Wardens of Ouon: Naming Magic

A Warden’s greatest magical power comes in her ability to manipulate a being’s True Name. While it’s impossible to rewrite something’s Name, a Warden can make subtle changes and temporary additions, altering the being’s nature for a time.

In game terms, Naming uses the create an advantage action to apply new aspects to the target. These aspects—and particularly the free invokes placed on them—represent manipulation of the target’s fate. As long as they stay on the target, the magic remains in place.

To Name a target, the Warden must speak aloud, declaring the target’s new Name. She can attempt to Name the target using any of her approaches. One Warden may Forcefully shout the name, while another may Sneakily slip the name into conversation under her breath, for example. Make a note of which approach is used to create a Naming aspect. It will be important later.

The Warden must then roll and add the chosen approach. Opposition begins at Average (+1) and increases by +1 for each Naming aspect already on the target. The more you stretch a being’s True Name, the harder it resists further meddling. The outcomes for Naming are slightly different than for a regular create an advantage action:

  • Fail: The magic backfires and instead reinforces an existing part of the target’s True Name. The target gains a free invoke on one of their character aspects.
  • Tie: You create a Naming aspect on the target and gain a free invoke on it. However, the target also gains a free invoke on the new aspect.
  • Success: You create a Naming aspect on the target and gain a free invoke on it.
  • Success With Style: You create a Naming aspect on the target and gain two free invokes on it.

Once a Naming aspect is created on a target, it remains as long as there is a free invoke left on it. As an aspect, it will influence the target, establishing facts and letting other character compel the target. After the last free invoke is used, though, the magic is gone and the Naming aspect disappears.

It is possible to reinforce a Naming aspect with more Naming. The opposition is the same as for creating a new Naming aspect, but any free invokes gained apply to the existing aspect.

It is also possible to degrade a Naming aspect using overcome actions. Any being can do this to themselves by reasserting their inherent nature. Only Wardens can degrade Naming aspects on other beings by using their Naming magic to unravel another Warden’s effect. The opposition for an overcome action is the same as for Naming. Success removes one free invoke, while success with style removes two.

Advantages of Naming

Players may wonder why they would leave free invokes on a Naming aspect rather than using them up as quickly as they can. There are two reasons, one subtle and the other more obvious.

First, the obvious reason. Remember how we made a note of the approach used to Name the target? By Naming the target in that way, you make the target vulnerable to that approach for as long as the aspect is in place. Anyone who uses the noted approach against the target gets a +1 bonus to their roll. This bonus is not cumulative if the target has more than one Naming aspect with the same approach.

The second, subtle reason comes from the nature of aspects themselves. An aspect is always true, and it establishes facts about whatever it describes. Simply having an aspect will change the way the target behaves, and the GM should keep this in mind when playing the target. Plus, if necessary, you can compel the target to force them to act in a way that reflects the Naming aspect and makes their lives more complicated.

Of course, eventually you may need the bigger bonus that comes with an invoke. Eventually you will spend all of the magic from a Naming aspect, and it will disappear. But that just means you can Name the target again, and create another interesting twist to their nature!

Naming Different Beings

Spirits and humans react differently to Naming. Spirits derive a small amount of power from having their Name twisted. Once per scene, a spirit can invoke one Naming aspect on itself for free. This is in addition to any free invokes they may have earned from ties or failures on Naming attempts.

As beings of solid matter, humans are resistant to Naming. Any attempt to Name a human has its opposition increased by the number of Naming aspects on the target. So, the first Naming aspect on a human is still an Average (+1) roll, but the second will be Good (+3), the third Superb (+5), and so on.

Wardens, straddling the divide between spirit and matter, do not have either of these benefits. However, Naming another Warden is a violation of the Laws and will bring a lot of trouble to the perpetrator.

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