Effort and Esoteries


This is my first post and I hope my question is not blaringly dumb.

I am creating a nano who bears a halo of fire and I was looking through the esoteries or abilities in each tier. I stopped at Fiery Hand of Doom and started to wonder how to make it more powerful. I went back in the manual to read about Effort and it only says how to make more damage using effort, but it does not say much about summoned entities.

My question is. What happens when I apply effort to an esotery like Fiery Hand of Doom?

This includes many other sub-doubts:

can it go further? how far? does it do more damage per round when grabbing things? It is considered a level 3 creature in combat that does an extra 1 damage. Does it increase its level? how much per effort invested? does it still do 1 extra point of damage if the level is increased or do I add the extra 3 points of damage on top of that?

I looked into the optional rules but it does not say a thing about what other effects one might expect from applying effort to esoteries.

If you could answer these questions I would be very grateful, and it would help me understand how to modify other abilities, esoteries and actions through effort as well.

Thanks a lot.


  • Effort for esoteries usually works the same way it does for attacks: you can reduce the difficulty of hitting/affecting the target by 1 for each level of Effort and/or increase the damage by 3 for each level of Effort. Some esoteries specifically say that Effort is used to change other things, such as the number of creatures that may be affected. In terms of modifying other things like range or duration, page 114 of the corebook discusses increasing these things by spending additional Intellect points. I don't know of any way to increase the level of a summoned entity, except possibly making a special roll to modify it as discussed on page 115 of the corebook.

    In terms of your example, it says that creating and directing the Fiery Hand is an action, so basically anything you're doing with the hand is your action for the round. That means that if you use the hand to attack, it's taking the place of your attack, so I would think that Effort would apply here the same as if you were making a melee attack by yourself. Extra damage from Effort would be in addition to the +1 bonus the hand already has for being on fire, so one level of Effort for damage would give you a total damage of 7 for the hand.

    I think the level is included here in case the thing that you're attacking decides to attack the hand instead of you. A level 3 creature will have 9 hit points and deal 3 damage (+1 for fire damage). If you're attacking a creature with the fiery hand and the creature decides to attack it and deals more than 9 damage, the hand disappears until you summon it again. Hope this helps resolve some of the confusion

  • I agree with what jweags said.

    As a house rule, however, I do allow characters to use Effort to bump up the effective level of a cypher/artifact where appropriate (i.e., where they can justify it). This makes things a little less deterministic and gives the players the opportunity to keep clever plans alive that would otherwise hit a "you just can't do it" wall.
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