In Rival Magic, I was puzzled by the section on integrating Soqotran magic, specifically, "The Spark." Is it possible to actually allow magi to use fractions of vis pawns as whole pawns? Does this essentially allow you to use a single pawn in enchanting something that requires ten? Does it make the pawn into a sort of "charged item" that boosts spellcasting?
The book dismisses The Spark as rather inconsequential, but I think being able to essentially multiply your vis supply tenfold is very broken...or perhaps I'm just misunderstanding how it works.
Can anyone enlighten me as to how this works, and how it will effect my games?
With "The Spark", if you use sparks to boost your casting total then 1 pawn = +10 to casting total, as opposed to the +2 currently, so it would multiply the spell boosting effect of vis by 5. In the section, it does allow Verditius to get rid of casting tools by using 1/10 of a pawn of vis instead.
From examining what the section says, it does NOT affect enchantment, so opening items still requires the same amount of vis. The very last sentence says "It also allows magic to be made far cheaper in some, limited, circumstances by moving the cost of spells from the Hermetic to the Soqotran scale". This does not make it clear just how limited it should be, but I would guess it meant if you created a ritual using Soqotran range/duration/target you could use 1/10 of the normal vis involved.
The section is very vague. The way I read it at the very least sparks can be used to boost casting totals. I interpret it as additional and separate to the normal hermetic practice of boosting with vis. So however many pawns of vis your allowed to spend you can spend that many sparks as well. You can spend sparks for a +1 each and (I know this sounds weird) you also still spend whole pawns for there normal bonus. Making casual boosting cheaper your potential bonus 1.5 times larger if you really want to spend. I could very well be wrong and even if I'm not I probably wouldn't play it that way.
After that it's open ended whatever you want for your saga. Maybe you can use sparks instead of whole pawns to pay for rituals, or in certamen.