Magic in Orrorsh

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Magic in Orrorsh

Postby johntfs » Sun Sep 29, 2019 4:38 pm

One House Rule I've implemented for Orrorsh is that before a PC can get a new spell he has to find it in game. Despite the high Magic axiom, magic is hidden in Orrorsh to a large extent. To get a real, repeatable spell, you have to seek out occult bookshops, join secret societies or plunder the library of another sorcerer. Just dropping some XP between games isn't going to do it. Finding a new spell should be an adventure in itself.

Due to the interaction of the World Laws of Fear and Perseverance another magic/power is available in Orrorsh - The Occult. Unlike normal magic, the Occult uses none of the four magical skills. Instead those who would wield the Occult use the Willpower skill (which defaults to Spirit). The Gaunt Man wants people to attempt the Occult so it can (and often is) used Unskilled. I'll come up with more details over time, but the basics of the Occult are:

The target of the Occult must be known on some level to the user. The doesn't necessarily mean a name, but it should at least be something like "the werewolf who slew my best friend."

Each Occult effect is a singular event. If a user enchants a silver dagger to kill "the werewolf who slew my best friend" whatever bonus is imparted to the dagger toward that end is only usable against that target.

The Occult may generally not be used to aid or heal. If it does, there must be some component of harm to do someone else. You couldn't create a working to "heal the wound inflicted by that guard's bullet." You could create one to "transfer the wound I suffer to 'that guy over there.'"

An Occult ritual is referred as a "working" to distinguish it from magical spell. Any Aylish twit can yell "Bipity-bopity" and blast someone with a lightning bolt. Forging a runed blade of silver, quenched with the blood of virgins that is infused with wolfsbane to bring about the death agonies of Rudolph du Lune, the werewolf who tore out my wife's heart and ate it in front of me? That takes work.

The Occult takes time, generally at least an hour and is not usually something that can be cast in combat. Figure for each time unit less than an hour there's a penalty to the attempt (which doesn't rule out someone like the Gaunt Man being able to unleash some really nasty effects in a short time).

The more hoops the caster is willing to jump through, the more effective the working. Bonuses and modifiers can and should stack.

Using the Occult involving drawing on the darkest powers of Orrorsh and should require a Corruption check.

A failure when using the Occult should be considered a Mishap and the GM is encouraged to be cruelly creative when describing said Mishap.

The base difficulty of any working should be the highest value in that working. Duration works a little differently for the Occult, especially in terms of enchanted items. Generally duration is counted in terms of how long it affects the target of the effect with a base of 5 (1 combat round) assuming that Duration is not the highest value in the working. Let's put together an effect:

This base values of a working are generally Range: Touch; Duration 5 (1 Combat Round); Effect: 0; Cast Time: 18

Enchant Dagger

Range: Touch
Duration: 9 (6 combat rounds)
Effect: 10
Bonus to: Effect

This effect is cast onto a Dagger. The Effect is compared to the damage of the Dagger. For every 5 points the Effect is over the normal damage of the Dagger (based on the worker's Strength(and the Dagger only gets this bonus in the worker's hands) it raises the Bonus to the Dagger by 1 point. So, if the worker had a Strength of 9 and generated an effect total of 20, that raises the Dagger's Bonus by 2 giving the Dagger a Damage value of 12 when used by the worker.

A Good success makes the target Vulnerable to the Dagger

An Outstanding Success adds an extra +1BN to the damage

In this case the Difficulty of this working would be a 14. Effect of 10 + extra duration of 4. This is working probably just within reach of some strong-willed Ords and likely fairly simple for Storm Knights.

It is possible to enchant a weapon or Occult device for the use of someone other than the worker. Generally this means the working gains a +2 Difficulty per the Multi-action table.

The Duration clock starts only when the Dagger is used against the target. So, the caster gets 6 combat rounds to finish the werewolf. If the werewolf (or worker) fled, the caster would need to re-enchant the Dagger to get another shot (requiring another Corruption check)
Last edited by johntfs on Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Magic in Orrorsh

Postby graethynne » Sun Sep 29, 2019 5:31 pm


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Re: Magic in Orrorsh

Postby Zackzenobi » Sun Sep 29, 2019 6:04 pm

Looking for my LIKE button.

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Re: Magic in Orrorsh

Postby Atama » Sun Sep 29, 2019 6:13 pm

johntfs wrote:The Difficulty for this working would be

Oh no, the Horrors got to him!!!
“You are a bad person, and should feel bad.”
-TorgHacker (being tongue-in-cheek :D)

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Re: Magic in Orrorsh

Postby TorgHacker » Sun Sep 29, 2019 6:16 pm

Atama wrote:
johntfs wrote:The Difficulty for this working would be

Oh no, the Horrors got to him!!!

Ohhhhh Trevor.... ;)
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Re: Magic in Orrorsh

Postby johntfs » Sun Sep 29, 2019 9:36 pm

Atama wrote:
johntfs wrote:The Difficulty for this working would be

Oh no, the Horrors got to him!!!

The Horror of getting back to work on time which left little time to proofread and polish.

But yes, the above is a basic skeleton that's pretty close to the system in the original TORG.

The meat and blood of the Occult involves the modifiers. Each Occult working can effectively become it's own one Act adventure of gathering ingredients, finding the right book/scroll/etc, getting into a specific place possibly at a specific time (the Silver Dagger has to bathe in the light of a full moon at midnight for a full hour while resting on a consecrated altar in a Sacellum church). A good rule of thumb when figuring bonuses from the modifiers is to use the the way certain Cosm cards give Possibility. The more, difficult, dangerous or problematic a component of the working is, the more of a bonus it gives. "We need to buy some Wolfsbane" might get a +1 modifier. The bit of sneaking into a Sacellum church and staying there to do the full moon altar thing could give a +2 or +3. Figure as with the Cards the maximum bonus for any single modifier should be +3.

There are other things to consider. Anyone who is in or of Orrorsh can use the Occult even Unskilled. While some Orroshan Perks might help with the use of the Occult (Occultist, for example), no Perks are required to use it. So, any Storm Knight of Orrorshan reality (or any SK with Cosm Adaption to Orrorsh regardless of the specific Perks) can potentially use the Occult anywhere. Any character actually in Orrorsh (or within the sphere of influence of a Nightmare Tree) can also use the Occult no what their home cosm. Any Ord from Orrorsh can also use the Occult.

Now, to be clear, it's not like there's millions of people stabbing pins into dolls and muttering curses. Most people don't use the Occult. But it's there, just below the surface. "Everyone" has heard stories about blood rituals. "Everyone" has that crazy uncle, aunt, etc that left some books behind. Most people would of course never truck with such things. But. But they're there. Waiting for the right person who is... motivated to get something they can't get any other way.

The upshot of this is that Storm Knights need to be even more careful in Orrorsh. If they get in a fight with some corrupt soldiers acting as guards for an evil cult and kill them... well, those men had wives, siblings, parents. Any or all of those people might feel resentment and hatred toward the bunch of foreign thugs who cold-bloodily slew their husbands/brother/sons. This isn't the Nile, where you can mow down a bunch of Shocktroopers and stop only to reload. Actions and decisions in Orrorsh have consequences. Often terrible ones.

Meanwhile, as GMs, don't be afraid to set up a situation where the players might need to use the Occult. Part of the nature of Orrorsh is occasionally having to use the bad to fight the worse. Still, players should never forget that the Occult is still bad.

A good comparison with the Occult would be the spells in Chaosium's Call of Cthulhu. Frequently certain monsters could only be dealt with through the use of magic to banish them, destroy them or possibly to summon and bind a different, possibly nastier monster to fight them. Gaining spells meant reading books, losing Sanity and gaining Cthulhu Mythos skill, which was inversely related to Sanity in that the sum of one's permanent Sanity and CM skill could never exceed 100. The more CM one had, the less Sanity they could possess.

The point being that the Occult is bad for the worker in pretty much every way. Still there are occasions when evil is necessary. But no mistake should be made that the Occult is somehow good. It might sometimes be the lesser evil but it is and should always be an evil.

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Re: Magic in Orrorsh

Postby Wakshani » Sun Sep 29, 2019 11:59 pm

Ah families. I'm reminded of the deleted scenes from Austin Powers...

Good times! Good times...

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Re: Magic in Orrorsh

Postby Savioronedge » Mon Sep 30, 2019 1:18 pm

Somehow I was certain there was already an Occult Perk.

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Re: Magic in Orrorsh

Postby utsukushi » Mon Sep 30, 2019 2:50 pm

This is really, really good! I definitely hope the Orrorsh book has something similar when it comes out. I sometimes worry that posting our best ideas here might make it harder for them to use, but I don't know if that's a real thing or not.

If I have any hesitation at all, it's basing it on Spirit/Willpower, just because those are already what you roll for Corruption Tests so the people who are going to be good at this are the ones who will have the least worry about using it. You'd still need some Charisma just in case you fail, but moving it to Mind/Scholar would make it more of a two-Attribute affair. Plus, Scholar is currently much less useful than Willpower, but I think fits the "research" element of Occult nicely.

But the translation here is fantastic. I especially love the "any failure is a Mishap" piece.

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Re: Magic in Orrorsh

Postby johntfs » Mon Sep 30, 2019 3:01 pm

Savioronedge wrote:Somehow I was certain there was already an Occult Perk.

There's a class of Perks available in Orrorsh called Occult Perks which cover things like Alchemy, Bulletsmith and even Medals that can be awarded to heroes for their actions. Among them is the Perk, Occultist but ironically it has little to do with the Occult as outlined above. It normally works by having the one who has it make a roll when confronted by a "supernaturally evil" creature and for every success the character can draw a Destiny Card. He then keep the Card he thinks is best and discards any others. For my version of the Occult, I'd allow anyone with this Perk to perhaps add half their Scholar skill adds rounding up (max bonus of +3) to attempt to perform an Occult working.

But otherwise, my point about the Occult is that literally anyone in or of Orrorsh can potentially use it, though Perks/Skills might help.

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