Developed by the master magus Remus Maal and the Thaumatologists of the Academy of the Broken Circle, the Rite of Greater Induction is a method designed to induce magical talent in a person not born with the Gift.
It utilizes things like alchemical infusions, mental exercises, radical surgery and power tattoos to nurture and expand the metaphysical potential (also known as the God-seed) present in all living creatures.
The Remus Maal Memorial Clinic - in Locastus, City of Mirrors - performs this procedure only at a steep price and considerable risk to the patient, and there are no guarantees to its success. Nevertheless, each year, several dozen people with wealth and ambition come to the Clinic to undergo the treatment that will - hopefully - grant them sorcerous powers.
The treatment begins with infusion of alchemical potions and a strict regimen of mental exercises that are designed to enhance and nurture magical growth in the patient. How long this takes depends on the level of talent of the patient, but takes on average 5-6 weeks. The alchemies involved are mildly toxic, and induces irreversible photophobia in the subject.
Once the Physician-adepts of the Clinic deems the patient´s Talent to have expanded to a satisfactory level, he is placed in the Chamber of Induction - a black iron tank filled with a different set of alchemical compounds and carved with numerous glowing runes - wherein he is left in flotation for several days. During this time of sensory deprivation the patient, infused with hallucinogenic drugs, are able to access his subconscious to create conduits for his conscious mind to tap the wellspring of power that has so carefully been cultured within him.
The powerful, but subtle, enchantments placed upon the Chamber eases the struggle by inhibiting the instinctual adverse response of the subconscious mind to this intrusion. Although most subjects seem to suppress their memories of their internal journey, the ones that do remember report intense, vivid nightmares and an endless, painful struggle against their own souls to gain the necessary connection.
More than a few subjects have come out of the Chamber psychotic, catatonic or worse: without control over their magical emanations. Most exits the Chamber a changed person, their psyche forever altered by damage wrought to their subconscious by the influx of raw power.
When the patient has successfully recuperated from the Chamber of Induction, he is assessed by the staff to determine the theoretical power output of his new Talent. The subject has a multitude of carved bone amulets placed under his skin at critical meridians to further enhance the flow of magical effluence, and mystical tattoos are placed on his skin in glowing ink to ensure the pathways of power remain open.
Before being released from the Clinic, the patient receives basic training in the Secret Arts just enough to keep him from accidentally injuring himself or others. Before he is allowed to go on his merry way, he is also made to sign a 25-page contract in which the Clinic are absolved of any responsibility of his use of the Talent in the future. Refusal to sign this contract results in immediate destruction at the hands of the Clinic´s powerful and extremely efficient Magus Enforcers.
The Rite of Greater Induction is far from foolproof - less than half of the partakers gain the Talent to actually become a Magus. Even when the Rite grants a high level of magical Talent, most subjects find the adverse effects intolerable.
The alchemies administered at various stages causes irreversible changes in body chemistry which turns the subject´s skin chalky white and extremely sensitive to sunlight. Moreover, the tattoos and disfiguring surgical scars makes a subject of the Rite´s instantly recognizable. Combined with the various psychological dysfunctions inflicted by the treatment, this makes most subjects shunned and lonely individuals, prone to evil and to turning to the Dark Arts.
Not surprisingly, a significant percentage commits suicide within two years of their release from the Clinic.
A PC undergoes the Rite, and must fight his way through a nightmarish dreamscape, battling hordes of monsters his subconscious conjure up to stop him. Dreamwalkers, spirit schamans and the like among his comrades may enter his dreamworld to help him.
A villain and an adversary of the PC´s have checked in at the Clinic, and the PC´s must now break into the heavily guarded Clinic to stop him from gaining power to achieve his nefarious goals. This may involve assassinating him or key members of Clinic staff as well as sabotaging the Chamber itself.
Unbeknownst to all, the Clinic has installed a fail-safe in all would-be wizards they have treated over the years. A nonsensical string of syllables, a code unique for each subject, will render the wizard a mindless slave to the caster. The lists of codes are kept well guarded in the archives of the Clinic. Originally meant to be a means for stopping wizards of the Dark Arts from becoming too powerful, it has now become a tool of the new, politically ambitious Master Magus of the Clinic, who uses the control over his former patients to enforce his political career. The PC´s must find out about the truth and steal the list from the archives.
A rumor has reached the Clinic that a back-alley outfit has retro-engineered the Rite and is now offering it to the general public for a fraction of the Clinic´s fees. Whats worse, their success rate is apparently better than the Clinic´s. The PC´s are hired to investigate. Is it all a hoax?