NWoD Mage the Awakening Legacy Forge Masters

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At the dawn of known civilization, when Atlantis had long since passed into legend, Sleepers still knew that some men worked miracles. They chained the storm-wind in their bellows to send it roaring into the furnace. Kissed by the fire’s ardor, dull ore sweated drops of shining metal. The smith shaped this metal with hammer and tongs, and then quenched it in water. A hundred useful things came from the forge: barrel-hoops and buckles, pins and plowshares. The smith knew the secrets of shining silver and heart-gladdening gold, the soft service of copper, tin and lead and the resilience of bronze. Most of all, though, he knew the secrets of iron. Not a pretty metal, but a strong one; the perfect metal for the swords and armor that made one man master over his fellows — and it fell from the sky.

Around the world, therefore, common folk and kings saw the smith as a figure of magic — because, of course, he was. Long before Egypt, Sumer or China, the mages of Atlantis wrought wonders in their forges of power. Smith-gods such as Greek Hephaistos, Celtic Goibniu or Yoruban Ogoun preserve a faint memory of their deeds. The mortal smiths remembered, too. They knew their Art revealed a sacred, Supernal truth: in creating tools, the smith did more than change the substance or shape of matter. He imbued matter with purpose, making it an extension of human thought and human will. This metaphysical change was at least as great and wonderful a miracle as the production of metal from ore.

In the modern age of factories and mass production, most people forget the awe that once surrounded the Masters of Metal. The miracles have become too commonplace. A few people keep the old ways and the old secrets, though — sometimes in the very heart of the industrial world that seems to have surpassed the wonder-smiths of yore. These Awakened few know that humanity has not yet laid bare all the secrets of metal. Indeed, some of these Forge Masters believe the golden age of their Legacy has not yet come.

Meta Info

Source: LA, pp 72-81

Notes: Experts of traditional item creation.

History

The Forge Masters don’t keep much history; or rather, they say their history consists of the things they made, not the people who made them. The Legacy’s lore is mostly oral and practical: how to recognize different alloys, how long to heat particular ores, different styles of metalwork and who used them. The great Powersmiths of the past are known through the items they enchanted and the personal hallmarks they stamped on their work. The Forge Masters know their Legacy is very old, though, because it occurs wherever people smelt metal from ore. In Atlantis, the Forge Masters say, their Legacy did not exist as such. Matter responded to enlightened Will. All mages could do all things if they chose. Some mages simply developed greater skill at working with metal — and those mages wrought wonders. They also discovered the perfected metals such as orichalcum and lunargent. Some Atlantean artifacts suggest a half-technological magic of devices built from crystals and perfected metals: flying ships powered by sorcerous engines, weapons that fired lightning bolts from crystal rods and many other strange devices.

When the warring Atlanteans broke the world, the wondersmiths lost their greatest powers. The arts that remained to them, however, seemed mighty enough to simple Sleepers. The Atlanteans and their heirs still wrought wonders that mythology would ascribe to gods and demigods, such as the dwarf-forged hammer Mjollnir, or the maidens of living gold who served Hephaistos.

As magic faded from the world, the heirs of Atlantis had to re-invent their spells and rely more on mundane artifice. Nevertheless, their power remained great enough that even Sleeper smiths were treated as magicians — and similar to all magicians, the smiths inspired fear and contempt as well as awe and respect. In many cultures, blacksmith families were deemed of royal or even godly descent. In just as many other cultures, blacksmiths were suspected of knowing curses or called unclean for the sweat and grime of their profession.

Many of the rotes known to Forge Masters reflect this mythic age. Powersmiths sometimes ascribe their techniques of enchantment to divine smiths such as Hephaistos or Ogoun, the dwarf-smith Alberich and the faerie-smith Wayland or legendary mortals such as Daedalus or Tubalcain. The Forge Masters can point to more than myths, however, as evidence of their presence in the ancient world. Etruscan goldwork, for instance, is sometimes covered with nearly microscopic gold granules somehow soldered on without melting them. A temple in India holds a huge pillar of rustproof cast iron made in a time and place when supposedly neither iron-casting nor rustproof alloys were known.

Medieval blacksmiths lost a lot of prestige. More of them worked for common people, making everyday tools and implements. Armor and weapons became specialized crafts with their own practitioners. On the other hand, workers in silver and gold such as Cellini became famous as individuals for the first time. The Forge Masters lost prestige among fellow mages, too.

Perhaps the most momentous change, however, came when blacksmiths started making precision machines. The techniques developed for articulated suits of armor also enabled smiths to craft mechanical toys for royal patrons — or the first clocks driven by pendulums or springs — and from there, Forge Masters tell their apprentices, it was only a short step to steam engines. Powersmiths didn’t invent the new technologies — some may have been involved in particular inventions but their names are forgotten — but these mages accepted them gladly. Some Forge Masters still specialize in magical machines such as clockwork bodies for spirit familiars to possess, or Arcane seismographs that detect magical disruptions from far away.

The modern Forge Masters regret the modern world’s hostility to willworking, but not much. Nowadays, they have dozens of metals to combine for just the right alloy, and techniques for shaping metal their mythic forebears could never imagine. The Legacy has its traditionalists who insist a real blacksmith knows when to temper steel by the color of the cooling metal, not a thermometer. Most Powersmiths say, however, that the true artisan always surpasses his tools — especially when the art is magic. They seek to tame the refractory hardness of tungsten, the lightness of magnesium and beryllium and even the sinister weight of depleted uranium. What magic lurks within the new metals and manufacturing techniques?

They don’t know — but they want to find out.


Induction

As a Legacy, the Forge Masters set no formal requirements a recruit must meet, beyond the necessary competence at metalwork and the Arcana of Matter and Prime. Each master decides on his own whether to accept an apprentice, and helps shape his student’s soul when the master thinks the student is ready. No Forge Master has the authority to question another Forge Master’s judgment in this respect.

In practice, Powersmiths usually demand at least a year of apprenticeship before inducting a mage into the Legacy. Helping an apprentice to craft his soul is quite a drastic expenditure on a Forge Master’s part, comparable to forging an imbued item. They do not expend their own soul’s force lightly. A year of hard work pays the tutor in advance, and makes sure the prospective Powersmith really, truly wants to devote his life to the Legacy. It also gives the tutor and pupil a chance to discover any personality conflicts before what may be a lifetime’s work together.

Initiating a new Forge Master is the Legacy's most elaborate ritual. The tutor builds a special furnace of stone and clay, using no magic whatsoever and no tools he did not forge himself. A hollow in the furnace floor holds a cup of the tutor’s own blood and as much tass as he can collect. The apprentice climbs into the furnace. He carries a nail of siderite. The tutor fires the furnace with Mana, using the spells “Celestial Flame” and “Channel Mana” (see Mage: The Awakening, p. 224), and seals the apprentice inside. The spell-fire is modulated to cause pain but not serious damage. The apprentice drives the siderite nail through one wrist and lets his blood fall into the spell-fire to mingle with his tutor’s blood. Then he meditates as his tutor channels the spell-fire into his body and soul, until the pupil absorbs all the Mana he can, charged with the resonance of blood, iron and fire.

The tutor breaks open the furnace. The pupil steps forth, glowing with spell-fire, and the Forge Master strikes the pupil with a phantasmal hammer of Mana imbued with the pupil’s own soul-pattern. The Powersmith literally hammers his apprentice’s soul into a new form. At the end, the pupil leaps into a waiting bath of cold water and lets the Mana flood out of him in a rush. Thus does he temper his own soul and lock it into the Legacy’s pattern. When he emerges, the siderite nail is gone — consumed along with the tass. The tutor destroys the furnace and may even disintegrate its stones, so it shall never be used for any purpose less sacred.

The second Attainment involves a similar rite. This time, however, the pupil stabs his other wrist with a nail of thaumium. The third Attainment involves a third sojourn in the furnace, but the Forge Master stabs his own side with a blade of electrum magicum, the alloy of all seven perfected metals.

The initiation of a new Forge Master is a big event in the Legacy. Since an initiation is usually scheduled months in advance, other Powersmiths have plenty of time to learn about the ceremony. Even if the tutor doesn’t belong to a guild, several other Forge Masters probably attend to watch and toast the new Powersmith.


Basics

Impossible Alloys
Sleeper metallurgists still cannot make some metals combine. If their densities differ too much, the liquid metals separate; other metals won’t mix because of chemical differences. Careful use of Matter magic, however, can force lightweights such as lithium to alloy with heavy metals such as osmium, or manipulate crystal structures or alloy compositions in other ways.


What good are “impossible” alloys? Nobody knows until someone manages to make them. A few Powersmiths experiment with these alloys in hopes of finding something useful — and profitable. After all, they only need magic to make the alloy. The metal itself isn’t magical. These Forge Masters believe they can craft and sell objects made from “impossible” alloys without degradation by Disbelief just by saying the process is a trade secret.


Whether this works, only the Storyteller can say.

Parent Path: Moros. In some parts of the world, mages of other Paths join the Powersmiths, but that happens because of local cultural bias.

Nickname: Powersmiths

Orders: The Forge Masters have a long association with the Adamantine Arrow, forging magical weapons, armor and shields for their battles. Arrow members sometimes join the Legacy so they can design and forge their own armaments.

The Mysterium takes a more esoteric approach to the Legacy. The metaphysical transformation of matter into tool fascinates some of these Arcane scholars; others strive to reconstruct the techniques by which ancient mages crafted magical wonders.

The Free Council, however, now claims the largest number of the Forge Masters. Libertine Powersmiths take great pride in the ancient roots of modern metallurgy. Legacy members combine ancient craftsmanship with new alloys, or apply new metal-shaping technologies to the crafting of Enchanted Items. A few Obrimos Libertines have become Forge Masters, but the order’s capacity to spread the Legacy is very new and very rare as yet.

The Silver Ladder and Guardians of the Veil readily use the products of this Legacy's labors, whether to chastise a rebellious spirit or murder someone for looking where he shouldn’t. Neither order has much in common with the Legacy’s own interests, though.

The Seers of the Throne include a few Forge Masters. Makers of weapons and tools have always served power, and the Seers pay as well as — better than — any warlord, chief or king. The Seers’ Powersmiths initiate their own apprentices and have little contact with their counterparts in the Pentacle.

Appearance: Forge Master practices involve a great deal of physical exertion, so there are no weaklings in the Legacy. Young or old, slim or fat, they have broad shoulders and a powerful grip.

While working at the forge, a Powersmith wears heavy leather gloves and a heavy leather apron that reaches from his shoulders to his knees. This protects him against sparks and the forge’s heat. He also wears a patch over one eye, so an accident cannot blind him completely. Forge Masters often tool their eyepatch with a personal symbol, as a sort of badge of office.

Even when they aren’t working, Forge Masters usually prefer simple, sturdy clothing. For some Powersmiths, it’s almost a mark of pride to show up at Consilium meetings and other formal occasions dressed in spark-scorched denim and leather while everyone else is in their “Sunday best.” Forge Masters who prefer jewelry work usually dress more upscale; the two factions rib each other over their fashion sense.

Background: Traditionally, blacksmiths are men. A few women join the Powersmiths, but they all have trouble finding masters willing to initiate them. Even Forge Masters who are not actively chauvinistic may wonder if a woman has the upper-body strength for the work, so female members find themselves working twice as hard for half the respect. In many parts of the Third World, blacksmiths still practice their trade as a regular part of village culture. Any man who Awakens as a Moros soon learns about the Forge Masters as a career option. Any blacksmith who Awakens is expected to join the Forge Masters, whether he’s a Moros or not, though no one actually forces the choice on a mage.

In the developed world, old-fashioned blacksmithing is now just an unusual hobby, so few Forge Masters were actual smiths before they Awakened. Instead, they tend to be engineers, machinists, factory workers and other people who work with metal for a living or as part of a hobby. Other Moros become interested in the Legacy because they want to create magical tools or wonders, and the Forge Masters know a lot about this. The Legacy keeps a strong working-class feel, though.

Organization: The Forge Masters place great stock in the relationship of master to apprentice, and show little concern for organization beyond that. If the Powersmiths in a region are numerous enough, (more than three or four), they may declare themselves a “guild,” but no one takes these groups too seriously.

Forge Masters like to gather when a mage joins the Legacy or achieves a new Attainment. In some cultures, the guild marks these occasions with a solemn ceremony. In the developed world, the gathered Powersmiths usually limit the ceremony to drinking the member’s health, and then just drinking. Members of this Legacy enjoy teasing each other a great deal.

Powersmiths who possess college degrees are apt to be called “Professors” by members who don’t. The blacksmiths affect to look down on the smiths who work in “weaker” metals such as tin or precious metals, while the jewelers snub the “uncouth tradesmen” who work in base metals. It’s all in good fun, though. Usually.

Suggested Oblations: What it says on the tin.

Concepts: Medieval hobbyist, Third World village blacksmith, foundry worker, jeweler, machinist, metallurgist, auto mechanic, junkman, metal sculptor.

Society & Culture: The Forge Masters are completely decentralized. They have no offices beyond tutor and pupil. Even their “guilds” are so informal they barely exist. In the Western world at least, no Powersmith has the authority to gainsay another’s judgment about how to train an apprentice or when to bring another mage into the Legacy. By the same token, the Legacy has no serious internal divisions: clashes between members stay personal.

Less accomplished Forge Masters do show respect for smiths who have progressed further in the Legacy; that’s just good sense. After all, you may need the senior Powersmith’s help to gain your next Attainment, if something happens to your current tutor. More experienced Forge Masters also know trade secrets they may impart if suitably flattered (and a little tipsy). Titles are similarly informal. Tutor and pupil are generally called master and apprentice, regardless of their Arcana proficiencies.

Once a pupil receives his first Attainment, other Powersmiths may address him as “journeyman” until he achieves his second Attainment. Forge Masters often assume the names of mythical or legendary smiths such as Sindri (the dwarf who forged Thor’s hammer Mjollnir) or Hua Kuang Fo (the Chinese god of silversmiths and goldsmiths). Personal ancestors who worked with metal are another common choice.

In other parts of the world, Forge Masters and their guilds may behave more formally. Some cultures still believe in magic and the blacksmith’s special status. In West Africa, for instance, blacksmiths sometimes belong to secret societies devoted to Ogoun (or similar gods). A society that claims a Forge Master as its leader gains great prestige, and Forge Masters themselves show great respect for members with higher Attainments. West African Forge Masters learn a copious body of myths, secret passwords and symbols as they advance from Attainment to Attainment. These secrets include spells and rotes, the names of spirits that may assist or hinder their work and legends about great Forge Masters. All in all, West African Powersmiths take their guilds and ranks quite seriously.

Whatever their culture, however, the Forge Masters keep a distinctly working-class attitude and sympathies. They do not try to isolate themselves from the common people. Even in places where blacksmith clans claim descent from ancient kings, Forge Masters still work for a living. In West Africa, for instance, the Ogoun societies have become significant advocates for the common people against political or tribal elites — which puts the local Forge Masters in conflict with mages who cultivate the local ruling classes.

Powersmiths in the developed world seldom entangle themselves in politics, either among Sleepers or the local Consilium: tutors often advise their pupils that every other mage is a potential client, so it’s best to stay neutral and sell to everyone. Most mages accept the Forge Masters’ neutrality. Not all mages respect the Legacy, though. Mages who get caught up in the “few and the proud” elitism of being Awakened find the Powersmiths disgracefully common and close to the Sleepers. Such attitudes are perhaps most frequent among the Guardians of the Veil and the worst elements of the Silver Ladder, which exist for domination and control, but every order has its snobs.

The Master's Tools
Forge Masters traditionally leave their tools to their pupils. Since Forge Masters frequently enhance or imbue their anvil, hammers, tongs and other tools, the inheritance can be a trove of magical power as well as a sentimental gesture. Powersmith tools may be centuries old and have acquired layers of enchantment. Some Forge Masters divide their tools among pupils, others give everything to one favored apprentice and sometimes the former pupils ignore their teacher’s wishes and just fight it out.

Powersmiths Among the Seers: Powersmiths, whatever their culture of origin, generally get along with each other. Let two Forge Masters meet and soon they’re talking shop. This amity does not extend to Forge Masters among the Seers of the Throne. Parallel lines of Powersmith initiation have existed among the Seers for as long as the Seers themselves — and the two sides do not mix. Forge Masters of the Pentacle think of their Seer counterparts as social climbers who’ve chosen the safety of patronage instead of honest work.

The Seers’ Powersmiths agree. They do have secret arts that place them above the masses. They do serve power. Similar to the legendary wonder-smiths of old, the Seers’ clients are gods, or at least the representatives of gods. They are spiritual kin to the true kings of this world. If other Forge Masters choose to disgrace that divine heritage by grubbing among the common herd, so much the worse for them. The two factions loathe each other. Pentacle Forge Masters may stay neutral in Consilium politics, but most are happy to supply arms and armor for attacks upon the Seers.

The Power of Iron: For centuries, Western scientists doubted that stones and metal fell from the sky, but ancient peoples knew this perfectly well. The Sumerian word for iron loosely translates as “starstone,” and the Greek “siderite” has the same meaning. The metal from the sky obviously came from the gods and so was used for sacred blades; bits of iron were set in gold like jewels. Even after the Hittites learned to smelt iron, meteoric iron retained special value because of its celestial origin — plus, iron didn’t rust, a property now ascribed to its nickel content. For thousands of years, mortal blacksmiths could not actually liquefy iron. They charged their furnaces with ore and charcoal. Weeks later, they pulled out a spongy mass of iron still mixed with sand, slag and other bits of mineral that wouldn’t burn away. The smith had to hammer these impurities out of the hot metal.

Blacksmiths thought the spongy iron looked like a plant, so they called it a “bloom.” Every iron-working culture developed the same conceit: iron, and other metals, slowly grew in the earth as a refinement or perfection of common stone. The heat of the furnace accelerated this growth into a higher and purer form; the furnace itself was a man-made womb where the generation of life took place. By speeding the work of nature, surely the smelter had worked magic — or even seized the fire of divinity itself.

Iron’s new birth within the furnace did little to reduce the awe attached to the metal from the stars. Homer contrasted “democratic iron” with the bronze of aristocrats’ weapons and armor — but no one ever imagined that bronze would kill spirits or bring luck. Iron retains its mythic role as a symbol of strength and power: no soldier ever received the Titanium Cross. Indeed, modern Powersmiths say that science reveals greater depths to iron’s mythic power. Iron is the death of suns: the fusion process that powers stars ends when it reaches iron. Building heavier elements consumes energy instead of releasing it. Every element heavier than iron (including the other six mystic metals) is generated when a massive star dies in a supernova explosion, building heavier atoms from the iron in its dead core. One such supernova sparked the creation of the solar system, though, and iron from that dead star enables blood to carry oxygen.

Some Forge Masters give iron a different primacy. Iron nails held Christ to the Cross. Through the iron of Calvary, a single death led to life eternal. These mages would not deny the stellar significance of iron; seeing connections between theology and astrophysics is just part of being Awakened.

Whatever their faith, Forge Masters see iron as the greatest of metals. It is the metal of life and death conjoined. Iron gives humanity dominion over nature, and enslaves them to other men. Iron is power itself.


Magic

The Forge Masters see toolmaking as an innately magical act — the first magic, in fact, practiced long before Atlantis. A tool consists of more than its form and substance. A tool has purpose. Mages can detect that purpose, too, in the form of resonance. Forge Masters believe that when mages enchant objects, they build upon that resonance.

Arcana

By the nature of their Legacy, Forge Masters must study Matter and [[nWoD Mage the Awakening Arcana Prime|Prime: Matter for changes of form and substance, and [[nWoD Mage the Awakening Arcana Prime|Prime for imbuements of power. Of course, they do not limit themselves to those Arcana. All Arcana have value for the spells a Forge Master can imbue into an item, but a few have special value for helping them do their job.

Fate can link a tool or weapon to a specific person: the item knows its proper owner and does not grant its power to anyone else. More ominously, Forge Masters can create weapons fated to slay particular creatures — or people. The wonders from a Powersmith’s forge may also carry curses that fall upon people who wield them for improper ends.

Forces can amplify the impact of a weapon. Once upon a time, Powersmiths forged flaming swords and lightning-javelins for heroes to wield in their battles. Such enchantments are still known; the Paradoxes these weapons attract make them less useful than in days of yore. Forge Masters often study Forces, however, to protect themselves from the terrible heat of their furnaces and the metal they shape. Some ancient recipes for wonder-smithing require the use of an erupting volcano as a forge, as if the Powersmith were Hephaistos himself.

Story Hooks — Out of the Furnace
Ideas for Forge-Masters:
  • Unalloyed Gall: A Forge Master hired to enchant a powerful item easily becomes entangled in his client’s conflicts. Other mages may want to prevent the character from enchanting the item, or they may try stealing it before delivery to the client. The item to be imbued could be anything from a ghost-killing sword to a car that can drive into the Shadow Realm. A Powersmith who lacks all the Arcana needed to enchant the item could turn to his cabal — or other mages — for help, entangling them in turn.
  • Works of the Ancients: A clue surfaces to the location of a powerful Artifact supposedly used by a mythic Forge Master, such as the anvil on which Alberich forged the Rhinegold, or one of Hephaistos’ automaton servants. Forge Masters around the world join the hunt, drawing in any cabals to which they belong — perhaps including the players’ characters. The Seers’ Powersmiths also seek the Artifact, and they are ruthless in their pursuit.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Technology: A Powersmith starts a business that produces hightech components by magic. The devices themselves aren’t enchanted, but they are made from impossible alloys and fabricated using spells. (Employees, of course, must be Sleepwalkers or other mages.) The plan throws the local Consilium in an uproar: the Guardians of the Veil are aghast, but other mages think the business could lay the groundwork for Sleeper belief in magic. What side do the characters choose?

Space, however, is probably the Arcanum most valued by Forge Masters, outside of their Path and Legacy. They don’t care much about spirits per se (though a few Powersmiths craft fetish items or treat with spirits of mining, smelting or craftsmanship), but Powersmiths need this Arcanum to create orichalcum, lunargent and the other perfected metals they use in their finest work.

Perfected Metals

Mortals can speed the work of nature by refining ore into metal; mages can go a step further and smelt away the grosser aspects of matter. These “perfected” metals are closer to the Platonic essence of metal-ness, and therefore accept enchantment more easily.

Ordinary metals are perfected by repeatedly sending them into Twilight as ephemera and pulling them back to material form. (Some mages think this is the true meaning of the ancient alchemical formula, “Dissolve and coagulate.”) Perfecting a metal requires at least two dozen such passages back and forth. The final product has a tenth the volume and mass of the original stock of metal. Only the seven metals known to antiquity can be perfected: gold, silver, copper, iron, tin, lead and mercury.

Perfected gold, or orichalcum, has a redder hue than pure but mundane gold. Orichalcum seems to catch and hold light in its translucent depth, giving it a warm, fiery glow. Similar to mundane gold, orichalcum can be drawn into incredibly fine wires and beaten into leaf. Even the fiercest mundane acid cannot dissolve orichalcum. Lunargent, or perfected silver, is likewise translucent and holds a cool, slightly blue glow. Lunargent, too, is highly malleable and chemically inert.

Perfected mercury, or hermium, combines great density with a glittering silver gleam and perfect fluidity. In fact, hermium has the same “superfluid” properties as liquid helium: hermium can creep over the rim of a vessel to collect in a lower vessel, stir hermium and the current circles forever. Hermium flows through the smallest opening with no friction at all. Perfected copper, tin and lead are considerably less well-known to mages and have fewer known uses.

The Forge Masters, however, esteem siderite — perfected iron — above all other metals. Siderite is the strongest, toughest metal of all. It can bend like rubber and spring back into shape without the slightest trace of metal fatigue. Siderite holds an edge that never dulls. It cuts diamond and the finest mundane steel. Siderite doesn’t look special, though; its gray gleam may glitter a bit more than ordinary iron or steel, but nothing about it looks magical to the untrained eye. Meteoric iron is half-perfected already: it takes just one dozen passes through Twilight to become true siderite. The perfected metals do not have active magical powers of their own. If a mage enchants an item made of perfected metal, however, his player receives a +1 equipment bonus to all the rolls to cast the necessary spells. Each metal has its own mystic affinities, apart from physical properties that make one metal better suited than others for various purposes. The metals do not correspond neatly to particular Arcana or Practices, though: selecting the optimum metals for an item is a matter of intuition rather than charts and formulas. For instance, dull, heavy lead is often associated with Death, but lead’s ancient use as a vehicle for curses gives perfected lead an affinity for Fate as well — never mind that mages also associate Fate with lunargent, the metal of the Acanthus Watchtower. The strength of siderite, however, makes it the best perfected metal for weapons, no matter what spells the weapon bears.

Forge Masters also alloy the perfected metals. Some of these do have intrinsic magical powers of their own; thaumium is the best-known example. The Atlanteans knew dozens of perfected alloys. Modern mages know only a few. The Forge Masters study Atlantean artifacts in hopes of reconstructing the “trade secrets” of forgotten alloys. Each alloy requires its own spell of Matter and Prime to forge, however — analogous to “Forge Thaumium” (see Mage: The Awakening, p. 203).

Enchantments of the Forge

Main Article: Spells

Forge Masters know as wide a range of magic as any other mage, but crafting magic items is their reason for existence. They have few rivals in this demanding art. Over the millennia, Forge Masters gave the orders several rotes to imbue magic items or to assist in the enchantment process. These rotes are now considered Free Council rotes, though the Atlantean orders may know them, too.

Creating a magic item is a big event among Forge Masters. They don’t do it as often as they’d like because of the high personal cost (represented by the sacrifice of a dot of Willpower). Once upon a time, they believe, Powersmiths could imbue their works with magic purely through their craft and their Attainments. Now, however, a mage must place part of his Awakened soul in an item to preserve its magic. One consequence is that Forge Masters seldom waste their craft on small enchantments: they forge the most powerful and wonderful item they can. They also charge correspondingly high prices for their work, in rotes, favors and perfected metals as well as cash.

The forging of a wonder is a sufficiently rare and valued feat that any Powersmith who hears about it probably shows up to watch, kibitz and try to pick up a magical trade secret or two. Apart from Attainments, crafting magic items is the key to prestige in the Legacy. For all the rough humor among Forge Masters, they feel great respect for colleagues who have imbued metal with powerful and innovative enchantments.

Twilight Shift (Matter ••• + Prime •)

The Forge Masters’ idiosyncratic approach to magic expresses itself in their approach to grimoires. Instead of books, Forge Masters inscribe their grimoires in metal. The glyphs of a grimoire could hide in the filigree of a bracelet or the chasing of a brooch, but some Powersmiths prefer to hammer their grimoires into the metal itself. Such a grimoire shows no visible sign of its nature: to read the grimoire, a mage requires both Matter 1 and Prime 1, to sense how the mystic pattern of the rote is coded into the crystal structure of the metal.

Practice: Weaving

Action: Extended

Duration: Lasting

Aspect: Covert

Cost: None

Other than the use of Matter to impress the rote’s pattern into an object rather than a written form, this spell works the same as Inscribe Grimoire (see Mage: The Awakening, p. 220).

Free Council Rote: Hephaistan Hallmark

Dice Pool: Intelligence + Craft + Matter

A Forge Master brought the Free Council this rote, which enables a mage to turn any object of metal into a grimoire. The only visible sign to alert other mages to the hidden grimoire is a symbol stamped in the metal. The symbol itself is not magical; it is typically the mage’s personal monogram. Many variations are possible. For instance, a Powersmith could bind a rote into a ring, re-learn the rote and so gain the grimoire’s benefit to casting the rote whenever he wore the ring. Forge Masters in the Adamantine Arrow sometimes turn weapons into grimoires, so they can gain the same benefit by turning the rote mudra into a weapon-flourish. A few Guardians of the Veil use this rote to record their secrets.


Primal Transfer (Prime ••••)

One problem with crafting magic items for other mages is the loss of psychic force — of one’s very soul — involved in letting go of a spell so other people can use the item. An Adept of Prime, however, can demand that a client give of herself to assist in the item’s enchantment: the client, not the mage himself, sacrifices a dot of Willpower to make the spell independent.

Practice: Patterning

Action: Instant and contested; target rolls Composure + Gnosis reflexively

Duration: Lasting

Aspect: Vulgar

Cost: 1 Mana

Sacrificing a dot of Willpower is so deep and traumatic an experience that this spell (and associated rote) only succeeds if the target knowingly assists the mage. Even then, the character’s player must win a contested roll of the Forge Master’s Gnosis + Prime against the target’s Composure + Gnosis, for the soul resists giving up part of itself.

Free Council Rote: Blood Quenching

Dice Pool: Resolve + Empathy + Prime

Forge Masters sometimes demand that a client literally pay in blood. As part of this rote, the Powersmith bids his client to pierce her own flesh and let her blood drip onto the hot metal during the tempering process. With the blood and the taps of his hammer (actually the mudras of the rote), the Forge Master draws power from the client’s soul and forces it into the enchanted metal.


Attainments

The Attainments of the Forge Masters strengthen the metaphysical imbuement of purpose that distinguishes a tool from unshaped matter. At first, a Powersmith can work only a slight augmentation to make a tool or weapon subtly better at fulfilling its purpose, whatever that may be. Later, the Forge Master can strengthen this subtle power enough that an item can affect incorporeal entities. The greatest Powersmiths live up to their nickname by creating magic items from primal energy itself.

A Forge Master could perform all these feats through force of will, but he would wrench reality by doing so. The subtle magic of this Legacy, however, builds on the basic fact that a skilled artisan can improve whatever he works upon. To use each Attainment, a Forge Master must spend at least a turn testing, maintaining or otherwise fiddling with the item he wants to enchant. The character can obtain longer-lasting results by a full scene of mundane-seeming work on the item. For example, a Forge Master might sharpen a blade or tune a pickup truck’s engine.

These Attainments work best on items principally made of metal, since that is the Legacy’s focus. Nevertheless, a Forge Master can use his Attainments on tools and weapons of other materials. Instead of a day, however, the effects last only one scene after the mage finishes his work, and he must expend one Mana (on top of any other cost). In any case, these Attainments cannot affect anything with a Size greater than 15. Any larger target requires actual spellcasting, with all the risks that entails.

1st: (The Master’s Hand)

Prerequisites: Gnosis 3, Prime 2, Matter 2, Craft 3

The knowing hand of a master craftsman can work away slight imperfections in a tool, improving its performance. A knife becomes sharper, a gun better balanced, a car handles better; even a hairpin can become a better lockpick, or a metal flute gains a sweeter tone. Whatever the Forge Master works upon gains the “9 again” quality, as if he had used the Matter 2 “Alter Accuracy” spell (see Mage: The Awakening, p. 196). The mage’s Prime dots determine the maximum number of rolls within the next day for which the item can gain this effect.

The improvement to function becomes most obvious, perhaps, with weapons. Any task gains a greater chance of success, however, if performed with tools improved by The Master’s Hand. For instance, a car given a magical tuneup performs better in a chase or other challenging conditions (“9 again” on Dexterity + Drive), improvised tools let an amateur pick locks like an experienced burglar (Dexterity + Larceny) and a musician gives a better performance on the cleaned and slightly modified flute (Manipulation + Expression). Obviously, any repair attempt becomes more likely to succeed using augmented tools, so a sensible Powersmith carefully burnishes and tests his tools before important mechanical tasks.

In addition, a Forge Master automatically sees the enchantments on enhanced items, imbued items and artifacts, as if he used the Prime 1 “Analyze Enchanted Item” spell (see Mage: The Awakening, pp. 219–220), but rolling Intelligence + Occult + Prime. That a made object bears enchantment is as obvious as its color; analyzing the enchantment still requires the dice roll. This mystical sense does not detect magic not associated with objects shaped by intelligence; for example, this sense won’t register an active Hallow. To sense other magical auras, a Forge Master needs to use normal spells or rotes.

2nd: (Primal Tempering)

Prerequisites: Gnosis 5, Prime 3, Craft 4

As a Powersmith gains in mastery, he can strengthen the power of will and purpose in any man-made object to make it realer than real: it becomes metaphysically potent enough to affect Twilight and Shadow entities such as ghosts and spirits. This acts like the Prime 3 “Ephemeral Enchantment” spell (see Mage: The Awakening, p. 225), except no roll is required. The mage’s dots in Prime serve as the number of successes. Primal Tempering lasts a scene if performed as an instant action, or a full day if the Forge Master works on the object for a full scene. Only one object receives the subtle enchantment, so if a Forge Master wanted to enchant extra ammunition for a gun, he would need to spend an additional scene or action using Primal Tempering on each magazine. A suit of armor counts as one entity because one person wears the various pieces, but a suit of armor and a shield would nevertheless require separate enchantments.

A Forge Master with Prime 5 can endow an object with the power to inflict aggravated damage. This still requires a user who can supply the item with Mana, however, or the Powersmith can grant the item its own Mana reserve.

The metaphysical density given by Primal Tempering extends to more than attack and defense. The object becomes as real and solid to incorporeal entities as it is in the material world. Not only does Primally Tempered armor blocks a spirit’s attacks, but an entity in Twilight could push the keys of a Primally Tempered typewriter to type a message, or the entity might find a Primally Tempered steel box as hard to escape as a mortal would. The Storyteller should judge such cases based on the purpose of the object: a spirit could type on the typewriter but not pick it up to batter a material foe, because a typewriter exists to write, not to be used as a bludgeon — and that reason for existence is what Primal Tempering strengthens so it extends into spiritual realms.

This Attainment also grants a small benefit to the “Imbue Item” spell or “Forge of Power” rote (see Mage: The Awakening, pp. 225–226), though the Attainment’s benefit does not substitute for the rote or spell. For a Forge Master with this Attainment, enchanting a magic item always counts as covert magic, even if the spells stored in the item are vulgar. Using the item can still cause Paradoxes.

Optional Arcana (Matter 3):

While granting an object Primal Tempering, a Forge Master with Matter 3 can also increase the object’s Durability by as many points as his rank in Matter, much as if he used Alter Integrity (see Mage: The Awakening, p. 198). Similar to the basic Primal Tempering, this requires the mage to work on the object in some mundane way.

3rd: (Primal Forge)

Prerequisites: Gnosis 7, Prime 4, Craft 5

At the apex of the Legacy’s power, a Forge Master no longer needs a forge. He has so internalized the power of toolmaking that he can conjure weapons, armor or simple mechanical devices from pure Mana or tass. A Powersmith cannot conjure a device with its own power source (no automobiles or electric drills), and nothing much more complicated than a push-lawnmower or combination lock. The mage’s rating in Prime acts as the relevant factors for whatever the Forge Master creates. An item that lasts only a scene takes a turn to conjure; if the Powersmith spends a full scene, he can create an item that lasts a full day, and, in addition, give the item Primal Tempering or imbue it with spells. Any spells cast into the conjured item still count toward the mage’s normal number of spells in use. Nevertheless, sometimes it’s extremely useful to conjure a powerful magic sword — even if it only lasts a day.

Optional Arcana (Matter 4):

If the Forge Master is also an Adept of Matter, anything conjured by the Primal Forge also gains additional Durability, as with the Matter-based advantage to Primal Tempering. The Attainment can also conjure items of siderite and other perfected metals. This makes conjured items easier to temporarily imbue with spells (thanks to the +1 equipment bonus to spellcasting). A conjured item of siderite does not gain still more Durability for its substance: the object is still, after all, just a very good illusion.