An Implement is a tool chosen by a Practitioner that serves as a badge for them and as an item to further define their craft. The Implement ritual is one of the three major rituals that defines a Western Practitioner, alongside the Famulus ritual and Demesne ritual. Once chosen, a the practitioner can never choose another Implement.
To obtain an Implement, the practitioner must perform a ritual that requires infusing the item with power and possibly, ideally, for them to be at the right point in their life. The amount and type of power infused helps to determine the Implement's strength and abilities.
The ritual involves invoking your name; if one supernaturally lost their name, they also lose the connection to the implement. The ritual the item must be held in one's hand or hands, limiting the maximum size of an Implement.
Possible powers of an Implement include acting as a battery for storing energy, making it easier to hold or sustain effects, making all your magic more beautiful, making all magic come with a certain element attatched, making ongoing effects you inflict painful to remove. An implement can make any use of power more efficient. Implements will commonly make certain practices easier, in keeping with the symbolism of the item, but may also make certain practices harder.
Social Effects Edit
Since it permanently affects your Practice, picking an implement serves as a statement about your intended path in life; it's been compared to choosing a career. It can also show one's cultural background and patterns of thinking.
When examining how an Implement can relate to others, the are three major aspects one can look at: declarative, authoritative, and socio-cultural. The declarative aspect is what the object conveys to others while it is inert and base, generally only focusing on the obvious descriptors. The authoritative aspect is what the object conveys to others while it is in use. The socio-cultural aspect is what groups are most likely to use the object and for what purpose. All three of these aspects carry a meaning when deciding on an implement and should be taken into consideration.
Some iconic implements have held significant meaning throughout history. They include Chains, Chakrams, Chalice, Coffers, Coins, Emblems, Knives, Lanterns, Lenses, Masks, Plates, Rings, Scepter, Skulls, Staffs, Standards, Stone, Swords, Talismans, Tomes, Trumpets, and Wands.
- Athame - Maggie Holt
- Pocket Watch - Laird Behaim
- Pocket Watch with Stonehenge Design - Duncan Behaim
- Tarot Cards? - Alister Behaim
- Shepard's Crook - The Shepherd
- Chalice - Sandra Duchamp
- Pan Flute - Johannes
- A drinking vessel made of her brother's skull - Fionna
- Crystal Ball with a skull inside - A Duchamp husband
- Crooked Hat - Unnamed Duchamp husband's namesake hat
Although a single irreplacable Implement is the standard in the West, some Eastern practices allow for multiples or sets of Implements.
It's possible to combine an implement with one of the other major rituals, such as making a vehicle both your demesne and your implement. However, this generally results in a single item which fills both "slots" without being any more powerful than a standard implement, merely different; possibly even weaker. Violating the strong traditions that surround the Implement ritual is generally not considered worth it.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 “Implements are supposed to be badges, [...] Choosing an implement means deciding the one tool you’ll define yourself by for the rest of your life. That adage, ‘if all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail?’ I think that holds true with implements. This is a kind of commitment to a path in life, so maybe that’s what feels wrong. I’m committing to something… less than pleasant.” “You’re committing to breaking swords?” Ty asked. “I’m committing to stopping things like the Hyena. You don’t take an implement like this if you don’t plan on fighting, and continuing to fight for a long time.” [...] “Some shamans specifically hunt monsters to get materials to make items with, infusing those items like you infused June’s hatchet. Right here, you’ve got something that could be powerful. Tricky, yes, but powerful. Tap into what the Hyena could do. Strength, durability, inspiring fear…” - excerpt from Void 7.11
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 A familiar represents the people you want to be around, choosing an implement is like choosing a career, and a demesne is where you want to be. - excerpt from Void 7.11
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Gathered Pages: 2
- ↑ Study and enact the ritual noted in Implementum. Your choice of tool will shape how you interact with this world, your craft, and will be your badge in the eyes of many. The book is dreary, page on page of examples, but study it thoroughly, for there are many meanings, and a poor choice of tool may well cripple you. - excerpt from Bonds 1.3
- ↑ The three rituals noted here are fundamental in determining how you access, hoard and focus power. - excerpt from Bonds 1.3
- ↑ The largest group that might be said to make regular use of the scepter would be the Anglo-influenced Japanese families of practitioners, who have taken on the Western traditions of choosing implement, familiar, and demesnes for their personal power. - excerpt from Implementum, quoted in Gathered Pages: 2
- ↑ One tidbit I was able to pick up these past few months was about Eastern styles. India, some of Japan. See, they aren’t big on familiars and implements and demesnes. Well, the Western-influenced ones are. - excerpt from Damages 2.7
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 Nick raised one eyebrow, but he went on. “Three ways you build up power. Blake has one, maybe two?” [...] "You can pick an implement, too. Your tool of the trade. There are no takebacks. Everything matters, when you make your choice. The style of it, the history, the type of item, the purpose it’s meant to serve, the symbolism…” “An object?” Alexis asked. “Like a wand,” I said, “Or a dagger…” “Any restrictions?” “Has to be something you can hold in your hand, or hands,” I said. [...] “These are life-altering calls you’re making,” Nick said. “Like I said, the rules are old. You don’t backtrack, you don’t get to decide on one option here and then backtrack. We talked about setting down roots. There’s the tool, the choice of vocation, how you want to face down the world and how you want the world to look at you. Finally, we have the familiar. Kind of like marriage, but with one of the monsters.” - excerpt from Subordination 6.3
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 The connections are strong enough
that lost items and things will tend to blow their way back. The path
of least resistance will remain the things that bring master and
implement/practice/demesnes together again.
Once lost, though, you don't tend to get the ability to get stuff back. If demesnes/familiar/implement are allegories for where you're at, your life partner, and your career, then it'd make sense you'd have the ability to pick a new one, much as it's common nowadays for people to have two marriages, or make a massive career change mid-life, or (not so common, but possible to) pick up and move halfway across the world. But the practitioner world tends to lag behind the real world in these things. Perhaps in a few decades, with some precedent. - Comment by Wildbow
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 “It’s a bit of a catch-22, isn’t it? The demesne gives us a steady supply of power, with bigger spaces giving us more power. It’s a sanctuary, and a place where we can bend the rules in our favor. Right? So we need a tool or a familiar to lay claim to as big a space as we can pull off.”
“But we can’t infuse our tool until we have some power to infuse it with,” I said. “Except…”
“That power would ideally come from the demesne,” Rose said.
I nodded, “Or the familiar, in terms of strength and shaping how the tool functions. And we can’t start talking with Others about bringing them on board as a familiar until we have some established power already.” - Bonds 1.6
- ↑ Taking an implement, familiar, or demesnes involves a commitment. The problem here is ensuring that players treat that commitment with gravity, and not as a strict power grab. To these ends, we say the following:
A practitioner should launch into the ritual in the aftermath of an achievement, the greater the better, that represents their approach to the world (implement), their associations with others (familiar), or their inner self (demesnes). The greater the achievement, the greater the puissance of the ritual’s result.
A practitioner should have given something as part of the ritual. The greater the price paid, the greater the connection. With a stronger connection, power can be given or taken more freely between the practitioner and the subject of the ritual, and the end result is more adroit in how power is leveraged and used and how changes are wrought. For an implement it is a question of prerogative, how easily the implement is wielded, the time it takes to bring power into focus and to then have the implement take effect. [...] the later in the campaign they choose, the greater the longevity. Implements are more durable, with more staying power or power stored within. - Pact Dice
- ↑ “This implement, if I remember the rituals right, rightfully belongs to Maggie Holt, the name is invoked as part of the ritual. I can’t really use it, but I’ll have to make do,” Maggie said, taking her implement in hand. - excerpt from Signature 8.2
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 The chalice is a container, and as such, can be used to hoard a measure of power, but unlike the box, it does not contain or store it long-term. Many will use the chalice to hold blood from a sacrificed individual or being, and as such it becomes a battery for power. As the chalice holds liquid, the implement allows the wielder to hold or sustain effects, using the aforementioned battery. - excerpt from Implementum, quoted in Gathered Pages: 2
- ↑ Faberge Egg is tricky and niche, but in very different ways than I think the perfume bottle is. I could see it being pretty exclusively for Historical/Heroic practitioners who are tapping into a specific type and collection of figures that they want to access. It'd be a specific egg for a specific person, with power and status stemming from that egg because of the people who once owned it. It's just a battery for power, drawing in specific figures of a specific type from beyond the veil/from the incoherent consciousness, and maybe a special function or power that could be invoked when needed (faberge eggs contained surprises of value). - Comment by Wildbow
- ↑ The handheld mirror is a strong implement with a fair bit of use. Not something you'd use in every situation, but there's a reflection-of-self, deflection, aesthetic element to it that could make all practices more beautiful and effective on an interpersonal level, or even just for a personal level. Vision/clarity, too, plays a big part and would be the 'mirror mirror on the wall' part of it. I could see practitioners of fae magic, augurs, some heartless, hosts, sympaths, some scourges (bloody mary), oni mages, etc, all could have uses for mirrors. In addition to aesthetic & clarity effects, might make your practices overall stronger against indirect attacks/defenses but weaker against direct attack or blunter defenses. - Comment by Wildbow
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 Fans are also strong, though not so much used in the west. There's an aspect of partial concealment, the elemental, comfort, even (given the right fan) defense. I could see fans used by oni mages (primarily), many fey, many elementalist, some heroic/historical practitioners. I could see the effect on your practices to append a degree of elemental or secondary effects to all practices (the winds produced by the movement of the fan)- depending heavily on the make of the fan and the practitioner's practice. There might also be some indirect obstruction in the face of general level attention, reachings, or environmental effects, delaying the time it takes for a spell or Other to get a grip on you, when it doesn't already have you in its sights (hiding the face, holding off the heat). As a drawback, one might lose effectiveness in penetrating defenses and making the ephemeral solid. - Comment by Wildbow
- ↑ Fish-hook is just so very narrowly focused that I struggle to really parse it. I could see it having merit for a curse mage, who wants their curses to really stick, but it's also elemental and environmental, and not in the sense that it's especially good for elementalism. It's more that it's focused on water as a venue, with specific prey in mind, so it might take on drawbacks. Unless you or your target are near open water at the time of practicing, your practice might suffer. A slight offensive edge, the ability to make it so the removal of any ongoing effects you set is difficult or painful, but also, as an associated drawback, effects that bounced back to you might hurt to remove as well (the fishhook can prick you, and acts of inexperience might even encourage such to happen). I struggle to really think of any inherent drawbacks other than that it's small and flimsy- so the net effect/gain is small and easier to cancel out. In terms of rep or status it might impact how Others and councils see you. - Comment by Wildbow
- ↑ “It’s sage advice. I need a goddamn power source. Not just a bit of hair.”
“You need a demesnes. Or a tool that can make any use of power more efficient,” Rose said. “Or a familiar.” - excerpt from Breach 3.5
- ↑ The perfume bottle is a less-strong implement. It's the kind of thing I imagine a new practitioner might tap into. You don't have a family, you don't have a strong background or library of texts to read, and you pick up some practice in a particular field. Self-augmentation, charm, illusion, beguilement, whatever. You're working with scraps and because those scraps are all you have, you pick an implement that encompasses that narrow field of coverage - you get good at this one thing -beguilement and allure, self enhancement-, but probably at the sacrifice of many other things. Substance, attack power, defensive power, utility. It's like being the bad guy in the one-shot episode of a tv show like Buffy or Supernatural- where you have this one thing you do pretty well, but it's liable to fall through if the gimmick it supports fails. Bird whistle is... I guess it's doable. I feel like there'd be better options for the draiodhe or minion summoner that wanted to use one to focus on their airborne minions. Easier calling of flying Others and natural things? Less effectiveness on other Others, practitioners, mundanes, and non-flying things? - Comment by Wildbow
- ↑ The wand is not in common use in the world, barring stage shows.
However, it is easily hidden, indicating a balance between the two
worlds. It can easily be decorated or high quality, and is distinctly
of practitioners and the practice. As such, the wielder can be assumed
to be focused on practitioners and their workings. The result might be
an ease with altering or adjusting the work of others, defense against
workings, and especially offense against workings (see the notes on the
In the practitioner schools in the United Kingdom, wands are provided to the students by default, for their convenience, easy portability, and a prevailing sentiment that the wand is the strongest implement of choice for practitioner dealings against hostile practitioners. - excerpt from Implementum, quoted in Gathered Pages: 2
- ↑ Damages 2-x (Gathered Pages 2)
- ↑ It's like how some eastern practitioners have their own systems & standards, where they have familiars and implements wrapped up in the same system (generally with multiples or sets). - Comment by Wildbow
- ↑ Demesnes can't generally move. There are other ways to go about it,
which wouldn't be termed demesnes, but generally at a steep cost.
It's like how some eastern
practitioners have their own systems & standards, where they have
familiars and implements wrapped up in the same system (generally with
multiples or sets). You might go this route, but there's caveats - at
least 2/3 of these are liable to crop up, but very likely all 3,
depending on measures taken & how much the practitioner puts into
- You might go for a mobile demesnes but you're basically wrapping it up in familiar or implement. So you have a motorcycle as your cradle, but it's also your familiar, or you have a van as your cradle but it's also your implement. It's not ~actually~ an implement though, but it's taking up that space in terms of your self definition, because it's just this clumsy thing you're doing, and it's not an equal proportion of power. This means you're basically, instead of having a familiar at 100%, an implement at 100%, a demesnes at 100%, you're going 50/50, 100.
- It's exaggerated further in that it's nontraditional here and so there's less respect and focus afforded to it. So it takes a hit and winds up being more like 33/33, 100 in terms of general puissance/power level. The end result is you've almost halved your overall power level compared to what you could achieve otherwise.
- Remember Blake talking about how the tool represents how people approach the world, the familiar represents the relationships they form, and the demesnes represents the position they occupy in it? If you're saying "The place I hold in the world is living in a car" or "the place I hold is that of a traveler" then you're sending a lot of signals to the spirits. There's a pretty heavy quality of life cost in this. You're signaling to the spirits that hey, you're probably never going to own a house or live in an apartment for more than a few months. Now all of a sudden you're getting evicted or the landlord wants to stop renting so they can move family into your apartment, or you just can't get that mortgage approval or get a realtor to answer your calls. There's subtle effects to how people & Others see you too. To Others, the practitioner with a sailboat demesnes isn't worth dealing with because they're not going to be here next week.
Tradition matters and you can buck tradition but at a steep cost. Generally speaking, trying to get tricky with it isn't worth it - some niche cases exist and some people don't care about overall power level, they just want a talking motorcycle that makes their nomadic lifestyle more comfortable. But you're not going to have a van and be able to be a lesser god of your own domain when you crawl into the back of it.
- Comment by Wildbow
- ↑ You can blend as a more permanent thing (not what Laird does). You can have a familiar plus demesnes for a more intelligent demesnes. A familiar plus implement for an object with a personality. An implement plus demesnes for a demesnes you could bring with you. Generally you take a pretty significant hit to power in exchange for some degree of utility. You also lose standing with practitioners and Others. I think I've posted on this before. If you have a talking motorcycle you're giving up 90% of the power of a proper implement and 90% of the power of a proper demesnes, but you're getting an implement that's more weighty and a comfortable seat that isn't limited to one place. And because you're a practitioner that's flouting convention then convention helps you less, so your practice in general isn't going to be all that. - Comment by Wildbow