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ID: 2389

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March 17, 2006, 10:26 pm

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Iain

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Kren, the Name of a Card

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The Kren glowed with mystic power, and with a small flash of light, the physical form of the card disappeared, the energy within rushing outwards…

Origins

Long ago, during that time of trouble known as the Demon Wars, Humanity needed a way to fight against the powerful spiritual powers of L’ruhk and his fallen minions, and called out unto Trigu for aid. What they recieved was something that changed the face of history itself: the knowledge and ability to use Kren. Kren are, when all is said and done, small focused packets of Dol energy anchored* by being bound into the shape of a card**.

The usefulness of Kren over regular magics of the time was that instead of setting up a ritual and spending massive amounts of time to perform a spell, once could instead use a Kren to perform a needed effect. This was especially useful in combat, where healing and battle magics are needed on an instantaneous basis, and where rituals are neither easy to perform or timely. This was where the practice of using cards as the anchor came up, because what soldier didn’t have space for a deck of cards in his pack? Portability is something an army always thinks about, and card-Kren fit the bill perfectly.

As with any war, however, by the time it was finished much knowledge had been lost, including that of normal ritual magics. Instead of trying to redevelop the old ways, the people attached themselves to Kren, that form of quick-fix magic that allowed them to handle problems instantly, and within four or five generations ritual magic was less than a legend, something mentioned only in the oldest of myths, which themselves were told only on the rarest of occasions. By the current age, all knowledge of ritual magic is gone from the minds of humanity.

Basics

Dol is composed of the five elements, and by extension, so are Kren. These Houses, as they are called, are as follows.

Vol (Fire)
Cas (Water)
Sil (Earth)
Ort (Air)
Zun (Void)

To add an interesting twist, Dol energy can be concentrated in varying amounts, which has resulted in the formation of 7 Tiers of Power; in ascending order, they are: Do, Re, Ka, Si, Tu, Mu, and Cen. Kren from the Do Tier are minor, almost cantrip-like in their power. A flame to light a candle, a gust of wind, etc. Re Tier Kren are not much better, though they are capable of more, perhaps healing someone with a flu or such. Onward and upwards we go, to the Si level of Kren. Si Kren are the ones most used in battle, for with it one can summon lightning, throw waves of fire, and restore lost limbs.

Mu Kren are a rarity amongst even the Order of Kren, who hold an (almost) exclusive monopoly on all Kren production. When you hear of great feats of magic, chances are the magician in question was using a Mu Kren. With these, the blind can see, the lame can walk, entire platoons of soldiers disappear in a flash of light. Players should see perhaps one of these used in a single campaign, else it will lose some of the awe and might that it otherwise has.

And the last. Cen Kren are legendary. An epic saga of world-shaking proportions will see one of these used in the final climactic scene, when the main villian is a(n) {insert high level, omigoshthisthingwillblowuptheworldifwedon’tstopit monster here}. All that magical energy used in rituals to open the gates to the Nether Realms, to summon Cthulhu, to do all that other nasty stuff, all packed in an itty-bitty card, ready for instant casting. Cen cards are the highest level of power you can get short of divine interference.

Naming Scheme

Kren are named by the House, with a prefix denoting the Tier. So a Fire Kren of the 3rd Tier is a Ka-Vol. A Void Kren of the 5th Tier is a Tu-Zun. Naming is very, very simple.

Mechanics

To keep things from being too restricting, I have outlined a basic system to be considered when using Kren. Chances are that I will be using some variation of this system, though it will doubtless be changed in more than one way.

Magic in Tyren requires a will to focus Dol energy into a task. However, any one person can only support so much Dol energy being channeled through their soul before it burns out, much like a candle. Each character will therefore have something roughly like an “MP” gauge that, depending on the Tier of Kren used, will slowly be drained. This gauge is fairly permanent in how much Kren can be used in a time period, though certain special feats and/or skills will be available to increase it. In game events will also increase this limit somewhat, but otherwise the players are going to have a static limit on how much Kren their soul can support.

   That said, there will always be exceptions to the rule. Characters will have the option of using their Life Force to support a magical operation if they have no more “soul energy” to do so. This will, of course, be a last-resort that shouldn’t be done lightly. Unlike the traditional “Health Points”, Life Force is a different, separate factor in a character. Think of it as the potential age that a character can have, if nothing else goes wrong. Each year, a point is subtracted from their Life Force, and when it reaches zero, they drop over dead. So, when a person uses their Life Force to power magical operations, they effectively reduce their lifespan. *smirks* Unless, of course, they happen to be of the persuasion to steal the Life Force of other people. This is the reasoning behind a sacrifice for powerful rituals, but that’s a whole other can of beans.

Multi-casting
It must be mentioned that higher-level adepts who use Kren will have the option to multi-cast, in that they can use more than one Kren to power a spell. For example, you could throw molten lava at an opponent using a Si-Vol mixed with a Si-Sil.*** While it allows one to be much more diverse in how one uses magic, it also comes at a price, because supporting two Kren at once is much harder on the soul than supporting those same two Kren at different times. It is, for the most part, an exponential increase in difficulty, as splitting your concentration more than one way gets extremely hard after once or twice. No pain no gain.

Notes

*The Dol energy is anchored because otherwise it would diffuse into the surrounding environment, and wouldn’t be the instantaneous magic that makes Kren so useful.

**Dol energy is not limited to being bound into cards, as will be shown in at least one campaign I plan to run. It is, however, a useful myth that the Order of Kren propagates to keep their stranglehold upon Kren (and thusly, magic).

***When multicasting, the two (or more) Kren to be used together must be of the same Tier. If not, interesting things can happen as differing levels of Dol energy try to merge and do so imperfectly. I leave the specifics up to the GM in question, but it should be at least decently painful for the caster to do so.



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Comments ( 13 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted Murometz
March 4, 2006, 15:31
0xp
well conceived, Chaos! intriguing reading. Wish I had a better understanding of your world, to put it all in perspective. I guess I can start with the links.
Voted Cheka Man
March 4, 2006, 16:15
0xp
I wish I had a pack of these cards in rl.
Voted Scrasamax
March 4, 2006, 20:34
0xp
At first, I was 'Oh crap, another Yu-Gi-Oh/Duel Master knock off' but once I got into the meat and potatoes of the submission, especially the five elements and the power scale being named instead of numbered, I was impressed.

Si-Sil for you!
Voted Iain
March 5, 2006, 5:36
0xp
I really like it - I haven't come across anything similar before. I would imagine that there would be many card games could be played with fake sets of Kren (i.e. named and suited in the same way as real Kren but without magical powers).
MoonHunter
March 5, 2006, 10:18
0xp
The symbolism of the tarot has similar connections (though with four elemements, not five) and there are several paths that utilized the cards as both a foci for concentration and power (i.e. making a magical tool), as well as bound spell matrixes imbedded into them (i.e. magic items). Many western mystical traditions do pathwork (meditation and concentration energy work) based upon their card sets.

If you have played with a deck of cards, you have played with a sanitized false deck of tarot cards. Before the British and English printers got a hold of the cards (with their puritan and reformist views) which cleaned them up from their previous false deck (which were much closer to the older decks).
MoonHunter
March 5, 2006, 10:37
0xp
A couple of questions then:

1) Is each card a concrete/ specific effect or a general effect. So is it a spark card or a tiny fire magic card?

1a) If they are concrete effects, I assume there are a dozen or so tiny level effects, eleven or so Re, eight or so ka, five or so Si, or three or so Tu, and so on. These would be the common and semi-common card. I assume there might be "rares" out there as well and your two highest levels are uniques.

1b) Is there any limit to the number of cards you can carry (since you are powering them) (Void cards might produce power that you can use for them).

2) Is each element in this system just the material element or are their psychological/ spiritual levels to each element? So air energy, in western hermetic tradition, includes thought/ mind, travel, and perception, abilities, in addition to motion of the wind and weather, as well as the generic dealing with elementals.

3) Do these cards summons? Please say no, otherwise they become anime card game cards.

What I would like to see, before I vote, is examples of these cards. I want to see what they are used for and a guideline for the each power level.

3) The Deal of Cards
Chaosmark
March 7, 2006, 22:01
0xp
1) Generic. Each card could be compared to a mana battery, if you really wished to think of it that way (personally, I think it then loses it's elegance), which can then be used to work spells of the same House (because the energy stored is one of the five types of elements). I left it open for other GMs, but when I use Kren, there will be a list of rough spell effects that can be done, and what Tier of Kren it takes to do spells of that magnitude.

1b) No, there is no limit, save for normal weight restrictions. Though truthfully, I can't think of many war wizards that would really need more than a maximum of two decks (104 Kren? That's alot of magic.) The limitation is how much magic your soul can support once you start casting (you can only use X Kren a day). Each Tier will have a star rating that says how draining it is on you, but I leave that sort of decision up to the potential GM.

2) You'll have to wait till my post on the Elements is done for specifics, but yes, each element has more to it than meets the eye.

3) Heck no. They can be used to power a summon spell, but to the essence of the question, no.

Any more questions?
Michael Jotne Slayer
March 8, 2006, 9:09
0xp
I really enjoyed the consept of using your own, or stealing others lifeforce.
First I thought you were talking about hitpoint but taking off the lifespan is much cooler. The questions that popped up when reading this is pretty much asked in the above comments.

I really like this, it's different and well executed.
Voted manfred
March 9, 2006, 8:48
0xp
A very interesting magical system.

Now that the using up of lifespan was mentioned, will not somebody with a shortened lifespan also age faster? (Like, you have halved your lifespan - you will become twice as old, or something to that effect). This doesn't have to be an immediate effect (but can be, if it was a particularly draining spellcasting), but would show eventually. Don't like 'just dropping dead'. :)

I would say such an unlucky soul would not die, but age surprisingly quickly, and the first disease or broken bone (yes, those will become frail, too) will take care of the matter.
Voted Michael Jotne Slayer
March 9, 2006, 9:22
0xp
Hahaha. I was able to vote!
Voted TheSnakeRoselynAlexandra
March 9, 2006, 18:35
0xp
I like the Idea there is so much you can do with the cards!
Chaosmark
March 11, 2006, 23:20
0xp
Updated: Added in Multicasting
Voted axlerowes
January 6, 2013, 14:10
Only voted

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