culture, mythos & mechanics
What is Magic? A Crash Course
agic, in Tnarem, is the term used to describe a variety of events, effects, and abilities that are inexplicable or related to the Pale. Magic is unpredictable at best and deadly at worst, leading to the controversy that currently surrounds those capable of bending that power to their will. Despite that controversy, it cannot be denied that magic is tightly interwoven into the fabric of Tnaremi culture.
While magic is tied to the supernatural, it is biology that determines who is and is not capable of casting. It exists as a form of energy to be harnessed by those capable and thus far can only be utilized in the form of spells. Common magical items, like trinkets and potions, do not exist in this world (although alchemy
, as it existed in history, does), though the people of Tnarem very much believe in the power of magical items.
Playing a Caster
Players wishing to pick up a character who is capable of magic will need to read through the magic lore presented on this page. In addition, there will be extra fields on the character application to fill out detailing the extent of their magic. The stipulations for playing each type of caster can be found below, in the "What Makes a Witch" section. Please note that we do not guarantee that a player will be able to pick up a magic-capable character as there are a limited number of them in play at any given time.
Check out the positions claims to see which caster roles are available for play.
Magic and those who use it can only be described as polarizing in the context of politics and culture in Tnarem. With two major forces in direct conflict over whether the abilities granted by the Pale are divine or evil, there are strong stances to be taken by the players in the arena of court. To find out more about a region's beliefs on magic and casters, you may check out its respective culture page.
Common Terms for Casters
Among many derogatory and honorific terms given to casters throughout the ages of Tnarem, these are the most prolific and the most contemporary:
Witches is a term used to describe any and all magic users. This term has different connotations in different parts of Tnarem. In Lornesse, it is simply as stated above: what you would call a commoner who has learned the craft. Outside of magic-friendly areas, however, the term "witch" carries a more negative connotation. In those areas, "witch" is often used to describe someone who brings harm with the use of magic, someone who possesses unearthly and malevolent power, or someone who is evil. This term is not limited to women, male casters are also called witches.
Like mageirs, an augur is a very specific type of caster that belongs to the Augury.
Most casters from outside the Reiux will be called "Augurs."
This term is nearly exclusive to Lornesse; mageirs are casters of great importance and clout. They serve the lords of Tnarem in places that are magic-friendly and act as tutors to those who wish to hone the craft of casting. Not all witches are mageirs, but all mageirs are witches.
Rittaleir/Dame Rittaleir (Reh-TAH-leer)
Like mageirs, rittaleirs are revered and talented casters, though they excel in magic cast on the field of battle. These people are living legends in and outside of the Vale to be loved and hated depending on who you ask. This is an esteemed position and the title can only be granted by the Roi of the Reiux.
Because of the prevalence of magic in Tnarem, and the importance of it within the various cultures of the continent, several magic-oriented groups have surfaced with various functions. Some of them are benevolent forces for the witches while others seek to protect the general population from the potential harm witches may cause. Others, still, are groups of witches seeking only to further their own goals at the expense of all else.
In Lornesse, there are the Coterie
and the Gran Schecolei
, the first being an organization of powerful casters who seek to forward their own interests, and as a consequence Lornesse's as well, and the second being the system of universities that train the more fortunate witches of the Vale.
Throughout the rest of Tnarem, where magic is only tolerated or even frowned upon, the Augury
reign supreme. Both are groups born in Mercia and both seek to control the witches of Tnarem with force and fear. The former is the equivalent of the Lornesian Gran Schecolei, only a witch's attendance is compulsory, and the latter is the policing organization of all witches throughout Mercia and, more recently, beyond.
There exists a world parallel to Sergonia, felt only to those rare few sensitive enough to detect it. This parallel world is known as the Pale
. Where the boundary between these two worlds, known as the Mete
, is weak, the Pale's presence can be felt, tainting Sergonia with its eldritch influence. In these areas, magic is especially strong and the world is twisted in strange unearthly ways. Still, the Mete holds enough that the creatures from beyond remain trapped, keeping Sergonia safe from their chaos.
The Mete typically cannot be seen, the only indication of its existence is the Source that slips through its defenses. Those who can sense the pull of the Pale are drawn to the places where the Mete is weak, however, and while they cannot see it, they can most certainly feel it. None have ever crossed the Mete into the Pale, there is no known way to cause a fracture or door through it; it is simply the ephemeral protector of Sergonia from what lies beyond it.
Fractures in the Mete are legendary in that until recently they existed only in theory; none had been recorded during Tnarem's history until the Inshmor fracture opening in 1448. Now, scholars are able to describe them as a swirling blue light through what seems like snow drifts. It isn't snow, however, but Source. As it drifts into Sergonia, it forms crystalline structures around the fracture, creating a portal of sorts. They're broken every now and then, when they become too heavy for this world or when something from the Pale crosses through the Mete. The effects of their existence are much like the effects of Source concentrations, though the changes occur more rapidly and with greater intensity.
Source is the fuel for the casters of Tnarem. All but those born awake will use this strange substance as their means to connect to the Pale and access its power. Outside of casting, it is also used as a drug both recreationally and in relation to medical procedures. It is a bizarre substance that exists in three forms: powder, crystal, and liquid. It is iridescent blue in all forms and bioluminescent.
The narcotic-like effects of Source make it popular among many circles both magic-oriented and not, though the highly addictive nature of it also make it a dangerous substance to indulge in. It will not kill a user who overdoses on it, but after prolonged use, withdraw from it may. The high it provides is short-lived but the Source will remain in the bloodstream for potentially months post consumption, depending on whether the person is awakened, actively using magic, or simply a recreational Source user.
Because of the extremely addicting nature of Source, there are few to none who have used it that do not become dependent upon it in one way or another. Physically, the body will crave Source once the initial high wears off as well as when it has grown close to flushing all of the substance from its system. It is a drug that can be used by anyone, caster or not, and in all cases it provides the same high and the same propensity for dependency.
The constant, slow metabolization of Source means that someone must periodically seek out more source to absorb. Absorption can be achieved in any number of ways: smearing source on one’s skin, drinking source-tainted liquid or liquid source, or eating source-tainted food or ingesting source itself. Source is also absorbed via breathing, though inhaling is not the most practical of absorption methods. There is no risk of over-consuming, though there seem to be diminishing returns when attempting to absorb mass amounts of it at a single time. Some scholars speculate that the body is only capable of using so much at once, though research into the matter is ongoing.
Source & the Environment
Source is primarily found in the northern parts of the continent, along the mountain range that separates Tnarem from the Northern Expanse. The semi-translucent material clings to the forests, to the mountains, to the lakes, coating them in a film of eerie, iridescent blue. It is alive, though to look at it would not tell you so. It requires moisture to survive and a long dormant period in order to propagate well in the spring and summer. When it is dried, source is a dust that is carried easily on the breeze, and in the darkness of night, it glows faintly.
Outside of Lornesse and Argonne, source is found in damp and dark places, mainly caves and near shaded water sources. Without the periods of dormancy its allowed in the north the growth is heavily stunted, however. Only trace amounts are found, and will often dwindle into near nothingness at the heights of summer, especially in the southern hemisphere.
Source does not need a fracture to find its way from the Pale into Sergonia. In places where the Mete is weakest, it seeps through, taking on several forms once it is able to propagate in the world's environment. Depending on where the Source is leaking into Sergonia, it will be found in Source veins, wells, or lichen-like crustose or foliose.
- Found in dark, damp places, Source sometimes forms what can be likened to stone. As far as gemstones go, however, Sourcestone is soft, too easily cut, and too easily damaged. It is fickle, losing its shine and sharp edges too quickly for the taste of most. This form of Source is the most powerful.
- Most common in moderate climates, Source will sometimes bubble from the ground in what resembles a spring. These are shallow and expansive, creeping across the ground until the substance dries atthe edges, forming one of the other two concentration types of Source. This form of Source is middling in power.
- Growing on whatever surface it's able to, Source lichen spreads quickly, drying in hot weather, making it easily carried through the air like pollen. This is the most common form Source is found, and is the weakest in power.
Currently the only known antimagic, Eolith is an opalescent stone found in the southern hemispheres of Tnarem. It plentiful enough that the wealthy of Mercia incorporate it into jewelry, believing it will protect them from unwanted effects of a witch's magic.
The Augury makes frequent use of Eolith as a means to silence the ability to cast. A stone the size of roughly 10 carats is enough to render a witch incapable of casting when touching their flesh or within close proximity. So, in order to keep augurs from casting, they are usually fixed with a sturdy metal collar with an Eolith stone fit into the front of it. Eolith takes effect immediately and about 5 minutes for its effects to wear off.
The moment when a person connects to the Pale, making them able to cast, is called an "awakening
." From that point forward, they remain awake and their connection to the Pale cannot be severed except through specific means. Some--very few--are born awake, however, most casters must be awoken with the use of Source.
To be awake grants immense power, but at a cost; few are able to handle the horrors the Pale exposes them to, going mad or losing themselves to the pull of the other side. Those who successfully resist must contend with horrific nightmares plaguing their every night, whispers from disembodied voices during their waking hours, and the constant pull to places where the Mete is weak. The Pale calls to them, offering their deepest desires and warning of their worst fears.
Someone who has been awakened will have blue blood. Those born awake will always have it, and those who awaken with Source will have it so long as Source is present in their bloodstream. The color has been likened to that of cornflowers, as it is light and milky. Because of this obvious distinction between awakened and asleep, cutting a witch to draw blood is a common test utilized to "expose" them outside of the Vale. This method falls short, however, as an unawakened witch's blood is not blue.
A person's first Awakening is not a cataclysmic event, it is quiet and insidious. It is a strange nightmare one night or a passing thought that you might have heard something that no one else did. The beginnings of the Pale's madness are soft, but they grow with time and can threaten to consume the awakened witch. Each caster's awakening is slightly different, their experiences with the Pale unique to them. Some find the constant presence of "others" comforting and in some it causes paranoia. All experience it, and will continue to so long as their connection to the Pale is maintained.
Someone who is born awake experiences these things throughout their entire life. When they are young, their magic is uninhibited by the mind and by self-control, often leading to outbursts of energy and uncontrolled casting. For those who surround the awakened, this period of time is extremely dangerous. Tales of children born awake who cause their own deaths are not an uncommon thing. Usually these children are sent to the Augury or Schecolei earlier than a normal child might be in order to keep them and their families safe.
For those who are born asleep and must utilize Source to remain awake, they will ingest or absorb Source before they will experience their awakening. There are certainly times when those born asleep with accidentally awaken, and in those circumstances, they will experience the same uncontrollable casting that a child who is born awake might, but an aware adult with self-control is far safer when awakened than a child would be.
consequences of being awake
With the power that the Pale offers come drawbacks, with the ability to feel the presence of that other world comes the unsettling knowledge that it offers--the knowledge of what lies hidden behind the invisible and fragile Mete. Once awakened, a caster will experience the following three things to various degrees.
IMPORTANT: All casters must experience the three consequences to degrees that range from moderate to severe. In addition, all casters must pick one consequence that will be severe. Please read the below descriptions and keep them in mind when creating a witch.
- Alone in a fog-ridden world with nothing but shapes that shift in and out of their peripheral, they find themselves bombarded by voices, touched, followed. There is no progress to be made and the sense of foreboding that begins as a pit in their stomach grows to consume them. They are nowhere earthly, and their experience is very real. It's said that if a witch dies while dreaming in the Pale, they will not awake from their sleep.
- It isn't constant, but it is noticeable, the whispers that the awakened hear. The caster cannot understand what they say, the language is unlike anything they know, just a series of slurs and ominous rumbling, but there are patterns somewhere in the noise. If the speakers are directing their comments at the caster, the caster cannot know.
- The innate urge that pulls a witch closer to the Pale by leading them to places where the Mete is weak or to others who have been awakened. It has been described as the feeling of needing to be elsewhere. The Pull is like the feeling of horror at realizing you've left your stove on and must return home immediately. It is constant and nagging, causing unease and irritation. While it is seen as a consequence of being awake, the Pull is sometimes used by witches to identify one another and used by the Carnifex to flush out witches who would otherwise remain hidden.
breaking the connection
The connection a witch has to the Pale can be severed or dampened intentionally or unintentionally. When this occurs, that caster will no longer be able to cast magic and the side effects of being connected to the Pale will fade.
For those who need Source to remain connected it is relatively simple to sever that commune with the Pale; once Source is flushed from their system, they will no longer be awake. All consequences and benefits of being so will cease for them until they once again have enough Source in their system to trigger an awakening.
For those who do not need Source to remain connected--those born awake--the connection can never be entirely severed. With the use of antimagic, primarily eolith, it can be dampened, however. They will not be able to cast, and their connection to the Pale will be weakened, but it will still be present.
There are two aspects of casting that determine how a person is able to cast: whether they are born "awake" or "asleep" (their need for Source to cast), and whether they are "absolute" or "bound" (their range of ability). Both aspects are described in detail below. These factors result in four types of casters with varying degrees of rarity. It is important to note that even though someone may be capable of casting does not mean that they are a caster. These traits are indicative of the ability to cast, not the conscious decision to become a witch.
Born Awake, Absolute
- These are by far the most powerful of all witches, with access to all types of magic and no need for Source to utilize their connection to the Pale. There are only a handful of these in existence.
Born Awake, Bound
- Like their more powerful sisters, these witches do not need Source to cast, but they are limited to only a single or few abilities. There are only a few dozen of these in existence.
Born Asleep, Absolute
- The range of their magic is unlimited, but their powers are only obtainable via the use of Source. These casters are usually found roughly 1 in every 10 in Lornesse, 1 in every 50 in Dubhion and the Marks, and 1 in every 1000 in Mercia and Nis.
Born Asleep, Bound
- The least powerful and most plentiful of all the casters, these witches have limited range that is only obtainable via the utilization of Source. These casters are usually found roughly 1 in every 3 in Lornesse, 1 in every 20 in Dubhion and the Marks, and 1 in every 100 in Mercia and Nis.
Awake & Asleep
Whether someone is born "awake" or "asleep" is used to describe their connection to the Pale and, as a consequence, their need for Source in order to cast. This axis of casting is representative of the depth of a caster's ability.
those born awake
DID YOU KNOW?
There is no discernible pattern to who is born awake; it seems to be chance--or the intervention of gods--that dictates such. A vast majority of the population are born asleep. People who are born awake are so rare that even in the staunchly antimagic regions of Tnarem covet them for their powers.
Hardly human, those born awake are gods among men. From birth, they are strange and distant people, privy to the otherworldly influence of the Pale throughout their entire lives. They have mastered their minds and their bodies, have contended with the the Pull of the Pale, and have faced a world that both ostracizes and idolizes them.
Witches who are born awake do not need Source to cast; their minds are awakened to the Pale always, drawing its power without limit. In exchange, they give their very well-being to cast. Where a Source-using witch expends source with each spell, those born awake expend strength, vitality, and energy. Their magic is costly to their health, leaving them frailer than their source-driven counterparts after rigorous casting, but exponentially more magically powerful. Their bodies are not capable of some normal functions--they cannot reproduce, their puberty late and stunted most often, their immune systems are laughable, leaving them susceptible to disease that would not harm a normal human and their heartbeat is far slower than normal.
those born asleep
Near all of the Tnaremi population is born asleep from the Pale and will remain so for their entire lives. Those who come in contact with Source and are genetically predisposed to the awakening are rare, though they are plentiful enough to warrant a push back against their existence in all nations but Lornesse.
Those born asleep do not immediately know of their propensity for casting; there are no outward signs or callings from the Pale, not until they come in contact with Source. Whether this is done intentionally or unintentionally does not matter, nor does the amount absorbed. It takes only a few drops or grains, only the slightest contact, to form a connection. Most will awaken unintentionally as Source is plentiful and used copiously as a drug in various ways.
Source is required to cast, and a Source-using witch continuously burns their Source reserve within their body, whether they are using it or not. Because of this constant depletion in addition to active depletion during casting, witches who use Source to awaken must periodically seek out Source and absorb it in order to use their ability.
Absolute & Bound
The range of abilities available to a caster is determined by genetics and falls into two categories: "absolute" and "bound." Bound casters are the more common of the two, especially when coupled with the need for Source to cast. Whether a caster was born awake or asleep will directly influence how powerful their magic is, regardless of whether they are an absolute or bound caster. An absolute caster who was born asleep will never be able to cast to the same power as a bound caster who was born awake. Think of this axis as the breadth of the ability.
Sergonia is an absolute caster's oyster; the range of their magic is unlimited, they are able to do anything that the power of the Pale will allow and that is quite a lot. While they are limited to the amount of power that their absorbed Source allows, they may do an infinitely wide range of things with said power so long as they have learned how to cast that sort of magic.
Even though casting is an intuitive process, all casters--even absolute ones--must learn their abilities from somewhere. They do not inherently know the magics available to them or how to harness them. Whether that learning takes place through dangerous experimentation, via the tutelage of a single caster, or via a place of learning (the Gran Schecolei in the Reiux or the Augury in the rest of Tnarem), will be up to the player, but no matter the means the character will need to be taught how to cast and will be limited to their knowledge.
Much of the magical population is bound, they are able to use magic in a limited way. Usually this manifests in a few types of magic with several different ways to manipulate them, or, in the more powerful cases, a single, very specific ability. This ranges from the control of fire to the ability to scry via a reflective surface anywhere in Sergonia.
IMPORTANT: A bound caster is limited to 1 to 3 abilities. The more powerful any single ability, the fewer other abilities they will have. In the case of a bound caster with an ability like evomancy, they will have no other ability aside from that one.
Vitae is most easily explained as a person's life force. It is linked to physical and mental health, often leading to sickness of both kind when it is lessened within a caster (or normal person). Vitae can be found in every part of a person and is the reason that components such as blood, hair, nails, etc are needed in certain spells pertaining to specific targets. Each individual has a unique vitae and that vitae is lost upon death. They will maintain their vitae throughout life, though it will wax and wane with health. This is specifically important to casters, as they will affect their own vitae when casting, especially if they are casting without the use of Source. It can be restored with time, though it is a slow process and leaves the caster vulnerable to illness, madness, and extreme fatigue in the meantime.
Casting & Spells
Magic, in theory, is capable of anything. It's limitations are that of the caster. The casters of Sergonia are personally limited by two things: their access to Source (in some cases) and their biology. In lieu of Source for the case of those born awake, the caster is, instead, limited by their vitae. This resource (either the Source or vitae) is expended through what are known as spells. Spells are simply an event or effect the caster is bringing about via the use of magic. While there are cultural-wide or well-known ways to elicit certain effects, there is no one specific way to cast any spell. The rituals and casting methods of each caster are unique to them.
The cost of casting
The use of magic, the act of actively harnessing the power of the Pale, is an exhausting thing. Even the most experienced caster can only do so much before their very body gives out. For those who utilize Source to cast, those born asleep, they risk depleting their reserves of Source in their bodies, throwing them into withdrawal. For those who do not need Source to cast, the toll is far worse. Fatigue, mental and physical, are a very real fear for those born awake. To cast too often without proper rest is to potentially kill oneself as it is the same vitae by which they live that fuels their connection to the Pale.
For all witches, casting is exhausting, however, the use of Source can help lessen the draining effect the use of magic has on those who use it. For those who need Source to cast (those born asleep), there is no casting without it; Source is their fuel by which they are able to access the Pale's power, and without it that connection is severed. For these people, casting is less strenuous on their physical self, however, they do not have access to the same amount of power that someone who does not need Source to cast (those born awake) does. Instead, those born asleep burn through Source when casting, utilizing the pool of it they have built up in their body as a reserve. Spells of greater size and effect will burn through that reserve far more quickly than spells of a more mundane nature.
Those who do not need Source to cast may or may not utilize the substance to assist in their casting and to offset the exhaustion it causes. Some witches who are born awake will forego the use of Source altogether, however, many will not as it is a safeguard against over-exhaustion and potential physical and mental harm that casting may cause them. A born awake witch who uses Source will find herself able to cast more regularly and with greater power with fewer consequences.
The Discovery of a Witch
How one discovers they are a caster varies from nation to nation and by ability. The witches who are born awake manifest power from birth. They will be easily found no matter where they are in Tnarem, and in most cases they will be given to the appropriate magic-oriented organization as early as they are able to be.
In Lornesse, a family may request that the Gran Schecolei send a representative to test a child/family member to see if they are capable of casting and what their range of magic is. This is an expensive and intensive process that the average person cannot afford. As a result, the Schecolei is populated almost exclusively by the wealthy and influential and its membership is dappled by the lucky few commoners who were born awake and have found a wealthy patron to pay for their tuition and room and board for education at the Schecolei. You can read more about the test on the Gran Schecolei's faction page
In Dubhion, Mercia, and Nis, there are several processes by which someone submits to the Augury. If they are born awake, they are sent when they are young, if they are born asleep and to a family who is known to produce magic-capable children, they will be tested by the Augury and taken if they are found to be a caster. If they are magic-capable but do not fall into the above circumstances, or if they have been hidden from the Augury, they are considered rogue witches, casting their magic illegally. As a result, they are at risk of being hunted down by the Carnifex and given the choice of submitting to the Augury or being executed for their crimes. Usually these witches are found when the Carnifex conducts what they refer to as a venari di sangue
, or a "hunt for/of blood," where they will systematically test all of the people in a certain population for magic-capability. You can read more about these processes on the Augury
In Ostia, the Carnifex and Augury have no real hold, though because of the similarity in Ostian and Dubhionic culture, most Ostians view the Augury in much the same way as Dubhion does. Families may opt to submit their magic-capable children to the Augury in either Dubhion or Mercia, but they are not legally punished for not doing so like they would be in nations where magic is illegal (Dubhion, Mercia, and Nis). However, to keep your child from the Augury when they are known to be magic-capable is a severely unacceptable thing and is ruinous to a family's reputation in the region. Ostia utilizes the Augury's means of discovery, you may read more about it on the Augury
Learning to Cast
Whether it is in the Augury
, as a witch's apprentice, or at one of the Gran Schecolei
within Lornesse, a witch must learn to harness the power of the Pale in order to cast successfully and with precision. Some witches prefer the informal study of a master/apprentice setting or that is all they are able to afford in the Vale, some prefer to devote themselves to the art of casting and attend a Gran Schecole or submit themselves to the Augury.
Learning to cast is a slow process that a witch will not master for decades. If they begin in early childhood, they will have become skilled in a few families by the time they enter into the adult world in their twenties. Witches will continue to practice and tutor with older witches for the entirety of their lives, as magic is an art that can never truly be entirely learned. There are far too many nuances that result in variations of magic to ever call oneself knowledgeable in all magical families. Age is a witch's best friend--with it comes experience and with experience comes a wider breadth and deeper well of knowledge and skill.
When formal education is not an option, apprenticeships take its place. Witches taught in this manner often are not as powerful, well-rounded, or Source-fueled as their counterparts. This form of tutelage is most common for the lower social classes, the poor and common people of Tnarem. Or it is used when a caster does not want to submit to the Augury but wishes to learn to harness their magic. in either case it is thought of as less efficient than a formal education and it yields witches of lesser talent in nearly all cases as it lacks any structure or standard process.
Witches can be tutored at any age and can begin to dabble in magic as soon as they have someone to teach them and Source enough to remain awake (when Source is needed). There are no average ages for beginning an apprenticeship, nor are there any average milestones a witch meets while using this form of education, it is completely dependent on the unique factors of the situation the witch finds herself in.
There is a system in place that determines how many families of magic any caster has mastered in their life. We utilize what we call a "casting clock" which is the passage of time during which a witch is actively learning how to cast. They will be able to choose which families of magic they learn and all families must fall into one of three categories:
- A family of magic that a witch is familiar with and knows the most basic spells of. The witch cannot be considered proficient in any unpracticed family of magic. They will always need the aid of a more learned caster to perform spells from this family.
- A family of magic that a witch has taken the time to learn. They are proficient in this magic and may cast it without the help of another caster in most cases. They will struggle with the harder/more powerful spells of this family. There is much yet to learn about this family of magic.
- A family of magic that the caster is intimately familiar with. They have mastered this family and are able to cast any spell from its repertoire with relative ease. They will never need the assistance of another witch so long as the spell being cast does not call for more power than the witch possesses.
The casting clock begins at age 11 to 13 depending on the circumstances specific to the witch's life. From that point forward, they will move the families of magic from their default placement in unpracticed upwards until they have mastered all they can. A witch may move 2 families to practiced for every 5 years of learning and 1 family from practiced to mastered for another 5 years. They cannot simultaneously move families from unpracticed and practiced. If a witch is focusing on mastering a school, that 5 years is entirely devoted to that single family.
This is not an exhaustive list of the families of magical effects that casters are able to bring about with their connection to the Pale, but it will act as a base for the most common or well-known magical abilities and how they work. Witches can only cast the magics from the below list. If you wish to add a family of magic to this section, you can submit an addenda here
Named for the practice of alchemy, alquemancy is the manipulation of water, minerals, organic matter, and wind. This is traditional elemental magic without the addition of fire. Petty forms of this magic include collecting condensation from the air and creating a gust of wind. More powerful forms of this magic include altering the clarity (or other properties) of a gemstone, creating gales strong enough to move merchant ships, and displacing mass amounts of water.
- Alquemancers have a large range, though the further away from the witch, the weaker the magic. Touch is not needed to, nor impacts those who cast this family of magic, but the caster needs to be able to see the area or object of intended effect.
Elemental manipulation takes what is present and shapes it. Manipulation cannot change the properties of the element being manipulated, but it can mold it, move it, utilize it in otherwise impossible ways, such as parting bodies of water, breaking a boulder in two, permanently bending the branches of a tree into certain shapes, or creating gusts of wind on a windless day.
Transmutation is the changing of one element to another. This is most often performed on solid objects such as stone, wood, plant matter, etc. These witches are highly sought after in the mercantile market as they are the difference between a useless diamond and a flawless one, the difference between a mediocre blade and an expert one, or the reason that foodstuffs are kept preserved throughout extended transport. Their services come at great costs, making them a rare commodity.
The most coveted family of magic is evomancy, which is the direct interaction with the Pale. This magic is rare and extremely difficult to cast. The difficulty lies not only in the rituals themselves, but in the power needed to accomplish such grand tasks as summoning or manipulating the Pale. This magic is nearly exclusive to those born awake for they have unrestricted access to the Pale naturally, affording them the needed power for such complex, hungry magic. Evomancers are capable of divination (scrying, presage) and teleportation. Casting evomantic magic is often done in groups unless it is being done by someone who was born awake. Precision, care, and patience is needed when interacting with the Pale in these influential ways.
This is by far the most draining activity any witch can engage in. Teleporting only the self a long distance is something that will leave a witch exhausted; holding a fracture door open for multiple people to use is liabel to cause permanent damage to a witch's health. This taxation on the body is usually lessened by group casting. However, it is rare that witches are able to even cast teleportation in groups due to the requirements to successfully open a fracture door
- The caster(s) must have seen the destination through physical or scrying means prior to casting and the area cannot be under the effect of a sortilegic ward. There are no petty forms of this magic, it is powerful magic by its very nature.
Divination is often described as a less involved teleportation. The hole one punctures in the mete to view other parts of Tnarem is not as large and therefore does not need as much power, but it is effectively a lessened version of the same effect. Scrying and presage happen much the same, and someone who casts divination magic without great training and knowledge of it will often not be able to tell the difference between a vision brought about via scrying and a vision brought about via presage. Scrying will produce an image of the area/person in its current state, presage will produce an image of the area/person in either the near past or near future. Presage is an imprecise art and it is never guaranteed that the Pale will direct the caster to the past or future. Like all magic, divinations cannot be cast on areas under the effect of a sortilegic ward or on a person who is inside one.
- Scrying and presage require the same things to cast, but with varied results: an piece of the area (dirt, a branch, a rock) or person (hair, fingernail, blood) is needed in order to focus the magic, and a smooth, reflective surface is needed for viewing upon--pools of water and mirrors are most commonly used.
DID YOU KNOW?
The Carnifex employs witches who are well-versed in paramancy. These specially trained witches are the primary forces used to hunt down, interrogate, and kill magic-capable people who refuse to submit to the authority of the Augury.
Paramancy is one of the most taboo of all the magic families. It is, to most, seen as an invasive, dark, and cruel magic. Encompassing the ability of animopathy, wresting, and communing, paramancy can be summed up as the practice of magically communicating with various parties, willing or otherwise. Petty forms of this magic would include speaking to a fellow witch animopathically while in the same room or communing with the nearby unseen force. More powerful forms of this magic include communing with creatures of the Pale, speaking to a fellow witch who is a far distance away, and forcing oneself into the mind of another witch against their will.
Communing is not a magic that the Augury supports by and large. With this ability, a witch is able to communicate with creatures from the Pale and unseen forces inhabiting Tnarem. To successfully speak with beings from the Pale, one must first understand their language and none have been able to decipher it thus far. Those who commune with the Pale in this way are likely to gain nothing aside from worsening their symptoms of being awake. The unseen creatures of Sergonia, however, speak many languages, some known and some unknown; these "things" call themselves many names and identify as countless types of beings, but no truths about them may be known. They often lie, speak in riddles, and are prone to mischief.
- To commune with the unseen of Sergonia or the Pale, the caster's own blood is needed in various quantities depending on how wide they would like to cast their magical net. Communing is only successful if an entity is willing to communicate (which may be rare), and often, a witch will cast this magic without result.
To speak to a fellow witch is easy enough so long as all parties are willing, when a party is no longer willing, however, the magic moves from animopathy to wresting, which is a much fouler magic. Animopathy is a common form of communication between powerful witches, but is not always reliable. If a witch finds themselves within a sortilegic ward, animopathy will no longer work--they will not be able to call out with or receive any animopathic communication.
- Animopathy can only be used between two witches, and a witch may only use animopathy to project their thoughts to another witch. No magic is needed to receive an animopathic message, the magic is utilized when the message is sent, by the sender. In order to speak to another witch, the caster must possess a piece of the target (hair, nails, blood). If multiple pieces are held, a witch may reach out to more than one party at once. Touch makes this sort of communication stronger, but is not needed. All parties must be willing in order for animopathic communication to be successful.
Wresting is the act of magically forcing oneself into the thoughts of another witch. This can only be done to witches as it requires the connection a witch has to the Pale in order to bridge the two minds, much like animopathy. In addition to that fact, the magic itself is imprecise. A witch cannot simply root around in another witch's thoughts, and while wresting, they are actively battling against the target's will, making this a difficult magic to use properly and at length.
- In order to force oneself into the mind of another witch, touch is needed as well as a large quantity of the target's blood. Usually the target is cut while wresting is being performed, maximizing its effectiveness. To gain information, the target's thoughts must be directed. The witch casting wresting is only able to detect surface thoughts and general emotion. If the target is asked a question, the wrester will be able to catch the thoughts evoked by the question while they remain at the forefront of the mind, but will no longer have access to them once they have faded from immediate, active thought.
The mastery over light and shadow, illomancy allows the witch to grant light or steal it away. Naturally, wrapped in this craft is the art of illusion--the trickery of the eye in order to make the unsuspecting see what is not there or not see what is there. Petty forms of this magic include creating the illusion of "sparkles" or twinkling lights or darkening an already shadowed corner of a room. More powerful forms of this magic include near complete invisibility, flashes of light so bright that they can leave victims temporarily blind, and mass illusions.
- Because the changes made by illomancy are not physical, but, rather, a trick of the senses, the closer to the illusion someone is, the less convincing that illusion will be. This magic can be cast on large groups, but the more targets and/or the wider the range of casting, the less potent the effect becomes, usually resulting in a very minor effect.
The art of casting protective wards or shields, mauermancy is both a utility and defensive magic. Depending on the skill of the witch, they could utilize this magic to repel objects, sound, vision, or magic. These types of casters are best utilized to keep conversations away from prying ears or eyes, to create areas where magic cannot be cast, or to counter magic as it is used against the caster, though a more powerful witch's magic would override mauermancy of a weaker kind. Petty forms of this magic include muting sound around the caster or making an area obscured to any outside/inside viewer (note, this does not make the field invisible, it makes it appear opaque and milky seeming, like smoke). More powerful forms of this magic include wards of more than one variation type that may protect entire rooms within a castle, or the entirety of small buildings.
Meant to keep physical objects in and/or out, corporeal wards are common on the battlefield, and within the treasure vaults, castles, and dungeons and prisons of Tnarem. Because these are focused on physical prohibition, magic, sound, and vision can penetrate them, however, physical objects cannot.
- These wards can be cast with touch or at a distance, depending on the intended use. Once a caster raises a corporeal ward, they will not be able to leave/enter the protected area until the ward is dispelled. Depending on the caster's skill and the amount of energy put into the ward, it can be maintained for some hours, needing to be "refreshed" once the magic wanes.
Partial wards are meant to keep sound and light in or out. Objects and magic may pas through them, but vision and/or hearing may not. These are the diplomat's ward; they are used when sensitive information is being discussed, or if someone is in need of silence to complete whatever it is they are doing. Musicians will sometimes have these wards erected while playing to keep out unwanted noise.
- Like all wards, these can be cast with touch or at a distance, though there is no real reason aside from preference for doing so. A partial ward does not prevent people from entering or leaving it, so a caster (and anyone else) may come and go from inside the ward's influence as they please. Depending on the caster's skill and the amount of energy put into the ward, it can be maintained for some hours, needing to be "refreshed" once the magic wanes.
Sortilegic wards are meant to mute the effects of magic. Inside them, magic cannot be cast, magic cast outside of them cannot penetrate the barrier with the exception of an object lifted and thrown by a kinemancer, or an element directed by an alquemancer, but vision/hearing and objects may. These wards are handy to nullify teleporting, to dispel a cloaked illomancer, or to cloud scrying. Most Athenaeums have the majority of their grounds cloaked in sortilegic wards, with sanctioned casting areas being unwarded.
- Sortilegic wards can only be cast with touch, and they must be directed at a physical object. Sortilegic wards can never be cast on a person or on the caster themselves. Once an object has been warded, the anti-magic permeates the area surrounding it and will extend to different distances depending on the energy expelled in setting up the ward. Depending on the caster's skill and the amount of energy put into the ward, it can be maintained for some hours, needing to be "refreshed" once the magic wanes.
The magic of affecting physical objects by applying force, kinemancy allows its caster to not only enhance their own strength but also move things without the need to touch them. This is the strong man's magic, the magic that builds the Vale's great monuments, and fuels some of their most legendary fighters. Petty forms of this magic include lifting small objects like a goblet or enhancing one's strength enough to move an object just outside of the witch's natural strength. More powerful forms of this magic include lifting things such as pieces of furniture or a human, and enhancing one's strength far outside their natural ability.
Fortifying is the act of enhancing one's strength, a useful magic for various types of tasks, but often associated with battle witches. The effects of fortifying can be combined with Mutomancy in order to enhance one's strength to an otherwise unobtainable degree.
- When a kinemancer is using magic to enhance their own strength, the magic doubles their natural strength. Depending on the caster's skill and the amount of energy put into the enhancement, it can be maintained for some hours, needing to be "refreshed" once the magic wanes. The caster cannot fortify anyone but themselves.
Where fortifying is the act of enhancing one's own strength, animokinesis uses the caster's current strength to lift objects without touching it. Kinemancers can fortify themselves and then use animokinesis, though the concentration needed for a caster to successfully maintain their animokinesis is often too limiting to allow for simultaneous casting. Most animokinesis is played out in the form of parlor tricks, the lifting of small objects for show, though, if the caster is capable enough, it can be used to lift their own body in some kind of simulated flight.
- When a kinemancer is using magic to complete tasks animokinetically, their strength is equal to that of their body. It takes the same amount of strain to lift or move something animoinetically as it would take the caster to do the same task physically. No touch is needed to lift an object this way, a caster may lift objects up to a great distance away, however, the further an object is, the weaker their magic and its effects will be.
This magic consists entirely of transforming parts of or the entirety of the self into something else. The depth of this family of magic is shallow, only being comprised of this specific ability, but the range of changes able to make are infinite. Animals, other people, augmenting the body to be younger, older, rounder, thinner. A mutomancer's is a chameleon. Petty forms of this magic include changing hair or eye color. More powerful forms of this magic include transforming the entire body into that of another human being or an animal.
A mutomancer can transform themselves into any other animal given that they are aware of that creature's existence. They are also able to turn themselves into an amalgamation of various animal parts to more or less success. The energy required to transform is dependent on how far from the caster's original mass the creature's mass is. The further from that original mass a caster wishes to go, the more energy-consuming and unstable their spell becomes. If a spell is too far beyond a witch's ability, and thus, far too unstable, two outcomes are possible: the spell will fail and the caster will have expended the energy for nothing, or the spell will be successful but the caster will not be able to maintain a consistent mental state, meaning their mind will be lost to the animal's natural mental state. The latter is also a risk the caster faces should they maintain their mutomancy magic for too long.
- When casting, a mutomancer usually cannot remain in a fully changed states for long periods of time as the act of fully transforming is extremely draining. This magic can only be used on the self, not on others. A successful transformation can only be completed if the caster is aware of the creature they are trying to become (or the traits they wish to embody) and if they have enough vitae or Source to expend when casting.
The magic of affecting energy to both heat and cool, thermomancy is a powerful weapon as well as a useful utility magic. Most often used in the form of pyromancy, this set of skills allows for a caster to summon forth flame from mere friction and heat things to great degrees. But this family of magic also contains cryomancy which gives the caster the ability to chill and freeze liquids and alter the caster's own body heat. Petty forms of this magic include summoning small flames or chilling small amounts of liquid. More powerful forms of this magic include summoning massive infernos, or freezing over small bodies of water.
- Thermomancers are able to cast with touch and at a distance. Their magic requires a subject -- something to catch fire, something to freeze. The further away a subject is, the weaker the magic will be.
NOTE: This magic is not currently allowed to be practiced by player characters.
The act of manipulating vitae, vitaemancy is largely considered a taboo magic in all nations, even the magically-liberal Lornesse. This is by far the rarest of all magics as it is largely unexplored and indisputably unsavory with the exception of Aurpathy used by both the Augury and the Schecolei. With this magic, witches, even those born awake, are able to grow in power, but at great cost. This magic requires vitae in order to successfully be used and often requires sacrifice of some kind to be performed. The majority of this family of magic is not, nor will it ever be, taught at any of the magic-oriented institutions currently established in Tnarem.
Aurpathy is a magic that ascertains information about a person or object via ingesting the vitae of the spell's subject. This does not allow for the absorption of another's memories, but rather, information pertaining to their magic, their physical health, and the state of their vitae. This magic is used in many cases, and can be useful to determine if someone is ill, to help better speculate why someone died, and to determine if a child is magic-capable.
- Something of the subject is needed in order to successfully cast aurpathy--hair, blood, a piece of the object to be read--and the caster will usually ingest, imbibe, or otherwise mingle their own vitae with the object in order to cast. Once the subjects vitae is absorbed, the caster is able to discern generalities about that person/object, such as if they are capable of magic, which magics they are capable of, if they suffer from an acute or chronic illness (though they will not know the exact illness, only that someone is sick), or the state of their vitae.
Similar to divination cruor ken allows the caster to glean information from another, though this method only ever produces the memories as they are held by the subject. Specifically, it grants the caster access to the memories of another creature upon consuming their flesh or drinking their blood. Spells of this nature will always make the caster physically ill as the amount of flesh or blood required to successfully cast this type of magic is excessive.
Named for the act required for the desired results, devouring allows a caster to combine another witch's power with their own by means of magically devouring their vitae. This type of magic adds both power and life to the caster, renewing them if they are aged, and bolstering their abilities to allow them to cast other families of magic (if they are bound) or adding more inherent magic (if they are absolute). This does not require the caster to physically consume the caster that they are devouring, however, if done successfully, the caster will kill the target of their devouring.
Bestowing is the opposite of devouring, it is the act of a caster giving their vitae to another. This has the ability to grant another their power (though not their skill), and in the process, potentially make someone who is not otherwise magic-capable able to cast. This is a rare occurrence, and largely unknown, though the few records of this event tell of physical changes the bestowed undergoes when vitae is given to them. Also like devouring, the caster will die in the process of bestowing as they will be completely depleted of their vitae.