Casting Cantrips


Cantrips are the means by which changelings manipulate Glamour to create magical effects, both in the Dreaming and in the mundane world. By sparking her own internal Glamour, a changeling can create a link with the Dreaming — a link strong enough for her to draw upon and form the raw stuff of the Dreaming to suit her desires. In a sense, cantrips are the manifestations of Glamour, the source of which is the Dreaming.

With experience, a changeling finds that she is able to shape Glamour in much the same way that a potter shapes clay or a weaver weaves cloth. Changelings' techniques for shaping Glamour are known as Arts. Arts are the powers a changeling can use to affect the world around her. Each of these powers is different; one may allow a changeling to move at incredible speeds or leap high into the sky, while another might allow a changeling to control another being's mind or even trick him into believing he is someone else.

Each Art has its own potencies, peculiarities and weaknesses. Furthermore, every changeling has an affinity with certain aspects of the world. These aspects (six in number) are known as Realms. These Realms have been studied and defined by Kithain lorekeepers, although affinity with them is determined largely by a changeling's kith. Of course, it is possible for a modern changeling to open himself to new experiences and explore new Realms. By combining the active use of an Art and the innate familiarity of a Realm, a changeling can mold Glamour into a tangible evocation. The Art used defines the nature of the magic, while the Realm describes the focus of the effect.

But Glamour is fickle and wild. It makes demands of its user, and these musl be fulfilled lest Glamour dissipate. The success or failure of a cantrip depends on whether a changeling can coax Glamour to do his bidding by performing a Bunk. Though Arts and Realms define the actual powers and effects changelings are capable of manifesting, they are only a part of the equation. A Bunk is needed to create the spark that allows a changeling to tap into the Dreaming. In entirety, this complete effect is known as a cantrip.

Basic Cantrip Casting

There are many factors that go into the casting of a cantrip. Beyond simply choosing an Art, Realm and a Bunk, you have to determine whether the Art is Wyrd or chimerical, and whether your character affects an enchanted or mundane target.

1.) Choose an Art

The first thing a changeling must do when casting a cantrip is to choose an Art. There can never be more than one Art involved in the casting of a cantrip. The player must describe the effect he wishes to create with the Art. All Arts are defined as being either chimerical or Wyrd. Chimerical Arts are those that have only chimerical effects, or effects that are so subtle that unenchanted beings who witness them won't notice anything out of the ordinary. Wyrd Arts are those that have a physical effect in the real world, and that are noticeable by mortals.

For example, a boggan named Hodge finds himself surrounded by a corby of redcaps on All Hallows' Eve. Hodge decides to use his Way fare Art (Hopscotch) to leap to the top ofanearby one-story building. Looking up the Hopscotch Art, Hodge's player notes that it is a Wyrd effect (because it has readily noticeable effects in the real world).

2.) Choose a Realm

The player and Storyteller now decide what Realm is needed to cast the cantrip, based on the effect described by the player. Realm typically describes the target (person or thing) that is affected by the cantrip (although some Realms are not compatible with certain Arts). If you are using the advanced cantrip rules (see pg. 206), more than one Realm may be used in casting the cantrip. Modifier Realms such as Scene and Time are applied at this time. Continuing the earlier example, Hodge, a boggan and thus a commoner, needs to use the first level of the Foe Realm (Hearty Commoner) in order to cost the cantrip on himself. Fortunately Hodge has up to level four of the Foe Realm, so he will have no problem.

Glamour Terms

Art — The primary part of a cantrip; the Art defines the actual effect of the cantrip.

Bunk — An act performed to activate Glamour so that a cantrip can take effect. Often something silly such as singing a song, say ing a rhyme backward or dancing in circles, it can also involve drawing an ornate door in chalk or laying a full Tarot spread.

Cantrip — The combination of an Art, Realm and a Bunk to create a changeling spell. Chimerical Chimerical effects affect only chimerical creatures, changelings and the enchanted. A cantrip that has no noticeable effects in the real world is considered chimerical.

Realm — Usually indicates the subject of a cantrip.

Nightmare — A side effect that results from Banality tainting a cantrip. Nightmares often cause cantrips to have strange and unexpected results.

Wyrd — These cantrips have real-world effects, such as moving at incredible speeds, flying or healing real damage, and the results can often be seen or recognized by mortals.

3.) Determine the Dice Pool

The Dice Pool is determined by adding the appropriate Attribute (listed under the Art being used) to the level of the Realm being used. This gives you the total number of djce that can be tolled to cast the cantrip. If your character has a higher level in a Realm than that needed for casting, you may still add all the levels he possesses in that Realm to the Dice Pool.

Referring to the Wayfare Art, Hodge's player sees that the Wits Attribute is used. He combines Hodge's Wits 3 with his four levels in the Fae Realm giving him a total of seven dice in his pool. Note that the player does no t use a number of dice equal to the leve I of the Realm usedin casting the cantrip (one), but a number of dice equal to the level that Hodge possesses in that Realm.

4.) Choose a Bunk

The player must now declare the Bunk that the character performs. The nature of the Bunk must be chosen first. The player decides exactly what Bunk his character performs, and the Storyteller decides whether or not it is appropriate and what level it is. The Storyteller assigns it value of 1 to 5, based on the complexity (and appropriateness). The level of the Bunk generally indicates how long it takes to perform. A Bunk can be anything from dancing a silly jig to drawing an elaborate portrait of the cantrip's target.

The Bunk performed should always be appropriate to the nature of the cantrip being cast. While dancing a jig might be appropriate to a cantrip intended to cause the changeling to fly high up into the air, drawing a portrait might be more appropriate if the changeling attempts to use Soothsay to learn specific information about a person.

Level-one Bunks can almost always be performed in the same action as casting a cantrip. However, when a changeling attempts to perform anything more involved than a level-one Bunk, and seeks to cast a cantrip in the same turn, the player must split his Dice Pool. In some rare cases the Storyteller could allow a particularly interesting Bunk of a high level to be performed with a casting without splitting Dice Pools, but this is the exception, not the rule. For each level over one of a Bunk that is performed in the same turn as a casting, the character is considered to take an additional action. So, performing a level-two Bunk while casting a cantrip causes the cantrip Dice Pool to be divided by two.

To avoid a split Dice Pool, the character can choose to take the requisite number of turns to perform a Bunk, casting the cantrip at the end of that time. This is often done by changelings who have plenty of time to cast a cantrip, such as performing a Soothsay, though it is rarely done in combat.

Cantrips that have a starting difficulty of 10 or less can be cast without performing a Bunk by spending an additional point of Glamour, beyond those points demanded by the cantrip itself (see below). If the cantrip's starting difficulty is higher than 10, the difficulty must be lowered to at least 10.

If a Bunk is interrupted at any time, the casting fails automatically, and any points of Glamour invested are lost.

Since he needs to get away from the redcaps quickly, Hodge decides that his Bunk will be to stamp his feet three times — fast. The Storyteller rules that this is a level-one Bunk, and that Hodge will be able to cast the cantrip without the player needing to split his Dice Pool.

5.) Determine Difficulty

The base difficulty for casting a cantrip is either the subject's Banality + 4 or the caster's Banality + 4, whichever is higher. . Subtract the level of the Bunk being performed from the total difficulty. Additional Glamour can be spent to lower the difficulty by one for each point spent. The end result can never be lower than 4 or higher than 10 (remember, starting difficulties higher than 10 must be lowered to 10 or below).

Hodge's Banality is 5, so the base difficulty for casting his cantrip is 9. Since Hodge performs a level-one Bunk, the difficulty of the cantrip is loweredtoS. Since he really wants this spell to work, Hodge's player spends a point of Glamour to lower the difficulty by one more, reducing it to 7.

6. Determine Glamour Cost

Numerous factors determine the Glamour cost for casting a cantrip. The following guidelines should be used to determine the final cost of using a cantrip.

• All Wyrd cantrips cost one Glamour.

• Chimerical cantrips cast on enchanted beings or inanimate objects cost no Glamour, though you may still spend additional Glamour to lower the difficulty of casting (see above).

• Any cantrip cast on a banal target costs one Glamour. (This is not cumulative with the cost for casting a Wyrd cantrip.) Banal targets include mortals, unenchanted supernatural beings and anyone without a Glamour Trait rating (including changelings who have fallen to the Forgetting).

• Casting a cantrip without a Bunk requires an expenditure of one Glamour.

• Up to five points of Glamour can be spent to lower casting difficulty.

• Using a modifier Realm costs an additional point of Glamour (see "Modifier Realms," below).

The total Glamour cost for casting a cantrip must be paid before the cantrip comes into effect. If a character cannot pay the total cost (either with his own Glamour or dross), the cantrip fails, though no Glamour points are lost.

The base cost for casting Hodge's cantrip is one Glamour since it is a Wyrd effect. However, Hodge's placer spent an additional point to lower the difficulty by one, bringing the total cost for casting the cantrip to two Glamour.

7.) Make the Roll and Apply the Result

At this point the player rolls his character's Dice Pool to determine if the cantrip succeeds. If so, effects of the cantrip are applied to the subject.

Hodge's placer rolls his seven dice: He gets a2,3, 3,5,7,8 and 10, giving him a total of three successes. Looking at the Hopscotch chart, he determines that Hodge can jump two stories straight up into the air, allowing Hodge to land on top of the building safely.

The Effects of Cantrips

Chimerical cantrips affect only a changeling's fae mien and chimerical objects and creatures, or are subtle enough that they are not noticed by mortals. Wyrd cantrips affect both the real and chimerical worlds; thus, a Holly Strike cantrip affects a local policeman and a chimerical dragon equally.

Advanced Cantrip Rules

Modifier Realms

The Scene and Time Realms are most often used to modify the effects of a cantrip. The Time Realm can be used to create a time delay on a cantrip, causing it to come into effect long after the changeling has left the area, the equivalent of a magical time bomb. Though the usefulness of this may not be readily apparent, careful examination of this Realm will reveal that it can be extraordinarily useful.

Scene allows a changeling affect a number of creatures or objects in a given area. The changeling must still use the appropriate Realm(s) needed to affect those within the scene. For example, if a changeling wants to affect all of the mortals in a room, she has to use the appropriate level of the Actor Realm in conjunction with the Scene Realm.

Whenever a character uses a modifier Realm, the player must spend an additional point of Glamour, and the difficulty to cast a cantrip increases by one. Additionally, if a Scene Realm is used to cast a cantrip that has a physical effect (it does not matter if the cantrip is chimerical or Wyrd), the difficulty increases by one for each target affected after the first.

Suppose that Hodge was with two friends while attempting to escape from the redcaps. Being a good sort of a fellow (and a boggan to boot), Hodge certainly wouldn't leave his friends to the vile mercies of the redcaps. Fortunately, Hodge possesses the fourth level of Scene (Park), which the Storyteller judges is more than enough to allow Hodge to affect his friends with the cantrip as well. Since Hodge uses a modifier cantrip, his player must spend an additional point of Glamour (bringing his total to three), and the difficulty of the cantrip increases to 9 (base 7, plus two for each target affected after the first). Hodge's player will probably want to spend additional Glamour (if he has it) to lower the difficulty further.

Secondary Realms

It is possible to apply more than one Realm to the casting of a cantrip. In such cases, the player must decide which Realm is primary (this is usually apparent according to the nature of the cantrip being cast). For each additional Realm that can be applied, the difficulty of the cantrip being cast is lowered by one. Though the character must possess the appropriate level of the Realm, his total level in the Realm is not subtracted from the difficulty of the cantrip; the difficulty is reduced by only one for each additional Realm as a whole that applies.

Our old friend Hodge attempts to Mooch a dagger from a sidhe noble. The Foe or Actor Realms apply when Mooch is used to steal an item from a person (in this case it is the second level ofFae, Lofty Noble). However, Hodge also possesses the Prop Realm (he needs Grafted Tool to Mooch a dagger, which he has). So while Lofty Nobk is used as the primary Realm, Hodge can use Grafted Tool as a secondary Realm, reducing the difficulty of the player's cantrip roll by one (not by Hodge's total score in the secondary Realm).

Countering Cantrips

Changelings can counter cantrips in one of two ways.

• Invoking Banality

A changeling is able to resist the effects of a cantrip by calling upon his own inherent Banality. The character gains a temporary point of Banality by resisting a cantrip in this way. The player rolls a number of dice equal to the character's permanent Banality rating against a difficulty of the casting character's permanent Glamour rating. Each success rolled reduces the caster's successes by one. If the caster's success are reduced to zero, the subject is unaffected by the cantrip. Resisting a cantrip by invoking Banality does not take an action.

Note that this method of countering cantrips can only be used to affect a cantrip that is cast directly upon a character. Storytellers may also allow characters to invoke their Banality to resist the magical powers of some chimera. Unenchanted mortals (and supernatural beings) cannot use this means of resistance, although some powerful Autumn People may, and Dauntain certainly can. A character does not need to be aware that a cantrip is being cast at him to counter it with Banality, and he can use this method of resisting cantrips at any time.

Unfortunately, before Hodge can use his cantrip, one of the redcaps traps him in an Ensnare with three successes. Desperate to escape, Hodge decides to try to resist that cantrip with his own Banality. Since Hodge has a Banality of 5, his player has a Dice Pool of five to resist the effects o/the cantrip. The Storyteller informs the player that his difficulty is 6 (the redcap's permanent Glamour rating). Hodge's player rolls 1 , 2 , 2 ,4 and 6, giving him no successes. Despite the fact that the roll was failed, Hodge'splffyerodds a point of temporary Banality to his character sheet. Bad luck for Hodge!

• Counterweaving

Characters who possess knowledge of Gremayre can undo a cantrip, even as it is cast. Counterweaving requires that the player spend a point of Glamour. She may then roll the character's Wits + Gremayre against a difficulty equal to the Glamour rating of the cantrip's caster. The player must earn as many or more successes as the caster for the counterweave to be successful; partial successes do not affect the cantrip in any way. The counterweaver must also possess the appropriate Realm(s) and their levels used in the original casting.

Counterweaving can be used on instantaneous cantrips. To attempt to undo a cantrip as it is being cast, the counterweaver must abort her next action (even if that would take place in the following turn). If the Realms used in a cantrip are not readily apparent to the counterweaver, the weaver's player may roll Perception + Kenning (difficulty 6) to determine their nature. The difficulty is 8 for the counterweaver to determine what Art is being used.

Fortunate!} for Hodge, one of his friends is skilkd in Gremayre and possesses the appropriate level of the Realm used to cast the redcap's cantrip. The countering player has a Dice Pool of eight (the total o/his character's Wits + Gremayre). The Storyteller tells him that his difficulty is only 6 (the redcap's Glamour), and that he has to achieve at least three successes (the number achieved by the redcap in his casting). The player marks off a point of temporary Glamour (for attempting the Counterweaving), and then rolls 2, 4, 4, 5, 7, 7, 8 and 9, more than enough successes to dispel the Ensnare cantrip.