Black Magic

From Chronicles of Esshar
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Lingering crows, an ill omen; oft the sign of blackest magic in the air. .

Black magic, occasionally known as felcraft or witchcraft, refers to the numerous powers gained from binding ones soul to a pact with the dark forces of Helheim. Practitioners of black magic are typically referred to as witches or warlocks.

The Fel Arts

Black magic has existed across Eternia for thousands of years, beginning with the destruction of the mythical kingdom, Astya. It is the origin of demonkind, the catalyst for the destruction of humanity's greatest works and the promise of the power to change the entire world. It preys upon the downtrodden, the desperate and the faux family of covens that lure the weak willed in with temptation, or create an entire lineage doomed to servitude without a choice. In all civilized kingdoms the practise is maligned, moreso than any other, for its users are inherently selfish and damned without even the naive allure of 'altruistic' necromancy to excuse them.

Becoming a Witch

It is simple to become a witch, remarkably so; such is one of its allures. All one has to do is find an entity with a Book of Shadows- a wraith, or a senior witch- and sign your soul away. The first seed of darkness will be planted in you then and a brand will form somewhere on your skin. Some can choose to ignore it- perhaps they were forced into the deal- and the seed will not grow beyond the black spot. Witchcraft is not only a pact, but a choice. Those that pursue this path know exactly what they are doing, in one sense. On the other hand, many choose to follow it at their most vulnerable hour, and these emotions continue to feed their actions.

A witch is someone who's soul is bound to a pact with Helheim, in the royal sense, or to a specific entity or force of nature that resides there. The practical distinction is almost zilch. Only the greatest of practitioners stand a hope of meeting any truly powerful patron and receiving the attention of the mythical Dark Lord.

Once a persons name is in the Book, it is impossible to remove, at least not without venturing deep into Helheim to recover ones own stolen soul shard, something that has rarely been accomplished in known history, only in faint rumors.

The Coven

A witch rarely works alone. They tend instead to form into groups known as covens, for mutual benefit. Being in a coven allows witches to commune together and earn favor with Helheim, to bolster each others enchantments, to recruit new witches and to find allies in a hostile world. Minor covens remain nameless while the greatest covens oft gain a title in rumour rather than actually being flushed out.

Some covens work in harmony; others are barely knit together and endlessly compete for leadership and power. All are tools for the dark forces.

Rumoured Abilities

The following are commonplace rumours that any magi could have heard of and not an actual list of witchcraft abilities.

  • A witch gathers power from profane rites or from defeated foes in battle.
  • Their rituals allow them to take on guises of others, stealing skin and blending in effortlessly.
  • Beware the toadstool, as mushrooms find an easy home in a witches brew.
  • If you felt compelled to cheat on your significant other, perhaps it was a witches curse! Don't expect them to believe you.
  • Witches are most at home in dreams, and will influence you there.
  • The great servants of Hel, even Nethradin, can be summoned in their most powerful rituals.

Dark Secrets

The following is only known by witches and those that have learned it in game.

  • When a witch incants a ritual in the name of the dark lord, no matter how basic, they do so in a nameless language; a perversion of angelic script descended from the teachings of Elaide her self. For example, Sana vulnus spiritus eius adducer. [OOC: Latin translator.]
  • It is much easier to call forth a nethradin or terrible servant if one knows their true names. It is said that mortals, too, have true names; understandings of themselves that they are not even aware of, able to be plucked from dreams.
  • Many covens believe in some sort of prophecy or great event- though to those outside the cult, it would be considered an apocalypse. The witches are united to bring about this sweeping change.

History of Darkness

The Mythical Era

Not much is known about this era. In the time before the divine wars, the mythical kingdom of Astya stood as the greatest civilization of the whole world, with human sorcerers trained personally by angels and deities to be able to sculpt mountains and sunder the sky. It was in this era that the first witch, Amalia Elaide, brought demons into the world and shattered civilization before ultimately being defeated. It is said she rules aside the Dark Lord now in Helheim, and hers is the legacy of all that follow in her wake.

The demons of Elaide would continue to terrorize the world for centuries, including the perfect Mordered that finally toppled the Astyan people centuries later.

Black Magic in Meranthe

Due to the unique, isolated and divine nature of the country, witchcraft evolved in the same way as many things did in Meranthe- alongside the Pantheon of gods.

The early days of witchcraft were oft tied to gods that the covens felt represented their particular brand, a tradition that continues today. It was when the last Primordials left Mount Pavonious that witchcraft finally started to spread its roots. Quietly, covens rose and fell, either to hunters or to their own inner squabbling.

Over time, many witches left their mark. It is the nature of these arts that their work is more subtle, not written in the annals of history. Who can say how many a clerk or king was swayed by witchcraft, how many a fat noble choked on a poison apple with the perpetrator at large? Quietly, the witches leave their marks. Even their occasional Hel summonings could hardly be considered a footnote.

There was one exception.

The Desolation of Lira Moore

Lira Moore was one of the city states somewhere in the middle of the first age, as nephilim were beginning to consolidate power. Not much is known about the city other than its fate. Those in charge were tempted to bargain with the powers of Hel, and undertook a great ritual, transporting the entire city- and the surrounding landscape- into Helheim, an intersection of realities.

It returned two weeks later, a crumbling ruin. The citizens had been massacred, left as spirits tethered to the realm, unable to move on. Nethradin stalked the streets. Obscene rituals and memorials to the Dark Lord and to Mestra were shown- until members of Mestra's own faith at the time came to cleanse the city and rid their name of association with these heretics.

The coven that took responsibility was the Sleepless Eyes, led by three great witches or warlocks (unconfirmed). They were known only as The Veil, The Slumber, and The Eye.

Since then, organized witch hunters have kept privy to the seduction of important figures and made sure such a grand ritual has not been mimicked.

Modern Black Magic

Witches continue to prosper in the year 2000, taking full advantage of 124 to sow doubt and uncertainty in the ranks of their enemies, as well as recruit many new followers. New, fetid plants have been awakened by the sundering of earth, allowing their brews to gain potency. The tower itself is rumoured to hold a patron of the black arts, Misfortune, who whispers the secrets of the craft to those powerful or desperate enough to serve. Witchcraft is illegal in all nations and even the dubious Aphros does not deal with them, as their existence is directly contrary to their patron god.


Known Covens

Cult of Misfortune

Life begets life.

Rumours suggest that the coven may have stirred in activity after the events of 124. Following the demigod Misfortune, son of Caius and Mortyl, not much is known about this relatively new gathering of powers. What is known is that Misfortune appears bound to the tower and has chosen now to play his hand, though his agents are invisible and many faced.

Some claim that he is bound to Realm 6, the Sea of Swords, as a warden, against his own will, and that much of his power was torn away in an unknown clash. Behind the mask he wears and the thick layers of clothing, Misfortune is rumored to be hideously scarred.

The Sleepless Eyes

In memorium of a faux life.

Despite the infamous deed of slaughtering Lira Moore as a tribute to the Dark Lord, the legacy of the Sleepless Eyes is a short and bloody one. They believed that reality itself was a dream of Kraus to escape his true plane, and if they focused on themselves hard enough, they could wrestle control of it. This made the three leaders particularly easy to kill afterwards, defenceless and sleeping as they were.

... though, some suggest that these deaths were nothing but a dream, themselves.


Elaide's Daughters

The truth shall be ignited.

Rumours of a coven that has agents in several countries across Eternia, claiming to be descended directly from Elaide. It is impossible to confirm if this is true or not, or if it gave them any inherent advantage even if so- but they certainly believe themselves destined for greatness. Focusing on mastering the creation of demons from the nightmares of mankind, they believe that the day will come when Elaide returns to shatter the world with the Dark Lord at her side, if they should only pave the way.

Alumni

...

The fall of an empire as great and infallible as Barsburg has scholars to this day arguing about how it could possibly happen. One less credible rumour is that a near unconfirmed cult, the Alumni, rapidly sped along the fracturing by corrupting synthetics and even other machines in service of Barsburg. These warlocks practise scientific witchery- creating modern nightmares, hulking magitech given form, glitches in technology, the primal fear of the unknown.

OOC - Class Info

Black Magic is focused around the Book of Shadows items. This is a book characters can interact with to sign away their soul, unlock the black arts, etc. It lists the signatures of pactees.

On interacting with the Book of Shadows via left-click, the context menu displays:

Sign Away Soul: Adds character name to a list displayed in the item description. Grants the character the spells Essence Steal, Transfer Essence, and Coven Sabbath on signing, making them an acolyte of black magic. Grants the 'owner' of the book 3 Essence for each new signing.

Essence is gathered via the Coven Sabbath and aggressive+ battles. Witches can transfer Essence among their Coven via the Transfer Essence spell. Witches can unlock abilities through the Book of Shadows (they do not need to be the owner, they just need to interact with the book)

Unlock Hex: 10 Essence. Grants the spell Hex for the associated spell point cost (5). Applies a -10vit temporary nerf to the target and you command them once, attempting to influence them in a certain direction.

Unlock Telepathy: 10 Essence. Grants the spell Telepathy. Allows you to speak into the minds of others.

Unlock Dream Walk: 10 Essence. Grants the spell Dream Walk. Allows you to visit others in their dreams.

Unlock Black Circle: 20 Essence. Grants the spell Black Circle. Allows you to form a summoning pact with others.

Unlock Mask Recipe: 10 Essence. Unlocks Alchemy/mask recipe. Unlocks an Alchemy recipe that can be used for temporary shapeshifting. Lasts a year and lets you set a unique disguise when the potion is brewed.

Unlock Fantasia Recipe: 10 Essence. Unlocks Alchemy/fantasia recipe. Unlocks Fantasia, an addictive drug composed of bottled dreams.

Unlock Charm Recipe: 10 Essence. Unlocks Alchemy/charm recipe. Unlocks Charm, a potion of mind control (requires rare ingredients).

Unlock Lust Recipe: Must spend 10 Essence. Unlocks Alchemy/lust recipe. Unlocks Lust, a potion that induces carnal urges within the drinker (OOC Note: Characters under the age of 18 only experience a mild crush, not sexual infatuation)

Additionally, if the character is the holder of the book: Transfer Book of Shadows: Transfers ownership of the Book of Shadows.

A Witch Supreme has access to a Crystal Ball and Scrying Crystals. A character holding a scrying crystal can be observed through the crystal ball at a distance.