EVERY Mage has this Disadvantage.

Excommunicated is a valid Social Stigma only for magi living in areas where an anti-magic religion holds significant political pull. It is worth only -5 points.

Minority Group was common for magi in the past just after the Big Reveal, but modern day Earth does not stigmatise magic that way anymore.

Monster only applies to non-human creatures, typically the undead (who also have Social Stigma (Dead)), some spirits (daemons, especially) and outer planes fauna. In the ignorant pre-modern world, a Mage could’ve been feared as a Monster by mundanes.

Second-Class Citizen is a more common Social Stigma for magi than Minority Group or Excommunicated, representing alarmist and reactionary attitudes entrenched in mundane laws and public opinion. It becomes a Social Stigma for magi where the CR for spellcraft is 4 or worse (to name a few; Japan, China, some Western European countries, the U.S.S.R. during the Cold War, Mexico, conservative areas of the United States, Israel).

Valuable Property is (hopefully!) not a Social Stigma for humans, but for magical constructs, bound spirits and some non-sapient undead.

Skills

All the relevant skills from Ritual Path Magic are used by 333 magi. Some quick notes on other skills within the 333 setting;

Fast-Draw/TL (Ammo)

See p.B195

This skill also covers quickly Readying charms and elixirs.

Fast-Draw (Wand)

See Pyramid 3/91 p.35

This skill is for quickly equipping magical tools for use in spellcraft, both in Mage duels and proper combat.

Games (Mage Dueling)

See Pyramid 3/91 p.34

This skill covers the rules, history and conventions of magical duelling.

Sports (Mage Dueling)

See Pyramid 3/91 p.34-35

This skill covers the basic rules of Mage duelling, as well as fighting the Mage duel itself.

Symbol Drawing (Ritual Path)

See p.B224

This skill is used by magi to make improvised consecrated spaces and for creating Scroll Charms (Pyramid 3/76 page 18). The number of Scroll Charms a Mage can have active at once is limited by the higher of his Symbol Drawing (Ritual Path) or Thaumatology skill.

Savoir-Faire (Magical)

See Pyramid 3/91 p.34

This skill covers the social guts of the magical subculture, including laws, slang, conduct, and impersonating a Mage.

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