Cantrips are the complex ways of faerie magic (also referred to as Draocht by some Grumps), that are used by modern Changelings. While Cantrips are not a new invention, they have become the only alternative since the Shattering, as the high levels of Banality make Unleashing impossible without being Undone.
In essence, casting a Cantrip involves the manipulation of Glamour, both in the Dreaming and in the mortal world (naturally, using Cantrips in the Dreaming is somewhat easier). A changeling sparks his own internal Glamour and thereby creates a link with the Dreaming - a link strong enough that he can draw upon and form the raw stuff of the Dreaming to suit his desires.
Before the Cantrip is used, the Changeling has to whether his Cantrip is to affect only chimerical beings (which would make it a chimerical Cantrip) or is also meant to target beings in the Autumn World (which would make it a Wyrd Cantrip). Wyrd Cantrips always cost Glamour upon activation.
The actual Cantrip is divided into two parts:
- Arts - the way of shaping Glamour to a desired end to manipulate the world
- Realms - the objects the Changeling can influence via his art. Changelings may attempt to use more than one Realm in their Cantrip
After that, the Cantrip is theoretically ready to be used. However, the Glamour must be stabilized, lest it desintegrates.
This is achieved via a Bunk, an action that establishes a link to the Dreaming. Bunks vary from Changeling to Changeling and from Cantrip to Cantrip. Some involve long procedures, while other are as simple as clapping your hands.
Basic Cantrip Casting
There are many factors that go into the casting of a cantrip. Beyond choosing Art and Realm, one must decided if the effect is Wyrd or Chimerical, and whether the target is enchanted or mundane
1: Choose an Art
The first thing a changeling must do when casting cantrips is to choose an Art. There can never be more than one Art involved in the casting of a cantrip. The player must describe the effect they wish to create. All Arts are defined as being either Wyrd or Chimerical. Chimerical Arts are those that have only chimerical effects, or effects so subtle that the unenchanted won't notice things out of the ordinary. Wyrd effects have physical, noticeable effects in the mundane world.
2: Choose a Realm(s)
Player and Storyteller decide the Realm needed to cast the cantrip based on the effect described. The realm typically describes the target that is affected (though some Realms are incompatible with certain Arts). It is possible to use multiple realms. Modifier realms (like Time or Scene) are also applied at this time.
3: Determine Dice Pool
The Dice Pool is determined by adding the appropriate Attribute (determined by the Art being used) to the level fo the Realm being used. This gives a total number of dice that can be rolled for the cantrip. If the character's rating in a Realm is higher than the level needed for the cantrip, all levels of the realm are still added to the dice pool.
4: Choose a Bunk
The player must now declare the Bunk that the character performs. The nature of the Bunk is determined by the Art and Realm(s) being used. See the article on Bunks for Difficulty Modifiers, requirement, and examples.
5: Determine Difficulty
The base difficulty to affect a target is equal to the target's Banality + 4. When casting a cantrip on an inanimate object the difficulty is equal to the caster's Banality + 4. A changeling casting a cantrip on another changeling gains one free success (even if no successes are rolled on the dice). A changeling who is the subject of a cantrip may invoke their own Banality in order to ignore this automatic success. Changelings who employ this method of defense gain one point of temporary Banality each time they do so.
Casting cantrips is always difficult when mortal witnesses are present. The base difficulty for casting any cantrip when mortals are present is equal to the highest Banality + 5. If numerous particularly banal mortals are present, the Storyteller may wish to further increase the difficulty.
6: Determine Glamour Cost
Numerous factors determine the Glamour cost for casting a cantrip. The following guidelines should be used to determine the final cost of using a cantrip.
- All Wyrd cantrips cost one Glamour.
- Chimerical cantrips cast on enchanted beings or inanimate objects cost no Glamour, though the player may still spend additional Glamour to lower the difficulty of the casting.
- Any cantrip cast on a banal target costs one Glamour (This is NOT cumulative with the cost for casting a Wyrd cantrip.) Banal targets include mortals, unenchanted supernatural beings, and anyone without a Glamour Trait rating (including changelings who have fallen into the Forgetting).
- Casting a cantrip without a bunk requires the expenditure of one Glamour.
- Up to five points of Glamour may be spent to lower the casting difficulty.
- Using a modifier Realm (Scene or Time) costs an additional point of Glamour.
The total cost for casting a cantrip must be paid before the cantrip goes into effect. If a character cannot pay the total cost (either with their own Glamour or Dross), the cantrip fails, though no Glamour points are lost.
7: Make Roll & Apply Results
At this point, the player rolls the character's dice pool to determine if the cantrip succeeds. If so, effects of the cantrip are applied to the subject. Chimerical cantrips affect only a changeling's fae mien and chimerical objects and creatures, or are subtle enough to go unnoticed by mortals. Wyrd cantrips affect both the real and chimerical worlds; thus, a Holly Strike cantrip affects a local policeman and a chimerical dragon equally.
Advanced Cantrip Rules
The Scene and Time Realms are most often used to modify the effects of a cantrip. Time can be used to create a time delay on a cantrip, causing it to come into effect long after the changeling has left the area; the equivalent of a magical time bomb. Though the usefulness of this may not be readily apparent, careful examination of this Realm will reveal that it can be extraordinarily useful.
Scene allows a kithain to affect a number of creatures or objects in a given area. The changeling must still use the appropriate Realm(s) needed to affect those within the scene. For example, if the faerie wants to affect all the mortals in a room, they must use the appropriate level of the Actor Realm in conjunction with the Scene Realm.
Whenever a character uses a modifier realm, the player must spend an additional point of Glamour, and the difficulty to cast a cantrip increases by one. Additionally, if a Scene Realm is used to cast a cantrip that has a physical effect (it doesn't matter if the cantrip is chimerical or wyrd), the difficulty increases by one for each target affected after the first.
It is possible to apply more than one Realm to the casting of a cantrip. In such cases, the player must decide which Realm is primary (usually apparent according to the nature of the cantrip cast). For each additional Realm that can be applied, the difficulty of the cantrip is lowered by one. Though the character must possess the appropriate level of the Realm, their total level in the Realm is NOT subtract from the difficulty of the cantrip; the difficulty is reduced only by one fore each additional Realm as a whole that applies.
Cantrips can be resisted by tapping into the numbness of Banality, which disperses the Glamour used against them. Only Changelings and Dauntain can use this effect, other supernatural beings, no matter how banal, are not sensitive enough for it. Doing so naturally raises Banality.
Other ways include Gremayre, the lore of the Dreaming, which allows the Changeling to Counterweave the Cantrip if he possess the same Realm. To do this, the fae must spend a point of Glamour and roll Wits + Gremayre against a difficulty equal to the Glamour rating of the cantrip's caster. The changeling must earn as many or more successes than the caster to be successful; partial successes do not affect the cantrip in any way. The counterweaver must also possess the appropriate realms and their levels used in the original casting.
Counterweaving can be used on instantaneous cantrips. To attempt to undo a cantrip as it is being cast, the counterweaver must abort their next action (even if it wold take place on the following turn).
If the Realms being used by the caster are not readily apparent, the changeling must roll Perception + Kenning (difficulty 6) to determine the nature. The difficulty is 8 for the counterweaver to determine the Art being used.
While in their freeholds the nobility (and some highly talented commoners) are able to cast cantrips that withstand the rigors of Banality and time. Permanent cantrips require the expenditure of permanent Glamour and the Art of Chronos.