Runes: The Mystical Arts
“Know then, Adept, that these are the Runes Major, the Great Runes upon which the Art is built.
Runes Minor, the Lower Runes, like the Lower Noble Houses, are more numerous, more varied in style and form.
The Runes Major are the foundation of sorcery and as such, are not to be trifled with.
As scions of Greater or Lower Houses, the noble blood in your veins grants you the potential to wield powerful sorcery. Note, I say potential. Only serious study will bring that potential to fruition.”
— Arno Atagoza, Instructions to the Young Noble, Tar Mira University
The Disciplines as Practiced by the Greater Noble Houses
- Sorcery of the Mind
- The Elements
- Shape Changing
- Far Sight
- Spirit Mastery
- Animal Mastery
- Astral Travel
- Celestial Forces
- The Emperor’s Art — permanently binding forces under written runes of power. They can also weave multiple magic disciplines into a single effect and/or enhance the power/effect of an enchantment. The sum of the disciplines involved becomes significantly greater than the parts.
The ONLY discipline that can make a magical effect permanent. Runes bind magical effects to the physical realm of the world of Gallidon.
Imperial Rune-weavers: A single child from each generation of Greater Noble Houses (Lower Noble Houses often send child-candidates also) is sent to the Imperial Isle as a Rune-weaving candidate. These children, if accepted embark on a life of study to master the discipline of Rune-weaving. They are ultimately overseen by the Emperor Gallidon. Very few learn to use the Runes Major to full effect. Only three living Rune-weavers at a time are chosen to learn the great mysteries of the art. They are the Rune-weaving Masters, second only to Gallidon himself in their abilities. These Masters seldom left the Imperial Isle.
- Protecting and enforcing the Great Barrier between the Living and the Dead. Their powers deal with the Soul, not Spirits. Easing the passage of the sick and dying to dwell with Na'naat. Communication with the Dead. Command of unbound Souls.
Conservation of energy requires that a necromancer must give of their life-force to interact with the dead.
Those rogue practitioners who venture down forbidden paths discover life-force is needed to raise or animate the dead. It is not always possible to reclaim all your life-force when the raised dead are destroyed.
— Mastered by House Vanth, rulers of the Middle Kingdom.
- Knowing and influencing the emotions and thoughts of people. Adepts of Sorcery of the Mind must master their own thoughts and emotions before they can attempt to influence/control others. This discipline can instill loyalty, fear, confusion, passion, etc. into the minds of others.
A side effect of intense headaches are common for practitioners. The duration and amount of people influenced at once vary with the skill and will power of the adept.
— Mastered by House Ishi, rulers of the Illuminated Peaks.
- Alliance with and control of the spirits of Fire, Air, Earth, Water. Typical use involves enhancing or altering existing elements: cause a campfire to become larger, calm stormy winds, enlarge a crack in a stone wall into a crevice, etc.
Adepts generally specialize in one element. Most manipulate elements around them, such as the moisture in the air. Conservation of energy requires that some sample of the element needs be available for any effect involving the element.
— Mastered by House Nuada, rulers of the Isles.
- Transformation of the self into other living forms. General min/max transformations of mass are based on the skill of the caster. Shape changers must have studied an animal before they can change into it (changing into a deep-sea creature would be almost impossible, since studying it would be very, very difficult). Once a caster has successfully changed form, they will inherit the normal/typical skills/ability of that form (better eyesight as a hawk, better smell as a hound). Many adepts of this discipline view animals as being superior to humans.
The longer one stays in another form, the harder it is to remember prior memories. If shape changed for too long, the adept will completely forget their prior self, much less how to change back.
Shape Changing does not include or affect clothing, items, or anything carried on the body. Clothes will fall off or rip during a change, and when changing back to human form, the changer will emerge completely naked and empty-handed.
Changers normally have a few forms they prefer or are good at changing into. Although it is possible to take the form of another human, it is very rare for anyone in this discipline to do so due to the time and effort needed to study the target.
— Mastered by House Lucan, rulers of the High Hills.
- The engineers & builders of the Empire. They use their powers to create structures, roads, bridges, doors that only open for certain people/passwords, etc. At greater proficiency it is possible to create non-autonomous servant/golems.
— Mastered by House Kotar.
- To perceive beyond the eye’s sight, into the distance, the past and the future. Adepts can see and hear events in the past and the present as if they are silent witnesses.
Seeing into the future is dangerous — like following a tree from the ground up — at each turning point, a new branch of the future is born. It is very dangerous for an adept to look too far into the possible futures; they can see their own deaths, death of loved ones, etc. Sometimes an adept's mind becomes “lost” in a possible future and it becomes extremely difficult for them to find their way back to the present.
— Mastered by House Vakur, rulers of the North Realm.
- Manipulation of physical objects with sheer force of Will. Size, mass, velocity, accuracy and distance of object manipulation are limited by skill of adept and factors such as friction, wind resistance, gravity, etc. The average adept can perform a “dead-lift” of 25% of their body mass (again, adjusted for fine control needed and other factors).
— Mastered by House Tizqar.
- Recognition, communication with and influence of Spirits (not Souls). Adepts of this discipline do not typically have the ability to kill or banish Spirits.
Adepts of Spirit Mastery tend to care greatly about the balance of nature.
Most Spirits are indifferent to people. In general, commoners and Lower Nobles barter and/or appease Spirits for their favor or more often, simply to be ignored by the Spirits. Powerful adepts (particularly of the Greater Noble Houses) can often control/force Spirits to do their bidding.
— Mastered by House Kaday, rulers of the Sea of Grass.
- Recognition, communication and influence of birds, beasts, etc.
Adepts of this discipline tend to be fonder of their animals than of other people. It is not unknown for adepts to disappear into the wild, rarely to be seen again.
— Mastered by House Corvus, rulers of the High Hills.
- Formulation and transmutation of potions, elixirs, tinctures, etc.
Magical chemistry. Once the proper ingredients are obtained, it is possible for someone with no magical ability to create the proper mixture. Adepts of this discipline can transmute ordinary ingredients into enchanted ingredients.
— Mastered by House Melanthias, rulers of the Rock.
- Enhancing or cursing the abilities and attributes of living things.
— Mastered by House Atiron.
- Manipulation and transformation of non-living matter into a different form or state.
Conservation of energy requires that mass remains constant.
After a conjuration wears off, the item typically reverts back to its natural state.
— Mastered by House Dalia.
- Creation of sensory inputs (all 5 senses) that have little or no basis in physical reality. The more basis the illusion has in physical reality, the more “real” it will seem to those experiencing it.
— Mastered by House Kreal.
- Recognition, summoning, and mastery of Spirits and Souls. Typically unbound Spirits and insane Souls of dead heroes or villains.
Adepts of Daimonology specialize in the banishing or destruction of malevolent Spirits and Souls. They are called in when necromancers and spirit masters have failed.
— Mastered by House Ravan.
- Magical barriers, protections and warding lockes linking distant locations.
Most wards are typically defensive in nature.
Warding lockes allow adepts to cross vast distances between two fixed points. They are permanent wards created in tandem with a rune-weaver. An adept must be familiar with the destination warding locke in order to open/activate the origin warding locke.
— Mastered by House Morana.
- Leaving the body and journeying in non-corporeal form — the Soul.
The farther you travel from your body, the more taxing it is on your ability.
If the body is disrupted/moved the Soul may lose its way back and be lost forever (necromancy can sometimes help to recover the Soul). If a Soul remains after the body is destroyed, it may go insane or haunt a particular location.
While in non-corporeal form, adepts can communicate with and help other Souls and, depending on the power of the adept, Spirits of this world.
It is said the elite guards of House Ptah are adepts who willingly allow their bodies to be ritualistically destroyed while in non-corporeal form. They dwell permanently as unbound Souls.
— Mastered by House Ptah.
- Drawing upon and manipulating the forces of the moon, the stars, and dreams.
Astrologers who can foretell future events and individual fates.
The ability to influence/inflict dreams upon sleepers.
Predicting meteorite falls is a branch of knowledge pursued by one group of practitioners who use the results to forge star-metals.
Adepts of Celestial Forces are the best mid-wives.
— Mastered by House Talire.
Sorcery of the Mind
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