How to create a solo ritualist character

Having been asked by Confuzl for advice on how to play as a solo ritualist, I’m posting the (very long) full reply here. This is more focussed on archetypes than on the mechanics of casting - which Iulian has summarised very nicely in another thread - though the last section touches on that as well, given how important choice of Realm invariably is.

The Brass Coast are open to magic, enjoying the adventure and wealth it can bring.

  • Hakima are spirited magicians, with a distinct Sufi and Arabian Nights influence. They’re the Brass Coast’s dedicated ritualists, who mostly perform using dancing and music, and tend to get involved in guiding and advising their tribes. Night and Autumn seem to be especially strong. You can do this alone but it’s probably easier as a group; on the other hand, I know that there are hakima covens active and recruiting.

Dawn is a high-fantasy nation where witches and wizards are a powerful and long-standing part of society. They are one of the nations most open to dealing with the Eternals.

  • Witch weavers are the serious, dedicated magicians vaguely along the lines of Morgan le Fay, Circe, and Galadriel. They’re somewhere in between nobles and yeomen, and are known for meddling in Dawnish matters and generally poking holes in the social system while being very big on True Love and stories ending up how they should. The most common lore is Summer. Most weavers work in groups (cabals) but it’s not hard to join one in play, and there is an./*:m]
  • Guisers are yeomen who create magic with drama, being very much the colourful, slightly disreputable travelling entertainers of mediaeval fantasy. They mostly lean towards Night lore. There aren’t many guisers (if any) in play right now, and it’d be a bit tricky as a lone ritualist, but you could do it with solo plays, puppet shows, or some other form of imaginative performance./*:m]
  • Enchanters are Earls (leaders of their own noble Houses) who are also ritualists - a force to be reckoned with in both the magical and political arenas. They might master any Realm although Summer and Autumn are both likely choices. Playing a solo Enchanter is not the most straightforward option, but could be worthwhile if you want to play a political magician or to attract other Dawnish characters to your leadership through Tests of Mettle.

Highguard tends to be suspicious of the Eternals, but has a strong magical tradition including some of the Empire’s finest magician-priests and necromancers.

  • Magisters are Highborn ritualists, typically with priestly training and/or a focus on the dead. They are your archetypal sombre, robed sages. They might work alone or in covens, using a range of methods including recitations, bells, drums, and slow movement to perform rituals. They tend to specialise in Winter magic
  • Archivists are the explorers and scholars of Highguard, who might be anything from cloistered academics to Indiana Jones-style adventurers. Only some of them are magicians, but they could make good use of divinations from the Night, Day, Winter, and Autumn Realms.

Imperial Orcs have an instinctive, primal approach to magic, drawing on the voices of their ancestors.

  • Oathwrights are the predominant form of Imperial Orc ritualists, deeply interested in bonds and how they interact with the idea of worth, as well as in dealing with Eternals. Imperial Orc ritualists are often also shamans. Because of the very social nature of orcs and their rituals, this might be difficult for a lone player, but does offer quite a different style from the human nations.

The League see magic as a valuable talent and a way of gaining money and influence. Magic, business, and performance are intimately linked.

  • Mountebanks are street-magicians and tricksters - think of Clopin from The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, or Vinculus from Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. They can practice any Realm, but many lean towards Night or Autumn. This is ideal for a solo character as mountebanks often work alone, though they may equally often team together for more powerful rituals.
  • Troupes are the upscale, organised magical covens of the League, using dramatic and musical performances to create magical effects. Again, they can get involved in any Realm, but Autumn is especially well represented. This style has a lot of variety but is for obvious reasons more difficult to get involved in as a solo character.

The Marches can be suspicious about sorcery, but have a number of strong magical traditions, and their Landskeepers are pivotal to the fertility of Marcher farms and orchards.

  • Landskeepers support the traditions, wealth, and fertility of the Marches, with a strong influence from Pratchett’s witches and mediaeval cunning folk. They’re a lot less partisan than most Marchers and tend to work across household (or even territory) boundaries. Landskeepers mostly work with the ‘seasonal’ Realms, especially Spring, Summer, and Autumn. They might work individually or in covens, but either way tend to be good at cooperating for the good of the land./*:m]
  • Mummers are the counterpart to Dawn’s Guisers, and are similar in operation although they tend to use more improvisation and less subtlety. Like the Landskeepers, they tend to specialise in the ‘seasonal’ Realms./*:m]
  • Threshers embody the Wicker Man-style distrust that runs through Marcher culture. They aren’t always magicians - what defines them is that they are dedicated to hunting down sorcerors who misuse magic and bringing them to justice, whether helping law enforcement or as ruthless vigilantes. A magically inclined Thresher would get most benefit from Day, Winter, or Night rituals./:m][/ul]/:m]

The Navarr lost their ancient empire of Terunael in a magical cataclysm centuries ago, leaving their ruined cities in the grip of the ravenous Vallorn. Now they use magic as another weapon to fight back and reclaim their birthright.

  • Vates are magicians who have sworn an oath to serve the nation when dealing with Eternals and their Heralds (and are the only Navarr trusted to do so), and help in the fight against the Vallorn. They have some druidic influence but maintain their own distinct style. They might deal in any Realm, although they often have some knowledge of Spring. Because of the often nomadic nature of the Navarr, this is a decent choice for a solo player - you can join a coven later or continue working on your own.

Urizen is a land of magic, where magic is king. Most people in the nation know at least some magic, and ritual ability is so highly regarded that voting rights are granted based on citizens’ lore skills. They are also one of the nations most open to dealing with the Eternals.

  • Magi are the political magicians of Urizen - think of the Jedi Council, the Maesters from Game of Thrones, or the Assembly in the Riftwar books. They aim to build influence with mortals and Eternals alike, making themselves pivotal nodes in the Net of the Heavens. A magus might master any Realm, but Autumn is particularly fitting. Gathering political influence as a lone character is a challenge, but entirely possible, and being a pure ritualist in Urizen gives significant clout in elections.
  • Stargazers are magical researchers interested in the fundamental truths and nature of Creation. They are the experimenters and improvisers, who might be inspired by any archetype from Plato to Victor Frankenstein. They can and do work in all six Realms, but at present Night, Day, and Spring have especially strong active research groups. This is very much open to solo players, although if you want to do more powerful rituals you should consider joining a coven in play.
  • Seers are specialist chroniclers and researchers of the world around them, interested in recording every fact and detail. They can be calm historians and commentators or intrepid investigators. Most of them are masters of Day magic, but other realms such as Night also see use in their divinations. As there are some good low-level divinations, this would be easy to play as a solo player.
  • Torchbearers are a loose political faction that overlap with the Seers. They are committed to honesty and transparency, and might be by-the-book inquisitorial types or Wikileaks-style muckrakers. Not all are magicians, though most are, and make good use of Day and Night rituals.
  • Architects are traders, economists, and investors. They use the Net of the Heavens as a guide to how and where to invest their resources for the greatest return and benefit. An Architect who is also a magician would most likely use Autumn rituals, but might also benefit from Day lore. This is a possible (and under-represented) option for a starting player, and would work well with a fleet resource, but a solo character will struggle to match the buying power of established groups.

Varushka is a land haunted by supernatural horrors, where magic is both a deadly threat and a powerful defence against the monsters that lurk outside.

  • Volhov are wandering meddlers in the spirit of Gandalf, Granny Weatherwax, and Baba Yaga, who have a reputation for interfering with the lives and destinies of others. They are occult problem-solvers who both defend against the terrors of the night and strike back against their enemies. A volhov could use any Realm, but Winter and Night are especially fitting. As volhov are often solitary this is an excellent choice for a solo player.
  • Wise Ones are the guiding lights of Varushkan society, standing as shrewd and determined foes of the Varushkan monsters. Not all are magicians, but if they are they should be capable of supporting and advising the community and of beating the monsters’ snares. This is entirely possible as a solo player, but note that being a Wise One is not a formal position - it’s something that you have to earn by living up to others’ expectations.
  • Cabals are groups of Varushkan magicians who gather for casting powerful rituals and often other, deeper purposes. They might resemble fairy-tale warlocks or the Three Witches in Macbeth. As they are by definition group enterprises, this is difficult to do as a solo player, though a volhov or wise one might easily join a cabal in play.
  • Stzena are singers, musicians, and night-watchmen. They might have any mix of skills; Stzena who are magicians could use Winter magic for warding, Summer to strengthen them in battle, Spring to heal others, or any other sort of lore. If you like a bit of music, whether or not you’re a virtuoso, this could be a fun and viable plan as a solo player.

Wintermark, as a land forged from three tribes, has three distinct magical traditions.

  • Runesmiths are overwhelmingly Steinr, resembling Germanic or fantasy dwarven magicians. They see magic as a weapon in itself and as a way to supplement their mundane weapons. Many focus on Summer or Autumn magic for this purpose, although some use Spring magic for healing. This is definitely viable for a solo character as there are some strong, cheap combat buffs, especially in Summer.
  • Icewalkers are almost all Suaq, based on Inuit and Siberian shamans. They aim to make the best use of their wits and perceptiveness, cleverly solving the problems they face; they are known for dealing astutely with Eternals and for their invocations of animals and natural forces, typically focussing on Day magic. Again, this is a good option for a solo character.
  • Mystics are mostly Kallavesi, based on the shamans and visionaries of the Kalevala and the iron age peoples of Europe. They have a reputation for serving as wise advisors and diviners; not all use magic, but most have a knowledge of Night lore. Also a good option for a starting character./:m][/ul]/:m][/list:u]

So that’s a lot to choose from! My advice would be that the following are the most worth considering:

Ideal for a solo ritualist: Mountebank (League), Volhov (Varushka)
Also good: Hakima (Brass Coast), Weaver (Dawn), Magister or Archivist (Highguard), Landskeeper (Marches), Vate (Navarr), Stargazer or Seer or Torchbearer (Urizen), Wise One (Varushka), Runesmith or Icewalker or Mystic (Wintermark).

A starting pure ritualist basically has two sensible build options - Lore 2 in each of two Realms, or Lore 2-3 in a single Realm. If you want to have other skills as well, you should still make sure you have Lore 2 in one Realm, and spend the three remaining XP on Battlemage, spells, combat skills, or anything else you can think of. The exception is if you start with Artisan and one rank of Realm lore, as you can then buff yourself with items and save up for more Lore.

The default personal resource for ritualists is, of course, the mana site. You will go through those seven crystals astonishingly quickly, especially if you’re active in Conclave. The other choice that might work for some builds is a fleet, as it’s very flexible and the only way of combining mana crystals with any other material income - this is very good for artisan-magicians and traders, and a fleet also can be buffed using Autumn or Day magic. It’s possible to make a ritualist build work with another resource, but that’s a little trickier.

On the subject of resources, certain items can be very useful to a solo ritualist. Here’s a (by no means exhaustive) overview:

  • Volhov’s Robes allow you to cast rituals with a coven as though you were part of it. This is extremely useful, not least as it allows you to switch between covens, and you don’t have to worry about coven oaths./*:m]
  • Wands, rods, or staves that allow you to cast a spell as if you knew it. All of them are cheap and take up an “armament” item slot, which you probably won’t be using anyway. If you want to do spells with your personal mana but are pushed for XP these items are a godsend./*:m]
  • The various items (generally staves and rings) that boost your Realm lore. Expensive but very, very useful. Masks aren’t so good but you might be able to find a use for them./*:m]
  • A set of potions (one for each Realm) that give single-use boosts to Realm lore. Good for emergencies or to give you that extra push, but obviously you need a new dose each time./*:m][/ul]

The most powerful ritual you can cast solo in a given Realm has a magnitude of twice your Realm Lore level, or twice your level plus two if you’re in the Anvil regio, if you’ve mastered it. Otherwise you can cast at a magnitude up to your Realm lore level. What this means is that you should consider what you want to do and choose Realms to suit. (Note that when buying skills, you can automatically gain mastery of up to two rituals per level of Realm Lore, but you don’t have to - you can leave the “slots” blank and save them for later, which can be very worthwhile if you’re just getting into the game.)

So, let’s look at the rituals that a Lore 2 ritualist can cast solo (Magnitude 2 to 6) in each Realm:

  • Spring - The best healing rituals by a huge margin, but the other ones are highly circumstantial. Indispensable for healing, not recommended otherwise unless you have a use for the circumstantial rituals.
  • Summer - No fewer than seven very solid combat buffs, and a couple of minor resource buffs, although it’s not great at anything that isn’t to do with fighting. Strongly recommended if you want to get involved in combat or work with other people who do.
  • Autumn - A wide array of thirteen cheap rituals, including item-related divinations and some roleplaying effects, although most are very circumstantial. Recommended if want to do magic with bonds or items or if you think you’ll get good value out of one of the other specialist rituals.
  • Winter - Has a few neat tricks, especially for dealing with dead bodies and curses and for destroying things permanently, but again most of the rituals are circumstantial. Recommended if you want to do necromancy or work with curses.
  • Day - The best for divination, with three strong, cheap divination rituals. Also has some other fun effects including a decent combat buff. Recommended, especially if you want to do divination./
  • Night - Fifteen, yes that’s right, fifteen rituals at Mag 6 or below. These are a real mix of effects with a leaning towards roleplay effects and playing tricks on people; it’s also got several ways to stop other people’s divinations and some basic divination of its own. It is, however, very bad at combat buffs. Recommended, especially if you want to do sneaky things.

In summary, have a think about what play style would suit you, then pick a nation, character archetype, and Realms to suit. There are endless possibilities by combining the options available to you. :slight_smile:

edited to solve rogue cut and paste; edited to add section on items


That’s an awesomely useful summary of the different magical archetypes and low-magnitude spells!
I would add one particular element which is of interest to a solo ritualist - the Volhov’s Robe. It’s an amazingly nice magic item for the dedicated solo ritualist as it lets you join covens as and when you feel like it. Now, it might be tricky to get one but they’re pretty cheap to make.

Actually, there is a case to be made for starting with Magician, Lore 1 and Artisan, and taking a Dragonbone-producing forest (or alternatively, a fleet - there’s a port in Jarm that gives you dragonbone and mana crystals); you’ll start with a Volhov’s Robe with a few events’ use left in it and ought to easily be able to acquire the resources to make a fresh one by the time it runs out. Your aim would then be to trade for the mana for your rituals via crafting items (and there are a good few ritualist-enhancing items out there). If you leave your mastery “slots” empty you can find out what rituals your nation casts that you could help with and then supplement your first rank of Lore with a second in the same Realm with your first point of XP. Indeed you may wish to avoid taking any Lore at all, at first, to get a feel for which Realms are prevalent and in need of occasional support in your nation.

An Artisan needs to pick four items they can make with different maximum material requirements. As your resource-free but two month item there are a number of implements that give you knowledge of a spell (for non-ritual magic purposes) or you could make Circlets of Falling Snow; the Volhov’s Robe is in the second category; the third category encompasses a lot of covenstones - a dedicated support ritualist might want to know how to make a Web of Celestial Attunement for instance; the fourth category is unlimited, so that could include any of the +1 Lore per day rings or +1 Lore while bonded ritual staves. I’ll leave more detailed discussion of items for others but suffice to say that I think it’s potentially a strong concept and execution for a solo ritualist who wants lots of excuses to interact with others.

1 Like

You’ve pasted the same text in twice, Nye.

I will highlight one bit which is keep slots open. If in doubt, don’t pick something. You can always learn stuff in uptime, and that is much better than having something that you will never use. The only time you’ll really get roleplay out of something you don’t cast is when you threaten someone with a Curse and they know you can do it. Want to go round with a Mag 150 siege ritual mastered because of your backstory? It’s highly unlikely to ever come up in uptime, if it does, you can learn it, and your backstory can always be “I was contributing to it unmastered because it was a mag 150 ritual and it was all hands on deck to get the last few ranks.” Another example is that there’s no plausible condition under which the Winter farm buff ritual does anything but lose money. I could maybe see it being used in rare starvation plot, but then you can try it unmastered, because it’s an emergency.

Other things to note:
You might even want to go as far as buying Lore 2 in one realm and saving 3XP. That way you pick a couple of personal-scale Rituals to do, and can learn the rest in play once you find a suitable coven and train whatever lore they use. Rememebr you can learn a skill at the event, given suitable IC training.

If you want to go for Lore 3 Specialist, think ahead. If your group may be able to sort you a ring of Triumph/Adversity (or you can save up for one), you can then hit Mag 10 in the Regio once a day. If you want to make some money, the Magnitude 8 Herb/Mine/Raiding rituals are slightly profitable on a single target. Similarly, Clad In Golden Raiment will work on 2 targets in the Regio on a Lore 3 Mastered PC.

Consider Masks carefully. They are overpriced and you won’t make enough profit from economic buff rituals to earn back the cost. The one plausible exception is if you’re selling Splendid Panoply of Knighthood on a Rank 3 Summer PC. A Captain’s Mask might pay off if you repeatedly cast that in the Regio, plus the ritual is dead useful and soloing that is pretty cool. It also lets you save 1 mana per cast on Strength of the Bull if you hit 3 targets

Solo ritualists are best for things that either need to be done repeatedly and will run a Coven out of bonds or right this instant because the problem needs fixing now. So a Day 3 solo character dropping Horizon’s Razor Edge on 3 targets at once, even mid battle. A Spring 3 who can heal 9 characters at a time to full hits (If they can cat-herd that many). A Winter 3 who can go “Yup that is a curse, here is how you fix it”. Of course, for battlefield use of things like "What is the Curse on that Area, you can always go Lore 2 and carry a +1 Lore potion.

Also consider what rituals you don’t need to master but will be able to cast. An Echo of Life Remains identifies a corpse. If you’re using enough mana on working out who all the headless corpses are that you’ve mastered it, you should be* extremely concerned* about why this is necessary. Mastering Signs and Portents isn’t a great deal either. All you need is one person in the coven with it mastered, and everyone gets a vision if they take part. All you need is Night Lore. As a solo ritualist, you’re as well to try and find a coven doing it and join in. In fact, you could just round up all the spare Night mages and blow 4 mana on an unmastered casting, splitting the cost lots of ways. Beats 2 mana for 1 vision.

Awesome post :slight_smile: Have edited to solve rogue cut and paste, shout via pm if anything else needs editing.

Thanks for the suggestions and comments, everyone, and thanks for the ninja-edit, Mark. :slight_smile: I’ve added in a couple of your comments, especially about items, potions, and resources - but I think a sensible person reading the thread will be able to check subsequent posts and take notes from them!

It miiiiiight be worth adding the Enchanter archetype to Dawn - solo Earl isn’t the easiest thing to play, but if you’re interested in Eternal and Conclave politics it could be a fun way to go, and it naturally lends itself to being a lone ritualist.

It’s worth noting that the follow up question to “are you a magician?” is “What’s your Realm?” - a lot of ritual magicians don’t consider non-ritualists to be proper magicians at all (No True Scotsman is alive and well). Even if you don’t actually end up taking the Lore, it’s probably worth working out which Realms your character has studied anything of at all (and reading up on the wiki information on your realm(s), their Eternals and the kind of things they are associated with, to put you on a level playing field with those in play already).

Iulian - Excellent point. It’s also worth considering whether you’re calling on a specific Realm for incantations, and if so, which.

MorkaisChosen - As that’s an established ritualist character type, I’ve added it to the OP, though noting that it’s not as straightforward as many of the options. (I think it’d be fun to see someone do that, nonetheless!)

I came in at E2 this year as a lone Hakima with Day 3, so it’s perfectly doable. Granted, a significant part of my first event was spent finding someone who could make me a set of Volhov’s Robes, but that gave me the perfect excuse to harass cough I mean wander round the families getting to know the artisans :smiley:

My build was 3 rituals I could cast solo, 2 that required a coven but I knew I would use (the scrying rituals), and one that I never expect to use but is in my background - although you would probably be better off leaving that last slot open. My XP since has all gone on Extra Rituals, picking them up as I need them.

As a point of information, my group (Seers of Oran) is recruiting at the moment, but we are categorically NOT a coven - the 3 characters currently in play all use different lores, and 2 are built specifically to be solo ritualists while I use Volhovs Robes so I can cast with any of the families without having to be oath-bound to them. We have a new player joining us next year who is set up as a solo night mage as well. I’ve been recruiting IC, but if anyone would be interested in coming in as a member of the group PM me :wink:

That’s an awesome list. Come see me at the event an I will see if I can’t give you a freddo.

(ETA) Damn the masks need work :frowning:

Why thank you! I do like my Freddos. :slight_smile:

(Split the ritual mastery conversation off into it’s own thread here)

Hakima covens (Of which there perhaps 2 active on the field) are actively recruiting because we are not, as the fluff says, the most powerful and organised ritualists in the Coast. Many families have large covens, typically for buffing fleets and the like. I have tried organising Freeborn magicians to work together and herding greased cats doesn’t come close…

Back on topic I am a Solo Summer mage and it is great fun.

I came in Event 1 as Summer Three, and have spent every XP since then on Extra rituals, starting at rank 10 and working down. By the end of the year I should have every Summer ritual rank 2-12 mastered, with my ritual stave I can cast up to 10 solo at regio, and push 12 with a potion or ring (which I don’t have as of yet…).

I spend most of my time going round all the nations offering out Summer magic. I can about jack sh*te else but I practically fart summer magic…

Is fun. ^^

Have you got any advice for how the solo ritualist handles their crystal mana?

I imagine you’d take the Mana Site resource, unless you had a really good reason to pick another. (Synod membership?)

The main source of mana after your own resources would seem to be other PCs who don’t want it - controllers of fleets, those who take mana sites to sell it, etc. Do you expect to be paid in crystal mana for performing rituals?

Mana sites give mana, Congregations give Synod membership which is fun for priest mages but limiting for those requiring mana

I’d say mana site all the way and get others to stump up the mana + payment if they want rituals cast on them.

[quote=“HertsJ”]Have you got any advice for how the solo ritualist handles their crystal mana?

Mana site is good. I am tempted to trade mine in for a fleet now that I have Sular’s Promise mastered, and a Volhov’s Robe allowing me to work with random covens - but there is a BIG Caveat to that:

Fleet can be good for ritualists, if you are willing to sell resources and buy mana on the field - the catch is that none of the fleet-buffs are within solo casting range for a starting character. You would need to work with a coven or pick up some boosts to use them. Definitely something to consider later, or if you are coming in as part of a group, but not at the start…

Both Anwar and I use the same pricing scheme (we are perhaps the only two organised Hakima on the field at the moment…).

That being bring your own mana and we will, being the virtuous citizens that we are, charge a small amount for our time, for me that’s a Crown or it’s equivalent in goods, resources or even a meal, not that fussed. I would offer it for free but as people have said, ritual staves are not cheap, but you have a year to save up for the things.

If you are a coven offering rituals people normally expect you to have the mana and have that as part of a lump sum charge. People don’t tend to expect you to be wondering around anvil with a 20-30 odd mana thankfully. I do offer to sell some of my personal stock though if need be, though I’m normally saving it for research, sending letters to Eternals etc… Thankfully I got a shiny new mana site in segura which gives me ten mana a season which is pretty good, considering how insanely expensive Mithril was last game.

Summer magic is quite nice for that as its quite easy to sell fighter types on the extra hits, cleaves, fortitude etc…

Fleet could be an interesting option, if you are the only ritualist in a group that has more than one*, rather than a solo character. It gives the artisans more flexibility in the resources coming into the group while allowing a steady stream of mana for the ritualist.

If you are convinced you have marketable skills, you could go for another resource, (Which probably reads as Military unit or congregation.) It means if you get a event with low demand you probably aren’t salvaging it by casting a few things on yourself. On the other hand you get the addition game/votes of the other resource.

*Or you join a banner of Autumn mages with fleets, as a non Autumn mage :stuck_out_tongue:

[quote=“HertsJ”]Have you got any advice for how the solo ritualist handles their crystal mana?

I imagine you’d take the Mana Site resource, unless you had a really good reason to pick another. (Synod membership?)

The main source of mana after your own resources would seem to be other PCs who don’t want it - controllers of fleets, those who take mana sites to sell it, etc. Do you expect to be paid in crystal mana for performing rituals?[/quote]

Mana site all the way.

A coven wants a couple of fleets - boosting fleets pays for itself - but a solo ritualist wants a mana site. Mana is the most inherently valuable of the resources, and you don’t need to faff about trying to turn other things into mana.

OK, thanks for the replies but I think I expressed myself poorly. I wasn’t really asking whether Mana Site was the best personal resource for a solo ritualist. It’s more do you expect to be provided with the mana required when being asked to perform a ritual?

Let me put it the other way: If you want to be enchanted with, say, Swan’s Cruel Wing and you seek out a solo Summer ritualist. Do you expect to pay the ritualist solely in coin, solely in mana or in some other form? Or a combination, let’s say two mana crystals and half a crown for his trouble? (don’t worry if that’s cheap or expensive, it’s the principle that that’s his casting cost plus an amount of profit)