for GURPS Cabal
by William J. Keith
Do you play a GURPS Cabal game, or otherwise use Hermetic correspondences? Don't want to flip through a chapter of material to work out what your spell could use in the way of decans, constellations, and planets? The chart below lists the Colleges with their decans and a portable, inexpensive object designed to pack in the decanic energies. Each provides exactly +4 in decanic, zodiacal, and planetary correspondences for that College, and is guaranteed to provide no opposing correspondences. (The new Fourth Edition Weather College is assigned to Sahu, and the unassociated decans are listed separately.) The +4 is a "lowest common denominator" chosen for low expense and ease of construction. If a player attempts to add further modifiers, carefully check the total astrological modifiers already in use.
Any Cabalist who specializes in spells of a given College could carry such a thing around. Some of them might even become standard items in a Hermetic magician's toolkit. Creative or rich Cabalists can also "upgrade" them: for example, the pendant for Charchnoumis could switch the sphinx figure to gray-lacquered wood, hang from a silver chain and add several moonstones around the edge, for a total of +5. Kurtaêl's charm is particularly amenable to this; necromancy is apparently easy to enhance.
In a non-Hermetic system, these weird trinkets can add flavor to enchantments or wizardly accoutrements. They might even be unique objects intimately connected to arcane energies.
An aspen wand tipped with blue chalcedony, sporting eagle feathers attached by tin wire.
Wand of Raphael
A hazelwood pendant in the shape of a wheel, lacquered dark blood-red and inset with a silver sphinx, set about with small red bloodstones.
A palm-sized elmwood disc bearing an ivory miniature of a starfish. The disc is hooped in steel and set with aquamarines.
Grasp of Mihal
Communication and Empathy
A V-frame of copper, wound across with piano wire. Attached to one leg is a brass statuette of an elephant; to the other, an emerald figurine of a swan.
A dark brown orb of smoky quartz hooped in cut slate.
Orb of Uriel
A rose-colored silk cord with 13 little charms of lionheads carved from carnelian dangling from it.
A primitive athame with an obsidian blade; the guard is iron, and the handle is ironwood set with a dark red fire opal. A blue-lacquered horse adorns the pommel.
A fairly large orange pentacle pendant carries four items in its bottom four points: a peridot, an opal, a sapphire figurine of a dove, and an aluminum representation of a lamp.
Two keys of juniper wood dangling from an amber ring, inset with bits of alexandrite.
A Greek cross; one branch is steel, the other alder wood, both suitably colored crimson. The steel branch bears engravings of fish while the wooden branch is inset with silver and pearl images of cats.
Illusion and Creation
A wallet-sized plastic hologram of a fractal, like a Mandelbrot set. The frame is hazelwood, set at the corners with zircons and inlaid with silver.
A slice of agate set in a hexagonal rowan frame dyed russet-red, overlaying a copper depiction of a lotus.
Light and Darkness
A lozenge pendant divided into four alternate black and white squares, made of alternating laurel and hazelwood, framed in applewood painted yellow and set with carnelians, all on a gold chain.
Chessboard of Yelayel
Making and Breaking
A primitive hammer, its flint head attached by iron bands deliberately reddened with rust to a blue-painted oak handle carved with eagles.
A pocket-size pyramid of rowan wood lacquered bright azure, with a tiny garnet capstone. The base bears a dark green picture of a goat.
A pair of earrings or bracelet charms: spirals of iron, painted cerulean blue. One holds a piece of amber at its center, the other a dark red ruby.
A model of an arrow: feathered with hawk feathers, yew shaft painted violet, arrowhead of lapis lazuli.
A bracelet of rowan lacquered black, set with onyx and jet.
A useful steel-bladed sickle, its handle set with a small onyx in the shape of a raven. The blade is incised with cheerful designs of ivy strands; the handle is wood from the holly tree, painted forest green.
Protection and Warning
A chain of stout bronze-colored plastic links (real bronze ages to green, an unfortunate Venus evocation), interwoven with a strip of white Kevlar and carrying a red-colored pendant or bangle of iron depicting a wolf.
A green seashell decorated with parrot, peacock and swan feathers, attached with copper wire.
An olive-green plastic gear on a brass axle.
A small blue chalice set with a few teardrop-shaped pearls.
Cup of Gabriel
A model of an arrow: basalt arrowhead attached to a sequoia shaft with animal sinew and real feathers.
A charm bracelet dangling charms of dice, four-leaf clovers, steel fish, and blue-painted tin eagles.
A palm-sized mirror framed with silver and backed with elderwood painted pale yellow. Its frame is painted maroon and bears images of scorpions carved into pale yellow topaz; its corners are set with pearls.
A square of tortoiseshell painted deep wine-purple and inset with a brass image of scales.
A rowan chalice lacquered dark green and set with an image of a goat's head worked in garnet (orange-yellow spessartite preferred). It bears a green-lacquered rosewood inset of a swan and copper images of scenes or quotations from The King in Yellow, Sherlock Holmes' On the Study of Tobaccos and their Ashes, or other deliberately-fictional books never written.
A massive necklace of lead chain dangling iron weights as well as yew figures of horses painted indigo.
Chain of Burden
A "U"-shaped amulet carved from the taproot of an acacia and dyed crimson, its ends capped with birchwood bearing likenesses of lions.
Scissors of surgical steel wound about with aged copper bands bearing images of mules and lotuses. One finger hole holds a small green emerald and the other an orange agate.
A charm bracelet sporting cowrie shells, a real silver coin, a sapphire, and a gold bangle.
A black ebony box set with an onyx, containing some small dead batteries and ashes, wired shut with purple-covered wire.
Box of Pointless
The canton of a U.S. flag (the azure part flecked with white five-pointed stars), pinned with a brass Soviet hammer-and-sickle pin, any red scraped off.
A strip of satin dyed bright green, a topaz carving of a scorpion and a blue jade figure of an eagle pinned to it.
A ribbon of scarlet velvet bound about the sandalwood handle of an iron (not steel) athame set with a ruby.
The Collector of Mysteries: the PCs come across twelve peculiar objects set apart from the rest of the magical treasure trove. Trained Cabalists can quickly identify them as focusing the decans without known Colleges. So is this a completist's storage room, or had the previous owner identified some use for them?
The Death-Dealer: Just how much can the Kurtaêl charm be upgraded? A room can be paneled in ebony, cypress, rowan, and yew, the latter all painted black; wall space filled with figurines of rats, crows, ravens, and magpies; barred shut with ribs from a mule, magically significant points decked with onyx and jet. If a few of these ingredients are chosen with a careful eye to quality and rarity, this sanctum could be thrumming with necromantic energies to the tune of a +15 bonus to necromantic spells before modifiers from the Laws of Sympathy, mana level, and distance. Prisoners physically in this forsaken chamber can abandon much hope of successfully resisting the necromancer's power. Of course, assuming the PCs rescue their friend before the astrologically optimal moment for the dark rite, it would be a darned shame to destroy such an obviously valuable piece of magical equipment . . .
Article publication date: October 20, 2006
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