The Hermetic Wild West
Ch 08 Laboratory
The abstraction of “seasons” means that characters produce laboratory products in seemingly quick time. Such results are considered the culmination of ongoing work done in downtime, completed when the character spends her seasons.
CREATING A LABORATORY
A lab takes one season to “set up” and one season to “personalize.” A lab can only be set up or personalized by someone with Magic Theory 3. Any magus with Magic Theory 1 can use a laboratory set up by someone else, but with a -3 penalty to all Lab Totals.
Effect Expiry: Replace the Effect Expiry periods on the chart on p. 99 with the following:
Item Lasts = Excess Modifier
- 8 seasons = x10
- 20 seasons = x5
- 50 seasons = x2
“Seasons” refers to the number of seasons the character earns through gameplay after the item is created. In other words, an item with Effect Expiry created to multiply the excess by 10 will expire after the character earns 8 seasons in gameplay.
Note: see Ch 10 Long Term Effects for discussion of “Seasons”
SHAPE AND MATERIAL BONUSES
The total benefit of shape and material bonuses cannot exceed the wizard’s Magic Theory rating. The same restriction applies to spellcasting bonuses of a talisman.
New Shape and Material Bonuses:
- Bullet (Cartridge): +8 to harm faeries
- Firearm (Derringer, Pistol, Shotgun): +5 to harm human and animal bodies, +4 to project bolt or other missile, +4 to destroy things at a distance
- Firearm (Carbine, Rifle, Long Rifle): +5 to harm human and animal bodies, +6 to project bolt or other missile, +6 to destroy things at a distance
DISTRACTIONS FROM LAB WORK
Distraction does not penalize studying or laboratory work.
HERMETIC BREAKTHROUGH: ALCHEMICAL BULLETS
Just before the turn of the century, Bergius, a magus of House Flambeau in the Rome Tribunal, produced a major breakthrough in the way magic items can be enchanted. The eccentric Flambeau was obsessed with firearms and explosives and sought to expand the magical potential of such tools. Bergius called his breakthrough the boullette chimique, or “alchemical bullet.” This and other of Bergius’ inventions are now well known throughout the Order of Hermes, particularly in the American West.
Using this technique, a wizard can spend a season to open bullets (loose or in cartridge form) for enchantment and gain some of benefits similar to what a talisman can provide. Six bullets can be opened per pawn of Vim vis so invested. A magus cannot create more than twelve alchemical bullets per season per point of her Magic Theory.
A wizard may have any number of alchemical bullets created at a given time, so long as she does not have a talisman. Because a wizard can only have one talisman, and alchemical bullets function as a limited type of talisman, the two are mutually exclusive. A wizard with a talisman cannot create alchemical bullets and vice versa.
Alchemical bullets are not truly talismans. They cannot be enchanted or attuned, nor do they provide any of the benefits of talismans unless specified here.
The main function of alchemical bullets is to allow a magus to combine a Touch-range spell and a firearms attack into a single action. The wizard completes the spellcasting attempt before determining whether the shot hits. The spell must be cast without gestures if the magus does not have at least one hand free and empty as she fires. If the shot misses, the spell has no effect because it fails to touch the target. If the combined spell is stopped by Magic Resistance, the gunshot is also repelled, inflicting no damage.
An arcane connection exists between alchemical bullets and the magus that created them. The connection ends after an alchemical bullet is used, at the conclusion of the Duration of the combined spell. If the bullet is fired without combining a spell, the connection does not automatically end. A wise magus will use magic to dispose of such rounds lest they be found and used against her at a later time.
Bergius remains well known in the Order as the father of magical firearms; he invented many related spells and experimented with a number of novel gun designs. Under one of his aliases, Francesco Antonio Broccu, Bergius was later credited in mundane society with the invention of the “revolving-barrel” firearm. He was barred by the Order from patenting his design, a fact later exploited to great effect by the American inventor, Samuel Colt.