Playing A Cipher Mage

Before you start

Before planning to create a cipher mage, you should read and understand the following pages. A cipher mage would be familiar with this information.

While not as important as the above topics, a cipher mage would also likely have some familiarity with:

With the exception of someone becoming a cipher mage via apprenticeship at a late age, nearly every cipher mage would not be branded without this knowledge. (If you wish to play a character who is in this special situation, you should still read these pages so that you are aware of what your character will learn).

Using magic in-character

Cipher magic is typically utilitarian. Due to the beliefs of the Scions and the Riven's fear of Scion reprisal, overt and flashy magic is rare - and Cipher mages will typically not perform visible magic near non-mages if at all possible. Hiding Cipher magic usage may be as simple as going around a corner or using Cipher artifacts while near the uninitiated. Remember that any use of the Cipher will cause the mage's Cipher brand on their forehead to become visible.

If you are playing a Scion, you should keep in mind the Scion proscriptions against affecting non-mages in any way that is not directly related to protecting them from the effects of magic or supernatural beings (such as the Laukos). If you are playing a Riven, you should remember that your character should be aware of the consequences of overt magic usage.

Common uses

Ciper mages are limited by their imagination and also by which marks they know (they're also limited by power and complexity). As a result of this, Cipher mages will typically focus more on one aspect of magic than others. For example, while most mages would have a common set of core abilities, some would be more skilled at evocation (destructive, elemental magic), some more skilled at defensive magic, and some at creating artefacts. These are not the only specializations, they are examples. It is unreasonable to expect a mage to be able to do everything, although very high level mages may be proficient at multiple types of magic. Typically, high level mages are those with both a natural gift for magical aptitude and a lifetime of experience behind them.

Some commonly used spells that would be accessible to most moderate skill mages (no longer apprentices) could be:

  • Door spell (folding space so that a door opens to another location)
  • Basic pyromancy (lighting candles, for example)
  • Basic protection spells (personal protection from harm/a personal force field)
  • Repair spells (reassembling a shattered window)
  • Very basic medical magic (small cuts and scrapes)

These are not the only spells a mage would have access to, they are examples. Not every mage would necessarily have access to all of these spells, although they might, and they would definitely have additional abilities and spells in their area of expertise.

Cipher artefacts

The creation of Cipher artefacts is a difficult art. Most mages who can perform anything over the most basic anchor creation will have dedicated most of their lives to learning the craft, and will consequently be less proficient in other types of magic that other mages would find simple.

Ciper sense

Cipher mages can sense other cipher mages's connection to the Cipher, although the proximity required to do so varies from person to person and is correlated with maximum range (the highest power they can channel). Cipher mages can also sense sigil-bearers, and may even able to pinpoint the location of their sigil-brand under their clothing.