Magic is widely varied in possibilities and applications, and pervasive throughout the wizarding world. Most magic is the wand-and-incantation variety, but there are other forms that require neither, and even ancient magic that predates the very first wands. Magic is both an art and a science, and not even the most powerful of wizards can master every aspect of it.
Types of Magic
Most spells cast from a wand can be identified as either a charm or a transfiguration. Many spells that are named as charms, and even taught in Charms class at Hogwarts, are actually transfigurations (such as a Hardening Charm, which actually turns an object to stone). The distinction can be made largely by process of elimination.
See Spells for a complete list of currently approved spells.
Charms use the Charms and Glamers skills. They consist mainly of those spells that do not fit into the above definitions. Charms create effects that would be otherwise impossible without magic. While charms can cause alterations, they alter what a subject does rather than what it is. Levitation, animation, and illumination are all examples of effects created by charms. Spells that affect the mind are charms — a Cheering Charm or Memory Charm, for example — and generally use the Glamers skill.
Transfiguration magic uses the Transfiguration and Conjuration skills, and includes all of the following:
Magic that deforms or alters the nature of the subject in some way. Both creatures and inanimate objects can be transformed. Note that a living creature transformed into an nonliving shape is not killed. If untransfigured, they will resume living as normal.
Most transformations are handled by a series of increasingly powerful spells:
- Simple Transformation Spell (6th Grade) — Fully transforms a Tiny target.
- Lesser Switching Spell (7th Grade) — Swaps features between two Tiny, unintelligent targets. Learned mainly as a training tool for partial transformations.
- Standard Transformation Spell (8th Grade) — Fully transforms a Small (or smaller) target.
- Complex Transformation Spell (9th Grade) — Fully transforms a Medium (or smaller) target.
- Greater Switching Spell (10th Grade) — Swaps features between two Medium (or smaller), unintelligent targets. Learned mainly as a training tool for partial transformations.
- Superior Transformation Spell (11th Grade) — Fully transforms a Large (or smaller) target. At this level, Human Transfiguration is possible (see below).
- Partial Transformation Spell (12th Grade) — Partially transforms a target.
- Master Transformation Spell (Private Study) — Fully transforms a target of any size. At this level, transmuting states of matter, or energy into matter, is possible.
There are a handful of other transformation spells that can achieve more specific effects, such as the Bird-Transfiguration Spell. These allow a wizard access to more powerful forms of transformation earlier on, but at the cost of versatility.
A branch of Transformation magic is Human Transfiguration. This describes magic that transforms a target of human intelligence (including goblins, centaurs, and other intelligent species), or that transforms an unintelligent target into the shape of an intelligent creature. An unintelligent target transformed into the shape of an intelligent creature does not gain greater intelligence. However, an intelligent creature transformed into the shape of an unintelligent creature will lose intelligence, having the mind of the lesser creature.
Simply the art of reversing a previous transfiguration. Most untransfiguration can be handled with the Transformation Repair Spell.
The ability to cause something to vanish into nothingness. This is handled exclusively by the Vanishing Spell.
Even more difficult than Vanishment is its opposite, which is the creation of something out of nothing. There are strict laws (both natural and legal) regarding what can be conjured.
While it is possible to conjure things out of thin air, it is far more tricky to create something that fits an exact specification rather than a general one. Moreover, any objects so conjured tend not to last, fading away back into nothingness within hours, if not minutes. Generally, the more complex the conjured thing is, the quicker it will fade away.
- Complicated devices (e.g. a clarinet) or living things will usually vanish within about fifteen minutes.
- Intricate things with simple function (e.g. an ornate cup, a book) will vanish in about six hours.
- Simple things (e.g. a rock, a plain plate) will vanish in about twenty-four hours.
According to Gamp's Law of Elemental Transfiguration, food cannot be conjured. It can be summoned if one knows its location, and small amounts of food can be increased. But it cannot be created from nothing. While an animal could be conjured, any food made from it would have just as short-lived an existence, and provide no sustenance.
Only mundane, non-magical things can be conjured. While it is entirely possible to bewitch a conjured item after it has been conjured, it is generally considered a waste, since the item will inevitably fade out of existence.
Precious metals, crystals, and gems are also impossible to conjure. Nearly all of these materials have some inherent magical or alchemical properties, which simply cannot be duplicated with conjuration. Naturally, for this reason wizards have never moved away from a monetary system based on coins made of precious metals.
Many conjuration spells are highly specific. But more advanced understanding of conjuration comes in the later years of training at Hogwarts:
- Simple Conjuration Spell (10th Grade) — Conjures a Small, non-living target.
- Standard Conjuration Spell (11th Grade) — Conjures a Medium target that may be living.
- Advanced Conjuration Spell (12th Grade) — Conjures a target of any size that may be living.
Other than Charms and Transfiguration, the other field of magical study that makes heavy use of the wand is potion-making. Potions can be thought of a means of brewing magic. In some cases, potions are simply a spell in liquid form. In others, potions can be mixed that can do things no wandwork can. Potions are one of the few ways to "store" magic for later use.
((Complete rules on potions are forthcoming.))
Divination is one of the most hotly debated fields of magic. Some wizards suggest that it isn't magic at all, but merely the ability to interpret the signs provided by the universe about fate and destiny. The hardest skeptics dispute even this, saying Divination is nothing more than vague predictions that can be easily interpreted to suit events when they happen.
Those that study the art know that it is more than this, but they also know how difficult it is to use accurately. There is a lot of interpretation required, which is a skill developed over years of dedication to the craft. The best diviners learn not only to read the omens and portents, but also to trust their own instincts when it comes to deciphering them. But even then, divination is best performed for strangers, as foreknowledge about the subject can taint the diviner's ability to objectively interpret the signs.
Divination is not a doorway to the truth (see Solving Mysteries, below). It is a window, through which slivers of truth might be glimpsed in the form of clues. It is still up to much more mundane methods to piece those clues together and realize what they mean. Sometimes, the very act of divination leads to its own predictions coming true.
System: The subject of a divination is determined in two parts: focus and topic.
The focus is a person, place, or thing. It is the focus's fate that is being read. To read a given focus, that focus must be present. If the focus is a person, it's possible to divine that person when not present, if in possession of a treasured belonging (e.g. a jacket worn every day, a scholar's favorite book, a child's doll, etc.).
The topic is the circumstances being examined. The available topics are:
- Danger: Reveals information on a subject's peril, the nature and severity of the danger, when it might take place, etc.
- History: Reveals information on the subject's past.
- Prosperity: Reveals information on the subject's wealth prospects.
- Relationships: Reveals information on the subject's interpersonal relationships.
With a Success on a Divination roll, you may ask a single yes-or-no question related to the focus and topic. A Good Success grants two questions, a Great Success grants three questions, and an Amazing Success grants four. A wizard may only divine upon a given topic once for a given focus, waiting a full month before that combination can be tried again. A failed roll simply means the diviner cannot interpret the signs, or there is some disturbance obfuscating the subject's destiny. Additionally, if the diviner is the focus, the Divination roll is made at a -4 penalty.
EXAMPLE: Professor Mopsus wants to divine about Professor Flint's future wealth. The focus is Professor Flint, and the topic is Prosperity. Mopsus rolls Divination, and gets a Good Success. He can now ask two yes-or-no questions about Flint's money prospects. Examples might include: "Will Professor Flint get a raise in the next three months?" "Will Professor Flint be able to afford the antique flying carpet he desires?"
Arithmancy is the study of the magical properties of numbers. While it does include some elements of mathematics, the similarities to Muggle maths break down fairly quickly. A practitioner of arithmancy is called an arithmancer.
The most practical use of arithmancy is as a tool for predicting and refining the behaviour of magic. An arithmancer can prepare for a particular set of circumstances, working out the numerological equations ahead of time to determine precisely the best time and location to cast a given spell. Spells are, in essence, magical formulae. Arithmancy allows a wizard to take a spell's formula and apply variables that are otherwise left open to various circumstances.
System: To use Arithmancy to improve a spell casting roll, the arithmancer must have time to prepare the formula. The time required is equal to 10 x the spell's Casting Time. This preparation can be broken up into chunks of time, if necessary.
After this preparation time, the arithmancy rolls Arithmancy, applying a modifier equal to the spell's Difficulty modifier. For example, an Area Shield Charm is a Charms -4 roll. So, to prepare for it, the Arithmancy roll would also be made at -4.
- Embarrassing Failure: There is an unnoticed error in the formula. The target suffers a -5 penalty the next time the indicated spell is cast.
- Failure: The arithmancer is unable to complete the formula. No effect.
- Success: The target gains a +2 bonus the next time the indicated spell is cast.
- Good Success: The target gains a +3 bonus the next time the indicated spell is cast.
- Great Success: The target gains a +4 bonus the next time the indicated spell is cast.
- Amazing Success: The target gains a +5 bonus the next time the indicated spell is cast.
The spell must be cast no more than 48 hours after the Arithmancy roll is made to benefit from the bonus. Beyond that span of time, there are too many variables for the arithmantic formula to take into account.
Arithmancy can be used to improve a spell for another wizard. However, a given wizard can only have a single spell casting roll arithmantically improved per scene. Beyond that, the variables make the equations impossible to apply accurately.
EXAMPLE: Professor Aczel wants to make sure a Ministry survey team's camp will be protected in the Forbidden Forest, so he starts preparing an arithmantic formula for an Area Shield Charm. The spell has a Casting Time of 10 minutes, so the preparation takes an hour and fourty minutes (10 minutes x 10 = 100 minutes). The spell has a Difficulty of -4, so after the preparation time, Aczel rolls Arithmancy -4, and gets a Great Success. He will get a +4 bonus to his Charms roll to cast the Area Shield Charm.
One of the less flashy forms of magic is also one of the most powerful. Rune magic (commonly thought of as "ancient runes" due to the similarly named course at Hogwarts) is one of the earliest methods by which wizards focused magic into formulaic results. Most ancient rune spells have since been superseded by the more familiar wand-work and potioneering of today, making the study of ancient runes largely academic, useful primarily for the translation of ancient magical texts. Rune spells that persevere tend to be those that benefit from permanent or semi-permanent placement. This means that most modern rune magic takes the form of wards and spells that have a lasting effect on a wide area.
System: Any special rules for rune-based spells will be detailed in the individual spell description. Most rune-based spells use the Ancient Runes skill, though there are exceptions.
First and foremost, it is important to understand that alchemy and potion-making are not the same thing. Alchemy does make use of potions frequently, and most alchemists get their start as potioneers. But alchemy is a much more specialized area of research that involves much more than potions. Alchemists are primarily concerned with the transmutation of elements, and gaining a scientific understanding of the building blocks of the universe.
System: At this time, there is no system in place for alchemy, and there may never be. If we do introduce alchemy rules, we will make an announcement.
Counter-spells, counter-charms, counter-curses, untransfiguration, etc., are all methods to interrupt, break, or undo other magical effects. Not all spells have a counter-spell to them, and some spells can serve as a counter to a great many other spells.
System: Counter-spells will have the Counter-spell keyword. Whenever performing any kind of counter-spell, you must achieve a level of success at least equal to the success of the original spell that you are countering. For instance, if a Great Success was achieved on a Locking Spell, you must also achieve a Great Success on an Unlocking Charm to open the enchanted door.
Don't get too excited. This is just a general overview.
It is assumed that there is a variety of magic in the world related to sex, fetishes, et cetera, because humans are humans and sex has a way of permeating most aspects of life in some form or another. Witchcraft and Wizardry won't have specific spells, potions, and magical items detailed, as they really don't affect role-play on anything but a rather private scale. So, be creative, and have fun.
One thing to keep in mind, to keep things thematic, is the matter of contraceptive potions. Those that are true contraceptives are not an issue. However, any kind of abortive potion or magic ought to be considered Dark magic (setting aside debates over when life begins*), and therefore not available in the average potions shop.
*I want to strongly state that this is not a commentary on staff's opinion on the matter of abortion. It only has to do with our take on the Dark Arts as magic that is designed purely to kill or do harm, and/or magic that corrupts the natural order of things. It's a sticky subject (and, again, one that will rarely come up in any kind of public RP), but this seems to fit our criteria for Dark magic. Please don't use this to start a debate on the matter, and just keep it IC.
Magic is powerful, and can accomplish amazing things. It breaks the laws of physics on a regular basis (which is one reason wizards have such a poor understanding of "Muggle" science). But it has its limitations. First and foremost, magic tends to be very obvious. Between incantations, wands, and the very visible effects of most spells, magic is not easily concealed. There are methods, but each one makes magic even harder to perform.
- Flight: True flight is only possible with a broom or other magical conveyance. Wizards can levitate, make themselves weightless, and use other tricks to imitate flight. But genuine, unassisted flight has never been achieved.
- Love: True love cannot be created through magic. While there are some powerful love potions, what they really create is an overwhelming infatuation. While this may open the door to real love, it is not love unto itself.
- Illusions: Insubstantial, hologram-like illusions are a rare thing, and are usually little more than balls of light and other shapeless things. Magic nearly always produces a tangible result, whether in the form of matter or energy.
- Immortality: True immortality is, likewise, impossible to achieve with magic. There are magical items (e.g. the Philosopher's Stone, a horcrux) that can extend one's life, but it is mere longevity, and subject entirely to the maintained use of said items.
- Resurrection: Magic cannot return the dead to life. Those that have passed through the veil are forever gone. Ghosts are echoes left behind by wizards that chose to remain linked to the mortal realm, but they have no access to the true afterlife anymore.
As mentioned under Conjuration, above, Gamp's Law of Elemental Transfiguration tells us that food cannot be conjured. It can, however, be multiplied and replicated. But this begs the question as to how wizarding restaurants can stay in business, and why poorer families still struggle so much if food (a major expense) is so easy to reproduce.
Food that has been produced magically from other food will not only deteriorate much faster, but it also lacks most of the nutrients and energy of the original food. Consider it to be roughly a tenth the value of the original food. Furthermore, a given piece of food can only be replicated once, and food replicated from replicated food has no nutrients or energy whatsoever.
Magical healing is extraordinary in many ways. It can heal a great many ailments and injuries that are beyond the scope of Muggle medicine, and without such invasive action as surgery. That said, it does have its limitations.
While magic can mend grievous wounds, regrow bones, and even reattached lost limbs, it can do nothing to repair birth defects. Magical healing can only restore the body to its natural state.
Injuries caused by magic take much longer to heal than those caused by mundane means. Those caused by Dark magic or Dark creatures can never be completely healed. They will always leave a scar, at the very least. A limb lost to Dark magic cannot be reattached.
Likewise, mundane diseases are usually a simple matter to cure, while magical diseases can be quite problematic, and often require involved rituals to cure.
Even mundane ailments can sometimes prove difficult, and leave lasting effects, if the damage is severe enough.
There are many forms of magical transportation, many of which are far superior to Muggle transportation. Though each still has limitations.
- Brooms: Many wizards use brooms to fly from place to place. Generally, most brooms have Disillusionment Charms on them to avoid notice by Muggles, but there are still laws in place restricting the use of brooms in certain areas, and during certain hours (night flying is generally more accepted than flying during the day). This is one of the safest ways to travel, but takes longer than most others.
- Flying Mounts: Much like using brooms, some wizards make use of flying creatures, like winged horses, to get from place to place. These are generally considered impractical compared to brooms, due to the need to not only use Disillusionment Charms on such magical beasts, but also stabling and feeding them.
- Apparition: Many adult wizards can Apparate, instantly vanishing from one place and appearing in another. This is not generally considered a reliable means of transportation, and is usually only used when immediacy is of the essence. See "Apparition" below for more information.
- Floo Powder: Travel by Floo is another popular means of near-instantaneous travel. It is safer than Apparition, but slower and limited to fireplaces connected to the Floo Network. It also requires the use of Floo Powder. Most Floo-connected fireplaces will have a supply of Floo Powder stored nearby (wizards generally do not walk around with flammable powder in their pockets). In addition, the Network can be monitored by the Ministry, and individual fireplaces can be removed from the Network if necessary. The Floo Network is fairly expansive throughout England and Ireland. There are some links beyond the isles as well, but these are more tightly controlled (and generally only available to Ministry officials).
- Portkeys: Portkeys can be used to travel safely and instantaneously to nearly anywhere. The limitations being that they can only go to a location specified when the portkey is created, and that the portkey travels with the travelers, meaning it cannot be reused unless designed to return to its original location. Portkeys can be set to transport a person instantly when they are touched, or to transport anyone touching it at a predetermined time. Portkeys are usually created by the Ministry, and are highly controlled, as few others possess the knowledge or resources to make them (in fact, the creation of unauthorized portkeys can result in legal ramifications). Ministry portkeys are created for specific purposes, and are generally not for public use except for specific events (such as the Quidditch World Cup).
This topic requires some special attention. Wizards don't really have an equivalent to a telephone (which is ironic, given that they have the wizarding wireless…but wizarding "science" doesn't follow the same rules as Muggle science). Wizarding communication over long distances is limited, and a bit medieval. It is important that these methods are observed, as communication technology is one of the most powerful forces to effect change in the world.
Instant long-distance communication is very rare in the wizarding world. It is typically possible only by Floo (placing just one's head in the fire), if both parties happen to be near a Floo-connected fireplace. But this usually requires planning ahead of time. Beyond this, however, wizards generally cannot communicate instantly. If they could, they wouldn't need owls.
Other forms of communication exist, including wizard portraits (portraits of the same wizard in different locations are often linked, allowing the subject to travel between them and deliver messages). Two-way mirrors exist, but are rare and difficult to create. Some wizards have contrived other clever uses of spells to facilitate long-distance communication, but none are as quick and easy as modern Muggle methods (which tend to baffle wizards).
As mentioned above, owls are the primary means of delivering information to other wizards. Post owls are well-trained, and have the ability to locate post-drop locations (designated with a simple Post-Drop Charm) with ease, even if they have never been there before. They can also be sent to specific addresses, even if it is not a designated post-drop. The only disadvantage to owl post is the time it takes the owl to fly, and the limits on what an owl can carry (though packages can be charmed to be lighter).
Other birds can be trained as post birds, but none are quite as effective as owls.
This section is addressing magic that solves mysteries. It doesn't exist. No divination can tell you exactly what's going to happen (or has happened). You can't cast a spell to instantly find a lost person or object (unless that person or object already had some sort of tracking spell on them before going missing). In short, wizards generally have to use the same mundane investigation methods as Muggles. Not that they can't get creative with magic that assists in those methods. But no flick of the wand will blow a mystery wide open.
Legilimency (see below) can be a powerful tool for discovering secrets, but that requires skilled navigation of a subject's mind, which generally requires a true Legilimens.
Wands are the primary tool for using magic. They make casting much easier, and have special properties of their own. Some even believe wands are "quasi-sentient," possessive a limited form of intelligence. Hence Garrick Ollivander's famous phrase: "The wand chooses the wizard."
Indeed, a wand in the wrong hands — that is to say, a wand that does not bear "allegiance" to its wielder — is generally less effective, inflicting a -2 penalty to all spell casting rolls. However, a wand in the proper hands functions normally, and is highly resistant to most forms of magic. Unless a spell's description specifically states otherwise, a wand on the person of its proper owner cannot be targeted with magic by other wizards. This is what makes the Disarming Charm such a useful spell in duels.
A wand that is no longer in physical contact with its owner can be targeted by other spells, but even then, such spells suffer a -4 penalty as the wand attempts to resist any wizard that is not its owner.
The bond between a wizard and a wand is a complex and poorly understood phenomenon. It can be said with certainty that there isn't merely one wand out there for a given wizard. But some wands are clearly better suited for a particular wizard than others. Everything about a wand affects its "personality" — wood, core, length, flexibility, and possibly even its creator, age, and other less obvious criteria.
A wizard who has no wand allegiance, such as a young wizard choosing their first wand for school, will generally try numerous wands before finding the right one. When the right connection is finally made, the wand will give some sign to the wizard or witch that it has chosen him or her. This might be as subtle as a warmth emanating to the young wizard's hand, to an ethereal song, to a manifestation of light. The signs are as varied as wands are.
Though rare, it is possible for a wand to change allegiance. The method by which this is done will vary from wand to wand. Some wands respect power, and can change allegiance if their wielder is defeated in combat. Another wand may respect guile and subtlety, and approve of a wizard that tricks its owner out of possession. Though one skilled in wandlore might be able to guess at a given wand's preferences, each wand is unique, and the only way to know for certain how to change a wand's allegiance is to try. The one constant, however, is that for allegiance to change, the new would-be owner must physically claim the wand, or the opportunity is lost.
Wands tend to be selfish about their owners, and do not share. If a wizard claims a new wand, accepting its allegiance, any allegiance with another wand is immediately broken.
Non-verbal casting is first taught at Hogwarts in the Sixth Year. Even for Sixth Years, this is very advanced and difficult magic to manage.
System: Any attempt to cast a spell wordlessly suffers a -3 penalty to the roll, and failure indicates that the spell fizzled…or backfired. Those who have not actually been trained in non-verbal casting (such as any student beneath Sixth Year*), can only succeed with the expenditure of a Luck Point.
*Sixth Years will have enough mastery cast non-verbally without a Luck Point in February (halfway through the year). It is assumed that they will occasionally succeed while practicing their schoolwork, with no Luck Point required. But when it "matters" (i.e. during RP), the Luck Point is necessary until February.
Even more difficult than non-verbal casting, using magic without a wand is generally the purview of only the mightiest wizards. Note that there are some forms of magic that are inherently wandless, such as Apparition and Animagus transformation. These generally require no roll, and if they even did, would suffer no penalty for being wandless.
System: All attempts to cast a spell without a wand suffer a -4 penalty. No student character (including any character below graduating age that left school early) may cast wandlessly.
It is possible to attempt a spell one hasn't actually been trained in. But it's tricky, and sometimes dangerous.
System: To cast a spell untrained, take the following steps:
- Spend a Luck Point (+luck/spend 1=<reason>). In the reason given, include the name of the spell being attempted, and the circumstances under which it is being cast (i.e. target, reason for casting, etc.). For example: +luck/spend 1=Untrained casting of Revulsion Jinx on Briar to make her drop her potted plant, because it was cursed to attack her.
- Make the roll, using the appropriate Skill, at a -4 penalty. This is in addition to any other penalties that may be incurred.
- Any Failure is considered an Embarrassing Failure, resulting in some sort of backfire.
Note: If merely practicing a spell to learn it, such as in a classroom or a study session, no Luck Point is required. This system is in place for those moments when the spell really matters. For such practice scenes, reduce the -4 penalty by one for each result of Failure or better (this reduction in penalty only lasts for the scene).
Wizards can't always control their magic. All wizard children have outbursts of uncontrolled magic, but even adults can lose control now and then when emotions are running high and their reflexes take over.
System: While staff can certainly decide when a character might have an outburst, players can also choose to induce one, but at a price. If a character's life is in immediate danger, or the character has just suffered a major emotional blow (e.g. your mother was just killed in front of you…not your girlfriend breaking up with you), you may do the following:
- Choose any spell that does not not have the Dark or Harmful keywords.
- These outbursts are imprecise. The spell cannot specifically target a living creature other than the caster. Other creatures can be affected by area effects, however.
- Spend 5 Luck Points (+luck/spend 5=<reason>). In the reason given, include the name of the spell being attempted, and the circumstances under which it is being cast (i.e. target, reason for casting, etc.). For example: +luck/spend 5=Uncontrolled outburst of Vanishing Charm to vanish the car speeding toward me.
- The spell automatically succeeds with an Amazing Success.
Special Forms of Magic
Apparition is the ability to instantly vanish from one location and reappear in another. It causes an audible noise, usually a loud crack that sounds much like a Muggle car backfiring. Though very talented wizards (Apparition 10 or better) can Apparate with a faint pop. It is advisable to only Apparate to locations one is familiar with. Apparating to unfamiliar locations or over vast distances greatly increases the likelihood of splinching
Apparition classes are offered at Hogwarts in the second half of Fifth Year (after Christmas Holiday), which means the earliest that a wizard can apply for an Apparition License is during the summer after their Fifth Year. Licensing tests are taken at the Ministry of Magic, Department of Transportation, any time after a wizard turns 16.
This is a difficult, rather uncomfortable, and potentially dangerous form of magic. Most wizards don't Apparate about without good reason, as there are much more reliable methods of speedy travel, such as the Floo network.
Apparating into a location protected by an Anti-Apparition Charm is impossible, unless the charm is specifically attuned to the person Apparating. Similarly, disapparating out of an area enchanted with an Anti-Disapparition Jinx cannot be done. These charms are standard security measures for most wizard homes and businesses.
System: To Apparate, roll Apparition (with any appropriate modifiers) and refer to the results below. If being used defensively to escape a dangerous situation, use Apparition in the Opposed Roll against the attack.
Destination Location Modifier Destination Familiarity Modifier Same room +2 Extremely familiar (e.g. home) +2 Same city/region 0 Very familiar (e.g. workplace) 0 Different city/region in same country -2 Unfamiliar, but has been seen before -4 International destination -8 Never seen it before -6
- Embarrassing Failure: Splinched! You end up in the wrong place (which could be anywhere, but is never advantageous). Worse, something rather important is left behind, such as a limb, chunk of flesh, etc. This will be heavily debilitating and quite possibly life-threatening.
- Failure: Splinched! The destination is reached, but something is left behind, such as an eyebrow, fingernails, or clothing.
- Success: Apparition is successful, but induces nausea (-2 to all rolls for the next three rounds).
- Good Success: Apparition is successful, but induces nausea (-2 to all rolls for the next two rounds).
- Great Success: Apparition is successful, but induces nausea (-2 to all rolls for the next round).
- Amazing Success: Apparition is perfectly successful.
It is possible for a wizard to transport other individuals along with himself in what is called Side-Along Apparition. This requires physical contact between the Apparating wizard and those meant to be Side-Along Apparated.
System: Side-Along Apparition works exactly like normal Apparition. Only the primary Apparating wizard needs to roll, suffering -1 per "passenger". In the event of a Failure or Embarrassing Failure, only one person is splinched, determined randomly.
Side-Along Apparition is usually voluntary, but it can be forced in two ways. The first method is for an Apparating wizard to force another to Side-Along Apparate, but must first have a physical hold on the victim (e.g. grappling, holdling a stunned foe, etc.).
The second method is by attempting to "hitch a ride" with an Apparating wizard. As normal, physical contact is required. But in this case, the "hitchhiker" isn't being brought along, so much as following. This can be a very dangerous method of Apparition, due to a higher risk of splinching and being completely unaware of where one will end up.
System: The "hitchhiker" must make an Apparition roll with all of the same penalties as the original wizard, and an additional -2. The hitchhiker is not necessarily splinched if the wizard being hitched with fails the Apparition roll.
|Lore Threshold: Wizard Lore 4|
An Animagus is a wizard that has honed a very difficult and very specific form of Transfiguration magic — the ability to transform into a single animal form at will. The Animagus' clothing changes with them, as do any small items on their person (e.g. wand, spectacles, handbag, etc.). Larger items not easily worn or tucked into pockets or handbags do not change, and will likely have to be left behind.
If an Animagus has been otherwise transfigured, or suffers under a spell to prevent transfiguration, they cannot assume their Animagus form without first benefiting from a counter-spell to free them of the other magic.
Becoming an Animagus
Being an Animagus requires the special Animagus Quirk. Only one who is truly dedicated to Transfiguration will attain enough mastery to become an Animagus, and even then, few have the affinity or suitable motivation to accomplish it. The actual type of animal isn't up to the Animagus to choose. It is something more spiritual, what some cultures might call a totem, that the Animagus learns to "unveil." Notably, Animagus forms and corporeal Patronuses are usually identical.
Though human at their core, a transformed Animagus' mind takes on a more animalistic aspect. Their emotions are less complex, and they tend to think in simple, straightforward terms. Due to this shift in mental state, Animagi in animal form can communicate with normal animals (and other transformed Animagi) on a rudimentary level. This is not speech, and complex concepts cannot be conveyed. But basic need and intent will be understood by both parties.
System: A miminum Transfiguration skill of 7 is required before one can even begin learning to become an Animagus. Though the character does not decide their own form, the player does have a hand in it. The player and staff will decide together what a suitable animal form is for the character.
No roll required to change, but should it happen in combat, it takes a full round to achieve the transformation. Likewise, changing back to human form takes a round, and requires no roll. If other actions are taken while transforming, they suffer a -4 penalty.
|Lore Threshold: Wizard Lore 6 (4 for Parseltongue)|
Some wizards have the ability to communicate with animals. The most notorious of these beast speakers are Parselmouths — those that can communicate with snakes. But they are not the only kind out there. There are many animal "languages", sometimes referred to collectively as beast speech.
Learning a beast tongue isn't as simple as learning another language. It is a gift that one is born with (usually due to a family trait), or that is somehow awakened in a person. This awakening can come about as a result of a magical event, but there is no reliable method known to wizards to deliberately gift a person with beast speech. It is rumoured that the centaurs know a way, but if they do, they aren't sharing.
The various forms of beast speech are as follows:
- Chirpwarble: Avians (all manner of birds)
- Cloptrop: Equines (horses, ponies, donkeys, mules, zebras, etc.)
- Cudmumble: Ruminants (grazing animals; e.g. cattle, sheep, etc.)
- Glurblurble: Underwater animals and amphibians (fish, squids, frogs, sea turtles, sea snails, crabs, etc.)
- Hisskratch: Felines (cats, lions, cheetahs, cougars, etc.)
- Parseltongue: Serpents (snakes, vipers, constrictors, basilisks, etc.)
- Pouchley: Marsupials (extremely rare in Britain)
- Scaleform: Reptiles (lizards, alligators, iguanas, land turtles, etc. — does not include serpents))
- Skweek: Critters (e.g rodents, bats, beavers, and other small prey)
- Wuffrowl: Canines and bears (dogs, foxes, wolves, jackals, grizzly bears, polar bears, etc.)
Note that some magical creatures fall into multiple categories. A hippogriff, for instance, is both equine and avian, and can therefore be spoken to with both Chirpwarble and Cloptrop.
System: Beast speech languages are taken like other languages, but only with the expenditure of Cookies. A beast speaker can freely communicate with the appropriate animal type. This communication is raw, mostly emotional, and not as precise as human speech, but still much clearer than an Animagus communicating with animals. The animal and the beast speaker will always understand one another's intentions. The beast speaker can even better influence the animal's behavior, gaining a +3 bonus to any roll made for training or controlling the animal.
|Lore Threshold: Wizard Lore 7|
Legilimency is the act of navigating through the layers of a person's mind and interpreting one's findings. A person who practices this art is known as a Legilimens. Laymen sometimes refer to Legilimency as "mind-reading," but practitioners disdain this term as naive, arguing that understanding a mind is far more complex that simply opening a book.
Technically, anyone can learn the Legilimency Spell, but only those who have mastered the craft (and have the appropriate Quirk) can do it silently and wandlessly. True Legilimens are required by law to register with the Ministry.
System: The rules for Legilimency are as follows.
- Casting a Legilimency spell with a wand requires a Glamers roll vs. the target's Presence + Mind. Note that typical defensive spells (such as a Shield Charm) are not effective against this spell, but there are many spells (and mundane methods) to break the offender's concentration and prevent mental intrusion. This method is generally good for getting one question answered about the character.
- A true Legilimens can use either Glamers or an appropriate social observation skill (e.g. Empathy, Interrogation, Interview, etc.), and can usually roll against Presence + Mind, as most targets will be unaware that Legilimency is being used. More detailed information can be gleaned this way, usually depending upon how successful the roll was.
- Either of the above methods suffers a -2 penalty to the roll if the Legilimens cannot look the target directly in the eyes. Likewise, significant distraction can inflict further penalties on the Legilimens.
- If a subject is consciously willing to open their mind to Legilimency (using either method above), the roll is not opposed.
- A player is never obligated to tell you their character's deepest, darkest secrets if they choose not to. Legilimency is a very powerful tool, and can easily be abused. On that same note, we will not approve any character for the Legilimency Quirk who would use it to go around exposing others' secrets haphazardly. That is not why this ability exists in game.
|Lore Threshold: Wizard Lore 8|
Metamorphmagi are born, not made. Though the trait can be passed down family lines, it can also appear seemingly at random. In either case, they are extremely rare. Metamorphmagi can alter their outward appearance, including facial features, hair colour and length, height and weight (up to about a 20% increase or decrease in overall volume), gender, age, and even voice. Even some rather impossible transformations are possible, such as blue hair or red eyes. A Metamorphmagus cannot assume non-human shape, so impersonating a goblin or house-elf is not possible. But emulating something roughly human-looking, such as a Veela or vampire, might be possible.
While a Metamorphmagus is born with their ability to change their outward appearance, it is a talent they must learn to control. This happens as part of the natural process of growing up, just as a baby will learn to walk, so will a Metamorphmagus learn to maintain a single form. But developing the ability to emulate other forms is where it gets trickier. Metamorphmagi can also lose control of their abilities in times of extreme emotion and stress. Sudden, powerful emotions can induce physical manifestations (though this is one of the first things most learn to try to control), while depression and trauma can actually inhibit the ability to use the power at all.
A Metamorphmagus's transformations do not require constant focus to maintain, meaning they can be maintained even when unconscious. But they will gradually revert back to the wizard's "natural" form. Whether the natural form is a matter of genetics, the wizard's own self-image, or both is not entirely known. The speed of reversion varies with the complexity of the change. Mere hair colour or a mild increase in height might take several days to revert, while a complete impersonation of another would begin to noticeably fade within hours.
System: Transformation itself requires no roll — a Metamorphmagus can alter his or her appearance at will, taking one round per aspect altered (see below for details on aspects). But if trying to disguise oneself to be unrecognizable, observers with cause to be suspicious may make an Awareness roll vs. the Metamorphmagus' Presence + Stealth (or an appropriate Background Skill, such as Disguise or Acting) to notice something amiss. This almost certainly won't reveal the Metamorphmagus's true identity, but the observer will sense that something is off, and might even realize that the Metamorphmagus is not who they seem to be.
So complete is the transformation that a Metamorphmagus gets a base +6 bonus to the above roll — however this number is modified depending upon the complexity of the change. A transformation is rated according to six "aspects":
- Features: Facial features, scars.
- Hair: Hair color, length, thickness, style, etc. Includes facial and body hair.
- Build: Height, girth, shoulder width, limb length, etc.
- Skin: Colour, texture, birthmarks, tattoos.
- Voice: Tone, resonance, etc.
- Gender: Sex, including breasts, general masculine/feminine shape, and genitals and other sexual organs.
Each of these aspects that is altered inflicts a -1 penalty to the Metamorphmagus's roll, chipping away at the +6 bonus (thus making the actual maximum bonus +5).
If trying to impersonate a specific person, apply an additional -3 penalty on top of any penalty for altered features (making is easier to impersonate people that look similar to one's natural form). Furthermore, observers that are familiar with the person being emulated receive bonuses to their Awareness roll based on their degree of familiarity.
Observer Familiarity Modifier Extremely familiar (e.g. family member) +4 Very familiar (e.g. colleague) +2 Passing familiarity (e.g. casual acquaintance) +1 Unfamiliar, but has been seen the person before 0 Unfamiliar, and has only heard a description -2
Some metamorphmagi practice a particular form, perfecting every detail and nuance, so that they can quickly shift into it without spending a long time "sculpting" it. Perhaps they simply prefer another look, or have an alter ego they sometimes assume. These mastered forms revert slowly, regardless of how complex they are.
System: The Mastered Form quirk is required to use this ability, and it generally takes about three months to fully master. A metamorphmagus may have a maximum number of Mastered Forms equal to his or her Presence. A Mastered Form can be assumed in a single round, regardless of the number of aspects altered. Furthermore, the Mastered Form always gets a full +5 bonus to go unrecognized (again, regardless of aspects).
Mastered Forms cannot emulate another person. Some researchers believe it is more a mental limitation on the part of the metamorphmagus than anything physical, but even that is only theory.
A Mastered Form can be abandoned and replaced with a new form. This requires no additional Cookie cost, though another few months will be required for training.
|Lore Threshold: Wizard Lore 7|
Occlumency is the art of shielding one's mind from outside influences. One who is skilled in this technique (and has the appropriate Quirk) is known as an Occlumens. This is most useful for protecting one's thoughts and memories from being examined with Legilimency (and is one of the only ways to know when a Legilimens is doing just that), but it can also help to avoid other mind-affecting magic, such as a Veela's allure, Veritaserum, the Confundus Charm, or even the influence of the Imperius Curse. It is more a matter of willpower, and training the mind to suppress certain thoughts than actual magical ability, though an understanding of magic and how it can affect the mind
System: The rules for Occlumency are as follows.
- When rolling to resist magical influences on the mind, an Occlumens gains a +5 bonus to the roll. In the case of effects with a lasting duration, a Mind + Presence + 5 roll can be made to resist the effects of the spell. It doesn't negate the spell entirely, but allows for freedom of action without inhibition for a time. Typically this means normal action for one round. In the case of the Imperius Curse, it means resisting one command or suggestion, but the roll is made without the +5 bonus.
- If an Occlumens gets a Solid Victory or better vs. Legilimency, they can sense that there is an intruder trying to penetrate their mind. They won't necessarily know who it is, unless there are other indicators.
|Lore Threshold: Wizard Lore 10|
Possibly the most powerful and ancient form of magic known to wizardkind is the power of sacrificial protection. It is the only magic known to serve as a defense against the Killing Curse. When a person willingly sacrifices their own life out of deep and pure love to save the life of another, the person saved (or persons saved, if the sacrifice saved the lives of many loved ones) is afforded a powerful protection against the killer.
System: Sacrificial Protection grants the following benefits:
- The killer cannot touch the protected individual without experiencing excruciating pain.
- If the killer casts any spell with the Dark or Harmful keywords at the protected person, the spell will rebound back on the killer. Even the Killing Curse will rebound in this way.
- If many people are protected, the protection isn't quite a strong. Dark and Harmful spells do not rebound, but they cannot achieve more than a Success, and any duration is cut in half (round up). A Killing Curse cast at a person protected this way is treated as a Stunning Spell.
|Lore Threshold: Wizard Lore 4|
A Seer is a wizard born with a supernatural connection to the threads of fate. This talent is inborn, but can manifest at various stages in a wizard's life. Even before realizing their gift, Seers are frequently insightful people, and often seem a bit strange or distant to others.
The Sight can manifest in various forms. Some Seers have waking visions, others have prophetic dreams. Some enter a kind of trance and speak their prophecies aloud (often completely unaware that they are doing so).
Within the Department of Mysteries in the Hall of Prophecies, where many prophecies are stored in recorded form. These records are actually extracted memories, which the Ministry will pay handsomely for in order to maintain as large a collection of prophecies as possible.
Note: A Naming Seer is a professional diviner that is hired to predict a newborn child's future and suggest an appropriate name. The title is a bit of a misnomer, as few Naming Seers are true Seers, and the Sight is of little help in the course of their work.
System: There is no system for the Sight. It isn't something that is under a Seer's control. Visions and prophecies come unbidden, typically when the Seer has a brush with someone or something with a powerful destiny. Seers cannot use Divination to trigger prophecies, though it can be used to attempt to interpret what they have seen or experienced.
|Lore Threshold: Wizard Lore 10|
It is possible for a wizard to form a powerful magical link to another, binding their souls together. The nature of the bond isn't fully understood. In fact, it is a rare wizard that is even aware such a thing exists. There is no common terminology for it, and what records do exist are generally considered isolated, unrelated instances. Even many that possess such a bond aren't fully cognizant of it. It is one of the many subjects of interest to the Department of Mysteries. In fact, it is the Unspeakables that first drew connections between different instances and coined the term "Soul Bond".
Some theorize that the pair literally share a single soul, or have incomplete shards of a soul that are only complete when together. Others have postulated that the bonded souls have transcended to a higher spiritual plane, where they can interact in spite of distance in the physical realm.
There are two methods by which soul bonds are created: being bound from birth, or by magical accident. It is interesting to note that a soul bond does not imply any positive feelings for one's soul partner. In fact, even dire enemies can be bound together.
- Bound from Birth: Some people are born with a bond. While it has been known to happen between complete strangers as a strange twist of fate, it is more common between twins and other multiple births. It is also the only known instance of a single soul bond shared between more than two people, in the case of the Linkletter Triplets, born in 1812.
- Magical Accident: Sometimes it can come about through extreme magical means. Though it can happen by magical experimentation, it is never intentional. No attempt to deliberately create a soul bond has ever succeeded.
System: Being soul bound to another (which requires both characters to have the appropriate Quirk) causes some unusual circumstances for the bound pair:
- Condition Sense: One can always sense when one's soul partner is in danger (so long as the partner is aware of it as well). With a successful Awareness roll, one can also sense if they are injured or ill.
- If one's soul partner dies, the backlash can be devastating. The living wizard feels whatever the dead partner felt in those last moments. They are left weakened and depressed, and recovery can take hours, days, or even weeks. Any rolls made during a scene in which one's partner died suffer a -3 penalty.
- Emotion Sense: When nearby (in the same scene) one can always sense the other's emotional state. An Awareness roll can allow this sense to extend beyond physical proximity.
- Shared Dreams: When sleeping at the same time, bonded pairs often share dreams. It isn't always clear with whom the dream originated. It is also possible to dream about what one's wakeful soul partner is presently experiencing, though it will still seem very dreamlike and incomplete.
- Magical Link: The soul bond makes it easier to use certain types of magic on one's partner. Any effort to use Divination or Legilimency (including the Legilimency Spell) on one's soul partner benefits from a +2 bonus to the roll.
|Lore Threshold: Wizard Lore 5|
The Unbreakable Vow is an ancient form of magic, which predates the modern concepts of wands and incantations. Though a wand is generally used in the Vow, this is a modern safety measure.
An Unbreakable Vow is a way of magically binding someone to their word. While this has usually been between two wizards, it is conceivable that the Vow could be entered into by a Squib, Muggle, or other Being. It seals a verbal contract between the participants in a bond so strong that if either should break their Vow, that person will die.
To make an Unbreakable Vow, the two participants must face each other and clasp hands. A third party, who must be a wizard, is called the Bonder. It is the Bonder's duty to seal the Vow's magic. The Bonder places the tip of his or her wand against the clasped hands. Then the participants speak their terms to each other. As each term is accepted, a thin ribbon of fire emits from the Bonder's wand, wrapping around the participants' hands. If either party declines any of the terms, the magic dissipates, and the Vow does not bind either of them.
System: There is no roll involved in the Unbreakable Vow. It is surprisingly easy magic to perform, but requires the willing participation of both Vow-takers and the Bonder. If either participant breaks any of the terms of the Vow, that participant dies.
The Unforgivable Curses require some special attention. Generally, it's best to get staff attention when using them (and required for the Killing Curse). But here are some guidelines for using them.
- First and foremost, know that these are unequivocally the darkest of Dark magic. Using them has a cost to the caster. It may be minor at first, but the more they are used, the more it harms your very soul (see the Dark Corruption sidebar on the Quirks page). These aren't as simple as waving a wand and speaking an incantation. Using these curses requires one to draw upon the darkest, most negative parts of oneself. It literally damages one's ability to feel positive emotions. This is something to be role-played.
- You have to mean them. If you aren't drawing upon the dark recesses of your desire for power (Imperius), cruelty (Cruciatus), or hatred (Killing Curse), you should suffer additional penalties (anywhere from -1 to -3, depending upon the character's lack of conviction) to any roll to use an Unforgivable curse.
- Unforgivable Curses cannot be cast non-verbally or wandlessly. These spells will always be obvious, and always require a wand to perform.