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Zarsies

Mysticism Guide

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This guide assumes you have already read the original lore post for Mysticism as well as the addition or at least are aware of the concepts presented within them; if so, this guide should serve to be mostly review. As well, all information about Wights are posted below in a comment in order to separate their guide yet keep it close. Also note that this guide does not cover any RP / cultural / societal rules that may be applied to mystics should they be gathered within a guild. Happy RPing!

 


Basic Understanding:

 

Spoiler


Mysticism revolves around the manipulation of ectoplasm. So firstly you and your character must understand what exactly ectoplasm is, likely from either your teacher, the Grimoire, or both. Ectoplasm -- referred to in older lore as generalized “spirit energy” -- is a unique substance in its own right, however it is closely related to lifeforce, mana, and the soul. It may conduct lifeforce which therefore allows phantoms (any spectral creatures) their unliving state. Ectoplasm as well conducts mana, allowing phantoms their magical traits and abilities. This accounts for their weaknesses such as their aversion to light and crippling by aurum, holy magic, Fi’ magic, shamanistic spirits, and alteration. Ectoplasm is not present in any other medium than mysticism and phantasmal entities and is thus exclusive to them; this is meant to keep from any complication relating to other magics and lore, so should any instance come up where there is a conflict, it is likely that ectoplasm will already have an addressed solution due to its behavior or makeup, however if you are unsure then refer to the lore keeper for a conclusion. Although mana can be drained from beings to lessen their ectoplasm and therefore cause them to demanifest, their lifeforce cannot. Due to the strange intricacies of lifeforce within an ethereal material, necromancers are unable to tether phantoms. Note, lastly, that Wights are the sole exception to the latter due to the nature of their state of being in which their own necromantic capabilities are able to be unlocked prior to their becoming spectral and presence of a solid, physical form to anchor them.

Every rite and spell requires the manipulation of ectoplasm. After having awaited for your pool of ectoplasm to return, as it regenerates over time so long as one is alive to provide lifeforce and mana for its creation alongside a sensitivity for it, mystics may perform rituals. Most liturgies involve projecting one’s ectoplasm from themself, thus much training and practice must go into the mental concentration required to direct the substance. Liturgies are performed through different manners of projection and list as follows:

-Crowning involves the projection of huge amounts of ectoplasm which only Wights and Apparitions are capable of. They send it out from themselves and attempt a process similar to Binding within a given person’s body in order to wear away their natural resistance to ectoplasm and contaminate their soul with it.

-Saturation involves the projection of ectoplasm into a killing instrument, giving sacrificial weapons their otherworldly glow prior to striking. This form of projection has to be done with the mental image one’s armament being pumped with ectoplasm, often requiring mystics to study their weapons before usage. The greater one’s understanding of the weapon, the easier and faster it is to Saturate it.

-Binding involves projecting ectoplasm repeatedly in on and off states where with each new application nearby phantoms are drawn to the object (stone pillar or item) and may be bound to it. This requires a larger ectoplasm pool and extensive concentration, however not much practice beyond that needed in transmitting ectoplasm.

-Handling is in the same group as Hindering. They both involve exuding ectoplasm without major direction and rather in an aura or swathe. Both are relatively simple to practice, especially Hindering in its aesthetic form, however Handling is more so a chance. The high scale effects of Hindering can only be reached when large amounts of ectoplasm, done by having multiple mystics present, is radiated by the gathering and mass slaughter ensues.

-Lastly, deadbreath involves not only the exuding of ectoplasm, as with the projection of it, but also the conversion of it. Deadbreath is the product of materializing ectoplasm, where the user vividly imagines their ectoplasm attempting to take on a spatial form and in turn it spits out into a murky, vision-coagulating haze rather swiftly. A minimum of half of the mystic’s ectoplasm is consumed in the process, often times taking more, and is thus frequently a one to two shot spell. 

On mystics themselves and not their rituals, they are akin to shades or tainted beings in reference to their weaknesses. Since their very soul is tampered with, being that it is now coated in a shell of ectoplasm of varying thickness, they gain the weaknesses of the phantoms they dominate due to ectoplasm’s dark disposition. With this, they are marred by holy magics, Fi’ magic, shamanist spirits, aurum weaponry, and alteration (namely enchanted weaponry). As well, whenever casting a spell outright, the active use of ectoplasm brings about visual changes. Said alterations in appearance list as -- respective to tier although no matter uncontrollable -- abnormal patterns in skin discoloration, skin translucency, exaggerated veins, partial glowing alongside rot of the flesh, full hide transparency, gleaming bones, and other sorts of ghostly fright. Beginners appear very much alive when performing the magic due to the minor amount of ectoplasm present, however masters and onward may appear as horrific pinnacles of dread much like irradiated mummies or ethereal, half-decayed skeletons. Although, overall, mystics tend to have paler skin than before they began the magic as with a whitening of the eyes and a degree of physique loss (note, not to the crippling degree of low-lifeforce necromancers who may appear nigh dead).


Roleplay Guidelines:

 

Spoiler


As one of the Dark Arts, Mysticism inherently enables those susceptible to mental illness. While some may develop schizophrenia and begin to hear “the whispers of the dead”, others might become depressives and spiral down into the throes of despair. Be it anxiety, obsession, or whatever sort of disorder you choose, it has to be done well. Research whatever disorder you want to have your character slowly develop the further they get into mysticism and make sure your progression is smooth and sound. Mystics don’t turn crazy in the snap, nor are the disorders always that impacting; this is just a flavor to the magic, it doesn’t need to rule your character. Raving maniacs created solely through mysticism are frowned upon -- only if your character was previously afflicted would such a state possibly come about.

On the next note of general mystic roleplay, we have the fleeting flashes of ghostly rot and pale glow called Gleaming. It comes about the moment a mystic is focusing to cast a liturgy, using their ectoplasm in an active state which then causes them to have the signature decayed, withered, bone-glowing look. You should familiarize yourself with the proper vocabulary in order to get across the sickly image that is Gleaming. Also, make sure you aren’t overdoing the frightfulness, as you don’t want to flash into being an entirely spectral state; people should be able to differentiate from a casting mystic to a ghost or Wight. And, above all, remember that Gleaming is temporary. It should last from charging up for the casting, endure while the ritual is being enacted, and fades off once the rite is completed but no longer than that. Hindering also brings about Gleaming in other bodies, however that too is fleeting.

As a ritualistic magic, mysticism cannot really be used on the fly because the only inhand spells available is the mass-evocation of a vaporous cloud and then the aesthetics that come with Hindering. Outside of that, mysticism should not be seen daily (if that at all). From tiers one to two a single liturgy will exhaust you completely and the higher in tier you go the longer and more intense the rites are to perform. The point is that it is an expensive magic since your pool of ectoplasm will be drained very easily by usage. Because of this, there needs to be a day or two of reprieve from each time of usage in order for recharging to occur. In those states, mystics are generally lethargic, sleepy, hungry, and exhausted. Not necessarily crippling so, but post-performance mystics feel spent due to the cutting away of ectoplasm. Be sure not to be over-extending your character, because pushing their limitations spells death. Therefore, since spell casting is so strenuous and costly, rituals should be performed with safety and planning. Don’t kill a person out on a battlefield and attempt to raise them as a Tyke; the likelihood of being interrupted or failing to following through is high and thus the risk is too much. It is much easier and more successful to cart a person off to some secluded place, probably the barrows that Wights prefer to construct, and do so there in the dark where there is a far lesser chance of conflicts. The same goes for constructing monoliths or Menhir; do so in a place where you will be invested in, not a random location with only one pillar (unless, for some reason, that would be the better option).

Now I’ll cover guidelines with each of the specific liturgies:

-Crowning should be done with great discretion. You are adding new people to mysticism, a dark art, so the responsibility of keeping the magic in the hands of quality roleplayers is up to you in evaluating their prowess. It is a wise idea to hold trials and interviews before teaching. As for the actual act of Crowning, the RP is up to you. The way I have Crowned mystics so far is by having the given Apparition/Wight ‘phase’ through the person’s flesh, grabbing ahold of their head, and proceeding to force their face into the face of the student. One having stuffed themself into the student’s body, the Apparition/Wight performs the Crowning with a likeness to Hindering where they exude ectoplasm and bathe the person in it. Once having done so, pull out. Tell them through PMs, on the spot, of the immediate effects brought on by Crowning: physical weakness and mental instability for a day alongside the normal pros and cons of being a mystic.

-Saturating goes hand-in-hand with Tykes, as they are made through the process. You will have to perform the ritual as usual -- kill a preferably restricted or bound person with Saturate in a safe location -- and keep their slain body. Depending on your tier, either a ghost or Graven (decided through rolls, you yourself cannot choose unless tier 4 or higher) will rise from the body a week to a day or some time between. The newborn Tyke will already be affiliated with your mystic and will be inclined to behave and act on your will throughout their lifetime (pun intended). That’s not to say that if the risen person is a permanent phantom, meaning not a Tyke and a character the player wishes to play out, then they may have that ethereal bond broken or worn away through the withering of time. Be accepting of ghost or Graven players who do not wish to stick around with you, however they are inclined to for an extended period of time before doing so. Note: after they lift out of the body and are generated, the body is without use to mystics, and the produced phantom has no abnormalities with what they usually are.

-Binding is pretty straightforward. Hook a phantom to a crib which then may connect it to the spiderweb of other nearby monoliths, assuming you have more than one. Apparitions must already be aligned with the mystic performing the binding in order for it to proceed successfully. “Creating obelisks and Menhir are generally solitary feats, however mystics may assist one another in the process by lending their own ectoplasm to suppliment for another’s, meaning pillars can be created with ‘half and half’ so long as their required base is covered. Creating cribs can be learned at tier 2 and creating Menhir for Apparitions can be made at tier 3.” Making cribs, the pillars which anchor phantoms to areas, is simply done through spending large amounts of ectoplasm into the pillars. Binding refers to both the making of obelisks/monoliths/stone pillars -- whatever you want to call them -- and Menhir as well as linking a phantom to a new home.

-Handling is the workaround to OOC consent. While you should be asking beforehand anyways on if the person is alright if you try and convert their ghost or Graven to your side, Handling may go around that, however it is highly frowned upon to do so. But, regardless, Handling should be treated delicately and should only be used when verbal persuasion hasn’t yielded anything. Unlike other rituals, RP it as a flash of pale light alongside Gleaming with whatever shade the affected phantom is, otherwise there is no obvious point where the mystic is Handling beyond usual Gleaming.

-Deadbreath, like Gleaming, requires a familiarization with the vernacular needed to describe it accurately. It’s a heavy, murky haze of vapor and fog. It ranges in color, however it’s always bleached and light, most often a dim white. It is up to you on conveying the distance it covers, so be sure that you adhere to your tier limitations, and be very definite on how it acts. Deadbreath sticks to the very air more and more persistently with each new tier and with more of it to the point where Wights can create small, somewhat thin, however permanent fields of fog (namely for aesthetics). The clouds are easily waves away at the very beginning, but get to the point where waving something in the mist won’t push it away. Lastly, be very responsive to air evocationists and holy magic users. Holy light and voidal air currents shear away at the smoke with great efficiency, yet even though it is the bane of the spell, there is still a good deal of deadbreath manifested and takes time to push it all away to disperse. In enclosed spaces where the smoke can be the most effective, walls and the like block the wind / light purging it, so adjacent halls and the like will remain clotted with vapor unless dealt with. As well, it lingers longer linearly with its consistency. High tier mystics who cast deadbreath may find it staying in place for up to an IRL hour at the very most, however novice users will see it dissipate on its own within a number of minutes of usage; that is, if it is left alone and not fanned / purged. Lastly, since deadbreath is the manifestation of ectoplasm within the air, it does not obstruct the senses of those adapted to it; all phantoms and mystics are not blinded if within the cloud, rather their sight is only hampered by a minor degree with enough effect to dilute one’s depth perception and sense of direction. 


Recommended Progression:

 

Spoiler


Tier 1 - Novice mystics are those who have just been Crowned, thus they are often times physically weak due to their recovering state from the taxing experience that comes from Crowning. Their pool of ectoplasm develops to where it may only perform 1 liturgy a day. There is no immediate signs of mental illness. They may learn only Deadbreath, Handling, Saturation, and the creation of Tykes through Saturation. 

Tier 2 - Journeyman mystics are more tendered novices, having already learned a few liturgies and may perform up to 2 a day. Mental illness creeps in -- depending on the severity you want to take it to -- and the initial signs of it slink in. They may learn any previous ritual as well as Hindering and Binding. 

Tier 3 - Adept mystics are those who are well practiced and have the potential to perform any liturgy beyond Crowning. Their ectoplasm pools only allow them to cast a maximum of 2 liturgies. Their mental illness may come to a moderate state, depending on the intensity you wish to have it at. 

Tier 4 - Expert mystics peak in power with the magic. They may cast up to 3 liturgies a day. They know any liturgy, assuming they are taught all, except Crowning. Their mental illness may come to a high state, if wished, at this time. 

Tier 5 - Master mystics were experts who have become Wights. They are the ruling body of mysticism and have utmost control over its intricacies, allowing them to Crown and Disconnect.  Further information on Wights are posted below this thread in a comment.


Red Lines:

 

Spoiler


-Only Wights or Apparitions (Mthyul Tlan) may Crown new mystics as well as disconnect them.
-Mystics cannot stop from Gleaming, however they can hide its effects.
-All listed rolls -- required in tiers 1 and 2, recommended for tier 3, and optional for tier 4 and 5 -- and ritual limitations must be followed.
-Mystics must have understanding of all ghost, Graven, and Apparition lore in order to give proper instruction to others if made into Tykes.
-The creation of Apparitions from Menhir have to be moderated by the lore keeper to ensure a proper number of deaths have been sufficient for the birth.

 


Any questions, uncertainties, or problems should be brought to the lore keeper of the magic. The current lore keeper of mysticism is Zarsies.

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Wights

 

“Bone cold, sun dead, unlife eternal. Pale, o’so pale.”

Mthyul Tln, the Waking Synod

 

A wight is a being which has reached the pinnacle of mysticism. They are unlife incarnate, mortal entities who have transcended the scope of life to hover just past the reach of death and into the sphere of spectrals, phantoms, and spirits.


 

Behavior

 

 

Spoiler

Akin to their undead cousins, the Wraiths and other Specters, Wights bear a host of similarities in their state of being. Wights have a stance of disassociation with the living and have an inherent bias either against them or in favor of those not living. This does not necessarily mean they are quick to be violent or oppose the living all together, just that while the ethereal tend to be less noticeable and less important to the living so too are the living to those ethereal. These ghoulish geists are grappled too by both a longing for life, where Wights are known to collect and surround themselves with reminders of their past, and disorders that align with their mental illness(es) from their past magical usage. It is relatively common for Wights to be depressives or susceptible to episodes of hysteria, dementia, or a generally frenzied state of fanaticism. As entities past the bounds of death, they are no longer their original selves, and both lose and gain portions of their personality and mind. These changes are all subject to the individual player who is giving their character these new flavors, so doing so tastefully and too much or too little is important for accurate representation of the species.

 

Lastly, the day to day life (or unlife, rather) of a Wight is an eccentric one. They often have a tendency to avoid conflict due to the very unsettling and purging sensations that come with demanifesting and regenerating, however this can be overcome by willpower. Thus, Wights tend to keep to themselves for the most part and majorly associate with mystics, ghosts, Gravens, Apparitions, Ghouls, Liches, Darkstalkers, Wraiths, and other such spectral, undead, or pseudo-living beings. Thus, Wights are apt for inhabiting otherwise inhospitable regions such as frigid wastelands, under the sea, in bleak caverns, and so on. By their curious nature, it is not unusual for Wights to take on studies or observations of their magic or the environment or collect items and bits of their homes. A Wight inhabiting a reef may take up a dress of seagull feathers, shells, fish bones, seaweed, and the like or decorate its barrow with such pieces. It’s simply a mechanism for idle occupation outside of personal activities.

 

 


 

Abilities

 

 

Spoiler

The intrinsic powers and innate skills that come with Wightdom due to their state of being mirrors both positives and negatives of all phantoms. Firstly, Wights are without a definitive body. Their corpse, hard as stone and cold as ice, is their anchor to the world and if struck in the heart by aurum or Voidal/Holy/Spiritual enchanted weaponry will bring about permadeath. The body of a Wight, their phylactery, shall never blink, beat, or breathe after their consumption of an Apparition and 1 week waiting period before petrification and rising. The form that Wights take is their ‘natural’ one, that of their original body but spectral and permanently Gleaming. As such, due to their ever present active ectoplasm, Wights bear powers much like ghosts, Gravens, and Apparitions. One similarity is their sphere of influence. This aura of dominion, a radius of about 4 or 5 blocks, is subject to the will of the Wight and acts as their realm of influence. Deadbreath, at far lesser cost, may be conjured up within the relative ease. Telekinetic, telepathic, and illusionary abilities of all moderate to lesser strength can be brought about by expressions of power and focus. However, extensive use of these powers wear away at the Wight’s strength and, if resisted or fought in such a state, would prove for an easy win for the assailant. Wights may levitate or float as they wish. They too have major if not total control over their appearance; while a Wight can alter their bodies to take on new looks, they are unable to completely lose signature features of their face or person with said transformations. An example of this is that Uldrivt, a frequently feather-adorned Dark Elf, could never take a spectral form without feathers.

 

Alongside this, a defining characteristic of Wights is their ability to possess or husk. This is where a Wight may, with their intangible and ghostly form, slip into a humanoid body and haunt it. This restricts their sphere of influence, however it allows them a greater physical presence. Without a form, Wights are as intangible as ghosts, however this can shift with their mastery over their body. However, still, the physical world is a minor limitation to Wights when not bound to a body but it is should they do so. A Wight possessing a suit of armor is physically imposing but has little to no magical prowess in said state. All they may do is slip out of the body and flee in order to regain their strength.

 

Finally, Wights -- unlike all other mystics -- can Crown and disconnect mystics. As well, due to their composition, Wights can touch other phantoms in a metaphysical sense. With being the peaks of what mysticism can accomplish, Wights are the most likely if not sole contributors to new liturgies. Should new ones be created they will be added to the guide after being approved additions to the magic.

 

 

 

On the endnote, Wights bear similar weaknesses to phantoms. They are vulnerable to Shamanistic spirits, Holy magic, Fi’ magic, and aurum weaponry.

 

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You know you are bad at writing guides when you have to update them only three months after posting them.

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