Magic in the Radiant Empire


The lands of the Radiant Empire have been civilized for almost a hundred millennia. Their strongest bonds are to the contemplative, serene dormant Makoo. The dream energy somna suffuses the land, especially the palace itself. Therefore, the land is much more attuned to mind than spirit, to imagination rather than desire. This makes for a less wild, more sophisticated form of magic than in the barbarian lands.

Supernatural Inhabitants

Relatively few non-corporeal beings inhabit the civilized lands of the Empire. The Ancient Makoo are the closest things there are to gods within the oldest parts of the Empire, at the current time. Their dreams of harmony are reflected in the lands, through temperate climates and pastoral scenery. They sometimes help more actively; priests can share their slow awareness of the land around them, and use their power for healing and to ward away danger. Evil or dangerous creatures dare not approach a town with many Ancients. The Ancients in the long-settled regions are aware of each other, and share thoughts, albeit at a pace that would tax a snail’s patience. The Ancients are bound to all aspects of the land, and channel the power of the land towards keeping the region safe and prosperous. Therefore, there is not much power left for elemental spirits, and strong elementals are exceedingly rare.

In the outlying regions, particularly the Northern Provinces, the Ancient Makoo are spread thinner. Villages are built where Patron Saints provide protection, but this protection is weaker. Weather is cold and unpredictable. Fearsome beasts and even monsters prey on travelers. It is considered an act of extreme piety to bring these Saints new somna to help them in their constant labors, especially that blessed by Saints from elsewhere. This exchange of energy helps to keep these provincial Saints connected to the Empire's heart, and maintains the Unity of the Dream.

Sometimes in the provinces, and in the northern section of the Fouled Lands, rumors are heard of Lost Islands, regions where a single Makoo Ancient has become isolated from the rest. The land surrounding him or her becomes disconnected from the main part of the Empire, and wanders in space and time. Some Lost Islands date to before the Alliance, and the Makoo god of the Island may be suspicious of any variety of sentient animal.

In the Fouled Lands themselves, there are corrupted Makoo whose dream has been replaced by a nightmare of madness. This is echoed through the land. These Makoo are viewed as more victimized than evil, but that is little help to the unwary traveler who gets trapped in their surreal and hideously distorted realm.

Other supernatural inhabitants of the civilized portions of the Radiant Empire are creatures of mind, not spirit. Mythagoes are embodiments of archetypes. They can reason and speak, and act as if they had desires, but actually just fulfill roles laid out by the collective unconscious. There are some who worship Mythagoes; the worshippers' faith empowers the mythago, and in return, it grants its followers some of that power. Imagoes are similar, but are figments of one individual's imagination. Phantasms are echoes of thoughts and feelings that recur in a ghostly repetition. They can be frightening or touching, but have little lasting impact on the viewer.

In the provincial regions, minor godlings and elemental spirits have dealings with mortals. However, such dealings are suspect, since they undermine attempts of the Saints to fully bond to the area.

More threatening are the Chthon, the old evil gods of the Sipsa delta. Each of the three Chthon are associated with a symbol, that is sometimes found on petroglyphs in wilderness areas, or in the Fouled Lands. These symbols are thought to be arcana. However, the Chthon have been bound to the symbols so long that their original natures have been replaced with the meaning of the symbols. The Gibberer is the ancient enemy of the Palace, and is blamed for the Fouled Lands. His is the symbol of madness.

The Thing with a Thousand Limbs is a gigantic sea creature. She is hunger personified. She once blocked trade with the Spice Islands via the Sipsa for ten thousand years, until she was circumvented by Archon Liu's canal. She was finally driven out by the Great Alliance.

The Stone Face represents despair. It last attacked the Empire by erupting in the form of a new mountain to the Northeast of the Palace, with the side of the mountain being the Stone Face's symbol. Eventually, the symbol was eradicated by an army of golem. The new Mount Despair was pacified, but not cleansed, by this action.

The Oldest Animal is sometimes called a goddess, but is really the Arcanum of the cycle of life and death. She has little to do with sentients, but can be summoned using her horn. The summons causes the creatures of the forest to be cursed, so that killing them or eating their flesh causes the predator to transform into the prey. She returns the next full moon and lifts the curse.

The goddess Huma rules over the Sea bearing her name. She is on good terms with the Empire, currently, but demands tribute in somna and precious gems in return for safe-guarding vessels to the Spice Islands. She gives pirates the same treatment as trade vessels, as long as they pay their tribute.

The Arcana

The Chief Arcana of the Radiant Empire are Serenity's Flower, the Phoenix Feather, the Horn of the Oldest Animal, and the Seed Crystal. Serenity's Flower is entrusted to the care of the High Priest. It is the Arcana of love, in all of its forms. It helps foster harmony among the different species of the Empire. Its power is also drawn on for any kind of healing magic. Sensitives are bonded to Serenity’s Flower by their training, which is the reason for the side effect that using Sensitivity makes one feel affection towards the object of the power.

The Horn of the Oldest Animal represents the cycle of life and death. Actually, it is the Oldest Animal itself that is the Arcanum, but the Horn allows the bearer to summon the Oldest Animal. This power is entrusted to the Warlord, but is only used in extreme emergencies.

The Phoenix Feather represents creation from destruction, and destruction from creation. It was lost in the fall of the Science Tower, but Heir to the Feather is a carefully maintained title of social significance. The Heir is a direct descendent of Liu Kahn Min’s. The Phoenix Feather is credited with the resilience of the Empire in the face of catastrophe. With the Feather lost, eventual recovery of the Empire’s glory seems much less certain.

The Seed Crystal spawned the extra-dimensional Crystal used in the construction of the Palace. It was lost in the Science Tower. It represents progress.

The Empire has possession of many less prominent Arcana. Some were lost in the fall of the Science Tower, but others were in the possession of the Warlord in the Tower of Vision. Many came from the outlying provinces when they were conquered or annexed. These are used as standards by the divisions of the Army, and give each division a distinctive culture and specialization. The harshest penalty for a division is to be deprived of its standard, and the biggest reward is to be presented with a new standard. Divisions usually refer to themselves by the division standard. The Bamboo Chair is an Arcana of prosperity. Having been confiscated from Bama in ancient times, it was given back to Lord Jeff of Bama as part of the treaty that returned Bama to the Empire, albeit with a large amount of autonomy. Since then Bama has flourished. Many of the Outward Faction believe that the gift of the Chair was treason, and that it should be re-confiscated, and the autonomy of Bama be revoked. This is violently opposed by almost all Gorillas in the City, who view the hereditary lords of Bama as heroes.

The Symbols of the Chthon are Arcana, of madness, hunger and despair. The Chthon get their power from these Arcana, and are so linked that using the Arcana usually summons the Chthon. It is believed that the original nature of the Chthon might have been less corrupt, but through countless ages of association with the Symbols, they have become totally identified with them. The original Symbols have not been located (by anyone living) but even carved or drawn copies of them draw enough of their power to be deadly.

Crystal and Somna

Beyond the civilized lands, and even beyond those of the barbarians, are the chaos realms. The chaos realms are not knit together in bonds of association; instead, all things are possible but nothing is the case. All that is there is potentia, the raw material of possibility. Sometimes, for a moment, this potentia organizes itself into a structure, whose components bond together into a temporary reality. These can build into small side pockets of meaning, but usually decay back into nothingness. It is thought that the civilized realms emerged from the chaos in this fashion, and some heretics believe that someday they too will decay.

Since space is not Euclidean, the chaos realms can be reached without linear travel. When Crystal is duplicated from the Seed Crystal, it stays fluid for a while, but then internal forces twist it through other dimensions, bringing it elsewhere, usually to the chaos realms. The fluid Crystal can be added to and molded, but once it hardens it is fixed until destroyed. Fluid Crystal can be molded to have a hollow center. When it settles, this can create a tunnel to the chaos realms, a spiral that coils back and forth between realms, or a sphere whose inside is in a different realm from its exterior. The Crystal Palace itself is (topologically speaking) such a sphere, with many handles interconnecting through other dimensions, and tunnels connecting to the chaos realms. Only at the entrance by the Docks is it actually anchored to the real world.

As potentia is raw being, somna is raw meaning. As objects decay into potentia in the chaos realms, somna is released, due to the breaking of the metaphorical bonds between the objects’ components. The Palace’s waste is directed towards small chaos realms called Chaos Vats, and the somna released is channeled through the Crystal walls back into the city. Somna is attracted to, binds to, and is responsive to imagination and belief; it seeks definition. Crystal conducts somna, and so somna can be stored in crystal circuits until mentally summoned for use. Permeating the city, it connects the minds of the inhabitants in a loose network of bonds.

Much lower levels of somna are available in civilized lands outside the city, mostly locked in the Dream of the Eldest Makoo. Most of the barbarian lands have almost no background somna. In these places, somna-based magic will not work, unless somna is transported in Crystal tools for use there. Even then, magic which relies on the network of somnatic bonds will not be possible. (However, there are rumors of magic places within the barbarian lands that might be exceedingly rich in somna, such as the Land of Baal in Neng.)

Holy Relics

Sometimes, Holy Relics are confused with Arcana, because they also are used as standards for the military and by heroes. However, they are really Crystal artifacts with a large supply of somna and a spiritual purpose. They are created over the course of millenia, by faithful worshippers who, through their prayers, bring the need for the Relic to the attention of a Saint. The Saint fills the Relic with his or her personal somna, more than would typically be possible without the Saint’s involvement. More important than quantity is that the somna bears the thoughts of the Saint. The Holy Relic guides its owner in its proper use, and gives the owner moral strength and wisdom. Many Holy Relics were created to protect the user in the Crusades to reclaim the Fouled Lands.


Magic is an everyday part of life in the Crystal Palace. Most inhabitants who use magic do not think of themselves as ``magicians''. Some training in magic is part of every youngster's education, but only a small fraction stay in magical training to the point of being able to use magic constructively. Perhaps an analogy is training in music or a foreign language. Many people in the US take some music and foreign language courses at some point in their lives. Far fewer would be able to play an instrument competently or speak fluently to a foreigner. Even fewer would use such skills in their work, and the number that think of music or language skills as being their profession is quite small. Someone who identifies themselves as "a magician" in the Crystal Palace will leave the impression that they are a teacher or researcher of magic.

There are several occupations that either commonly involve magic, or are exclusively practiced by those with magical skill. However, inhabitants with these occupations would almost never refer to themselves as "magicians". Analogously, in the 20th century U.S., a mechanical engineer is assumed to have trained in mathematics, but would rarely call herself a "mathematician". Occupational uses of magic depend on the style.

Education is left to the species according to Crystal Palace law, with the one exception being "on the job training". For this reason, advanced magical education is either a private matter, working with a specific tutor or master, or associated with employment in one of the guilds or ministries. Unicorns are the exception, since they make magical training a priority in primary education. (Most other races think of child magicians as dangerous and try to avoid giving their young ones more magical skill than they can be trusted with.) Many magicians are self-taught, since the bulk of magic is practice, repetition, self-confindence and imagination. The traditional ways of learning depend on the style.

Magical styles

Many different ways of using magic have evolved in the Crystal Palace and the Radiant Empire. Since the Palace has been the Empire's cultural center, and since until recently, somna has been abundant and transportable, most of these styles of magic assume a somna-rich environment such as in the Palace. Outside the Palace, they require special equipment to use, or are not useful at all.
  1. Animation

    Animators use somna to bring objects to seeming life. The animator visualizes precisely how the object should move or act. The closer this is to how the object could move naturally, the less somna energy is needed to cause the movement. The stronger and more detailed the mental image the animator has, the more somna will respond to her summons. Thus, animation requires visual imagination, self-confidence, and knowledge of the physical properties of the object in question. Skilled animators tend to spend large amounts of time moving various types of objects in different ways, developing a large store of mental images.

    An animator's style depends on what materials they have studied, what motions they tend to project, and the extent and manner of anthropomorphization. Some animators specialize deeply in a few materials, like rope or cloth, and have astonishing control, to the point where these objects seem more like creatures or extensions of the animator's body than inanimate things. Others delight in creating anthropomorphized tools and servants, that serve their whims. Animators can bring mechanical devices to seeming life, and so operate them from a distance. Golems can be manufactured to serve special needs; the animator designs the golem's body to fit her imaginings, rather than imagining how a pre- existing object moves. A particularly nasty specialization of Animation is re-animation, bringing the bodies of the dead back to seeming life. Although the spirit of the dead person is untouched by this process, it is disrespectful of her memory. Thus, re-animation is forbidden by the religious law, and is grounds for permament banishment.


    The basics of animation are taught in most primary schools. There are animation guilds that specialize in applications to various industries; these provide more systemized training. The army has a special corps of animators, so one can get extensive animation training through the military. Otherwise, animators are self-taught or pay private tutors. Very simple animation is relatively easy, but to be reliable and controlled requires extensive and on-going practice.

    Applications of animation

    Animation has many applications and interpretations. Some animators delight in animation as an artform; others are motivated by particular uses. Military animators can conjure creatures of fire, water, sand or mud to attack the enemy, or cause trees and bushes to grab and snare them. Animating surgeons can cause bones to realign and veins to glue themselves back together. Construction animators control the large golems used to erect buildings. Heavy industry is dependent on animation. In particular, the Guild of Fire Animation is important to the ceramics and glass industry.

    Limitations and Restrictions

    Animation requires a somna connection between the animator and object, so it has limited utility outside the Crystal Palace. (Sometimes, stored somna can be used, especially if the animator is inside the object, e.g., construction or harvesting golems.) Anthropomorphs can imitate intelligence, but cannot have true originality; they conform to their creator's expectations. One must be able to see an object to animate it, although once animated, the object can perform actions without conscious supervision. So air cannot usually be animated, although smoke can. One cannot animate a living, moving creature or other object whose motion is unpredictable.

    As mentioned above, re-animation (animation of the dead) of intelligent creatures is strictly forbidden, and grounds for permament exile. It is also frowned upon for dead animals. Animation of large, potentially destructive objects is controlled by the guilds. One must belong to the appropriate guild to animate heavy golems, or to animate fire. Fire animation is only legal inside specially created fire pits used in manufacturaing.

  2. Archaeomancy

    In the loss of the Science Tower, the link that connected the sophisticated Photisms that controlled most of the Crystal Technology of the time was corrupted. Moreover, these Photisms were the primary source of information and memory in the Empire. Thus, the technology of the Age of Rationality is now useless, or, worse, dangerous to use. One has to go back to the 65th millenium to find technology that is still workable, or canabalize Age of Rationality technology for parts. The piecemeal knowledge of obsolete technology and remants of crystal engineering has become combined in the art of Archaeomancy. More about the technology of the Empire will be described later. Here, we’ll just describe some of the theoretical foundations of Archaeomancy.

    Topological crystallography concerns the ways crystal can twist in higher dimensional space. Before the loss of the Seed Crystal, it was used to calculate ways of molding fluid Crystal to achieve desired effects. Now, its primary purpose is to allow Archaeomancers to predict the nature and destination of existing Crystal tunnels within the city. For example, some tunnels twist to be totally within the chaos pools, where the surrounding potentia exerts a force that largely neutralizes gravity. Others, like the Lifts, turn at an angle so that “up” and “down” are reversed. It is also needed to modify or transport Chaos pumps, unanchored tunnels into the chaos realms which suck in matter at a fixed rate. Chaos pumps can be huge fixtures in the Palace works or hand-held devices. Even for the portable sizes, moving them requires difficult calculations, since most of the pump is in other dimensions. The main tool of the practical topological crystallographer is the resonameter, a device set to record responses of crystal to various frequencies of noise.

    Somnatics is the study of how crystal conducts somna. It is essential to understanding and manipulating somna storage crystals. These are not only the power source for most Crystal technology, but the monetary unit of the Empire. Somnatics controls the timing and patterns of energy release.

    Photismics is the study of artificial energy organisms that live in somna-enriched crystal. They act as controls for crystal technology. During the Age of Rationality, the photisms were evolved into almost sentience, and they were bonded together in a network. To this network was entrusted most of the records and data of the Empire. This network of sophisticated photisms was corrupted, either as a cause or a result of the fall of the Science Tower. Only a few of the near-sentient photisms escaped corruption, mostly in the Tower of Vision, in protected areas. Now, somna devices from the Age of Rationality are mostly dangerous to use, because they are controlled by these corrupted photisms. Simple crystal devices from the Age of Rationality are safe, and one of the prime uses of photismics these days is to identify which tools do not involve photisms. Also, pre-Rationality devices controlled by primitive photisms are safe, because they were never bonded to the network. For these, a working knowledge of photismics can help coax desired complex behaviour from the tools. Photisms are responsive to thought, but primitive photisms need every concept to be broken down into sequences of simple instructions, which can be frustrating to the novice. (And moreso to the expert!)

    Memnosomatics is the engineering discipline which records thoughts, sounds, and pictures in somna patterns. These can be used to direct the somna to produce the effect thought of, or to record information.


    The basics of archeomancy are taught at the primary level for most species. It is stressed most by Dragons, Chams, and Varagh. Unicorns give it less emphasis than other forms of magic. Many citizens have trained themselves to be proficient in the use of one or two types of special magical devices or equipment, without a real understanding of general principles. The Ministry of Public Works, the Civil Police, and the army both hold extensive training classes in archaeomancy for their employees or soldiers.

    Occupational uses

    Archaeomancy has a variety of uses, from police work to toys. Many archaeomancers act as technical experts for businesses. Others work for the Ministry of Public Works. Some archaeomancers are scavengers, seeking out, repairing, and selling artifacts from forgotten or abandonned corners of the city.


    Archaeomancy generally requires direct somna connections, so using artifacts literally burns money. Archaeomancers generally have little true understanding of what makes artifacts work, and can only repair, modify, and utilize found objects.
  3. Conjuration

    Conjurers mold somna into illusions, by projecting their own imagination and belief. The more an illusion is believed, the more durable it will be. Conjuration requires strong imagination and self- confidence, and, if the illusion is to be believable, a good knowledge of the form of the illusion. Different conjurers specialize in different subjects, as well as different levels of believability and durability.

    Spectacles are loud, brilliant displays of light or loud sounds. They are not believable images of anything, and so are projected by the conjurer, and fade when not actively concentrated on. They can be used to blind, deafen or distract, as well as to entertain.

    Shades are realistic illusions supported by the conjurer and the viewer’s beliefs. They rely on the conjurer to maintain them, and fade if not concentrated on.

    Phantasms are realistic illusions, created by the conjurer but maintained by the belief of the viewers. They can follow preset programs, or respond to the expectations of the viewers. They cannot perform any action that is surprising or requires intelligence. If not observed, they fade.

    Conjurers can create imagoes, illusory beings maintained by the conjurer’s sub-conscious. Imagoes can perform independent actions and exist even when no one is consciously aware of them. To create an imago is like creating a protagonist for a good novel; all details of the personality and form need to be imagined, until the conjurer really believes in the imago’s reality (at some level). Once created, they cannot be erased from existence, although they tend to appear when the conjurer concentrates on them, and disappear if ignored.

    Mythagoes are illusionary creatures of the collective unconscious. Conjurers cannot create or destroy mythagoes, but can learn to summon individual mythagoes through concentration.

    Glamours are illusions that change the appearance of objects that exist, rather than creating new illusory objects.

    Auras do not change the appearance of objects, but change how the viewer feels about them.

    Finally, by molding latent potentia as well as somna, Conjurers can create seeming physical objects. However, these objects eventually fade back into the potentia they came from. The Conjurer must have a clear image of the form and nature of the object in mind.


    Most conjurers are self-taught. However, there are conjuration clubs, where various conjurers get together to compare illusions and trade ideas. Sometimes a beginning conjurer will hire an advanced one as a tutor, but the relationship is much less binding than an apprenticeship.

    Occupational uses

    Conjuration is usually thought of as a form of art or entertainment. Professional conjurers usually work in show business of some kind. A few work in conjunction with manufacturers to produce objects with glamors or auras. Thieves, con-men, spies, and other covert types use conjuration, but of course that is not an occupation they would admit to.


    To cast illusions, the area a conjurer is working in has to be in a somna field, either the City's field or one cast by a somna projector. Illusionary objects are based on belief, so cannot act in a suprising way, unless the conjurer is aware and consciously directing it. Physical objects created by a conjurer are temporary. It is illegal (civil law) to try to sell a conjured object, or to use conjuration for fraudulent purposes or to manipulate others without permission. (Audience members are assumed to have granted permission for emotional manipulations designed to increase a show's impact.)
  4. Divination

    The minds of all the city’s citizens are connected by the somna that permeates the Crystal Palace. This forms a collective unconscious of great power and knowledge. Divination taps into the knowledge of the collective unconscious. It therefore does not work outside the city walls, even if somna is available.

    Somna from different chaos realms differ in nature. The “flavor” of the somna field thus fluctuates as different amounts of substance are converted in the different chaos vats of the city. This interacts with the mood of the inhabitants, the Zeitgeist of the city. In the somna-rich city, what is believed occurs. Thus, by sensing the mood of the city, and the flavor of the somna, Diviners can predict the future. Their predictions are by no means infallible, being just the best indications of likely events. They usually take the form of determining whether the time is propitious or unfavorable for various actions or individuals.

    Diviners gain access to the somna field in various ways. Most diviners are trained in astral projection, moving their consciousness to places outside their body. The astral forms of diviners can only be sensed by other Diviners and Sensitives. Since it is an imaginary focus of the Diviner’s awareness, the astral form does not necessarily have the Diviner’s appearance. To ensure privacy, many citizens set up barriers to wandering diviners, such as pain or confusion fields. Diviners can also draw on the field to give themselves sharper or different senses. Less direct methods of gaining information from the field are: Interpretation, using pseudo-random processes (cards, dice, I Ching, etc.) reveal truths; Visions, trances in which the diviner’s spirit quests for information, power, and status; Seances, which bring together those that knew the deceased to reconstruct their knowledge and personality; Object Reading, tapping into the traces of thought associated with an object; Daemons, sub-conscious processes that alert the Diviner to events or ferret out information; and Dowsing, finding a probable direction of an object, person or substance.

    Besides gathering information, Diviners can utilize the somna field in other ways. They can contact mythago, creatures of the collective unconscious. Some mythagos, called Loa, take on the Diviner’s form, trading their knowledge and skill for the chance to inhabit a living body for a while. Instead of passively monitoring the somna field, they can actively try to change the state of the field, tipping luck in their favor. They can also use their familiarity with somna to detect and analyze other’s magic, and to create mis-direction or barriers for other diviners, or for other types of magic, especially those that depend on belief, like Animation or Conjuration.


    Dragon primary education has divination in the curriculum. Using Divination to sense the general nature of somna in the city is a normal part of training for the Priesthood. For others, and for advanced training, an Apprenticeship is the usual teaching method. The Apprentice, or her parents, pays the Master Diviner a large sum (around the equivalent of tuition at an expensive private college) for teaching over a period of several years. Usually, the Master has only one or two Apprentices at a time. The Apprentice lives with the Master, and is expected to observe the Master at work, and to perform mental and mystical exercises a good fraction of the time. The Apprentice is not considered much help to the Master, either magically or mundanely, but is also expected not to interfere with the Master's real work. Typically, the Master Diviners that take apprentices work as consultants rather than at fixed jobs. Alternatively, many branches of the government, in all wings, have their own internal Divination training programs, as do some large businesses.

    Occupational uses

    Most large businesses or organizations have Diviners on staff. It is considered poor management not to consult a Diviner before making a major business decision. Smaller businesses and individuals can consult private Diviners. READ (Radiant Empire Association of Diviners) is a professional organization that certifies Master and Journeyman Diviners, and enforces a code of ethics. It is not an official branch of government, but practicing Divination professionally without a READ certificate is illegal. Anyone can legally Divine questions about themselves or their own future.


    Divination does not actually see the future or past. Instead, one sees what the collective wisdom of people in the somna field predict or remember. Thus, divination of the future is fallible, even when performed perfectly. It can only tap into the knowledge of people in the same somna field, so it does not help much to use it with a somna projector outside the City. (The only exception is when the information one wants is known to those in the area of the projector.) It is illegal (civil law) to use divination to probe into the private lives of others without their express permission. Since divination is fallible, observations made through divination are not admissible as eye-witness testimony, although Diviners can appear as expert witnesses. absolute truth.
  5. Prophesy

    Prophesy is the use of reputation and moral persuasion to create wide-spread, intense beliefs. Due to the somna energy, these beliefs have a tendency to become real. Prophets require firm convictions, self-confidence and charisma. Since their power is drawn from the belief of others, they must perform their magic in public, or let the rumors spread. Very little prophesy takes immediate effect, and it is easier to make vague pronouncements rather than specific claims. Since it uses the somna field, prophesy is only effective in a somna-rich environment, like the city. Transporting somna outside the city is useless for prophets. Despite all these restrictions, prophesy can be immensely powerful, since its effects are limited only by the credulity of the public. Citizens of the Crystal Palace have a sophisticated attitude towards prophesy: they know it only works because they believe it, but that doesn't mean it doesn't work! Since it draws on mass belief, not individual belief, disbelief is no protection from Prophesy

    Typical uses of prophesy are curses and blessings, granting good or bad luck, prophesying an individual's ultimate fate for good or evil. Curses can include illness, financial disaster, disgrace, or more spectacular effects, like physical transformation. They are more effective when pronounced for a specific offense, especially one the public finds reprehensible. Blessings can include the lifting of curses, the curing of disease, good fortune, or spectacular prowess. Curses and blessings can be on individuals, communities, places or even objects.

    Prophets also can use their influence on magic drawing on the collective unconscious. They can exorcise phantoms, imago and mythago, creatures supported by belief. They can cause doubt in Conjurers and Animators, and cause the somna field to reject the solicitations of Diviners.


    Prophesy is not learned, per se. However, many prophets get their start by being disciples of established prophets. Disciples are usually required to be subservient to the master, observe the master's actions, act as liasons to the community, maintain an air of mystery, and live a life according to the master's moral precepts. In exchange, they gain a reputation as inheriting some of the master's authority. Other prophets get their start through natural or practiced charisma. Some even get prophesy thrust upon them, through a sequence of lucky guesses that gets good publicity or a reputation as a moral leader.


    Prophets can be priests, politicians, personal advisors, moral crusaders or leaders of sects. They can also hold down day jobs totally unrelated to prophesy.


    Prophesy only works when people believe. Thus, the only way to be confident that it will work is if one already has a reputation for that kind of thing. Trying something new is always risky, and failure can damage a prophet's reputation. Effects that people can believe in, like poetic justice, are easier than arbitrary effects. A vague pronouncement's effects will depend on how the masses interpret it. Prophesy can only create effects within a somna field containing many believers. The prophet doesn't necessarily have to be in the field personally. There has to be some way that communication takes place.
    There are few limitations on prophesy under the religious law. Prophets are given a fair amount of leeway, because they have historically been responsible for restoring morals in the empire when the officials have become corrupt. However, prophesy that damages the morals of the city and doomsday prophesy are still grounds for expulsion on the books -- it's just that prophets have to go pretty far before they are brought up on these charges.
    More commonly, prophets are held responsible for their actions under civil law. It is not rare for a cursed citizen to sue the curser for damages or defamation. It is common for prophets to be assessed fines for damages to City property resulting from their messages.
  6. Sensitivity

    Sensitivity is making mind-to-mind contact through the somna field. Sensitives can use their powers whenever they and their target are linked by somna. Outside the city, they can still use their powers by touch, or at short distances using somna projectors. Part of training in Sensitivity is to develop a link to Serenity’s Flower. This link can be drawn on for Empathy and Healing. However, a side effect of this link is that using Sensitivity makes one feel affection and good will towards the target. Thus, using Sensitivity in ways that would harm the target is very difficult. An outlaw school of mental magic called Coercion exists, which does not involve bonds to Serenity’s Flower. Practicing Coercion is punishable by expulsion and a lifetime of slave labor.

    Sensitives can sense other’s emotions and thoughts. They can locate and communicate with others over a distance (within the City). They can borrow the senses of other people and animals. They can cause emotion in others, albeit with their best interests at heart. Drawing on Serenity’s Flower, they can relieve suffering, diagnose injuries, and strengthen the connection between body, mind and soul. They can heal both physical injury and mental disorders. They can give others will and endurance. They can borrow others skills, although this works better for mental rather than physical skills. Finally, they can join in the Dream of the Eldest Makoo for short periods of time, and there meet with the souls of dead friends and relatives, and they can share this experience with others. This is the most important part of Sensitivity, especially for Priests. However, it tends to be more satisfying than edifying, as the dead and all else in the Dream communicate at the pace of the Eldest Makoo. Those who can stand being in a trance for weeks, and have the patience to communicate with the Eldest, can sometimes convince them to use their power in specific ways. However, these conditions pretty much restrict this ability to Makoo approaching dormancy, and so high up in the Church Hierarchy. Mental defenses and privacy shields are also an important part of Sensitivity training. The Sensitive who does not learn defenses is in danger of losing her individuality.


    Unlike most other branches of magic, Sensitivity requires an initiation ritual. Most citizens become familiar with mind-to-mind contact and some psychic defenses, and there is some unconscious Sensitivity that makes it possible for the different species to communicate so well. But to go further than that in Sensitivity is only permitted under the guidance of the Church. The candidate Sensitive must first learn psychic defenses and undergo spirtual counseling and purification, usually in a class conducted by priestly Sensitives. When they are at the stage to begin advanced studies, and are found to be morally upstanding, they undergo a ritual bonding with Serenity's Flower, the arcana of love and empathy. This ritual is done in small classes, several times a year, and is officiated by the High Priest, who presents the Flower in front of each candidate in turn. Through meditating on the Flower, the candidate forms a bond with it. Not everyone passes this ritual; those the Flower rejects are forbidden to attempt further training. (This is disastrous for a Makoo, so Makoo only attempt the ritual when they are mature enough to pass.) This ritual allows them to tap the Flower's power for healing and empathy. However, it also means that the more power they use, the more they grow to love the person it connects them to. A Sensitive cannot use the power to knowingly cause harm. After the ritual, they can gain further education on specific uses of Sensitivity either from the Church or from other Sensitives. Sensitives must have regular priestly counseling.

    Occupational uses

    Most Sensitives are priests, educators, counselors, or healers. A few use their gifts in other ways. Sensitivity is imporant to trainers of other magicians, particularly Transmogrifiers, who can use it to convey direct mental images of how it feels to do certain magic; e.g., how does it feel to be a bird? A few Sensitives use their magic as an art form, conveying art as pure feeling. Some Sensitives work on all sides of the legal system, as advocates for the accused and as interogators. However, Sensitive interogation isn't evidence that can be introduced in court; it would either put the Sensitives in a position to harm their "clients" or cause them to lie to protect them. Some fallen Sensitives have been known to sell their abilities for thrills. This is frowned on, but not actually illegal.


    Sensitives cannot use their powers for harm knowingly. This is a side-effect of the bond with Serenity's Flower, and cannot be overcome with will-power. They form attachment to those they come in mental contact with; the deeper the contact, the deeper the attachment. The effects of this attachment can be overcome with will. They can only make contact through a somna field or touch.

    As mentioned above, evidence provided through Sensitivity is not directly admissable in court.

    Using advanced Sensitivity without the bonding ritual is known as Coercion and is grounds for immediate banishment. Coercion is a sin much more serious than murder, and investigating any rumors of coercion that begin to float around will become the top priority of the Church. That does not stop there from being legends of secret societies of Coercers, that use their mental powers to avoid detection.

  7. Transmogrification

    Transmogrification is using somna to change your own nature. It requires enough somna to cover the Transmogrifier. A flexible self-image and a strong core of willpower are essential for the Transmogrifier.

    Transmogrifiers can change their own form, but gaining or losing large amounts of weight is difficult. Changing form involves visualizing yourself in the new form, and ``method acting'' the new form. Each form requires practice, both in visualizing and believing the form and in getting used to new ways of movement and perception. To train for a new form, Transmogrifiers frequently work with Sensitives to get a mental image to work from. This allows them to take on mental properties of the form, not just physical. For example, a Transmogrifying Unicorn might transform into a Varagh to memorize something.

    A Transmogrifier can change form only partially, for example, by growing wings or claws.

    As well as taking on new forms, Transmogrifiers can visualize themselves as having properties. Transmogrifiers have been know to gain invulnerability to attack, by visualizing themselves covered in a deflecting shield. Some Transmogrifiers can levitate without growing wings. Many can heal themselves.


    Transmogrifiers usually learn through training with a master Transmogrifier or a master Transmogrifier/Sensitive. They spend the bulk of their apprenticeship in concentration, visualization, and empathy exercises. They are expected to be subservient and respectful to the master, but not expected to live with the master or take part in everyday chores. Most Transmogrifiers-in-training do so on a part-time basis, and have a day job that pays for their training. Many consider it a form of personal development, rather than a utilitarian skill, that they excersise for fulfillment as a hobby; much like a martial art.

    Occupational Uses

    Besides use in combat, which is of course illegal and disreputable, Transmogrification is thought of as a method of personal growth. Most professional Transmogrifiers are teachers of Transmogrification. While it would be useful for a lot of other jobs, somehow that would cheapen the art. (You don't see too many karate experts working construction jobs, chopping bricks in half.)


    Transmogrifiers have not learned to teleport or give themselves immortality. They cannot change their mass dramatically. They can only use their abilities within a somna field. They can give themselves natural weapons, but not ranged weapons.
  8. Witchcraft

    Witchcraft is the use of magical bonds, formed by the association of objects or people. It does not rely on somna, and so is usable outside the city, and even in the barbarian lands. Not having access to elemental spirits, it tends to be weaker than barbarian magic. Witchcraft almost always involves lengthy rituals, to form associative bonds.

    Witches can create tools that are bonded to their owner, and so are responsive to the owner’s wishes. For example, a throwing knife that always returns to the owner upon mental summons. By creating bonds to people or creatures, they can create an empathic link and stay in mental communication over a distance. This is often done with a pet, i.e., a familiar. They can form a bond with a place, so that they have a sense of what is occuring in that place. (Often, the witch’s headquarters or home turf.)