The Twilight Masquerade
Night Magnitude 8
Performing the Ritual
Performing this ritual takes at least 2 minutes of roleplaying. This ritual targets a character, who must be present throughout.
This spell is an enchantment. A target may only be under one enchantment effect at a time.
This ritual allows the creation of a magical disguise. The disguise is partly due to physical change and partly due to glamour and illusion; it persists until the enchantment expires or is removed; you cannot alter your appearance again without further use of magic.
- A human target of this ritual can create a disguise that allows them to add, change, increase, reduce or remove their lineage.
- An orc target may create a disguise that changes their orc phys-rep; they remain recognisable as an orc although they may appear to be a different orc.
In all cases the normal rules for disguises apply, with the obvious exception that this magical means of disguising yourself allows you to alter your lineage (but not species). As always, the disguise is only as effective as you can physically make it. This ritual will not allow you to break the rules for trappings (or in the case of orcs, phys-rep) you cannot combine trappings from more than one lineage, for example, nor create additional trappings 'on the-fly'. If you are a cambion who wishes to disguise themselves as a naga you will need to remove all cambion trappings before you create new naga trappings.
The target often experiences mild versions of the roleplaying effects associated with the assumed lineage (if any), and any roleplaying effects due to their actual lineage (if any) are lessened in intensity for the duration. The ritual has no effect on the boon granted to each lineage, however. A lineage character does not lose their specific boon, nor does someone masquerading as a lineaged character gain that lineage's special ability. For example, a changeling using Twilight Masquerade to appear as a draughir can still become angry when exposed to fear and does not gain the ability to gain sustenance from spoiled meat.
The disguise may take a little while to complete (the time it takes you to apply the prosthetics and make-up).
The effect lasts until the start of the next Profound Decisions Empire event.
Additional targets can be effected by the ritual provided they are all humans or all orcs. Each target is transformed in the same way although the details of the transformation may differ (so a group of humans could all be given a disguise as naga, but could not be disguised as a mix of naga and cambion). Each additional target increases the magnitude of the ritual by 5.
This ritual effects a magical transformation, a combination of physical changes and subtle glamour that works to convince onlookers not to look too closely. This magic will not defeat attentive observation, but on casual observation onlookers will not question the new appearance. (OOC: Someone who challenges your disguise has pushed beyond the glamour effect, and recognized your character).
As with mundane disguise, this ritual is used for all sorts of purposes, both legitimate and seamy. It might be used in espionage, or to conceal a fugitive; it might be performed for artistic reasons, or to create a challenging costume for a play or celebration. It is sometimes used by those interested in experiencing life as a different lineage, or seeking freedom from the prejudices of others for a time. The ritual has a reasonably long duration, and if it is performed regularly a specific appearance can be maintained for a long period of time.
When used for transitory effects, the targets often arrange for a second ritual to be cast on them at a later date; the underpinnings of magic mean that once the enchantment is removed, the disguise will quickly fall away - even a simple ritual such as Tenacity of Jotra is sufficient to bring the Twilight Masquerade to an end.
Both humans suspicious of various lineages, and the lineaged themselves, may react unpredictably when they discover this ritual has been used. A human who discovers that someone is secretly a member of a despised lineage is likely to react badly, as is someone who discovers that a supposed ally is not even lineaged at all.
On occasion, the hearth magic of mirrors will penetrate this disguise; it is usually a good idea to avoid locations with many mirrors if the disguise is to persist.
Masks are the most common element of this ritual - especially a magical Mask of the Mountebank which not only empowers the performance of the ritual but allows additional option to use iridescent gloaming in place of crystal mana. In some caes, mirrors may also be used, sometimes with sleight of hand to quickly change who or what the mirror is reflecting in an attempt to create a resonance for falsehood. In other cases, the image of the target is 'trapped' in a mirror by the ritualists, allowing them to change their appearance freely. Drawings of the target are used in a similar way a quick sketch of the target can be modified with new trappings, or removed trappings, to sketch out the desired transformation. A Marcher ritual might involve the use and modification of carefully constructed poppets pinned with scraps to suggest the transformation required.
Butterflies and frogs, their images or materials that come from them are another common element, and the ritual often involves the targets changing clothes as they change their identity (especially when performed by Freeborn or Dawnish ritualists. An Imperial orc ritual may involve an invocation to a specific ancestor whose appearance the target orc wishes to adopt or use as a model. A Navarr ritual by contrast is likely to involve a little blood from a living character of the appropriate lineage (or lack thereof), preferably one of the ritualists. Finally, symbols of the Realm associated with a new lineage disguise might be appropriate.
Bruno de Tassato, the man of a thousand masks, sat looking into his mirror. A very fine quality mirror it was too, weltsilver backing, and buffed to a high sheen (that wasn't part of the process, just part of his generally fastidious nature.) He stared at his reflection, the glistening scales, the dark eyes, the hint of a fang resting on his lower lip. His reflection regarded him in return, drinking in the details of the figure seated before it. This was the beginning of the process.
Slowly and carefully he stood and began to face the wall of his dressing room, where hundreds of masks (not quite a thousand, not yet) hung on the wall. And such masks! Leering whole-face jesters, velvet slips that barely covered the area around the eyes, faces of alabaster perfection, faces bisected or with playfully elongated features. A seemingly infinite variety, but which would be his tonight? He let his hands glide over them one by one, drinking in their textures and forms. Who would be his dance partner for this evening's performance?
Eventually he settled on an ornate affair, beaded with seed-pearls, but its beauty marred by a diagonal scar which cracked the gilded surface, rendering it ugly and menacing. Oh, yes, most fitting for the role of the Horned Prince. Even as he slipped it on, he felt the arrogant and scheming character begin to well up inside him like a mouthful of bitter wine. The ritual itself was almost the least important part of the process, almost an afterthought, but an important one. Lessers might make do with greasepaint and props, but not Bruno de Tassato, the man of a thousand masks!
The performance was a roaring success. The troupe were masterful, but as always Bruno had been the star of the show. With his dagger horns and iron talons, he'd lived the role of the Horned prince, practically oozing ambition and connivance from his pores. As usual, the reclusive actor had fled back to his dressing room after the performance was done, but this time it seemed something was wrong. A stagehand, sent to deliver some of the more tasteful gifts from the audience found him wandering his room, his face slack and eyes lustreless. He fumbled with the masks, spilling faces in every direction, his voice a dull monotone."Where is my face? Where is my face? I took this mask off, but I cannot find my own face..."