Helping Sorcery without Gifted

Currently planning a game with two characters—one is a Scholar with an interest in Sorcery as an academic field, the other is a Recluse Wizard. The scholar has the Sorcery skill but not the Gifted trait. When the Wizard is casting a spell, can the Scholar help him?

Argument for: The book says sorcery helps sorcery.

Argument against: The book says that helpers in casting a spell are taxed, which suggests that the magical energy of the spell flows through them as well as through the main caster. If the Scholar is not Gifted, then magical power cannot flow through him.

Possible alternative: A linked test where the Scholar helps the Wizard develop/recall the incantation before the casting proper.

I like the Linked Test approach, with the Scholar making appropriate preparations, markings, etc.

If you do end up allowing the Scholar to Help with actual spellcasting, I’d be (personally) looking at potentially brutal consequences on failure, as the Scholar’s mind / body / soul is not able to cope (as they do not have the Gifted Trait).

In terms of consequences of failure, I’d definitely be looking at Taxing the Scholar’s Will, burning their body with wounds, granting various Traits like “Headaches”, “The Shudders”, “Ghost Skin” etc. etc.

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You need to choose. There are multiple right answers, and they will tell you something about how magic works in your setting.

For my bit, I would allow the scholar to help and be taxed somehow. I would rule that the Gift allows the caster to control the magical energy.

IMO, magic should suffuse every aspect of life, and all living beings have it flowing through them. Many without the Gift attempt to alter its flow through superstition and ritual, it’s the gifted who have a Gift for it.

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While Sorcery isn’t Rituals of Blood ahd Night so they don’t have to work the same way, this would be consistent with someone who doesn’t have Void Embrace not being able to resist Tax for those Rituals (p244).

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Thanks for all the advice! I like the idea of giving the Scholar the option of a linked test or directly helping—and if he chooses to help directly he simply takes Ob - 1 of tax with no roll to resist. But is just giving +1D to spellcasting a valid Intent for the linked test? Or perhaps the Intent can deal with the specific mechanism of help—drawing symbols, preparing spell subjects, etc. And a failure can mess with the spell effect in some fun way.

Linked tests need independent Intents that are fiction, not mechanics. An Intent can’t be “I want to give a bonus”. The PC needs to be doing something the group can be audience to. Without a meaningful independent Intent, that tells you it’s not a linked test.

The Intent can be simple though, as long as it’s a thing happening in the fiction that’s separate and might help. The Codex gives the example of cleaning up and sharpening the tools in a workshop where another test will happen. For Sorcery, it could be simple as your examples of helping with the prep and studying, yeah. The more specific, the better, especially when you have to judge the non-mechanical meaning of a failed test.

The Codex has good advice on when to call for a linked test, when to Help, and when to just lobby for an Advantage die.

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Another thing to bear in mind is that a character with Sorcery but not Gifted can recognize spell components, &c.; so if your world’s magical paradigm includes ingredients they can help (rather than Help) by doing risky gathering; that way the caster doesn’t risk being on die penalties because a unicorn objected to having its spleen taken.

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From memory (so take with a grain of salt) I believe there’s a post from Luke or Thor in these forums about Torchbearer Paladins being able to help Priests cast prayers because they have the Ritualist skill (the prayer casting skill) even though they cannot cast prayers themselves.
I’d call it a very strong analogy for this situation.

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