How to do Thaumaturgy



  1. Determine the desired spell effect.
  2. Determine complexity in shifts.
    • a) If complexity <=> Lore, enter Preparation stage.
  3. Prepare ritual.
    • a) Invoke aspects – gain two shifts per aspect.
    • b) Make declarations – each successful declaration gives you a temporary
      aspect to tag and two shifts of power when you do so.
    • c) Accept or inflict consequences – gain the value of the consequence in shifts.
    • d) Skip a scene – gain one shift per scene skipped.
  4. Draw power – roll Discipline to control power drawn each round. The spell is
    cast when you meet the number of shifts required by the spell’s complexity.

Determine Spell Effect

  1. Solve improbable or impossible problems
  2. Create a lasting change
  3. Provide inaccessible knowledge
  4. Interact with the supernatural
  5. Shape supernatural energy into physical forms

Evaluating Complexity

  1. Action types
    • a) Solve improbable or impossible problems – simple action.
    • b) Create lasting changes:
      • Temporary – a maneuver.
      • Permanent – winning a conflict.
    • c) Provide inaccessible knowledge – assessment.
    • d) Allow interaction with the supernatural – contest of wills.
    • e) Shape magical energies into physical forms – attack / block plus duration.
  2. Simple actions – solvable by mundane skill rolls given time and resources.
    Includes Assessments, Declarations, unopposed Maneuvers, and other skill
    • a) Complexity is equal to the successes required to do this through mundane
  3. Opposed Maneuvers
    • a) Must beat defender’s skill.
    • b) Must get through any Thresholds, Wards, or other protections.
    • c) May chain multiple aspects – paying for each of the above separately.
    • d) Add shifts for persistence / duration.
  4. Contests and Conflicts
    • a) As Opposed Maneuvers plus:
    • b) Must have enough shifts to account for Stress and Consequences.
    • c) Death or permanent transformation must take the target out – overflowing
      their entire stress track and all consequences.
  5. Duration
    • a) Each additional shift moves duration up one level on the chart (OW 315).
    • b) Thaumaturgy usually starts at 15 minutes (approximately one scene) or
      ‘until sunrise’ depending on target.
      • Opposed spells (living target) start at 15 minutes.
      • Unopposed spells (object or area target) start at ‘until sunrise’.


  1. Creating a spell construct
    • a) Ritual
      • Research the Ritual
      • Casting space / area
      • Components – chanting, ritual movements, inscriptions, etc.
      • Physical implements – athame, other tools, ingredients, etc.
    • b) Symbolic Links
      • True names
      • Scale models
      • A piece of the whole
    • c) Power Sources (optional) – OW 248.
  2. Adjudicating preparation
    • a) Invoke aspects
    • b) Make declarations
    • c) Accept or inflict consequences
    • d) Skip scenes

Drawing Power

  1. Decide how fast to draw power
    • a) Take mental stress equal to the amount you draw over Conviction
    • b) No stress if drawing power below Conviction
  2. Roll Discipline vs the amount of power drawn each exchange
    • a) On a failure, all shifts of stored power prior to and including the failed
      exchange, become fallout and / or backlash.
    • b) On a success, the amount of power drawn in the exchange is added to
      stored power.
  3. Once stored power matches or exceeds the number of shifts needed for the
    spell, it is successfully cast.

From The Dresden Files Website

“Look here for an in depth article that takes you step by step through the Thaumaturgic spell process. ": makes evaluating spell complexity much easier. Spell complexity is something the GM should determine, but the player can do it as well if they have enough knowledge about the target of their spell.

How to do Thaumaturgy

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