Geomancy and Ritual Magic
Ritual magic has an important place in the TT world. It has been a part of The system for as long as most people can remember (and maybe longer) and is frequently used for plots for both adventures and Interactives. More recently, Geomancy has been increasingly used by players by their characters and there currently exists a Geomancy skill in game, which allows characters to wield ritual magic with superior effect.
The following is an OOC guide to Geomancy in TT, provided with the intention of explaining a little about ritual magic and to offer some insight as to what is possible. In addition, it explains what effect the Geomancy skill provides. Some of the following is stolen from the previous guide to Geomancy and whoever wrote it should be thanked for making my job a little easier. So, thanks.
The Basics of Geomancy
Geomancy is the use and manipulation of Ley Energy that pools in Ley Nexii. In performing a ritual, a character is attempting to mould and shape this energy in a useful way, hopefully creating the desired effect. During the ritual, the energy is channelled through the ritualist - the greater their Geomantic skill, the better they can channel this energy and direct it in the desired manner.
Geomantic rituals can only be performed on Ley Nexii. It is only in those places that there is sufficient power to use. Attempting a Geomantic ritual anywhere else will almost certainly fail and do nothing.
Apart from a small number of common requisites, there is no set form for ritual magic. It could be performed in the style of a frenzied supplication or be undertaken with care and precision; the character could use repetition, gesture, props, and so on. The only rule is that the ritual should take an appropriate format for what is being done.
Rituals can only be performed in up-time (with the single exception of the Focus Creation ritual). It should be obvious to anyone observing the character that they are performing a ritual. The ritual should be spoken aloud, loud enough for the ref reffing the ritual to hear. Any phys-reps required for the ritual should be provided by the player performing the ritual.
There is no minimum or maximum duration for a ritual, although anything less than a minute is probably too short. More than five minutes is probably excessive for most rituals.
If you want to perform a ritual, you should find a ref before hand. You cannot begin a ritual without one (or, at least, you will achieve nothing unless there is a ref there). Ideally, this should be an Interactive ref. An adventure ref might be ok for rituals intended for use on the adventure but anything the character has devised themselves (or acquired outside of the adventure) should be reffed by an Interactive ref. If there isn't an Interactive ref at the event (shame!), the ritual should only be done if it will have no significant consequences outside of the adventure.
The Geomancy Skill
The Geomancy skill is not required in order to perform a ritual - anyone may undertake a ritual. However, they are at greater risk than a skilled Geomancer performing a ritual.
The Geomancy skill gives the following advantages:
- A superior ability to wield Ley Energy. Since during a Geomantic ritual the ritualist channels the Ley Energy through themselves, they put their body and spirit at some considerable risk when doing so. Those who are skilled with Geomancy can better control and contain this energy and can use more of it without suffering ill-effects.
- The ability to wield Ley Energy more efficiently. The power of any one Ley Nexus is limited. A greater skill in Geomancy allows the character to make better use of the available energy and possibly perform rituals that less skilled characters would be unable to.
- Ritual Feedback. As a major action, a Geomancer may write and revise a ritual script. If a ritual script is sent to the refs, the player will receive feedback on it. This includes details on whether the character believes the ritual is within their power to perform without mishap; inconsistencies, mistakes or other dangerous parts of the ritual; and the possible or likely consequences of the ritual. The greater the character's Geomancy skill, the more feedback they receive. Regardless of a character's skill, they may continue to submit the same ritual over multiple downtimes in order to gain more feedback. When there is nothing left for the character to know, they will be informed.
In order to learn the first level of Geomancy, it is necessary to gain this knowledge from a suitable book or some other form. After a character has attained this initial level of knowledge, they do not need any further resources. However, in order to advance to the next level of Geomancy, the character must perform at least one ritual that taxes their ability. This should be done prior to taking the next level of Geomantic Skill.
What Geomancy Can Do
In a word, Geomancy can do anything. However, this is obviously confined within the limits of the character's skill in wielding Ley Energy and the power that is available to them. Here are some examples of various things that Geomancy can do (some of which are examples that have occurred in game). Many of these examples will last only a given amount of time - the stronger the Geomancer and the more power that is used, the longer the duration.
- Bind magic or spirit to an item.
- Alter a person's body or mind.
- Discern the location of an object or person.
- Open a portal to another plane of existence.
- Contact or supplicate to an Elemental Lord or God.
- Create a pocket plane.
- Change Weather
- Cause "natural" disasters (earthquakes, hurricanes etc.).
- Communicate with others.
- Empower or afflict oneself or others.
- Create protective wards.
If it Goes Wrong...
Geomancy goes wrong when the Ley Energy is uncontrolled. This can typically come from two sources - either the ritual is interrupted (by, say, the wounding or killing of the Geomancer), or the ritual requires more energy than the ritualist can control. Uncontrolled energy is dangerous and can act in unpredictable ways. At best, the energy will fail to have the desired effect, or come out in a mutated or altered form. More commonly, the energy surges through the Geomancer, causing irreconcilable damage to their spirit. At worst, the energy slays the ritualist outright and causes a blow back of energy that harms any near to the Ley Nexus on which the ritual was being performed. This is only likely when large amounts of power are being wielded, however.
Despite the risks, most Geomancers should not have to face them. The best tip for staying safe is to know your limits. The biggest danger to any Geomancer is overambition. Try out less powerful rituals first and get a feel for what you are capable of. Also, avoid making rituals up on the fly. By spending time checking their ritual before hand (by spending a downtime on it), any character can get a fair idea as to whether they have the skill to perform the ritual safely.