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.