Porté is a heritable sorcerous power associated with the nation, culture, and noble family bloodlines of Montaigne. An ancient magic tradition established millennia prior to the present, Porté allows its practitioners to create portails (portals), wormhole-like shortcuts in space and time that enable a variety of practical effects. A practitioner, called a Sorcier de Porté, uses these portals to travel extreme distances rapidly, access otherwise inaccessible locations, and retrieve far-away objects. They perform these feats by exploiting and passing through a mystical, dangerous "space between spaces" known as the walkway (French: la passerelle), using specific objects in real space as anchors and guideposts to lead them back to safety.
Porté is infamous in the world of 7th Sea for the unsettling drama involved in its practice. Creating a portail is a loud, ugly, horrific affair for the unprepared; the rip in reality bleeds profusely, screams hellishly, and produces an ice-cold blast of wind. The sorcery even causes physical pain in some people, namely those of Ussuran descent, when it is used in their presence.
The power of Porté is intimately connected with the blood pumping through the heart of a sorcier. A practitioner must spill their blood in order to create marks, and thus create objects that enable them to find their way through and finally leave the walkway. They must also mark objects they intend to retrieve through the use of Porté in the future. In addition, the opening of a portail itself requires bloodletting, usually from the sorcerer themselves.
The name Porté compares to both the French word for door or gateway (porte), and the past tense of the verb to carry (porter, past participle: porté).
Those gifted in the base-level art of Porté can only perform two actions: Walk and Pull. Each action requires a Marked object to be the target.
For each instance of the Sorcery Advantage that the character has, the character is able to maintain a maximum of 2 Minor Marks and 1 Major Mark at any time. All Marks result from a sorcier placing a small amount of their own blood (a single drop is enough) on an object, then spending a moment to concentrate and forge a connection. This turns the object into a blooded object.
Blooded objects with Minor Marks have a tenuous, weak connection to the sorcier. They cannot be walked to, only pulled. These should only be placed on smaller, liftable objects, or else the Marks will be effectively useless.
Blooded objects with Major Marks represent strong connections, and can be both walked to and pulled. However, most sorciers save their Major Marks for large, immobile, permanent objects that cannot be pulled.
In addition to all of their optional Major Marks, sorciers have all of their immediate family (blood relatives only) available as permanent Major Marks. These family Marks do not count against the number of Major Marks available to the sorcier.
Sorciers can get a general sense of where all of their marks are (about how far, in what direction) with a moment's concentration, and know instantly when one of their Marks is close by.
Both actions, Pull and Walk, require opening a portal.
Portals can be opened two ways. In the first, the sorcier inflicts a Dramatic Wound on themselves, paying a blood cost for their subsequent actions. In the second, the sorcier pays no blood cost, forgoing the self-inflicted Dramatic Wound and instead taking a point of Corruption. The latter method is characteristic of villainous sorciers.
In either case, the sorcier then cuts into the fabric of reality with some instrument (e.g. a dagger, or their own bloodied hands). This opens a portal for use. This act actually cuts two portals: one at the character's location, and one at the location of their target blooded object.
A sorcier can reach through the portal and pull the blooded object to retrieve it from its current location, bringing it to themselves. This can only be done if the sorcerer can physically manage to lift the blooded object.
When walking, the sorcier steps into the portal they have made, fully exposing themselves to the walkway. They then have to physically hike through the Walkway to their Mark's location. Covering a distance of thousands of kilometers in the real world only takes a few minutes in this fashion. At the location of the target Mark, a second portal opens a small distance away from the blooded object in question. The characters can then step through this exit portal to return to reality.
Other characters (with or without Porté) can accompany the sorcier. Each extra character brought along this way requires the Porté sorcerer to spend 1 Hero Point.
If the exit Mark is tampered with while in transit, or no space exists near the exit Mark to walk to, the sorcier can walk to another Major Mark instead. If no other Major Mark exists, the sorcier, as well as anyone else with her, is stuck in the walkway.
If the sorcier paid for their sorcery with their blood, all portals they opened during the action appear to seal shut afterwards. If a point of Corruption was taken instead of a Dramatic Wound, the portals remain open as blessures.
A sorcier can force a portal to close in a few ways. An open blessure can be closed the heroic way by stepping in and closing the portal from inside the Walkway. This is not a minor task, and involves navigating the intricacies of the Walkway's internal logic, performing symbolic actions representative of healing. The sorcier then must find a way to escape, either by Walking to their Marks or some other means.
Another way involves a "terrible blood sacrifice," which is apparently capable of not only closing open portals, but also destroying another sorcier's ability to exit the Walkway entirely.
Rule #1 of Porté
Rule #1 of being a sorcier is this: Don't open your eyes in the Walkway. The short version of the story is that this is a Lovecraftian-psychology-esque place that human eyes were not meant to see, and merely viewing it will drive a character mad given enough exposure.
What is it?
A "warped echo", an ethereal, dreamscape mirror-image of the real world, populated by tormented ex-sorciers (Entities) who managed to get trapped inside it.
A Story Step that ends in the Walkway makes the (eyes-open) characters involved accrue 1 point of Corruption, but do not make a Fall from Grace roll each time Corruption is accrued. Reaching 10 Corruption while in the Walkway destroys a sorcier's connection to their Marks if they had any remaining, but not their Porté ability in its entirety.
Entities are trapped, twisted souls desperately attempting to escape from the purgatory of the Walkway. They take many forms and many dispositions, but most of them share the same desire.
Entities constantly Pressure eyes-closed characters in the Walkway to open their eyes and get distracted.
If a character visually spots an Entity, the Entity can cause them physical harm. An Entity can consume the spilled blood (via Dramatic Wound) of a sorcier to steal his current battery of Marks, leaving him with none.
Leaving the Walkway
Finding a way out ultimately comes down to either A) finding an open portal somewhere or B) getting rescued by another sorcier. Finding an open portal generally requires an Escape the Walkway Story , and some kind of sacrifice or bargain, struck either consciously or unconsciously.
As a general notion, for anything that is not blooded or otherwise connected to the power of Porté, worldly physics begins and ends at the threshold of a portal. An explicit example is an underwater blooded object tagged with a Minor Mark; the object can be Pulled and will be wet on retrieval, but the bulk water surrounding it will not flow into one portal and out the other. Portals thus act as a kind of impenetrable brick wall for any incoming phenomena except those associated with Porté or the Walkway.
Ultimately, however, the notion of how/whether sorciers can use their powers creatively to affect things such as breaking or otherwise stopping lethal falls, blocking, absorbing, or redirecting projectiles (a la 1st Edition's useful Catch Knack), and other Portal-esque feats is left unstated, and thus is up to the GM.
One possible option for dealing with this is to utilize a modified version of Porté to allow these applications for a specific character (while leaving the the majority of Porté users unchanged), as described in the Modified Porté section.
The powers of Porté are not set in stone.
As part of a bargain struck to leave the Walkway, a sorcier can choose to modify their powers.
This may take the form of seeing through Marks rather than moving toward them, creating Superior Marks, losing the ability to make Marks but gaining line of sight teleportation or gaining the power to travel to a different kind of emotional/need based anchor.
Interaction with Other Elements of 2E
Who has Porté and who doesn't is closely-tracked information in Montaigne, as the sorcery is inherited and a mark of nobility. Abductions of non-noble children with Porté blood is "more than just folklore".
Mirror Ghosts and Mirrors
Porté is completely inhibited by the presence of Mirror Ghosts. In fact, Porté has a strange relationship with mirrors in general, even without ghosts trapped inside, alluded to by the presence of "accident[s] with a mirror" in 2E canon, as well as myriad concepts in 1E (including Mirage, a Montaigneois sorcery described in the Noblesse Oblige E-Book).
Although perhaps not explicitly intended, this affiliation with mirrors (as well the idea of the Walkway) bears a resemblance to Michel Foucault's concept of the heterotopia. In short, a heterotopia is a philosophical human geography concept that examines the "otherness" of parallel worlds and spaces. Foucault's discussion of the topic uses mirrors to exemplify a type of heterotopic object.
As with other sorceries, Porté is inhibited by lead. The exact mechanism behind this is left unstated.