The Rite of Greater Induction
"So you want to be a wizard, eh? Well, then, this week we have a special on the Rite of Greater Induction that IÃƒÂ‚Ã‚Â´m sure you will be MOST interested in. Step right into my office and let me tell you more....."
Developed by the master magus Remus Maal and the Thaumatologists of the Academy of the Broken Circle, the Rite of Greater Induction is a method designed to induce magical talent in a person not born with the Gift.
It utilizes things like alchemical infusions, mental exercises, radical surgery and power tattoos to nurture and expand the metaphysical potential (also known as the God-seed) present in all living creatures.
The Remus Maal Memorial Clinic - in Locastus, City of Mirrors - performs this procedure only at a steep price and considerable risk to the patient, and there are no guarantees to its success. Nevertheless, each year, several dozen people with wealth and ambition come to the Clinic to undergo the treatment that will - hopefully - grant them sorcerous powers.
The treatment begins with infusion of alchemical potions and a strict regimen of mental exercises that are designed to enhance and nurture magical growth in the patient. How long this takes depends on the level of talent of the patient, but takes on average 5-6 weeks. The alchemies involved are mildly toxic, and induces irreversible photophobia in the subject.
Once the Physician-adepts of the Clinic deems the patient's Talent to have expanded to a satisfactory level, he is placed in the Chamber of Induction - a black iron tank filled with a different set of alchemical compounds and carved with numerous glowing runes - wherein he is left in flotation for several days. During this time of sensory deprivation the patient, infused with hallucinogenic drugs, are able to access his subconscious to create conduits for his conscious mind to tap the wellspring of power that has so carefully been cultured within him.
The powerful, but subtle, enchantments placed upon the Chamber eases the struggle by inhibiting the instinctual adverse response of the subconscious mind to this intrusion. Although most subjects seem to suppress their memories of their internal journey, the ones that do remember report intense, vivid nightmares and an endless, painful struggle against their own souls to gain the necessary connection.
More than a few subjects have come out of the Chamber psychotic, catatonic or worse: without control over their magical emanations. Most exits the Chamber a changed person, their psyche forever altered by damage wrought to their subconscious by the influx of raw power.
When the patient has successfully recuperated from the Chamber of Induction, he is assessed by the staff to determine the theoretical power output of his new Talent. The subject has a multitude of carved bone amulets placed under his skin at critical meridians to further enhance the flow of magical effluence, and mystical tattoos are placed on his skin in glowing ink to ensure the pathways of power remain open.
Before being released from the Clinic, the patient receives basic training in the Secret Arts just enough to keep him from accidentally injuring himself or others. Before he is allowed to go on his merry way, he is also made to sign a 25-page contract in which the Clinic are absolved of any responsibility of his use of the Talent in the future. Refusal to sign this contract results in immediate destruction at the hands of the Clinic's powerful and extremely efficient Magus Enforcers.
The Rite of Greater Induction is far from foolproof - less than half of the partakers gain the Talent to actually become a Magus. Even when the Rite grants a high level of magical Talent, most subjects find the adverse effects intolerable.
The alchemies administered at various stages causes irreversible changes in body chemistry which turns the subject's skin chalky white and extremely sensitive to sunlight. Moreover, the tattoos and disfiguring surgical scars makes a subject of the Rite's instantly recognizable. Combined with the various psychological dysfunctions inflicted by the treatment, this makes most subjects shunned and lonely individuals, prone to evil and to turning to the Dark Arts.
Not surprisingly, a significant percentage commits suicide within two years of their release from the Clinic.
A PC undergoes the Rite, and must fight his way through a nightmarish dreamscape, battling hordes of monsters his subconscious conjure up to stop him. Dreamwalkers, spirit schamans and the like among his comrades may enter his dreamworld to help him.
A villain and an adversary of the PC's have checked in at the Clinic, and the PC's must now break into the heavily guarded Clinic to stop him from gaining power to achieve his nefarious goals. This may involve assassinating him or key members of Clinic staff as well as sabotaging the Chamber itself.
Unbeknownst to all, the Clinic has installed a fail-safe in all would-be wizards they have treated over the years. A nonsensical string of syllables, a code unique for each subject, will render the wizard a mindless slave to the caster. The lists of codes are kept well guarded in the archives of the Clinic. Originally meant to be a means for stopping wizards of the Dark Arts from becoming too powerful, it has now become a tool of the new, politically ambitious Master Magus of the Clinic, who uses the control over his former patients to enforce his political career. The PC's must find out about the truth and steal the list from the archives.
A rumor has reached the Clinic that a back-alley outfit has retro-engineered the Rite and is now offering it to the general public for a fraction of the Clinic's fees. Whats worse, their success rate is apparently better than the Clinic's. The PC's are hired to investigate. Is it all a hoax?
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? Responses (12)-12
OK, guys, this is my first post on the Citadel. I´ve been lurking here for several years, though, and thought it was my turn to contribute something. Although I am primarily a writer, I did DM a lot back in the 90´s.
As for this submission, I wanted to achieve a condensed, dry academic style, almost like a peer-reviewed scientific paper.
Oh, and please dont rip me a new one if there´s some grammatical error - english is not my native tounge...:-)
Hope you enjoy it!
Glad to see a lurker turn into a poster.
I must say one thing though: I find it ironical that those, who ask for tolerance in the matters of grammar often have a definitely clean writing style. (In other words, well-written. :) )
Back to the submission: the idea is very logical - the gift of magic is often not available to everyone - and well executed. It is perfectly reasonable, that many would dare to try their luck, even with such a horrible price to pay. As I was reading it, questions came to me, and were immediately answered, I like that style.
- Could there be a similar way to increase the talent of existing wizards, making them greatly powerful? Even if there isn't, somebody will try...
- I would expect, that the contract was signed _before_ the experiment - or there are actually two contracts, signed before and after, both part of a ritual that binds the subjects to their words.
- You can bet that there will be someone created with an unusual talent, that the Clinic is not able to contain right away... who will catch the fugitive, before the word gets out?
I'm not sure if I would use it, but thanks to the ideas presented here I can certainly think about it. All in all, a solid first submission! Great work, Ouroboros. Welcome to the fold.
Agree with Manfred - very solid first post and the writing is clear and well written.
I think this one would be easier to use - less campaign changing - if it is a short-term thing - something horrible eventually happens to make it not a real option.
Reminds me of the magic weapons given by the Ten-slayer in Thieves world - provides magical power, though are generally all 'monkeys paw' type in cost.
Obviously for a world where magic is very rare.
How so? I think that this will work in as well in a medium magic world as a high magic and low magic world.
I think that this is a great first-submission indeed. One thing though, after the "experiment"- Have they gained the potential to become mages with the studies it involves, or are they automatically spellcasters?
I noticed that the style was somewhat dry, but I think it suited the post well. I still had a vivid imagery while reading it. The Tank was a horror-like and dark touch in my opinion.
My friends, this is what happens when you play too much Kult RPG....I´m after a dark, gritty feel, similar to the one from Steven Erikson´s or China Mieville´s books. Like Cheka Man assumed, the setting that spawned this submission is low-magic steam-fantasy-like. Most magics are minor cantrips, limited premonitions etc.
Truly powerful practitioners are exceedingly rare, most are hedge-wizards, witch-doctors and the like.
However, magic are an integrated part of society and technology - steam engines usually have magic sigil stamped into their moving parts to enhance power output and structural integrity, muskets have power runes carved into stock and barrel to enhance muzzle velocity and accuracy...and so on and so forth...
Anyway, this is one of these wayward ideas that will probably never see "official" use, but helps set the tone for one´s own writing.
I have got several good suggestions from this, I´ll mull over it a bit and change it accordingly...Thanks guys!
Ahh, China Mieville! Now that you mention him, the influence is clear.
And I wouldn't call this a wayward idea (okay, it may be, but we can have great fun with wayward ideas). My point is, it is definitely usable, and not only in that particular setting.
In most settings with magic is the genuine talent rare and valued - and this is a solid option people may consider to explore.
Well, my comments have been pretty well covered by the above comments. All I can add is good work.
Indeed, well painted.
As mentioned above, I could use this, or a derivative, in a number of settings, up to and including the one I run most often... which is the Shadowrun fantasy/cyberpunk blend. There would have to be alterations to the fine details, ramp up the failure rate, despite a medium magic world, and probably cranial bombs, but, y'know, it can be used just about anywhere you'd want to be a mage and aren't.
HoH'ing Ouro's first post, a really good piece as with most of his stuff.
wow, this is almost a year old... My first contribution after years of lurking and stealing...:-)