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Masters & Their Role

"Many times I have sat thus and read my master's writings. and each time I am filled with greater awe of the Ancient One's sensitivity and knowledge. There is much even a master of the ancient arts can acquire from the Learned One's teachings."---Doctor Strange

This observation by the good Doctor adds further definition to how a spell is controlled. If a spell were to be directly manipulated by the character, such as the Human Torch, it is because the character has had an accident which physically altered him to control that spell, or the character is a mutant and was born with the ability to control that spell. Magic is different. It is the knowledge of how to tap into that spell and manipulate it. And how does one gain that knowledge? Through learning the ancient arts with a master!

The importance of a master for a magic wielding character cannot be overstated. It is the best and often only way the hero can progress in his knowledge of magic use. This includes learning new spells.

The "KARMA & ADVANCEMENT" section of the Arcanum of Magic lists the Karma costs involved in improving spell ranks and learning new spells. As can be seen, characters who do not have masters pay a heavy penalty. Some characters (especially those of the Eclectic school) learn a trick or 2 through the studying of tomes, but to gain skill in magic a character must be taught by a master.

Systematic studying with a master has additional benefits as well:

Disciples: The disciple can learn 1 spell from a written tome or scroll every 9 months of game time, provided the disciple is taking sufficient time to study it (usually about half his time, assuming that he studies daily). If the disciple goes more than a week without study, the spell cannot be learned. The normal amount of Karma points needed to gain this spell is waived by the Judge, as an extensive amount of time is being committed to the studies that could otherwise be spent in gaining Karma.

A player can request that his character be allowed to study a particular spell, but the Judge makes a final decision on spell availability.

The beginning spell rank for a spell learned in this way is Gd(10).

Adepts: The adept can learn 1 spell from a written tome or scroll every 6 months of game time, provided the adept is taking sufficient time to study it (usually about half his time, assuming that he studies daily). If the adept goes more than a week without study, the spell cannot be learned. The normal amount of Karma points needed to gain this spell is waived by the Judge, as an extensive amount of time is being committed to the studies that could otherwise be spent in gaining Karma.

A player can request that his character be allowed to study a particular spell, but the Judge makes a final decision on spell availability. The beginning spell rank for a spell learned in this way is Gd(10).

Masters & Sorcerers Supreme: A master of the mystic arts can learn 1 written spell in a tome or scroll every 5 months of game time, provided the character is taking sufficient time to study it (usually about half his time, assuming that he studies daily). If the master goes more than 2 weeks without study, the spell cannot be learned. It must be remembered, though, that the time spent adventuring is much greater and the time for study will exclude other duties or appearances. This completely halts any Karma or Popularity increase by any means other than that directly related to an adventure.

The normal amount of Karma points needed to gain this spell is waived by the Judge, as an extensive amount of time is being committed to the studies that could otherwise be spent in gaining Karma.

A player can request that his character be allowed to study a particular spell, but the Judge makes a final decision on spell availability.

The type of spells available that can be learned and their energy types are at the Judge's discretion. The beginning spell rank for a spell learned in this way is Ex(20).

Masters & Students: A master can find and teach 1 student, if he desires. The time it takes to train a student is great, so a master may not learn new spells from tomes or scrolls while teaching his student.

The student starts out at novice level with only 1 spell. (Roll the student and his spell up randomly). For every 200 hours the master spends with the novice, the student can learn 1 personal spell at a Gd(10) spell rank. For every 300 hours the master spends with the novice, the student can learn 1 universal spell at a Gd(10) spell rank. (The student is limited to learning 1 spell at a time, so learning a personal and a universal spell would take 500 hours of instruction.)

The player may play the student as he does his normal character, even taking him on adventures, but 2 considerations must be kept in mind: the novice is not considered to be studying for his spells when he is adventuring, whether he is accompanying the master or not; a master who loses a novice, whether to death or to an enemy, suffers a penalty of Karma loss (half of his current Karma vanishes) and he cannot take on a new student for at least a year of game time.

Important Masters: Masters of Doctor Strange's order that have been mentioned in the past include Rama Kaliph of Arabia;Turham Barim of the Near East; Count Carezzi of Italy; and the Aged Genghis (who lives in the Himalyas and is quite senile).

To represent these Masters of Order, use Baron Mordo's abilities and spell ranks given in the Codex of the Magi, but substitute entities of order for any chaotic entities Mordo uses. The Judge may alter the rest of their spells as he desires).

Masters who serve Baron Mordo include Sir Anthony Baskerville of England, who served him in the 1940s; Demonicus, who claims to be a daemon and has nearly bested Doctor Strange on his own; Adria, a schemer who often plans attacks on Doctor Strange, even in his Sanctum Sanctorum; and Kaecilius, who has served as Baron Mordo's host body many times in the past.

To represent these Masters of Chaos, use Baron Mordo's abilities and spell ranks, with a 1CS to all Mordo's spell ranks; however, ignore any -CS that would result in these characters being reduced below master rank. The Judge may alter their other spells at will). Demonicus, Adria, and Kaecilius have attacked Doctor Strange together many times. A student of the same school as the good Doctor should be ever wary of them.

Another master on Earth is Ebora, the Dark Servant of the daemon Sligguth. She is the only human tolerated in the society of the Serpent People. She serves as their head priestess (use Clea's Earth statistics found in the Codex of the Magi for Ebora, but substitute chaotic spells and entities for any spells or entities of order Clea may use).

Shaman is a master of nature magic, and his daughter, Talisman is a disciple of that same school of magic (their full descriptions are in the Codex of the Magi).

A character who has the Chronicler of Magic talent will know by name all these important masters and the schools they serve; no Reason FEAT roll is required for this. However, this background knowledge provides no insight on the current whereabouts and activities of these characters; time, research, and successful FEAT rolls are needed to learn more about the masters.