by Ricky Hunt
In a world where magic is available, it is only a matter of time before someone other than mages learns to use it. This article gives some guidelines on how non-mages can enchant magical items.
The process involves creating an item and incorporating inherently magical ingredients according to a specific recipe. The magic items are somewhat more restricted than those created by a mage, but may be a little cheaper and faster. The biggest difficulty is obtaining the proper ingredients, which can be an adventure in itself as they are expensive and dangerous to acquire.
The first skill needed is a craft of some sort, to create the item that will be made magical. Armoury is needed to create magical armor, weaving is needed for magical cloth, etc. The second skill needed is Enchanting (M/VH, no default) which teaches the basics on how to incorporate magical elements to create magical items.
The last component is the "spell" recipe appropriate to the enchantment. For a tougher suit of armor, a Fortify recipe is needed. This could be a separate skill for each type of enchantment, similar to normal enchanting, but not a spell. Another option would be that each type of "spell" is an actual recipe, written down and followed from the writings by someone with the Enchanting skill. Obviously, literacy would be needed for the second option. The recipe could be a closely guarded secret or widely available, depending on the campaign.
The next ingredient is enough magical elements to make the item. This is based on the cost to normally enchant the item from GURPS Magic. Each ingredient has a certain amount of mana per ounce that can be incorporated into the item. For instance, mithril might have 20 mana per ounce and therefore require 2.5 oz for fortify 1 (50 ST) and 10 for fortify 2 (200 ST). All of the ingredients are of course rare and expensive. The item is not necessarily made from the ingredients, but they must be irreversibly bound into the item. A failure ruins the materials.
Possible ingredients include mithril, orichalcum, elemental air, earth, fire and water, rare magical wood or mana organs from creatures. Another possibility might be to allow mages to enchant mana "dust" that could be used in the enchantment. A mana pool could be used to help enchant an item. This would normally require some means of capturing the mana for use by a non-mage. Specially designed craft devices could capture the mana into a usable form. For instance, a special loom could weave the mana into magical threads to use in magical clothing.
The process would start with gathering the ingredients. Depending on what was being enchanted, the item would then have to be fashioned for 8 hours per day incorporating x oz of the element per day for as long as it takes. Unlike mage enchantments, the process could be interrupted at some stages without incident. Normally the Enchantment skill roll is attempted as the magical elements are combined, then the craft roll is made to incorporate the elements. Failure of either destroys the item and ruins the elements. It is faster than normal enchantment, but requires more money and danger up front, as most of the elements are dangerous to gather. Most are near strong sources of mana, which tend to attract unwanted attention.
These enchanters would not be as rare as mage enchanters or as strange and quirky. They would be practicing their normal craft with some extra challenge and reward built in. They would be limited to what they could build into the item. They could not normally create mage only items. This would take some burden off of normal enchanters so they could concentrate on the more demanding enchantments. They would also have to decide how the item was going to be enchanted before they started, because the enchantment is an integral part of the creation of the item. Any further enchantment would have to be performed by a mage. Also, the enchantments are limited to effects that cost no ST to cast or maintain, either normally or by the use of the power enchantment.
Possible recipes for items would be:
- Fortify armor 1: This would require 2.5 oz of mithril to be alloyed with the steel for the armor as the plates are being forged. It would be incorporated into the steel at 0.5 oz per day, taking five days to make the alloy. Once created, they would be fashioned into armor, taking 1.5 times longer than normal armor.
- Lighten armor: This would require 2 oz of elemental air (25 ST / oz) to be alloyed with 2 oz of orichalcum, then alloyed with the steel in the armor. The process requires extra equipment to handle the elemental air, which would cost another $100. The alloy process takes 4 days and can be dangerous on an Enchant skill failure. The armor is fashioned as normal. Leather armor has the alloy incorporated into the fasteners and the enchantment is destroyed if they are removed.
- Puissance 1: 10 oz of elemental earth is alloyed with the metal at a rate of 0.5 oz per day before it is forged into the blade. The blade takes 1.5 times longer to create due to the hardness of the alloy.
- Power: a mana organ from some powerful creature capable of producing enough mana to self power the item is "distilled" down and incorporated into the item somehow, depending on the craft used and the item created. This would be different for each recipe.
- Powerstone: An unusual gem must be set in jewelry made from orichalcum, which must surround the gem in a filigree. Usually surrounded by a more protective setting as they can be rather fragile in their native form.
Article publication date: May 5, 2000
Copyright © 2000 by Steve Jackson Games. All rights reserved. Pyramid subscribers are permitted to read this article online, or download it and print out a single hardcopy for personal use. Copying this text to any other online system or BBS, or making more than one hardcopy, is strictly prohibited. So please don't. And if you encounter copies of this article elsewhere on the web, please report it to email@example.com.