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 Sorcery in the world of Conan

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Nimueteph

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PostSubject: Sorcery in the world of Conan   Mon May 10, 2010 12:12 pm

I promised earlier to make somekind of an thread about magic in Hyborian world, so here goes:) I use Howards original stories as the source material as well the D20 Conan Rpg rulebooks. These as not meant to be strict rules, but more of an guideline or flavor for those characters who dapple with arts of magic. I base Nimu´s abilities on these "rules" myself. Use or discard at your leisure. Here goes:)

There are basically 2 reasons for people to seek mastery of sorcery. Knowledge or power. So far power seems to be more common reason, since most stories of Conan have an evil mage as the main villain. To learn sorcery, seeker must either delve into ancient text´s, seek out forgotten lore and explore ruined tombs for knowledge. Other ways include pacts with powerful demons, spirits or even gods. Lastly, there is an option of apprenticeship, wich means to seek out an more powerful wizard and petition to learn from the master. All of these things are inherently dangerous, since magic is rarely a positive force in a world and to make pacts with powerful people and beings can easily risk body, soul and sanity of the unwary and unlucky.

-Rule of sorcerers soul: To become a sorcerer, even learning a single spell does irrevocable changes to sorcerers soul. He or she is forever a creature apart from common people and others like them can easily recognise their magical nature. Simply looking into eyes of an wizard, another sorcerer, demon or anykind of pepernatural being can sense the this.

-Rule of the Master: Apprenticing oneself to another wizard or an demon will yield results faster than selfstudy, but risks are also greater. Master will teach apprentice magic, but will usually keep a tight rein on their pupil and are very careful not to teach everything. Usually they also demand servitude and a token to be used as a link to their pupil( lock of hair, drop of blood, etc), thus ensuring the loyalty of the apprentice. Master can also use this link to channel power to their student or to drain power from her if needed. Spirits or demons might also demand regular sacrifices from their thrall(human or otherwise).

-Rule of Success: "Sorcery thrives on succes, not on failure". In effect this means that sorcerers power will grow with succesful use. Failure starts to gnaw on self confidence and belief in ones powers, paving the way for defeat.

-Rule of Impermanence: Magic usually has limited duration, unless it is very powerful or ancient. Also, in event of wizards death, every spell she has woven will unravel and dissipate(Potions boil away, towers cumble to rubble, Magic sword shatters to pieces and so on).

-General notes: Magic usually needs preparation to use. This can be lenghty and is very tiring to magician. Only simple spells can be used on the fly. more complex ones need somekind of an preparing. Mighty rituals even more so. Common practices include meditation, use of various lotus plants and herbs and the all time favorite, human sacrifice.
Powerful rituals take careful planning and are not used slightly. Sorcerer needs to prepare the items needed, purify incredients and prepare thralls and apprentices if their additional power is needed to fuel the ritual. Also time and position of stars are an important factor. Spell cast when time is favorable and stars are in right position, significantly raises the possibility of an succes.

-"Even the arts you call sorcery are governed by cosmic laws"answered the man in green turban."The stars direct these actions as in other affairs. Not even my masters can alter the stars. Not until the heavens were in proper order could they perform this necromancy". With a long, stained fingernail he mapped the constellations on the marble-tiled floor. " The slant of the moon presaged evil for the king of Vendhya; the starts are in turmoil, the Serpent in the House of the Elephant. During such juxtaposition, the invisible guardians are removed from the spirit ofBhunda Chand. A path is opened in the unseen realms,and once the point of contact was established, mighty powers were put in play along that path."
- The People of the Black Circle

Here is my humble piece of thesis. Feel free to comment Razz
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Veol

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PostSubject: Re: Sorcery in the world of Conan   Mon May 10, 2010 3:47 pm

Thanks alot Nimue, I was looking forward to this post. It's a great help for pointing directions about the most basic mechanisms in sorery and supernaturals. It's an interesting thing that sorcerers easily will be able to spot the magical nature of other sorcerers and creatures. This will also help me build a foundation on which I can start Veol's apprentiship in the way I'd want it.
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Phoenicia

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PostSubject: Re: Sorcery in the world of Conan   Mon May 10, 2010 4:03 pm

Personally I feel magic of a divine nature (priests of <insert God(dess)>) would have an easier time using their powers than sorcerors or mages. This is of course with the caveat that priests and priestesses would have to adhere to the laws and customs of their chosen religion. My own Kalyria, priestess of Derketo, needs to achieve a certain level of lust to perform healing or blessing rituals, but needs little outside ingredients. Her mastery over lightning is pretty much an inate ability, as long as she believes she uses it in the service of her Goddess. Bigger things, like conjuring a storm, require more intense rituals and would, considering Kal's current state of being, be impossible.

I've got a bit of a problem with priests who deviate too far from their chosen religion, yet are still able to use their divine powers, when their chosen patron in all likelyhood would strip them of said power and influence. Just like I've an issue with mages who can conjure fireballs from their foreheads without so much as a spoken word or hand gesture.

All in all, it's a great guideline, Nimue.


Also, I've taken this opportunity to create a separate forum for lore and mechanic related information Smile

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Phoenicia, lvl 80 Madam
Grelkara, lvl 80 Guardian
Kalyria, lvl 80 Tempest of Set
Thracia, lvl 56 Dark Templar
Bonedancer, lvl 46 Necromancer
Zulyana, lvl 41 Herald of Xotli

[Wulfengart]: He has nothing to do with you then? You were awefully close.
[Phoenicia]: I'm a whore. I'm awfully close with a lot of men.
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Phoenicia

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PostSubject: Re: Sorcery in the world of Conan   Mon May 10, 2010 4:23 pm

And stickied!

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Phoenicia, lvl 80 Madam
Grelkara, lvl 80 Guardian
Kalyria, lvl 80 Tempest of Set
Thracia, lvl 56 Dark Templar
Bonedancer, lvl 46 Necromancer
Zulyana, lvl 41 Herald of Xotli

[Wulfengart]: He has nothing to do with you then? You were awefully close.
[Phoenicia]: I'm a whore. I'm awfully close with a lot of men.
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