Death may Die
Arcane procedures were the primary focus of the original existential field theory developed under Exedyne. The process has expanded with many other fields of scientific study, but the basic element is the same. An arcane procedure allows an individual to directly interact with physical events remotely. Often, they can do this without any tools or equipment.
Put into layman’s terms, it’s magic. However, nobody these days wants to call it that.
Anatomy of a Procedure
Although arcane science is a discipline, an arcane procedure is a specific process. Someone can perform an arcane procedure without having it memorized by rote, but this is a longer process involving frequent procedural checks to make certain it’s being done right. Someone who knows an arcane procedure thoroughly can perform it rapidly without consultation with another source.
The use of an arcane procedure requires the Arcane Sciences skill. Its use can lead to minor forms of APF, and frequent overuse of procedures can lead to a severe case of APF. The process isn’t entirely mental, and the body is deeply involved. In order to perform a procedure, the arcanist must have arcane biology.
Because the body is involved, quite often there are body movements and reflexive actions. However, these aren’t by definition necessary.
This flies in the face of some of the archaic formulas for arcane procedures. In ancient times, the occasional lucky bastard managed to stumble onto a system that would allow him to do magic. This was usually a single power. Experimentation might lead to different capabilities, but the lack of a holistic discipline meant that it was blind experimentation subject to catastrophic failure. Even worse, APF could easily set in, and without modern medical practice and psychiatric medicine the results would be terrible.
This means that most of the old arcanists were delusional nuts with only a small piece of the picture. The downright sociopathic nature of some of the old arcane principles demonstrates their insanity. In many cases, the same procedures were possible without the rigmarole, but they needed some trappings just to act as psychosomatic stimuli, and those trappings would turn more and more deviate as their APF worsened.
Traits of the Procedure
An arcane procedure is designed, both in-game and out-of-game. A character is likely to be able to come across procedures that he can learn, but he might also design his own. The game rules for DIY procedures are later. However, the core traits of a procedure follow, as well as the method for designing their game rules.
This is the number of quality-days required to develop this procedure.
This indicates the required steps for implementing the procedure. If the procedure requires a single action, then it will just say Action. This is a test of Arcane Sciences. The arcanist will need to succeed against this difficulty. If this is a Labor, then the procedure takes some hours to complete, and the total quality-hours will be listed as Labor #.
In many cases, the difficulty is the square root of the Complexity, rounding up. The Labor hours are based on the Complexity. However, both of these factors might get modified by other elements.
This generally indicates a range. A range in a single number is indirect – cover provides no benefit, but concealment does. A range with different range categories (close, medium, long, etc.) has range. A range of “Close” will reach out to a meter from the arcanist (don’t apply a range difficulty). These difficulties occur along with the Implementation difficulty above.
“Instant” procedures might last a little while, but in game terms they’re over and done with. Other procedures will have a rolled number of time increments, perhaps rounds, minutes, hours, or even days.
The degree of APF effects the character may suffer. See the rules for APF for more information.
The design components of the procedure, including notations for variables and the total Complexity and APF modifications.
These are the additional skills that were involved in designing this procedure. This doesn’t have any direct effects, as the arcanist doesn’t need these skills to perform the procedure, but they indicate the amount of specialized knowledge that was required to generate this procedure.
Most procedures come with costs associated with them. Although a number of them are technically free, they require subscriptions, associations, or other actions that just prove that TANSTAAFL.
The base factor for determining the price is the total number of marks in Design Skills plus four. Multiply this result by the Complexity and take the cube root. Round the result up.
In game terms, you design an arcane procedure in terms of elements. Each element is a different aspect to what the procedure can (or can’t) do. Each element will modify the Complexity of the procedure, and they may modify its APF. It also lists any secondary Skills required for development of the arcane procedure.
When designing an arcane procedure, simply apply the desired effects and total the results. See the list of arcane procedural components for details.
Learning the Procedure
To learn an arcane procedure, you first must obtain access to it. This generally requires a purchase, but there may be other means. Arcane procedures are limited access, and you must spend an Access just to make the purchase attempt. Once you’ve completed that, you have a copy of the procedure.
You may follow the procedure without committing it to skill memory, but it is often preferable to learn it intuitively. This is a Labor using Arcane Sciences. It takes a number of quality-hours equal to the Complexity times 5. Every hour, the character suffers APF equal to the APF of the procedure as he practices it.
This is a task you generally want to complete. Every day you spend without completing the task will reduce your accumulated quality-hours by 10% (round the loss up).
Example: Jimmy Wambosi is trying to learn a Complexity 13 procedure. It has an APF of 6. He has Body 7, Clout 8, Drive 10, Arcane Sciences at 4 marks, and Introspection at 1 mark. Every hour he rolls 4d4 to determine his accumulated APF. After five hours of work he looks at the clock and realizes that it takes him about ten seconds to read the digital clock. He decides to call it a day. He has 25/75 on the Labor.
On the next day he’s refreshed, and goes at it again. After four hours, he reaches for his coffee and hesitates. He’s not sure why he thought it was such a good idea to go for the coffee. The molecules of the coffee cup aren’t the molecules in his hand – they’ll never touch. Terrible things… that’s when he decides to give it a rest. It isn’t noticeable, but he’s got a lasting sense of confusion at the exoteric world around him He’s got 65/75 quality-hours, and one point of Trauma.
The next day brings something of an adventure. While it was “enjoyable” to a certain definition of “enjoyment,” it was not something conducive to study, and he not only loses a day he suffers two points of Injury. He loses 10% of his Labor (reducing it to 58/75). The next day his team requires a medical evaluation, which detects the latent APF. He gets treatments for all his Damage, but loses another day. This reduces his progress to 52/75.
Jimmy’s then back in action. Rested and seriously injured, he goes ahead because he’s an arcanist and there’s a reason they call those scientists “mad.” He stops after four hours when he realizes his blood pressure has dropped and he doesn’t breathe regularly if he thinks too hard about something. In hopes of not worsening his health condition, he stops at 72/75.
On the next day, it only takes an hour for Jimmy to realize that he’s got it down. He’s now figured out every part of the procedure well enough to call it rapidly from memory and perform its actions by reflex. He’s now learned the procedure and can implement it without the books.
Learning Dangerous and Illegal Procedures
Simply gaining access to a procedure that’s illegal in your jurisdiction is a Dealing task unless you can obtain the special licensing. This may have formal requirements, and in general it will also cost a point of Access. In this case, purchasing these licensed procedures legitimately means the licensing agency will know you’ve gained access to them. Purchase without license requires Dealing and an additional point of Access.
Even if it isn’t illegal, dangerous procedures are hard to practice. A procedure that causes an explosion isn’t something you can do in your neighborhood. You may need time in special areas. If you have some acreage available to you, that can help. Otherwise, you may need to rent time on some specialized property. This will have its own purchase roll involved.
Implementing the Procedure
Performing an arcane procedure follows different rules depending on a number of different factors.
A procedure that requires a single action to implement can be used in a single combat round if the character’s got it learned. However, it might take longer if the character doesn’t.
The character spends an action and rolls Arcane Sciences. The difficulty depends on environmental factors, shown below. Success or failure, after rolling the character suffers APF based on the procedure. See that section for further information. Once implemented, the procedure’s own rules take effect.
If the character hasn’t learned the procedure but has access to the information on it, he can run through the basic parameters and attempt to implement it relatively quickly. This requires Research Analysis. This functions similar to a Labor, but accumulates result every round rather than every hour. The total Labor requirement is equal to the Complexity of the procedure.
Once this is done, the character may then perform the procedure as if it was learned. However, he loses 1 quality point from his accumulated total every round, so that eventually it won’t be fresh enough in his mind to perform.
Labor procedures are actually in some ways easier, as they are insensitive to environmental factors. Because the extended process of these procedures involves constantly adjusting for factors such as those, the procedure ignores them. The process functions as an ordinary Labor using Arcane Sciences. The required number of quality-hours is the Complexity of the procedure.
If the procedure is interrupted, all progress gets lost. Damage other than APF will automatically interrupt the procedure. Note that the character may be able to say a few words, scratch an itch, or otherwise take minimal activities other than implementing the procedure. Every hour of implementation will cause APF based on the listed APF of the procedure.
It’s actually potentially safer to rely on the books while using an extended procedure, and even a character who knows the procedure can utilize this method. In this case, the character uses the lower of Arcane Sciences or Research Analysis, but the character also gains an additional buffer against APF. He may use the higher of Introspection or Research Analysis to determine resistance to APF, since he doesn’t need to wrap his mind around the procedure so much as follow the Ikea instructional on the matter.
Some procedures require multiple participants, but any procedure that is a Labor may have multiple arcanists implementing it. The problem is that it’s a great deal harsher. Every participant must not only wrap their minds around the procedure, but also around each other’s perspectives, and thus keep track of far more existential information than normal.
Take the APF as normal, and reduce it for Introspection (or Research Analysis, if appropriate). However, multiply the result by the number of participants involved. The maximum number of participants is the Lead of whomever is running the procedure. That lead multiplies the APF by the number of participants plus one.
Note that some schemes specifically intend for there to be multiple arcanists, and they may not follow these rules.
Several factors can contribute to the difficulty of a procedure.
Strange as it is to say, gravitational forces can be a disruptive influence on the procedure. Keep in mind, however, that only “true” gravity has the effect. If it doesn’t bend space and time, it doesn’t have an effect. In particular, the faux gravity of a rotating station doesn’t interfere with procedures.
|Less than 0.1G (microgravity or Plutonian gravity; also, space stations under false gravity)||1|
|0.1G to 0.3G (Lunar gravity)||1d4|
|0.31G to 0.6G (Mercuric or Martian gravity)||1d6|
|0.61G to 1.2G (Venusian or Terrestrial gravity)||1d8|
|1.21G to 2.4G||1d10|
|2.41G or more||1d12|
Contrary to the beliefs of many neopagans, living environments are actually counterproductive to arcane procedure. Any shift in existential field is a disruption to an arcane procedure, and no existential field is more dynamic than a living creature.
|Life in the Area||Difficulty|
|Alone in a completely sterile environment||1|
|Alone with no major living organisms or significant colony||1d4|
|Open environment, calm||1d6|
|Open environment, lush (forest)||1d8|
|Open environment, bustling (downtown in a city)||1d10|
Strong electromagnetic fields can disrupt arcane procedure.
|No electronics or magnets nearby, on a world or station with no magnetosphere||1|
|Active magnetosphere, but alone with no electronics or magnets||1d4|
|Carrying electronic devices||1d6|
|Surrounded by electronic devices||1d8|
|Suspended in an electromagnetic field of any kind||1d10|
|Within EM strong enough to short out electronics||1d12|