The Great Bureaucracy is busy writing a whole lot of thaumagrams writs, busy somewhere in the infinite tangle that is the Manifold Nexus. It does mostly bespoke jobs by hand for the Quaesitors and the Harassers, but a whole lot of work is done with blocks bearing the mirror image of a thaumagram in relief. The block is inked with inks made with a base of aged blessed wizard blood, sinner bile and spider venom, then silk is applied on the block and rubbed energetically, impressing the design on the fabric. These writs are then left to dry until ready to be rolled, stamped and numbered, cased (usually in long hollow bones or tubes of iron or jade) and eventually shuffled along the multiverse crawlspace toward their destination.
ONE STEP BACK
Back in the day I read Orion by Masamune Shirow. It has some special juju babble that is fantastic, and it left me very impressed. Seska’s sheer badassery and curves also left a teenager Paolo very impressed.
Anyway, a whole lot of magic in Orion is based about written form. So calligraphy and power words and sigils and whatnot. Here Seska is trying to… I’m not sure. That comic is incredibly obscure. I think she drew a massive ward to keep out Susanoo the god of Storms and at the same time… monitor the water element or somesuch.
Also, Susanoo kicks so much ass in this comic. Probably because he’s a god.
A CATALOGUE OF THE DODECATHAUMAGRAMS
The name says that the DODECATHAUMAGRAMS are twelve:
- VIOLENT DARKNESS VORTEX, which obfuscates the sight and the judgement but not the drive, leading the victim to inflict violence and dark sorcery on friends and foes alike. For one turn the victim decides whether to attack or cast an offensive spell, but the target is at random. Save negates.
- BLEAK GLOOM OCTAGON, leaving the victim listless, incapable of acting for 1 turn. Save every round.
- PURE CLEANSE CIRCLE, the victim is cleansed of all curses and negative spell effects for a day. No save.
- UTTER DISPEL CROSS, the victim is completely purged from magic effects, and won’t be able to work magic or use magic items for the next 1d6 rounds either. Save to avoid.
- RUBY FIRE BARBS, the victim catches fire and takes 1d6 damage every round for 1 turn. No save, but Stop, Drop & Roll grants a save to terminate the effect
- WHITE SANCTUARY CIRCLE, a person stepping inside its bounds has an additional 50% save against any attack or negative spell, effect or ability. The Circle stop working if the subject leaves or commits an aggressive act, or after a day.
- PURPLE DEMON TRIDENT, summons a 3 HD fire demon that every round deals 1d6 fire damage to everyone within 10′, save to halve. The demon is hellbent on arson, murder and jaywalking and totally not under the control of the caster. It burns off in 1 turn.
- GOLD CHARM HEART, makes the victim totally fall in love with the writ-giver for 1 turn. Save negates.
- GREEN LIFE SQUARE, heals 2d6 HP. Save negates, as this deals damage to undeads.
- SILVER BANISH ASTERISK, banishing the victim for a day to their plane of origin. Works only on those that are not on their plane of origin. Save negates.
The eleventh and twelfth DODECATHAUMAGRAM have not been leaked yet.
There are a few ways of using the DODECATHAUMAGRAMS in your game. Mageblade will have another method, and it will be really important for one of the classes.
Writs are special scrolls that are used as melee weapons. Often the printed writs appear in the black market, or become available from bureaucrats in need of a quick penny, usually for at least 500-1000 coins each. They must be unrolled with two hands and then used to hit the opponent. This makes the awkward to use if you are busy with sword and shield already, unless you want to drop your weapon and shield, maybe?
Writs are single-use items. In melee, wield the writ and hit unarmored AC, save applies when specified above. In Into the Odd, they are weapons dealing 1d4-1 which, if they were to deal damage, instead do zero damage and affect the target if the save. As an alternative, they can be thrown up to 10′ away. Once the victim is hit, regardless of whether the victim saves, the scrip is ruined and usually dissipates entirely in thin blue smoke.
The origins of the DODECATHAUMAGRAMS are uncertain. What’s surprising is that some cults worship icons of Saints or complex drawings that are, thaumaturgically speaking, isometrical to the DODECATHAUMAGRAMS. This might hint at a deeper trilaeral symmetry between the Left-Right Hand Path Correspondence, the Manifold Fractal and the Nature of Godhood. Or it might be entirely dumb chance. Or utter poppycock. Further research is warranted. The Great Bureaucracy is not bothered at all by this.
Clerics can be of one of these cults. They lose the Turn Undead capacity, but each cult has an icon they worship and use as holy symbol: pick one of the following invocations. The cleric can use the icon once a day, plus convert not-yet-cast spell slots of any level to power the icon. The icon is not applied, but simply shown to a victim or pointed toward a target within 10′ as an invocation is made, no touch attack needed.
- ICON OF ST. SYT’S SUPPLICE BY LIEGE VASSAL is isometrical to VIOLENT DARKNESS VORTEX
- ICON OF ST. CIUCO’S CONTEMPLATION OF ALTERNATIVES is isometrical to BLEAK GLOOM OCTAGON
- ICON OF ST. HARALD’S BAPTISM IN THE RIVER is isometrical to PURE CLEANSE CIRCLE
- ICON OF ST. MORNA’S RESPITE AT LAST is isometrical to UTTER DISPEL CROSS
- ICON OF ST. BARNAS’S TANTRUM AT THE GATE is isometrical to RUBY FIRE BARBS
- ICON OF ST. SCIURA’S CHILLING IN HER GROTTO is isometrical to WHITE SANCTUARY CIRCLE
- FLAME OUROBOROS PATTERN is isometrical to PURPLE DEMON TRIDENT
- STATUETTE OF THE SAUCY HONEY GODDESS is isomatrical to GOLD CHARM HEART
- SNAKES TANGLE WEAVE is isometrical to GREEN LIFE SQUARE
- OSMIUM CROSS WITH HOOKS POINTING TOWARDS SUNRISE is isometrical to SILVER BANISH ASTERISK
What’s more concerning for the bureaucracy is that some of its secrets have leaked and some savants learnt how to simply trace the DODECATHAUMAGRAMS by hand, in a few seconds. Quaesitors are always on the lookout for this kind of infraction and, when found, Harassers are dispatched urgently to curb it and give an example to everybody.
Do you even Wonder & Wickedness? The DODECATHAUMAGRAMS can be used as W&W spells. To cast them, use the usual W&W rules, but to cast them the sorcerer simply traces the glyph mid air and then concludes it by touching the victim or the target. A touch melee attack might be needed. If the attack fails the sorcerer can of course try to touch the victim again in the next rounds.