Cantrips

Cantrips are the means by which changelings manipulate Glamour to create magical effects, both in the Dreaming and in the mundane world. By sparking her own internal Glamour, a changeling can create a link with the Dreaming — a link strong enough for her to draw upon and form the raw stuff of the Dreaming to suit her desires. In a sense, cantrips are the manifestations of Glamour, the source of which is the Dreaming.

The different manners in which changelings weave their Glamour are known as Arts. These are the powers that the changeling can use to affect the world around her, be it moving at incredible speeds, calling on the raw force of nature, healing, or harming. Some examples of Arts are Chicanery, Legerdemain, and Wayfare.

In order to successfully cast a cantrip, an Art must be combined with a Realm. To put it simply, a Realm is an aspect of the known world, and it serves as a target for the cantrip. Without the proper Realm to focus the Art, a changeling cannot pull off the desired effect. Some examples of Realms are Actor (which targets mortals and Prodigals like Garou, Mages, and Vampires), Fae (which affects all Changelings, chimera, or cantrips themselves), or Prop (objects, tools, and machines).

Lastly, a Changeling needs to perform a Bunk in order to coax the Glamour into doing his or her will. Being a fickle, wild, and unpredictable force of nature, Glamour has demands before it will do what a changeling wants. Bunks involve hand gestures, songs, poems, or a whole variety of other little things.

Through the focus of the Art, the target of the Realm, and the performance of a Bunk to spark the Glamour, a Changeling performs a cantrip.

TL;DR

  • Figure out which Art to use.
  • Select the appropriate Realm(s) to use.
  • Figure out the dice pool: Art’s Attribute + primary Realm.
  • Describe the Bunk and decide its level, rated 1 to 5.
  • Figure out base difficulty: Subject or Caster’s Banality + 4, whichever is higher, add mods.
  • Determine Glamour cost.
  • Roll it!

Step by Step

Select the Art

The first step in casting a cantrip is selecting the appropriate Art to use to pull off the effect. Only one Art at a time may ever be used. On the MUX, you can get a description of each effect available in an Art by typing +art <art name>=<#>

For example, Legerdemain 1 — Gimmix — allows a changeling to manipulate objects telekinetically. For our example, Simeon is going to telekinetically send a poisoned dart across the room and into the Baron’s back. Raven chooses Legerdemain as the Art to do it.

Select the Realm

Now it comes time to select the target for the cantrip. In this stage of the casting, there is sometimes room to negotiate what Realm and what level would be appropriate. Not all Realms are appropriate for all Arts.

In reading the system information for Legerdemain 1, however, it specifically states what the target of the cantrip is. In this case, it’s going to be whatever is immediately affected. While some might argue the Baron is the target, since he’s about to be darted, in actuality, the Glamour is affecting the dart itself and not Aitur at all. Therefore, the appropriate Realm is Prop, and at level 2 (Crafted Tool).

Now, it is possible to use more than one Realm while casting a cantrip. There are two ways to combine multiple different Realms.

Modifier Realms

If Simeon wanted, he could use Time to delay the throwing of the dart for a single turn (Time 1). If he used Scene, he could throw darts at the Baron as well as his allies. Usage of Scene or Time like this is called using a Modifier Realm, and in order to use a Modifier Realm, one additional point of Glamour must be spent and the difficulty increases by 1. Additionally, if the Scene Realm is used to cast a cantrip that has a physical effect (doesn’t matter if the cantrip is chimerical or Wyrd), then the difficulty increases by one for each target affected after the first. (In other words, hitting Aitur would be at +1 difficulty, hitting a Troll bodyguard next would be +2 difficulty, and hitting the satyr advisor Hannah would be at +3 difficulty).

Secondary Realms

A secondary Realm is a supportive Realm that makes the casting of a cantrip slightly easier, as long as that secondary Realm can actually be justified as being useful and appropriate to the situation. ST’s discretion here. For each additional Realm that can be used to help, the difficulty is lowered by one.

In our hypothetical situation, Raven’s left brain argues endlessly that the Fae Realm can actually be used as a secondary Realm, since the final target — Aitur, a Lofty Noble — is ultimately going to be affected by the cantrip. Raven’s right brain gives up and in frustration agrees to it. Simeon receives a -1 difficulty for this.

Calculate the Dice Pool

Whenever rolling for a cantrip, your dice pool is going to be composed of the Attribute associated with a particular Art (read the +explain of a particular Art to find it), and adding it to the number of dice you have for the chosen, primary Realm.

In our hypothetical situation, Legerdemain relies upon the Dexterity Attribute, and Simeon has Prop 3. So, combining Simeon’s Dexterity of 4 + Prop 3 equals a total of 7 dice. On the MUX, all you’ll need to type is: +roll dexterity + prop=<difficulty>

Choose a Bunk

This is one step where things get a little subjective. Bunks have a rating of 1 to 5, depending on the length of time they take to complete and their complexity. A level one Bunk is quick, easy and simple, like stamping your feet three times, shouting a phrase, or twirling around for a single turn.

When in combat, a level one Bunk can be performed in a single turn. Any higher than that, though, and the changeling will have to either take more time to complete the cantrip (1 turn for each level of the Bunk), or he’ll have to split his dice pool. So to perform a level 2 Bunk, he’ll divide his pool by 2. For a level 3, he’ll divide by 3, so on and so forth.

Cantrips with a starting difficulty of 10 or less may be performed without a Bunk by spending an additional point of Glamour (above and beyond what may be required by the cantrip itself). For difficulties starting at higher than 10, Glamour MUST be spent in order to bring the difficulty down to at least 10.

If the Bunk is interrupted at any time, the cantrip automatically fails and all spent Glamour is lost.

Figure out the Difficulty

The base difficulty on every cantrip is going to be Banality rating + 4. Look at the ratings of the subject or the caster, then pick the higher rating and go with that one. In this case, Simeon’s Banality is 3, and a chimerical dart has no rating at all, so the base difficulty to get Aitur in the back is going to be 7.

After this, apply modifiers. Simeon has a supportive, secondary Realm (Fae), so he receives a -1 difficulty. Simeon decides to just fire off the dart immediately and hit only the Baron, so he receives no penalties for using a Modifier Realm.

Subtract the level of the Bunk being performed from the difficulty too. Simeon is going to perform a level 1 Bunk, with some quick, sweeping hand gestures and twisting his fingers around, so the difficulty is lowered even further from 6 to 5.

Glamour points may be spent to lower the difficulty even further, but a cantrip can never be modified to go below a difficulty of 4. Nor can it ever go above 10 (and if a cantrip’s starting difficulty is 10, the Changeling MUST spend Glamour or perform elaborate Bunks to get it down to 10 or less). Since Simeon is feeling particularly spiteful today, he declares he’ll spend a Glamour point to get the difficulty down to 4.

Determine the final Glamour Cost

Since Simeon declared he’ll spend Glamour to lower the difficulty, he is committed to spending at least one point before he can roll. This can be done by typing +glamour/spend on the MUX.

But there are other factors which might require Glamour.

  • All Wyrd cantrips require one Glamour point to even pull off. Looking at Gimmix (Legerdemain 1), it is listed as a Wyrd cantrip. Simeon will have to spend two points of Glamour now to shoot Aitur.
  • Chimerical cantrips which affect only Changelings, the Enchanted, inanimate objects, or chimera do not require Glamour to be cast, but Glamour may still be spent to lower the difficulty of the cantrip.
  • Any cantrip cast on a Banal target costs one point of Glamour (and this is not cumulative with the cost for casting a Wyrd cantrip). Banal targets include mortals, unenchanted supernatural beings, and anyone without a Glamour trait (including Changelings who have been Undone).
  • Casting a cantrip without a Bunk requires 1 Glamour point.
  • Using a Modifier Realm (Scene or Time) requires 1 Glamour point.
  • Up to 5 points of Glamour may be spent to lower the difficulty of a cantrip.

The total cost of the cantrip must be paid before a roll can be made. If the Changeling does not have enough Glamour to cover the costs, the cantrip fails, though the Glamour is not drained.

Roll It, Roll It, Roll It

At this point, there’s not much to do but actually roll. In our hypothetical case, Simeon would spend his two points of Glamour, then roll his Dexterity + Prop at a final difficulty of 4. If he succeeds, he poses performing his Bunk and the dart flying towards Aitur’s back. The Dreaming and the Glamour respond favourably to his coaxing. If he fails the roll, the Glamour metaphorically flips him the bird and refuses to do what he wants.

Advanced Rules

Well, you thought it was over, did you? IT AIN’T. Below are the rules for advanced techniques in cantrip casting, things like bringing cantrips into the real world, countering cantrips and Nightmares. Read on.

Wyrd vs. Chimerical

It’s a misconception that Changelings cannot affect the real world. They absolutely can. Any cantrip that is classified as Wyrd affects the real world rather than the chimerical world, meaning that it can affect the mortal standing on the street corner as readily as it will affect the chimerical dragon stomping through Main Street. Chimerical cantrips are those that affect only the chimerical or are so subtle that mortals won’t readily notice the results (in Mage parlance, this would be called coincidental magic).

Each level of Art has been given a type, describing it as Wyrd, Chimerical, or capable of being both. Cantrips classified as Wyrd automatically cost one Glamour point to cast, even if your target is a chimerical dragon and not a mortal. Chimerical cantrips cast against the Enchanted or Changelings do not require Glamour to cast. You can fling them without draining your Glamour pool. If you target a Banal mortal or unenchanted supernatural with your cantrip, however, it will cost 1 point of Glamour (because you are using a Wyrd cantrip anyway, or… you are bringing the chimerical into reality).

As hinted above, you can bring a Chimerical cantrip into the real world through two ways.

If the chimerical cantrip you’re casting is subtle and not easily noticed by mortals (like Chicanery 1, Fuddle), then the Changeling only needs to spend a Glamour point in order to affect a mortal or unenchanted supernatural target.

If the chimerical cantrip has a very blatant effect like Primal 3’s Oakenshield does (in Mage parlance, we’d call it a vulgar effect), then the Changeling will have to Call upon the Wyrd. The player spends a point of Willpower, a point of Glamour, and then rolls Willpower with a difficulty equal to his permanent Glamour rating.

One success is all it takes to Call Upon the Wyrd, at which point, the fae’s chimerical self is revealed, all his armour and weapons manifest in the real world, all of his cantrips are considered Wyrd, and all his chimerical companions manifest and do real damage. For obvious reasons, this is pretty damn dangerous, making the Changeling a blatant target and subjecting him to Banality. Depending on where he is when he Calls Upon the Wyrd, the force of disbelief in the mortals surrounding him could give him a point of temporary Banality.

Also read up on the Mists for what happens to mortals and the unenchanted after being subjected to a Changeling’s magic. In short, they tend to forget everything.

If a cantrip is listed as being Wyrd or Chimerical, then the Changeling can cast it without spending Glamour if he targets Changelings or the Enchanted, or he can cast it as a Wyrd cantrip against mortals and the unenchanted without Calling Upon the Wyrd.

Countering Cantrips

There are two ways to resist the effects of a cantrip.

Invoking Banality

A Changeling can use his Banality to resist the effects of a cantrip, but doing so ALWAYS gives the Changeling a point of temporary Banality for doing so. Why? Because he is stopping magic from coming into the real or chimerical world, and that is an act of Banality. The Changeling need not be consciously aware of the cantrip being used against him, and the act of resisting does not take an action in combat.

The target must roll his permanent Banality against a difficulty of the caster’s permanent Glamour score. Each success reduces the caster’s total of successes by one, and if the caster’s successes are reduced to 0, then the target is unaffected by the cantrip.

Note that this only works if the target is being directly affected by the cantrip. In our hypothetical situation above, where Simeon is trying to Gimmix-dart the Baron in the back, Aitur could not resist with his Banality since it is the dart being directly affected. However, a Changeling who’s getting brainfried through use of Fuddle (Chicanery 1) could use his Banality to resist.

Unenchanted mortals or supernatural beings cannot use their Banality in this way to resist, although some powerful Autumn people may and Dauntain certainly can.

Counterweaving

If your character has Gremayre, then he or she can undo a cantrip, even as it’s being cast. Counterweaving requires the player spend a point of Glamour, and then he rolls Wits + Gremayre against a difficulty equal to the Glamour rating of the cantrip’s caster. The counterweaver must earn as many or more successes than the cantripper to be successful. Partial successes do not affect the cantrip in any way. The counterweaver must also possess the same Realms and the same levels of the Realms used in the original cantrip.

Counterweaving can be used on instantaneous cantrips. To attempt to undo a cantrip as it is being cast, the counterweaver must abort her next action (even if that would take place in the following turn). If the Realms used in a cantrip are not readily apparent to the counterweaver, the weaver’s player may roll Perception + Kenning (difficulty 6) to determine their nature. The difficulty is 8 for the counterweaver to determine what Art is being used.

Nightmares

Any time a character is about to suffer a point (or more) of temporary Banality, he may instead add 1 to his Nightmare pool. If a character ever gains more than 10 Nightmare points, they are removed immediately and a point of permanent Banality is acquired.

Whenever a character with a score in his Nightmare pool casts a cantrip, the number of dice in the pool must be swapped out with an equal number of dice in his normal cantrip-casting pool. These dice cannot exceed the total number of the cantrip-casting pool, though. For example, Simeon has three Nightmare dice, and his cantrip-casting pool of Dexterity+Prop equals seven. Simeon would have to substitute three of his seven dice for the Nightmare score. If Simeon was casting a cantrip with a pool of six dice, but he had a Nightmare score of eight, then all six of his dice would be Nightmare.

Then the player rolls, and on the MUX, this will be handled with the player rolling +roll Attribute + Realm + -<Nightmare dice> = <difficulty>

The number of successes are recorded. After that the player will make a second roll, rolling the Nightmare dice separately to account for the substitute dice. +roll <#> = <same difficulty as above>

This way, Raven and the player can keep track of the number of 1s in the second Nightmare roll. The number of successes will be added together. And yes, all successes in the Nightmare pool will count towards the successes in the cantrip.

If a player is unlucky enough to roll some 1s in his Nightmare pool, the number is counted up, and the results are compared against the chart below. At that time, the character proceeds to experience a Nightmare. The only good thing to come out of this is that if a player does roll a 1 on one of the dice, that die is removed from the pool. If Simeon got two 1s on his Nightmare roll, then he loses two dice from his score. That’s the only way to get rid of Nightmare dice — you can’t quest them away, buy them away with XP or whatever.

Number of 1s Possible Nightmare Description
1 Horrid Dreams You have terrible dreams for the next five nights.
1 Freezing Wind Everywhere you go, you are followed by a chilling breeze or wind. This lasts for a month.
2 Clumsiness You trip continually unless you concentrate on your movement. All difficulties for physical movement are increased by three. This happens the next time you are in a dangerous situation and lasts for a scene.
2 Headaches You are plagued with terrible migraines for the next month.
3 Bad Luck You suffer botch results on both a " 1" and a “10” during the next dangerous scene in which you take part.
3 Temporary Blindness You cannot see for a scene. The Storyteller says when the scene begins.
3 Recurring Nightmare Draw another Bunk. This becomes a taboo that you must observe for the next month. The Storyteller decides to what extent this reaches.
3 Widdershins The cantrip you just cast reverses itself.
4 Lose Important Item Even if you constantly watch all your possessions for the next week, you will lose one of them (to fire, destruction or forgetfulness). The possession is usually your most valuable or valued possession — possibly a treasure. It may be possible to regain the item, or it may be lost forever.
4 Wracked with Pain You are wracked with terrible pain and cry out in agony. Every time you think of this pain, you must make a Willpower roll (difficulty 7) to avoid experiencing it again. This lasts for a full month.
5 Lose All Glamour All of your temporary Glamour departs at once.

Cantrips

Annarbour Barony laume78