Gaia Tutorials Part 2: Anointment and magic

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Gaia Tutorials Part 2: Anointment and magic

Post  Kali on Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:59 am

Spiffy music (Best played on repeat)

Welcome to another episode of Gaia Tutorials. In today's tutorial, we will learn about how magic works in the Gaiaverse, and what it means to be anointed. I am Fearn, the alder archdruid.

As we mentioned in the first tutorial, the universe is composed by four planes, each with an aspect tied to it.

One thing is common to all of them: Mana.

Mana is what gives magical beings their power. It's an energy field that emanates from all things that exist and have some sort of cohesion. It surrounds us, enters in us and binds the universe together.

Normal humans can manipulate mana to perform tasks that their normal abilities can't realize. This is called magic. However, magic is not something that is inherent to them. They can't shape spells on their own. In order to perform magic, they instead must invoke another entity, inherently capable of shaping spells, and borrowing some of its power. This can be done in two different ways: Ritual magic and sorcery. We will start with ritual magic, if you don't mind.

Ritual magic is magic that draws mana from the environment and, through a sacrifice of aligned reagents in a circle with runes calling on one or more aspects of the universe, invokes the one of the gods so that it gives shape to an effect related with the reagents offered.

But offering reagents into a magic circle is only one of the things you need to do. When performing rituals, the mana being spent must be channeled into a ritual focus that is aligned with the mana you want to draw, which will be related to the ritual you want to perform. This ritual focus is often called an altar. Depending on the nature of the surrounding area and what kind of rituals you want to perform, the altar must be constructed in a particular way and be surrounded by a certain type of mana generating elements.

For example, if you want to perform druidic rituals, you should build your altar with stone, cover it in a hand-woven tapestry that contains symbols and numbers related to Gaia, the elements, animals and plants, and make sure it is surrounded by life: Plants, trees, beasts, fish. The mana those beings radiate will flow into the altar. An altar that seeks to call upon the Daysphere should be built with materials that bring a feeling of purity, like marble, and be placed in a location which upholds the spirit of law rigurously.

Conversely, necromancy, one of the foul arts of the Nightsphere, will favor an altar made of bones, with a tapestry of human leather and surrounded by a landscape of death, decay and desolation. That said, necromancy and other arts of the Netherrealm like curses and demon binding are special cases: While they favor mana aligned with chaos and death, any kind of mana can be used to perform them, although the expenditure is much higher in this case. Just because you can perform them, however, doesn't mean you should. Those unholy rituals often ask for an additional price from the caster, from favors to perform for the demon invoked all the way to terrible blood sacrifices to honor the Demon Lords and their father, the Great Threat.

Let's talk about something else, shall we?

Sorcery is the other way humans can perform magic. It is much more direct, for rather than complex runic scriptures, altars and reagents, it only needs specific movements and the uttering of various words of power. However, humans are unable to perform it naturally. Before they can perform them, they must go through a process called anointment, which will grant them, on top of other benefits, the ability to channel mana through magic circuits, an organ that runs complementary to the nervous system.

There are multiple methods of anointment, some of them simple, some of them more complex. Almost all of them involve performing some sort of ritual, however. The most popular ritual to anoint a normal human into a magic user is the ritual of infusion, which imbues a living being with one of the aspects of the universe. It is among the easiest to perform and, on top of stimulating the growth of magic circuits in a person, it grants additional abilities. For example, a ritual of infusion that imbues a human with the power of the Overworld will grant a limited amount of power over nature, which will grow as the Anointed becomes stronger.

Being able to invoke sorcery requires something more, however. Just like with ritual magic, a focus is needed. In the case of sorcery, the focus, rather than a large altar, is a tool crafted while following rigorous guidelines, that the magic user will keep in its own person at all times. Popular foci are wands and staves, which are easy to make. Some skillfull and crafty magic users will use different foci, like gloves, amulets, orbs or even weapons. The kind of focus you use is often an aesthetic choice, but some foci can be particularly efficient to cast a specific kind of magic, or grant other, more esoteric boons. It all depends on the way the focus was created.

And now, we get to the part I know you have been waiting for: Casting sorceries!

In order to cast a spell, the most important part you must remember is the words that shape that spell. They are divided in two categories: Chaos Words and Power Words.

Chaos Words are an invocation that rouses the attention of the entity you want to borrow power from. Pronouncing them out loud is not strictly necessary, but doing so often helps make casting easier, and improves the spell's power and your ability to control it and not make it fizzle or misfire. Experienced magic users can utter them mentally, and often spend vast amounts of time memorizing the Chaos Words of the spells they favor.

Power Words are, bluntly put, the name of the spell. Even if you don't say the Chaos Words of a spell, the Power Word or Words are almost always required in order for the magic to happen.

Just like rituals, sorceries are also divided by the aspect of the entity they are drawn from, and people with a certain anointment will be able to cast certain spells faster, with less costs and with greater effects than others.

As an example, I'm going to cast a spell favored by druids like me. Step away a little, because it could be dangerous!

I, who stand embraced by the bosom of Gaia, the Great Mother, command thee,
light that shines like the radiance of the Heavens,
thou, who could smash open the gates of the Underworld!
Come forth, wrath of Gaia, Furious Lightning!
Come to me and snuff out the lives of my foes!


Ah, refreshing!

I have to admit, casting magic can be a bit of an euphoric experience, specially after you attain a lot of experience with it! Some people theorize that humans can develop a condition called 'sorcery addiction', which makes them want to learn and cast more and more magics. That said, I think that this is just enterprising magic users who just can't be satisfied with the knowledge they currently have, and want to expand it. You know what they say, when you make pop, you can't stop~ Make sure you don't go overboard, however! If your magic circuits run out of mana and you keep on casting without letting them replenish naturally, they will begin converting your lifeforce into mana. This should be considered a last resort, for it could easily kill you. Cast responsibly!

One more thing! All spells that can be cast are actually inherent magic powers of an entity in the universe that developed them for its own use. It should go without saying, but if the entity the spell is drawn from dies or ceases existing for some other reason, all the spells derived from it stop existing, too. This is not a common event, but it has happened before, and it may happen in the future. Thus, a very varied repertory will benefit you more than specializing in just a few spells that may stop working altogether one day.

And with that, we are done with our tutorial of today. It was long, but necessary for you to understand how our world works.

Meditate on this. Next time, we will talk about the various types of magical beings that populate our universe.

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