Cheimónas: The Magic of Mercy

Knacks: Aura, Blizzard, Carapace, Freeze, Permafrost

Apprentice Degree: Call of Winter
Adept Degree: Heart of Winter
Master Degree: Soul of Winter

Legends speak of a palace of ice and bone far to the north where the sun shines only sx months out of the year. In that palace lives an ancient maiden known as the Snow Queen. She is said to steal away small children for her amusement, transforming them into Snow Maidens and Ice Youths for her court.

~Ussura, p.124

Little is known of the malevolent Snow Queen, save for stories similar to those above, told to frighten small children into coming in before dark and minding their parents. A lesser-known fact (aside from the truth that the Snow Queen is very, very real) is that she has been known to grant mortals who seek her out a shred of her power in exchange for some gift or service, or simply because it amuses her to do so. This power takes the form of the Sorcerous Art known as Cheimónas, a Teodoran word meaning “Winter.” A Sorcerer who has been given the gift of Cheimónas is occasionally known as a Cryomancer, though the word is archaic and known to very few modern Théans.

Cheimónas allows a Sorcerer to call upon and manipulate the powers of Ussura’s frozen heart. Winds blow and snow flies at his command, and he may even freeze the blood of an enemy with his bare hands. In exchange for this power, a Sorcerer’s physical appearance is altered: his breath emerges as a frozen mist, ice crystals form in his hair, and his skin grows increasingly cold to the touch. A Cryomancer can be a very powerful opponent, and like all Sorcerers, his abilities grow more impressive as he gains in experience and power.

Apprentice Degree
As an Apprentice, the Cryomancer does not leave footprints while walking on snow, and he never loses his balance while walking across or standing on ice. In addition, he is immune to the effects of cold (but not rough) weather. Note that a Cryomancer may still drown, even in very cold water, even if it is covered with ice.

Adept Degree
At this Mastery Level, no amount of snow obstructs the Cryomancer’s breathing (even if he is completely buried in it), and airborne ice or snow (e.g., during a blizzard) never obstructs his vision. He gains immunity to rough weather as well as cold weather.

Master Degree
A Master Cryomancer is completely immune to damage from ice and snow: he may fall any distance onto either without harm, and any amount of either may be dumped onto him without effect, so long as the snow or ice contacts him or his possessions directly. A Master’s body temperature is so low that he becomes immune to damage from extremely warm temperatures as well as cold temperatures; the Cryomancer never takes damage from the Weather Chart (though he is still vulnerable to fire).

Sorcerous Knacks

Aura. A Cryomancer’s body is so supernaturally cold that it can be painful to stand near him. If the Cryomancer spends a Drama Die to activate this power, for the rest of the Scene anyone who uses an Action within a radius of five feet per the Cryomancer’s Mastery Level takes a number of Flesh Wounds equal to the Cryomancer’s Rank in this Knack. As usual, a Wound Check is made whenever this damage is inflicted.

Blizzard. Using this Knack under the appropriate conditions (i.e., sufficiently cold temperatures and some degree of moisture in the air), a Cryomancer can summon a small blizzard. To do so, he must spend a Drama Die and roll Resolve + Blizzard against a TN of 20. If successful, the current weather shifts one category colder or one category rougher on the Weather Table in the Game Masters’ Guide, plus one additional category (in either direction) for every Raise taken on the roll. Beginning with the Round it is summoned, the storm inflicts the damage specified on the Weather Table to everyone in the area at the beginning of Phase Ten until the storm ends or until they find some sort of cover. The storm lasts a number of Rounds equal to the Cryomancer’s Rank in the Blizzard Knack, unless he chooses to end it early by simply spending an Action or extend it by spending another Drama Die.

While the Blizzard rages, the Cryomancer may spend an Action to have the storm target one specific individual. He rolls Resolve + Blizzard to make this attack, which cannot be parried (either as an Active Defense or as a Knack to determine Passive Defense). If successful, the Cryomancer rolls a number of dice equal to his Rank in this Knack for damage, keeping a number of dice equal to his Mastery Level. Additional Raises may be taken on the Resolve + Blizzard roll to increase this damage roll by Unkept Dice as usual.

Carapace. By spending an Action (including an Interrupt Action) and a Drama Die, a Cryomancer may cause thick ice to form over portions of his body that are subject to attack, covering him like fully-jointed armor which does not restrict his movement. This ice helps protect the Cryomancer, reducing any damage he takes from a weapon attack (including a firearm, but not a cannon) by an amount equal to his Rank in this Knack times his Mastery Level, to a minimum of zero. After blocking one attack, the ice cracks and the Cryomancer must re-summon it by spending an Action and a Drama Die.

If an ordinary melee weapon strikes this icy armor and the damage roll is reduced to zero, the weapon shatters due to the extreme cold. Items such as Dracheneisen weapons, Sidhe weapons, Rune weapons, Puzzle Swords, Castillian blades, or even those with the Quality Weapon modification are immune to this effect.

Freeze. If a Cryomancer has his bare hands in contact with an enemy, he may use this Knack to drain the opponent’s warmth, gradually freezing him in place and ultimately rendering him completely motionless. If the Cryomancer has an opponent in a grapple on his Action (mere casual contact, even a touch or a strike in combat, is insufficient), he may spend a Drama Die to make a contested roll of his Resolve + Freeze against an opponent’s Brawn. If the opponent wins the contested roll, nothing happens (though the grapple is not broken). If the Cryomancer wins, the victim loses one Rank of Brawn. So long as the initial grapple is maintained, each successive Rank of Brawn proves easier to drain; the Cryomancer may use additional Actions to continue assaulting the same opponent’s Brawn without spending an additional Drama Die.

If the grapple is broken before the opponent’s Brawn reaches a Rank of zero, the opponent will warm up quickly, regaining a Rank of Brawn on each of his Actions until it is back to its normal value. On the other hand, if the opponent’s Brawn is reduced to zero, the opponent is frozen solid, unable to move, speak, or defend himself, though he remains aware of his surroundings. An opponent frozen in such a manner remains helpless until the end of the Scene and regains Ranks of Brawn at a rate of one per Scene thereafter.

Permafrost. By spending a Drama Die, a Cryomancer can cause the ground to freeze over with thick frost in a radius of five feet for every Rank he has in this Knack, with airborne water vapor coalescing into a fog-like mist in the same area. Anyone standing on the frozen terrain is prohibited from using Footwork as a Defense Knack and must rely on Balance (or Parry) instead. Furthermore, within the radius of effect, the mist reduces lighting conditions to Dim Lighting. The Cryomancer himself is not affected by the frozen ground, and an Adept or Master remains unaffected by either condition. The frost and mist remain until the end of the Scene, or until the Cryomancer spends an Action to dismiss them.

Game Master’s Secrets
The bitter Sorcery known as Cheimónas has its origins not in Ussura, but in the Sidhe realm of Bryn Bresail. Long ago, perhaps in a time predating mortals, there was a fourth Seelie ruler: the Queen of the Sun, who battled for supremacy over the Court with the Queen of the Sky. The conflict between the two Queens went on for untold ages, but in the end, the Queen of the Sun was defeated.

Unwilling (or perhaps unable) to destroy one of her sisters, the Queen of the Sky banished the Queen of the Sun to Terra, deep in frozen heart of the lands that would become known as Ussura. Her powerful, fiery Glamour was transformed into a Sorcery of ice and snow more suited to the Queen’s new realm. Thus, Cheimónas is not a Bargainer’s Sorcery, nor a dark shamanism. Rather, it is a twisted type of Glamour which draws its energy from the user’s own willpower (in the form of Drama Dice) rather than the rich pool of magic that permeates the Triple Kingdoms.

As a form of Glamour (however altered it may be), Cheimónas does not have a deleterious effect on the Barrier. Instead, it heals rifts in the mysterious membrane, literally freezing them solid and preventing anything from escaping into the Dark Paths or the mortal world. While its effect is marginal when used in Théah, should Cheimónas be used in the Dark Paths, even major breaches in the Barrier could be closed with a thick wall of ice, impenetrable to all but the most potent of fire magics (such as El Fuego Adentro).

Despite her wicked reputation, the Snow Queen is more accurately described as inscrutable. She occasionally grants this Sorcery to mortals who please her in whatever unfathomable way strikes her capricious fancy. The children she “steals” to create Snow Maidens and Ice Youths are actually those who are lost in the wilderness and would perish from the elements without intervention from the fallen Seelie Queen.