Friday, September 30, 2016

Inksketches, Week of September 30th 2016

Color.  That has been my going theme this week for Inksketches.  

This ends things for September, but I plan to try to do something a bit more... dead(er) for October.  Inktober always is pleasant for me to get into, and my hope is to carry a single theme for the entire month.  I hope, anyway.

On twitter and instagram I post these sorts of images every day.  If you are looking for some place to follow and get these in your feed, check those out.

Also, if you want to support images like this, the stories on this blog and more, check out my patreon.  It isn't necessary for this stuff, but it'd help with expanding some of my projects a bit.  I also take commissions, so don't be afraid to message me about that.

Airship!  Suggested by a friend.  This was last week's recorded inksketch.  I screwed up the focus a bit.  I squished together the idea of an ironclad, bird, and a ship's prow together for it.  

The result is somewhat boxy.  My friend said he thought it almost looked temple-like.   

First color piece of the week.  I decided to just add a layer of a color to my digital shading.  I like monochromatic art from time to time.  And the idea of doing an elemental spell in a single color scheme appeals to me immensely.  This is some spellcasting, of some aquamancy.  

The thing I aimed to do with the drawing itself, that turned out great, is to capture the feel of water foaming.  I think that it might've come out a little murky.

Orange.  More experiments in coloring.  A quick trick with photoshop, and this one turned out vibrant.

A creek.  The greenness of it sort of worked out ok. 

 Purple times.  Felt good to get this one done, sleep or no sleep.

Just wanted to sketch out some jewelry.  Found the image of something neat looking, and that often is a good excuse to draw it.

Dual colors.  Did this while watching Luke Cage today.  No real aim, just sort of made it up as I went.  A flower on fire.  Why not?

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Aether and Lignamancy: Sight, Curse and Throne

Some more spells, this time for Lignamancy.  Flesh changing and transformative, here's three spells in #Crux.  Click here if you want the first bit of stuff on the magic system I've been cobbling together.

I smiled.  I held up the fetish.  The little raven had cost me a pretty penny.  Some crafted their own.  I didn't have the time for that.

And I didn't want anyone to find out how I did it.  The tiny wooden fetish properly prepared, in a style different than my own.  The Grand Bazaar offered everything, including fetishes for Lignamancers like myself.

The curse required a fetish of a Raven.  I tied a lock of my sister's dark hair to it.  I closed my palm around the fetish and let aether loose.

It felt warm. I could feel the beating of a raven's heart in my palm. The curse had come to life. My "dearest" sister would find how well carrion tastes...

Sight of Lignamancy

Sobriquets: Greensight, Speak with Animals, Wildtongue
Cost: 1 Aether
Duration: Lasts until Sunrise

Greensight opens the caster's eyes to the realm of spirits, but those tied to nature.  Rocks, plants, rivers, animals, all these whisper to them.  The spell opens all their senses to these spirits.

This means the caster can converse and listen to the spirits of nature around them.  A by-product of this is the means to speak with plants and animals.

The caster of the spell can also choose to give one of their senses into an animal or plant they've spoken with.  They can only give away a sense, not take it back.  While a sense is given, the caster can perceive through that sense as if they were that plant or animal.  They can see whatever a rat sees.  Or hear whatever a tree would hear.

The caster can end the spell at any time.  But if they end the spell to regain their given senses.  They must recast Greensight if they want to enjoy it again.
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Curse of Lignamancy.

Sobriquets: Weecurse, Baleful Polymorph, Smallshape
Cost: 1 Aether and a Fetish made from the subject
Duration: Lasts until Fetish is broken

This curse turns the subject into a smaller animal, plant or fungi as selected by the caster of the spell.  Their flesh and body transforms into the selected lifeform.  The process is painful.  Excess mass of the subject is tethered to a fetish crafted by the caster.  The lifeform can be any nonmagical life, animal, plant or even fungus.

The excess mass is ectoplasm and exists invisibly in the spirit world.  Should something cut the tether to the fetish, the spell ends.  The mass returns to the subject, restoring their original form.  This includes spells such as Ghostsword or Ghostward.  Both of which can harm or destroy ectoplasm.  Breaking the fetish always ends the spell too.

The caster makes the fetish of relevant materials from the subject.  Hair, blood, saliva, scrap of favorite clothing, anything that connects to the subject.  The other part of crafting the fetish is time-consuming.  The fetish must be relevant to a spirit of the lifeform the subject is being turned into.  Sometimes this is an easy process- mammalian spirits almost always seem to volunteer.

Other times it is difficult enough that the fetish fails to work.  Flowers and other small plants are notoriously hard to convince to help with this spell.  It varies, but a big downside to this spell is the preparation of the fetish, which can take days to do.

When transformed, the subject retains their mind, skills, and personality.  But if their form cannot move, they cannot move; if it cannot speak, they cannot speak.  And so forth.

Throne of Lignamancy

Sobriquets: Polymorph, Giantshape, Goliath Form
Cost: 2 Aether
Duration: Lasts until fetish is broken

The caster crafts a fetish that transforms them into a larger form.  Most often this is an animal.  But it can be any physical form for which the caster can find a piece of flesh, hair or symbolism to use in the fetish.  Unlike Weecurse, Polymorph requires a specific piece of material from the chosen form.  The form must be one larger than the caster's body.

The process is painful.  Careful control is needed to keep the new body from overwhelming the caster's mind.  The new body has its own urges, and an unprepared caster might become a servant to those urges and not their own will.

When the fetish breaks, the Polymorph ends.  A spirit tether (inside the Spirit World) connects the spell with the fetish.  Thus, making it possible to find it if hidden.  The tether is ectoplasmic, and anything that could harm spirit matter or ectoplasm breaks it easily.

When transformed, the subject retains their mind, skills, and personality.  But if their form cannot move, they cannot move; if it cannot speak, they cannot speak.  And so forth.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Aether and Aquamancy: Sight, Cup and Storm

Another installment of magic in #Crux.  Water spells this time!  Aquamancy is flowing.  It has ties to blood and the emotions that drive that blood.  Click here for where I started this sorcery rambling, the "part 1" if you will.

Ocean.  All ocean around us.  

"Aye, lass."  The criminal smiled his toothless smile at me.  "Don't fight, we got your ship."

I resisted the urge to just jump over the edge of the ship.  My ship.  My ship, full of people I'd brought out here.  These criminals thought they could take them.

"We'll take just the Unsorcerous.  That's a fair shake, ain't it?  We'll take 'em back to New Guidthorn.  After all, they're just Unsorcerous.  They'd be better enchanted and workin' the fields like them Dirters were made for."

Then I snapped.  I could've just called a minor spell or two.  But instead, I expended all I had.  I felt my aether reserve melt into flowing water.  My hands and mind bellowed out.  A storm.

Ocean.  All ocean around us.  I wondered if this jerk could dodge the massive wave I turned the ocean around us into.  Or watch that wave squish him like a bug.  I could enjoy that little thrill.

Sight of Aquamancy

Sobriquets: Read Emotions, Heartsight, Truthsaying
Cost: 1 Aether
Duration: Until Sunset

The Sight of Aquamancy taps into the emotions that flow in those they see.  Heartsight makes emotions audible, like another layer upon the world around them.  With a bit of quiet study, a mage can use Heartsight to spot lies and misdirection.  It can help one to ferry out truths.

Heartsight isn't perfect.  The perception of emotions can get muddled.  There are six core emotions: anger, disgust, fear, joy, surprise and sadness.  But like pigments in paint, they can be mixed together to form complex images.  Heartsight gives you the way to see it, but sometimes one can't parse what emotion means what.  It has to be interpreted, which is where problems can arise.

One can fool Heartsight.  Fire magick, especially that fire magick that heightens emotions, can confuse it.  Or one can fool it through good acting.  Good acting can fool heartsight, as great acting triggers actual emotion.  An excellent liar can fool heartsight by forcing themselves to feel the right emotions.  But that requires a great deal of skill to perfect.

Cup of Aquamancy

Sobriquets: Water Breathing, Seawalk
Cost: 1 Aether
Duration: Concentration

The caster drinks a bit of water.  While that water remains in their lungs, they can breathe underwater as though it were air for them.  Further, they can also walk across water while still holding that water in their lungs.

The caster can perform this spell for others, but it requires them to still hold the water in their lungs.  Each additional person they have to breathe for costs the caster.  It isn't clear right away.  It costs them an extra breath.  A caster could breathe for hundreds of people, but the exhaustion from it could kill them in seconds.

It is like running a marathon.  It requires focus and any break in the focus might cause the spell to end and the mage to drown.

Storm of Aquamancy

Sobriquets: Control Weather, Control Water
Cost: 3 Aether
Duration: One Scene

You take control of water.  An enormous amount of water.  Your will directs it.  This spell manifests in two different ways.

First, the caster takes control over a body of water.  A lake or river or coastline of the sea.  They can calm the water, or drive it into a mad froth.  They can raise it or lower it.

They can redirect the flow of rivers.  Make coastlines recede.  Have lakes change their shapes.

The other way this spell manifests is that the caster takes control over water in the sky above.  Moisture permeates the skies.  All weather comes from the flow this moisture.  The Aquamancer can create rain during a sunny day.  Or they can call up a fog in the darkest night.  They can have it snow in summer.

The limits on the Storm of Aquamancy are practical.  First, is that the aquamancer can not create water where no water exists.  A cloudless sky in the desert gives them little to work with.

 Second, the scale of Control Weather is small.  Not unless the caster pours more aether into the spell.  Without extra aether spent, it only affects the immediate area around the caster.  If an Aquamancer wishes a larger effect, they must expend aether for each scale of magnitude more they wish to effect.  Worse, the cost of such aether is exponential- it doubles with each scale up.

Third, other magick can interfere with the spell.  If struck by any flame while controlling the spell, the caster loses it.  The tether of control can be severed by any flame that touches the caster.  It burns away that tether in an instant.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Inksketches, Week of September 23rd 2016

Autumn has set in.  O glorious autumn!  The bestest season.  I drew all these inksketches for such a magnificent sign!

On twitter and instagram I post these sorts of images every day.  If you are looking for some place to follow and get these in your feed, check those out.

Also, if you want to support images like this, the stories on this blog and more, check out my patreon.  It isn't necessary for this stuff, but it'd help with expanding some of my projects a bit.  I also take commissions, so don't be afraid to message me about that.

I recording drawing this pineapple.  I asked a friend for a suggestion, and that's what I drew.  Turned out pineapples are kind of interesting, after researching them.  Like most fruits, they come from South America.  Go figure.

Action shot.  Something that I imagine earth magick, geomancy, to look like.  Hard work.  I think creating tremors should require one to punch the ground.

Mountains.  Smoke.  I don't think I caught the texture of it quite right.  But I like my little addition of someone in the foreground, as if they are raising the smoke up for some reason.

Cute animal drawing.  Not much else to say about that.

This one I just captioned "Everything Dies."  More of my own imagination and too many ideas that would take forever to explain.  The skullpile and the hands holding dust, that just captured my mood at the time.

A self portrait.  Not the best version I could do.  I purposefully fucked up my mouth to make the expression interesting.  Kinda glad I got the expression, although I kinda squished my face a bit.
Wind magick.  I think I caught that.  Drawing invisible things like wind are their own unique challenges.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Aether and Psychomancy: Sight, Sword and Storm

Three spells for Psychomancy- mind magick.  Here you can find where I started this mess, what sorceries are like what.  Psychomancy is mind trickery, but with subtle catches.

Mind Tricks.

At first, it sounds like a buzz in your ear.  Like the sound of waters bubbling.  Like a million, no a billion, chattering echoes you can't quite make out.  That's what it feels like.

I'd grown used to that piece of psychomancy.  Without touching someone, all I can sense is their presence.  Their minds buzzes.  Nothing specific.  There isn't a real word to describe it.  I always keep it on.  I'm used to it.

I wandered through the crowd.  They would bump into me here and there.  I'd catch stray thoughts or images like others might use sleight of hand to steal coin.  Tiny pieces.

The actors on the stage kept going through their routine.  The audience watched patiently.  I paused after absorbing enough.

I sent Gyers the Sending.  The collection of personal thoughts or images about the performance.  Not their emotions.  But ideas about where they all thought the performance was going.  Enough that Gyers could use to put in a twist or two.  To really surprise them.

A gruff voice from behind the stage shouted.  Thirty minutes later, the placid crowd became let out a gasp.  Then they erupted in applause, have no idea the play would end that way.   Again, Gyers would pay me well for my little psychomancy tricks...

Sight of Psychomancy

Sobriquets: Detect Thoughts, Thoughtsense, Psi Touch
Cost: 1 Aether
Duration: Lasts until Sunrise

With but a touch, the Psychic can see the surface thoughts of those they touch.  Even without touching, the psychic can be aware of the presence of any minds near them.  They can feel the buzz of those other minds around them.  Thoughtsense can sense the thoughts of their target, but has cannot learn exact emotions.  The windows between minds hide them much like glass hides scent.

To see the surface thoughts of others, all they have to do is briefly touch their target.  Others can feel the spell, but requires some focus to detect.  It's easy to distract a target, then have the psychic brush up against them.  Even then, this spell can only read the surface of a mind.  Psychics only barely touch other minds with this spell. because minds are easy to damage even by disturbing them.

Most of the risk in this spell is placed on the target.  Even something as light as this can snap the brittlest minds.  Most casters don't wish to be within hands reach of someone pushed, even subtly, into madness by this spell.  It just seems like too much risk for too little gain.

Thoughtsense cannot tell if someone is telling the truth, not completely.  It tells exactly what is at the surface of their minds.  That is easy for someone aware of this spell to clutter up.  It's akin to eavesdropping through a door.  Without proper context or ability, one can't hear everything inside.  Not with absolute certainty.  Psychomancy can't ever give you that much certainty, only more doubts.

Sword of Psychomancy

Sobriquets: Mindscythe, Memory Lapse
Cost: 1 Aether
Duration: Instant

The Psychic manifests a blade of green energy and thrusts it into the mind of their target.  The aim of the spell is to a specific memory.  A Psychic can use this spell as a weapon, not carrying what it is they are striking in their target's mind.  But if used as a scalpel, this spell can delete exact memories.

But if used as a scalpel, this spell can delete exact memories.  Cunning Psychics learn how to quickly ascertain target memories they've read via Thoughtsense.   They tap a target with one hand, identify the right memory, then strike with the mindscythe.  With a blink of an eye, they delete any memory of what had just happened with their target.

The process of deleting a memory catches all unawares for a moment.  It hurts as much as an actual blade does.  But in the span of the seconds it takes to reorder one's mind, one can restart a conversation or disappear completely out from view.  They can make it look as though they were never there.

The risk comes when a Psychic misses with their strike.  Thoughtsense might be a subtle pull, but a missed Mindscythe is akin to a push off a cliff.  Although it might seem as an easy tradeoff for a Psychic, it isn't.  The risk isn't just triggering madness in the target.  A missed Mindscythe can backlash.  Sometimes it misses the target's mind and instead embeds itself in the caster who wielded it.  A mind immune to tampering or protected by some magicks could make the situation worse.  They could make the Mindscythe hit the Psychic and leave their target untouched.

A mindscythe can edit memories in a mind.  It can never affect emotions, only the memories that surround them.

Storm of Psychomancy

Sobriquets: Mindcraft, Awaken
Cost: 3 Aether and a Part of the Caster's mind.
Duration: Permanent

The Psychic wakes a mind in another, by embedding a shard of their own mind.  They create a new intelligent and sapient being- this does not create a new body or ability for the new mind to move.  Often animals are the target of Awaken.  The new mind has most of the same basic skills as the Psychic's mind but isn't a copy of their personality.

In animals and plants, awakened natures can be passed on to their offspring.  Subsequent generations lack the language or skills imparted by the original caster's mind.  Awakened minds are not loyal or impartial to the caster that woke them.  Sometimes they are, especially if they had prior positive experiences with them.  Awaken cannot alter the underlying emotions of an animal or plant awakened.

Inanimate objects awakened need some means to keep their minds from fading over time.  Worse, being unable to move or speak is maddening for new minds.  Fresh aether often can help keep them from fading.  Often magic items with their own aether reserves do not need fresh aether imparted upon them.

Part of the cost of this spell is how the caster has to put a shard of their own mind into the subject.  The process isn't painless.  It leaves a wound in the caster's mind, which takes a day or two to heal.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Aether and Geomancy: Sight, Curse and Throne

#Crux post on some Geomancy spells.  This here is the core of what the seven schools of sorcery are like.  Here are three Earthy spells...

Sight of Geomancy

Sobriquets: Tremorsense, Echosight
Cost: 1 Aether
Duration: Until Sunset

Echosight grants the caster the ability to feel the vibrations of the land about them.  Anything touching the land, they can feel.  By focusing, the Geomancer can even pinpoint specific vibrations.  They can distinguish specific individuals around them.  Or they can sense natural phenomena before it happens.  Echosense can even allow a Geomancer to sense earthquakes.  A trained geomancer can sense them before they might happen.  The same is true of rain, storms and other effects that strike upon the land.

Echosight uses vibrations and thus is harder to hide from magically.  Invisibility, for instance, requires the caster to be able to focus on echosight itself.  This means being able to cast the echosight or knowing a similar enough sense to veil against it.

Echosight lasts until sunset.  It cannot detect anything that isn't affecting the ground.  It can predict storms, but only after they've made landfall.  Anything on water or in the air, the spell doesn't see.  Further, some kinds of sediment or material in the ground can interfere with Echosense.  Anything that might interfere or alter the vibrations, can cause it problems.

Curse of Geomancy

Sobriquets: Fertility, Dirtnap
Cost: 1 Aether
Duration: One Scene

The subject, once touched, becomes fertile or enters a state of heightened fertility.  While under the effect of this spell, most feel an overwhelming urge to copulate.  For those with less control, the instincts can push them to rash action.  Responsible geomancers dislike the use of this spell on intelligent or sapient beings.   Meanwhile, Druids find it useful for conservation of rare species and enhancing harvests.

Fertility doesn't cause emotions.  It triggers instinctive urges.  The primeval earthy drive to procreate that all life shares.  It also enhances a subject's fertility.  This gives those who are sterile or thought to be less able or unable to procreate to do so.  Or the possibility of doing so.

The other effect fertility has, is that it combats exhaustion.  It can't seal wounds or mend bones.  But Fertility can allow one affected by it to feel no exhaustion and go on without sleep for a bit.

Throne of Geomancy

Sobriquets: Earthglide, Stonewalk
Cost: 2 Aether
Duration: Until the Caster exhales.

The Geomancer slips into stone or earth or even metal as though it were water.  They can walk or swim through it as though it were water.  But unlike water, it is harder to move through.  The effort is straining.  Earthgliding can let a Geomancer treat walls as though they weren't there.  But it can exhaust them like any external geomancy can.

Further compounding the difficulty of the spell is that it lasts until the one who cast it exhales.  They must hold their breath.  Any exhaling air will cause the spell to jettison them out of the stone or earth or metal they occupy.  Fast.

Often dueling geomancers that have Earthglided will focus on forcing the other to exhale.  While holding them inside the stone.  It's a dangerous maneuver.  But it can be profitable if the suffocation takes.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Inksketches, Week of September 16th 2016

September means cooler weather.  Autumn is the best because it means things are changing.  Change is good.  And here be some Inksketches.  Plus a video too, I suppose.

On twitter and instagram I post these sorts of images every day.  If you are looking for some place to follow and get these in your feed, check those out.

Also, if you want to support images like this, the stories on this blog and more, check out my patreon.  It isn't necessary for this stuff, but it'd help with expanding some of my projects a bit.  I also take commissions, so don't be afraid to message me about that.

Here's this weeks inksketches.  Another pile.  :D

 1. Starting off, a mountain with random debris all over it.  No reason for it, just something I sort of doodled into.

 2. A Pine Marten.  Possibly #Crux related, but I didn't bother to make that connection explicit.  Fire means its magic.  That sort of thing.

I'd say it's some sort of feyborn, talking, pyromancer Pine Marten.  Pine Martens are a sort of Western North American weasel.  I tend to think of them from the few times I've encountered them whilst in the wilds.

And I recorded drawing this Pine Marten, too.

3. Forgotten train in the #Cyberwood.  At least that's the excuse for the giant cosmos.  I've tried to stick to shading my inksketches.  Forests seem to benefit from layered shadows.  The effect makes them feel more... Foresty.

 4. Hummingbird check.  Skull, a bonus.  Just never drew a hummingbird before.  Seemed like the best thing.  The rest sort of... fell into place as I pencilled it.

 5. This and the next are experiments.  Comics, to see how much I can get done as part of my daily inksketch practice sessions.  The words are based on some light fiction I wrote as part of some sorcery notes on fire in Crux.  I'd explain more of it, but the comic feels like it does a decent job for me.

I hope.

 6.   Part two of the experimenting.  Also trying to get web-centric widths figured out.  At least enough to be certain I know I'm uploading the sizes I think I'm uploading.

 7. Some sort of earth magick.  Sorceries are very much in my headspace this week.  This one also was hand practice.  The end result... I like.  This is the sort of inksketch I really like.  My preference is black, inky stuff.  This one rocked out beautifully.

That thing where you know where to stop when it's good enough?  Yeah.  One of those.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Aether and Aeromancy: Sight, Cloak and Throne

"Every day is followed by every night."

The first bit was easy enough. The little mnemonic phrase unlocked Maralda's spell. She felt the words whirl around her. They altered the air. They bent light around Maralda's body.
The tingling of the Invisibility spell always tingled her mind a bit. Maybe it was the change in light around her. Either way. Maralda now could move hidden from view. Her mouth whispered the words over and over, constantly weaving the spell as she moved.
Not by sound or scent. Sound she could handle.
"Hopefully my perfume won't set off those Gnolls." She thought. Then Maralda almost cursed herself for almost saying her thought out loud and interrupting the spell.
She spoke the spell, invisible, and moved in to spy on the Spice Khan...

Magic in #Crux.  Here is a bit on the seven schools of sorcery I'm drawing this from.

Sight of Aeromancy

Sobriquets: Clairvoyance, Farsight
Cost: 1 Aether
Duration: One Scene

Currents of air extend the senses of the caster.  Air bends light to magnify vision.  Winds carry sounds from greater distances.  Even at night, the spell can enable the mage's senses to extend for miles around them.  It can extend any human sensory output, decided when the spell is first cast.  It lasts for about a scene before the spell's energy fades.

There are two problems with Farsight.  First, is that the mage still must be able to understand or survive what they are sensing.  Extending sight is helpful, but if what they look at could overwhelm them or confuse them, it doesn't matter.  Extending eyesight and looking into the sun will still blind one- perhaps faster because Farsight directs so much more.

The second problem is that other spells can easily break or counter Farsight.  Often, any magic that can alter wind can also interfere with Farsight's ability to tweak air currents.  Magic disruptive spells, like those based in fire or others, may flat out kill the spell by burning it out of an area it is reaching into.

Cloak of Aeromancy

Sobriquet(s): Invisibility, Veil
Costs: 1 Aether and the mage must keep their mouth moving as part of the spell
Duration: Concentration

Aeromancy's most audacious, famous and well-known spell.  To become invisible is to fulfill so many fantasies for some.  With a word, air cloaks the subject from vision.  But Invisibility can do more than that.  It can cloak sight, sound, smell, and even touch.  A few have been said to be able to weave invisibility spells that cloaked the sense of balance of those who walked upon the cloaked building.

Invisibility can be cast on any subject or object.  Size is a practical limit.  The spell can be extended to larger and larger objects, but the cost is more aether.  The other cost to casting the spell is the trick to mastering it.  The spell has to dwell in the mage's mouth as long as it is active.  They must constantly speak the spell over and over, putting it into the air.

Once found, invisibility spells are easy to counter.  The best method is to interrupt the mage speaking it.  There are other ways, most often they involve interfering with the words as they weave in the air.  Often such words can be caught with salt or other heavy earth particles.

Invisibility also inhibits the caster's own senses while the spell is active.  It doesn't blind like Ghostsight would blind a Necromancer.  Whatever sense the spell is blocking, it causes the Air Mage trouble to sense that.  Becoming unseen inhibits some of your vision; blocking sound makes your peripherial hearing worse.

Throne of Aeromancy

Sobriquet: Flight
Cost: 2 Aether
Duration: Lasts Until the Caster touches the ground once more

Flight lets the caster fly.  It is hard to control in stormy conditions.  Like running in a storm or swimming against the current of water, one's ability to fly is limited by their ability to move against outside pressures.  By moving higher in the air, it is possible for flying mages to move impossibly fast.  They can move over mountains.  They can avoid all the obstacles that impedes others.

Flight only ends for a mage if they touch the ground once more.  It is possible to use this as a technicality.  Ground requires that the spell is convinced the mage has touched ground.  A single clod of dirt cannot trick it.  On the other hand, touching the steeple roof of a building does.  Flight doesn't care if one has a good hold, it just ends.  The spell itself seems to detest earth, dirt and rock.  A few mad air mages have suggested Flight spells want to pull them far, far away from the ground.  That the spells themselves want to be in and of the clouds.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Aether and Pyromancy: Sight, Cup and Curse

When I was younger, would use an actual candle to cast the spell.  The other priests would show me later how to imagine the candle in my mind.  Fire is the Summer Rose, and I learned how to use this spell in her name.  I imagined the candle, then I breathed in the imaginary flame.

The flame wasn't hot.  Even when I used a real candle, the fire would tickle.  It wouldn't extinguish.  I pushed it into my heart.  

Then I opened my eyes.  I saw the young boy in the pew.  I let out the spell.  The heartblaze took form.  

Not a visible form.  But a burning feeling that can't be extinguished.  A feeling that boy needed.  That starving, poor boy looked haggard.  Sad.  Impossible to bring joy to.

That sad face burned away.  It burned away as the heartblaze filled him with joy.  A bright smile.  I could tell he felt better, that he forgot about his empty belly.  Forgot about whatever had left him bruised.  

That little fire would help.  Maybe help enough for him to tell me who gave him those bruises...

Here's some more specific spells for Sorcery I've been working on for Crux.  The description of what each of the seven magic schools in Crux can be found here.

Sight of Pyromancy

Sobriquets: Crucible, Aurasight
Cost: 1 Aether
Duration: One Scene

Fire purifies.  It boils out the impurities.  The Sight of Pyromancy is an invocation that lets one see the inner fire of others.  It burns away the illusion that coats the bones of the world.  Called the Crucible, this spell causes the caster to see subjects around them in auras.  These reveal the inner natures of everything around them.  Auras take on symbolic vestiges.  The caster can interpret for clues to the true nature of things they observe.

There are two dangers to using this spell.  First, it opens one's mind to raw symbolism.  This is akin to the heat one feels from an open flame.  Candles and campfires don't burn out one's eyes.  But the hot light of the sun or indescribable fires will.  The Crucible will show inner fires, sometimes they are too bright.  They can burn into one who looks into too hot a fire.

The other danger is losing perspective.  The symbols and clues that the Crucible reveal the inner truths of many things around the caster.  This is like mistaking the forest for the trees.

One loses track of who or what they are looking at.  They become lost in symbols and hidden meanings without an idea what they are for.  A crucible luckily only burns for a short time, so eventually one can come back to their senses.  But there is always a risk to be lost in hidden truths and forget where or when or what one is looking at.

Cup of Pyromancy

Sobriquet: Spelltorch, Firerose
Cost: 1 aether
Duration: Concentration

Firecallers first learn how to evoke a torch of fire, a fistful of blaze.  A spelltorch doesn't create raw fire.  It takes the energy from a nearby source, enough to create a fistful of fire.  Or enough heat to warm a body.  It chills the source of the energy being taken.  A spelltorch is a variable thing, able to chill an area or heat it.  But it can never create heat out of nothing.  Spelltorches last as long as the firecaller who created it is conscious.

A firecaller can create multiple spelltorches.  But each new one takes up emotional space in the firecaller's mind.  There are six emotions (anger, sadness, joy, disgust, fear and surprise) that new spelltorches past the first take up.  The risk of losing access to an emotion is that it impairs the caster's mind.  It limits the ability to comprehend some things or situations.  A firecaller without fear can't comprehend dangers.  A firecaller without anger can't be aggressive.

Stacking spelltorches can cause entire buildings to remain cool in hot summer heat.  Or they can light long stretches of road at night.  Spelltorchers are firecallers paid for these services by those who can afford them. Of course, fire-based artifice can provide a more permanent solution for those can pay for it.

Curse of Pyromancy

Sobriquets: Rage, Inspire, Heartblaze
Cost: 1 aether
Duration: A Scene

A heartblaze alters emotions.  Firecallers can trigger and sway the fires of the heart.  A subtle spell, heartblazes trigger hot emotions, such joy or anger or disgust.  Some are never aware of the influence and ride the emotions stoked by the spell.  It can help "push" someone subtly, if directed the right way.

Heartblazes cannot affect cooler emotions, especially any that might trigger thinking.  A heartblaze can't trigger Fear or Sadness.  Emotions that override thinking tend to be best affected by this spell.  This can be courage or happiness.  Or rage.

There is a minor side effect of the spell.  One used for other than just manipulating emotions.  Heartblazes also warm internal organs.  As a survival tool against extreme cold.  The Curse of Fire counters hypothermia and some other mental spells.  It "burns away" other manipulating influences.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Inksketches, Week of September 9th 2016

A lot of shading this week.  But seven more inksketches go into the pile.

On twitter and instagram I post these sorts of images every day.  If you are looking for some place to follow and get these in your feed, check those out.

Also, if you want to support images like this, the stories on this blog and more, check out my patreon.  It isn't necessary for this stuff, but it'd help with expanding some of my projects a bit.  I also take commissions, so don't be afraid to message me about that.

 1. A suggestion from +Aki Tora.  A ancient cat statue.  I added the cat and the guy on top of the statue.  Just cause.

2. A suggestion from my father, a Raven eating roadkill.  It's the only inksketch I didn't shade this week.  I think I caught the flavor it.
3. My first imagining of what a Ghostsword would look like.  Skulls are obviously a Necromancer thing.  Go figure.

4. My cousin suggested the idea for this one.  An owl.  I went with barn owls, because I like how they look.  I also colored it. 
5. More Ghostsword imagining.  This catches more of what I think a ghostsword spell would look like, crackling necromantic energy around a chunk of ectoplasm.  Feels Ghostwalker-y to me.

6. Fanart.  Go Trek.

7.  A dragon of a sort.  Actually, started as a iguana sketch, but I tweaked it to look draconic.  Lizards make good starting points for dragons for me lately.  

All right!  If you have a suggestion for a future inksketch for me, please feel free to put it in the comments below!  Or, if you feel so inclined, you can commission me for whatever art needs you have.  Or, you can share these with others.  I don't mind.  Go ahead.  


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Aether and Necromancy: Sight, Cloak, and Sword

I reached out.  The aether came into me.  Necromancy always feels cold.  

Like a chill, I can't quite shake.  It comes into my chest, that chill does.  When I feel it, I use the Aether to push the chill of that necromancy into a spell.  It flows out of my chest into my left arm.  

Down my arm, the chill goes.  The chill grows into a numb static.  Then ectoplasm collects on my elbow, like condensation.  The chill and the aether pour into that bit of ectoplasm.  

They make it expand.  They make it grow.  It flows down to my left wrist, into my hand.  

The ectoplasm drips into my hand with a crackle and a mournful cry.  It elongates into something long.  Tiny faces of the countless lost souls from between realities cover it.  

Purple energy ripples along it.  The ectoplasm took the shape of a longsword in my hand.  A ghostsword.  A blade of purple ectoplasm and necromantic magic.  A weapon suited against both living and not.

Of Aether and Sorcery, the Previous part of this series is here.

Sight of Necromancy

Sobriquets: Ghostsight, Deathseye
Cost: 1 Aether, dulls one sense;
Duration: As long as the caster is conscious

Necromancy first meant to divine future through the dead.  Ghostsight perhaps is the oldest of the Necromancy spells.  The Necromancer dulls one sense.  That sense then is replaced by the ability to perceive death, the dead and the ephemera of the other side.  Eyes blinded then can see ghosts, ears deafened can hear sounds of the other side, and touch dulled can allow you to feel the textures of ghostly objects.

Ghostsight can last for as long as the Necromancer is awake.  This makes Ghostsight of the spells a Necromancer always practices in the morning.  It must be cast anew for each sense the necromancer wants to affect.

A Necromancer can also use Ghostsight to mute their own voice, allowing them to speak to the dead.

Sword of Necromancy

Sobriquets: Ghostsword, Ghostchain
Cost: 1 Aether; Deadens limbs for each ghostsword past the first.
Duration: Last one scene

One of the basic evocations of Necromancy creates raw ectoplasm.  It is shaped by the caster's necromantic power.  Their imagination plays a part as well, shaping the cold glowing ectoplasm into a blade.  The Ghostsword can appear as a sword, or any weapon the Necromancer imagines it to be.  A ghostsword is a weapon.  It can affect the living or the dead, corporeal or ephemeral.

A necromancer can change the form of their ghostsword whenever they wish.  Upon striking a target, most Necromancers will their ghostswords to turn a Ghostchain.  A Ghostchain can bind any entity to one place.  Necromancers often use this to handle the dead.  But also they use it for other entities, from humans to demons.

A Necromancer can only have one Ghostsword active at a time.  They can have more, but at the cost of their own flesh.  This is dangerous, as too many Ghostswords could make a Necromancer too weak to control a ghost.  Each new ghostsword or ghostchain deadens the necromancer's body.

Cloak of Necromancy

Sobriquets: Ghostward, Binding Circle
Cost: 1 Aether and whatever is to be warded must be mark with a sigil
Duration: Until next sunrise

Necromancers use the Cloak of Necromancy in three ways.  The nature of the spell is that it can restrict ectoplasm, creating a field that doesn't allow it to form.  It lasts until the next sunrise.  Patient Necromancers can spend Aether at sunrise to allow it to last another day.

Marking a single living being is the first way to use a Ghostward.  A Ghostwarded person cannot be sensed by any ghost, spirit or any undead.  Nor can a ghost or any form of ectoplasm touch them.  Conversely, that prevents Necromancers from being able to call forth Ghostswords and other ectoplasm.  If possessed by any spirit or ghost, the entity immediately vacants their host once the ghostward is placed.

The second method for a ghostward is to use four sigils to mark an area.  Nothing ectoplasmic or ghostly can enter the warded region.  Like the ward for a single person, it prevents necromancers from using their own ectoplasmic spells.  If a ghost, spirit or anything ectoplasm is inside the area of the ward when it becomes active, they leave the warded area as fast as they can or dissolve.  Once the ward is gone, such dissolved ectoplasmic entities reappear one full night after.

The last method is craft a circle with the warded energy.  This locks a Ghost into a single locale until the next sunrise.  A circle often is the best means to imprison a ghost or similar entity.  Ghostwards only protect against ghosts, the dead or other entities.

A Necromancer can use a Ghostward against planar beings like Fae, Demons or Angels.  But only so long as they know the entity's true name.  Without that name to lock the ward in place, the entity can ignore it entirely.

Monday, September 5, 2016

City of Curses: Chained (Flash Fiction)

A bit #Crux #Flashfiction.  A pair of Ghostwalkers get into trouble investigating a ghost.  


We didn't expect the house to be trouble.  Zarin and I thought there was only just a ghost.  Things still managed to get out of control on us.

"Why don't we just Ward the place and wait for the Ghost to come out?"  I asked.

"It's the second day of this job, and still don't quite get it."  Zarin shook her frizzy, black hair.  She was only a few years older than me.  But her mismatched eyes looked more experienced than mine.  The Rosefolk ghostwalker had already taught me how to use my Sight spells in new ways.  Uses I'd never learned at University.

"But it's easier, isn't it?  I mean, Ghostwarding the place just makes easier on both of us."

"We aren't ratcatchers."  Zarin said.  "Ghosts are citizens in Crux too.  We serve them as well as the living."

"Even if it's quicker than searching an abandoned, five-story apartment building?"  I sighed.  Even as I asked the question, I already resigned myself to our task.

This had been the pattern of patrolling for the Ghostwalkers.  Go to a locale.  Look for relevant phenomena.  Take your time.  Help the dead.  Don't ignore them.  This definitely fell under 'take your time.'

"C'mon Adolgo.  They thought the ghost they saw was a dead man."  Zarin stepped into the building.

"Open our Sight and look for signs of him."

"Yep.  You open your ears, I'll take sight."  Ghostsight would diminish whatever sense it overrode.  It enabled the overwritten sense to interact with the ghostly side.  One's eyes would be dulled, but one could see the dead instead.  Zarin would rely on me to help her see, she'd do the same thing for me and hearing.

We looked for clues as we went.  Ghosts can have echoes you can see in Ghostsight.  Ephemera of their lives.  Even then, Zarin and I looked for clues from the world of the living.

The apartment building had been abandoned a few years before.  This part of Old Crux had a few buildings needing to be replaced or renovated.  They were disasters.  A fire had destroyed a good part of the lobby of the building.  But on the floors above it, things didn't look too bad.

Feyborn rodents had taken over a set of rooms on the second floor.  The third floor creaked a bit too eerily.  Nothing there.  But on the fourth floor, that's when things turned for the worst.

"I'm hearing screaming.  Loud screaming."  I told Zarin.


We ran in the direction of the screaming ghost.  Zarin's arm blazed with purple.  Her ghostsword sprang to life.  The long ectoplasmic spear glowed bright purple.  The ephemera of the ghostsword sliced through a door.  Even with her eyes blinded with ghostsight, Zarin moved unimpaired.  The veteran ghostwalker moved without incident or trouble.

The screaming grew louder.

We found the ghost.  I switched my ghostsight from my ears to my eyes.  I could still hear his screams.

Screaming because of the chains wrapped around him.  They cut into his ectoplasmic flesh.  Ghostly blood dripped from where they cut into him.  They wrapped so tight, I couldn't tell if he had been a man or anything else in life.  The ghostly chains twisted his form.  He floated in mid-air, like an animal caught in some horrible trap he couldn't get out of.

"Zarin..."  I couldn't find the words.  I had no idea how to handle this.

Zarin didn't speak.  She growled and thrust her ghostsword toward the ghost's chains.  No.  Not to the chains, I realized.

Zarin was pointing at the tiefling holding the chains.  Flopped on the floor, both of her legs looked dead.  Her purple-skinned hands clung tight to a trio of ghostchains.  Ghostchains were just another form of a Ghostsword.

"Three?  How did she get three?!"

"Her legs, Adolgo."  Zarin snapped.  "She deadened both her legs to get two most chains to torture this ghost with."

"Torture?"  The Tiefling's head tilted.  Her feline ears twitched.  "I'm sorry, I was busy raking this errant entity.  Anything it says are just illusory.  Impulse echoes that don't matter."

"He's in pain and you're making it worse!"  Zarin shot back.  "Let him go, raker."

"Oh please.  You walkers always make no sense about these things."

The Geistraker rattled her ghostchains.  The ghost screamed.  Zarin's ghostsword glowed bright as she charged in.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Of Aether and Sorcery (Crux Rules... Thing)

Ok, random musing on some spell rules.  Haven't run Crux for awhile, but still have some ideas kicking around in the back of my mind on it.  Sorcery, mainly.  This is part of an outline on a magick system for Crux, based on a few idea of mine.  Probably will have more pieces for it later, but this covers the basic generalities I've been thinking of.

The Aether.

All magic comes out of a single source.  A plane of crackling energy.  A place of eternal energies.  Energy that sorcerous can mold into possibility.

Sorcery is the art of extracting Aetheric energies and using them on the material plane.  How that energy is applied, varies from Sorcery to Sorcery.  Most often Aetheric energies can be collected via leylines.   Some spellcasters have their own personal reserves.  Aetheric energy doesn't replenish quickly.  Within living spellcasters, aetheric reserves require time and meditation to recharge.

Aether Track.  

All sorcerous stunts give a character access to an Aether Track.  It has only three boxes.  It can't be expanded with more boxes.  But most often magic items or locations can have aether taken from them to power spells.  Some rites and techniques across the world also can manufacture aether.

Spells cost 1 Aether to cast.  Devices can be powered from it as well.  Life seems to produce ambient aetheric energy, even artificial life like Androids.

Schools of Magick

Spells are organized by Magick school, or kind of effect.  Seven schools categorize the realities created by Aether.  Each of these schools have defining effects and limitations.  Each acts as extensions of the Wizard Path and its descendant lines.  But these outline all expressions of magick that Aether manifests.


Other Names: Death Magick, Black Magick, Dark Arts
Practitioners: Necromancers, Witches, Alchemists
Sigil: Skull

Necromancy is the art of death.  Known as the First Wizardry.  Necromancy is associated with zombies and the undead.  But it is more than that.  Necromancy touches how Aetheric energies interact with the Soul.  It can foresee the trials of the spirit, bind spirits, and entities from beyond the material.  It can also be used as a bullet against the living, splitting soul from flesh and killing them in the process.

Necromancy Spells: Ghostsight (Sight), Ghostsword (Sword), Ghostward (Cloak), etc.


Other Names: Fire Magick, Sun Arts, Heart Magick
Practitioners: Pyromancers, Magi, Alchemists, Firecallers
Sigil: Triangle

Pyromancy aligns aetheric energies from the sun and the bright heat of the world.  Its simplest use is to ignite flame.  But Fire Magick can light metaphoric fires as well as physical ones.  Pyromancy can ignite fires in the heart.  It can cleanse places of spiritual corruption.  It can burn the sky.  It can help revive the dying- it cannot reignite the soul that is gone, but it can blow embers back to the fire they were.  And yes, you can burn people with it.

Pyromancy Spells: Crucible (Sight), Heartblaze (Curse), Spelltorch (Cup)


Other Names: Earth Magick, The Gem Arts, Stonecrafting
Practitioners: Geomancers, Witches, Druids
Sigil: Square

Geomancy concerns itself with the rawness of earth itself.  The raw use of geomancy is hard in that stone, dirt and earth are heavy to move.  The intersection of aether and the ground underneath carries to all things in the dirt.  Fertility and lust are Earth Magick too.  It can grant a caster incredible strength.  Or even greater speed while moving upon earth and stone.  Earth tends to fail if a geomancer loses their grasp on the ground.  This can be metaphorical or literal.

Geomancy Spells: Echosight (Sight), Fertility (Curse), Earthglide (Throne)


Other Names: Mind Magick, Psionics, Charms
Practitioners: Witches, Psychics, Enchanters
Sigil: The Letter Psi

Psychomancy focuses on minds, thoughts and the connections between them.  Raw psychomancy often leads to altering the thoughts of those around them.  Psychomancy is a scalpel, able to alter other lifeforms' minds in many, even subtle ways.  But mind magick lacks the power to perform gross acts of magick.  Its manifestations are precise, but not quite the same as lifting a boulder or burning down a house.  But even then, psychics can use their subtle tricks in conjunction to great effect.

Psychomancy Spells: Thoughtsense (Sight), Mindscythe (Sword), Awaken (Storm)


Other Names: Air Magick, Illusions, Wind Magick
Practitioners: Illusionists, Bards, Magi
Sigil: Spiral

Aeromancy is a part of the wind and storm.  It lies above in the clouds, not down on the ground.  Basic aeromancy is to alter wind currents- but more cunning uses can turn air into lens to enhance perception or bend light.  The most stunning use of Aeromancy is to fly, something most associate with wizards.  But aeromancy's spells tend to be easier to counter compared to their cousins.  A strong enough storm can make any form of flight impossible; a strong enough fire can cancel out any illusion.  Although fragile, air magick has such a diverse collection of spells, it often can find ways to work around their fragility.

Aeromancy Spells: Farsight (Sight), Invisibility (Cloak), Flight (Throne)


Other Names: Water Magick, The Ocean Art, Seacraft
Practitioners: Healers, Witches, Aquamancers
Sigil: Circle

To encircle another is to join their ocean to yours.  Water magick recognizes the common bond in most life, water.  Aquamancy often can heal others, as well as detect their emotions.  Skilled Seacrafters fear few diseases and often can control weather with ease.  Unlike fire, it cannot bring the near-death back to life.  But water magick can counter most Fire magick.  Aquamancy's requirement for steady amounts of water limit it.  In coastal regions, it's practitioners oft never fear that.

Aquamancy Spells: Heartsight (Sight), Water Breathing(Cup), Control Weather (Storm)


Other Names: Transmutation, Flesh Magick, Druidism
Practitioners: Druids, Transmuters, Alchemists
Sigil: Tree

Water can restore pieces of the body.  Fire can reignite the dying.  And Necromancy can bring some back to a semblance of life.  But to Lignamancy, flesh is mutable.  The body is its concern, not healing it, but improving upon it.  Flesh magick can do impossible things to a body, changing mass or shape at a Lignamncer's whim.  Druids oft learn this magick as a manner of course, as it allows the best way to slip into and out of animal forms.  Lignamancy cannot heal, but it can alter a body.


Each school has specific effects it can do.  Spells can be defined by their school, but also by their function.

  • Sight (a way to sense elements of that school's magick).
  • Curse (an effect that curses, punishes the target within the school's element).
  • Cup (a minor buff spell).
  • Sword (a quick effect that often serves as a weapon).
  • Cloak (a way to hide or cover up something pertaining to that element).
  • Throne (a larger effect that enables travel via that school's element).
  • Storm (a big, dangerous effect, for some schools a literal storm).

Friday, September 2, 2016

Inksketches, Week of September 2nd 2016

Inksketches and it's September already.  Ok.  Well, time to start the month out right.

On twitter and instagram I post these sorts of images every day.  If you are looking for some place to follow and get these in your feed, check those out.

Also, if you want to support images like this, the stories on this blog and more, check out my patreon.  It isn't necessary for this stuff, but it'd help with expanding some of my projects a bit.  I also take commissions, so don't be afraid to message me about that.

1Not all of them end up great.  A House Griffin or something else I dreamed up late last weekend.  The image of a Raven/House Cat cross for a magical pet sorta got in my head, but I don't think my drawing does it justice.  Of course, these inksketches are practice, so I expect misses now and then.

2From Instagram: "The mightiest confection of the Gods, the Mighty Pie twas baked in the hot stove of Hephaestus, with immortal fruits not seen before the rise of humanity. Glowing, golden and powerful, it begs all to come to it, even if such a quest might spell death."

Really, I could write a whole flash fic on the idea of divine baked goods.  A friend suggested this, and probably didn't expect I'd get around to doing it.

3 A mountain, which is one of the things I like to draw a lot.  This one involved iceflows, which is nice to think about when its 90+ degrees out.  

4 Well, this one is a suggestion from +Aki Tora.  He asked for some sort of shantytown/Aztec pyramid thing.  Because I take suggestions (I do, you can put one in the comments for this blog, if you have one) I don't try to be super accurate to what the person described.  These be my practice material, and tbh, I'd try to be more accurate for someone who commissioned me.  That said, I'm glad it wasn't what he expected.  Proves that neat ideas come out a myriad of different ways.

5 My father suggested this, although I suspect he expected something else.  I found a neat picture of an eagle's nest for reference, and decided to go with that.  I like the end result, with the panel in it for a closeup.  Then again, I'm a comic book nerd, so panels always creep into things I draw.

6A robot bug shooting out fire.  A part of the #Cyberwood project, the Firewall contains the spread of cyberplants through practical (fire) and digital means (firewalls).  Robots like this are frontline defenders for the remnants of human civilization.

7Some sort of fire witch in a battle pose with Aztec-inspired tattooes.  Felt like a neat thing to draw, so it got drawed.  If I colored it, I'd prolly try to color the flame on her fist as the same color as her tattooes, probably blue and green, while the volcano in the background belches out browns and reds.  Might not work visually, but that's the first bit of color blocking I can think for it.


I take commissions, if you like any of my work here, and want something very specific, detailed and super up to what you want.  I still am taking suggestions.  If you have a suggestion for a future inksketch for me, please comment below.

I can't promise to do all suggestions I get, nor do I promise to do them exactly as suggested.  These are my daily practice, after all, and I try to make them work for me.  A suggestion here isn't the same as a commissioned piece, but still, I like having idea fodder for things to draw.  Keeps me from limiting myself.  And please share, if you enjoy these things.

Images here can be reused for any blog or other noncommercial work, so long as a link back to this page is provided (i.e., you give me credit for it).  Commercial uses should prolly ask for actual permission.