43) The food you eat is magic. Literally. Alchemy doesn't require a vast laboratory, just your stomach and the right vittles. If you eat randomly you're not going to get any useful spells, since the energies will mostly cancel each other out, but a careful diet will allow a spell to form in your gullet, which you'll eventually burp out a useful effect. The simplest spells (perhaps letting you perfectly count out a minute or make a small spark) can be formed in a single meal. A day or two of strict dieting will give you more potent effects (strength of an ox or flame breath), and this is what most people use to give themselves the magic they need in their daily lives. Magicians, however, have been known to diet for months or even years to pull off greater and greater feats of magical strength (spitting out a lake, seeing the future, or making their voice so beautiful that everyone who hears it will fall in love).
Whatever the effect is, it will only last for 12-24 hours. That's about how long it takes for a magician's system to digest a spell.
The queen is rumored to have a royal wizard locked away in her pantry, who's been working on a spell for most of his adult life. When he's finally finished he should be able to bestow a single kiss that will grant immortality.
Unless someone's been sneaking him snacks.
Magic energy can only be absorbed when you are in a specific mindset and invoke an emotion in others. Not only that, but the energy is tainted by these mindsets and emotions. This means that it can only be used to power spells that resonate with how it was absorbed. Being a wizard requires you to be able to fully inhabit certain ways of thinking. Want to be able to heal? You need to spend time feeling empathy for others and doing selfless things for them. Just acting empathetic doesn't work, you have to be truly empathetic of others. To gather the energy to control someone would mean spending time truly treating people like objects and being genuinely manipulative. This means that some wizards are limited to magics that they can truly embody and can bring themselves to act upon. While a select few are able to change their mindset to match exactly the energy they need, even if it is foreign to them. Wizard training is all about accessing your sense memory, understanding how to embody a mindset through careful introspection, observation of others who have a mindset you want to employ, and extensive rehearsal of phrases and actions to get you into the correct mindset.
Mirror magic is a good one - there's quite a lot of mythical resonance there. My personal take:
A mirror mage is anyone who can fiddle with reflections and shadows - normally, you can only mess with the actions that those images are taking, which doesn't really do much - sure, you can communicate secret messages by making your reflection's lips mouth the words, or you can make someone's shadow "attack" someone else... but that's nothing major. On top of that, you need to be able to perceive the surface you're manipulating - which can be a damper on some of the trickier uses.
No, the crazy stuff happens if you can learn the right "spells":
• It's a bit tricky, but you can extend your powers to deal with other "reflections", like cameras or echos. A more immediate use of this is fooling microphones, letting you have a conversation without being overheard. You can also learn to "program" actions into reflections - these actions can be pretty complex, but lack spontaneity.
• You can straight-up destroy your reflection. As a side effect, you don't show up on cameras, microphones (and similar devices, like phones) won't pick up sounds you make, etc, etc. One particular weakness to this is that it just destroys your reflection - your clothing still reflects and records just fine, for example. You can use this one other things and other people too, it just takes a while and is pretty noticeable (and reasonably easy to disrupt).
• You can swap the reflections of similar things around. It takes some effort, but you could swap reflections with some poor schmuck and get them into some real trouble. If one of the things you're "swapping" doesn't have a reflection, you just copy the other one. A little bit of extra effort and a lot of extra know-how can let you be a bit more specific - you could replace your recordable voice with someone else's, for example.
• The most potent trick in your arsenal is swapping someone's reflection with them. If you've done nothing else funny with their reflection, it just lets you manipulate their real-world actions instead of their reflection. If they don't have a reflection, they just turn invisible - this does mean that their voice only shows up on recording, and other such skulduggery. Of course, the real fun comes when you've fiddled with reflections a bit - you can't manipulate a "living" reflection, but you can still swap them with other reflections.
Many magic systems in rpgs follow the D&D model of "start weak and get stronger". For example, your fireball spell starts with 5d6 damage and gets more powerful as you go up in level so you're eventually doing 20d6. But at every level, you can drop that fireball with pinpoint laser-guided precision. I've always wanted to flip that to "start strong and clumsy then get more accurate".
So a wizard can cast a full power, 20d6 fireball at first level but the fireball deviates a random distance and direction from the targeted point and the radius also fluctuates. As a wizard grows in knowledge and skill, they can reduce the deviation from the target, reduce the fluctuation in area of effect, and even dial down the damage if they want.
A first level wizard could cast a fireball spell, but wouldn't except as a desperate last resort because they can't be sure they won't kill themselves with the blast.
tl;dr: Becoming a better wizard means gaining more control over magic, not gaining more power (because every spell starts at full power).
So you know how plastic hangs around for hundreds of years and chokes turtles to death and shit like that? Every single-use piece of plastic garbage is going to hang around for centuries after the person who drank the coffee it was stirred with is a rotted memory.
What if that's how magic worked?
What if magic was permanent. All magic had an indefinite duration. You'd have lots of spells for removing magic, and some other spells for breaking it down... but you see the problem, right? Recycling spells themselves are spells, so you end up with more magic accumulating.
So lay a Sleep spell on some orcs, and it sticks to them for some amount of time, keeping them asleep while you steal their pie and maybe murder their babies while arguing about whether that's moral or not. But like a plastic grocery bag loaded with too many tubes of frozen ground chuck, the spell eventually stretches, starts to break, and the orcs will struggle out of the tattered mess and back to wakefulness.
But the spell doesn't go away. There's still a sleep spell hanging around in that dankass cavern, and you might accidentally step in it and have a bad day. Innocent passing cave denizens will wander into it, and get caught, falling asleep, and attracting predators. You end up with disrupting the micro-ecology of a dungeon with one spell you threw just so you didn't have to bother with the fucking reaction rolls, you bloodthirsty maniacs. REACTION ROLLS ARE THE BEST PART OF THE GAME JFC.
Every wizard spell is like a plastic grocery bag or a coffee cup or that pull-tab thing that plugs up a bottle of salad dressing or a shampoo bottle. And just like the soda straw casually thrown down after finishing an iced halfcalf mochatino, waste spells will kill turtles.
What does a fantasy world look like if magic never really ever goes away? if even the shittiest and most basic spells last forever, in some way or another?
You've heard that phrase 'magic is the cheat-codes of the universe'?
Ha, if only. Cheat codes would be EASY. Magic is finding the glitches of the universe. The first one I learned is the 'corner pass' - you stack up three cooking-pots in a corner, balance on top of them, and jump up and down. Jump _just right_ enough times (and nobody's sure what's 'right'), and you'll pass through one or both of the walls and end up on the other side. And that's one of the simple, quick ones.
At least there's no risk of falling through the world with it.
You can use this: A player wants to cast an unusual and complex spell that will consume a lot of time just to calculate all the possibilities and variables that will act against that spell, so I found a smart solution, the caster can do everything that his mind is capable of imagining, but he has to describe what he is trying to do in detail to everyone and every word that his says, while he is describing, will increase the number of "saving" tests that he will need to pass to be able successfully cast the spell.
People say sorcerers draw their power from having ancient and powerful beings like dragons and elementals in their bloodlines.
In fact it's quite the other way around. As sorcerers perfect and expand their power, they transform themselves more and more into a mythic beast that is a perfect expression of their inner self. All these ancient beasts have their genesis in mortal sorcerers.
One idea I toyed with for a one-shot game, but never really could flesh out: Magic physically transforms the wizard who uses it. Need a fireball? Magic gives you the head and throat of a red dragon and you spit one out yourself. Need to teleport somewhere? Magic changes you into a shower of glittering energy and you pass from here to there instantly. The big side-effect is that magic leaves traces. You can always tell a magic-user in this world because his hair is different, or his cloak billows in a wind nobody else can feel, or he's got a beast's tail and hooves. Lesser mages can't hide these traces, but there are higher-level spells for undoing them.
Skinwalking allows trained people to wear the skins of monsters, turn into their forms and use their magical abilities.
Simple magic derives its power from consuming the breath of the spell caster. Certainly you've heard this before. It's not an old tale. It's quite true.
But stronger magic tears at the physical fibers of the caster's body. Different spells might damage the caster's health. Maybe that ESP spell causes damage to the caster's mind. That electric spell withers an arm a little. Conjuring a physical item could cause damage to internal organs. [Roll vs. CON, or INT, that kind of thing]
Toppling stone towers, incinerating foes, blasting the minds of an approaching army, altering reality with wishes and such: these expenditures consume the body of the caster. Destroyed limbs, organs decimated, internal bleeding, a caster's mind becomes a vacant husk--these are all prices that have been paid for true power.
You can often identify a mage by their sickly look, missing digits, or perhaps bone showing through their scalp or face..
So the next time you think of cornering a mage in a life-or-death struggle, think of the cost of leaving them with nothing to lose. Perhaps everyone loses.
但更强的魔法撕裂施法者身体的物理纤维。不同的法术可能会伤害施法者的生命。也许那个ESP的咒语会对施法者的大脑造成伤害。那个电咒使我的胳膊有点干瘪。召唤一个物理物品会对内部器官造成伤害。[Roll vs. CON，或INT，诸如此类]
All spells are cast through masks and costumes, invoking the power of The Power (spirit, god, personification of a natural force or man made force). Thus all ritual spells require elaborate staging, costumes, makeup. Faster spells just require you to be wearing the appropriate mask (and those that is not totally inappropriate clothing). Some schools teach make up which can be as elaborate as a mask.
Many Mages have a set of masks, tether to their belt or a bag.
Long, long ago, many practitioners used skin paint as masks. The primitive skin paint is called flesh mask. Flesh maks would be a few colorful lines on the cheek, forehead, brow, and lips. So some people use the the flesh mask to have ready prepped spell foci at all times.
6. Magic is a real sentient 'thing'. You can talk to it. Have conversations with it. It presents a different face to everyone (and some claim that it's not one magic, but many) Does the magic like you? Will you fall in love with it?
9. Magic is unique. Anyone can do anything. Absolutely anything. But only once. Almost all of the wishes have been used up, and the art of the arcane is learning what has been done and trying to research the things which have not yet been. Such secrets are guarded and hoarded and traded (though there's really only one way to be sure something is genuine, and that's to use it)
Magic is borrowed from your self later that day.You want to magic the door to your cell open,no problem,but later the kitchen-door that should be open is locked for you.You throw a fireball and better find a warm cloak for the sudden cold that will hit you later.
A magician is someone who's learned the Art of the Merchant. He can trade things that normal men can't: the strength of an arm, the sharpness of an eye, a year of life or of good luck. Now, just trading yourself doesn't get you very far; sooner or later you run out of things you can afford to swap. But if you're good, you can become a Middleman. Buy a poor man's health from him in return for enough money to provide for his family; sell that health to a rich man dying of cancer. If you're cagy enough, you can do very well for yourself with just a little finder's fee. Just be careful dealing with other magicians; most of them have bought themselves a nice silver tongue.
Things rub off. People's skills, emotions, personalities, even historical events, all rub off onto objects, they linger and change the nature of things. Even pathetic gun, centuries out of date, is a horrendously powerful weapon if it was used on a regular basis by an astounding gunman. If it was used by a successive line of masters? Anyone holding it could shoot a fly miles away, blindfolded, or could shoot rubber bullets right through fifteen feet of solid steel.
Of course, the reverse is also true. A complete incompetent starts wielding that gun, and it starts becoming worse. It will make you amazing for a time, but the longer you rely on its skill the more it wears away. A skilled practitioner, on the other hand, can maintain, even improve its ability.
Where this gets more complicated, though, is in how events and personalities begin to rub into the items. A knife once used in kinslaying may encourage one holding it to do the same. A crown worn by a long line of kings will make the new king more like his predecessors, possibly gaining memories and flashes of insight. But if that crown was worn by a king who was executed in a revolution, chances are it will doom others to die. Much as better skills have greater effects, bigger events influence the item more.
It works on body parts, too, so the remains of important people get sold around so you can get their skills, memories, and traits less directly.
Mages also have found you can do some really weird things with magic, and even get some control. It's tricky, though. Basically you have to do a bit of trepanning to open up someone's head, and stick magic into the right parts of the brain (and you have to be incredibly careful not to use it up). Depending on where it's implanted, it will give the person a spell of sorts that they can activate with the right thoughts. Unfortunately, the trigger thoughts and the spells aren't always all that related. If you're lucky, thinking food will make food appear (whether magically, or, more likely, through "luck"), but more often you get something weird, like needing to think about sheep to shoot lightning.
Mages are busy trying to map out the brain, and work out how quickly magic gets used up when set up that way. It seems to go away slower than when simply kept on one's person (and it ceases to function the same way), but it will disappear after a certain number of uses.
It's a complex, and sometimes cruel, process that more often ends in lobotomies than successes.
Still, science marches on, and progress keeps being made.
You can't get anything done in this world without killing people. This is especially true of magic.
Magic is, in essence, weaponized murder. Its effects are grand, sweeping, frequently but not necessarily subtle: its price is lives. A mage conducting a working must kill certain symbolically appropriate people, in certain ways with certain tools at certain times in a certain order, in order to create their spell. A dozen noblemen castrated and left to bleed out in their bedrooms might render the whole of the nobility infertile, spelling their death as a class: a single, brilliantly charismatic union leader kidnapped and beaten to death could fuel a rage-spell bright enough to start a revolution. Kill a man's wife and child to make him fall in love with you: cut out the hearts of a hundred captives to bring your army victory in war.
Obviously, mages are extremely dangerous creatures and magic's use is proscribed across the whole of the civilized world. The reason that the world has not dissolved into a hodgepodge of nonsensical chaos wracked by dozens or hundreds of workings is due both to this fact, and the fact that since mages are hunted and their records destroyed, magical expertise is vanishingly rare and hugely difficult to come by.
I like this one. I like it a lot.
It could also make for an interesting alt-history where the mass killing of the Jews was a Nazi ploy to gain magic to take control of the financial system, rather than a political ploy to the same ends. I know thats a gross oversimplification of the overall Holocaust, but I'm just riffing on the subject. Maybe one individual wanted to be personally responsible for all those deaths in order to gain magical power. Maybe the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima was along the same lines. As to symbolic nature, the ways in which these people were killed might have been specifically chosen, with many deaths being "wasted". Maybe the poison gas in the Nazi death camps was symbolic of "insiduous influence" (remember, this is a Nazi worldview of Jews) which the Nazis wanted to capture. Maybe the nuclear bomb was all about capturing "inner fire" for an American who rivalled the Japanese ability to face death without fear, and to believe so strongly in a political cause.
Massive death and blood on your hands = Power. What nation / individual could resist something like that?
It also handily sets up the antagonists for a game like this: mass murderers of different scale who are undeniably evil but also undeniably powerful.
As for protagonists - the players need to have deaths on their hands too, but I'd feel uncomfortable running a game where players are murderhobos or (worse) architects of genocide. There needs to be some way to make them moral characters, but where they still have deaths on their hands. I'd also have thought a game like this needs a system to represent the spiritual stain of immoral actions, and a point where player characters cease to be playable characters: a little like the World of Darkness games.
I'd say players ought to come up with their own ethical killers, but thoughts that spring to mind:
i) A Dignitas clinic doctor who only gives death where its wanted, but who is making sure that his "lethal" injections take patients 95% of the way, before he finishes the job in ritualistic fashion.
ii) A state-sanctioned executioner who only pulls the handle on the electric chair for those who have received the death penalty. Maybe as a result he's only gained power over electricity.
iii) A front line soldier who has seen a lot of action, and who has only ever killed the people his superiors are telling him to kill. He's absorbed their soldiering ability... Which makes him better and better at his own job.
Obviously all three of these are morally complex, but none would regard themselves as being murderers as such. That would add to the complexity and interest of the game.
至于主角- - -玩家也需要死亡，但如果玩家是谋杀者或种族灭绝的设计师，我便会觉得不舒服。需要有一些方法使他们成为道德的角色，但他们仍然有死亡的危险。我还认为像这样的游戏需要一个系统来代表不道德行为的精神污点，以及玩家角色不再是可玩角色的一点:有点像黑暗世界游戏。
You can take the power of others and make them yours. The only trouble is that you need their living flesh and spirit.
While eating them may give you a brief charge, the real power is making their flesh yours. And the best way to gain it it actually graft it to yourself, to make it your flesh and blood. Bloody bloody surgery and sutures and implants.
And it's no longer just one way only. Those magical animals? They've learned how to trade, and they have their own needs.... That gryphon whose wing you want to gain flight? He'll trade you that for a hand with fingers and thumbs. That laborer with great muscles you covet? He wants a sliver of your silver tongue to attract the girls.
The more powerful a mage, the more they look like a bestial Frankenstein stitched monstrosity.
You want power? You get a skill, a look, and you trade it up, always keeping enough to pay the surgeons. And always make sure your will is up to date. You want your remains to go with those you like and trust.
( Image I saw somewhere, a long time ago, of a nightmarish literal chimarae gryphon admiring their stitched up form in a mirror )
174) Magic is Sprites
They are tiny winged almsot people looking like things, if you have a microscope. They glow, emitting a pale baseball/cricket ball sized halo of light around them. They come in different colors (each one providing different "specialties").
The three magic systems in this world.
Sprites are found in nature in the appropriate elemental locations. You go to these locations and find sprites. You gather them as your magic system dictates.
Companions. You collect and bond with your sprites. Not as powerful and sometimes your magic seems to have a mind of its own, but your magic never seems to run out.
Bottle You collect sprites and put them in glass orbs (or other bottles). These baubles are used as manna batteries and/or mystic focus devices depending on how you want to use them. Magic is powerful, directed, and more predictable. However, you often use up the sprites and need more.
Alchemy: Utilizing Sprite Bottles, and many Indigo Sprites, you can imbed magic into liquids and some items to be used later.
178) Magic is Memory
A magicker can take a memory (preferably a strong one) and bring it back into the world, changing the world to be more like the memory. If it was a hot summer day, you can change the weather to warm and dry. If it was crazy in love, it is that feeling. If it was burning someone, you have the fire scars to prove it.
Magickers are always looking for new memories, strong memories. They have to go out of their way to find new experiences, new ways to go, so they can capture these moments and use them later.
Magickers are also known to be carrying around any number of talismans, trinkets, photos/pictures, and small vials of scent. These are the things that help them trigger the memory strongest. And scent is the most powerful sense in terms of memory, so they are always popping vials open so they can whiff a familiar scent (or one they have trained themselves to associate with a given experience).
People say that everyone's destiny is prewritten... Some even say that it's set in stone. They might be right about the first part, but not the second.
There exists a divine library somewhere on earth which contains the book of every single person's life, every major decision they make is written down. But it's possible to change it, even going so far as to tear out a page and write a new one. The only thing that's impossible to change is their death, because it is always written on the cover, and is truly set in stone. That's the reason the library is heavily guarded, and only the most high ranked of the things that run it can even get to these books, much less write in them. But what if a person somehow gets a hold of their own book?
There might have been a loophole in their book which allowed them to snatch it. Somebody might have helped them. It doesn't matter. One way or the other, they now have full control over their own destiny. And that, while in of itself is magic, also allows them to bend the laws of physics to their will. They might write that they somehow gain the ability to fly, or to shoot fire from their hands, and as long as they write HOW they got it, they will get it exactly the way they got.
But people that have the book are always on the run from things that used to have it. And they want it back, no matter if that means they have to reduce it to just the cover.
(Quick plug of a favorite author - anyone interested in odd magic systems should really read the works of Brandon Sanderson.
(Also, Axiomatic, I love how your idea is like the Contracts from Changeling, but taken to its logical conclusion.)
5) Souls. There is a finite amount of "life energy" in the world, which pours into living things to make them alive, and when they die, returns to the Primal Soul deep underground. Magicians transform this energy into physical forms, and eventually release it back to whence it came. This effect is stronger the closer you are to the Primal Soul, which is why an empire ruled by magicians took over the lush, life-filled caverns below ground, and banished their enemies to eke out an existence in the magic- and life-poor conditions of the deserts on the surface. (This comes from a D&D setting riff I never got to go further with - I liked the inversion of the idea of an Underdark.)
6) Drugs. Or, rather, an assortment of rare substances (powdered Griffon teeth, Dragon Hearts, soil from the grave of an unjustly killed man, leaves of grass from the highest mountain in the world, tears of a woman in mourning for someone else's husband, etc.) which can be ingested, smoked, or what have you. Each one conveys a different power for as long as its effects last (so a Dragon's Heart might let you breathe fire for an hour, while the tears could let you foretell the manner of people's deaths for a week), but for that same time, it affects you in some way (Griffon teeth make you extremely claustrophobic, grave soul turns your eyes and nails pitch black) which is usually obvious, detrimental, or both. Anyone can use these things, and most really wealthy people have a large stock of as many stimulants as they can, but none are easy to acquire, so they're often forced to hire groups of mercenaries to get some for them, usually in secret. Fighting against mages involves identifying what they're using based on its side-effects. Also, you can use several substances at once, though ill effects tend to make each other worse.
7) Jewelry. Gemstones all have primal power, but in their default unliving state, they neither have the will to use that power, nor can they interact with living things enough to be used. However, setting these jewels in patterns based on the flow of energy through human bodies allows people to tap into the power of the gems, different powers for different stones and different arrangements; so, say, a simple choker with rubies (classically deals with poisons) and bloodstones (luck and blood) could protect you from poison, while an elaborate network worn on the hand integrating rubies, garnet (valor, victory), and sapphire (subtlety, wisdom) could poison people with a touch. Obviously, mines are crucial to control, and appraising gems can save your life. Powerful, magic-using thieves have become a threat that can shake the very pillars of the world...
8) Drawing. Lots of settings riff on the idea of true names, what about true images? Here, anything you draw with complete accuracy is as you draw it - so, if you draw a rival perfectly, then add a constraining box, they cannot move beyond where the limits of the box would be relative to them in real life (until your drawing is changed or flawed), and if you perfectly draw two people fighting, they will be forced to be at odds. Only people with amazing vision and muscle control could accomplish this, and families of such people tend to know who they are, and only marry people with those traits in order to stay "strong" - they punish disobedient members by blinding them. Making a whole new object become real by drawing it is said to be impossible, but there are rumors...
Magic is color and color is magic. People with a certain natural affinity can learn to manipulate colors for a variety of effects. Beyond your standard "make an object of that color appear" school we have...
Red-manipulate fire, inflame passions, and increase physical abilities at the cost of health
Yellow-Manipulates the wind, can influence madness, and increases speed
Green-Mnaipulates plants, calms emotions, and heals
Purple-manipulates the senses, dreams, and darkness.
The most dangerous and feared magicians are the ones who wear Blue. Blue is the color of binding, whose magicians can remove attributes and abilities and lock them away. A Blue eyed witch can steal your youth, your memories, even your soul. Perhaps even worse is how they can bind the Colorless, demons who draw out the life of whatever they touch.
(Feel free to add or expand more colors.)
34) Alternate Reality. The world consists of many nested "layers" of reality beyond the one we all live in. These layers are not really separate - the same events happen in all of them, and it appears that only the Heart World (which we occupy) is home to beings with free will and agency. Rather, all the worlds have different physical laws - in some of them time passes faster, in some slower, some of them have clouds and water solid enough to walk on, some have people's reflections or shadows be physical things you can touch, etc. Wizards learn to shift to these other worlds. The process is exhausting and short-lived, since the universe fights back and you must use your magical energies constantly to not be forced back to the Heart World (and it gets harder the more "different" the world you choose is), but it can be extremely useful: just short trips to the world where minerals can be easily seen through and separated by hand make a man rich, and in combat, moving yourself into a world with fast time, running behind your enemies - who you can still see, though they get fainter and less tangible to you (and vice-versa) the further removed your reality is from the Heart - then going back to the Heart and stabbing them in the back before they notice. There are many catalogued layers of reality, and wizards are always looking for more.
37) Death. The Twilight Realm, where souls pass on death, is the home of terrible monsters, the Twilight Reapers, perhaps the creation of a cruel god. Long ago, those monsters began bleeding into the world, and none but the mightiest heroes could fight them. With humanity on the brink of destruction, a few brave souls resolved to enter the Twilight Realm and find the means to fight them... by drowning themselves and being revived several minutes later. Those who survived this bold plan returned with some knowledge of the Reapers, but better yet, they each carried a portion of the Twilight on their souls, and could shape it into magics for fighting back. Today, the monsters infest the world still, and more of them bleed through in areas of massive death. But, also, there are the Twilight Sages, who subject themselves to near death again and again. Returning from the Twilight makes people highly resistant to death, so they need progressively more and more dangerous events to keep on gaining power. The "holy grail" of Twilight Sages is surviving falling unconscious to the Shadow Poison of the Twilight Reapers, which only a handful have managed in several centuries. Naturally, not all Sages are altruistic enough to risk their lives saving others from Reapers, and many simply seek to gain power. And, still, there is the mystery of why the Reapers began entering the world at all...
Standing stones, pyramids, Moai, Nazca Lines--all allow a wizard to channel mana innate to the earth and heavens. A powerful wizard must identify powerful locations and construct and control architecture that enables them to tap into those flows of energy.
Everything has its price. A wealthy old man can give a strapping youth money to borrow his virility for a day, yes, but he can also trade his hard-won knowledge for that youth's health, and keep that trade until one of the two shall die. Two guards in the town watch may agree to loan each other two thirds of their strength, speed, and skill at arms, trading off as they trade off shifts. Many are the bargains that a cunning man can make, but contracts between two humans cannot last beyond the death of those doing the trading.
Those who wish to make truly powerful contracts must then seek beyond the realms of men. The beasts of the forest or the sea cannot make contracts with each other, but a human who offers them a deal can bind the bargain for the descendants of each. There are families who hold the strength of bulls or the eyesight of eagles, but in return must feed and shelter a herd or flock. Truly legendary sorcerers can deal with the land itself; a river that fears damming may lend the tiniest part of its flowing might to one who swears to let it forever flow unconstrained, and the hundredth-of-a-hundredth of a flooding river is still enough to keep this promise.
It is possible to summon and bind an entity, which may then be convinced, contracted, or coerced to use other magics on the summoner's behalf for a period of time. The more powerful and experienced the summoner, the longer the summoned entity may be bound to its task, or the more powerful the magics it may employ.
This is because the entity isn't actually using its own magic; it's drawing on the summoner's. Other than summoning, binding, and dismissal, it's not possible for mages to cast spells directly; they have to loan power to an intermediary. Essentially, the entity accepts a geas to perform a task, and is granted a measure of power to achieve it. When the entity is dismissed (possibly by completing its task), that measure of power is returned to the summoner.
It is quite possible for the summoned entity to be a perfectly ordinary human being of the summoner's acquaintance.
A spell is a pattern of force, held within a magician's living mind. But though it is connected to that mind, it is not a part of it; it is an independent thing, which can be passed from person to person, willingly or otherwise. Spells can be traded, bought and sold, even stolen. Worst of all, when a magician dies, those spell he holds will immediately seek out another host. If that person doesn't know how to connect with spells safely, the results can be catastrophic. Spells want to be cast, you see. The knowledge of creating these patterns can, of course, be taught, and techniques for creating new ones researched.
The current head of the Wizards of the Many-Faced Sun, an exclusively male order for many thousands of years, is a former prostitute who had the fortune to be the nearest person when the last head passed on. All his power went into her, and somehow, she managed not to lose her mind and have her power stripped from her. This is a most embarrassing turn of events for the Sun Brothers.
Magical power can only be gained if someone lacks the normal faculty. If you have normal vision, you cannot learn to look into the future. You cannot become a telekinetic if your hands still work. And so on; healing magic is very rare indeed, as it requires drinking a certain terrible poison that destroys one's normal ability to heal and recover. This magic must be learned very quickly, but allows the possessor to heal wounds, cure sickness, and even induce regeneration. Some healers will deliberately cripple themselves to learn other sorts of magic, then use their healing ability to restore the damage done. If you see a man with hands move a jar from a distance, be nice to him. Be very nice to him.
48.a) Ponzi Scheme Any two people may form an Oathbond, in which one swears some sort of service (this is usually to tune of "I will obey you within these parameters until you release me or one of us dies") to the other. From then on, there is a link of magic between them, which gives them both magical powers, the Lord gets a set amount from the Vassal, and the Vassal gets a percentage of the Lord's power. This means that, the stronger a Lord is, the more benefits they give to each Vassal. Also, a Lord's first Vassals get a larger portion of that Lord's power than later ones. It goes without saying that powerful Vassals often wish to swear Vassals of their own.
61) Constellations Once, there was an age of legends, when heroes and monsters existed of such power and renown, they carved their sagas into the sky itself. In time, they died, or were banished by cunning enemies, or simply left this world for the next step of their journies - each one's fate was different, but all of their spirits went to the same place, where they have been shining down on us ever since. Astronomers have watched them for ages, chronicling their ongoing battles, loves, and travels as a source of wisdom for mortals to use. Five years ago, everything changed. A renegade Astronomer cast out of all six major Colleges finally implemented her lifelong plan to focus the light and power of the stars onto a series of points mirroring one of the constellations, and Ursa Major walked the earth again, laying waste to Sarandas College. Terrified by this power, the other Colleges revisited the renegade's theories (they all had copies, of course, from before each in turn had cast her out), which seemed less blasphemous now that their survival counted on it. They, too, have been able to call down the spirits of the Constellations, making these groups of scholars and spiritualists the most powerful military resource in the world. The Renegade herself, however, has not re-appeared. Maybe forcing the Colleges to finally act upon her theories was the extent of her plan, and maybe not.
61) 星座。从前，有一个传说的时代，当英雄和怪物以这样的力量和名声存在时，他们把自己的传说刻在天上。随着时间的推移，他们或者死去，或者被狡猾的敌人放逐，或者干脆离开这个世界，去写日记——每个人的命运都不一样，但他们所有的灵魂都去了同一个地方，从那以后，它们一直照耀着我们。天文学家们已经观察它们很多年了，记录下它们的战斗、爱情和旅行，作为人类智慧的源泉。五年前，一切都变了。一位叛离的天文学家被赶出了所有六所主要的学院，她最终实施了她的毕生计划，将恒星的光和能量集中到一系列与星座之一相对应的点上，而Ursa major再次行走在地球上，将萨兰达斯学院夷为平地。其他学院被这种力量吓坏了，于是重新审视了叛徒的理论(当然，他们都有自己的理论副本，当然，这些理论都是在他们把她赶出校园之前就有的)。他们也能够召唤星座的灵魂，使这些学者和巫师团体成为世界上最强大的军事资源。然而，这个叛徒自己并没有再出现。也许她的计划就是强迫大学最终按照她的理论行事，也许不是。
67. The Yugi-Oh System
Magic works through little plaques the size and shape of playing cards, though made of something more durable, such as wood, metal or ivory. There are Artificers who make these plaques, and imbue them with spells or with the mana that will fuel a spell. You cast a spell by random draws from your deck, hoping to get the right spell and enough mana to use it.
Aside from the obvious, that the more plaques you own the more power you have available, the measure of power for the Card Magician is that more powerful magicians can act faster. There's a minimum pause between draws, measured in seconds (minutes for some legendarily powerful plaques) : try to draw faster than that and your magic will fizzle anyway. Better magicians get to shorten the minimum, so build a useful spell faster.
A card can be discarded if it doesn't do what you want; and a used card must be discarded after the spell goes off. Discards become unusable till the next fight, or for some short time (minutes or hours, with more powerful cards requiring more time: maybe days for a Legendary card) if used outside of combat.
70) Emotions All living beings are connected by a single field of sympathetic energy. When people feel powerful emotions, those ripple out into the field around them, when they are calm, thoughts and emotions from others nearby drift into them. Magicians, however, master the art of calming themselves, then inflaming the emotions they feel drifting into themselves to inhuman levels. This tricks the sympathetic field, causing more and more energy to flood into the magician, giving them vast power. Of course, the power is shaped by the emotions (anger gives strength, determination gives invulnerability, lust makes you desirable, etc.), and those come from other people. A stronger magician can be more selective of which emotions they take on. Still, even an emotion you don't want can be useful to a truly cunning magician, who will trick an enemy into becoming calm, then force an inhumanly powerful emotion from themselves to their target - anyone without magician training will probably be totally overwhelmed.
73) Light The Lumenarchs focus light, bringing it more fully into the world, so its true essence can be felt. When they bring sunlight into the world, it grants healing and strength, moonlight is a source of transformations and trickery, while starlight (though faint) can bring great knowledge and subtle weapons to those who can tap it. The light of flames is good in combat and protection (its effects vary, from the small personal defenses woven from candles to the siege warfare uses of burning pitch to the ghostflame of gaslamps, which are effective on restless spirits). The light of a bolt of lightning is famously the most powerful and unpredictable of focuses, capable of frying the mind of an unprepared Lumenarch who tried to tap its near-limitless power, but so erratic few even got the chance to try. But, now, Nicholas Tesla has changed everything...
Magic is never really used up - it's a commodity that can be re-used, infinitely. But, it's not lying about in giant pools of magic, or in lumps you can mine, or in large clouds you could pump into a container.
It's dust. Glittering, ephemeral, slippery dust. It's hard to catch, and mostly slows and becomes visible at night. It's attracted to moonlight and settles on sleepers and dreamers. The dust used to command will, wish, and whim to be, the dust of intention used to create the world from nothing still swirling in the millenial aftermath of that initial flurry, the leftover of those things that the creators have forgotten, misplaced, or removed from their attention.
Catch it, collect it, wish on it, and you too can for a moment capture something of creation. But it's ephemeral, it lasts as long as you look, as long as you dwell on it and can keep it in your mind. But it's also as strong as your conviction, as powerful as your determination, a substance simultaneously fragile as the scales of a butterfly's wing and the tallest wave in a winter storm. It's this truth that is unsettling - that, somehow, everything is made of this dust, and the world's continued existence relies on not distracting the creators from their investment of attention and emotion or...
It takes will and concentration, discipline and strength of character to use the dust - but letting something go, nobody is quite sure if unmaking something you've willed into being is an evil or negligent act. This last question is what prevents many of those with the will but some moral qualms from becoming makers, or dusters as others call them.
Once that attention fades, the dust flies outward, towards the sky, the far corners of the world, and the magician must begin the task of collecting dust anew. This cycle means dust is used infrequently, rituals are used to bind spells into one's constant attention and waking thoughts and dreams, and distraction is a mage's primary enemy.
82. This guy
This guys was once on a masive bender and like, man, wished he is was totally, like, the one and only absolute master of all magick ever ! That would be so cool ! and so, yeah, in a world previously bereft of magic, he became the one and only absolute master of it. Things happen because he want them to and that's the sole limit of his power. He is completely irresponsible and totally inapropriate for such a metaphysically important task and left tohimself, he would just use his omnipotence to, like, make, like, A GIIIIANT joint of the best weed I can imagine and BAM ! There it is, I'm the best, that's just what's needed to celebrate 4h20 !
And so there is now an occult underground whose mastery of magic goes through the motion of becoming a "good friend" of the guy and manipulating him into casting the spell you need. When you become very good friend with him, he even give you his phone number. There are compiled almanachs of his typical day and when not wake him up, sentences and responses to entice his sympathy ("... and He will say 'it's all because of the Man, dude' and you shall answer 'Yeah, fuck Babylon, guy' and He will turn His gaze upon you and...")...
Some people tried to make him wish themselves as masters of Magic, but they manage it, it doesn't last long as he apparently only delegate power and soon forget about you and so of your "privilege". Time travel is possible and at least for several millenniums in the future he will still be there but as he isn't the master of magic before wishing it, you are on your own to go back from the past...
The person who can shout the loudest does the best magic. A group of wizards is basically a load of men going around shouting.
Storytelling (Including novels, games, etc)
If you tell a story with enough ommph, you can get your fans to donate their own magical energy to whichever way the story is trying to channel the magic.
So your Glorious Leader is a real SOB, and you really want him or her replaced? Well, it helps a lot if you could craft a story in which Bad Leaders get smacked all over by Karma, and then things Get Better...