- Varieties of magic in Ethshar
This article summarizes the different varieties of magic and magicians in the fictional world of
Summoning one or more demons, and convincing them to perform various tasks. Traffic between the realm of demons and Ethshar became more difficult at the end of the Great War, as depicted in
The Misenchanted Sword. Demons are typically referred to as belonging to a particular Circle, indicating the relative difficulty in summoning them or relative price the demon requests for service. When summoned, demons may require sacrifices in the form of gold, blood, or lives (not necessarily human ones). Demons see all humans as human beings whether they are magicians of any kind or not.
Demonologists and Society
During the Great War, the Northern Empire used demonology extensively to directly reinforce their military forces. The army of the Northern Empire included half-demons known as shatra. In the final days of the war, an army of demons turned the eastern half of Ethshar into a desert with their occult powers.
After the Great War, the use of demonology is forbidden throughout the Small Kingdoms. Although demonology is permitted by law through the Hegemony of the Three Ethshars, the destructive nature of demonology tends to prevent its widespread use. Ships traveling past the Pirate Towns between Ethshar of the Rocks and Ethshar of the Sands sometimes hire demonologists as ship's magicians for their ability to sink pirate ships.
Demonologists wear black robes, sometimes with red trim. They may also wear a symbol associated with demonology as a pendant upon a necklace.
Partial List of Demons
Individual nameless imps (First Circle?)
Spesferis the Hunter (Second Circle)
Degorran (Fifth Circle)
Summoning a deity and requesting the god to perform a service of some kind. Successfully summoning a deity requires reciting the correct prayer formula in the correct way. Actual faith seems not to be necessary. About thirty gods respond to prayers. Gods answered the prayers of theurgists more reliably prior to the end of the Great War in
The Mis-Enchanted Sword.
Theurgists and Society
During the Great War, theurgists contributed to the war effort of Ethshar by providing magical defensive support in the form of healing and defensive charms. Theurgists also performed intelligence functions by summoning appropriate deities and asking them questions about important strategic and tactical information.
Following the Great War, theurgists mostly belong to a hierarchical priesthood. Theurgists market their services on a mercantile basis, even while maintaining the trappings of temples and shrines. The practice of theurgy is not known to be banned in any location. Because of its focus on divination, some theurgists find employment with courts of law, such as in Ethshar of the Sands.
Theurgists wear white robes with gold trim.
Partial List of Deities
Aibem (General Information, such as locating specific people)
Blusheld (Health, maintaining good health)
Blukros (Health, restoring minor wounds and illness)
Konned (Light and Warmth)
Luzro (God of the Dead)
Mazhom (Goddess of Courtship)
Mekdor (Health, Major Trauma, Plagues, Epidemics)
Morrn the Preserver (Genealogy)
Piskor the Generous (Extend food supplies, Purify Water)
Unniel the Discerning (Information about magic, carries messages to other gods)
Creating and using talismans, magical devices with functions similar to technology. Sorcerers create magical effects with a magical power called gaja, derived from the order outside the universe. These magical effects dissipate without talsimans, physical artifacts which anchor the magical effects.
orcerers and Society
During the Great War, the Northern Empire used sorcery heavily for magical support, although how is not clearly documented. Following the end of the Great War in
The Misenchanted Sword, many sorcerous artifacts are destroyed or confiscated by the army. Some find their way into private hands as soldiers take unreported loot and are passed down within families as heirlooms ("Portrait of a Hero").
After the end of the war, the use of Sorcery is not expressly forbidden throughout the Small Kingdoms, but is widely avoided. Few talismans remain, with a higher number of sorcerous talismans remaining in the Baronies of Sardiron, closer to the original territory of the Northern Empire. Whether new talismans can be constructed after the end of the Great War has yet to be reported. If no new talismans can be created, how talismans originally came into existence has yet to be documented. Since both demons and gods were involved in creating the Towers of Lumeth, some particular demons or gods would have the knowledge necessary to repair, recharge, or create new sorcerous talismans.
Sorcerers are known to dress in robes made of fine white linen.
Examples of Sorcerous Talismans
1. The Towers of Lumeth
2. Sorcerer's Oracle
3. Motion Detector
4. Fingerprint Talisman
5. "Denekin allasir"
6. Fire Talisman
7. Bug-Shaped Communicator
Given time, concentration, verbal, somatic, extremely varied and sometimes difficult-to-find material components, and (usually) the focus of an
athame, a skilled wizard can do most anything, including granting immortality or eternal youth, creating an artificial universe/dimension, and reversing the flow of time. Wizardry is thus the most powerful variety of magic, and the wielders are able to (but very rarely do) enforce their will on every king and magician on Ethshar
Wizardry uses charged symbols to manipulate chaos, and the components therefore usually do not in any way represent the effects. Wizardry spells have different "levels",that represent the increasing difficulty of casting.
It seems likely that wizardry does not require an inborn talent, but some are more suitable than others.
Wizards and Society
The Wizards' Guild mmakes a number of claims regarding its origins and legitimacy including that it originated to protect the Towers of Lumeth long before the Great War began and that it had the official sanction of the Holy Kingdom of Ethshar (Old Ethshar). During the Great War, the army of Ethshar used wizardry extensively in a variety of combat and support roles. Some of these roles were quite dangerous. For instance, the working life of a typical army research wizard extended an average of forty (40) days.
After the Great War, most of the flashier and more dangerous spells were quietly suppressed by the Wizards' Guild. Wizards returned to a previous behavior pattern typical of other guilds: protecting trade secrets, demanding obedience of their members, and exercising discipline amongst their members to maintain the image of their profession.
Wizardry is not known to be banned in any lands. However, in Ethshar of the Sands, the Lady of Justice will seek to use theurgists, witchs, or warlocks before contracting a wizard, due to previous perceived manipulation of the government by the Wizards' Guild.
Apprentice wizards wear grey robes for formal occasions(IR,p.12).
* Cauthen’s Remarkable Love Spell (Ithanalin's Restoration) components; a trace part of the enchanted individual (a hair, drop of sweat or blood), mare’s sweat, hair from a stallion’s tail, water, red wine. This spell creates a potion containing some trace of one party. When someone drinks the potion the source of the trace ingredient falls in love with the drinker when they next see, hear, or smell that person.
* The Creeping Darkness (Ithanalin's Restoration)
* Eknerwal’s Lesser Invisibility (Ithanalin's Restoration)
* Ellran's Immortal Animation (the Misenchanted Sword) An eighth order animation spell that is permanent and essentially unbreakable. Any spell linked to this one becomes imbued with these traits by association.
* Ennerl's Total Invisibility (Taking Flight)
* Enral's Eternal Youth Spell (the Misenchanted Sword) components; powdered spider, blue silk, cold iron, dried seaweed, candles colored with virgin's blood, the tears of a female dragon, the ichor of a white cricket, the heart of an unborn child, and the hand of a murdered woman. Upon completion the subject is returned to their condition and appearance at the desired age and does not age thereafter.
* Eshom’s Oenological Transformation (Ithanalin's Restoration)
* Explosive Seal (With a Single Spell, the Unwilling Warlord) partial components; dragon's blood. Produces a seal which explodes violently if touched by someone to which it is not attuned.
* Familiar Animation [variant] (Ithanalin's Restoration pg.10) Animates minor objects.
* Fendel’s Accelerated Corruption (Ithanalin's Restoration)
* Fendel’s Elementary Protection (Ithanalin's Restoration)
* Fendel’s Familiar (Ithanalin's Restoration)
* Fendel’s Soothing Euphony (Ithanalin's Restoration)
* Fendel's Spectacular Illusion (Ithanalin's Restoration pg.39) - partial components: drop of dragon's blood.
* Fendel's Infatuous Love Spell (Taking Flight)- Causes the subject to fall madly in love with the caster.
* the Finger of Flame (Ithanalin's Restoration)- components; a drop of the caster’s blood and their athame. The wizard’s finger “burns” like a candle, using their fingernail as a wick. The flame can be extended to up to a foot, providing more light than a candle and less than a lamp. The flame can burn safely for 4-5 minutes before the caster risks burns.
* A Fine Blemish Remover (With a Single Spell)
* Galger's Lid Remover (With a Single Spell) components; athame, diamond chip, gold wire, steel rod, and silver mirror. Causes "a demonic eight-foot thing, glittering like crystal ablaze with white fire, with razor-sharp claws fangs and horns, to appear from nowhere with a banshee wail, snatch
[a jar from the caster's hands]twist off the lid with a scream of tortured metal, and then vanish with the sound of shattered glass, leaving jar and lid on the floor at his feet."
* Gilad’s Blemish Removal (Ithanalin's Restoration)
* Greater Spell of Invaded Dreams (Blood of the Dragon) Like the Lesser spell, though it allows two way communication and the inclusion of another person.
* Haldane's Instant Transformation (Taking Flight) - partial components; Skin of the desired animal shape(s) mixed with the caster's blood and butterfly wings. Allows the caster to instantly transform into up to 7 shapes for the duration of the spell.
* The Iridescent Amusement (Ithanalin's Restoration, "Ingredients" [http://www.ethshar.com/ingredients.html] ) A hair from the head of an executed criminal, a drop of his blood, and a piece, however small, of the gallows he died on.
* Javan's First Augmentation of Magical Memory (Taking Flight). This spell allows a wizard to perform one or more other spells, storing them in memory at completion for later use. While this allows a wizard to have one or more spells available at will, the number of spells they can hold thus is limited, and the wizard is unable to perform other magic while they remain.
* Javan’s Geas (Ithanalin's Restoration) partial components; the target’s true name. Places an irresistible compulsion on the target not to do a specific thing.
* Javan's Restorative (Ithanalin's Restoration pg.28) - two peacock plumes - one white, boiling water, jewelweed, 1/4 lb block of special incense prepared in fog or sea-mist. "Restores a person or thing to a natural healthy State, regardless of previous Enchantments, Breakage, or Damage."
* Javan's Second Augmentation of Magical Memory (Taking Flight) components; three left toes from a black rooster, a plume from a peacock's tail, seven round white stones six exactly the same weight and the seventh weighing three times as much, a block of special incense prepared in the morning mist of an open field, and the wizard's athame which is broken during the spell. Enchants the caster to be able to use certain spells as abilities at will.
* Kandif’s Spell of Warning (Ithanalin's Restoration) This spell ensorcelles a specific place so that the wizard casting the spell know instantly if anyone enters it over the next three days.
* Lesser Spell of Invaded Dreams (With a Single Spell) Allows the wizard to send a message to a sleeper whose true name they know.
* Lugwiler’s Dismal Itch (Ithanalin's Restoration)
* Lugwiler's Haunting Phantasm (With a Single Spell)- components; A curse which causes the subject to see creatures from the corner of their eye causing distractions and disturbance. A miscasting of this spell created the Spriggan Mirror.
* Polychrome Smoke (With a Single Spell)
* The Prismatic Pyrotechnics (With a Single Spell)
* Sanguinary Deception (the Misenchanted Sword, With a Single Spell)- components; a drop of the subject's blood and the caster's athame. Causes the subject to appear to be a decaying corpse.
* Seething Death (With a Single Spell, Spell of the Black Dagger) Summons a drop of pure chaos which expands in a sphere, destroying or converting anything it comes in contact with into more of the substance. It is believed that unchecked, this spell would destroy the World. The original countercharm for the Seething Death has been lost.
* Servile Animation (Ithanalin's Restoration pg.27) - 6th Order - partial components: dragon's blood, opium poppy seeds, virgin's tears, red hair from a woman married at least a year. Animates an object.
* Spell of Optimum Strength (Ithanalin's Restoration) Requires 3 hours of ritual, but grants immense strength for a half hour.
* Spell of Perpetual Sharpness (Ithanalin's Restoration)
* Spell of Prismatic Pyrotechnics (With a Single Spell)- produces multicolored sparks.
* Spell of Sustenance- partial components; a bloodstone. The enchanted individual needs not eat, drink, or breath so long as they consume neither food nor water, bear the bloodstone, and the spell is not otherwise broken. Using the spell for more than a sixnight can cause health problems.
* Spell of the Impeded Egress (Ithanalin's Restoration) Targets enchanted with this spell becomes unable to find an exit from wherever they are put.
* Spell of the Obedient Object (Ithanalin's Restoration pg.14) - partial components: blood of a gray cat, gold coin. Animates an object.
* Spell of the Spinning Coin (the Unwilling Warlord)
* Spell of True Ownership (the Misenchanted Sword) Binds an object to it's owner.
* Thrindle's Combustion (Ithanalin's Restoration pg.39, With a Single Spell) - component: pinch of brimstone. This spell will ignite any combustible material. If used on something already burning it will produce a violent explosion. A miscasting of this spell is said to have created the Tower of Fire in the Small Kingdoms. This is also the titular "Single Spell."
* Thrindle’s Instantaneous Putrefaction (Ithanalin's Restoration)
* Tracel’s Adaptable Potion (Ithanalin's Restoration)
* Tracel’s Levitation (Ithanalin's Restoration)
* The Transporting Tapestry (With a Single Spell)- components; thirty pounds of gold, thirty pounds of silver, three fresh pine needles, three candles (one white, one black, and one blood red), a white rose, a red rose, and a particular sort of incense. When complete this spell creates a tapestry which acts as a one way portal to the location perfectly depicted within it.
* Varen’s Levitation (Ithanalin's Restoration)
* Yellow Cloud (Ithanalin's Restoration pg.39) - partial components: chip of chrysolite
Warlockry's primary ability centers around
telekinesis, though it is used via the ability to sense "space." At the height of power this sense grants fine resolution sufficient to manipulate items smaller than bacteria. The single variable of a Warlock's ability seems to be the attunement of the Warlock to the Source, which grants greater power and finer senses as it is developed. Because of the apparently unlimited power provided by the Aldagmor Source Warlocks tend towards a brute-force approach to their magic use.
Warlockry came into existence when an object fell from the sky during the
Night of Madness. This object awakened a number of warlocks to its power, it grants them telekinetic ability which varies by their range from the object, which also 'whispers' to them. Warlocks become more powerful the more they use their abilities, and those who become very powerful hear what is known as "The Calling" from this object, and are unable to resist traveling to it. None have ever come back from these trips. There is another unsentient version of this object to the South, in Lumeth of the Towers, near the Empire of Vond, that already empowered warlocks can tap for power. Otherwise warlocks in the south would be too far away to tap much power from the whispering object.
Warlocks and Society
Warlocks did not exist during the Great War between the Northern Empire and the Ancient Holy Kingdom of Ethshar. Warlocks also did not exist anytime in the history of the world until the Night of Madness in Year 5208 of Human Speech.
During the Night of Madness, the Aldagmor Source first transformed thousands of otherwise normal people or other types of magicians into warlocks. The most powerful of these new warlocks immediately heard the Call of the Aldagmor Source and travelled to it using any available means (typically flying or walking). The first twenty-four hours were filled with looting, chaos, violence, and destruction as some new warlocks did not immediately realize the responsibility of possessing their newfound powers. After the first week or two, the Wizard's Guild enforced existing rules regarding the use of multiple types of magic, causing all warlocks to relinquish use of all other types of magic or perish.
Following the Night of Madness, warlocks established a Council of Warlocks to perform guild-like functions similar to the Wizard's Guild. With the assistance of the Wizard's Guild, warlocks narrowly avoided being banned within the Hegemony of the Three Ethshars. During the events of
The Vondish Ambassador, the Wizard's Guild banned all warlocks from a 200-league radius around Lumeth of the Towers.
A warlock on business for the Council of Warlocks will wear a black tunic with white or gold trim.
Witches describe their craft as "feeling" similar to warlockry. However, while many of the most obvious applications of witchcraft do seem to be a variation on telekinesis (moving objects, warming, heating, drying, etc.) wichcraft centers on the sense of self and others, rather than the Warlock's sense of space. Witchcraft is generally considered to be weaker than many of the "great magics" because it is powered by the witch's own body, providing a sharp limit to their maximum power. Whereas a warlock may feel more powerful after a great effort (because their ability to draw on the source increases with use), a witch is often physically exhausted after a major use of witchcraft. As with the other forms of magic-users in Ethshar, witches may be male or female.
Witchcraft and Society
Because of the limited power of witches witches are generally considered a "lesser" type of magician. Many wiches find another limitation imposed on their craft is their acute sense of those around them as they can easily sense (and suffer from) the negative emotions of others. Despite this, wiches were used during the Great War- supplementing their limited power by creating "war locks." Linked witches whose shared power was greater than any one, and the process for which Warlocks were mistakenly named.
Science on Ethshar is counted a category of magic. Scientific knowledge is at a relatively low technology level and includes knowledge of things like creating a rainbow with a glass prism and the basic mechanics (pulleys and levers).
Little explanation has been given as yet, but it is apparently the only form of magic that requires more than one person. Groups of dancers can allegedly improve a person's luck.
Never mentioned in any of the published stories, the author has said in online discussion that there was once a form of song magic, but that it's probably been lost by the time most of the Ethshar stories take place.
Using plants as medicines, poisons, and so on. Generally not thought of as magic in the real world.
The magic of dreams, including sending and receiving dreams, and interpreting dreams, and witnessing distant events. Oneiromancy was used in reconnaissance during the war between the Holy Kingdom of Ethshar and the Northern Empire.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.