Easthalen #3 – The nature of magic and it’s use

Easthalen #3 – The nature of magic and it’s use

This week Easthalen article is about the nature of magic in the world and the dangers of using it.

Now in a world like Easthalen, magic is a very real and powerful force used by a chosen few. Why don’t more people use it you ask?

The main number #1 reason why more people don’t use it is a bit of a paradox. In Easthalen, EVERYONE, can use magic. Well, every adult at least.
So why doesn’t everyone use it in everyday life? The main reason is that whilst everyone can use magic, it is incredibly dangerous to do so. A real world equivalent would be like using a dangerous gun without any safety lock. It’s a simple enough principle, but only those with the proper training
can use magic without triggering the side effects that magic use has. After all the source of all magic is the soul and mind of a mad god.

The classic arcane magic user like a wizard is unchanged except in the fact their abilities are to suppress the side effects that occur. Divine magic does not trigger these effects. They can , if they dare risk to do so, cast spells above their level, but they will trigger side effects as well, although by doing so the effect would be less than if someone who had no training was to try.

[Side Effects aka Surges]

When a spell is cast, the user is opening a conduit between their local reality and the Mad God. This energy is very chaotic and powerful. Even the most simple of spells, if used by the untrained will trigger a side effect called a Surge. The spell also has a chance to fail, so you could be doubly unlucky and have no spell AND a Surge occur. For some desperate people, this risk is worth it.

Several “rules” have, over the years, being discovered about the nature of this world effect and of Surges. There are always exceptions and new theory being put forth all the time.

  • Surges are worse for those who use divine miracles – This is believed to be a punishment from the patron deity for using the power and abilities of the Mad One.
  • Some areas will trigger a Surge even for those trained in the art of suppressing them
  • Anyone caught casting spells (or even attempting to do so) who do not have the proper training are severely punished by the authorities.
  • Young sentient beings, those approx 13 or so and younger(or racial equivalent), are the few who cannot cast magic. Being afraid of using magic is something drummed into most children at a very young age. Luckily almost all magic will fail (with no Surge) if attempted to be used by someone at a young age. Many a tale has been spread of an isolated family allowing their young child to use a magic item they have found without due care and attention.
  • Surges are related to the nature of the magic being used (or attempted to being used) – A fire based spell will typically trigger a fire type surge and ice related item would trigger cold related surge. This is not a hard and fast rule, as with anything in Easthalen, but does seem to be the norm.
  • Surges are rarely the same. Two different amateur magic users will trigger two different, but similar Surges
  • The more power being used, the worse the Surge and the greater the chance of the magic not working in the first place.
  • Surges always occur for those with no training.
  • In some circumstances , Surges have been known to trigger a positive effect, but the chances of this happening seem to be about 1 in a thousand.
  • Surges seem to occur very infrequently for those monsters and animals that use magic. They sometimes do occur, but it seems to be only in areas where there is a high Surge rating in the first place. The majority of animals (especially those that can use magic) avoid these areas by instinct
  • There is a group of people who only job is to deal with surges and the effects they have. They can be thought of as a combination of arcane police and fire fighter. It is an odd settlement that doesn’t have at least once person filling this role. They go by various names which are variations of Arcane Protector and deliberately attacking or harming one of these men and women is considered a high crime.
  • Surges triggered in the Bleed are always worse. Divine miracle also start to trigger surges within the Bleed as well. Thos who follow a god are advised to stay away from the area.

This is part of a work in progress. The intro and background to this series can
be found here : http://enneadgames.com/dev-blog-0-introduction-to-easthalen/

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