The Path of Kane
The magic rules in the Entropic Gaming System Core Rulebook are purposefully generic; they’re meant to be malleable enough to cover a wide range of different styles, types, and traditions of magic. Since The Path of Solomon Kane is based on historical-fiction, the following changes will be made to the Magick and Delivery aspect of the campaign. The attempt here is to bring a more “fantastical-historical” flavor to the game’s magic. Thanks to Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque for the descriptions of the Paths. The Paths below replace shamanism and sorcery from The Savage World of Solomon Kane-Player’s Guide. All paths contain the spells from the Basic Spell List.
PATHS OF MAGICK
The Right and Left Hand Paths
The Right Hand Path
Weird Ability: Intelligence
Weird Skill: Arcana
The Right Hand Path of magic is based in study of the sacred writings of the world’s major religions, particularly those associated with the divine language of the deity’s angels.
Although this type of magic is the most socially acceptable of all the Paths, magic is never trusted in the world of Solomon Kane. The religious study of obscure and difficult texts is encouraged by monastic orders and mystic traditions especially, yet it is a very difficult and demanding intellectual endeavor, requiring lengthy contemplation of holy texts and the works of exegesis that gloss them. The magic associated with this path involves healing, protection, purification, and the invocation of angelic aid.
Example Manifestations: Laying on hands to heal wounds (Healing), invoking a sacred name to rebuke unclean spirits (Banish), summoning and angel to bring light to the darkness (Light).
The Left Hand Path
Weird Ability: Charisma
Weird Skill: Demonology
Conversely, the Left Hand Path is based in traffic with infernal spirits such as demons and devils. This Path is pursued partly through the textual study of grimoires and other occult tomes, and partly through direct consultation with demonic entities who will impart further arcane knowledge in return for sorcerer entering into spiritually-binding pacts. As a consequence of the way this Path imparts its magic, it is viewed as a heretical practice and is persecuted with the utmost extremity by followers of most established religions. The magic associated with this path involves destruction, causing harm, and the summoning of devils to do the caster’s bidding.
Example Manifestations: Summoning a demon to do one’s bidding (Summon Ally), shouting the name of an evil fiend (Stun), sulfurous fumes that knock others unconscious (Slumber).
The Path of the Spirit and Path of the Grave
The Path of the Spirit
Weird Ability: Spirit
Weird Skill: Mysticism
The Path of the Spirit is the magic of spiritualism; initiates into the mysteries of this Path exert their powers to summon the discriminate spirits of once-living beings and transverse the boundary between this world and the next. The practices of this Path have their roots in primitive shamanism, but the modern incarnation of spiritualism has refined its art into a more calculated and reliable form of magic. The skills needed to contact and direct the spirits of the dead are honed in rituals such as séances; these rituals are passed down by masters to their apprentices— very few treatises exist that explain the workings of this Path. The magic associated with this path involves the manipulation of ectoplasm and the contacting of spirit guides.
Example Manifestations: Summoning a poltergeist to attack foes (Pummel), assuming ectoplasmic form (Intangibility), gaining the knowledge of a spirit guide (Warrior’s Gift)
The Path of the Grave
Weird Ability: Intelligence
Arcane Skill: Necromancy
The Path of the Grave is the darker cousin of the Path of the Spirit; instead of focusing on the congenial contact of spirits, the Path of the Grave summons forth the deceased to be enslaved by the caster’s whim. This enslavement can be spiritual or material in nature; some casters raise the spirits of the dead as a form of divination, others entrap the spirits within corpses to be animated and commanded. The skills that comprise the necromancer’s art are found within rare and damnable tomes—these books are extraordinarily scarce because they are often destroyed when they are uncovered by religious authorities. This path is particularly disreputable; its practitioners are seen as being morbid and perverse magicians whose powers transgress against the Lady’s lawful dominion over the fate of the dead. The magic associated with this path involves enervation, decay, and the creation of animate undead.
Example Manifestations: Using goofer dust to create the walking dead (Zombie), enslaving a spirit to use its native tongue (Speak Language), a touch that causes morbidity and decay (Lower Trait).
The Path of the World and the Path of the Beyond
The Path of the World
Weird Ability: Spirit
Weird Skill: Witchcraft
The Path of the World draws upon the powers of nature to fuel its magic; these practices are rooted in ancient folk beliefs, but are more commonly known now as witchcraft. The practice of witchery tends to be limited to undeveloped or “primitive” areas, though covens sometimes secretly operate in the midst of more civilized places as well. Books containing the secrets of witchcraft—known as Books of Shadow—are known, but it is far more common for the magic of this Path to be handed down from generation to generation through oral tradition. The magic associated with this Path involves casting and breaking hexes, folk remedies, and harnessing the powers of the natural world. N’Longa, Solomon Kane’s shamanistic ally, is a practitioner of the Path of the World.
Example Trappings: Stabbing a poppet to inflict damage (Lower Trait), using the “evil eye” to curse someone (Curse), preparing pungent ointments and a broom (Fly).
N’Longa, Solomon’s African companion followed the Path of the World.
The Path of the Beyond
Weird Ability: Psyche
Weird Skill: Occultism
In contrast, the Path of the Beyond draws upon the powers of the dreadful beings who exist outside of our natural reality to fuel its magic. Though many who practice the magic of this Path do so in solitude, small cults devoted to the worship of unnatural cosmic horrors sometimes develop in rural seclusion or as a symptom of urban decadence. The secrets of this Path are almost always gleaned from the study of sanity-destroying grimoires and fragments of occult tomes; it is striking that the authors of said works invariably die insane and in the throes of exquisite agony. However, some practitioners have reported that eldritch entities communicate further occult knowledge to them in their dreams. The magic associated with this Path involves madness, hallucination, fear, and the summoning and binding of aberrant creatures from beyond the stars.
Example Manifestations: Filling a target’s mind with horrific, otherworldly imagery (Confusion), invoking the Yellow Sign to control behavior (Puppet), provoke cosmic dread (Fear).
The paths are meant to add flavor to the setting while introducing a level of role-playing to the game, as each path has an opposite. Each description also gives players a good feel for how to play the caster and will give characters reasons for dabbling in that particular path.