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As in title: I would like to cast a long duration spell (let's say a simple "luck" buff using Entropy Sphere or a simple illusion changing my appearance using Forces Sphere) with at-will on/off functionality (as in, I want to be able to turn it on and off at will, without having to cast the spell again).

What I mean by on/off? For example:

  • When it's off the permanent Paradox point from the buff (if applicable in the first place) is gone.
  • When it's off there is no resonance from the buff radiating from me (so no way to see magic on me using senses spells, including sphere-based senses).
  • When it's off, effects of the spell don't apply (I can think of several effects that might be good or bad, depending on situation).

The question is: how do I do that? And (if there are many ways to achieve that) what are my options?

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3 Answers 3

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You can handle this through either a complex spell or a ritual.

In your example, you want to have a spell that increase luck that can be turned on and off. For sake of the example, I'm going to say the "trigger" for the effect being on is when a coin is in your left pocket. To cast this, you'd need entropy 2 (luck alteration), life 2 (affecting the living), and matter 1 (perception of matter) to cast this spell. Changing the trigger would of course change the necessary spheres. If you wanted it to be truly at-will, you'd also need mind 2 (surface level thought reading) and prime 2 (altering of magic). If you want to use a higher level of entropy, your prime has to be at the same level.

A spell generates an effect. Once cast, there's no altering it without casting another spell. To cast the spell described above, you'd cast a spell on yourself to increase luck when a coin is in your pocket. You'd need entropy 2+ (luck alteration), life 2 (affecting the living), and matter 1 (perception of matter) to cast this spell. Once cast, you can't turn the effect on or off at will, like you posed in your question, but you can activate or deactivate the trigger. Similar, but different.

A ritual is a series of motions or actions that cause a specific effect to happen, you could change the spell described above a bit to create a lucky coin, with the coin being the "conduit" by which you gain the effect. In the morning, you cast the ritual on your lucky coin, and when its in your pocket you gain its effect. Take it out, you no longer have its effect.

What's the difference? Each spell cast varies in effect, duration, and area based on successes. Variable successes, variable effects. Rituals are more consistent, but must be cast in advance. Pre-defined successes, pre-defined effect.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ However, you'll look like a Christmas tree when someone looks at you with Prime. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Jan 8, 2023 at 11:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ I like this way of thinking. So far the closest answer to the question as-stated. Thank you very much, I love "create a condition like coin being in the pocket as part of spell description", this is exactly what RAW gaming is about: finding a way. And I'm preparing most of my spells in advance anyway (every Mage should if they want to stay alive) so going for Ritual feels natural. I'll give it a little more time and accept your answer if there are no better ideas. \$\endgroup\$
    – Nec Xelos
    Jan 9, 2023 at 0:39
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Artifacts(and Inventions) can cover the bill

Artifacts can be used to apply any effect you want to apply by simply activating them. Furthermore there are no rules against turning a tooth into an artifact and having it put in your mouth. Furthermore an Artifact can have multiple magickal effects so it is possible to make one of said effects be aura covering(Which is a Mind+Prime rote)

Note: Your Storyteller may rule that integrating an artifact into your body can count as an alteration to your pattern(I would at least) and permanent alteration to the pattern of a Mage, (even if it can be turned off and on) has an effect on the Mage in question. This does not have to be paradox as genetic engineering and bio-mods give genetic flaws instead but there isn't a way to prevent bad things from happening when a Mage alters their pattern.

Cybernetics can also somewhat cover the bill.

Cybenetics can go offline if they are drained of primal energy(Quintessence) and stay offline until they receive a new supply.(Whether it be from the Mage's reserves or from a Periapt.) So if you empty your cybernetics quintessence reserves then they will register as nothing other than Borg cosplay.

Note that as Cybernetics give the receiving mage a permanent point of paradox regardless of whether they are online or offline.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm asking for casting a spell specifically. I know I can do certain things with items but it's not what the question is about. \$\endgroup\$
    – Nec Xelos
    Nov 3, 2022 at 21:02
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Not like you want...

When it's off the permanent Paradox point from the buff (if applicable in the first place) is gone.

No. Only a spell that doesn't remain at all will not incur a permanent paradox. You'd need to re-cast the spell to get this benefit.

Or you hang the spell and only complete it at a later time, using Time and/or Prime as additional spheres. This is an almost-pre-cast spell prepared in advance, granting its benefits once you trigger it without permanent paradox... but it will end as usual once either the runtime is up, or its effect happened.

When it's off there is no resonance from the buff radiating from me (so no way to see magic on me using senses spells, including sphere-based senses).

No. A dormant effect, such as cybernetics turned off or down, will always be detectable as magickal in some way or another. If the source is a worn item, not wearing it and having it stored somewhere makes it undetectable but unuseful. A hung spell similarly is very noticeable, as it is technically a suspended magick just waiting for a keyword.

As JRodge01 suggests, you could also work with simple triggers to force a long-lasting spell into a dormant state, but that would not be undetectable, it would be running very much at full power all the time, only its effects are suppressed.

When it's off, effects of the spell don't apply (I can think of several effects that might be good or bad, depending on situation).

Yes, you can have this. Turning off a spell can be done in two way: fully canceling it, or not using the item it is applied to. The latter is usually an artifact or invention, but also could be a genetic modification or other thing.

As a simple example, let's take a girdle of giant strength: you can choose not to wear it. Or wear it but not activate it. Only once you activate it you benefit from its bonus. Usually, such items have an activation roll.

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