01. The Modern World 02. Magic Archetypes 03. Wards 04. Codes of Conduct Back to Top
Three On A Match - Magic and the Metaphysical Magic and the Metaphysical

01. Magic in the Modern World

The Human World

The general consensus on the magic and the supernatural is ironclad skepticism. Humans have long since driven the darkness out of their cities with their own ingenuity and prowess, and superstition and magic have no place in the modern human's daily life. Everyone's come across something strange at some point in their life, but the drive to appear normal is natural. There are plenty of explanations that aren't otherworldly. Just keep it to yourself... Who will believe you anyway?

It doesn't help that with the rise of digital photo and video manipulation and special effects technology, convincing people of the supernatural has become near impossible. Not even confirmed footage of UFOs seems to shake this, but perhaps this is a blessing on both sides of the fence. Some daring supernaturals are able to live in plain sight, their eccentricities written off by people's tendency to see what they expect to see. Whether it is a heuristic shortcut or the mind protecting itself, there are a variety of reasons for this. Meanwhile, humans can live out their lives on an island of ignorance, never venturing too far.

Of course, it's hardly a binary. It's not those who are wholly ignorant and everyone else. There will always be shades of belief, a vast spectrum. There are those who are in the know, those who are just coming into their knowledge, those who are ignorant, and those who staunchly turn a blind eye.

Paradoxically, magic is present in many ways, from good luck charms to blessings, but knowledge is sparse. It is no longer is it passed down family lines and written down, but contained in old grimoires and ancient scrolls that are hidden away or presumed lost. Humans have moved on from trying to harness the arcane and strive forward on their own power and technology, as inventive as ever.

Tech & Magic

With the increased attention to technological development, it was in the 20th century tech boom that they found out that magic and new techology does not work well together, one reason magic has become rarer and rarer. While not destructive, attaching magic to technology can prevent it from working, and the runes of an enchantment must be removed for it to begin functioning again.

There are differences between how technology responds to magic. Technology of a more mechanical nature, such as combustion engines, are the least impacted by magic, but delicate electornics fare the worst. Repeated exposure to magical surges has proven to render some electronics nonfunctional and in need of replacement.

The Supernatural World

The supernatural community is not monolithic, but it is infinitely vast, and many may be entirely unaware of the world beyond what they know or have been taught. There is always more to learn.

Interactions Between Supernaturals

Supernaturals are not innately aware of one another. While shifters and others with preternatural senses could possibly smell each other in close proximity and an arcanist may be able to sense the twist of magic in another being's aura, two supernaturals could exist for years together and be unaware of the other unless they paid attention to each other's habits.

Rivalries between supernatural creatures are largely personal affairs. If one group dislikes another group, it is isolated to those groups or whosoever else they might influence with their ideas. The only exception is that in many parts of the world, natural shifters make a distinction between themselves and their afflicted brethren, but how they react to them is up to the individual community.

02. Magic Archetypes

I. Ritual Magic Enchantments II. Blood Magic III. Shifter Magic IV. Healing Magic

Ritual Magic

"You may not feel outstandingly robust, but if you are an average-sized adult you will contain within your modest frame no less than 7 X 10^18 joules of potential energy—enough to explode with the force of thirty very large hydrogen bombs, assuming you knew how to liberate it and really wished to make a point." -Bill Bryson

Ritual magic is both art and science, an ancient practice by which humanity is able to exert control over their realities, change their fates, and create magical artifacts. However, it is also a fickle and dangerous thing. Though humanity has used ritual magic for thousands of years, it is not fully understood and likely never will be, as knowledge constantly expands. One thing is certain, however: there is very little room for error - when a ritual goes wrong, the results are universally disastrous. One wrong move and an arcanist may find themselves in the clutches of an angry demon or infected with an interdimensional parasite. Or, if they're lucky, they may simply blow up their workspace.

The use of blood in rituals is essential, but what type of blood used informs the result. Human blood is the safest option and the most effective. Human practitioners use their own without issue, but if the blood of a nonhuman is used the ritual is likely to go awry to a potentially destructive effect. This also includes cursed humans, who have had their blood tainted. If a nonhuman attempts a ritual, they may use the blood of a human in place of their own, but the ritual will be weakened.

The full explanation of the process of a ritual can be found on the Ritual Magic page, written with Arcanists in mind. Keep in mind that the dice threshold and the rolling odds change based on chosen portfolio and if you are on a different path than Arcanist.


Enchantments are an arcanist's bread and butter. While a full ritual takes time and preparation, arcanists have found ways around this limitation by creating enchanted items. With runes, arcanists are able to 'program' spells into physical objects, which opens up a world of utility and possibility. If you're looking for enchantment, look for runes.

The process is simple, but not easy: by marking an object with their chosen runes, the arcanist then empowers the runes in a ritual, enchanting the item with their chosen spell or spells. The possibilities are endless- For example, an arcanist can fill a bottle with lightning, enchant a wand to shoot fireballs, create a flying vehicle, or create an automaton of a walking corpse. The most skilled arcanists can even permanently enchant living people, if they're able to mark their bones with runes.

One major limitation is the quality of materials. Whatever object they use will be channeling the primal forces of magic and wear and tear is expected. Unlike those who use blood magic, inanimate objects don't naturally heal. Natural materials, such as wood, metal, or stone, seem to have a great deal of staying power, while human-made materials like plastic tend to fall apart more quickly. Marking runes into someone's flesh is a dangerous process, but many arcanists have risked it, empowering people with magic tattoos or scarification. For more information on enchantment, read the Enchanted Item page.

Runes can also be used on a space for warding, or as the center point of an area of effect.

Blood Magic

Unlike ritual magic, blood magic is innate, requiring no runes, circles, or components. Instead, its practitioners can pull energy directly from the aether and form it with their thoughts and intentions.

The primary limitation of blood magic is that the practioner's body becomes the conduit, meaning it often takes a variety of physical tolls. The second biggest hurdle is that a person often needs to be born with their abilities. The only other option is for a human to become possessed or cursed, neither of which are pleasant.

Shifter Magic

Very little is known about the magic employed by the shifters. Those born this way are clannish and secretive while those afflicted with the shifter curse are often doomed to an early painful death, too often drawing the attention of hunters or other magical beings with their lack of control. What is known is that although their magic may seem limited, it is powerful, consistent, and moreover, of this plane of existence. A shifter's body seems to be completely woven through with their power, changing them mind, body, and soul. And although the afflicted face a great deal of stumbling blocks while learning their new powers, given the chance, they too eventually settle into their power.

It is not a charmed life, however. Shifters are dangerous to others and themselves without proper control, and for both varieties, there is a very real possibility of losing themselves to their monstrous urges and instincts. For whatever reason they were made or evolved, they are built to be predators, hunters, and warriors.

Healing Magic

Magic can do many miraculous and fantastical things, but there are still limitations to how far it can go. Healing magic is a field all of itself, but it can take many forms, unique to the manner of magic used. Healing comes at a cost, taking something from the caster or requiring hard-to-find components, and only Shifters have so-called 'perfect healing.'

It cannot regrow limbs and organs from nothing; it needs something to build from and build on. As such, it can only offer replacements in whatever form is available to the caster. Gems for new eyes, living wood wrapped around bone for new muscle and tendons, transplanted flesh mutated over a gaping wound, the heart of a naiad to replace a dying one. Healing can save someone from death, but depending on how grievous the wound is, it cannot spotlessly mend what was broken.

03. Warding Materials, Supernatural Hazards, and Celestial Bodies

I. Silver II. Salt III. True Sunlight IV. The Moon and Its Phases V. Faith VI. Other Wards


The famous silver bullet. That which is pure repels the impure. Although science has long since proven that silver has anti-microbial properties, providing a neat explanation for why humans of the Old World thought it worked against monsters, this did not disprove anything. Two things can be true at once. Silver is a potent weapon against shifters; contact with the metal, pure or alloy, saps a shifters strength and stymies their famed preternatural healing.

That said, it is not purity or impurity which does it and there is no moral force behind it. Like many things in the magic world, there is no known answer as to why silver has this effect and any theories and conclusions are pure conjecture.

For the Undying, silver is experienced as a discomfort if they are in close proximity to it. They begin losing their grip on their magic with little things going haywire, as the silver interferes with their abilities.

  • Silver gives a Shifter a -1d6 penalty to Strike.
  • Silver gives an Undying a -1d6 penalty to Cinder.

Sky Iron

Sky Iron In Folklore

Meteorite or sky iron used to be considered to be the metal from which the gods themselves forged their weapons. Perhaps there is some truth to this. The alloy of pure iron and nickel found in meteorites has a curious effect on those who practice blood magic.

Mere proximity to sky iron dampens a blood-magician's abilities, reducing them to a fraction of their power, creating unintended effects, or causing backlash, while physical contact can mute it altogether. Half-bloods can sense the presence of sky iron, the feeling manifesting like discomfort, dread, or even nausea. However, for the cursed, an iron talisman may be quite useful. Although it dampens their abilities, it can also dampen the effects of their Sorrows.

A half-blood must be within a few feet of Sky Iron to sense its presence and feel discomfort, but its effect extends beyond that. It seems to drain or muffle the effects of blood magic so long as a practitioner is within its area of effect.

  • Sky Iron gives a half-blood a -1d6 penalty to their Cinder if it touches them.
  • Blood magic users can sense it in close proximity.


Salt In Folklore

Salt the earth, line the threshold, and throw it over your shoulder to chase off the Devil. Salt is multifarious, serving as both a ward and a lure. It is used to consecrate and conquer, it is a symbol of friendship and a bad omen. All of these things are true.

In a more direct sense, salt provides protection against the unseen. With spirits, the salt interferes with the ectoplasmic structure that forms their incorporeal bodies. A blast of salt can harm them or prevent them from manifesting and using their powers, while a line or circle creates a physical invisible wall that they cannot cross. They can be trapped within a circle of salt in all three dimensions.

As for the possessed, while it may not harm the entity, the connection between Passenger and vessel can be dampened or muted altogether should the vessel step within a circle of salt.

Like silver, there is no moral weight to these effects. Purity and preservation are not relevant--it is simply how salt works.

  • Salt used on a Spirit bypasses DC, it always hits their Luck.
  • Salt lines prevent Spirits from crossing.
  • Salt gives a Possessed a -1d6 penalty to Cinder.

True Sunlight

The light and patterns of the sun have an interesting effect on magical enchantments, even enchantments connected to the sun and light magic. An 'enchantment' is defined as a long-term spell, on a person, place, or thing with the use of runes, or mind-affecting magic woven over a person. By default, unless there is a time period set, an enchantment's effect will end at the next sunrise, especially mind-affecting magic. Enchantments with runes exposed to the open sky will slowly wear down before breaking and fading entirely, so keep your magic items in a cool, dark place to prevent sun damage.

For clarity, this does not mean that magic rituals or other things cannot be practiced during the day. True Sunlight (not UV or other components of light as defined by science) simply begins to break down magical bonds created by runes and the transition from night to day, the concept of a 'new beginning', helps dispel spells cast over the mind.

The second most pertinent effect of the sun is its effect on the Undying. In direct or indirect sunlight, they become sickly and weak as their eldritch magic struggles to keep them animated. Prolonged exposure will quickly destroy the bonds and thus destroy the Undying completely. After spending time in the sun, Undying must immediately ground themselves to refresh their magic.

Spirits are weakened by sunlight, often causing them to become transparent, near to fading, if they do not retreat back to their main haunts or into the safety of a vessel until nightfall.

In the cases of shifters, half-bloods, and the cursed, their magic is protected and contained within their physical forms, and so they suffer no ill-effects from true sunlight.

Those with the ability to manipulate light have the potential to produce true sunlight in order to dispel magic or weaken undead, but only after a great deal of study and practice.

  • Daylight always reduces an Undying's Strike pool to 4d6, regardless of the Undying having the Daywalker keyword.
  • When an Undying is exposed to True Sunlight, wielded by a magic user, their Strike pool is reduced to 4d6.
  • If the Undying has the Daywalker keyword, they can resist True Sunlight with a contested roll. A contested roll must be matched with equal or more passes than the attack roll (i.e. a contested roll versus 7 passes must be 7 passes or more).

The Moon and Its Phases

The moon in all its phases has long held an important place in the human consciousness and with good reason. Its inexorable pull not only creates tides in the ocean but in magic as well. Every full moon, currents of otherworldly energy swell, potent and wild in exultation. During the new moon, magic is calm and pliable, easily brought to order.

The sight of the full moon calls to shifters in a deeply primal way, encouraging them to shed what suddenly feels like nothing but a facade and give in to the beast. Some see it as Artemis' hunting horn, the huntress calling them to join her wild hunt. Others fight and fear it, seeing it as a curse to be suppressed. Whichever way a shifter sees it, every single one is intimately familiar with the phases of the moon, feeling it in the fabric of their being.

For other magic beings and practitioners, they sense that their magic is more potent, spells becoming easier to cast with more impressive results.

All Cinder rolls done in threads set on the full moon explode on a 5 and a 6.


Faith, any kind of faith, is a rudimentary and primal force. It does not matter the religion or the symbol being held, should a being fully and unquestionably believe that an item grants them protection, they will find that it is true. Whether this manifests as a repellant or a shield or what looks like pure luck, the stories vary. The effects are not repeatable like ritual magic, but it comes from within, a separate kind of magic altogether.

Other Wards

There is no one answer as to why the various wards and charms found around the world work or have no effect on the supernatural. Theories range from faith to the unconscious use of rudimentary ritual magic. In any case, it is impossible to name all possible charms, wards, and or other superstitious practices. Those that implement the concepts and materials above are sure to work while others may be mere superstition.

04. The Codes of Conduct

I. Introduction II. Hospitium III. Threshold IV. Oaths V. Thrice Asked VI. Favors

In the supernatural world, the codes of conduct are the closest thing to universal laws. All who parlay with the unnatural and unknown come to understand these codes.

Descriptions and Effects

Hospitium Hospitium

Arguably the most important of the Codes, the hospitium was put into place by the deities of the old world. They set the precedent for hospitality, allowing supernatural entities to create neutral ground on which alliances and truces may be built. They vary by culture but several central tenents must be followed:

  • A guest is to be honored, with their basic needs cared for.
  • A guest will offer no harm to anyone in their host's home.
  • So long as a guest remains in their host's household, under their host's care, they are to assist the household and other guests to the best of their ability without compromising their values.
  • The host will offer no harm to their guests.
  • So long as the host has a guest under their care, they are to assist their guests to the best of their ability without compromising their values.
  • Should two guests have a dispute, they have the option to take on the host as arbitrator, or take their conflict out of the host's domain.
  • Hospitium must be explicitly invoked.
  • Should any law be broken by any party, the ancient goddess Hestia takes personal offense.

The threshold is humanity's first defense against the darkness. A house is different from a home and anywhere that a living person may consider a home begins to weave protective magic around it. Some magical beings, such as the fey, spirits, and the undead, may not cross without invitation. If permission is revoked, the response from the magic is immediate and the being is expelled. The manner of expulsion is up to the player, but it must be immediate.


Any being with inherent magic can be bound into an oath, whether they know oaths exist or not. The phrasing of an oath matters and those experienced with the supernatural know that if there's a loophole, most will exploit it. For an oath to take effect, it must be spoken to someone who can hear it as a promise and there is a tangible sensation of the magic locking into place. If you don't know what you're looking for, you are very likely to miss it.

Every time the oath is broken, the oathbreaker is subjected to physical pain, psychic damage, or karmic backlash, depending on what seems right for your character. The person to whom the oath is made is the only person who can release someone from the oath. The oath dissipates upon their death.

Thrice Asked

Any being with inherent magic is subject to Thrice Asked. Any question asked three times with the exact same wording and with intent must be answered honestly. This is not foolproof, however, as anyone can be evasive or fall back on riddles and wordplay. The fey are especially skilled at this.


Should one being defeat another in single combat, in exchange for their life, they may instead demand a favor. This favor may be kept until the one who holds wishes to use it and the one who is indebted is bound to fulfill this favor to the best of their abilities.