Goddess of Magic
Ishtar was of old a lesser spirit; some say a Demon, Dragon or a creature of chaos. It is written that she asked many gods for magic, but was always denied, save by Demosthenes who recognised a kindred spirit. Instead Ishtar set about producing her own magic. Thus hard work and skill became the root of her magics instead of faith and mysticism as with all the other gods. She aided Than in the creation of his knowledge-gathering spells and then perfected her own such spells. She joined no faction in the Great Darkness and the Chaos Wars, and had to be coerced into signing the Great-Pact.
The worshippers of Ishtar have formed a small sect, renowned as being as mercenary as their patroness. They are always distrusted and sometimes persecuted for their 'theft' of magics from other cults. They always complain that their magics are the result of hard work. Occasionally some worshippers achieve political greatness and there is no doubt that many of Ishtar's worshippers do so for power.
Life After Death
Ishtar requires all dead cultists to serve her in an advisory capacity for all eternity. Some cultists can petition her on the grounds that they may gather yet more magic. This she allows; therefore all cultists get Death Divints, but are not allowed resurrection.
Ishtar is wholly concerned with the Mastery of Magic. Some sources attribute the Truth Rune to her, but although Ishtar is a knowledge cult, cultists are willing to lie, cheat and steal for more magic. Therefore the Truth Rune is not applicable.
Nature of Cult
Ishtar has turned Magic into a skill. Cultists seek to master the arts of magic and are often willing to go to great lengths to procure a new spell. The cult is very small however, as an applicant has to be very intelligent and show great determination to join and go far. Many wizards have joined a group of adventurers merely to obtain a spell or observe an artefact in action, so that they may later research it and duplicate its effect.
Socio-Political Position and Power
The cult is generally mistrusted and is too small to have much power. Individual Wizards have however achieved greatness through exercising their own considerable powers, as advisors to Heads of State and as mobile artillery for armies.
Particular Likes and Dislikes
The cult is close only to Demosthenes. Thanatar used to be preferred, but now too many wizards have been drained of all knowledge, and the cults are sundered. Ishtar is friendly to all the Truth cults, but this is not returned.
In Godsport and Heliopolis are known Ishtar Temples structured as Guilds. These are not rich though their respective Wizards are powerful and respected. Occasionally other Wizards are heard of - some good, some evil, most merely mercenary. Also wandering Wizards have been seen - often with Gypsies.
Centres of Power and Holy Places
Power is wherever there is a Wizard. A Holy Place is wherever magic is.
Holy Days and High Holy Days
None. Instead, any use of magic is considered a sacrifice to Ishtar.
To become a Lay Member, a person must find a Wizard, who will then make a thorough examination of the candidate over a period of no less than one day. The applicant must then roll (INT+POW+CHA) ⁄ 3×7 or be refused. Once refused he may not reapply to any Wizard (failure is checked by divination). Lay Members can buy spell training as Initiates, but must serve their Wizards as lackeys for 3 hours per hour of training. Lay Members that have spent a total of one season learning spells and serving their Wizards may apply for initiation once their period of servitude is over. Lay Members get free board and lodging during this period, but get no other benefits whatsoever, they are treated as apprentices and slaves.
|2||+15% on Knowledge bonus||3|
|3||+1 on Non-Raisable Characteristic per 3 geases||3|
|4||+1 on Intelligence1||2|
|5||Mastery of any 1 pt Battlemagic Spell, or extra point of a Variable2||2|
|6||+10% on any one Spell Skill||1|
|7||Mastery of Detect Magic2||1|
|8||Extra point of POW for Resisting Spell Attacks||1|
|9||Mastery of any 2 pt Battlemagic2,3||2|
|10||+1 on Raisable Characteristic per geas||1|
|11||Mastery of any non-variable Battlemagic Spell2||3|
|12||Mastery of Quarterstaff||3|
- Only one point may be taken per gift, but this also improves racial maximum.
- Spells are known at 90% mastery. If already mastered then +10%.
- Not a variable spell.
Once the Lay Member has completed at least one season of service, his Wizard will evaluate him. This consists of passing a test of 10% per INT point over 10 plus the best spell skill of the applicant plus modifiers for POW and CHA (as for Oratory bonus). If the applicant fails, he may not reapply. Successful applicants must take between 1 and 3 gifts, and the associated geases.
For every indicated geas, roll on the geas table.
|01||Favoured by Ishtar. No Geas||49-52||Never attack using a missile weapon|
|02-05||Never drink intoxicating beverages||53-55||Never use any weapon save Quarterstaff, including natural weapons|
|06-09||Always smoke a long-stemmed pipe of clay1||56||Never attack with any weapon save natural weapons|
|10||Eat only fresh food||57-59||Never dispel magic|
|11-13||Never touch decaying organic matter2||60-63||Never cut hair or shave|
|14-15||Eat only with fingers||64-66||Snowy white hair, eyebrows, beard and aged appearance|
|16-19||Distrust all Thanatar cultists||67-68||Always wear robe with mystic sigils sown in silver thread|
|20-21||Distrust all Demosthenes cultists||69-71||Always wear a robe of a particular colour4|
|22||Distrust all fellow cultists||72-75||Wear no metal armour|
|23-26||Never accept a challenge to physical combat||76-78||Wear no armour on head|
|27-30||Always challenge a fellow cultist to, and accept if challenged, a duel of Ishtar||79-81||Wear no armour on limbs|
|31||Sacrifice 1 pt of DEX for 1pt of CHA||82||Wear no armour|
|32-33||Fear of decaying organic matter, including decaying Undead3||83-86||Be celibate in a random season|
|34-35||Thanophobia - Fear of dead things, including all Undead3||87-89||Be celibate in 2 random seasons|
|36||Cowardice - Fear of physical violence3||90-91||Be always celibate|
|37-38||Zoophobia - Fear of animals, especially small ones - e.g. cats, especially black cats||92-95||Never ride animal or vehicle|
|39-40||Nyctophobia - Fear of the night air||96-98||Roll twice|
|41-44||Never attack using an edged weapon||99-00||Roll thrice|
|45-48||Never attack using a pointed weapon|
- This is smoked whenever deep thought is required or after any physical strain. Smoking materials weigh ½ Enc.
- This includes hitting Skeletons, Zombies, Wights and Lyches etc with weapons.
- If fighting opponent in relevant category - always demoralised. If hit, then attack by fearshock, Damage in blow vs. remaining hit points.
- Roll 1D10. 1 - White, 2 - Red, 3 - Green, 4 - Blue, 5 - Purple, 6 - Orange, 7 - Grey, 8 - Brown, 9 - Black, 10 - All of the colours mentioned.
|1pt of Variable||200||400||800||1600|
|1pt Spell under 5OOsh||100||200||400||800|
- No point of a variable spell may be learnt to a higher percentage than a lower point.
- All spells are 0% Knowledge skills.
Initiates may purchase spell training from their Wizards. No other training is given. The cost of training is as indicated.
Initiates may not use magic in any other way though it may be cast upon them. Initiates may Divint once per week for a specific Battlemagic Spell or point of variable learnt before initiating to be translated to mastery as a cult skill. Rolling Power exactly or fumbling will cause all such magic to be eradicated from the mind of the initiate.
Initiates do not get free room and board unless they serve as lackeys, like Lay Members. They are referred to as acolytes and gain Runelord Divine Intervention, but gain no access to Runemagic. When an acolyte gets a successful Divine Intervention, he must take another Geas.
They may do as they please provided that they continually seek out new Runemagics for their Wizards and any magic items they can find he must be allowed first refusal.
Normal Battlemagic not translated to Ishtari Battlemagic can instead be used to gain the cultist 5% plus his knowledge bonus in that spell skill. If he does this then he may not later Divint for a complete change.
There are no Runepriests or Runelords in Ishtar. Instead the equivalent rank is Wizard. Initiates who have 18 POW and mastery of 10 points of Battlemagic including Detect Magic and Countermagic IV may become Wizards, they must pass a test of (INT+CHA) ⁄ 2×5%. If the candidate fails then he may reapply only after he has mastered another 2 points of Battlemagic.
Wizards gain several benefits.
|1d6||2d6+6||1d4||3d6||3d6+6 (21 max)||1d6+12|
Skills: Move Quietly, Listen and Hide in Cover at 90% and natural attacks in Bite and Claw at base plus bonus for 1D4 each.
- They may attune Iron and other Runemetals.
- They may ally a cult familiar - a large black cat, which counts as an awakened familiar and may provide extra power for Runemagic.
- He will be given a Runemetal shod Quarterstaff that, once attuned, will act as a 2d6+3 Power Storage Crystal, the Runemetal matches the colour of the Wizard's robes.
- He has a Runelord Divint at the penalty of 1 Geas.
- 100%, inclAll Knowledge and Perception skills may rise aboveuding spell skills.
- He gains access to the Runemagics, although the system works differently.
- He makes POW gain rolls based on a POW of 25.
For the Standard, Cult Special and Associate Runemagics, the Wizard actually petitions Ishtar with permanent Power and in return she gives him mastery of the spell skill. Therefore it functions as a super Battlemagic Spell requiring two points of Power per point of Runemagic. If the spell is non-reusable, then 1 point of permanent power is needed in addition. As these are ‘skills’ that may not be lost, then there is no loss of reusability should the Wizard's power fall below 18. Indeed the main restriction is that a Wizard may not lower his Power below 18 through sacrificing for Runemagic. The other restrictions on a Wizard are as follows.
- He must take a gift from Ishtar, and the geases associated with it.
- A Wizard must teach any Initiate any spell he requires if he has the right money, but this only takes-up ¼ of the Wizards time - due to such teaching only requiring supervision.
Wizards are invariably hungry for ways of storing power and will always lay first claim to Storage Crystals, and usually also to other magical items as well. All DEX skills are limited to DEX×5%, DEX is also untrainable to Wizards.
Wizards gain access to all Standard Runemagics on the principles outlined above. Ishtar does not get Elementals so Wizards must research for them. However, she does give Dismiss Elemental.
Wizards can increase the variety of their Runemagics by research and observation of other cults' Runemagic and Battlemagic. All Ishtar's cult special Runemagics are dedicated to this.
One Point Spells
Memorise Spell Range:
Self; Duration: Instant; Non-Stackable
When cast, it allows the Wizard to record indelibly, upon his memory, the play of forces during the casting of a spell and its effects. Must be cast the strike-rank after the spell is used and the entire casting of the spell must have taken place within the area and duration of the Wizard's Sense Magic. The wizard must sacrifice a point of his own Power that he cannot retrieve until he wishes to eradicate the memory. The number of spells the Wizard can Memorise then is limited and most will want to research the spell as soon as possible. While memorised, the Wizard will be aware of the nature and power of the spell.
Power Store Not Applicable
This is not a spell, but merely a receptacle. The Wizard may place excess Permanent POW in a non-accessible place. It may be viewed as 'credit' with Ishtar. It enables the Wizard to amass a quantity of Power ready for sacrifice in Spell Research. The Wizard may not regain this Power and it can only be used to create a new spell.
Research Spell Range:
Self; Duration: 4 weeks/Point of POW
It is this spell that enables the Wizard's to 'create' new spells. It turns a memorised spell effect into a new Spell Skill of which the Wizard has mastery. One point of permanent POW must be used per point of Battlemagic, two points of permanent POW must be used per point of Runemagic. At the end of the Research time, which must be continuous, the Wizard sacrifices the permanent POW and makes his skill roll. If successful, he now has mastery of a new spell skill requiring one point of Battlemagic Power to power it per point of permanent Power used in its original creation. The permanent Power taken to produce the spell can be taken from the Wizard's Power Store or his own personal Power. Duration of Research is four weeks per point of permanent Power sacrificed.
On completion of the research, a roll is made on the average of the Wizard’s Magic Lore and POW×5%. A normal success results in the gain of the spell at a standard casting cost. A special reduces the cost of casting the spell by one and a critical by two. The cost of casting is always at least one.
Two Point Spells
Sense Magic Range: 160m;
Duration: 15 min; Stackable
When cast, the spell enables the Wizard to 'feel' the magical power play around himself. It cannot be at a higher skill level than his Detect Magic skill and requires four Battlemagic power points. Repeated stacking doubles the duration. Magic spells and objects may be detected as if with Detect Magic only they will be sensed continuously for the spell-duration. If any spell or magical effect occurs or is used that the Wizard either has memorised or mastered then he will be able to classify it by a successful roll on the skill. In any round the Wizard can Memorise one spell and its effects.
Cult Spirit of Reprisal
There is only one indiscretion that Ishtar hates - teaching non-cultists Spell-skills, but no Wizard will ever do this as they are too hard earned. Minor indiscretions are paid for by Quest or accepting more geases. Once initiated, normal Battlemagic will never again work for a cultist, so leaving to join another cult is pointless. Cultists sometimes initiate into other cults for the skill training they cannot get from Ishtar, she does not mind this though the other gods frequently do.
The two associates of Ishtar gave three spells to her anciently. She will give these normally to her Wizards as if they were her own cult special Runemagics, requiring a sacrifice of permanent POW for the mastery and then 2points of Battlemagic power per point of Runemagic when it is desired to use them.
The most kindred spirit to Ishtar of all the gods (some say her brother, others her son, still others believe there is no relation of blood between them). Demosthenes offers the following spell.
Analyse Magic Range:
Touch; Duration: 1 week/Point of POW used; Stackable
Over the duration of the spell the Wizard will learn one fact about one item or artefact per two points of POW sacrificed initially. The research must be continuous and the amount of POW sacrificed determined at the beginning of the period of research. The POW cannot be regained until the research is terminated. This can be done at any time prior to the completion of the research. For other details see Demosthenes.
When this Chaos-god first appeared in the Great Darkness, Ishtar worked with him for a while and they shared knowledge. Than was able to perfect his vile headhunting spells with the knowledge given him by Ishtar, and she gained the following spells which the cult retains even though Ishtar and Thanatar are now sundered. Some say Ishtar took Than to wed, but all Ishtari deny this.
As Thanatar Runespell ‘Edo Epistula’.
As Thanatar Runespell ‘Edo Libram’.
When casting a spell, a cultist will sacrifice the Power to Ishtar and then roll on his skill. Success means the spell is cast normally, a special indicates that 1 point of Power is given back to him, a critical indicates that 2 points of Power are returned. Failure causes the loss of Power without the spell functioning. A fumble causes the spell to affect the caster adversely. A POW vs. POW rolls must be made in addition to the skill roll where relevant.
All cultists have at least one spell book in which they write all their
spells. It is assumed that an acolyte spends at least two hours a day in
if this is not done or the book(s) are stolen, then his spells will fall by
5% per day until he can replace the book(s). Recovery will take one day per
5% per spell skill. A spell book weighs 1 enc. and can hold ½ INT spell
No ticks are required for Spell Training until 75% is attained.
No cultist may have more spell skills in his mind at any time than the limit of his magic books with him.
Learning Battlemagic is a skill requiring supervision, but not knowledge, by the Wizard. Therefore a Wizard does not have to know the spell in which he instructs the pupil.
Finally, due to the custom made 'DIY' nature of Ishtari Battlemagic, there are no incompatible spells and several spells can be cast at once provided that they are cast upon the same target and no spell is failed. If one spell fails in a multiple casting, then they all fail, the same applies for stackable spells, save that one spell roll is made to succeed with all points.
An Ishtari wizard may sacrifice for the following standard Runemagics:
Absorption (1-4), Discorporation (1+), Dismiss Elemental (1-3), Divination (1+), Extension (1-3), Matrix Creation, Mind Link, Multispell (1-3), Reflection (1-4), Shield (1-4), Spirit Block (1-4), Vision and Warding (1-4).
Ishtari Divination only answers questions directly related to magic.
Each Runespell is a separate spell and must be sacrificed for independently – if a Wizard has Shield 1, Shield 2 still costs two points of power. Also these are not variable spells, i.e. the Wizard’s skill in Shield 2 is not limited by his skill in Shield 1.
Familiars may also sacrifice for Runemagic – provided they meet the qualifications for Wizard, i.e. have an 18+ POW and ten mastered points of battlemagic. They may use the Wizard’s base skills via mindlink plus their own knowledge bonus to determine this. Familiars may sacrifice for Power Store and this can be accessed by the Wizard for his Runemagics but any spells that the familiar has of its own (including its Power Store) will be lost should the familiar die.
Elemental summoning spells can be researched but Ishtar has no elemental affinity and so the summoned being has no general inclination to serve the summoner. This is unlike other cults where the elemental summoned is a cult servant. Ishtari Wizards can, through ritual, make pacts with specific Elementals after they have researched an appropriate summoning spell. This is done in a similar manner to a shaman gaining a controlled spirit. The cost is a point of power per ten points of appropriate elemental characteristic. Such Elementals must be looked after in the same way as a Shaman looks after his controlled spirits in order to maintain the pact.
It is also possible to research a Command specific-type Elemental spell. This may allow the Ishtari to summon a random elemental and then use the command spell to gain control of it. This has the disadvantage that if the spell fails to overcome the Elemental’s power then it will be angered by the Ishtari and is very likely to attack the Ishtari in preference to other targets.
Starting Character Ishtaris
|51-65||Rapier and Dagger1|
|66-80||Shortsword and Buckler 1|
|94-94||Longsword and Buckler1|
- Second item is the primary parrying weapon.
- Character knows how to use a missile weapon, to 30% plus bonus, re-roll for a melee weapon, ignoring rolls of 96+.
- Character automatically knows Dagger as a melee weapon and can choose to make it his primary weapon.
The starting character Wizard has one weapon at 50% plus bonuses in attack and parry rolled on the following weapon table. The non-weapon skills of Read/Write Magic at 50% plus bonuses if human, 30% if not, and Oratory and Magic Lore at 30% plus bonuses.
They get training in spell skills in Detect Magic and Countermagic IV at 50% plus bonuses, plus any 6pts of Battlemagic at 25% plus bonuses. They get characteristic raises in DEX and CHA and two for POW. They may then initiate. They have a weapon of their choice plus 1D10 shillings. They have no armour.