|Feline Incense Burner - Louvre|
Khorasan or Central Asia, 11th Century
-- Anon., The Goal of the Wise (Picatrix), Trans. Hashem Atallah, Ouroboros Press, 2007
Talismanic magic, the domain of the most talented astrologers [and a likely new magic system to be detailed later -- Ed.] is a form of sympathetic magic. It requires that the magus establish arcane similarities between a configuration of the celestial spheres and an earthly vessel (a talisman), then use incense as a conduit for a minor jinn* to manifest and inhabit the talisman. Once the jinn has entered the talisman, the device becomes "charged" and will begin to enact its work.
Selection of the incense is therefore crucial. The right blend of ingredients to tie together the earthly requirements to align the talisman with its task, and the conditions of the talisman with the stars it seeks to emulate, is a delicate balance. An error in selection is therefore the difference between the lightning and the lightning bug.
Some of the foremost astronomers have developed incense of integration, a particular blend of ingredients which helps evoke the heavens and assists in aligning the physical construct of the talisman with the desired celestial configuration.
Selection of the proper incense ingredients is made by rolling against the mage's Int on 4d6. The GM should provide bonuses if the player can present items which can establish a connection of sympathetic magic (hairs off the bandit's beard, resin from the Caliph's garden, etc.) and are present in sufficient quantities to make some incense.
Using incense of integration in the proposed blend allows the magus to reroll a failed Int check in incense selection. If, however, this second check is failed, there is a 2-in-6 chance that the talisman will operate in reverse.
*The term is...imprecise; this is as much a jinn as a Firanj "kobold" is a human.
This is my second entry in Dan D's #DIY30 Challenge.
Source: The Goal of the Wise (Picatrix), Trans. Hashem Atallah, Ouroboros Press, 2007