Humanity (and other intelligent species) are inherently greedy: they see birds and wish for flight; they see cats and wish for grace; they see tortoises and wish for impenetrable defense. During the golden age of the Slakiv Empire, Order scholars studying the totem magic of the Clanlands managed to bring the inhabitants of Vestan a step closer to fulfilling these desires by formulating a rote to “borrow an aspect” of nature for a time. The caster must possess and invoke (often by consuming) a piece of whatever it is they wish to emulate: a bit of a grasshopper, to gain its ability to leap; of a bat, to gain echolocation; of a tree, to root oneself firmly to the ground. It turns out that a having a Spirit Call contract or an Animal Mask will serve this purpose as well.
The base difficulty depends on whether the aspect borrowed is simply an enhancement of a preexisting capacity (such as improving one’s strength, sense of smell, or reflexes) or an entirely new ability (such as flight or breathing underwater): the former is d8; the latter is d12. The cost for the former is one strain for each +1 the borrowed aspect gives to relevant rolls; for the latter, ten strain. In either case, the borrowed aspect lasts for a single scene or task. Increasing the difficulty by a step can allow the duration to be extended by a step without needing to re-cast the spell, or it can halve the cost in strain. Possessing a spirit contract, animal mask, or other magical link to the aspect decreases the difficulty by a step.