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Occult Lore and Ritual Magick

Occult Lore and Ritual Magick


Occult Lore is used complementarily to Ritual Magick and has a Prerequisite: Legend/Lore (which has its own prerequisites: Anthropology and History! [Chill, p. 59]). One can develop skill in Ritual Magick without knowing any lore, but it would most likely be a very personalized system others would find too esoteric to practice on his/her own (adjust all Asst. Pot. +1 [Comp., p. 83]).

Those with Occult Lore receive a +10 to all Ritual Magick Checks. They are far more likely to adopt an accepted style of Magick - even if it is some obscure, Pagan religion long since forgotten by modern man, other practitioners have probably heard of it or are at least familiar with the concepts involved. Ritual Magick does not necessarily make the character Evil; it is often said that the type of Magick is not as important as the way it is used. One with Occult Lore but not Ritual Magick can read most grimoires and give a generalized account of their contents on successful General or Specific Skill Checks - but Occult Lore cannot be used in place of Ritual Magick. [see sidebar]

Knowing a lot about the Occult, in general, does not mean the character follows any system or religion - or even believes in the Occult or Supernatural! It just means he knows a lot about Occult practices, and some of those may be part of a professed "religion." However, Chill 3.0 makes a very specific delineation between such skills, and if this is the case in your game - whether the character is a Scholar, Parapsychologist, Clergyman (Comp., p. 54), et.al. - Comparative Religion will likely serve him better.

Occult Lore
is a specific, Narrow Skill; Comparative Religion is a Broad Skill. In general, Comparative Religion regards the knowledge of "accepted" religions (throughout history) and their practices, while Occult Lore focuses on pagan practices and those unrelated to a religious or dogmatic structure. The concepts and practices comprising Occult Lore are generally considered "Dark" and unaccepted by society.

Chill 3.0
's approach is understandable, even laudable, given the potential for abuse that Ritual Magick presents, but one can only possess Ritual Magick once one possesses the lengthy list of prerequisite skills. This is not a tortured game mechanic - in fact, it belies the strength of Chill's systematics: the Occult is generally a spiritual calling and while many are inquisitive, few will become actual practitioners; "dabblers" become exhausted along the way. Systematically speaking, these "dabblers" will exhaust their CIP in their reckless pursuit of the Ritual Magick skill and its Spells, without ever truly mastering themselves, and this makes them weak. You know... systematically.

The excellent Ritual Magick System presented in the
Chill Companion (p. 81-97) beautifully restrains this potential for abuse on another level, as well. Ritual Magick is no mere skill, and if the CM designs the system surrounding it carefully enough, characters with Master Level Hypnotism will have to be monitored more stringently than those practicing the Dark Arts (they probably should be, anyway). And in Vincent, Ritual Magick is about as Dark as it gets.

But Ritual Magick is necessary for conducting religious ceremonies of all stripe - note the sample Exorcism spell on pg.
88 - and also that many religions contain both "white" and "black" aspects, often with many, corresponding ceremonies for each. This means that high-level priests of many "good" religions are truly powerfully Mystics in their own right, perhaps even outside their faith's dogmatic constrictions.

The Black Arts have always been a more direct path to power.

Ritual Magick
is very fucking powerful. Everything in the Voodoo book is a system of Ritual Magick, and if SAVE exists in your campaign, all of the Disciplines of The Art and The Evil Way that require testing are, too (Vincent is a
SAVE campaign) - Comp., p. 96. Some of the Spells available in the Vincent Campaign can literally destroy the world, unravelling our reality and intertwining it with the Unknown!

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CMs are always within their rights to handle things however they see fit, but if one could carry-out Magick rituals with only a base knowledge of Occult Lore, that would undermine the system.

The Narrow Skill System
is what makes this so complex, but also robust: Because Anthro-/Arch- and History are PRs for Legend/Lore, and Occult Lore is a sub-set of that skill, it only follows. It's awful nice how that works-out, once you figure just how upsetting it could be if {N]PCs could just pick-up Ritual Magick whenever they wanted! This system slows the process, ensuring no PC has enough CIP to begin the game as a powerful sorceror with many powerful Spells.

CMs might alllow a character with only Occult Lore to attempt a Ritual Magick Spell (if he can fulfill the Pot. requirements) - something such as reciting a spell aloud - because these characters can read grimoires. Use this cautiously. His testing score would be "Unskilled" {[LCK+PCN+WPR]/10) - Occult Lore and Ritual Magick have the same calculus (Comp., p. 34 - Narrow Skills List). Failure should be more spectacular than it would be for those with the appropriate skill.