Enchanting and External Duration

I’m currently GMing a game, and one of my players has enchanting. He wants to enchant a sword for one of the other players, so it will confer the stone skin trait. He’s already extracted the antecedent and passed the resources test to commission the blade. There ended up being a lot of debate on what modifiers he would have to add. He wants a specific physical condition as the internal duration, which would be he can never touch the blade or it will lose it’s enchantment (insurance against being attacked by the player he’s making it for). Should there be an external duration? The book says no if the enchantment only effects an item, but it seems like it would effect the player. Some clarification would be very appreciated? Also, would this item require a trigger?

Since it grants Stone Skin, it does affect the character and requires an external duration. You don’t necessarily need a trigger, but building one in does decrease the Ob.

Thanks for the response. Unfortunately, I now have additional questions. Let’s assume that for these questions the enchanter chooses session as the external duration. What does that mean for the wielder?

A. If he takes up the sword, it acts just like a potion, conferring the trait for a session, with no need to continue to wield the sword. If he were to pick up the sword next session, he would gain the trait all over again, for all of that session.

B. If he takes up the sword, the trait is conferred for a session then the enchantment is gone from the sword.

C. The sword never loses the magic, but any given PC can only gain the trait from it for a session, then never again.

D. The sword confers the trait until the end of a session, at which point it needs to be reactivated, implying it would have to have a trigger.

Sorry if I’m over thinking this or just being dense, but it was a pretty contentious issue in my last session, so I just want as much outside input as possible.

External Duration is how long any effect lasts on the target, and since the target for the Stone Skin is a character, that character gains Stone Skin for the session. Whether or not the sword retains the ability to grant Stone Skin is governed by the Internal Duration. I would say that A is correct–so long as the Internal Duration has not expired, the sword has the ability to grant Stone Skin to a character as often as trigger fires. From the way you described it, I’m assuming the chosen trigger is “Must be touching bearer”. I’d say that a character that touches the sword gains Stone Skin for the rest of the session, and is renewed every time they touch the sword, so long as the Internal Duration lasts.

By the way, although there’s an option under Trigger to have no trigger, adding a trigger can be a great way to add both bonus dice to your Enchanting test (+1D for a verbal or somatic component, +2D for a crazy ritual), and an awesome amount of flavor. If they choose one of those, work with the player to come up with a phrase they have to say to gain the benefit, or what wild test they have to make to gain it (Ob2 Doctrine, Ritual, Etiquette, etc. test). You can really have fun with enchanting and add a lot of story with it.

Oh–another thing: I know “lasts forever” is the Internal Duration that everyone immediately heads for with something like a magic weapon (so the sword can always grant the trait), but it gives you a nasty +4Ob to the test. My favorite is “specific physical condition”. It grants +2D (approximately 10D better than “lasts forever”, assuming 2D ~= +1Ob), and you get some awesome story out of it. If nothing else, you get something like the One Ring, with a legend about the only way to destroy it. For a sword granting Stone Skin, what about “it can only be destroyed by the acid breath of a black dragon”? Or for something more metaphorical, go with the idea of an acid tongue: “Should the wielder’s true love ever spurn him, the power of the sword will be lost forever.” Both are great ways to drive play!

Thanks again Hirram. The responses are appreciated. The player making it plans to do the specific condition for the external duration. It’s going to be something along the lines of: the enchantment fades away if the wielder of the blade ever strikes the enchanter, which is pretty cool in this situation because there is a high potential for friction between the PC enchanting the sword and the PC he intends to give it to.

That’s awesome. Enchanting is one of my favorite magic systems. I think Specific Condition should be used to drive the story–exactly what you all are doing. Good luck!

Reading all this makes me sad that my most recent campaign was as ill-fated as it was; we had to end it due to scheduling issues before my enchanter character had a chance to do any serious enchanting.