Invocations are archetypal forces from which the Hopeful learn to draw power. A Princess may buy up to 5 dots in each Invocation. Each Queen favors one Invocation, and the Hopeful sworn to her find that Invocation easier to learn than any other. Due to this intimate tie to the Queens, the Invocations are described under the Queen who favors them. Invocations are deeply intertwined with Charms - they add to a Charm’s power, and many Charms and upgrades can’t be learned without studying them.
Learning an Invocation gives a Noble insights that go beyond a Queen’s philosophy, unlocking new variations of Charms, or pushing ordinary training to superhuman levels. Each time a Noble buys an Invocation dot, she also gains an upgrade to two of her Charms. She may add both upgrades to the same Charm, or trade one or both upgrades for transformed Skill dots. The upgrades may be general, or require the Invocation the Noble just learned, at a level equal to or less than her new dots. An upgrade that requires any other Invocation may not be learned this way, even when the Noble knows the other Invocation.
Invoking for WillpowerEdit
Aside from adding power to Charms, an Invocation can inspire Nobles who strive to live up to its principles. If the Storyteller agrees that a Princess’ actions during a scene reflect the archetype of an Invocation the Princess has learned, and she hasn’t broken its ban, the Princess rolls her dots in that Invocation as a dice pool. (This pool cannot be modified in any way - she may not spend Willpower on it, and no magic or Condition affects it.) She may do this once per session, for each Invocation separately. She need not be transformed to use her Invocations this way.
- Dramatic Failure: The Princess’ recent actions feel a bit hollow; she doubts the ideals that inspired them. Until the scene ends, she may not spend Willpower on actions that reflect the Invocation.
- Failure: The Princess goes on with her life.
- Success: The Invocation confirms the Princess’ actions. She regains one spent Willpower point.
- Exceptional Success: The Invocation revives the Princess’ flagging will; she regains all spent Willpower.
Choosing your InvocationsEdit
The choice of Invocations is an important one, an Invocation shapes and empowers a Princess’ magic. The easiest trap for a Princess to fall into is jump to thinking which Charms she wants. Invocations are not a neatly packaged source of power for any Princess who likes the look of a certain Charm. Rather, an Invocation is the ideals and Beliefs of a Queen given form, resonating in the souls of mankind through the inherent magical nature of a Queen.
When choosing Invocations a player should think about what views and beliefs a Princess shares with a Queen. The more a Princess has in common with a Queen, the more she upholds a Queen’s ideals, the brighter the Invocation shines within her. With practice (represented by spending Experiences) she can draw on that Invocation to enhance her magic. The Queen’s philosophies can provide a yard stick. A Princess who only follows one of the Queen’s philosophies is unlikely to advance beyond one or two dots in an Invocation. Agreeing with two philosophies can reach three or perhaps even four dots. A Princess who broadly agrees with and lives up to all three philosophies can with time master an invocation (For Lacrima, a Princess is considered to uphold the philosophies if she applies similar ideals to her own friends, family or Nation instead of Alhambra).
And what of the Twilight Invocations? Not every philosophical ideal of the Twilight Queens is pure evil to be rejected by any right minded Princess. Protecting your nation or opposing the Outer Dark in all its forms are ideas commonly found among the Radiant. So what stops a Princess waking up one morning and realizing she now has a dot of Lacrima? The answer is choice. A Princess who believes in protecting her nation can feel a connection to Lacrima deep within herself and knows she can draw power from it, but she can choose not to. The connection to an Invocation does not shape her beliefs, it is shaped by her beliefs. An Invocation she chooses not to use, or vows to stop using, cannot turn her to the dark side.
Dancing in TwilightEdit
One of the dirtier secrets of the Radiant is the sheer number of Nobles who, at one point in their life or another, dabble in the Invocations of the Twilight Queens. Dabbling in this case can be anything up to buying two or three dots in the Invocations; more requires a strength of commitment to the ideals of the Queen which is largely incompatible with remaining a member of the Radiant (for one, one’s own Queen will tend to object). The truth is that, the flaws in the Twilight Queens are ones which are within the hearts of man as a whole, and so most of the Enlightened have felt the same urges at some point in their life. Note that, however, such dabblers still consider themselves part of the Radiant, and, in the case of those who feel affinity for the Queen of Mirrors, see no contradiction at all in what they do. They still oppose the Darkness, and will fight against the loyalists of the Twilight Queens. One of the greatest topic of debate in the multiple, disparate groups of the Enlightened is how to respond to people who use Twilight Invocations, and whether or not they’re doing anything wrong.
The Invocation of Lacrima, tool of the Last Empress, the Queen of Tears, is an object of fear and mistrust to the vast majority of the Radiant. It is apparently evil, in a way that neither Specchio nor Tempesta are, because many of its Charms cause Hauntings when invoked, and to many, it is irrevocably tainted by the fact that it has the Charms used to drain Light from the world or transform oneself into a creature of the Dark. But, nevertheless, there are those Princesses who learn it, and who do not follow the Queen of Tears. One of the fundamental things about Lacrima is that it can always be used to protect your own Nation, and to a Princess who wants to do exactly that, the expediency of methods means that Lacrima can look tempting. When a friend died because you pushed your views on someone and so Legno was sealed off, the universal applicability of Lacrima for your Nation starts to look very tempting. The dabblers are typically more experienced, and more able to justify the risks to themselves, in part because the Lacrima Charms which dabblers can learn and use tend to create mild Hauntings, and so there’s less of an objection. Moreover, there exists a notable sub-faction of the followers of the Queen of Diamonds who specifically learn Lacrima for its use in studying the dead and the Underworld, and, aggravatingly to some others, the Queen has even given her support to the practice. Such dabblers often have a strict moral code restricting their use of the Invocations to only using it to study the dead - never to harm, and they point to the gains in knowledge that they have provided to the Radiant; their detractors point out that once the power is there, it can be hard to resist.
The Invocation of Tempesta, tool of the Seraphic General, the Queen of Storms is for most of those who dabble in it, purely a weapon. It is something that is learned as a tool against the Darkness, and it is used for that role. It does not (generally speaking) heal or right wrongs, but it does eliminate the followers of the Darkness and of Alhambra. In Atlanta, in the mid-90s, almost an entire generation of Radiant Princesses knew at least the basics of Tempesta. So hard-pressed were they by the Darkness and a major, well-organized Alhambran outpost that it became unofficial policy for elder Enlightened to guide each newcomer towards it, because the universal applicability and raw power of the Invocation in such circumstances was too much of a boon. That large numbers of Nobles in the city were driven towards extremism was viewed as an acceptable price, even if by the end, and the arson of the Alhambran Outpost, there were Enlightened just as callous as the worst of Storms, still officially among the Radiant. For those Princesses in the know, too, Tempesta can also be seen as the most moral of the Twilight Invocations, because the innate costs to it, the damage it does to the user, is known, and only affects the self. The common consensus is that it is dangerous, and a sign that a Noble is starting to spiral into extremism, but whether the use of it should be enough to ostracize one of the Radiant is a lot more contentious, especially since in areas where it is done, there are frequently not the Enlightened to spare.
The Invocation of Specchio, tool of the Crown’s Custodian, the Queen of Mirrors, however, is the most subtle and insidious of the Twilight Queens’ influences. In part, it is because of the lack of an overall enemy that the Invocation is linked to; while both the Ravens and the Furies provide a highly visible ”there but for the grace of the Light I go” example which other dabblers can keep away from, the egotism and self-righteousness implicitly promoted by the Queen of Mirrors, and the lack of a solid adversary is hard to fight against, especially since many Princesses have tendencies in that direction naturally. Dabblers can slip into following the Queen of Mirrors much more easily, especially since the Queen does not demand fidelity, which means that some elder Radiant are much more harsh in opposing its use. There are those who argue that, unlike Tempesta and Lacrima, use of this Invocation makes you a de facto follower of Mirrors’ agenda. And on the other hand, there are those who count the Queen of Mirrors as among the Radiant Queens, despite the objections of the other five. Moreover, there us also a faction in the Court of Diamonds who study Specchio for the unique sources of information it provides, or even to study the strange achronal or spacewarping Charms unique to Specchio; once again the Queen has given her consent. These dabblers protect themselves from the risk of madness by carefully rationing their use and taking the time to relax after every use. Of all the Twilight Invocations Specchio might be the easiest to learn, too; all one needs forit is self-belief in ones own cause, and a spark of the brilliance needed to reshape the world. And neither are rare among the Enlightened.