Friday, September 6, 2019

Chromatomancy: the Colors of Magic

Wizards pretend that magic follows laws and can be uncovered through careful experiment, but that's all for the benefit of their donors. True power is felt, is meant, is inspired like the greatest works of a generation. Color is a power all its own - more than drab fractions of sunlight, it taps into the most primal parts of the mortal mind, and brings out the best, worst, and strangest in all of us.

A collaboration with Micah of Nuclear Haruspex!

The Chromatomancer
(by Algen Fleger)

"It's the arcane arts, not the arcane sciences. Now sit down, if you please, and turn your head just ever so slightly..."

Perk: You know the secrets of paint-mixing and spectrum subversion. For each wizard template you have or gain, learn a Color of Magic at random. With access to a studio, you can mix that color of paint, and you can manipulate it in your spells as if it was part of the visual spectrum.

Downside: You must suffer for your art. You only have access to one Magic Die unless you’re under the influence of drugs, illness, exhaustion, heartbreak, or some other mind-affecting condition.

Enhanced Spectrum: Your rainbow extends far outside the drab, peasant visual spectrum. You have not only ultraviolet and infrared vision, but hypergreen and metablue as well. This lets you see spells that would otherwise be invisible.

Take Commissions: All things considered, your magic makes you a half-decent artist. You can make provocative art that sells for 10*(templates)gp while you’re in town. When you do, pick a group who will pay for it, and an opposed group who'll take issue with it. If the opposed group finds out you're making it, they'll try to get you to stop. Violently.

“It’s so deep, man, you wouldn’t understand”: You can convince others of the worthiness and inherent artistic value of virtually anything so long as you don’t stop talking. CHA test every five minutes you do this to keep your audience engaged.

1. Turn to Art
Range: touch; Target: object or creature with (dice) or fewer HD; Duration: (sum) minutes/hours/days/years (1/2/3/4 dice)
Target becomes an object of art for the duration. You can choose the type of art, though it must retain the target’s equivalent dimensions. The target’s HD determines the quality of the art; 1 HD may be a slapdash effort, while 5 HD would be a masterpiece. Creatures get a save to resist, and another save each time unit (based on duration). Damage or changes to the artwork are retained by the target when it returns to its base form.

2. Animate Scribble
Range: touch; Target: scribble you drew; Duration: (sum) minutes
Touch a scribble on the ground, wall, or other surface and animate it to do your artistic bidding. The scribble may be small/medium/large/humongous (1/2/3/4 dice), and acts according to your wishes. A doglike scribble can run and bite, a squidlike scribble can grab onto things, etc. The scribble has the following stats: (dice) HD, and 8 in each ability score with (sum) points to distribute between them as you choose.

3. Chromatic Form
Range: touch; Target: self; Duration: (sum) minutes
You turn a collection of up to (dice)+1 colors of your choice. You can change the pattern of these colors during the duration, but not which colors you’ve chosen. For each color that matches the color of the area, you get +2 to stealth rolls. You can also rapidly modulate these colors, creating a dazzling effect that confuses and confounds those looking at you (WIS save or they’re blinded for a round, works (dice) times on targets).

4. Interior Design 
Range: touch; Target: flat surface; Duration: until removed/defaced
Paint a new feature of the area on the surface, like a passageway, small room, or pit trap. It must project into the surface, and cannot be more than (sum) ft in any dimension. You can paint items into the feature, but they cannot be removed from the painting and cannot affect anyone outside. If you’re making a passageway through a surface, you must know and paint what’s on the other side. The longer you spend painting it, the less likely others are to notice it’s a painting. Anyone who knows that it’s a painting can choose to be unaffected by it.

5. Prismatic Spray
Range: 100’; Target: (sum) points; Duration: instant
Up to [dice]+1 beams of colored light project from your hand and burn whatever they touch, dealing (sum) damage total divided as you choose between the beams. You may have all the beams deal one damage type of your choice, or each deal a different type chosen at random.

Beam Effects
1. Red. Fire.
2. Orange. Bludgeoning.
3. Yellow. Lightning.
4. Green. Acid.
5. Blue. Cold.
6. Indigo. Psychic.
7. Violet. Necrotic.
8-9. Esoteric (a random Color of Magic you know).
10. Struck twice. Roll a d8 two times.

6. Chiaroscuro
Range: 100’; Target: (dice)*2 points; Duration: (sum) minutes
Create (dicr) points of bright light and (dice) points of utter darkness, that cast light/shadow around them within (dice)*5’. You can control the colors of the light, and which points are in light or shadow, but you cannot move them once they have been placed.

7. Surreal Form
Range: self; Target: self; Duration: (sum) minutes
Become (dice)+2 colors in a garish, jagged patten. You can also interact with objects and creatures within artworks as if they were real. Furthermore, choose (dice) of the following effects.
Become 2-dimensional. You can be invisible to anyone looking at you head-on
Exaggerate one of your features to excessive powers and proportions
Gain a new ability based on one of your personality traits
Take on a great and terrible meaning. Instill a complex emotion in those who gaze upon your visage (they get a save against harmful effects).

8. Prismatic Orb
Range: 100'; Target: point; Duration: (sum) rounds
Create a glowing rainbow orb at a point within range. It fires (dice) beams (as ranged spell attacks) at random targets (including allies) within 10' each round. You can move the orb 30' per round. Roll a d10 for the damage type of each beam; they deal (sum) damage.

Beam Effects
1. Red. Fire.
2. Orange. Bludgeoning.
3. Yellow. Lightning.
4. Green. Acid.
5. Blue. Cold.
6. Indigo. Psychic.
7. Violet. Necrotic.
8-9. Esoteric (a random Color of Magic you know).
10. Struck twice. Roll a d8 two times.

9. Duplicart
Range: touch; Target: object or creature with (dice) or fewer HD; Duration: (sum) minutes/hours/days/months (1/2/3/4 dice)
Takes the same duration to create as it will last. Create a copy of the target, made of art supplies you can acquire on hand. You can make (dice) edits to its physical qualities or what it carries. It behaves as the original would given the new edits. When the duration ends, it returns to its nature as a mere artistic creation and loses any properties gained this way.

10. Raise Dead Movement
Range: 10^(dice)’ radius; Target: area; Duration: (sum) minutes/hours/days/years (1/2/3/4 dice)
You bestow the style and qualities of a passe art movement upon the area. You can pick the movement any from the following list that your dice showed the corresponding number of (so if your dice show 2 and 3, you can pick movement 2 or movement 3). In the area, your artwork in that style behaves as if it was real, and you can edit things in the area with your art supplies (if you can physically perform those edits). At 3+ dice, you can enforce your own movement and qualities instead of one from the list.

1. Dada. Nothing has meaning. Creatures must WIS save to perceive any sort of cause and effect.
2. Numinism, evoking the raw power of divinity in artistic covenant. Summon a petty god of the current situation. It’s all-powerful over the area, capricious, and won’t follow your orders unless you sacrifice to it.
3. Prehistoricism. The art-before-art, the first movement, the dawn of pretension. The area is transported back to how it was in a past geologic era. Things that didn’t exist then are transmuted into their nearest period-appropriate equivalent.
4. Inhibitism, the art that constrains the viewer. You can enact (dice) new laws within the space. Breaking one causes (sum) damage (CHA save for half).
5. Post-Spectralism. Light and life were once both considered beneath the consideration of true artists. They painted death in uncolors from beyond the pale. Everyone in the area becomes a ghost of themself, intangible, weightless, and driven by their darkest passions.
6. Icosahedronism. The platonic form, triangles upon and within each other. It reveals truths about the structure of the world better left unremarked upon. Roll (sum) d20s when you cast the spell. You may substitute any of them for your d20 rolls in the space. Use each result only once. Any remaining results will substitute for your next rolls once the spell ends.

Emblem Spells
11. Summon Installation
Range: 10*(dice)’ radius; Target: area; Duration: until destroyed
For every (dice) hours you spend building a piece of installation art here, you can imbue the installation with one of the following effects.
- Apply one of the Movement effects of Raise Dead Movement
- Everyone in the space gains 1 additional MD which they can use to cast a single non-Emblem Chromatomancer spell of your choice
- The installation applies a Color of Magic to the area and everything in it
- Instill a powerful emotion upon all who gaze upon it

12. Mass Inspiration
Range: 100’; Target: (sum) creatures and yourself; Duration: instant
The targets are afflicted with inspiration. Until they have realized their visions, they must save or work tirelessly to create utterly incomprehensible artworks. They will use any materials at hand, up to and including themselves and each other. This takes (sum) rounds/minutes/hours/days (1/2/3/4 dice). Any completed works are truly unique and visionary, likely sellable for vast sums or (for the less inclined to sell out) meditatable upon for insights into the fundamental truths of mortal existence or the firmament of the universe.

1. Erased. Lose a random item on your person.
2. Colorblinded. Lose your paracolor vision, and your senses are all dulled. Take disadvantage on sensory tests until you daily rest.
3. Washed Out. -2 to a random ability score until next daily rest.
4. Discolored. Gain a mutation from color you accidentally splash on yourself. If you don’t wash it off within the day, save or it becomes permanent.
5. Artist’s Block. Can’t cast spells until you create a work of art (takes at least an hour).
6. Lost in the Depths. You’re overcome with the significance of your own work. Become utterly pretentious until someone’s knocked some sense into you.

1. You become addicted to inspiration. If you go a week without seeing something that you then proceed to make art of, take -2 to a random ability score (regained once you create art from inspiration).
2. Art consumes your motives. Your passions are entirely funneled towards creation, with none left for self-sustenance or relationships with others. You cannot gain the benefits of rests unless you are creating art during them, and even then you regain HP at disadvantage.
3. You and your art are inseparable. Become a being of raw creative force; a monster with no purpose or drive other than to create your magnum opus. You are removed from the game, cocoon yourself in paints and canvas, then emerge as a monstrous creature and become an NPC, hostile to anyone and anything that would stand in the way of your art.    

The Spectrum of Magic
1. DevouRed. It eats light, and sound, and smell, and thought. Pulls your eye towards it, then pulls you in. Observers slowly become transfixed, unable to perceive anything besides devouRed. The maws of ghouls and krakens, the most poignant works of the Inhibitist movement, and the gates of Hell - all devouRed.
2. ᵒʳᵃⁿᵍᵉ. The smallest color. Anything painted ᵒʳᵃⁿᵍᵉ is perceived as and behaves as if it was half its size, though it’s still the size it originally was.
3. Wolley. An uncolor, the absence of a specific hue of ochre, or ochre corrupted. Hasturized milk is this color. Eyes slip right over wolley, unless drawn to it by one who already knows it’s there.
4. Auric. Gold is the metal by which all value is judged, and auric is its hue. Something painted auric takes on the value of the color, rather than its own. Of course, you cannot get something from nothing (except with certain quite forbidden magics), and so this costs an equivalent amount of gold. 10gp of auric paint will make something fully coated in that paint cost (fairly, and without further trickery or barter) 10gp.
5. Groon. The brown-green-grey-yellow-purple of things rotting in the deepest darks, covered in pus and decay. It feels spongy to the touch no matter the surface, and things sink into its pungent shades like quicksand. Prolonged exposure forces saves vs. nausea, then infection with groon, then necrosis into groon sludge.
6. Turquoi. An open question. An unverifiable claim. A mind open and unfillable; the curiosity of sky-watchers and seafarers. Turquoi things move faster and travel further before needing repairs or resupply, so long as they have never been there before.
7. Undigo. Undoes, unmakes, brings things to their end - or perhaps to their neverbeens. Undigo things move backwards through their time-tracks, at one second per second. This erases the memories and skills of living things, and repainting an item from undigo to a new shade is dangerous business. Time claims its own, and all is Time's, whether in beginning or end.
8. Ultraviolent. The color of violence, and of blood shed in the fires of passion or rages of war. Hurts to look at, deeper shades hurt more.
9. Vantabeige. Utter neutral. The color of law. Things painted in this shade instill a sense of profound boredom, if your eye can remain on them at all. One can gaze at a vantabeige wall for hours on end, in a stupor to rival any magical sleep.
10. Argent. Realer and more tangible than other colors. Locks things not only against magic, but trickery and sleight of hand. All dealings with argent things must be above-board, honest, and straightforward. Violence is the most honest and straightforward tool of all.
11. Null. Colorless. The uncolor. Leaches color from the universe. Items painted null don’t even turn greyscale (white, black, and grey are all colors, after all) - they truly lose all hue and shade, turning a mono-un-chrome undifferentiable from other null objects. A person colored null slowly loses all other definition - personality, then emotions, then physical form as they dissolve into more null paint.
12. Octarine. The color of magic, which all are familiar with even if only through stories.

Mixing colors from the spectrum of magic may create entirely new colors, or turn you new and exciting shades of dead. As spells are living creatures, magic hues live a sort of half-life, and are as temperamental as the thinned-out and forgotten ghosts of artists who never made it big.


  1. This begs for some sort of "Summon the Color Out of Space" ability!



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