Terra Occulta: Magic Rediscovered
Magic is back! At least that is what you are determined to prove. You and other like-minded individuals have taken it upon yourselves to revive English Magic and to bring back to the forefront, the arts of practical wizardry which have for so long laid dormant. This will require experimentation, scholarship, and a determination to see the world in new and exciting ways.
This is a daunting task and many hurdles lie in your way, but you have a powerful tool in your arsenal, a tool for any explorer worth his salt: a map. This is a strange map because it does not map the geography of any land (as far as you know) but rather it is a map of the Terra Occulta, the hidden landscape of magical knowledge, the secret telemetry of arcane lore. It is a magical item, in and of itself, a massive parchment when unrolled that appears mostly blank. When supplied the blood of the prospective students, the map begins to draw itself to reveal the current status of the practitioner's magical journey. Different sites on the map stand in for nodes of knowledge, necessary stops on the path to further knowledge.
But before we get to the contents of this map, mostly blank though it may be, we should first meet our students.
Sparks: Each student of sorcery comes with them areas of fascination and areas of study that excite and draw them in. These things which kindle the fire of the imagination are Sparks and these will act as ways to determine your niche in practicing and studying magic.
Come up with three Sparks. You might want to choose, roll, or be inspired by the table below:
- Death and Life and all Things which Lie Between
- Mirrors and Reflections: The Hidden Roads of the Us that is Not Us
- Spirits and Principalities: The Binding of Angels and Demons
- The Pacts of the Ancients: The Old Laws of Nature
- The Dealings of Faeries: Knowing and Binding the Locus Genii
- Power and Ruin: Destruction and Warfare
- Makings and Conjurings: Creating Wonderous Objects
- Lead to Gold: Alchemy and Potioncraft
- The Secret World: The Mind of Man and its Manipulation
- Higher Spheres and Starry Portals: Other Realms and Dimensions Not our Own
- Time and Temporality: The Secrets of the Clock
- The Flesh and the Secret of Life
- Healing and the Mending of Wounds
- What Might Come: Divination and the Knowledge of the Past and Future
- Travel and Traversal: Doors Which Lead to Far off Lands
- Transcending the Mortal Coil: Pursuit of Transcendence and Immortality
- Pure Imagination: Illusion and Enchantment, Creating False Worlds
- The Old Blood: Beings which Man was not meant to Know
- Monsters and Monstrosity: Study of the Dark Things which Lurk
- Curses and Hexes: Exert the Power to Harm and Change
- A Strange Children's Book: You have a bizarre and unnerving illustrated book which has haunted and intrigued you since you were young. You are certain that there must be something more to this eerie text but there is nothing overtly magical about it.
- Whispers of the Dead: You have occasionally been able hear the voices of the deceased. It is not something over which you have a great deal of control, but with focus, you might be able to coax something useful out of the ghosts which haunt you.
- Dream Walker: You walk in strange lands in your dreams, perhaps you have another life altogether. What mysterious locale of the dreamlands eludes your grasp?
- Visions: You have had disturbing dreams and visions. Are they things to come? Are they things that are hidden from the eyes of others? What fate awaits this magical endeavor?
- Tongues: Sometimes you can speak and understand languages of human and non-human creatures. You have limited control over this, but with effort you might be able to make it work.
- Artist: The things you craft have an uncanny life-likeness to them, seeming to move out of the corner of your eye or change when no one is looking.
- Family: Your family long claimed that you had a great destiny. All throughout your life they invited their "friends" over to see you and all treated you with strange deference. They conducted you through strange rites and treated you like royalty, but something was wrong. Whatever plans they had for you were always less for you and always more for whatever thing was lying in wait behind their proud words and greedy gazes. They wanted your flesh, not you. Perhaps you would be a sacrifice. Perhaps you would be a vessel for some foul thing of the outer dark. What went wrong? How did you escape? Does your family still live?
- Regret: Someone you love died. For many, this would be the end, not so for you. You are determined to undo death even if it means sacrificing your soul.
- My Friend in the Attic: You have found something in a hidden place, a mummified corpse, a skull, a flayed human skin, whatever it is, it speaks to you and you alone. It is your precious treasure, your dear friend. You must keep them secret from the world, they say. No one would understand, but if you listen to them, they can tell you secrets of power.
- Gifted: You are good at magic. Even before you knew almost anything about magic, sometimes things would happen for you that you just couldn't explain. Sometimes you worry that the magic doesn't come from you at all, but where would it come from otherwise?
- Last Knight: You are the last of a knightly order going back generations to protect the world from terrible evil. You are not content to let your order die out but rather to find new ways of carrying on your ancient mission.
- Quest: You are after something, an ambition to perform something truly great: creating the Philosopher's Stone, achieving immortality, becoming a teacher of a great magical school, finding the cure to all diseases, putting your nation on top, creating something that people will always remember you for, something along those lines? What is your ambition?
- 10+: Success
- 7-9: Mixed Success with a hard choice or drawback
- 6 or less: Failure with consequences
- 10+: 2 Ticks
- 7-9: 1 Tick, with a Drawback.
- 6 or less: 1 Tick but you encounter a Block.
- All-nighter: Your study exhausts you.
- Requires New Books: Might cost money or finding new arcane books by some other means.
- Magical Misunderstanding: Something is off about your understanding of magic, the GM may, at any time during your next Field Phase, say that one of your spells goes awry and has some strange side affect.
- Strange Encounter: A Spirit of the Terra Occulta takes notice of your progress and approaches you with interest or challenge. Be careful or you may be cursed.
- You lack some rare book that is necessary for your research, acquiring it will not be a simple matter
- The knowledge you seek is not in any book at least that you know of. You must find someone or something that knows what you are looking for.
- Some artifact is key to moving forward. It might be in some forgotten place or in unworthy hands.
- An ancient and forgotten place or strange dimension must be visited to proceed.
Special thanks to Sailing the Stygian Seas for their post about Arcana. That really helped me cement my approach for this game.