MCS Files – 03 (Mercury)

When we first started work on the classes for City Limits, we took a quick poll of the gamers we knew, asking them to tell us their favorite game moment. The goal was to build classes that encourage and facilitate these moments. A lot of my friends told me about times they’d been one step ahead, and the dramatic moment when they finally revealed they had been prepared all along. These stories were the inspiration for MCS-03 “Mercury”.
Mercury-designated operatives, as I mentioned in the first As Above post, are oracles. Once per session, they can ask the GM a single yes or no question and get an honest answer in response.
Their real power, though, lies in the traps they set. An MCS-03 spell is cast well before it goes off, usually taking about an hour of careful planning and thought. When casting the spell, the operative also chooses the circumstances that will set it off; the action, the time, etc. The more circumstances are chosen, the more powerful the spell can be, but it will only happen if every condition is fulfilled.
For example, let’s say Capt. Eastmann’s player is preparing for a mission. Here’s a standard spell she casts, as a sniper, just in case.

Watchword (7)
Manifest 17
(If someone approaches my blind)
(If that person is not part of my unit)
Signal Flare
Add Bind
Add Fear 5
6 damage

She writes this spell down on an index card, writes the difficulty and mana cost on the back, and places it face-down in front of her. If, at the end of the session, no one has approached her, then she discards it and regains the mana next time she sleeps. If someone outside her unit does approach her blind, however, she turns over the card and presents it to the GM, and the spell goes off. The intruder is damaged and inflicted with both an inability to move and, if that fails, an unwillingness to come within 5 meters. Signal Flare is a unique parameter to MCS-03 – it immediately alerts the caster when the spell goes off. Now even if she’s deep in focus, only looking through her scope, she’ll still know if any threats approach.
Let’s say she suspects a member of her unit might try and warn the targets of her raid. She could cast a spell that looked like this:

Betrayer (5)
Manifest 15
(If someone makes contact with the target)
(If that person is Elliot)
Signal Flare

The card may never be turned face-up, but if it happens, she can show she expected this to happen, and the spell will go off, briefly trapping her ally in a state of suspended animation. If the traitor was really Anna all along, nothing will happen; the conditions need to be met exactly.
MCS-03 is made for people who love planning in advance, and the dramatic moment when they get to show their hand. Not you? Stay tuned to the MCS files (and the Book of Daemons) for the rest of the stories we’ll help you tell! Up next, the Gidim Enki, where an orange with a face drawn on it is an indispensable piece of equipment!

Remember to check out the City Limits Kickstarter and to check us out on twitter at @TeamCabalGames for more updates!


2 thoughts on “MCS Files – 03 (Mercury)”

  1. Well now that’s rather creative! I’m guessing the other designed “classes” can have perks like the oracle power. Would I be right in saying that Manifest spells are like a school of magic (like elemental spells are), distinguished by being conditionally delayed?


    1. Well, you’re one for two. They’re different schools of magic, but they’re distinguished in a bunch of ways! “Mars” by range, “Jupiter” by conditions, and “Pluto” by…not.


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