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June 30, 2009, 6:23 pm

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Cheka Man

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The Sorcerer's Art


Magik is slippery and dangerous to work with, and failure can have disastrous results.  Yet the Sorcerer's continue to ply their art without the benfit of the engines and machines now widely recognized as essential to the making of magik.

And from out of the Ramad-al-Baajhn, the Red Bowl, walked the great Sorcerer Akil Giyath Bahir, known as the Maker of Wonders.  His Hound Abdul-Majid shook the earth to dust and split the air with its roar, and truly was it named, for its master was indeed the Glorious One.  An oasis made cloth wrapped the Sorcerer's shoulders for a robe, but never did he thirst.  Terrible Ifrits, with bodies of smoke and silver and horns of gold held the train of his robe, and one hundred and one djinn prostrated themselves before him as he walked so that the dust of the earth would not touch his sandaled foot.  Amulets and medallions hung about his person by the score, turning the air thick with magik, and upon his finger rested the fabled red ring of Suhayb.  The very powers of the earth and air were his to command, for he was that most mysterious of men- a Sorcerer.

The Sorcerer's Art

The Sorcerer lacks the alchemist's sciences and arcane machines to regulate the raw mana that he works with, and must often bargain directly with the deceitful and fickle djinn without the benefit of engines and dampeners.  As such, the Sorcerer's art is fraught with danger and often yields unpredictable outcomes.  The nature of magik is change, and a Sorcerer's lifetime of channeling its power through his very body twists his form in strange ways.  Additionally, the fickle and duplicitous djinn that a Sorcerer must petition for parcels of their power often demand a toll of his flesh in exchange.

The Nature of Magik

Magik operates under a complex physics of its own.  Practitioners's seek to learn and understand magik's laws and shape it into a tool.  Where an alchemist or artificer makes a scholarly study of magik and binds channels it through arcane engines and machines in an attempt to make it safely serve his laws, a Sorcerer deals with magik on its own terms.

Magik requires a medium through which to function in the corporeal world.  The most common medium is the substance 'mana,' harvested from the earth, sea, and sky.  Mana also builds up in trace amounts in the bodies of living things. 

-A Sorcerer may consume mana to fuel his spells, but such a practice is highly dangerous and causes short-term surges of power.  Mana is also highly addictive when eaten this way, and slowly erodes a consumer's earthly body.

-A Sorcerer can tap ley lines and wells, those places in the land where mana builds up in large quantities.  While much safer than eating mana or dealing with spirits, and perhaps the most stable source of power in a Sorcerer's arsenal, this practice has its limits.  The fact that it leaves a practitioner's power tied to a single place, often one far from civilization, prevents this method from being of much use except for the most difficult and lengthy pieces of spellcraft.

-The final, and most common, option left to a Sorcerer is the working of magik through intermediaries. The Sorcerer usually conjures a djinni and attempts either bind it into a vessel or to bargain with it for some of its power.  A Sorcerer's Hound, familiars, and any homunculi fall into this category as well.

-A subcategory of all of the above magikal methods is the arcane ceremony.  Treating an object or enacting a rite in the proper way aids the process of sorcery by creating a resonance: between magik and magician, between a source of power and a vessel, or between the spell within a Sorcerer's mind and the physical world.  Additionally, djinn are far more easily bound into service when a Sorcerer makes use of the proper rituals.


The Effects of Magik

The Sorcerer's lifestyle leaves its mark upon his body.  The djinn which he must constantly summon all clamor for closer ties to the physical world, each seeking some measure of corporeality to ease the dull ache of bodiless existence.  In fact, taking advantage of this insatiable desire is what allows the Sorcerer to bend a spirit to his will.

-Binding a djinni to a vessel provides it with an anchor to the corporeal world.  This tie strengthens and feeds the djinni, and is the only reason that any haughty spirit would suffer the indignities of servitude.

-Sacrifice, whether of blood and flesh or other valuables, feeds a djinni.  Silks, gold, fine incense and the like flatter a spirit and may be enough to buy some of its lesser services.  The sacrifice of life, however, provides a much more filling meal, as the djinni subsumes their earthly essence into its own form.  The size, availability, and cost of sacrificial animals mark the effective boundaries an ethical sorcerer's power.

 -The truly daring or desperate, however, give of themselves.  A Sorcerer can offer all parts of himself for trade when dealing with the strongest of djinn.  Granting a djinni use of still-living blood and organs makes for the sweetest of gifts.  The process of taking a piece of the Sorcerer involves the djinni leaving a bit of their own substance in its place, which molds itself into a rough spiritual approximate of the missing organ or tissue.  The oldest and most powerful of Sorcerers often have the majority of their bodily functions performed by magikal substitutes, with all manner of strange side-effects.  It is rumored that the djinn will also take memories, thoughts, or even time as offerings.  What manner of terrible effects the loss of any of these might have is unkown.


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Comments ( 8 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted Cheka Man
June 30, 2009, 18:07
A good reason has to why a powerful djinni would permit itself to be put in a lamp.
Voted sverigesson
June 30, 2009, 20:15
This is an excellent magic system, as it limits the sometimes "munchkinny" powers of wizards. After all, historically, practitioners of magic primarily gained power through deals with spirits, demons or, with a little bit of arabian flair, "djinni". Well done.
Voted slartibartfast
July 1, 2009, 18:37
Very nice; I see ideas from numerous mythos and systems blended them quite nicely into a single new ideology. Makes me wish I was running an "arabian" campaign.
July 1, 2009, 19:15
Thank you! The campaign that I'm running it in is actually pretty broad in scope (with plenty of non-arabian elements and areas), and the characters have found that the magic system works the same regardless of where they go. People from different regions just use different terms.

Although I happen to like desert settings a lot.
Voted Strolen
July 4, 2009, 8:40
The Nature of Magik section almost seemed like a table of contents for a book on the different systems of your world. I enjoyed this one and it all came together for me with the last paragraph.

I always like the codependent/symbiotic relationships like this and you described it well. The question that tickled me at first is why would the djinn's be so protective of the Sorcerer to not allow sand to touch his feet, but if that sorcerer has made enough deals with so many djinn, it would be in their best interest to keep him happy and alive in order to keep their connection to our world.

Voted Ouroboros
July 8, 2009, 9:00
This is good enough to pull me out of hibernation. Very nicely done!
It´s not only a complete system of magic, but also strikes a very interesting "Arabian Nights" theme. Impressive!

Voted hylandpad
September 18, 2011, 15:51

Extremely well written and concise, but at the same time flowery,  but lacking the verboseness that some flowery writers have. I like it alot. Being honest it reminds me of the Witcher Books, with the Djinn and Ley Lines, but I suppose even that draws upon the mythological concepts of magic (magik) that existed long before. Good job!

Voted valadaar
May 25, 2016, 10:08
Oh, I like this one. The trading of body parts to the Djinn is a good one. Puts me in mind of Fullmetal Alchemist in a way -a good way :)

Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds


       By: Moonlake

In ancient China, women bind their feet for cosmetic reasons, resulting in them not able to walk without help and walking in a shuffling gait.

Possibly this can be modified such that people do it for less stupid reasons.

Disclaimer: This is NOT a racist remark since I'm Chinese myself and hence entitled to freely judge Chinese customs. NOT sexist either since I'm female as well.

Ideas  ( System ) | March 7, 2009 | View | UpVote 1xp

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