Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Aether Magic Part 1

So BadgerAngel contacted me about how magic worked exactly in the setting for the Pinkertons.  Initially I had planned on simply giving a breif response, but it suddenly bloomed into... well THIS:

Magic in A Leumrian Awakened World
1)      ALL magic comes from Aether in some way shape or form. 
·         Rituals pull and funnel Aether, Summoners use Aether as the medium to carry their call or command, illusionists shape raw Aether into dreamstuff, and so on.  Even calls to the Gods (Immensely powerful beings whom some call Gods and others just say… “It’s NOT a God, but Damnitt be respectful of something that can squish you!”) are carried via Aether.
2)       Lemurians use Aether-Tech, which is akin to handling raw unbridled POWER
·         A big point here is that Lemurians do NOT see Aether-tech as magic but rather a highly refined science.  They use “callers” to pull raw Aether into a spot so it condences to a point where a rift can form.  From there they stabilize this rift with various machines and literally send in harvesters into a massive white void of Aether-Space.  Harvesters bring back pure Aether that is further cleansed, condensed, and put into use as a liquid energy carrier (Hence wires at the carnival are more like hoses) or condenced to its hardest state of a crystal.  Crystals can be used for many things… from boiling water to create steam (useful in sun deficient areas for steampowered items) to being able to transmit message across great distances.  The Lemurians have refused to fully teach humanity all Aether can do until they feel we have “Grown Up.”
3)       Not all sources of Aether are alike.
·         The bit about purification of Aether by the Lemurians is important.  Aether can be tainted, most easily by emotions or deeds.  It seems to soak up empathic wavelengths and can vastly alter the qualities of the Aether.  Fear causes nightmarish qualities, anger produces bloody handed powers, etc…  Lemurians have found ways to strip Aether of these emotional ties but will NEVER extract Aether from an area known to be tainted by emotion, like graveyards.
4)       Humans have been using Aether since they first came out of the trees.
·         Humans knew about “all pervasive energies” and found a lot of different ways to pull it, tug it, channel it, twist it, bend it, and make it work for them. 
                                                               i.      Ritual magic:  Pulls mass amount of Aether to an area by an individual or group to obtain a certain effect or end.  Highly dangerous as the Aether, while collected quickly also becomes quickly tainted by the emotions of the ritualists.
                                                             ii.      Witchcraft: An individual pulls Aether in small amounts for immediate effects.  This works as long as the caster is in an area with easily accessed Aether.  Since the Lemurians returned this is not a problem and a lot of charlatans and hedge witches that thought they had no power at all suddenly found they had a LOT more than they ever dreamed.  Individuals of this sort are born with an innate ability to pull, shape, and craft Aether but need to be taught to control it quickly.  Armies of angry toys from a spoiled child “raw talent” not getting his way have happened…
                                                            iii.      Illusionists:  These folks pull minimal amounts of Aether to create visual, auditory, and in some cases even physical effect.  The more complex the illusion, the more Aether needs to be drawn and maintained to keep the illusion going.
                                                           iv.      Summoners: Call forth a small amount of Aether and fire it into Aetherspace carrying a message to some other being.  This can look like prayers of supplication, sacrifices, or tossing notes into a fire.  This inherently taints the Aether used with the nature of the call and will effect what entity gets the message.  The trick is control and shaping of the Aether.  Good communication skills will result in a good message that will be picked up by an intended target.  Blind calling can work, and the more Aether used in calling, the quicker something will respond, but it can be dicey…  Some things are just curious about who would blindly call into the void and often come to see.  A variant of this is what is used for Aether Crystal calls (You need BIG Aether Crystals to get pinpoint accuracy on the same world for person to person contact.)
                                                             v.      NEW BREED: Gamblers:  these folks often use dice, cards, poker chips, or other items of chance to pull Aether to them and randomly shape it.  While they have the advantage of speed in “casting” they suffer from random effects due to the nature of the Aether they draw from (Chaos tainted).  Many of these are untrained Witches/Warlocks.
5)       Magical Races can control Aether too, some better than others.
·         Typical Fantasy races can be found, but not all have connections with Aether any better than humans.  They just used Aether to get here when the influx of Aether happened.
                                                               i.      Elves are here of a startling wide variety.  They may primp and preen and say “I’m a light elf!  I’m a Drow! I’m a Grey Elf!” but Lemurians have proven via their burgeoning fields of genetics that all elves are genetically identical…  i.e. race distinctions mean NOTHING.  Like a white man and a black man are both humans, high elves and drow are both elves… and yes they were not very happy about learning this.
                                                             ii.      Dwarves came in and were unlike what the world pictured them to be.  They had tight ties to Aether in all forms but channeled it mainly into Forgecraft, and can make things to rival the best of Lemurian Technology out of metal and Aether.  Folks are a bit reluctant to use them as Dwarves charge STEEP prices and if the Aether flux in an area is weak the items often stop working. (These are traditional NORSE Dwarves, the Nividellender… led by Brokk and Etri who forged the hammer of Thor.  Yep… THOSE dwarves)
                                                            iii.       Obsidimen are stone beings that are slow, passive, but powerful.  They are great workers but seem to revere nature above all else.  They have some affinity with Aether, but it seems to be a born talent amoung those who are born with crystalline runes on their bodies.
                                                           iv.      Others…  Yeah I need to fill this in.  I have a lot of ideas here though.
·         The Fae are a total mystery but some willingly speak with other races.  The little we know is that their reality is just about co-current with ours but has been separated for quite some time due to a lack of Aether around our world.  This was due to the Lemurians hording the free Aether to better protect themselves.  Once the Lemurians were forced to drop their shields, the flood brought the fae back in FORCE.  In the U.S. you’ll see a lot more of native American fae, but will all the immigration, fae from Europe are common as well. 
                                                               i.      Fae BROADLY fall into Seelie and Unseelie courts.  THESE DO NOT MEAN GOOD AND EVIL!  If anything they represent emotional states of dreams.  Seelie are happy and colorful (but even the brightest of dreams can be callous and cruel) while Unseelie are dark and scary (Let me just point to Nightmare Before Christmas, Monster’s INC., and so on to show that scary is NOT NECESSARILY evil)
                                                             ii.      There are a HELL of a lot more courts around the world.  The Water Empires of the oceans, the Jade thrones of the East and so on.
                                                            iii.      Being “fae-touched” is a nice way of saying somewhere in your bloodline is a full blooded member of the Fae.  You have an easier time calling Aether and doing… stuff with it.  Most Fae-Touched make ROCKIN’ Illusionists, Witches/warlocks, and summoners.
                                                           iv.      If you REALLY want me to expand on the world of the Fae remind me to send you Lumi (my wife) and my “Karasu and Jack” story.  I’m cribbing that type of fae for this world… as I love those guys having written for them for so long.
                                                             v.      Big note here… GOBLINS ARE FAE!  They have their own court but throw in with the Unseelie more often than not.
PLOT IDEA: Europe is in a bit of a snit as someone calling himself Arthur has emerged from the lands from the Fae and is calling for Victoria to step down!

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