Sorcery is the power of the soul.
When you weave a sorcery, you take its burden directly to your spirit. While it is there, you are changed. You can rebuke the supernatural and twist reality in minor ways. And, of course, you can work sorceries proper--though once you have worked them, your soul is empty and it will be a while before you can gain such power back.
Masterful sorcerers spend years increasing their spirit's burden-limits. The more sorceries they can keep inside themselves, ready to be woven, the more they can See and the more they can Do.
Should one decide to embark on the esoteric path of the sorcerer, they will find they are entering into a world where everyone knows half the rules, and the half they don't know can kill them in a heartbeat. It is dangerous. It pumps the adrenaline like no other task. And its rewards are as strange as they are grand.
(Anything with an asterisk * refers to 5E conversion stuff found at the bottom of this post)
Pick up 1d12. This is your Sorcery Die. Any time a sorcery will do damage or otherwise require a roll, you will roll your Sorcery Die and add your total character levels to the roll.*
Your soul can only handle performing a number of sorceries equal to your character levels + your Charisma modifier. Once you've performed your maximum number of sorceries, it costs 12 HP for each additional sorcery performed. As long as you have sorceries that you can still cast without spending hit points, you are considered HEIGHTENED.
You can return to your heightened state by performing one of the following refreshes. Roll 1d12 everytime you run out of sorceries to see which refresh must be performed.
- While smoking opium, confront a hallucination of yourself and cannibalize it.
- Shove forty needles into your thighs and drink the blood.
- Map the stars and convince them to align in such a way as to create disaster.
- Temporarily blind and deafen yourself for eight hours.
- Kill as many insects and small animals within an 8 hour period as you can.
- Steal a kiss from a mystical creature.
- Severe two identical fingers from your hand and swap and reattach them.
- Snort a powder consisting of bone ash, black lotus, and crushed queen bees.
- Take a selection of spiders and have them bite your tongue. Then swallow them all.
- Create and smell an incense or perfume mixed with your blood and a single heartstring.
- Consume the seeds of a plant that will blossom in your stomach.
- Poison yourself so that you appear dead for 8 hours.
Surely your players will ask how these things are possible. If the player has magical regents already, they can do all of these refreshes once. Beyond doing a specific refresh once, they will need to find ways to replicate that refresh again.
While heightened, you are different. In addition to having one of the quirks listed at the end of this section, you have numerous benefits that you can make use of.
When a magical effect from a spell or another sorcery manifests that you are aware of, roll your sorcery die and add the number of sorceries you can still cast to the roll. If you roll a 12 or higher, that effect ends instantly. If it is a continuous effect, you must do this 3 times to end the effect. A failed roll on a continuous effect mean you cannot break it for another 24 hours.
Tear Their Spiritual Firmament
A creature that you see must save vs magic or suffer your sorcery die in damage***. You must be able to see the creature, and the damage manifests directly to the creatures soul, bypassing any defenses they may have.
Know the Esoteria of All Things
When you see an esotery, a magical item, mystical creature, or a spell being cast, roll your sorcery die and add the number of sorceries you can still cast to the roll. On a 12 or higher, you know the exact effects, both mechanically and narratively, of whatever it is that you're trying to identify.
Shed Curses as Snakes Shed Skins
If you are the target of a curse, you can temporarily end its effects on you for 24 hours. To do this, you must sacrifice half (rounded up) of all maximum amount of sorcery performances. If you successfully do this for 30 days, the curse will be permanently broken.
Eat Sorcery to be Sorcerous
If you feast on a sorcerous or mystical creature enough to do at least 12 points of damage to it, you can perform 1 sorcery without having to mark it towards your limit. These effects stack, but you cannot eat your own flesh to do this.
- Whenever you blink, your iris, pupil, and the sclera change color and sometimes develop patterns.
- Wherever you walk, lotuses blossom from your footsteps before dying.
- It is storming. Violently. Always.
- Everything you look at is dyed various shadows of purple and black. Others see this as well, not just you.
- Mammals are terrified of you but insects are attracted to you in swarms.
- Stars are always streaking through the sky, even during the day.
- Filth and dirt cannot stick to you or your garments.
- Whenever your arms move, afterimages of them float in the air for several seconds. Each afterimage is a different color.
- A crown of horns, feathers, or lotus petals bursts from your skull.
- Your touch sends waves of both excruciating pain and ecstasy through those that you touch.
- Strange tattoos of odd creatures and symbols appear on your body. They crawl across your skin.
- When you speak, the sounds of a chorus echo after your words.
You begin with 2 sorceries known. When you increase in level, roll your sorcery die and add your Charisma modifier. If you get a 12 or higher, you learn a new sorcery. Ignore this and replace this with spells learned if playing the 5E Sorcerer.
Sorceries cannot be recorded in spellbooks, spell scrolls, or through any other method. The only way to learn them is through exploration of the magic of the soul or being taught directly by another sorcerer.
BEING BORN SORCEROUS
Every PC has a 10% chance of being born sorcerous. This indicates that they have a mytstical ancestor, or that some strange force has seeped into their spirit. If playing 5E, just take the Sorcerer class instead. For NPCs, 1 out of every 1 million humans is born sorcerous.
To You I Gift the Kiss of Ages
Roll your sorcery die. You either age forwards or backwards the number of years you rolled. The next creature or object you touch must save vs magic or age that number of years multiplied by your total character levels. As this happens, you return to your original age. If the creature remains alive or the object is not destroyed, it moves 1 year closer to its original age for every hour that passes after they are affected by this sorcery.
Bring Out the Truth of Your Being
A creature that you are looking at must save vs magic or manifest a strange, supernatural trait such as horns, iridescent skin, burning eyes, multiple mouths, or something similar. Whenever the creature tells a lie, attempts to become invisible, or attempts to change their shape, this feature will force anyone within 100 feet of the afflicted creature to look directly at it. Roll your sorcerer die. The trait disappears in a number of hours equal to the number rolled.
I Will Now Bleed Across the Visual Spectrum
Roll your sorcery die. You can only be seen through one of the following ways:
- Infrared vision.
- Dark vision.
- True sight.
- Through glasses with blackened lenses.
- By those who are at 1 HP.
- By those who are naturally blind.
- Witch's sight (the ability to see through illusions).
- Devil's sight (the ability to see through magical darkness).
- Through a blindfold made out of butterfly wings.
- Through smoke or incense.
- By those who are cursed.
Hold Not the Tale of Genesis in Thy's Heart
When you hear a creature speak or otherwise make an audible sound, you can force it to save vs magic. If it fails, it will begin to tell you everything of note it has done within the last few hours. The number of hours is dictated by a roll of your sorcery die. That creature will continue to speak even if dead as long as it was alive before the sorcery was performed upon it.
For 5E Peeps
* - Add your Charisma modifier instead of your character levels.
** - Either replace the Sorcerer classes metamagic feature with this, or use these 5 features in order to form a Sorcerous Origin. If you go the metamagic route, each metamagic costs 2 sorcery points to use. Pick them as if they were normal metamagics.
*** - Save vs Magic=Con Save. Damage is force damage.
**** - The # here represents that is a 5th level spell in a Vancian system, such as 5E's own. There are no components--the sorcerer is the component.
***** - Spells that effect you and last for more than an instant effect are considered concentration.
Additionally - This replaces the spellcasting feature for the Sorcerer class, as well as their spell list. Even a Bard's magical secrets cannot learn these spells.