Copies Magic

Published June 21, 2018 by

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One day, you happened across something able to be overlooked by nearly anyone, but to you it was a numinera that reacted to you. It looks like a small handheld box made of… random things. Leathers, cloth, papers, bar codes, cardboard, circuitry, metal, synth, wood, glass, even bone. It was damaged beyond recognition, and haphazardly put back together with glue, tape, staples, stitching, and anything else. The only thing that looked fully recognizable were the words ‘Crayon Cards’ written on the box itself.
How did it react?
Something happened to you, or you used something strange, and scraps of paper, sawdust, metal filings, and/or threads from someone’s shirt ceased to be, and instead a Card appeared before you, showing the same effect. The Card’s name is at the top, and your own name is written at the bottom. You realized it’s probably a good idea to keep some debris with you in hopes you don’t make another Card out of someone else’s property, but preparation doesn’t mean guarantee.

What happened? Was it an oddity you used, or was it a monster that breathed fire at you? Were you the target of someone’s telepathy, or did you use a cypher? Either way, you learned that you can copy any effect from anyone’s focus, any monster ability, any numenera. So you’d better hold on to that Box!


GM Intrusion: Cardcaptors are especially weak against theft. Cards might also choose to stop listening until it is convinced to come out and play again.


Pick one other PC. This character knows about at least one other Card. Whether they fear the magic you might one day possess, want to manipulate your increasing knowledge and insight, or have strong personal feelings for you (in whatever way they choose) is up to them. Knowledge on the Card might be nothing but rumor, and not necessarily from a reliable source.

Additional Equipment:

One Card that replicates an effect from your backstory (fireball, land mine, smoke breath, etc).

Suggestion: Sacrifice 1 unit of something per Card you start with, depending on GM. If your campaign grants you XP, sacrifice 1 XP. If you get any cyphers, starting money, or anything else, sacrifice that.

Esotery Effects:

Card Capturing: Numinera, foci, esoteries, and monster powers can be copied as Crayon Cards, with the following calculation:

Current Tier is max level of the Card itself. Manifesting one (creating a card from an ability) is free, but you only get 1 CHANCE per day. High level abilities and artifacts can be copied, but only between level 1 and your potential level (1 at tier 1, 6 at tier 6). You can personally only manifest one Card for any specific function- if you manifest a fireball at tier 1, then that’s a tier 1 fireball. To get a higher level fireball, you’ll need to either find one, or level up your own to match that level once you’re capable (requires XP) but then you don’t have a low level fireball to use anymore.

Minor Effect Suggestions:
You recognize a telegraph, giving you a +1 to copy the incoming effect.
Major Effect Suggestions:
Effect is not only copied, but negated and absorbed.
Tier 1:

Cardcaptor: (required 0-9 Cards owned) You can manifest a new Crayon Card into existence that counts as your own esotery’s versatility, and isn’t a cypher (but active Cards do count against cypher limit) but it can still be stolen, though not destroyed. Crayon Cards created by someone else can be made into your own by using them twice their level. In order to conjure a Card (make use of one) follow this calculation:

Intellect Pool
Level of Card x 2
Not owned by you (someone else made the Card and you have it somehow) x 2
Apply Edge reduction/s

Your backstory Card is level 1, and made by you. Using that is relatively easy. Intellect – 2
You found a level 1 Card and try to use it. Intellect – 4
You stole a high level Card, maybe level 6 and try to use it. Intellect – 24

Inability: Applying Effort to anything.

Tier 2:

Cardcaptor II: (required 10-19 Cards owned) Any Card in your possession counts as an Edge unto itself, for every +1 it’s gotten through research. A cost of 3 for a Lightning Bolt would have a -2 cost due to its +2 bonus, plus the character’s Intellect Edge (assuming), so the ability would be freely usable.

Card Thief: If you use a Card someone ELSE made two times more than the bonus it had in its previous owner’s possession, its ownership will shift and it will now belong in your Deck, not theirs. If the Card had no bonus, then you only need to use it twice. A Card was a +1 Range, +1 Damage so +2 total. Use the card 4x and it’s yours. If a Card had a bonus of +6, then you need to use it 8x.

Blue Mage II: The Blue Mage gains a +1 Might Edge as scar tissue from being intentionally injured by so many sources just for a chance to copy more magic.

Tier 3:

Cardcaptor III: (required 20-29 Cards owned) Personalities begin to be somewhat attributed to not only your newly created Cards, but your existing Cards begin to show behaviors too. Luckily they both behave similar to their sources and always agree with you since you’re their power source, but for those that aren’t in your Deck and have been owned by someone of your caliber… (Item-sources could go off behaviors of the item’s owner, or behaviors the player displayed when first using the Card, or behaviors attributed to people who might have used it. A cement mixer Card might behave like a construction worker. Any Card might behave like a rumor or subconscious thought might suggest, like Shadow is skulky, or something.) Due to this, the Cards recognize their own names and can activate themselves when called out to, targeting whatever the user is planning to use them on.

Card Mechanic: You can have a Card’s effect partially manifest. An example might be an acidic smoke breath that melts flesh. You can tell the Card to only provide smoke, which causes no damage to anything but does help impair vision.

Blue Mage III: Interrupting someone/something from using magic on you can make them unable to use that ability again the next time they try. If this succeeds, then there is a granted +1 acquiring it for yourself permanently.

Tier 4:

Cardcaptor IV: (required 30-39 Cards owned) Two Cards can be cast in a single action as a merged spell and their names don’t have to be called- they already know which of them are being put to use and activate themselves. Cards begin to become defensive of their owner but they mostly display such feelings by showing ferocity at their target for offensive Cards, and Defensive Cards might activate themselves. Support or other Card types show happiness at having their effects simply made use of.

Blue Mage IV: +1 Intellect Edge from all your research and casting. Also, you now have a chance to copy esoteries and monster abilities by simply watching, instead of having to be nearly killed by stuff.

Tier 5:

Blue Cardcaptor: (required 40-49 Cards owned) You can manifest a new Card by simply witnessing any type of effect. Due to the static and weakened versions of your copied esoteries, and leveling ability of your Cards, your copied magic simply become Cards directly.

Card Guardian: Cards can be evoked into a guise (which is designed based on the mage’s subconscious) with very obvious representation of the effects they produce if they didn’t already. Cards in a guise can act like a trap, using their ability on a valid target. Defeated/activated Cards return to their owner in Card form assuming they’re close enough (500 yards) but it also gives away the mage’s position.

Card Quartermaster: If a Card’s image is a girl with long hair, a ribbon can be given to it when it is summoned, and the ribbon will appear on the Card from then on, as it is now a natural part of her. Other non-magical gifts can be given to Cards that have the same response. Such gifts permanently cease to exist in the manner they did once given. Incompatible items are destroyed upon summoning but return to perfect condition when the spell effect ends (such as a fireball wearing a folded paper hat). Cards that are given items that don’t make sense (a hydroponic farm Card being given a lasso) would only have these gifts as decoration since they would never understand how to use it.

Tier 6:

Cardmaster: (required 50+ Cards owned) Simply touching someone else’s Card/s converts it/them to belong in your Deck automatically. Additionally, the Cardcaptor can manifest a new Card once a day at 60 Cards, and once more for every 10 Cards over that amount with no source needed; they simply imagine what effects they want produced, and a Card will create itself.

Blue Wizard: Learning enough about an ability used by a living thing (organic or otherwise) provides the Blue Mage with enough insight as to attempt to gain the same ability as an esotery, even without having to bear witness.

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