Arts: Pyretics & Naming

[This is the fourth in a series of post on the Arts in Arcadia. Read this post for context and the variant rules that are referred to below.]

Pyretics and Naming were both introduced in the Players Guide, together with a third Art: Spirit Link. Spirit Link is an Art that lets changelings communicate with the spirit realm and is exclusive to Nunnehi, or Native American changelings, who were not (yet?) introduced in Arcadia. Pyretics and Naming, however, were included and in King Ironheart’s Madness. Pyretics (and Imagery, which I will discuss later) were closely linked with the Naga.


pyreticsAs its name indicates, the Art of Pyretics is the Art of the manipulation of fire. The Changeling Players Guide has very little to say about it (page 169): “Half a million years ago, mortals discovered the lure and beauty of fire. The fae have been playing with its beautiful might for considerably longer. They can control the powers of the will-o’-the-wisp and create servants of living fire. This Art uses Glamour to weave and shape flame into pleasing shapes and effects.”

There are six Pyretics Arts in Arcadia: Will-o’-the-Wisp, Willow Light, Prometheus’ Fist, Burn & Boil, Star Body, and Inferno. All of these, except Inferno, are also Changeling cantrips.


Will-o’-the-Wisp *

Exhaust this Art to create a small sentinal of fire. You can send the Will-o’-the-Wisp 1 League ahead of you (it ignores Terrain Trials). If your opponent intends to Waylay you in the League onto which the Will-o’-the-Wisp has moved he must instead Waylay the Will-o’-the-Wisp. If he plays a Waylay, it remains on the League and will affect any who move there. If he does not play a Waylay, he cannot play one if you move to that League on the following Day. (TWH)

The wording of this card is a little confusing. I take it that the Will-o’-the-Wisp will always move 1 League ahead of you, and you move into its League the next day. That means the Will-o’-the-Wisp lets your opponent know where you intend to go, but it also lets you decide what Waylays you want to face. I take it that the Will-o’-the-Wisp is defeated when it encounters a Waylay.

Willow Light **

Exhaust this Art to affect a target of your choice: a character, Ally or Waylay in your League or any adjacent League. The target subtracts 2 from their score on a Combat Test. This must be done just before the Test. (TWH)

In Changeling this cantrip’s used is more benign. From the Players Guide (page 170): “This cantrip will allow you to illuminate or cast auras of light upon objects or places. With this cantrip you can cause objects or people to glow or even cause an entire place to become lit with this phosphoresence.” In Arcadia this Art is used in combat to blind people, and thus give them a disadvantage.

Prometheus’ Fist ***

Exhaust this Art to engulf a target of your choice in flames. The target must be on your League. This is a Might 3 Combat Test. For every Resolve Ability you also exhaust, increase the Might of this attack by 1. However, additional Merits or other effects cannot increase the potency of this attack. (TWH)

The Players Guide explains (page 170): “This cantrip allows you to completely engulf an object in flame. These objects will burn with tremendous heat, but will not affect you or the object, though they will burn anything else that they come into contact with. This cantrip is often used to create flaming weapons, inflicting horrible wounds upon the victim of such an attack.” The Arcadia Art is identical to this cantrip, but the wording is misleading: you don’t actually engulf your opponent (or Waylay or Ally) in flames, but your fists (or weapon), with which you then attack him and set him on fire.

Burn & Boil ****

Exhaust to add 4 to your Might in 1 Combat Test. (KIM)

This Art is like Prometheus’ Fists, but directly engulfs your opponent in fire.

Star Body *****

Exhaust to create an ally of living flame to encounter one Waylay for you. This ally has Might 5 and Combat 5. (KIM)

From the Players Guide (page 170): “By performing this cantrip, you can transform something into living flame, keeping all its intrinsic abilities and powers intact—a cat will still be a cat, a sword will still be a sword, a person will still be able to move about and think for herself, etc. This cantrip is often used to create more formidable freehold guardians and other beasts. Anything considered part of an object or person will usually be transformed as well, such as equipments, weapons, etc. As with Prometheus’ Fists, the fire created by this cantrip does not harm the caster. The flame itself is magical, and will not ignite other objects unless a creature so transformed desires to.” In other words, you are not creating a creature of of thin air, but transforming an existing one, although maybe that works differently in Arcadia?

Inferno ******

Exhaust to defeat any 1 creature Waylay. (KIM)

Inferno has no cantrip counterpart in Changeling. Given the power of this Art, I’m inclined to make any Character other than the caster who is on the same League as the affected Waylay, to make a Might Trial of 5, and exhaust a Merit if she fails.


namingThis is a very powerful Art, that controls people and things by knowing their True Name, and should be used very sparingly. The Players Guide explains (page 171): “This is a rare Art guarded jealously among the court seers and few commoner namers of the Crystal Circle. Rumor has it that entrants into the Crystal Circle are all taught the secrets of this Art upon their joining—a rumor that august body has yet to deny or confirm. True Names hold the essence of Glamour, as well as the ability to control the soul of the being, if the namer is powerful enough. A powermongering seer could well control the flux of power within a court by injudicious use of the Naming Art. […] Beginning characters should not know the Naming Art, as it is rarely known to any but members of the Crystal Circle or high-ranking nobles.” The Crystal Circle is society of Seelie sorcerers, who guard this world from the Nightmares found in the Dreaming, and are rumoured to search for Arcadia. Members of the Crystal Circle are expected to have fully mastered one Art and be proficient in another (5 points in one, 4 points in the other) before they are admitted, and it is good rule to limit this Art to Characters who have done likewise.

The Arts’s strength do not entirely correspond to those of the cantrips in Changeling. Changeling has a different 1 point cantrip, Seek ‘n’ Spell, which is omitted in Arcadia. Runes, the 1-point Art, is a 2-point cantrip in Changeling, and all the others too are 1 point less in Arcadia, except for Reweaving, which is only a 5 point cantrip in Changeling but a 6 point Art in Arcadia. All of these, except Reweaving, are from The Wyld Hunt.


Runes *

Runes can be used to create a specific Rune Ward. This Rune Ward acts as a Resolve or Might Terrain Trial difficulty 6 for anyone who wishes to enter that League. The character making the Rune may ignore the ward. To represent the Rune Ward, place this card on the warded League. Once someone passes the Trial, remove this card and the Ward from play. (THW)

As the card text indicates, Runes can be used for a much wider range of things, but are here limited to Terrain Trials. From the Players Guide (page 172): “Rune unleashes the abstract mystical power behind the symbols known as runes. You inscribe a symbol on the object you wish to enchant, in addition to the chosen Bunk. This cantrip is an enhancement to other cantrips or actions. For example: Roderic the troll wishes to use Rune to enhance the successes of attacking with his battle-axe. He inscribes the appropriate rune on the axe, acts out the Bunk, and gains three successes from the cantrip. Roderic now has three additional successes on his axe-swing.” If you limit the Art of Naming to those who have mastered other Arts (as mentioned above), you could allow for a greater use of this Art: Characters could inscribe a Rune on their weapon or armour and increase its efficacy by the number of successes rolled.

Runic Circle **

Exhaust this Art to inscribe a Runic Circle. This Circle can cancel the effect of any 1 Art another character is attempting to use. You must succeed in a Resolve Test against the other character for this Art to be successful. The targeted Art is cancelled and has no effect. This Art must be exhausted regardless of the result of the Test. (TWH)

The Players Guide explains (page 173): “This cantrip inscribes a protective circle around the target or on a charm that can be carried. The circle acts as an invisible buffer that protects against supernatural forces.”

Saining ***

You can learn the true name of any 1 character, Ally or Waylay. This gives you power over your target. You may exhaust this Art to retest any Test against that character, Ally or Waylay. – You may exhaust this Art to change a character from Seelie to Unseelie or vice versa for the duration of the game. The character will return to normal later. (TWH)

From the Players Guide (page 173): “Use of this cantrip allows the namer to find the True Name of the target. This cantrip is most often used in the Saining ritual of a newly awakened kith, but it has other, more nefarious uses. All things have a True Name, even a television or a car. Changelings who possess this ability can learn the True Name of anything the use this cantrip upon, thus giving them some control over the object or person, especially if they possess the highest level of this Art, Reweaving.” This Art is quite a bit more powerful in Arcadia than its cantrip counterpart in Changeling, and I suggest some change to the card’s text, discussed below under Reweaving.

Saining and Reweaving should be used very sparingly, and a Character should only be allowed to learn this Art after they have learned a lesser Naming Art (which they can only learn after mastering two other Arts, if you follow the above suggestion).

Reweaving ******

Discard to cause another character to change up to 4 points of their Merits to new Merits of your choice. You must replace the changed Merits with Merits of equal point value. A character may only have this Art used on them once a game. (KIM)

This is the most powerful of all the Arts. From the Players Guide (page 173): “By switching key runes in a target’s True Name, the namer can fundamentally (and permanently) change the basic nature of the target. Seelie could become Unseelie, Legacies could be changed, etc. Note that the user of this cantrip cannot make a target do something impossible (i.e., a sluagh could be made into an elegant courtier, but still unable to speak above a whisper). The True Name of the target must be known before casting this cantrip.”

Based on this, I suggest the following changes be made: to cast this, you need to first cast Saining, to find out its true name (ignore the text on Saining, but exhaust Saining). The success of Reweaving depends on how many successes you roll (based on the rules of the Players Guide):

  • 1 success: change 1 Ability of the target Character
  • 2 successes: change 2 Abilities
  • 3 successes: change the Court of the Character (from Seelie to Unseelie, or vice versa)
  • 4 successes: change 2 Abilities and up to 2 Arts
  • 5 successes or more: change all Merits

One thought on “Arts: Pyretics & Naming

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