by Max Barry

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The Magic of Arkonos

The Magic of Arkonos

Overview

Magic is a system of supernatural abilities derived from non-material means, manifesting in individuals and granting them the capability of harnessing ether energies into spells and powers. The origins of magic and its existence is controversial and heavily debated, although a general consensus has emerged around a mystical personification of magic as a being of its own. The manipulative nature of ether and the constant ebb of magic from faltering and rare to common and powerful has been an important element of its historical development in many states. An individual gifted with magical affinity often describes a peculiar connection to the incorporeal world that surrounds the material plane, and a Kostuan-led interpretation of the realm of magic as a ‘veil’ has permeated most magical and scholarly societies.

In the modern day the existence of magic across Arkonos is extraordinarily rare and the treatment of such mages often varies from respect and admiration to disdain and xenophobia. Conditions responsible for the presence of mages and magic across the world has generally been accredited to the Kostuan effort to unite the two realms of existence in 0 BTF, although evidence of magic existing prior has prompted much discussion around the topic. The common perception of magic varies from nation to nation, with many taking a spiritualistic view on the connection a mage has with their abilities. Magic has often been woven into religion and local beliefs, and faiths such as Ziism and Dawima have focused on the metaphysical knowledge and capabilities a mage holds and often prescribe religious and societal importance to people with magical affinity.

The incorporeal connection a mage shares with the magical world around them is considered the reason for their powers. While its not known what causes a person to be born with such abilities, mages share an uncertain and sometimes confusing and contradictory relationship with the magical realm. Manifesting in the form of an ether that surrounds the world of the living, a mage is capable of concentrating and focusing on the supernatural and calling forth their abilities. Such powers, ranging from summoning fire and telekinesis to healing and illusion, share an origin from the ether and mages are generally viewed as being capable of extracting elements of reality from the magical realm and incorporating them as the basis of their powers and abilities.

Such capabilities are often tiring for a mage and exhausting, with decades of research and meditation required to better their willpower and focus on their magical connection. Weak and inexperienced mages run the risk of overusing their powers, severing their connection to the magical world, and leaving them temporarily defenseless and unable to call upon their capabilities. Such conditions are commonly described as a “mind haze” that renders thinking and concentration difficult, and the ability of a mage to focus on magic and summoning impossible while under such stress.

Mysticism
Dealing usually with the manipulation of the mind, Mysticism is usually magic meant to trick the minds of users, making things appear that shouldn’t, forgetting things for a period of time, and remembering things they never heard about. All these are generally very temporary, yet the immediate effects could decide the fate of nations.

The main use of Mysticism is the casting of illusions; tricking the environment into something different. A wall not supposed to be there, a painting on the wall, or a person sleeping in bed. These Illusions can generally function in the heat of the moment, especially if the person is simply passing by and not looking too deeply into the detail, yet other master Mystics, or those who simply stop and observe, can see through the illusions. Yet, when illusions are generally meant to be more of a getaway than anything, they serve their purpose admirably. Illusions can also cover sounds, but faces a similar issue, where prolonged illusions of sound can quickly deteriorate in quality.

Mind tricking is another function of Mysticism. A Mystic could go into a court, and subtly get a noble to divulge information that they normally wouldn’t to a stranger, basically having the mystic take the ideal form as a friend. Similarly, a Mystic could trick a guard to open a door, or cause someone to do an action that they normally do, be it increasing taxes or declaring war.

This is not to say that mind tricking is simple. The more wise nobility, or especially mages, can easily see through a mind tricking, making the Mystic in an incredible amount of danger. As well, people who see you chatting with the person will raise questions as to how you so easily convinced them, and will attempt to talk with either the mystic for questioning, or the person they talked to to break the spell.

These tricks also do not last permanently, and those who’ve been mind tricked easily learn that they were, making them very suspicious of the people they met a short while ago. This means that they’ll generally attempt to dismiss the action they took previously. However, skilled Mystics know exactly how quickly to act when it comes to these mind tricks, and know how to escape long before carrying out their tricks.

Evocation

The manipulation of magical forces, Evocation deals with direct forms of magic, typically aligned to elements of nature: fire, earth, water, air, and lightning, as forms of combat spells, like fire balls or lightning bolts. These are the direct effects of Evocation, with them being immediate post cast, and their effects being seen shortly after. Light and dark also form a caste of Evocation, but their effects generally do not cause damage like the previous ones, and usually are used to light a cavern or darken an alleyway, but these effects still could help or hinder forces in combat.

Abjuration

Made up of generally defensive magic, Abjuration is made of two separate branches: Protection and healing. Protection is generally defensive forms of magic, used to protect the user or allies with a spell against something, be it a combatant, a part of an army, missiles, or enemy magic. These are generally formed as a large magic wall or wards in front of the user, but it can be downsized as needed to help limit the fatigue expected from the spells. Dispelling is also a major part of Abjuration, but this generally only works with indirect magic, as Evocations simply act too quickly to be stopped.

Healing magic is generally a long drawn out battle over days, with the healer reconstructing tissues and muscle through their own knowledge and magics. The effects of healing are generally only a half measure, with bandages and medicines being a final act. But, this is not to downplay healing, as it has likely saved the lives of many who received severe wounds.

Augury

Unlike most forms of magic, that are plain to the world to see, and exist on the world of Arkonos, Augury takes the form of deep ritualistic magics, generally too complicated for non users to understand, to attempt “communication” with those of the Astral Plane, or heaven as its usually simplified as; a place whereby they may communion with things or creatures that may answer their questions, or ask for questions of their own. These questions are almost always about predicting what is to come, be it the outcome of a battle or when the blight will end, but some ask of the past or present, to learn knowledge that would be either impossible or take too long to gain access to.

Generally to gain access to such a plane, a sacrifice is offered, whether it be the burning of incense or items, the act of denying a certain indulgence from their lives, sacrificing an animal, or a certain function of their being. These certain functions are generally eyesight or the ability to walk, which is believed to heighten the chances of encountering creatures that would give them just what they need, but its not well known if it does increase the odds, but it certainly works to cast auguries.

Blood magic is an off-spring of Augury, generally sighted as an evil path, yet this viewpoint can be skewed by certain religious practices. Blood magic comes from generally the sacrificing of an animal, or for many cults, the sacrifice of the sentient species that dot Arkonos. Much of the time, blood mages wish to communion to demons or devils of Heaven, evil creatures who seem willing to share the plights of those the Augur asks about. Those who practice blood magic tend to go more-so insane than simply having a mind haze like other forms of magic, as their minds start being corrupted by whispers from these demonic forces. Its believed that religiously blood magic seems to dull the effects of going insane, as they do it more out of faith than curiosity, but it is seemingly the end goal of many priests and cultists alike that they in the end, go psychotic.

Enchanting

Enchantment has been a long practiced art, since thousands of years ago, with many of those same enchanted items being around to this day. Enchanting is generally the long drawn out process of giving an item a magical effect, generally to the boon of its user. To enchant an item is extremely time consuming, generally taking years to fully imbue an item with magical properties, yet the effects of such an enchantment is immediate.

Enchantments can generally vary in many ways, dependent mostly on whether its held or worn. An amulet or ring could give a special ward that deflects harm away from the user, whether it be an arrow or bullet, the swing of a sword, or a fire bolt. A sword or spear could be imbued to have a quicker swipe or a cleaner cut, or to cause major bleeding to those it attacks, or simply to burn the wound as it enters. A shield or weapon could have a defensive aspect, with the item turning in the users hand to block an attack they would not be able to react to otherwise.

Enchantments are powerful, but this is not to say that they grant its users invulnerability. Many of the effects that enchantments give slowly dwindle as they’re used, with them outright being useless if not properly taken care of. Many a would-be duelists with enchanted armor were slain by those who were simply better. Enchanted items have killed those too prideful to retreat, or those who believed themselves immortal due to such items.

Enchanted items, while able to slowly recharge after extended use, can be charged faster through the use of enchanted gems. This is generally able to be done in several ways, but the most common way is to simply crush an enchantment gem into a fine powder, pour it evenly on a wet cloth, and then to be wiped on the item. This generally takes hours, but the item is afterward back in working condition. Other options are to put the item in a pool of water, with a powder of enchantment gems being poured in and the entire mixture being stirred. Leaving enchantment gems around an enchanted item has also proven to recharge it, with noticeable fragments missing from the gems, yet this process takes far longer than any other variant.

Runicism

Unlike that of enchantments, Runicism is a generally short-lived, but easily conducted, form of enchantment conducted upon a person, whether it be their armor, clothing, or bare skin. Runicism is heavily linked with Augury, yet is heavily specialized. Rune Mages generally seek out information in the Astral plane, this generally being a ward or imbued strength, with their hand freely writing what they see. Upon exiting the Astral Plane, the Rune mage can apply it. These, while not necessarily quick, are far faster to concoct, usually only within hours or a day’s time.

Once applied, the effect is, generally, unseen. Almost all Runes are activated reactively. When a sword might’ve struck a person, the ward reacts and bounces off the blade. When the User’s attack is too light, the rune reacts, giving the user a boost to their strength for the attack. Runes, naturally, are temporary. They only perform one action, before fading away.

Runes throughout most of history have mostly been connected to tribal nations, whose warriors decorated their skin directly with runes, a showing that they’ve been enhanced. Runes are still regularly used today, yet have faded somewhat from the old days, mostly due to the diversification of magic from the early days of history, like the formation of Augury and Mysticism, and the overabundance of enchanted items replacing much of the temporary uses of Runicism.

List of spells

Evocations

Fireball
A simple blast of flame. The more energy put into the spell, the larger the flame.

Thunderbolt
Channeling the power of storms, a bolt of lighting is formed and shot from a hand.

Icebolt
A shaped bolt of ice, capable of piercing flesh and armor alike.

Boulder Throw
A large ball of rock, throwing at a crowd can cause it to explode and fracture, sending fragments outward into the enemy.

Tidal Wave
a large wave capable of pushing enemies under it and drowning them.

Air Blast
using the wind, its capable of throwing enemies a large distance. shrewd mages can use the spell to throw enemies into traps and over terrain.

Focus of light
a spell that can either be active in a mage's hand or as a passive ball of light in the air, this spell's capable of lighting dark caverns and rooms alike.

Focus of darkness
Created from Shadows, this spell is used to darken buildings and other areas. it can be active in the mage's hand or passive as a ball of darkness.

Abjurations

Dispel Magic
a counter spell to most forms of magic, Dispelling magic is common amongst Abjurators. ineffective in direct forms of magic like Evocations.

Heal Wounds
used to heal the wounds of others. takes more time and energy the larger the wounds. (requires medicines and bandages to help finish the process)

Heal disease
able to help cure simple sicknesses and diseases like the flu and infections. (requires medicines to help finish the process)

Magic Ward
a simple definsive spell meant to block magic attacks and mundane projectiles. only really capable of defending the user.

Magic Wall
a more advanced defensive spell, creates a wall of magic to protect from attacks. can protect multiple allies at the cost of more energy, especially over time.

Mysticism

Create Illusion
Creates an Illusion, in the form of either an object, person, or piece of terrain. meant more as a diversion than a permanent cast.

Create sound
The user creates a spell imitating a noise, whether it be the sound of rain, a person talking, or growling from an animal. has limited range and limited time.

Mind trick (simple)
Mind tricks someone to do a simple action, such as open a door, or walk away. does not work in the heat of combat or when they're on high alert.

Mind trick (complex)
A mind trick allowing the user to convince an important figure to do something like declare war or lower taxes. only works when they're not on high alert, and they trust the Mystic in question. can be easily foiled via nearby courtiers.

Enchanting

Enchant (Jewelry)
The Enchanter gives a magical element to a piece of Jewelry, like a ring or a Necklace. Enchantment wise, Enchanting Jewelry is the quickest form of Enchantment, though the effects of it are questionable.

Enchant (Weapon)
The Enchanter enhances a Weapon or a Shield with a magical effect to bolster the offensive or defensive capabilities of its user.

Enchant (Armor)
Enchants a piece of Armor with a magical effect. mostly Defensive, Enchanting Armor takes the most time of the Enchantments due to the amount of coverage it gives across the user to be effective.

Augury

Communion
Allows the Augur to commune to the Astral Plane, allowing them to meditate and communicate with the spirits and creatures that inhabit it. requires a sacrifice such as an item of importance or something important to the user, like a diet.

Blood Sacrifice
A more advanced version of Communion, the Augur sacrifices an animal or intelligent being to commune with demons or devils in the Astral Plane, for questions about their rivals. Can lead to delusions, and with continued usage, insanity.

Blood Summon
The only truly "hostile" spell castable in Augury, the Augur sacrifices 13 sentient beings to summon a Demon to attempt the assassination of an important individual. Generally, such a spell can cause insanity, and Demons like to boast about those who summoned them...

Runicism

Runic Communion
The Mage Communes with the Astral Plane, gathering the letters needed to form a Rune. The application of the Rune is only useable by the one who entered the Astral plane.

Runic Strength
The Rune Creator applies a Rune of Strength to the user, whether it be on their armor, clothing, or skin. The next time the user strikes at an enemy, they are Enchanced with increased strength for their attack.

Runic Ward
Applying a Rune, the Rune Creator imbues it with a magic ward and applies it to the user. The next time the user is able to take a strike, whether it be a sword, a bullet, or a magic evocation, it will harmlessly bounce off of them as if it lacked impact.

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