Copies Magic

Published June 21, 2018 by


You were living your life in your normal way, until one day you stumbled across a numenera. Making use of it yourself made a light appear in front of you, and an invulnerable piece of paper appeared in its place- its image bore a close resemblance to the numenera you just used.
Maybe you were fighting, and a monster breathed fire at you, and you realized you could do it too.
Was it a friend using a salve to heal one of your wounds, both of you surprised to see a Card appear in front of you that let you evoke the same effect?
Perhaps you found a Card someone else made, and it reacted to you.
Were you instead at a shop, touching various goods until something you touched made a Card appear that performed the same function?

It doesn’t matter. Either way, you learned that you have the power to copy any and all magical effects, and any effects that look like magic, as easily as it was an esotery you had trained yourself in. Each specific effect can only be gained once; a fireball, flame blade, and a flamethrower are different things, though.


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 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: Use 1 XP or sacrifice 1 cypher per additional Card you start with.

Esotery Effects:

Card Capturing: Items such as artifacts, cyphers, oddities, and other items with strange abilities can be copied, but instead of becoming the Cardcaptor’s esotery, they become playing/trading cards that are weaker by 1 level than they were originally (level 1 abilities don’t weaken) and invoking them always uses the Intellect pool.

Blue Magic: Blue Mages are powerful and versatile mages. Eventually. To begin with, they don’t really have any magic of their own and have to acquire their skills from monsters and other mages (esoteries, monster skills, foci powers, etc).

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 1-9 Cards owned) You can sacrifice an esotery to manifest a new Card, or summon the effect of a Card. Esoteries sacrificed to gain Cards don’t weaken a second time.

Card Mage: Learning more about the ability’s source (how the machine works, where the magic came from, the numinera’s age, the creature’s species, etc) makes that Card permanently more powerful in some way. (+1 to an offense/defense roll, +10% area effect range, able to be used +3 feet away instead of direct touch, etc.) However this only affects that Card specifically, and only while you are its owner/user. Someone stealing your Card and using it would get no bonus, and if you got it back, your bonus would return to it. Stolen Cards can be used by anyone, but only have a single use and become worthless until/unless a Cardcaptor retrieves it.

Blue Magic: Esoteries, foci powers, artifacts, oddities, cyphers, and monster skills with special effects (referred to as magic) used by others on you (or by you in the case of items) can be copied permanently. The level of ability is lower by 1 level (level 1 magic doesn’t weaken) if turned into an esotery.

Inability: Naturally strengthen an esotery directly.

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.