One of the great magical gifts found in the Orc bloodline is literally their blood. Magic flows in their veins and blood is a vessel of magic. Some orcs are gifted with arcane powers that allow them to cast spells without the rote learning of imperial academies. And if they are willing, they can spill their own blood to further enhance their power. For hundreds of years, blood mages used their gifts to help the crops grow, to heal the sick, and find the lost. But as the war with the Empire grew more and more in the humans' favor and the tide of war turned, the orcs grew desperate. Instead of spilling a little of their own blood, many blood mages took to more powerful magics through sacrificing the lives of their own. They began with volunteers at first: the old and infirm, and maimed warriors that were willing to give their lives for their people. In time, as the orc numbers dwindled, it became a desperate struggle for their own survival, and many orc lives were taken in the supposed defense of their own kind.
Blood magic is greatly misunderstood outside of orc culture, and even orcs themselves do not view it kindly. It has been many centuries since the last scourging of the orcs by the Empire, but the history of the blood mages still lingers. Blood was the symbol of life and creation, but unfortunately also of pain, suffering, and death.
Due to the raw forces of life and the pain usually associated with blood magic, a Critical Failure causes the blood mage to suffer an adverse effect:
|2||Catastrophe: Something goes terribly wrong. The GM must decide what, but some ideas are a new and permanent Minor Hindrance, the inability to use powers for several days, or an explosion of some sort. The backlash should be thematic if possible. He might become corrupted or summon something sinister into the world, or he might develop a Quirk, Phobia, or other "madness."|
|3||Backfire: The power succeeds as with a raise but affects a different target with the worst possible results. A bolt hits a random friend, boost Trait increases an enemy’s skill or attribute, etc. If there's no likely target, he’s Stunned instead. If the power has a Duration other than Instant, it lasts its full term and can only be negated by dispel (the caster can't voluntarily end it herself).|
|4‑5||Short Circuit: The power fails but the Power Points allocated to it are spent, along with an additional 1d6 Power Points.|
|6‑8||Stunned: The caster is Stunned. She subtracts 2 from arcane skill rolls for the rest of the encounter (the penalty remains –2 even if she gets this result again).|
|9‑10||Overload: The character’s synapses crackle and overload with power. He takes 2d6 damage plus the cost of the power in Power Points, including any Power Modifiers the player declared.|
|11||Fatigue: The character suffers Fatigue.|
|12||Overcharge: The power draws ambient energy from the air, automatically succeeding against the target with a raise and costing the caster no Power Points!|
Not So Welcome
Blood magic is misunderstood and seen as evil. The blood mage starts with a Minor Hindrance that best matches the character, e.g. Secret, Outsider, Wanted, Ugly. Either her power is not yet know and she holds it secret, or the powers left a clear mark on her (a birth mark, dark hairs, scars), or she is renown for using blood magic.
If a power is successfully activated while the blood mage touches the blood of her target, the target is considered Vulnerable for her arcane skill roll (+2 to calculate opposed rolls and raises).
The blood may come from a blade from a previous attack, from an open wound on the recipient, a pool of blood on the ground, or a bloodletting she just performed. The blood must be quite fresh (not dried) to keep its magic.
Dark mages use such links to subvert their enemies, while white mages use it to better heal or empower their allies.
When using blood, a blood mage has several options:
- Scratch: the blood mage receives a +1 bonus to the arcane skill roll, but becomes Shaken immediately after the activation roll.
- Wound: the blood mage inflicts one or more Wounds on himself, but no more the would render him Incapacitated. Each inflicted Wound provides a +2 bonus to the arcane skill roll. Inflicted wounds are suffered immediately after the activation roll. Because these Wounds do not come from actual damage, they cannot be Soaked.
- Small Animals: killing an animal or non-sentient creature of Size -2 or smaller adds +1 to the activation roll. Only one creature can be sacrificed during a power activation.
- Large Animals: killing an animal or non-sentient creature of Size -1 or higher adds +2 to the activation roll. Only one creature can be sacrificed during a power activation.
- Sentient: killing a sentient creature adds +4 to the activation roll (or +2 if the creature is not in good health). Such sacrifices are usually considered evil. Only one creature can be sacrificed during a power activation.