Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Magic: Divine Magic

Divine magic is seen by most people living on Aarn as the power of the gods personified. It's true that gods will often grant their followers divine spells, but there are many other ways to learn and harness divine magic.

Those who use divine magic are exercising their primal, faithful creativity. They change the world the same way the fey do, using the fey's very own power borrowed from the astral sea. Divine casters are those who have learned to harness, enhance, and control dream magic in the real world.

Divine magic can be granted by the gods or it can be granted to mortals through fey. There is a lesser known but third path to this kind of magic; especially faithful, strong willed, or simply air-headed mortals think enough in the terms of dreams that they can cast these sorts of spells without the aid of a patron. The spells themselves need no preparation, but must first be learned through meditation, prayer, or service to whichever cause the divine magic caster follows. By spending XP the caster will learn the desired spell through dreams or visions. Divine spells cannot be taught in the same way as wizardry, though a mentor can help a pupil learn a specific spell by guiding their prayer or meditation.

In order to cast their spells or use their abilities, divine spellcasters must spend time sleeping, meditating or in prayer to gather enough energy from the dream realm and bring it into the mortal realm. As they grow in skill, the amount of power they can collect also increases. The mechanics for how divine spells are cast are similar to the psioncs of Dungeon and Dragons' 3.5 edition, with individual spells learned permanently, each spell using up a certain number of power points with each casting.

Regardless of the method used to cast the spell, all divine effects fall into one of seven categories; Curses, wraths, boons, blessings, visions, geneses and remedies.

Curses - A curse is any negative effect that either transmutes the target's body in some way or causes a negative effect that is not directly damaging. This involves things as subtle as altering someone's luck for the worse, temporarily making someone less skilled, draining someone's strength or abilities, changing their gender, changing them into an animal, or even something as dramatic as changing them into solid stone.

Wraths - A wrath is any effect that directly causes physical damage to a creature or object, such as a flame strike, a bolt of lightning or a simple smite. Unlike a curse, the lingering effects of a wrath are not magical and cannot be dispelled.

Boons - A boon is an expensive in XP terms but permanent effect that does not drain a divine spellcaster's resources. Monks are divine spell casters who use boons exclusively.

Blessings - A blessing is the opposite of a curse. It is a positive effect that temporarily changes someone or a group for the better in some way. Protection and shield effects also fall into this category.

Visions - A vision is any effect that reveals something the caster did not already know. Visions can be of the future, of distant lands, flashes of inspiration, lost ancient knowledge, other people, or effects that detect or identify magic, undead, or other creatures.

Geneses - A genesis is any effect that creates something. This includes effects that make food or water, create temporary weapons or armor, or summon creatures.

Remedies - A remedy is any effect that cures, heals, purifies, recovers or restores. The most powerful remedies can even bring someone back from the dead.

Importantly, there is no time limit for how long one can wait before casting a remedy that brings someone back to life, but the target must be willing to return. Once 50 or more years have passed, the target will probably -not- be willing to return - they've already spent 50 out of 100 years on line in the half-hell of Immigration, and probably don't want to have to start all over again after another (comparatively) brief stay on Aarn. Souls that are already in hell are sometimes more likely to return, but it's very rare that anyone actually wants to bring someone back who's been dead for more than a century.

While all divine effects fall into these seven categories, there are four distinct ways to cast a divine spell, which are as follows.

Manifestations are the most difficult way to cast divine spells, and by extension they are the least powerful. A manifestation is an instant creation of a spell effect purely through the power of thought. Manifestations require no material components, require no spoken word, no gestures, and in fact only require conscious thought to activate. Despite their inability to create the most powerful divine effects, they are by far the most suited to combat situations.

Incantations, also known as words of power, are slightly easier to produce than manifestations. They are one of the most common methods of divine casting despite their difficulty, if only because of their utility. Incantations only require the utterance of a handful of almost arbitrary words which vary not only from spell to spell, but from person to person. They require no gestures or material components or focusses, and their effects can linger for quite some time.

Songs and chants are quite easy to cast, but their effects only last as long as the spellcaster remains chanting. Wraths and other instant effects that are chanted or sung into existence do not take effect until after the chant stops, and the amount of time spent chanting helps determines the power of the spell effect. This is arguably the easiest way to cast divine spells, though it is not very practical.

The power of songs and chants can be further enhanced by dancing or gesturing energetically during the chant, though this can leave a divine spellcaster very vulnerable during combat. A number of people can also join in on the dancing or chanting in order to further boost the power of the spell, even if they are not divine spellcasters themselves. When a number of people join together to enhance the power of a divine spell, one of them is the spellcaster and must know the spell and have enough power to cast it by him or herself. The others simply supplement the spell's power through their creative participation.

The final method of divine spellcasting is the ritual. It superficially resembles wizardry, but has been in existence for much longer. Like wizardry, rituals require material components that vary depending on the spell being cast. The spells created by rituals cannot be stored to be used at some other time, and once the ritual is completed the spell is instantly cast. Rituals can take a number of minutes to a number of hours to prepare depending on how powerful they are, and they're by far the least practical method of divine spellcasting. Rituals cost gold for material components which are consumed or destroyed symbolically during the ritual. They also cost time and energy, and are easily disrupted. Rituals are however the most powerful form of divine spellcasting, and the preferred method for doing so when the spellcaster isn't in combat or in immediate danger.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As one considers wizardy a magical thing, is there somthing that transends this all? Something/one who can create? All that we know,including the "Wizard"?

If matter can be niether created nor destroyed, where did this matter to make wizards and the rest of us come from?