Objects of Desire

And so it is, that both the Devil and the angelic Spirit present us with objects of desire to awaken our power of choice.

[ Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī ]

Doctor John Dee consults a magick mirror
by Evlyn Moreau – support her Patreon

Power and objects walk hand in hand. For some, the power imbued within an object arose from association. The very contact that an item had with an individual of significance left a residue or some echo of their soul. Like the bonding of a witch with a familiar or the harmony sought between a gambler and their favourite dice, possession would infuse an object with a preternatural quality accessible to others. If you could find something worn by a saint, then you could leverage the power that the saint exhibited in life. Or at least some aspect of it.

Conversely, the very drive and purpose of the seeker might have something to do with the influence of the object. The sinner who seeks to make use of a holy relic will likely find the task fruitless, whereas the faithful will experience something quite different. In some ways, the power might seem to no longer lie with the object in that case, but that the object serves as a test of focus and resolve, a mirror to the soul of those who would seek to use it. Therein the words of Rumi echo, for in presenting objects of desire we are tested – and in that test we find those worthy and those solely seeking to better themselves at a loss to others.

Doctor Dee on the other hand seems to have seen something altogether different in the power of objects. Relics and items of power neither possessed the power themselves nor served as key to the lock of personal potential. Instead, Dee perceived objects as conduits, a means to harness the vibrations or reflected power that permeated the many layers of reality – surging forth through the supernaturall via the application of the intellectuall to manifest in the physicall, the lowest state of all.

In The Dee Sanction, this reflected puissance manifests both in the Tradecraft of Magic, where characters may use objects to further their ends against powerful entities of the supernatural, or they may seek to harness some fragment of an artefacts potential, rather like a grail – unworthy of the greater power of an object but able to channel some minor fragment. The Black Seal of Doctor Dee, for example, serves as a major artefact, one which the player driven Agents will only rarely use themselves and then only as a means to ward fixed areas against ingress and egress. Mirrors of a certain quality, too, will serve as a medium for communication through the divine ether, like telegrams carried on the words of archangels.

Mechanically, using an object with Tradecraft will strike that from the scarce major tool kit the characters have to draw upon as a group; whereas, the application of fragmentary powers will require attunement of some form, specific to the object, and the Challenging a Resource fitting to the task (and set by the Gamemaster). The cost of the Challenge will inevitably drain the Resource, but the specific format (and explanation) of the object may carry with it specifics (in the form of simple Tags) as to the repercussions of failure. Indeed, many artefacts and objects of significance will have keyed random collections of unfortunate side effects and consequences that arise from ill-guided misuse. Agents beware the frivolous handling of potent curios.