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Sep 30, 2023 9:08 AM
allegra is transported to the bronze orchard
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"I think I'd rather keep working on something, the headache's not going to go away just because I don't have anything to distract me from it," she replies. "I don't think doing things is particularly making it worse, it's just... there."

A ring of sustenance sounds really nice - except, there's reliable good food here, and the bed is really nice, and maybe those would actually be harder to get here if she didn't need them. It would have been really nice for being lost in a forest with, but maybe she can avoid being lost in a forest again.

And they should try some magic soon, before they waste too much time on the mana site project; probably Conradia won't be so upset with her that she'll get disintegrated before Magnus can do anything about it, even if nothing works at all.


Conradia seems genuinely pleased. The earlier times she was smiling implied that she was smiling perfunctorily, or just to be polite.

"Wonderful," she says, bringing them to a workroom. This one has white padded walls and flooring. 

"This is probably the safest one to work in, in case there are accidents. Not that I expect there to be any. Right. Do you need your staff and buckler to cast spells? I would like to observe it with my Detect Magic." She's almost saved up enough to get Permanencied Arcane Sight, but not quite yet. It's a little unusual for a seventh-circle wizard not to have it, what with how useful it is.

She originally thought of having everyone observe her, but she thought that it might...put pressure on her, and so she's letting her do it with just her in the room before bringing in other people to gawk.

"I think it would be productive for us to, when we meet, alternate between you teaching me your magic and me teaching you ours."


"I'd need the rod to cast offensive spells, but I'll have to spend some time practicing to get one of those back anyway," she replies. "Do you have any magical effects on you, or a magic item? I can just cast detect magic at one of the stampers and see what that does, I guess. I think Detect Magic is the one that's most likely to actually do something. I can demonstrate what create bond and operate portal would look like, they'll just fizzle because they don't have a valid target."


"I do have a magical effect on me: I have Mage Armor on. It would probably be best to try it on the stamper, though, just to see whether your magic might destructively interfere with ours. I don't expect that, but it's a possibility. I'll cast my own Detect Magic now. Our Detect Magic lets us see magical effects in a cone-shaped emanation. What about yours?"

She chants and waves her arms around, and casts Detect Magic.

"I've cast mine now. So long as I keep it in the back of my mind, I can hold it for as long as necessary."


Allegra concentrates on summoning up the appropriate state of mind. Come on, she's done this while injured a lot worse than just having a headache.

"This is the long incantation form, it'll take about thirty seconds, it saves mana doing it this way in case we want to experiment some more.

Aesh." She traces a rune in the air, a point, then a small peak, then a long downwards slash. "Aesh. Rune of Thought. Rune of the Staff. Aesh to open the way... Aesh."

She repeats this, then, "Ophis." A similar rune, but this one continues with a second small downwards peak and an upwards stroke. "Ophis the bright lantern. Ophis the rune of revelation. Ophis."

And she traces the outline of Ophis over the stamper on her belt.

The spell goes off. It is not much like a Golarion spell at all; there is no complex geometry to it, just traces, flows of power that come from a place inside Allegra - connected to her, but not in any particular physical location - and wrap themselves around the stamper, searching, questing, almost alive. They marshal themselves together and flow back into her, reporting the information back about the object.


"It worked! Did you see that? The stamper - evokes a complex geometry that harmlessly etches a personal mark on any surface - and is a - key to the complex enchantment on the base which redirects incoming portals - no, teleportation, that's a thing - to a specific location?"


Amazing. She's really observing otherworldly magic! The flow of it is unreal. And the fact that the verbal component is...actually understandable. She's surprised she found that the most surprising part. And she cannot confidently identify the magic aura. It's similar to divination, but not quite. It does make sense that a whole new system of magic wouldn't conform to hers.

She makes no effort to hide the sense of wonder from her face.

"Correct! It does do that. It's a key for the Teleport Trap. If you're holding it, and if you know the password, then you can teleport to the base without ending up in the dungeon like you did.

Alright, personal mana. So you have spells per day too, like us? How many can you cast per day?"


"I have four personal mana a day; it improves with practice, but I haven't been doing much basic spellcasting recently. Long-casting like that costs one of them; swift casting costs two. Offensive spells are all swift, but only the most complicated ones cost two.

...what does it look like, to you?"


Only four? That's a bit low. Well, it seems like she's not a very 'high-circle' wizard, so it makes sense that she wouldn't have that many spell slots. Er, personal mana.

"I might ask the armory to give you a pearl of power. Spellcasters like myself use them to recharge our spell slots. It's possible you might be able to use them. A first-circle pearl of power I should be able to procure for you easily, though it's possible your magic needs more than that.

It looks to me like a divination spell. Which is the same school of magic as my Detect Magic. It's very strange, looking at it. I've never seen any spell behave like that. Our magic is...mathematical. Yours feels organic. It's reminiscent of divine magic, but not really. Even divine magic has that mathematical feel. 

I think you should try casting Detect Magic on me. I have Mage Armor on. How does your world's Detect Magic work? What can it detect?"


"Detect magic has a variety of modes. The one I just used was identify magic item - it won't get you hidden details like curses, you need a specific ritual for that, but it gets you the basic functionality of any magical item. Including your kind, it turns out!" Allegra smiles at this, even though casting probably has made her headache a bit worse.

"The one I'd use on you is discern enchantments - it lists off the magnitude and realm of any enchantment or boon that's on you, it sounds like mage armour is something like an enchantment so I'd expect it to pick that up - but it won't have a standard realm and magnitude, so I'm not sure what it'll do there.

There's also identify ritual, which does the same thing for a ritual that's actively being cast, and divination, which tells you which other rituals are worth casting - that can be used to very broadly tell if something's cursed, as Wisdom of the Balanced Blade will show up. That mode might be interesting to cast on you too.

There's a couple of other niche uses, you can use it if you think there's a regio to confirm what it is, you can use it with some magical constructions to get information they've collected, and - oh, I wonder if detect arcane mark shows up your kind of invisible arcane mark? Our kind is on a person rather than on an object, but it seems like it might be similar."


Conradia chuckles. "I'm pretty sure I'd know if i was cursed. Still, it might be useful. Can you cast detect magic with more than one mode at once? I should try casting a different spell on myself and see if you'd be able to identify it's effect without knowing what it is.

Hm, I don't know. An Arcane Mark for us is just a way to make magical writing. We like to use it to identify people, since this is the way wizards use it, but it doesn't tie you to it. You can forge someone else's Arcane Mark with practice and a reference."



"Nope, one at a time and it costs me a mana each time. I'd get both effects if you can have two effects on you, I think, though - that's another limitation, only one ritual enchantment at a time - although as many curses as you like, and curses can have beneficial side effects.

The stamper seemed to have a trace of something like you could use it to make an invisible stamp, although possibly not through the actual item, that might have been the spell it was imitating only?"


"I see. Your curses must be very strange, because I haven't heard of any curses with beneficial side-effects. I suppose something like an infernal bargain might do it. 

Yes. The arcane stamper can only make visible marks, but the spell it's based on can make visible or invisible stamps. The invisible stamp can be revealed through various detection spells."

She makes a thinking noise, then tells Allegra to wait for a moment. There should be low-circle pearls of power here. She opens a chest and gets a first-circle pearl to Allegra.

"This is a pearl of power. Try using that to recover your personal mana. Does it work?"

The pearl is eerily similar to a mana crystal, but...wrong. It's very uncanny valley. There's a clear sense that it's storing a set and discrete amount of energy.


"Curses with beneficial side-effects are basically laboriously crafted by people trying to cheat the one-enchantment-only system. They're generally pretty weird, like, the pair of territory curses that affect whether more people die or more people recover from battles, but affecting everyone, not just the people on your side.

Hmm. I could cast off this, I think," she says, feeling the innate magic of the pearl. "If I had crystaltender's vestments, I could probably refill from it... Normally refilling is either from that, or a potion, but I guess I'm not supposed to eat it? Maybe if I try calling up the feeling of using the vestments...

Oh, wait up, I think there might be more than one slow spell's worth of power in here. I should cast something else first, then see if I'm right."


"Hm. We can stack on as many spells as can fit, for us, although repeated castings of the same spell won't stack, as well as effects that operate on the same principle. For example, Stunning Barrier and Shield of Faith both operate by deflecting attacks away from you. Casting both at once won't give a heightened deflecting effect, only the stronger of the two will count.

Ah, for us, it restores only a single spell. It might be a good idea to exhaust all your personal mana before using it, then. Try casting Detect Magic on me, trying both Discern Enchantment and Divination. Before that, let me try casting a different spell on myself to see if you can detect it."

She casts Disguise Self on herself, changing her left pinky finger to be a quarter of an inch longer.

"Try it now."



Allegra runs through the same incantation again, this time drawing Ophis in the air an inch or so from Conradia. "You've got... yes, that's two, they kind of overlay each other..." Trying to disentangle them looks to be somewhat painful, although it might just be that when Allegra's concentrating on it she's not concentrating on maintaining a completely calm demeanour. "Autumn and... Night. Both pretty low magnitude, around two? I have no idea how that translates for you, that's about as low as our system goes."

She closes her eyes, wincing a little, and breathes deeply while visibly relaxing, a couple of times. "Okay, let's try the next one."

She repeats the same incantation, mostly - this time it's "Ophis. The bright lantern. Reveal what is hidden." - and the same runic gesture.

"Okay," she says, a little shakily, shaking her head slightly as if to clear it and then clearly regretting having done that. "That's Bright Lantern, Ties that Bind - that's unusual, it normally doesn't mention that unless there's something weird, oh but of course there would be - and, uh, Wisdom of the Balanced Blade. I guess it might be confused with the whole multiple enchantments thing?"


"What do Autumn and Night correspond to? What sort of spells would be associated with each school – er, Realm?

Around two? I'm not sure how magnitudes work for you, but they are both first-circle spells. That is the lowest formal level of spell power. There are spells which go lower than that, called cantrips, but they are not spells proper, since their mechanics are a little different. Especially pedantic wizards might refer to them as zeroth-circle spells. Cantrips can be cast as much as you want, so long as you catch them after casting. This is possible because there is no 'hole' in their spellform, which means casting them doesn't require you to cause the spell to unravel to release the energy.

What do the rituals do? I'm assuming Ties that Bind tells you about the person's affiliations, but what about the other one? Didn't you already cast Bright Lantern? You were saying that as a chant – I had assumed that Bright Lantern was another name for Detect Magic: Divination.

As for curses, I'm quite sure there are no curses on me as I understand them. I soul contract could be considered a curse? It predestines me for an afterlife rather than letting my soul take the natural course, although for me, that's a straight up boon.

Aside from Detect Magic, what other spells do you know how to cast, or would be able to cast after a little bit of retraining?"


"Uh. Autumn is - manufactured things? And deals - trade - favours where that's kind of, like, more transactional than emotional? But very much about making things, especially metals and cities and that kind of thing. There's a big-ish Autumn ritual that gives a person a lot of armour, it might be just comparing it to that.

Night is - feelings, intuition, transformation. Alchemy - although that can also be Winter, depending. Change, mysteries.

Two is very low, there are a few rituals that are two, mostly those are things that don't really make sense to cast at base magnitude - they do things like replicate the effect of a spell but you can scale them up for lots of targets, or to push through shrouding effects, or to break a spell effect.

Bright Lantern of Ophis is kind of like the discern enchantments detect magic but more so - you actually get to know what the effect is, where it came from, how long it's got left, if there's a way you can stop it early. You can also use it to find regios further out than detect magic will get you, and it'll tell you what they do, if there's a portal, that kind of thing. If you don't have a regio or any equipment you probably need two people to cast it, or a serious expert - it's mag 6.

Ties that Bind is about affiliations, yes - I get the feeling they're kind of more formalised where I come from, nation bonds are a real thing, group bonds, item bonds. I wouldn't be surprised if that was picking up your soul contract as well.

Wisdom of the Balanced Blade is curses, but like I said, 'curse' is basically just 'magical effect that you can't overwrite with another enchantment' - it's hard to make them beneficial, but they can absolutely be something - double-edged."

Allegra pauses for a moment to put her hand on her forehead, as if that will help, and breathe a bit.

"Uh, spells. Create bond, operate portal; neither of those are actually going to work on anything here. Create bond either bonds one of our kind of magic items, which should work fine if we had any, or bonds a person to a group - but you've got to be under the same nation bond for that to work, so none of you qualify. Operate portal requires there to be a portal there, which happens in a regio, which we haven't found any of yet.

I reckon repel is going to be the easiest one for me to remember - I did have it for a while, I gave up maintaining it when I learned to do things with liao, but I think it's really pretty unlikely we're going to get any liao, so if I forget a bit of that then I should be able to pick up repel again."


"I see! In that case, the Mage Armor must be Autumn, and the Night one Disguise Self. I specialize in illusion magic, so that's what I picked. I bet most illusion spells would fall under Night's domain. Take a look."

She shows her left hand, with an unusually long pinky.

"Disguise Self only affects visual components." She puts her right pointer finger on the tip of the pinky, and it phases through.

"You can try it if you want." She offers her hand.

"What effect does Repel do? Presumably it repels things, but how? I'm not sure if we have a spell that replicates that...I suppose if it repels projectiles then Protection from Arrows counts. If it pushes things or people, then Battering Blast is the closest. I have the latter in my spellbook but not the former. Not many enemies here with bows."


Allegra obediently waves her hand through Conradia's extended digit without really thinking about it. Thinking is starting to really hurt, and while her self-image is that pain doesn't bother her, it's still pretty distracting. That is pretty weird, though.

"Oh, repel is, hit someone with the rod and they run away. You can do it with a wand too, or a staff if you practice a bit. It doesn't last all that long, maybe ten seconds, but that's a good long time in a fight. Or plenty of time to get a good head start. You can just hit their shield or their weapon too, they can dodge out of the way completely but it's less difficult than actually having to get past their guard."


She nods and makes humming noises. "Repel. Probably abjuration, if we're using Golarion magic classification. Touch range. Two round duration. By run away, is it a fear effect? A mind affecting effect? If so, then we have spells similar to that: Cause Fear and Scare. They cause people to run away by making them scared. 

Can you resist the effect? It seems like it would be a Will save, perhaps Fortitude. Ah, in our world, many spells can be resisted in one of three ways. Resisting with bodily might is Fortitude. Resisting by evasion is Reflex. Resisting by focused thought is Will. Virtually all mind-affecting effects are resisted with Will. I think I already told you that earlier, though.

In the case of Disguise Self, it can be resisted by Will. More precisely, it can be disbelieved with Will, which lets you recognize that it is an illusion. Once you have successfully shaken off the illusion, you can usually choose to see through it as though it were translucent. If you want, I can try casting a more involved illusion so you can try to disbelieve it. Alternatively, I can try casting a nondamaging but offensive spell of each of the three classes so that you know what it's like to resist a spell."

Conradia has lived in Cheliax long enough to recognize people holding back expressions of pain, but she isn't going to bring it up if she isn't. 


"Some people - experience it as a fear effect, I think? It isn't really, though - even if you're absolutely not frightened, maybe you have an anointing up or something, your body will just run away.

Some people experience it as being physically pushed away, but there isn't, uh, really any force there? It doesn't move your clothes, and it doesn't usually make you fall over.

I guess it would be - reflex, then. The way you don't get affected by it is, you don't let the rod touch you - or anything you're holding or carrying. If it touches, you're affected.

I'm - not sure I'm going to be as good as usual at resisting stuff right now. Apparently god-headaches and spellcasting don't go together very well."

She is, however, looking at the affected finger - she's put her hand through it, clearly it's not real, so she should be able to see through it now, right?


"Hm, that's not quite how we would categorize it. It seems to me closer to an irresistible touch range spell. We have spells that cannot be resisted, but require you to touch the person with your hand, or which produces a ray or bolt that must touch the opponent. 

That's fine. I more just wanted you to know what it's like to try to resist a spell, although having offensive spells cast on you is unpleasant even if they don't do any damage. We can skip that for now, although it would be good to do that at some point before we set off so that you're not totally unprepared in the case someone hostile decides to cast spells on you. We will take the utmost precautions to ward you against such effects, as well as keep away any possible enemies from you in any case, but nothing is certain.

Is there anything you need in order to help you re-learn the Repel spell? Should I get you to a place with training dummies or something? Or, no, you'd need a person. I could perhaps get one of the cavalier fighters or antipaladins to be your testing dummy, since Repel is a nondamaging spell."

She can! Weirdly, it seems as though Allegra's brain is still seeing both the illusion and what's behind it, as though she were seeing two things in the same place. She can focus one one or the other as she chooses, however, now that she has successfully disbelieved the illusion via Conradia prompting her. Realizing that something is an illusion will defeat figment and glamer spells.


Cool, it's just like the mirror illusions you can set up - with a lot more range of movement, rather than relying on standing in exactly the right place...

Allegra is about to tell Conradia that actually the first step is probably just meditating on her memories of casting, but poking people with sticks sounds like an awful lot more fun.

"Uh, it's not actually entirely nondamaging," she admits, however, thinking of the geas. "It's possible to pull it so that it is, but that's an extra step that I'm not sure I'll get right straight off."

She's about to volunteer that it's easier to do that if hitting a shield, but actually, she wants to see what Conradia does with that.


"My geas wording only specified that the other person had to be fully informed and consenting to the spell being cast on them, not that it needed to be nondamaging. It's just that we generally refrain from casting damaging spells on our own people when testing magic whenever possible for hopefully obvious reasons – healing is troublesome. This is also why it took us a while to figure out what spells ought to be used in our testing battery to measure strength, since we wanted only nondamaging spells – I should remind you that we will need to do this at some point if you want us to know how much to pay you. 

If it damages people, what sort of damage at what intensity do you think it would inflict?"

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