Khoras has two stars - Karrym and Drellis - which orbit each other. Drellis, the blue dwarf star, outputs a wide range of charged particles and radiation in its stellar wind. In this high energy protoplasmic soup, there is something that interferes with the normal flow of magical energy.
When Drellis eclipses Karrym, all forms of magic are weakened. Mages themselves feel this effect as their magic is weakened also. Mages widely believe that there exists a magical side to the blue star's energy. Something within the light of the blue star poisons magic. Mages call this dark essence or anti-magic. Dark essence interferes with the flow of "normal" magic causing spells to weaken, fluctuate or fail completely. It also has a randomizing effect on spells, often altering a spells target or generating side effects.
Because of this unique stellar situation (twin stars orbiting each other), Khoras experiences a regular pattern of magical fluctuation. This pattern has three phases, each lasting one Khorasian week (nine days) :
|Karrym Dominant Phase||Balanced Phase||Drellis Dominant Phase|
|Magic strengthened||"Normal" magic||Magic weakened|
This phenomenon is widely known as the Mage Curse and sometimes, more simply, the Drellis Effect. Many theories have been proposed and books written about the nature of this anti-magic, but no conclusive evidence has been found to support any one theory. Mortal mages argue endlessly over subtle definitions of matter, energy, essence and demonic influences. Very little is actually known from a scientific point of view.
What is known is this : the dark essence from the blue star greatly reduces the power of spells, spell effects and magically enchanted items. Mages also find that the energy is more likely to deviate and they are less able to control their magic when subjected to the light of the blue sun. (For a detailed discussion of dark essence and its affect on magic, refer to Magic).
One of the effects of the Drellis Effect is spell distortion. The more Drellis eclipses Karrym, the more frequent and intense the distortion will be. Whenever a wizard casts a spell during a Drellis phase, there is a chance that the spell may distort. Not every spell will distort. It's a bit random and depends on the situation. Lower level spells (i.e. easy spells) are easier to control and prevent from distorting. Complex and difficult spells are more prone to distort. Also, the skill of the wizard involved plays a big part. Very skilled wizards can concentrate and focus their spells to prevent them from unraveling. Young and inexperienced wizards are more prone to lose control of their spells. The game master will have to use his or her own judgement.
When a spell does distort, the possible effects and side effects are broad. Here are some specific examples of how the Drellis Effect might distort a spell. These are just a few examples. Any single spell could result in dozens of variations and, each time, the effect might be different. Use your imagination and keep the players on their toes. Generally speaking, spell distortions are annoying, inconvenient and sometimes a little dangerous. But they are rarely lethal. It is usually just enough to encourage mages to use caution during a Drellis dominant phase.
Some mages, known as Wild Mages or Chaos Sorcerers, actually use the energy from Drellis to form their spells rather than from the universal energy field. They experience a similar pattern of fluctuation due to the eclipsing of the two stars, but their pattern is exactly reversed from normal mages. When Drellis is dominant, wild mages wield great power and they suffer when Karrym rules the sky. Wild mages are rare, but the world is aware of them. Wild magic tends to be more powerful, but less controllable than "standard" magic. Wild mages also tend to suffer unusual side effects from their art. Many go mad, others develop odd physical peculiarities. (Baldness, odd skin coloration, etc.).
All of this information is commonly known to the inhabitants of the world. Wars, political coups, prison escapes and more have all been planned around and influenced by the Mage Curse.
It should be noted that Khoras can be used without the Drellis effect. If you don't like the idea of a world where the strength of magic varies from week to week and it doesn't fit in to your game, then don't use it. Just consider the two stars as having little or no effect on magic. The Drellis Effect is optional and can be subtle or exaggerated or ignored entirely. That goes for anything else in the world that you don't like. Use what you want, ignore or change the rest.
This website was last updated July 28, 2014. Copyright 1990-2014 David M. Roomes.