Invention is the science of binding magical tokens into mechanical devices. In its simplest incarnation, a familiar spirit or magical token can be used as a power source for a mechanical device (in fact, most inventors see familiar spirits as just another type of token). More complex uses of Invention interact with other magics in other ways.

The science of Invention is seen as a very English pursuit; indeed, England has more and better inventors than any other country in Europe. As such, there is less use of latin and more use of English in the naming of Inventions.

Inventors start with two levels, each in a School of their choice, plus any four Spells of their choice. These must come from the list of known Spells, but may be too powerful for the inventor to create yet.

So, Invention is magically-enhanced Science?

NO. In the world of Albion, Magic and Science are the same thing. A Clockmaker is considered a Magician, and a summoner of Demons can easily be considered a Scientist. A scientist is simply one who artificially manipulates the natural forces of the world towards their own ends.

Note that Albion is not a hard science game; therefore, please do not attempt to apply real-world science to the use of Invention (or indeed any other magic).


The school of magic is known as Invention. Those who practice it are termed inventors, and the devices they create are Inventions. The method used for creating an Invention is known as the Spell, although inventors often use word Invention to mean the Spell instead. Some inventors take great pleasure in confusing people in this way.


Most basic Inventions require relatively mundane tokens; however, many inventors work closely with Conjurers to help find tokens quicker than they may be able to by themselves.

The token for a more advanced Invention is often a magical item produced by one of the other schools; e.g. a familiar spirit, either willing or forced to work in a device, or a jar of essence of Fire from an Alchemist. If a spirit is persuaded to become part of an Invention, it will usually be for only a limited time. Some other tokens are also time- or use-limited - if so, they will say so in the description of the Invention.

Familiar spirits who have been forced to work in an Invention against their will get very annoyed. They will almost certainly make life difficult for the person who forced them, the inventor who bound them or both, depending on their mood.

The story of Captain Sir Henry Whiting is worth retelling at this juncture. The Captain created a gold detector, binding a Familiar Spirit in such a way that it could not leave once it's agreed time of service was up. Unfortunately, when he took the device to Stonehenge the spirit of the place took offence to the device. The last that was heard of him was a swiftly cut-off scream as he was crushed between two stones.

Building Inventions

The AP cost to build an Invention is included in its description. For basic Inventions this will be 2AP, but higher-level inventions will cost more. This does not have to all be spent at one time, for instance if the token is not initially available. You may build as many inventions as you have AP (and tokens) for in any one turn.

Note that the AP cost is not a hard requirement. You may attempt to build an Invention spending less AP than required; see the Overpowered Inventing section for more details. The one hard limit is that you cannot spend less than 1 AP building an Invention.

It is theoretically possible to build an Invention without suitable plans; however, the chances of failure become much higher.


Invention is split into four different schools. Students of the science of Invention progress in each school separately. All schools have five significant power levels (above level 0, which is available to all inventors). The first three are well-known, but only magical experts know much about the higher levels.


  • Level 0: Provides as much power as a slight wind.
  • Level 1: Provides as much power as a small child.
  • Level 2: Provides as much power as a grown man.
  • Level 3: Provides as much power as a shire horse.


Using magic to direct devices. Golems etc.

  • Level 0: Can keep a simple motion going. Rotation, movement back-and-forth etc.
  • Level 1: Can perform simple, repetitive actions under simple conditions (e.g. buttering bread)
  • Level 2: Can perform moderately complex directed actions (e.g. walk to the end of the street and back)
  • Level 3: Can perform moderately complex autonomous actions (e.g. fly to the New World, drop off passengers and return)


Using magics in a device to provide information. Thaumaturgic compasses, etc. A 'domain' in this case is reasonably limited; each type of magic is a separate domain, as is astrology, natural plants, the geography of a county etc. If you are unsure, ask a GM.

  • Level 0: Understands that things fall when dropped.
  • Level 1: Limited knowledge of a specific domain. Can remember the last few days.
  • Level 2: Reasonable knowledge in one domain, or limited knowledge of a few. Can remember about a month.
  • Level 3: Expert knowledge from one domain, reasonable knowledge of multiple domains or limited knowledge of a few. Can remember half a year.


Using Inventions to enhance other magics (e.g. Inscribers). This is a reasonably fuzzy area, as different magics are not really comparable.

  • Level 0: Cannot affect magics in any noticeable way.
  • Level 1: Provides a small boost to magics. An increase in the chances of a ritual working etc.
  • Level 2: Provides a moderate boost to magics. 'Remembering' an extra conjuration spell (with appropriate Knowledge), increase the length or power of a spell, a moderate increase in the chances of a spell working etc.
  • Level 3: Provides a significant boot boost to magics. Increase a theurgic or sorcerous ritual by a level, increase the length or power of a spell significantly etc.

School Levels

An Inventor will have two levels in each school; their Theoretical (or Research) level, and their Practical level. These represent the two sides to Invention. No Inventor can have a Practical level higher than their Research level. Each of these is advanced separately.

The Theoretical level applies to theoretical and research work - generally Researching new Inventions. This level is improved by spending 3AP to advance, which is not modified by any Magical Library.

The Practical level is used when building new Inventions. This level is improved by building Inventions, but can never be greater than your Theoretical level.

Note that in general 'Level' in a school refers to the Practical level.

Maltese Education

Education at the La Valette College of Malta does not include tuition on Invention; however, it does give a broader understanding of the other types of magic. Therefore inventors who have studied at the College do not generally need to study to advance in the Grace school of Invention. Your Theoretical level will always be a minimum of two levels greater than your Practical level. This means that any Invention you successfully create which uses a level of Grace up to two levels above your current Practical level will automatically advance you.

This also applies if you do not start with the Grace school of Invention - you do not need a teacher to advance to your first Research level, as it is already considered to be at level 2.

AP can be spend to increase your Theoretical level as usual, but this increase does not roll over into your next level - if you have Grace Practical level 1 and spend 3AP to advance your Theoretical level to 4, it will still be level 4 when you advance to Practical level 2.

Research and Experimentation

Inventors are always pushing the boundaries of what is known and what can be done using their unique magics. One of the most famous inventors alive today, John Bainbridge, is known for producing at least four new Inventions every year (mainly to aid in his other hobby, astrology).

The mechanics of research are relatively simple. Let the GMs know what device you are trying to create and what it should do. We'll decide how likely it is to work, based on your knowledge of appropriate schools and other appropriate information. The base cost for creating a new spell is 4AP, and the base cost of learning a new spell from somebody else is 2AP.

An inventor can also modify an existing spell, which is generally easier than creating a new spell. Please let the GMs know what modification you want to make and we'll decide on an AP cost, but in general this will be 2AP for a simple progression and 3AP for a more complex change.

Spending too few AP, or researching a spell which is of higher levels than your current Theoretical levels will have a chance of failure; see Overpowered Inventing. Note that if your research fails you will still have a plan for an Invention; however, any Invention built from these plans will have a good chance of failing. For this reason, Inventors in a rush rarely skimp on their research.

Overpowered Inventing

Invention tends to encourage a curious mind. Inventors often push the boundaries of their knowledge in order to create Inventions too powerful for their current levels. Advancement requires that inventors push the boundaries of their knowledge.

Invention is also possible in a hurry, or even with incorrect tokens. However, all of these significantly reduce the chance of the Invention or the Research working. Also, for each extra level needed by the Invention above that known by the inventor, the chance of the Invention failing increases noticeably.


Invention is a very practically-based magic. Research and study can only help you so much; to fully absorb the knowledge of a new level in a school you must put it to use. Advancing your knowledge of schools of Invention requires advancements in both theory and practice. To acquire the knowledge needed to advance your Theoretical level in Invention takes 3AP. Please note that you may only do this once per turn.

In addition though, an inventor must create an Invention using the new level of this school in order to raise their Practical level. There is nothing stopping an inventor researching to raise their Theoretical level multiple times without creating an Invention; however their Practical level in that school will remain at the last level for which they created an Invention. Also note that any advancement in your Practical level will not take effect until the end of your turnsheet; you cannot use your new Practical level gained from building one Invention in a turn to make it safer to build another Invention in the same turn.

Please note that creating an invention of a level higher than you have access to does not automatically raise your Practical level, as your Practical level cannot be higher than your Theoretical level. However, you can do this at any time in the same turnsheet. Also not that a successful invention for the purposes of advancing schools is one that works as expected when tested. If in doubt, please ask the gm team.

As an example, Sir John of Norwich wants to advance his Practical Power school from level 2 to level 3. He spends 3AP to gain the Theoretical level required. Now to advance to level 3 he attempts to build a Flying Machine. Happily, he succeeds. He now has level 3 power and a flying machine!

To gain your first Theoretical level in new school that you do not already have levels in, you will require access to a tutor (2AP from a PC) or an appropriate magical library. The AP cost is the same, and does not increase your Practical level.

Cooperative Invention

It is quite feasible for Inventors to work together on researching and building an Invention, in order to make up for skill gaps and to share the time cost. When this happens, it is treated as if all the participants are one composite Inventor, with the following notes:

  • The highest of both Theoretical and Practical levels for each school are used as the effective Theoretical and Practical level (respectively) for researching and building the device.
  • All AP spent by all participants is pooled together. There is no penalty in AP cost for multiple Inventors working together..
  • However, there is a cost in quality. If more Inventors are involved than the AP cost of the Invention, the chances of success go down slightly for each extra Inventor involved.
  • All Inventors who contribute to research get a copy of the plan.
  • Only one Inventor needs a copy of the plan of an Invention in order for the group to build it.

Remember, only Inventors who spend AP on building the device can increase their Practical school levels. Also, the largest level increase in Practical level for each school is equal to the difference between the maximum Practical level for that school of all Inventors involved and the level needed for the Invention. So a low-level Inventor cannot rise on the coat-tails of a higher-level Inventor; without risk, there can be no advancement.

Angels & Demons

On very rare occasions, inventors have managed to bind angels or demons into their creations. Such devices are extremely powerful, but often unpredictable. The case of Sir Michael Haversham should be a warning to all; for when he bound a demon into a flying machine in order to more quickly travel to the New World, he unfortunately travelled so fast he flew clean off the Earth.

Basic Inventions

The following are the set of Inventions available to all starting inventors. An inventor must pick four of these to start with. None of these require higher than level 2 in any one school. inventors and those with Magical Knowledge in Invention will know the level required in each school to build these Inventions.

Thaumaturgic Compass (Knowledge, Grace)

A normal-looking brass compass which points at the nearest or most powerful source of magical energy. The distance at which this works depends on the power of the magic; a Theurgic circle summoning an angel of great power could be located from the other side of the county, but someone with their face disguised with Conjuration would be too low-powered to detect.

Demon-Proof Box (Grace)

Less of a box, more of a flux of magical energies focused between a set of mercury balls.

This device is a container which can keep an demon inside or outside. An imp can be kept in or out for thirteen hours, but the time decreases drastically for more powerful demons. Little experimentation has been done with very powerful demons, for obvious reasons. Getting a demon between the balls in the first place is the inventor's problem.

When this device is used, the quicksilver is used up and must be replaced (costs 0AP) before it can be used again.

Drill (Power)

A drill that can cut through almost any normal material (although not to a large depth in very strong metals). The device itself is quite bulky and difficult to move, and the cutting surface is only around a centimetre.

Sorcerous/Theurgic Inscriber (Grace, Control)

A piece of chalk attached to a mechanism which travels around the outside of a sorcerous or theurgic circle, repeatedly redrawing it. This reduces the chance of something going hideously wrong when summoning a demon or angel. High-level sorcerors almost always use an Inscriber when summoning powerful demons, as to do otherwise is to risk destruction.

Thaumaturgic Clock (Grace)

Similar to a regular clock, but instead of ticking past the seconds, minutes and hours, it ticks away magic. Very useful to Sorcerors and Theurgists, who can use them to tell how long they have left before their circle becomes useless.

Disorganiser (Knowledge)


This useful device is the size of a pocket watch, and combines the functions of an alarm clock and appointment book. The Spirit inside is bound up in such a way that it will remember appointments, notes and alarms that you give it for up to a week. More of a status symbol than a useful device, as most people find being woken up in the morning by a talking spirit rather disturbing. Not to mention the complication of having to acquire a familiar spirit in the first place.

Object compass (Knowledge)

A compass with a button on the top, looking quite similar to a pocket-watch. When the button is pressed, the compass inside will point toward the location of the device at the time. The compass will continue to point to this location no matter how far the holder travels. The compass will only remember the direction for a month, but the button may be pressed to remember a new location as often as the holder requires.

Another interesting property of this device is its behaviour when shaken. The compass inside will briefly lose track of its location, and will take a few seconds to point back to the focus point. The amount of time taken to return to stability gives a rough idea of the distance.

Pleasure Boat (Power)

A simple pleasure boat with a paddlewheel on the back. The boat can carry four passengers in relative comfort, but not much else. A simple rudder is used for steering.

Thinking Hat (Grace)

This device is a complicated contraption which is cunningly crafted to fit inside a Capotain hat, with a specially modified hatband to prevent the device overbalancing and falling from the head. Inside the hat, a complex brass contraption holds magical energies in harmony with the school of Conjuration. The practical upshot of this is that it allows a Conjurer to remember an extra spell, which is stored inside the Thinking Hat when the ritual is done. The hat stores the spell for up to three months, in which time any Conjurer or Street Magician can cast the spell stored in the hat (although Street Magicians may not cast an Advanced spell). Note that a Conjurer other than the one who originally cast the ritual will not know which spell is stored in the hat until they try to use it.

Musket (Power)

A long muzzle-loaded gun, designed to be fired from the shoulder. The musket is not very accurate, but they are usually fired in volleys. The Musket requires a small quantity of Gunpowder for each shot, and like most other inventions the Musket itself will only last for a year.

Cannon (Power)

A very simple device, invented long before the heyday of modern Invention was ushered in by Leonardo Da Vinci. It consists of a heavy metal tube, with Gunpowder at the bottom and a cannonball in front. Unlike most inventions the Cannon lasts indefinitely, although it needs fresh Gunpowder for each shot.

Diving Suit (Power, Control)

The diving suit is comprised of a thick rubber suit (to keep the body warm in the cold depths of the sea) with a large brass sphere for the head. This has glass portholes in it to allow the diver to see out. Connected to the top of the helmet is a tube reinforced with metal, which allows air to be piped down from the surface. The suit is extremely uncomfortable to wear, and prolonged use quickly tires out even the strongest of men. These are often used for treasure-hunting in flooded cities.

There are rumours that inventors in the Horticulturalists have constructed lighter, easier to use suits to allow people to swim with sea serpents.

Clockwork Gill (Control, Grace)

These are devices which allow a person to breathe water as if it were air. The Gill is a mask which sits across the lower half of the face, and is made of a series of pumps and filters that modify the water in such a way to allow it to be breathed as if it were air. Unfortunately this tends to be very uncomfortable - initially the user feels as if they are drowning, and many cannot face using one of these devices. However, a well-made Gill can last for many weeks of continual use if needed without a need for renewal, making it more reliable than other methods of surviving underwater. Note that deep diving using only a clockwork gill will likely lead to death from cold.

Bathysphere (Power, Control)

A Bathysphere is a simple submersible brass sphere with thick portholes and a reinforced tube entering at the top to allow air to enter. It is lowered on a winch from a ship waiting above, and can hold up to two people. Bathyspheres are more comfortable than diving suits and more secure at lower depths.

There are rumours that the Venerable Order has at least one ship fitted with a Bathysphere, for finding wrecks of sunken ships which are known to contain valuables.

Advanced Inventions

Some other inventions whose names will have been heard by many nobles are:

  • Bathyscaphe
  • Seven-League Boots
  • Flying Machine
  • Golem
  • Orrery
  • Horseless Carriage
  • Island propellor


Some inventors have been conjecturing the idea of an underwater city; creating a reinforced dome over an area of land undersea, and then using pumps to remove the water from the inside. However, the amount of Power required to construct a dome that massive would be enormous.

invention.txt · Last modified: 2007/11/11 11:38 by gareth