Magic Weapons Sept 5, 2019 12:16:10 GMT -6
Post by Nayru Al-Saiduq on Sept 5, 2019 12:16:10 GMT -6
BasicsColoquially known as 'Magic Weapons', these arcane artefacts have a long and illustrious history enabling warriors to dabble in magecraft, of a sort, unleashing powerful bursts and beams of magical energy at the wearer's will But how are they forged? How do they actually use their power? Due to their rarity and the difficulty of forging in this era, they are very poorly understood by even most users and complete enigmas to nearly everyone else. Still, there is a method to the magic...
Differences to Magecraft
While both unleash powerful magic, magic weapons and a mage's spells differ in two major areas; control and cost.
While a mage can to some degree control magic once a spell is launched, or forge complex arrays to control many aspects of a spell's initial launch, magic weapons mostly launch the spell at the bearer's request, and have no control whatsoever as soon as the spell is launched. Magecraft is a life's study after all, and while artificers eternally chase the promise of a magic weapon that can fully control magic, in practice it is more or less impossible for runeforges of this age.
Secondly, cost. A normal mage spends their own magical essence to form a spell; whether known as mana, prana, id, aura, or any of a thousand other names, they are ultimately responsible for the spell, with some aid from what magic lies in the air around them. Magic weapons are charged with enough energy that they can do the same without much from the wearer, a mere pittance of their spirit for larger spells. However, they have finite reserves and cannot unleash spells endlessly; depending on the weapon and its bond to its bearer, it may only be able to unleash a few spells in a row before needing to rest and recharge.
Each magic weapon is unique, so it is little surprise there are so many schools of thought as to their creation. Some of the most common approaches are runeforging, spellsmithing, harmonic sequencing, spirit-binding, and essence-binding.
Spellsmithing is one of the more commonly practiced arts of magic weapon creation in the modern age, simple in theory if not in practice. Once a dormant magic weapon is created and prepared for inscription, powerful magic is forced through an intricate labyrinth of enscribed channels. Done poorly the weapon may burn out or even detonate, but an experienced spellsmith can forge a weapon perfectly honed to carry a particular kind of magic, often using magical materials related to it. A light magic sword might be forged with specially reinforced silver or even orihalcum, whereas a Ruin axe may be cast of Soulsteel or amethyst jade. What kind of consciousness or spirit arises from this method varies greatly.
Runeforging is among the most recognizable - a runeforged weapon bears arcane runes in one of several ancient languages of power. Most common among truly ancient weapons, which often bear characters that few would recognize as Old Realm or another tongue from the dawn of Creation. These weapons are often forged of a single magical metal, like orihalcum or mithril, carefully carved and honed to thrum with essence, then inscribed with powerful runes that attract and create magic. Depending on the rune-word thus formed, different artificial spirits and thus personalities can be formed. Runeforging is a nearly lost art in the modern age; any runeforged weapon likely dates to before the Scouring.
Harmonic Sequencing is often seen as less scientific than other common methods, more of an art than a science, but its results speak for themselves. Similar to spellsmithing, a wide variety of magical materials are used, but harmonic sequencing takes that to a whole new level - a weapon created by this method will often contain trace elements of multiple, perhaps even dozens of other materials, from mundane materials like gold, silver, or diamond, to arcane materials like Starmetal or Moonsilver, and often topped off with nonexistent materials like the gossamer wisp of a waking dream. Techniques used for this school are carefully guarded and rarely explained, with each artisan believing themselves an artist while others may consider them mad. Still, while they require a huge variety of materials, these weapons are often relatively easy to get along with, their spirits not as prone to violent disagreements with their wielders as those who once lived, and many heroes claim they are better balanced than any other.
Spirit-Binding is perhaps THE most common and well known form of magic weapon forging of the age, as simple to understand as it can be difficult in practice. The concept is simplicity itself - bind a spirit of magic to a weapon, and use it to fuel magic of that type. Take a spirit of the Nether and use it to cast Ruin. Enslave a spirit of fire to cast Volcanon. Unfortunately, spirits are their own sort of being, rarely fond of the idea of being enslaved to steel and adamant. Beating one into submission is the work of hours of forging spent trapping a rebellious being into a weapon carefully forged to contain it. Depending on the type of spirit, a magic weapon forged this way often involves the spiritsmith require the would-be wielder to hunt down certain reagents and other materials to help bind the correct type of spirit safely and efficiently. Viewed by some other schools as being mechanical or rote, a science rather than an art, it is nonetheless effective, efficient, and reliable - though taming the spirit within is a task in itself for the would-be wielder.
Essence-Binding is a nearly lost art that persists only in a few practitioners, viewed nearly as suspiciously as Elder magic for its profane methods. While other forms of magic weapons typically create a new consciousness or use a spirit, essence-binding steals the mind and perhaps soul of a living being into a weapon. Its history is filled with stories of mad smiths feeding themselves to their own weapons or aging warriors desperate for immortality seeking out an essence-binder to immortalize them in steel, and cautionary tails of those who tried to raise the dead but brought back something far worse. More magic than art or science, essence-binders are themselves powerful mages using ancient rites for their work, often preferring to start with one of the above methods to create the weapon itself, then imbuing it with unnatural life. Rather than require special materials, it is not uncommon for essence-binders to use herbs, drugs, or magic to send their clients on dream quests to acquire materials that have never existed at all. While a well-kept secret, this method is surprisingly common among Sacaen clans who wish to offer their line guidance; as the head of a clan ages or even if recently deceased, an essence-binder may bind her to an existing weapon to advise their heirs. Some of the Lycian royal houses are said to hold weapons forged with this method, as well...
A fully formed magical weapon can communicate with its wielder. Depending on the weapon, the character, their bond, and the player's preferences, this can range from vague sensations, actual conversation, or even shared mindscapes, dreamlike trances where the user and the weapon's consciousness take form inside a shared vision of sorts in which they can communicate, fight, or have tea together.
A player's magical weapon can be any of the above, or if you think you have a fun enough idea, something else entirely. You can skip all the gathering BS and just have your character's mentor mail them a fancy magic weapon if you really don't care, or spend 150 posts and six topics gathering materials to forge a sword custom-built for your character. Maybe you'd rather have an ancient spirit of light (or darkness) in your sword, something forged so long ago that no one knows what it really is, or go on a dream quest and meet your dead father - if it's really him - no way to be sure. In the end, everything above is intended to give players options to explain their weapon and plot hook for topics hunting down a smith and building a weapon rather than force you into playing lore you don't care about.
If you want anything super special or unique, it's generally best to PM the mods with the details rather than spring it on us. 'Oh my sword has the strongest dragon ever in it' or 'the first and strongest Arum' is probably not gonna fly, but we'll generally try to work with you if you want, say, 'an ancient and powerful spirit of darkness' or whatever. Just keep in mind that regardless of what lore you manage to get accepted, or which crafting method you went with, your magic weapon isn't actually going to be better than anyone else's. As much as smiths argue about it in character, one method isn't actually superior to another.