The Warlock

I had expected a warrior. How this tiny old man, with his rags and beads, could be the scourge of the city I did not know. But, he had my king's displeasure and I had him unarmed. He showed no surprise when I stepped in front of him. He showed no fear when I drew back and aimed at his throat.

“Duncan… the Seeker?” he croaked, wringing his gnarled hands. I noticed strings twisted between his fingers.

“Aye.” I said.

“Son of Aaron the Seeker?” he crooned, as a hand touched a necklace with what looked like a finger bone on it.

“Aye…” I said.

“Bowman of some 20 years?” he growled, and I noticed a familiar fletching clipped to his belt.

“Aye?” I said.

“Betrothed to Mirriam, to whom you gave a lock of your hair?”

“Aye! How do you-”

“You will know only fear and misfortune unless you leave my sight at once.”

Passion Magic

Its not easy to describe 'the Passions'; there is no obvious thing you can point to. The wielders of Passions are called Warlocks, and have many differing ideas. Some say they manipulate souls, others minds, others the 'will of the gods'.

At its core, Passion magic is about concepts, and concepts depend on perspective. Its tricky, imprecise, dangerous, and usually unsettling for all involved.

Master of Emotions - Leader, Healer

Emotions are tangible. They bleed off people like a bad smell. They cling to objects and places. They hangs from the world like string, just begging to be pulled.

Love, Pity, Fury, and Sadness are simple concepts, but there are much more sophisticated ones: The stressful edge of 'Just about getting by', the diligent weariness of 'Practicing every day', the bleak anger of 'Not being good enough' or the fragile adrenaline of 'Holding your breath so they don't hear you'.

A warlock's totems can impress these emotions on people. Encouraging, or breaking them.

Master of the Dead - Undertaker, Necromancer

Some people are aware of the spirits of the dead. Like the smoke left behind after snuffing out a candle, echos of people linger.

Most echos are no more than a vague impression, though some can be much more real. They are more felt than seen, and have the potential to possess people, driving them mad.

A Warlock's totems can manipulate these echos, laying them to rest, or sending them at their enemies.

Master of Fate - Gambler, Prophet

Destiny and luck are a tool like any other. A warlock can sense where they concentrate and twist them.

Some things are just more significant than others. There is an energy around a dice that won you a fortune, or an arrow that found the crack in the armor. This fate can be plucked loose, and re-applied.

A Warlock's totems can manipulate fate, making a destiny more likely to come to pass, or simply making someone lucky.

Playing a Warlock

Warlocks can't directly affect the Passions. Instead they must spend time making creating Totems.

  1. Totems follow a specific formula - A blueprint the warlock knows.
  2. Totems are tuned to a specific person.
  3. They require special components to make them more powerful.
  4. Once made, they are permanently active or inactive at the Warlock's will.

Spend AP to create or improve totems, or to learn new Formulas. More advanced Warlocks can improve their totems in different ways.

Apprentice Warlocks: Craft Totems (2AP)

Beginner warlocks know the formulas to bind simple Passions into totems, then direct them at a target. This is enough to have a minor effect on the target.

A warlock need only hold their totem to activate or deactivate it. The target will be constantly afflicted by the Passion as long as the totems is intact.

It costs a base 2AP to create a totem. To do this:

1) Choose a Formula

Include any specifics of that formula, such as the words of a curse.

2) State the Target

The target is usually an individual, though it could also be a tightnit group (the bandits who attacked our cargo ship) or a specific place (anyone passing through the doorway to the temple). Its not easy to tell how effective a totem is until you try, but at worst its effect will hit the closest member of the target group.

3) Describe the Totem

While some formulae suggest a form this isn't necessary. Some of warlocks scribe scrolls of power. Others craft their power into weapons, or jewelery. The appearance is up to the warlock, as long as it is a thing that the warlock carefully constructed. Its not what you do. Its how you do it!

Expert Warlocks: Adding Foci (2AP)

A focus is an object or action tied closely to the Passion aura of the target. Expert warlocks use four foci to better afflict the target, much like focusing light with a lens.

The grip of a focused totem is impossible to ignore, and will have a significant effect on the target.

It costs 2AP to tune an existing totem with foci, though it will cost a significant amount more to beg, borrow or steal them. Four foci are required, one from each category below.

Something of Thread

A belonging tied to the target.

For a person, this could be an item of clothing, or a tool they use everyday. The more the person uses it, or the more valuable it is to them, the better the totem. For example, a wedding ring, or a lumberjack's axe.

Something of Head

An insight into the target.

Without knowing about the target first hand, there is no way for you to build a totem focused on them. You need to talk to the person extensively, or observe them acting true to their nature. Reading books about a person, or speaking to their close relatives is acceptable, as long as the information is both accurate and personal

Something of Body

A physical part of the target.

Take some physical part of the person. Some of their blood, hair, spittle, old toenail clippings or similar will do. It doesn't have to be a large amount, though it needs to be fresh.

Something of Dead

A relation to the target.

You need a focus from someone very close to the target. This could be a bone from a dead relative, or the blessing of a living one. For a blessing, the relative needs to be alive, and present at the focusing of the totem.

The passion mage cannot use themselves for this focus.

Master Warlocks: Bind to a Relic (2AP)

Passion Relics are rare objects treasured by warlocks. They are usually, old items utterly steeped in a Passion: A sacrificial dagger oozes murderous intent, an old oft-repaired plough sings out the emotion of 'growth'.

Finding a Relic is not easy. It takes a master warlock to even detect them, let alone bind their Passion. Naturally, the nature of the Relics must be appropriate for the formula; A sword passed down through the generations would be utterly useless for a relic meant to make someone smarter.

A totem bound to a Relic is utterly overwhelming. A regular totem would now have a significant effect and a focused one has a major effect

It costs 2AP to add a Relic to an existing totem, though acquiring one is likely to be a quest in its own right.


Each formula allows you to create one type of totem. There is a list of sample formulas, but you can also create your own.

List of Starting Formulas

Learn Formulas (2AP)

To learn a new formula, you need one of the following:

  • The formula is one of the base formulas for your area of specialty.
  • Someone to teach it to you (can share the cost with the teacher)
  • A detailed guide
  • A working Totem to study

With any of these resources, you may turnsheet for 2AP to study and learn the new formula.

Creating New Formulas (4AP+/-)

To create your own formula requires at least 4AP, and a similar formula to base it on. Your formula can do anything as long as its target is one person or thing, and its effect is similar to the description of Passion Magic above. Please talk over ideas for new Formulas with your GM.

Once you have reached master level passion magic, developing new formulas is much easier for you. AP costs for new formulas (and learning regular ones) is reduced by 1AP.

Epic Totems (Build Points)

Practiced masters of Passion Magic may create one or two Epic Totems in their life. These are the charms that effect hundreds of people, and are generally unique each time. Creating formulas for such totems is a Study Skill, and they generally require several Relics to power.


A warlock improves simply by practicing their art. As they do, better, they learn more formulas for making Totems, learn how to better focus them on the target, and empower them.

Beginning Players

Beginning players are Apprentices.

Choose an area of specialty from Emotions, Death or Fate.

You may choose two Formulas from your starting list (see formulas page). For each choice you either know this formulas already, or have a working Totem using these formulas, tied to anyone you know.

You can spend 2AP to learn any of your starting formulas at a later date.


Training works along similar lines to a standard skill. You gain one Training Point (TP) For any of the following actions.

  • Creating a Totem
  • Focusing a Totem
  • Learning a new formula
  • Creating a new formula
  • Training (costs 2AP for 1TP)

This TP increases your Passion Magic level as follows.

TP Level Effect
0 Apprentice Can create minor totems.
4 Expert Can incorporate Focuses into totems for a significant effect
10 Master Can incorporate Relics into totems for a major effect

Once you have reached Master level, you no longer gain TP. However, learning and developing new formula is 1AP cheaper.

One more warning...

Some people have an instinctive reaction when targeted by a Totem. Affect their emotions or fate, and there is a good chance they will know something is up, even if they can'd do anything about it. This is not necessarily a bad feeling. It could be quite euphoric, or similar to deja vu. It depends on the nature and specifics of the formula used.

This means that players will know if their emotions are being messed with, even if they cannot control the effect.

game2/passion_magic.txt · Last modified: 2009/02/13 16:39 by gm_tony