I’ll be using a pregenerated character again this time. Palome is a Stalwart Stoic of the Order of Weavers who Explores the Nöosphere which makes him an exciting character to play in a campaign, not least because she’s got an open freakin’ book as a head. I created Gemma Frostwhistle for a campaign but when I wanted to try a weaver in a separate campaign Palome was just too interesting to pass up.
Weavers work their magic through, unsurprisingly, threads of power that are woven together into mystical effects. Called aggregates, these threads are learned as the weaver’s degree increases and the aggregates are combined using the same Effects by Level table that we explored with makers. As a 2nd degree weaver, Palome knows three different aggregates (in her particular case Freedom, Infinity, and Wind) which she can weave together two of them at a time, plus she’s better at one effect in particular that she’s cast before (I’m going to use a swift-running effect that I did last time).
Let’s get going!
How Weavers Use Magic
There are eighteen different aggregates listed in Book 3, The Way, each a philosophical and physical manifestation of part of the world: Alleyways, Blood, Challenge, Diamond, Fire, Freedom, Hate, Heart, Infinity, Lust, Moonlight, the Sea, Sleep, Thunder, the Tower, Wind, Winter, and the Woods. By taking multiple threads (two at a time for a 1st degree weaver up to four of them at a time for a 6th degree weaver) the weaver creates magical effects that incorporate the various aspects of the aggregates.
Now, these aggregates are absolutely literal in some cases, such as the Woods being magic that affects plants and Freedom being magic about escape. They can also be more abstracted, though, like effects of growth and mystery with the Woods aggregate and joy and sight with the Freedom aggregate. Furthermore, a weaver can also use the absence of an aggregate to create effects that are opposite the aggregate’s normal qualities. The qualities of the Blood aggregate include health, energy, wounds, and family but the absence of Blood can be dead things, the undead, metal and stone (which famously lack blood), and timidity. Aggregates also have default durations and ranges which are usually “one round” and “touch” respectively (though there are many different options) and those defaults can be changed by increasing or decreasing the level of the weave as we’ll see below. Adding together all the factors gives you a level which determines what Sorcery you need to spend, like any other magic cast in Invisible Sun.
All of this means that casting magic as a weaver is, once again, a very different prospect from the other orders in the game. Vances have prewritten spells, makers follow a calculated flowchart, but weavers imagine their effect from themes and concepts. As it says in The Way, other orders describe exactly but weavers ask “how does the spell feel?”
The Well of Deep Sorrows
Let’s imagine a simple scenario with Palome headed into the realm of the Green Sun (see here if you’re confused on that means). She’s looking for a site called the Well of Deep Sorrows deep in the jungle, a place where she can get answers. Let’s say that Palome starts by stepping through a door in the cold halls of the Silver Sun and through to a garden that is actually a grove in the jungles of the Green Sun. She looks around and realizes she needs to gain some bearings to find the Well. She winds together a thread of Freedom, the idea of sight and distance, and the absence of Infinity, for the idea of understanding, to create a magic that lets her see where she is in relation to the Well. It would be nice to use something like the Sea (which includes the idea of journeys) or the Woods (since she’s in a jungle) to tell her what sort of trip she’s in for and what lies along the way. She doesn’t have access to these aggregates, though, so the DM decides she can use what she has but will be lacking these critical elements.
While the spell only needs to affect Palome and she only needs a moment of information, the Well is pretty far away. Freedom has a default range of near, while Infinity has a default range of far. Luckily for Palome you always use the more beneficial option, so the spell has a far range by default and the level is determined just by the effect. Divining the answer to one question is a Level 5 effect which is definitely within her power to cast. Knowledge floods into Palome’s mind, the wide infinity of this universe collapsing into a fully comprehensible vector. The Well she’s looking for is twenty miles to the east.
Walking through the jungles, Palome hears animals all around her and the deep thrum of the jungle. It’s only a matter of time before one of them comes after her and seconds later a tiger with deep aquamarine fur comes snarling out of the shadows. Quickly, Palome pulls together a thread of Freedom (the idea of destruction) and Wind (the idea of breath) to create a huge and destructive gale that she blows out at the tiger. She wants to make sure this hurts so she opts to deal five damage, a Level 5 effect, which leaves her several more Sorcery in case of more trouble. She takes a deep breath and exhales a hurricane that throws the tiger back into a tree with five thudding points of damage.
Weavers might be my favorite Order to play. You have to tell a story with each little spell, something that I love and enjoy with every scene. The only thing that’s a bummer is that gaining access to different aggregates happens at a slow rate. On the plus side, having limited thread options means that you have to get creative which (if you are attracted to playing in the first place) is actually pretty fun. On the negative side, even if you’re a 6th-degree weaver (top of the heap!) you only have access to seven different aggregates. That’s less than half of the eighteen listed.Like anything in Invisible Sun, expanding on these aggregates is actually pretty straightforward. If you wanted your weaver to have access to an aggregate of the Seasons, for example, or an aggregate of Gemstones and your GM is cool with it then it’s as simple as coming up with a default Range and Duration, a list of appropriate Qualities, and a short list of three or so Absences. No weaver has access to all the aggregates (or even close) and there are many overlaps so I can’t see any balance issues to worry about. Keep imagining and keep inventing and your weaver might just be the most effective caster in your party.