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Living Image (•)Edit

Action: Instant
Dice pool: Inner Light + Intelligence
Cost: 1 Wisp
Duration: lasting

Certain artists among the Hopeful have found a method to infuse the Light into their art, and make it bring forth magic. This Charm allows a Princess to embed another Charm into a work of art she has made with her own hands, so that it takes effect not when she casts it, but when another person studies or appreciates the art. The crafting of the artwork is integral to the use of Living Image - the art means, is about, the Charm embedded in it, and a wholly or partly finished work on another subject cannot carry the intended Charm. Making a valid target for Living Image is a mundane extended action, with a threshold of 3x the rating of the Charm to be placed in it.

To be embedded in a work of art, a Charm must be targeted at a single person who is physically with its user. The Sympathy and Commonalty modifiers make a Charm incompatible with Living Image, and animals, objects or areas cannot understand art in a way that Living Image will recognize.

Dramatic Failure: The Noble’s magic goes out of control and ruins the artwork. She must recreate it from the beginning, using new materials.
Failure: The Noble fails to prepare the artwork. Further attempts to use the Charm on it take a cumulative -1 penalty.
Success: The artwork becomes a valid target for the Charm it’s based on. When that Charm is used on it, the artwork gains the Waiting Charm Condition, which will resolve when a person next experiences the art in the proper way - a painting must be looked at, recorded music must be listened to, etc. When the Condition resolves the suspended Charm immediately takes effect on the person experiencing the art. Damage to the artwork ends the Condition.
Exceptional Success: The artwork is a perfect expression of the Charm to be held inside it. Anyone using that Charm on it has 9-again on the activation roll.

As part of learning this Charm, the Noble also learns how to recognize another Hopeful’s enchanted artworks, and discover what they do without discharging them. Analyzing an artwork prepared for Living Image (which includes Bequests) is a mundane extended action with a dice pool of Inner Light + Intelligence, an interval of 5 minutes/roll, and a threshold equal to the rating of the Charm the artwork expresses. Reaching the threshold answers one of these questions:

  • Which Charm the artwork is based on?
  • Which Living Image upgrades were applied during its making?
  • If it’s Duty-bound, what task creates the Waiting Charm Condition?

Upgrade: CopiedEdit

Cost: +1 Wisp

The magic in the Noble’s art may flow through copies of that art. When the original artwork has the Waiting Charm Condition, it resolves when a person next experiences any duplicate of the original, as well as the original itself, and the delayed Charm takes effect on that person. Normally copies must be exact - any imperfection or degradation in the copy breaks its connection to the original; however, the Noble may take a penalty of -2 when activating Living Image to let it work through imperfect but recognizable copies (photos or digital images of a visual work, re-recordings of an audio work, etc.)

Applying Copied makes Living Image compatible with Charms modified by Sympathy. For those Charms the Condition resolves when the intended target experiences the art, in either a copy or the original. No other audience can trigger the embedded Charm.

Upgrade: PerformativeEdit

The Noble dispenses with solid materials - she can weave magic into pure meaning, while delaying its effect. In the course of a performance or conversation, the Noble must tell her intended target both what will happen when the suspended Charm takes effect, and what action or situation will release it. She can be as cryptic ("When all eyes turn toward you, you’ll find the strength to carry on") or as direct ("Hey, jackass! Try stealing someone’s purse again, and you’re going to get set on fire!") as she wishes. She activates Living Image as she speaks, and the Charm she wants to delay immediately afterward.

If both Charms succeed, the target gains the Waiting Charm Condition. It will resolve at the first opportunity that fits what the Noble tells the target - a vague and cryptic description may release the Charm at a quite unexpected and inconvenient moment. Dramatic failure distorts the Noble’s magic, giving her a Hypersensitive Condition that expires when the scene ends.

Performative is not compatible with Copied, but applying it does make Living Image compatible with Charms modified by Commonalty. For those Charms, the Condition resolves when any member of the target organization fulfills the stated conditions, and the Charm affects all members who witnessed the performance.

Upgrade: InstructiveEdit

Cost: +2 Wisps

The Noble’s art becomes not an expression of her magic, but a guide for others to enact it themselves. When she gives the artwork the Waiting Charm Condition, the Noble pays for the Charm but does not roll to activate it. Instead, when a Light-touched character experiences the art, he becomes aware that magic lies within it, ready to release. If he chooses, he can resolve the Waiting Charm Condition to make the activation roll, using his own traits rather than the Noble’s. Characters who aren’t Light-touched can’t resolve the Condition. The Noble specifies which upgrades, if any, are applied to the Charm when she embeds it; the activator chooses its target and controls its effects.

Instructive is not compatible with Copied or Performative. Because the activator can direct the embedded Charm, applying Instructive makes Living Image compatible with any Charm, including those that need no roll to activate. A permanent Charm, if embedded, confers its benefit on the activator for one scene.

Upgrade: BequeathedEdit

Requires Instructive
Cost: +1 Willpower dot

The Noble turns her art into a free-standing object of power. The artwork becomes a Bequest; anyone with the ability to pay the Charm’s cost can do so to give it the Waiting Charm Condition, or to activate the Charm directly, if they are touching it.

Upgrade: Duty-boundEdit

Requires Bequeathed

By fulfilling a special duty, the Bequest’s owner can catch raw power from the Light to empower it. When the Noble creates a Bequest, she can specify a task to be completed. A character with the Bequest on his person who performs that task can impose the Waiting Charm Condition on the Bequest without paying any Wisps. All other costs for activating the Bequest’s Charm must still be paid. The difficulty of the specified task depends on the Charm’s effective rating. Bequests based on 1-dot Charms can be primed by an action taking as little as a turn. Bequests based on 3-dot Charms usually require a scene or two to prime. Bequests based on 5-dot Charms require at least a session to prepare.

Upgrade: Empowered (Specchio •••)Edit

Requires Bequeathed

When creating a Bequest a Chosen can embed a gem created by Enduring Beauty as a source of power. If she does so the Bequest has an equipment bonus to its activation roll equal to the Availability rating of the gem she used. Analyzing the Bequest will reveal the details of its Empowerment but anyone with experience of Bequests will have little trouble figuring it out.

By pressing an Empowered Bequest to the forehead of the gem’s original owner, the owner’s beauty may be restored; doing this destroys the Bequest beyond repair.

The question that haunts many Nobles is whether using such tools is an endorsement of their creation. Knowingly using an Empowered Bequest, unless a Princess has reason to believe the gem at its heart was created consensually, is a compromise with a -1 penalty to the roll.

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