Welcome to No Books of Men! We are a modern alternate history board set in a magical school nestled in the Columbiana Valley of the Rocky Mountains. Students of the Collegium Illustrata Columbiana (commonly called simply The Academy) are free to explore their wildest imaginations in learning the mystic arts, so long as it does not jeopardize the ongoing Shadow War with the Exarchs. How will you live up to the legacies of Merlin?






darkkenchild is the Head Admin here at No Books. He enjoys long walks on the beach and debating the metaphysical underpinnings of reality, so any questions about your character , the plot of No Books, and/or how magic works on the site, please do not hesitate to ask him.

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May 16 2018, 04:11 PM
[dohtml]<link href="https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Catamaran" rel="stylesheet" type='text/css'><center><center><div style="font-family: 'Catamaran', sans-serif;font-size:43px;color:#D94E1F;">THE RULES OF MAGIC</div></center><div style="width:400px;background-color:#EF8B2C;height:20px;"></div><div style="width:400px;text-align:justify;font-size:14px;"><br>

Magic is a complicated and fickle thing. While it holds tremendous power and untapped potential for those willing and able to access it, it can also prove overwhelming and dangerously difficult to control. To aid the untrained and uninitiated in learning the processes of magic, the Cult of Thoth long ago created a unified system of magic and its permutations. While this system has been renamed, modified, and adapted many times since its inception (most notably into two different "systems of magic" to differentiate the Atlantean and Councilate approaches) the fundamental structure has remained unchanged.<br><br>

Functionally, when making a Mage character a player should choose their Mage's ability from the trees below. At creation, the player should only choose from the "schools" that are available to their chosen Society. This is to ensure that things remain simple and logical during the creation process, but theoretically any Mage is capable of learning any/all spells (and more) listed here. However, to represent the training and specialization of each Society (and the sort of Magi they attract) a Mage must master at least one School associated with their Society before exploring schools outside of your Society’s specialties.

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Note: Mastery of a School requires all three non-Master level spells be learned before the Master Level can be taken. For example: To take the Avatar spell in Elementalism one must first learn Call the Elements, Cloak of Elements, and Shape the Elements.

Starting Number of Spells:
  • Undergrad: 4
  • Graduate: 6
  • Faculty: 8
Society Specialty Schools
CES: Scrying, Telekinesis, Telepathy
Kadji: Elementalism, Healing, Spiritus
Lian: Decay, Enchanthing, Transmutation
Mara: Decay, Hexing, Spiritus
Masar: Fate, Warding, Weather
Opifex: Elementalism, Enchanting, Transmutation
Silvani: Hexing, Transmutation, Weather
Sophia: Healing, Spiritus, Warding
Tanka: Fate, Scrying, Telepathy

Schools
Decay:
Things fall apart. The center cannot hold. The universe is constantly falling apart, and the Magi can choose to speed it along in a way that proves beneficial...
  • Cripple - The Mage causes a target's limbs to decay and grow decrepit, temporarily causing them to stumble and slow as if decades older than they should be.
  • Defile - The Mage causes an inanimate object to grow weaker. Doors rust. (Non-living) Flesh grows weak and soft. Wood rots. This isn't as potent as Dissolve, but can affect a much larger area (up to 20 foot diameter).
  • Dissolve - The Mage causes a physical object to literally disintegrate, but only an object (or area) smaller than roughly a foot in diameter.
  • Master of Decay: Become the Reaper - A Mage can cause instant death in a living creature and/or disintegrate an object of significant size (20 ft diameter). The Mage must be able to touch the target and the player must get permission if used on another player character. ((Also note: frequent use of this spell on living targets will attract the attention of the authorities, both mystic and mundane.))
Enchanting:
Excalibur. Srivasta. Yata no Kagami. Magical objects imbued with the power of their creators, holding the magic in stasis until needed.
  • Note: All Enchanting requires other magics to use (i.e. spells from other Schools).
  • Imbue - Allows the Mage to permanently imbue an object with the effect of a single spell.
  • Relic - Creates a receptacle which, when conditions are met, create a mystical effect whenever it is "primed." An example would be a cauldron which, when food placed within it, produces a dozen more of the same food item.
  • Token - A single use item imbued with a single spell, usually the first Enchanting spell learned by the Mage. Once the spell is released, the item will never again have the magic. An example would be a "healing potion."
  • Master Enchanter: Weyland's Blessing - Able to craft a legendary object capable of multiple (up to 3) effects and impervious to (non-magical) forms of destruction.
Elementalism:
Earth. Wind. Fire. Water. These are the elements of creation and they are yours to control...
  • Call the Elements - Summon an amount (roughly a 2x2x2ft "cube") of a single element. There can be some variance from "pure" element (i.e. summoning earth may contain jewels or summoning water may include diluted acid), but cannot be intentionally and specifically summoned. In other words, you can summon "fresh air" or "valuable earth" but not "diamonds" or "solar plasma."
  • Cloak of Elements - Create a protective barrier against a single element. A cloak of earth becomes immune to stones being thrown or falling. A cloak of fire becomes immune to flames and heat. A cloak of air becomes immune to falling damage or toxic gases. A cloak of water cannot drown.
  • Shape the Elements - Using already existing or called elements, the Mage can reshape the elements into any form or aspect desired. Shaping steel like it were clay, purging toxins from water, and moving a candle flame through a vent to burn a single sheet of paper are all examples.
  • Master Elementalist: Avatar - A master of the elements can become a being comprised entirely of a single element. As water, the Mage can flow through anything not water-tight. As fire, the Mage can burn through any obstacle. As stone, the Mage becomes almost immune to damage. As air, the Mage can fly and become invisible.
Fate:
Time is not a river, but an ocean. It flows and churns within itself, but never disappears. Learn to ride the wave.
  • Precognition - A Mage using this spell can glimpse the future in brief (and often vague) snippets. The further out the moment glimpsed is from the present, the more difficult accuracy and clarity become. A second in the future may give the message "duck" and save the user from decapitation, but a decade in the future is about as specific as a newspaper horoscope.
  • Postcognition - By tracing the threads of fate backwards, a Mage can see a specific event tied to a person, place, or object they can touch. This vision can only interpret about a five minute span and only within about a dozen yard radius from the thing touched.
  • Ride the Wings of Luck - A Mage twists Fate in their favor. They have no control over the effects of this spell (In-character, at least). Fortune smiles upon the Mage however, and any luck-based event will skew towards the Mage's favor. Light's change just in time to save minutes from a trip. Coin flips always land on what the Mage calls out. Any number of tiny events will lead to better outcomes for the Mage.
  • Master of Fate: Living Backwards - A master of Fate has the ability to "remember the future" as if it were the past, but only when consciously doing so. This allows them to remember relevant details of a situation before they happen and adjust their actions to get a desired result. This is not foolproof (as free will makes perfect prediction (even for this power) impossible), but gives the Mage tremendous insight and influence over events.
Healing:
Physician heal thyself. Or heal the sick. Or the lame. Or whatever. The power over life itself is within your reach.
  • Close the Wound - Most relatively minor wounds can be cured without incident or much strain (think scraped knees, minor cuts, etc). Major wounds, such as the sort caused by violent combat, can also be closed and divides healing time in half. Even mortal wounds can be cured, but only in the sense of preventing immediate death.
  • Cure Disease - This spell can cure most minor diseases. Potent infections or genetic disorders (i.e. late term cancer, Progeria, etc) are outside the scope of this spell, but almost any other infection can be cured by this spell. Most autoimmune and major infections (i.e. HIV, Hutchinson's, etc) can be suppressed, but the disorder still be present. Thus, the 'cured' might be able to survive but still be a carrier or pass autoimmune disorders to their children.
  • Fortitude - The best offense is a good defense. This spell does not heal, but instead prevents. The skin thickens and resists bruising or cutting. Disease and infection are less likely to take hold. Bones resist breaking. This spell effectively reduces any harm imposed on the target in half, or reduces the chance of infection by half.
  • Master of Healing: Restore - This spell exchanges health for health. Any disease can be completely cured, any wound repaired entirely, and any bone removed without a trace. Even genetic disorders and other 'incurable' diseases become no obstacle to the Mage. Even (recent, i.e. within the last hour) death can be reversed. The price of such control over life is steep however, and the diseases/wounds must be transferred to another living creature. In the case of resurrection, a life must be sacrificed to return them to life.
Hexing:
The evil eye is upon you. Curses fly free to torment your enemies. To drain their life, turn their luck, and torment their lives for daring to defy you.
  • Drain - There are times when one needs more energy to survive, but after a long fight or when sorely ill a Mage can sometimes find that they just can't get enough to fuel their own magic. When one doesn't have enough, why not take it from someone else? Drain allows the user to literally suck the life force out of an enemy (or even a friend if one were calloused) and use it to heal themselves or even fuel their magic.
  • Evil Eye - Seen by many as the opposite of "Ride the Wings of Luck," the Evil Eye inflicts misfortune and ill luck on a target. Crowds always seem to get in the way when running late. Rain on one's wedding day. Essentially, everything in one's life seems to go wrong.
  • Torment - Pain is a powerful motivator. Pain can distract and weaken resolve. Pain can drive one to surrender. Pain can cause one to confess to a crime, even one that they did not commit. Torment gives the Mage power to control that pain, giving him a dial to turn up or down on a whim. Torment causes no lasting damage itself (of course if one used Torment on a rock climber...), but can easily incapacitate if not defended against.
  • Master of Hexes: Blight – “A pox upon one's enemies.” A common threat in ages past, and most often seen in magic as manifestations of the Evil Eye spell. Blight is something altogether different. Blight is a mystically virulent plague, and when cast the Mage must choose a target to which Blight will unfailingly infect. Examples of criteria might include all members of a family, all who bear a particular mark, or all who serve a particular lord. The criteria must be specific ("all women" is far too vague and broad) and while mortality may be high amongst the group, it is never truly complete. Survival rates are consistently around 15% and the curse can be cured easily with magic once correctly identified (but only with magic).
Scrying:
Knowledge is power. The more you know, the more you can control. Scrying allows the Mage to find information from far away and remain in safety.
  • Astral Form - The Mage can use this spell to temporarily detach their soul from their body and cast it into the Æther, connected mystically by a silver thread. From that point, the Mage may travel either into the Astral Reaches (and from there to other Spirit Realms) or to some place in the physical world. When traveling in the Astral Reaches the Mage's spirit is effectively the same as their physical form (with the same capabilities and skills) but is free to explore the Collective Unconscious of this plane. With concerted effort (and the knowledge of their existence), the Mage could then find pathways to other Spirit Realms through connected Astral Concepts (e.g. Reaching the Spirit Wilds through the "Woods" of Little Red Riding Hood, or descending to the Underworld through the Legend of Orpheus). When traveling the physical world the Mage gains tremendous speed (traveling hundreds of miles in seconds) but is completely invisible and inaudible (though these two can be overcome with conscious effort) as well completely unable to interact physically with anything (which cannot be overcome except through other spells). Additionally, this spell leaves the Mage's physical body inert and unable to defend itself.
  • Clairvoyence - With a bit of focus and a specific question in mind, the Mage can reach into the Aether and pluck the answer from thin air. The question need not be a simple one but the more complex the question the more unclear the answer, meaning yes/no questions produce easy answers but one like "what is the meaning of life" will produce immensely vague and useless answers. Some facts may prove impossible to learn through this method, either because the facts have been clouded through Warding or cloaked by other (greater) powers.
  • Stroke of Genius - Sometimes there's a problem that the Mage cannot solve, or more frequently the problem is missing crucial details needed to find the solution. When struggling with a problem that seems unsolvable, this spell grants the Mage insight that she does not (or sometimes, should not) have which can lead to a solution. This is not a "pull useful information out of thin air" spell (Telepathy is closer to that), but rather a way to fill in identified gaps in information. An example would be an advanced scientific formula which the Mage cannot solve, but with a Stroke of Genius she realizes she's missing a variable. Another example might be a puzzle box containing a powerful artifact is frustrating a Mage and he uses this spell to realize its "trick" and can thus use his own knowledge to finish the puzzle himself.
  • Master of Scrying: Omniscience - A Mage with this power is capable, upon activation, of becoming one with the Collective Unconscious itself and thus can access the knowledge (but not thoughts or memories) of all living creatures not Warded or otherwise protected by some mystic force. The downside is that this only lasts about 5 minutes and the toll of so much information being contained in a single mind causes a temporary coma (usually roughly 24 hours) after its time expires. In the few minutes of Omniscience, the Mage can act however she likes, but any words she speaks come out in an archaic and unintelligible speech making the passing along of any knowledge impossible (and lending the spell a nickname: "Climbing the Tower of Babel").
Spiritus:
The World and its realms are full of spirits, and only some of them were ever human. Spiritus gives Mages the keys to these kingdoms, and the tools to walk amongst the spirits as one of their own.
  • Exorcism - Sometimes spirits go where they shouldn't and those capable of Spiritus are amongst the few that can do something about it. Exorcism allows a Mage to force a spirit to depart a place. This may mean forcing a spirit out of a body it is possessing (living or dead), ending a haunting, or even forcing a Spirit to flee from a Mage's immediate presence.
  • Negotiate - Negotiate is actually two different but similar spells, differing only in tone/intent. Both spells compel a spirit to perform a service for the casting Mage, but the difference lies in how the mage approaches the issue. The most common (and least likely to anger the spirits and draw down a curse) is a referred to as "The Bargain," which is where the Mage forges a pact with the spirit in question wherein the Mage performs a service in exchange for the spirit's assistance. Less commonly (and officially condemned by the Council) is "The Command," where the Mage uses magic to force a spirit to perform its service with nothing in exchange. "The Command," except in the direst circumstances, tends to draw negative consequences when used: both from their Mage peers and from the offended spirit they have violated...
  • Summoning - There are many reasons to summon a spirit and this spell gives a Mage the power to do so. Perhaps the Mage needs information, or wishes to "hire" a spirit to watch over and protect an ally. Sometimes spirits of violence might be called to help a Mage survive combat, or a spirit of peace to prevent violence from starting. Regardless of reason, a Mage should be prepared to use Negotiate as well (or have a damned good explanation) when summoning, as without the power of Negotiate there is nothing to prevent the spirit from taking out its annoyance on the caster...
  • Master of Spiritus: Open the Door - The apex of Spiritus allows the Mage to enter the Realms which the spirits call home. It creates a portal (more literally: a tear in the boundaries of reality) which the Mage and/or her allies can use to enter the Spirt Realms. Any portal can only open into one of the Realms at a time, and must be defined as the Mage casts the spell, but can be any one of the three Realms: Astral Reaches, Spirit Wilds, or the Underworld. The portal persists until the next moonrise but can be closed by the caster at any time before then. Take care! Anyone can walk through an open portal, friend and foe alike!
Telekinesis:
Mind over matter. The power of the mind over its environment. Telekinesis gives a Mage the power to interact with the world around them without so much as lifting a finger.
  • Crush - The Mage can channel the Æther permeating the air to create and direct force surrounding an object (no more than a volume roughly 2x2x2ft), and thus applying up to 500 lbs of force to any object within the area of effect. This spell alone does not cause sufficient damage to kill an organic creature, but creative uses can potentially cause serious harm or even death.
  • Float - The Mage can channel Æther to lift an object (up to 300 lbs) off the ground (up to 10ft) and move it around slowly (about 5-10mph) in any direction desired. This spell, slightly modified, can be applied to the caster instead and allow a limited form of flight. When applied to the self, the height and speed rates are doubled.
  • Push - The Mage shifts the flow of Æther towards a target and creates a wall of pure force to knock over any resistance. The range of this spell is up to 10 yards away before its effectiveness begins to diminish. The amount of force applied is as little or as much as the caster requires, from the lightest touch to a tremendous force (equivalent to a low speed car collision, non-fatal but very painful). Note that this can also be reduced to the point where a button could be pushed from far away or an apple plucked from high in tree, not just as a combat application.
  • Master of Telekinesis: Poltergeist - The above telekinetic powers are restricted to one target at a time, the level of concentration and effort to affect more than one object at a time is too great for a non-master. With Poltergeist, the Master of Telekinesis can now use any other Telekinesis power on multiple targets (up to a dozen) at once.
Telepathy:
The mind is a book with a lock, thoughts written every day and protected from the perusal of others. A clever mage can learn to pick that lock...
  • Note: This power, more than any other, opens the door for metagaming/godmodding. Please don't. There is lots of room for interesting and engaging uses of these spells, but be sure to get the approval of any player OOCly before using these spells on a character ICly.
  • Direct Order - This allows the Mage to implant a single, simple command (no more than 3 words) directly into the mind of another. While this command does not force the individual to follow the command (free will can still over power this command), it is unlikely to be ignored for two reasons: First, it carries a strong "you should do this" feeling attached and, second, it appears in the subject's head in their own "voice" and thus seems like it was their idea. Please note that this power cannot make a target ignore survival instincts; commands such as "Kill yourself" will always fail.
  • Empathy - Empathy allows a mage to "see" the emotional states of others. In some cases, this is a literal "sight" in the form of auras around the subject. In others, the spell's effects might manifest as anything from a "vague feeling" to different "smells" for different emotional states. Emotional states can sometimes be more telling than reading actual thoughts, as it can prove easier to predict actions when an subject is angry or depressed, as opposed to reading the thought "I hate you" in the same subject.
  • Open the Book - This spell allows the caster to read the surface thoughts of a target. It does not allow the caster to see deep thoughts and memories, but rather lets them skim through a target's current thoughts and short term memory to look for information. This does not go unnoticed by the subject, and creates a feeling not unlike "someone walking over your grave."
  • Master of Telepathy: Possession - Similar to the Astral Projection spell, a Master of Telepathy can project their consciousness out of their body. Unlike Astral Projectors, Possessors do not leave the earthly plain and instead project their consciousness into the body of another. The "host" personality is suppressed and will not remember anything done during possession (much like a dreamless sleep) and the caster's personality takes over control of the body. The Possessor has access to the body's physical capabilities and skills (so things like strength and athletic "muscle memory") but not the memories or social/mental skills of the host. While possessing another, the caster's body lies inert and defenseless. Also note that, while less frequently done, Possession can be used on animal targets as well.
Transmutation:
They say to always dress for the job you want, not the job you have... What should I do if my dream is to become a dinosaur? Learning Transmutation is the answer.
  • Become Like the Beast - This spell allows the Mage to change their shape to that of another creature. For up to 24 hours, the Mage can become almost any creature. The mage is restricted to animals that are no larger than ten times the size of the mage's human form (so a small rhino is possible, but an elephant is not), and no smaller than ten times smaller than the human form (so a dog is possible, but a rat is not). The human mind of the Mage is unchanged beyond gaining instinctive knowledge of how to use the body's natural abilities, such as echolocation or using a prehensile tail. This spell can be ended any time before the 24 hour time limit if the Mage so chooses.
  • Become Like the Stone - This spell allows the Mage to change their shape into that of an inanimate object for up to 12 hours. The object they become is the same rough weight and size as the Mage's base form, but can take any shape desired. While in "object form" the Mage cannot move any more than the object would be capable of on its own (e.g. A coat rack can't move at all, while a mannequin has almost full (if awkward) motion), but is supernaturally resistant to damage (roughly equivalent to the damage resistance of a human body regardless of the object's "true" material. When in "object form" the only thing that is always true is that the consciousness of the Mage remains unaltered (despite not having a brain) and they can always return to their natural form.
  • Enhance - Transmutation isn't just about the ability to change yourself into the form of a creature or an object, it is also about altering the base form of the caster. Though temporary (usually lasting a few hours), Enhance allows the Mage to increase their physical capabilities. Enhance allows a Mage to run faster, jump higher, survive tremendous damage without flinching, or even slow their breathing and heartrate to the point of near death (thus allowing them, with occasional reapplication of the spell, to survive for days or even months without food or water).
  • Master of Transmutation: Share the Shape - Mastery of Transmutation allows the Mage to use any Transmutation spell on another. The only difference between the spell effects when cast on the self and when cast upon others is that only the caster can cancel the spell early, the target cannot. So if a Mage were to turn someone into a pig, the spell will fade after 24 hours or when the Mage cancels it but the victim cannot use their own magic to end it early (unless they find a way to perform the rituals, use the hand signals, and/or intone the words without a human body).
Warding:
The best offense is a good defense, this is just as true in Magic as in anything else.
  • Barrier - This creates a "wall" of Æther which can prevent any magical attack from striking its target. For example: A fireball flung at the Mage dissipates into nothingness when it strikes the Barrier the defending mage creates. The Barrier can only defend one direction at a time, so two of the same fireballs sent from both left and right cannot be both stopped with the same barrier (one might, but the other would not). Barrier however can defend a range of rough 10x10ft and anyone who fits behind said barrier would be equally protected.
  • Countermagic - It is difficult at the best of times to utterly destroy or disrupt Æther once another Mage has set it in motion. Where barrier produces a wall for spells to break themselves upon, Countermagic is a more direct method to protect oneself. Countermagic is founded on a mystic equivalent of the physics concept of "for every action there is an equal or opposite reaction." Magic does not care for physics; in fact there is usually no direct opposing force to magic and instead it creates only reactive forces (i.e. Magic Fire burn as well "real fire) or punitive forces (i.e. the Scourge). Countermagic allows a defending Mage to provide their own "opposing force" and manifests in one of two ways. The most common use is to negate a spell's direct effect on the caster such as Magic Fire doesn't burn the defender, but still burns their clothes and surrounding. The other is to diminish the "area effect" of a spell, such as a summoned Storm becomes less a deluge and more a sprinkle (but does not make the Mage immune to getting wet).
  • Sanctuary - The Mage can declare a zone inviolate from invasion from a particular force or creature. Nothing of that force or creature type may enter the space so declared, but the space can be no larger than 10x10x10ft unless the space is confined by solid walls/roof (so a church building can be declared a Sanctuary, but only 10ft cube can be so warded in the woods). This Sanctuary must be "keyed" to a single and specific word description of its designated "target" upon casting, "Fire" and "Werewolf" are specific enough but "Magic" is too broad. While this area is a Sanctuary, nothing matching the description may enter and when attempting to do so is stopped by an invisible wall of force. No Sanctuary can be "keyed" to more than one "target" at a time and the Sanctuary lasts for one "turn of the moon" (or 28 days) before it needs to be recast or allowed to expire. For example: A Church might be a Sanctuary against Vampires, a Mage's home a Sanctuary against Goblins (i.e. Wyrdlings), or the area around a tree's base might be a Sanctuary against flames. (Note: Exceptions cannot be made. If a priest makes his church a Sanctuary against Vampires, they can't invite their new Vampire friend through the barrier. The only way to do so is cancel the spell early, which would allow [i]all Vampires through. The spell could be recast with the Buddy Vampire within and they are free to move around within the building, but once he leaves he cannot come back in.[/i])
  • Null Zone - A combination of the above spells, a Null Zone is a space (either 10x10x10 or within the confines of a building's walls) that is warded against "Magic" instead of a specific target. While it allows creatures like Vampires or Werewolves through the boundaries, their supernatural abilities fail to function. A Vampire's fangs dull and their enhanced physical abilities fade. A Werewolf's ability to shapeshift fails to function. Even a Mage's spells fail and instead fizzle into nothingness, even spells cast by the Null Zone's creator. Supernatural attacks from outside the Null Zone strike an invisible barrier and fizzles into nothingness as it strikes a Barrier of Countermagic. The only spell that does not fail within the Null Zone is the spell which cancels its effect, which can only be cast by the original caster. This spell lasts until the original caster's death or until it is canceled by the original caster.
Weather:
You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows, but when you can control the direction of these winds...
  • Call the Storm - The Mage beseeches the heavens and calls down the rains. This can range anywhere from a light drizzle to a torrential downpour, even causing flash flooding and other similar effects from heavy rains. The uses of this ability depend which end of the scale the Mage wishes to operate the spell. A light rain is good for refreshing dry crops and providing relief from heat. A mid-range rain could be used to wash away grime, footprints in dirt, or even evidence of a crime. A heavy rain obscures vision of enemies and makes travel difficult. While such called storms do not require clouds to be in the sky (the fewer clouds the higher chance of Scourging though), it cannot cause precipitation if the season is wrong. No snow in July (at least north of the equator)! However, this does mean that this spell can instead call snow (or freezing rain) during the winter months if the mage so desires.
  • Guide the Winds - The name of this spell is something of a misnomer. While this spell does indeed confer the ability to direct and control the winds, it also allows the creation of winds where none exist. Once a wind is present, the mage can change its direction as well as increase or decrease its intensity. A slight breeze soothes the soul, a mid-range wind makes swift travel easier, and a gale-force wind can literally sweep enemies off their feet.
  • Weather Shield - This spell makes a Mage immune to the effects of all weather, regardless of its origin (i.e. mystic or natural). Any direct effect of weather conditions can safely be ignored by the mage. This means a Mage will not suffer frostbite or hypothermia even in sub-zero temperatures, will not suffer heat stroke in a desert (though dehydration could prove a threat), will not be blown over by the winds (though a falling tree could still crush them), and stays dry even in the heaviest rains.
  • Natural Disaster - Call the Storm summons rain, but cannot independently summon wind or lightning. Guide the Winds can summon winds of any strength, but lack control over other conditions enough to change those winds into something more. Natural Disaster pulls together these two abilities, increases their scope, and combines them with control over other atmospheric conditions to create something greater than the sum their parts. This spell allows the Mage to summon (but not control beyond an initial location) a storm of destructive scope. Hurricanes, Tidal Waves, Tornadoes, Earthquakes, Volcanic Eruptions, and the like now come at the Mage's beck and call. Note: This doesn't allow the summoning of a Hurricane or Tidal Wave in the Sahara Desert, there are too many factors preventing the forming of such a storm. Similarly, a Volcanic Eruption in central South Dakota is effectively impossible, while tornadoes are common in such a place.
Jan 21 2016, 10:29 AM
Cosmology

Cosmology. A word that is deceptively simple. Cosmo- as a prefix means simply "the universe" and the suffix -logy means either "the study of something" or "the collected knowledge of something." So what is cosmology? It's simply the study or collected knowledge of the universe. A simple concept really, but one with implications that could be discussed for decades without pause.

So what does this have to do with No Books? Well, simply put, most of the supernatural creatures and especially talented folks that call Columbiana Valley home are capable of stepping "outside" our physical world and into other realms. A point of constant confusion for players, both new and experienced alike, is what exactly is there in the places "outside" in the world of No Books? What follows is a basic breakdown of these realms. Each section will describe the realm in question as well as provide an idea of how that realm might be reached and by whom

The Realms

Note: To reach any of the Realms requires a spell learned through either the Scrying or Spiritus schools, and depending on which of the two spells are used will alter how the mage appears in the Realms. Alternately, there are enchanted “portals” available in certain buildings on campus which can also be used to access the Realms, but doing so without permission will certainly result in disciplinary action.

“The Realms” is a collective name for the various “shadows” of the physical world which can be found across the spiritual barrier known as the Spirit Wall. The various Realms are frequented by the denizens of the Valley because they are the most easily understood by dimensional/spiritual travelers. There are generally considered 3 major “realms” and each "reflects" the physical realm through the lens of that Realm's purpose (i.e. Astral, Wild, or Dark).

Movement within an Umbral reflection can be seen in one of two ways. The first (and most common) is “three-dimensional” travel, where one can move left/right, forward/backward, and up/down just as they could in the physical realm. The second, and metaphysically more difficult, is along what one could call a fourth dimension or sometimes called "depth." To move "deeper" into an Umbra is to move further away from the physical realm and enter places more abstract and bizarre than the physical world.


The Astral Reaches

Other Names: High Realm, Astral Realm, Astral Space, Mindscape, Dreaming, Dreamlands

Description: The Astral Reaches are a bizarre landscape which alternates between the familiar and the unknowable. Any being capable of sentient thought will feel comfortable here, even if they don't know why. The reason for this strange familiarity is that this Umbral Reflection is built by the thoughts and dreams of every creature to have ever had a thought or dream, including the mage herself. In fact, the Astral Realm is a place that every sentient being visits most every night through their dreams, albeit unconsciously.

The Astral Reaches consist of three "layers" according to those who have studied it. The first and most personal is the Mindscape. The Mindscape is a "pocket realm" reflecting the conscious mind of a living being, and one exists for each and every living (and a few, potent non-living) beings. These Mindscapes, if entered by any but the being who it reflects, are usually empty beyond a few powerful thoughts or memories The exception is when the individual sleeps, when the Mindscape becomes a theatre of sorts where the dreams of the being becomes tangible and plays out within.

The next deepest layer is the Collective Unconscious. This is the layer where a mage typically arrives when coming to the Astral Reaches, unless they enter through their own Mindscape. The Collective Unconscious typically reflects the understanding that locals have of an area. Buildings of cultural or spiritual importance tend to stand in this realm much as they do in the physical world. In fact, places long demolished, but well remembered (such as the Roman Coliseum or the Library at Alexandria), can still thrive for decades or even centuries after their fall. This layer of the Astral Reaches is mostly populated by spirits of the local culture such as schools populated by spirits of wisdom, government buildings populated by spirits of authority or duty (depending on the style of government), or parks populated by spirits of nature or joy.

The deepest layer is a place called the World Soul, which represents the collective unconscious of everything which exists in this universe. It reflects the most abstract of concepts and carries the weight of things that don't have sentience in the strictest sense. This includes the entirety of history and places far beyond human experience (such as other worlds or other times). This is a place of abstracts and the inhuman; and it borders the furthest borders of this reality. This is also a place where human (and other species) religions have powerful reflections. Gods, devils, angels, and other religious creatures can be found here, but whether these are mere reflections of human belief or the literal beings who have reached out to humanity through the Astral Reaches is a hotly debated subject...

Examples of Deeper Places in the Realm s: The Fountain of Language, Asgard/Mt. Olympus/Heaven/other religious realms, The Pillar of Government, The Grand Library, The Apex of History

Ways to Enter: Anyone can enter their personal Mindscape through dreams. Mages can easily enter through direct Astral Projection, merely by concentrating and “thinking deeper.” Alternately, a portal can be opened with Spiritus; such portals are much easier to open in places of intellect and/or learning, such as a school or laboratory. Wyrdlings can naturally enter any Mindscape through making a pact with the individual who owns it, but entering the Collective Unconscious can only be reached by Changelings with an appropriate Trait.


The Spirit Wilds

Other Names: The Middle Realm, The Wild Realm, The Primal Wilds, The Ancient World

Description: The Spirit Wilds are a place of nature unfettered by the whims of humanity. It is a place where spirits of nature, often indistinguishable from wild animals, run free from mortal influence. The closest layer of this world reflects the spiritual health of the physical world. Though it is extremely rare for cities or towns to be reflected in the Wild Umbra, the effects of these settlements can be seen in spiritual pollution or bizarre clearings in the woods. Spirits of species long driven from an area (wolves for example), can still thrive in the Wild Umbra for centuries after the last of their kind disappeared in the physical world.

Deeper layers of the Spirit Wilds reflect worlds further and further from a world with humanity. The deepest of these Realms seem untouched by any sentient species and are places of primal truths. Behemoths impossible in the physical world are common there, spirits of the heavens walk the moon-roads of the sky, elemental spirits burn, flow, rumble, and blow through the thick jungles. Storms rage endlessly. It is a place where few mortal creatures can survive for long and abstract thought can get you killed.

Examples of Deeper Places in the Realm: Pangaea (a place of extinct species), The Bygone Realms (a place of dragons, chimera, and other 'mythological' creatures), The Flux (a place of eternally shifting land and predation), The Elemental Realms (i.e. The Firelands, the Deep Earth, etc)

Ways to Enter: Mages can open a portal for themselves and their allies with Spiritus spell, which is much easier to do in the wilderness; or by first entering the Astral Realms with a Scrying spell and then looking for “entrances” in stories of wilderness or in primordial concepts. Wyrdlings cannot usually enter the Wild Umbra without assistance from a Mage, but rumours persist of a rare few with a Trait which allows them entrance. Werewolves and other shapeshifters are rumoured to be able to enter this Umbra without restriction, but this is currently unproven. Even mortals can rarely enter the Wild Umbra in the deepest and wildest places of the world (including a rumoured entrance deep in the Columbiana Valley).


The Underworld

Other Names: The Low Realm, The Dark Realm, Land of the Dead, The Shadowlands, The Afterlife

Description: From the beginning of human history, there has always been references to souls who linger after death. The exact nature of these spirits has never been entirely clear to the living, but their presence has been persistent. Though the eventual fate of the human soul, and the reality of a true afterlife, is still unknown to the living and the lingering dead alike. However, it is known that some spirits linger in either the physical realm or in the Shadowlands.

For most, the first images of the Shadowlands they see is a decayed reflection of the physical world. This first layer is a place that appears nearly identical to the world of the living, only empty of life and riddled with decay. Buildings are collapsed, fields lay empty, whole forests full of dead trees, and cold winds blow slowly through a barren landscape devoid of any warmth or life. Spirits of the recently dead, usually those who departed life within the last century, haunt this part of the Umbra and sometimes find avenues through the Spirit Wall to haunt the living. Why these souls linger varies with each individual, but they all have some form of unfinished business which keeps them bound to the lands of the living.

Though rare, some spirits linger much longer after their death and have nothing remaining to keep them tethered to the lands of the living. Cast adrift, these souls wander deeper into the Underworld and into the realms beyond. Some of these realms bear a passing resemblance to the afterlives of mortal religions, but always ring hollow. Heavens lack bliss, hells lack penance, and Limbo seeps into all. Other spirits defiantly seek to forge a new 'life' amongst the dead, building cities on the shores of Oblivion and defying the Abyss from their new Necropoli. Are there deeper places, lost in the decay of Oblivion? Maybe. One fact always holds true: the deeper one travels into the Underworld, the fewer have ever returned.

Examples of Deeper Places in the Realm: Reflections of various Heavens and Hells of every imaginable kind, Various Necropoli (examples: The Jade Empire, Shangri-La, Nyx, Gotham), The Labyrinth, The Maw of Oblivion

Ways to Enter: Most people catch fleeting glimpses of the Shadowlands intermittently throughout their lives, but mortals can almost never reach this realm without aid (at least, while alive). Mages can open portals for themselves and their allies with a Spiritus spell, or by casting themselves into the Astral Reaches and symbolically “dying” or finding a place reflecting the concept of “death.” Most Wyrdlings are unaware of the Shadowlands, but some few possess Traits which allow them to contact or even visit the Shadowlands.


Other Places

Though the various Realms are, by far, the most common places for those who would explore outside of the physical realms, they are far from the only places. What follows are the rare few places outside of the physical and spiritual realms that are known to those within the Valley.


The Hedge

Other Names: Arcadia, Faerieland, Tir Na Nog, Countless others

Description: The Realm of the Gentry is something... else. It is connected to this world, but is still somehow outside of reality's rules. The border-marches between the two realms is often referred to as the Maze, and refers to the strange realm that has cropped up between the two. It is a place where the laws of the mortal world are weak, but the laws of Arcadia don't have total control. It is a world of half-truths and half-measures. Things impossible in reality can stand comfortably alongside mortals and both survive equally well. Unfortunately, the Maze is dangerous. It leaves mortals exposed to strange threats and even mortal magic is weaker there, leaving them ripe for capture by the beings native to Arcadia.

Arcadia itself is a place where the rules and truths of reality are as fluid as water. The Faerie Lord who hold power in a given territory set the rules and can change them on a whim, leaving even the most powerful and talented of mortals at a tremendous disadvantage. Only a fool would enter of their own free will, and those taken against their will are always forever changed by the experience.

Deeper Places in the Realm: There are as many different realms in Arcadia as there are Gentry, maybe more. Rumours persist, of an “Elder Kingdom” in the heart of Arcadia, ruled over by the “Elder One” to which all Gentry owe their loyalty. None who have chosen to explore the furthest reaches of Arcadia have ever returned.

Ways to Enter: No one knows how many or how many there are, but there are “Gaps” in reality which lead to the Maze. Through these Gaps, those who wish to do so can reach the Hedge and Arcadia beyond, but the road can go both ways. Some say they have been able to open new Gaps with magic, and imply they were also able to close it afterward, but if true none have ever explained how...


The Eternal City

Other Names: The Living City, The Endless City, Infinopolis, 416c6c2057696c6c204265204f6e65

Description: An endless city, which spread as far as the eye can see and much further beyond. Some say that the city encompasses a world equal in size to our own. Others say that it is much, much larger than that. Regardless of the truth, the city is massive on a scale difficult to comprehend. What’s more, the geometry of the city is constantly shifting and appears to operate independent of what humanity considers “normal” or even “possible,” which makes navigating the city in any reliable or repeatable fashion nearly impossible.

Deeper Realms: There is no deeper realm, only more of the city’s sprawl.

Ways to Enter: No reliable method is known, but various anomalies and locations have been known to open into the Eternal City. Such places and occurrences are far more common in urban areas, but even small towns have been known to have “disappearances” which can be traced to the City. Those who seek the City seem to always find it, eventually. The problem is, due to the odd nature of geometry and physics in the City itself, most who seek the City never return…


The Outer Realms

Other Names: The Realm Outside, Lair of the Elder Ones, The Great Black

Description: A place of Unreality, the Outer Realms are mostly unknown to those of this world. What little is known is more defined by what these bizarre realms are not and not by what they are. Scattered within this place of Nothing, there are pockets which contain whole other Universes. Some are deceptively similar to this world. Others defy explanation.

Deeper Realms: Countless realms of all kinds and descriptions

Ways to Enter: No reliable method is known, but rumours persist of impossibly complex and powerful rituals that are capable of opening gateways. If these rumours are true, those who know of these secret rituals keep them carefully hidden away...
Jan 4 2016, 04:20 PM
This Month's Bonus Event: Winter “Wonderland”



The month of January is generally a cold and snowy one. This is especially true at the high elevations of Colorado where the Columbiana Valley rests amongst the mountains. The snow has come and buried much of the mountain passes and when combined with the recent quarantine imposed on the Valley due to a strange strain of influenza, it’s a time to either retreat from the cold or embrace it.

Thus, for this installment of our monthly Bonus Event, we here at No Books want everyone to go out and experience the cold! Or, conversely, how people are trying to escape the cold and enjoy themselves indoors. This could be hitting the nearby slopes (at least those within the quarantine zone) for some skiing or snowboarding with friends. It could be exploring the woods of the Valley wearing snowshoes. It could even simply joining the campus Gaming Club for cards and board game nights.

There are two ways to enter the contest this month:
1) You can create a new thread pertaining to our challenge. The rules for doing so are described below.
2) You can produce a creative solo piece related to the challenge. These pieces can be artwork (a drawing of your character's family opening gifts) or it can be a journal entry {describing their exploration of Kwanzaa perhaps?), or anything related to the challenge.

The Rules
  • While the thread itself does not have to be set on (or even all that close to) any particular holiday, it must thematically relate to the season somehow.
  • The thread must be tagged both "Open" and "Event" to qualify, we want as many characters as possible to get in on the fun!
  • There are no restrictions on who can start or join a thread to earn the rewards, this is for Sleepers and Changelings too!
    Enjoy yourselves!

The Rewards
  • Those who join an Event thread: All characters who participate in at least one Event thread will receive a free in-character perk of the player choosing for no XP! These can be enchanted items, a sphere level, a clause, or something else that benefits the character. If you aren't sure if your idea will work, contact an admin.
  • Those who start an Event thread: All players who create an Event thread that gets at least one other character to join will get the award detailed above plus 10xp! Even if the thread doesn't finish by the end of the month!
  • One lucky Event thread: At the end of the month, one lucky thread will be chosen as our winner and its participants will each gain (in addition to the above prizes) a choice of either one their characters to playing a pivotal role in a future SWP or a bonus 25xp.

We hope our players will join us for this event and have tons of fun with this event!

As always, if anyone has any questions/comments/criticisms please feel free to let us know!
Dec 1 2015, 02:29 PM
This Month's Bonus Event: Peace on Earth and Good Will Towards Men


The month of December is often called the Holiday Season, and not just by those who are determined not to offend anyone. It has earned the title because of the sheer number of holidays, both religious and (semi-)secular events that all seem to coincide with this time of the year. The harvest is done, the fields are empty and the work of the year is complete. It is a time of cold and quiet and darkness throughout the northern hemisphere, and thus it is a time when humanity turns its thoughts inward. Self-contemplation and family togetherness seem to be the watchwords of the season, a time when the cold and dark makes us dream of warmth and light.

Thus, for this installment of our monthly Bonus Event, we here at No Books want everyone to explore what the Holidays mean to your character. Show us their family's Chanukah celebrations, the Christmas dinner they put on for their friends, or even the cold and dark evenings spent alone and wondering if another year is worth the effort. This is a chance to show us how your character deals with the contrast between light and dark, cold and warmth, happiness and sorrow that exemplifies the season.

There are two ways to enter the contest this month:
1) You can create a new thread pertaining to our challenge. The rules for doing so are described below.
2) You can produce a creative solo piece related to the challenge. These pieces can be artwork (a drawing of your character's family opening gifts) or it can be a journal entry {describing their exploration of Kwanzaa perhaps?), or anything related to the challenge.

The Rules
  • While the thread itself does not have to be set on (or even all that close to) any particular holiday, it must thematically relate to the season somehow.
  • The thread must be tagged both "Open" and "Event" to qualify, we want as many characters as possible to get in on the fun!
  • There are no restrictions on who can start or join a thread to earn the rewards, this is for Sleepers and Changelings too!
  • Enjoy yourselves!

The Rewards
  • Those who join an Event thread: All characters who participate in at least one Event thread will receive a free in-character perk of the player choosing for no XP! These can be enchanted items, a sphere level, a clause, or something else that benefits the character. If you aren't sure if your idea will work, contact an admin.
  • Those who start an Event thread: All players who create an Event thread that gets at least one other character to join will get the award detailed above plus 10xp! Even if the thread doesn't finish by the end of the month!
  • One lucky Event thread: At the end of the month, one lucky thread will be chosen as our winner and its participants will each gain (in addition to the above prizes) a choice of either one their characters to playing a pivotal role in a future SWP or a bonus 25xp.

We hope our players will join us for this event and have tons of fun with this event!

As always, if anyone has any questions/comments/criticisms please feel free to let us know!
Nov 5 2015, 06:55 PM


This Month's Bonus Event:
A Time of Thanksgiving and Stabbing a Bitch...


This month is November. It is a time for gathering together with family, enjoying good food and a warm hearth, and being thankful for all the good fortune the year has brought to you and yours. It is also a time of greed, rampant capitalism, and stabbing a bitch for taking the last Tickle Me Elmo...

Thus, for this installment of our monthly Bonus Event, we here at No Books wanted to get everyone into the spirit of the season by issuing a challenge to our players to show us either the most touching and heartwarming parts of your characters lives... Or to show us the darkest parts of them, the selfish and brutal elements. Even better if you can do both!

There are two ways to enter the contest this month.
1) You can create a new thread pertaining to our challenge. The rules for doing so are described below.
2) You can produce a creative solo piece related to the challenge. These pieces can be artwork (a drawing of your character's family sitting down to a meal perhaps?) or it can be a poem (possibly full of imagery of blood and chaos in a Walmart?).

The Rules
  • While the thread itself does not have to be set on (or even all that close to) Thanksgiving or Black Friday, it must thematically relate to the holiday somehow.
  • The thread must be tagged both "Open" and "Event" to qualify, we want as many characters as possible to get in on the fun!
  • There are no restrictions on who can start or join a thread to earn the rewards, this is for Sleepers and Changelings too!
  • Enjoy yourselves!
The Rewards
  • Those who join an Event thread: All characters who participate in at least one Event thread will receive a free in-character perk of the player choosing for no XP! These can be enchanted items, a sphere level, a clause, or something else that benefits the character. If you aren't sure if your idea will work, contact an admin.
  • Those who start an Event thread: All players who create an Event thread that gets at least one other character to join will get the award detailed above plus 10xp! Even if the thread doesn't finish by the end of the month!
  • One lucky Event thread: At the end of the month, one lucky thread will be chosen as our winner and its participants will each gain (in addition to the above prizes) a choice of either one their characters to playing a pivotal role in a future SWP or a bonus 25xp.
We hope our players will join us for this event and have tons of fun with this event!

As always, if anyone has any questions/comments/criticisms please feel free to let us know!
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