Magic of Mind - Cogitation

Naelwyn

Non sum qualis eram
Cogitation; An Introduction - "Imposition of Will."

Cogitation is the magic of the mind, and of willpower. All cogitation stems from the same general source, a mind with will so focused and strong that it can influence other minds.


All casters need a focused mind to cast spells. The intricacies of pulling energy from one's body takes a level of concentration that few mortals have. However, being the case that Cogitation is mental magic, the ability to focus on casting these spells is identical to having good form when swinging a sword or the perception to aim a shot from a bow. Even the slightest error in concentration means a failed spell, just like bad form would negate a successful sword strike.


As such, more so than any other caster, the Cogitation mage must learn to focus his mind to the point all other stimuli are forgotten. This state of concentration is what we will call the "trance" (see ‘Trance’).


Any Cogitation spell that has a duration of "concentration" (Which is most of them) require the caster to stay in the trance for as long as he wants the spell to persist. This generally makes Cogitation a poor choice of magic to try and use during combat, because while a spell is going on, the caster is often left vulnerable.
 
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Naelwyn

Non sum qualis eram
How Cogitation is self-limiting:

While all magic has it's limits, Cogitation is self-limiting. When exercised it strains the mind of the caster and Cogitation requires a sharp, fresh mind to produce its kind of spells. Therefore, it is usually impossible to intentionally cross the limit and achieve successful results. Also, the damage of crossing the limit forces all but near-master and master level casters out of the trance, so any spell cast, even if successful, will only stay around for a brief moment.


Even pushing one's self to the limit gives a Cogitation caster problems. A caster at their limit will be mentally exhausted, and will be unable to enter the trance again (even for mundane or passive purposes) until resting. A caster at his limit cannot partake in a metaconcert (see ‘Trance’), nor can he be the target of an ongoing beneficial Cogitation spell.


A Cogitation caster at his limit has no defense against other Cogitation casters' direct mental attacks, since he has no mental reserves left to defend with. At the limit, a caster is less defended than someone who is not a caster against mental attacks.



Overuse Cases:

  • Class 3 - Completing a spell that calls on less than 1/10 of the mage's maximum willpower use cases when it would drain them below zero. The Mage suffers from a massive migraine as the mage starts having cerebral aneurysms, building in intensity as the mage progresses towards Class 2.

  • Class2 - Completing a spell that calls on more than 1/10 of the mage's maximum willpower use cases when it would drain them below zero, or invoking another Class 3 Overuse when already suffering from it. Aneurysms progress to burst vessels in the brain, leading to a brain hemorrhage. Indicate symptoms are blood leaking out of every orifice in the head. Not. Pleasant. Most likely fatal if not immediately attended to. If the mage survives, they do so with brain damage. Death is Healer-recoverable, and they can clear out most, but not all, of the brain damage. Pretty much a Cogitation career-ender.

  • Class 1 - Completing a spell that calls on more than 1/4 of the mage's maximum willpower use cases when it would drain them below zero, or invoking a Class 2 event while already suffering from Class 3. Mind completely and utterly melts into goo the consistency of a convenience-store slushie that promptly leaks out the same places as in Class 2. Character is gone.
The Cost of Cogitation:

Cogitation directly uses the caster’s energy; both mental and physical, when performing spells. Using up physical power simply weakens the body to varying levels of weariness (from feeling drowsy to passing out and sleeping for three days). Using up the mental power (dubbed ‘willpower’), will have much more severe effects. Willpower is the ‘currency’ with which Cogitors use their abilities, and one must manage it carefully, as draining it too low will result in an overuse case.

The tricky part is that while in the trance, an apprentice may not notice their willpower diminishing, and may find that once they awaken from their passive they swiftly lose consciousness and are subject to one of the three overuse cases above.

Once a Cogitor becomes accustomed to their own endurance for spell use, they can plan their activities more safely, only using spells that bring them to a desired amount of fatigue, if at all.

The typical symptoms of a mild overuse of magic involves headaches, blurry thoughts, and physical weariness. The symptoms increase in severity if the mage continues, eventually reaching a Class 3 overuse case.
 
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Naelwyn

Non sum qualis eram
Casting Time Conversion:

While many Cogitation spells and techniques require only theoretical knowledge and a few seconds of focus, some of the more complicated processes will put the caster out of action for hours or even days, locked in a willpower-fueled trance. The brain is a vastly complex organ that only the most skilled of navigators can peruse at will, and even then it is often an arduous and time-consuming activity.

During casting, the Cogitor’s passive (Trance) is active. For all but the near-master mages, it is obvious when a Cogitor is in a trance, if one knows what to look for. For this reason, casters may hide themselves away in secluded areas while tackling difficult activities.

The following is a game-time conversion of how long in roleplay a spell takes to manifest, and while it does not represent accurate RP-IRL time conversions, it is a necessary handicap.


"Combat Speed" - a spell that takes only one or two lines of text to cast, and happens immediately.

10 seconds - a spell that is slightly longer than combat speed. About the time it would take to make two combat speed actions.

1 minute - a spell that, while could be used in combat, would be difficult to do so. These take generally the time it would take to make five combat actions

10 minutes - an action that is outside the range of being usable in combat situations. Essentially would take the time of ~50 combat actions if attempted. Out of combat, they may be performed quickly, with no real waiting time.

30 minutes - a longer form of out of combat action, this action should be embellished and written about for a solid few minutes.

1 hour - final version of out of combat actions, these require a nice bit of writing, centered on the spell for around ten minutes or so.

12 hours - the first "out of roleplay" cast times. These spells remove you from being able to do any other roleplay for the next half hour.

24 hours - same as above, except it will remove your character from roleplay for a full hour of real life time.

48 hours - two hours being removed from roleplay. Should the spell require another player, they may elect to also remove themselves from roleplay for this length of time, or, they can elect that both themselves and the caster must be present for the duration. A target needing to leave during the timeframe will allow the successful completion of the spell, the caster needing to leave would cause the spell to fail. If a target is unconscious during the casting they no longer have such choice.


If the casting of the "removed from roleplay" speed spells does not require another player to be there, and is not an attack of some sort, the caster may choose to have cast the spell while he was offline.
 
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Naelwyn

Non sum qualis eram
Passive:Trance

The trance is the very first thing that a Cogitor learns to do, as it is necessary to perform anything in the Cogitation discipline. It is, in essence, a deeply heightened state of meditation, in which one (if practiced) can process thoughts, feelings and emotions under complete mindfulness and control.


Level 1 (Basic Trance) - At this level, the mage has barely learned to get into a meditative state of mind. The trance can be broken if the mage does anything else. Also, loud noises, being bumped or otherwise physically interacted with, or any other mild distractions are enough to force a mage out of the trance.


Level 2 (Trance) - This level allows a mage to make simple movements like scratching their nose or biting their lip while holding a trance. General annoyance and discomfort doesn't break a trance, but pain of any sort will.


Level 2.5 (Trance - Advanced) - As the Cogitor explores basic movements they find themselves able to stand, perhaps even walking around and utilising simple motor movements (picking up and placing objects) while still maintaining a trance. Mild pain will jolt them from the state, but small grazes and equivalent injuries will not.


Level 3 (Adept Trance) - The trance at this point can be sustained through moderate pain, though massive trauma, such as losing a limb, having one’s body engulfed in fire, being eaten alive by a swarm of angry rats, will still break concentration. This level of trance also allows the mage to create a schism in his mind (see ‘Schism’). Due to this, advanced movement is possible, and even the beginnings of speech.


Level 4 (Indomitable Will) - At this point, the mage can take almost any amount of damage and not lose his trance. In addition, while in a trance a mage does not suffer the effects of pain, emotion, most forms of poison, ect. Note that this does not negate any damage, simply that the mage doesn't have to deal with the mental effects of such. Example - a mage while in a trance gets his left arm cut off. The arm is gone and the stump is bleeding (though at a potentially reduced rate due to his ability to control his blood flow [see ‘Corking’]) but the pain is ignored and the mage can go right into his next spell without skipping a beat.

In addition, the mage’s physical ability while in the trance is as equally adept as it is outside of it. The Cogitor can move and talk as if normal.


Level 5 (Metaconcert) - At the peak level of the trance, a master mage can create a metaconcert with other mages capable of creating schisms. Each mage (who must be able to perform a level 3 trance or higher) essentially elects to invoke their schism ability. However, instead of the mages individually gaining the ability of a schism, instead their mental energy is collected together to form a metaconcert. The metaconcert is an object of pure mental energy and focus, directed by the master mage (called the director). The metaconcert not only takes the concentration of the schism, but it also uses the mental energy one would expire while maintaining Cogitation spells. Each mage gives up to 25% of their remaining mental energy, which is then stored in the metaconcert. The director of the metaconcert may then use this to have the metaconcert cast spells. For the purposes of concentration for spells, the metaconcert is always in trance. Each mage participating may still cast their own spells, but cannot do anything other than simple movements and actions otherwise. The metaconcert is visible, and looks like a swirling ball of translucent energy, with tendrils leading back to each of the mages’ foreheads. The metaconcert can only be used to perform spells the director knows.


If a mage in the metaconcert is rendered unconscious the metaconcert loses a fraction of it's remaining mental power based on the proficiency of the mage that was rendered unconscious. (If three mages are in concert, and one is removed, the metaconcert loses the removed mage’s willpower.) If the metaconcert is attacked - such as through a spell that attacks the mind, or a counterspell/area of void magic is used - and the attack hits, the metaconcert is automatically destroyed, all spell workings lost, and each member of the concert receives an effect similar to a concussion. This effectively blocks the mages from being able to cast Cogitation-based spells and enter a trance for twenty four hours, after which period the damage subsides.
 
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Naelwyn

Non sum qualis eram
Ability Classification:

Name - Name of the Spell

Subdomains - What category does this technique or spell belong to? Certain skills will require the creation of an entirely new category due to their unique nature.

Level - The level required in order to cast the spell (beginner; initiate; adept; expert; master).

CastTime - Time needed to cast the spell. Time written in game time, actual time conversion below.

Duration - How long the spell lasts. "Concentration" means the spell lasts as long it is concentrated on (requiring Trance for the entirety of it).

Effect - The end result of the spell. What the spell does, or is intended to do.

Note - Any additional information regarding the spell. Information here does not fit into any of the above categories.


Spell
:Illusions [Initiate - Scaling]

Illusions are a vast part of the Cogitation discipline, and are tackled early on in an apprentice’s training. It is a target-specific technique; their effects exist only to those who have illusions cast on them. The difficulty of creating an illusion depends on the size, complexity, and believability of it, as well as how many people you wish to illude at a time.

The most important thing to know about illusions is that they are just that; they do not exist in a physical sense, and are only present the manipulation of the target’s visual and aural senses (and in the Phantasm’s case, pain receptors). As soon as the target interacts with an illusion physically, it dissolves.

There are three types of illusions, each with their own uses and limitations:


Semblance - a semblance is the most common illusion. It manifests in the form of an altered or created object; a cloud of butterflies, or a slowly elongating nose. The training of this illusion is usually split into two parts; altering, and creating.

Altering is far easier than creating, as it is to change the observed properties of existing objects and people. For example, it is possible to render a palmed object invisible, or more simply change its colour and shape.

Next comes the creation, a more difficult aspect as it requires far more attention to detail and maintenance effort. Creations are the arrival of completely new objects that were not there before. For example, a bird fluttering from behind a Cogitor’s back, or a knife shimmering into existence in their hand. If the creation is interacted with in any way, it is obvious to the person interacting with it that it is not real.

Once a person understands that something is a semblance, they can choose to either see the illusion or not while the spell is still active. They may also warn others of the semblance, in which those told will be able to discern the truth as well. Semblances cannot cause any actual damage to a target.


Pattern - Unlike semblances, this illusion takes place entirely within the mind of the target, instead of being viewable in the physical world. These illusions are complex and the target is capable of interacting with it (it all being in the mind). Targets of this spell will often appear comatose, or simply very still during the illusion, as the manipulation is an incredibly complicated fabrication of events in the mind, planted there by the Cogitor (like a lucid dream). The target is also more likely to succumb to certain events within the illusion, so believability is not an issue. This is by far the most complex of illusions as it requires impeccable attention to detail, multiplied by however many targets of the spell there is. All five senses can and should be affected during this process.


Phantasm - Last of the illusions of Cogitation is the Phantasm. A phantasm is similar to a placebo, yet highly complex. Unlike a pattern, the damage done by a phantasm will leave the the user with a more permanent pain, often referred to as a phantom pain. This attack however, is still completely mental. For instance, a phantasmal attack in the form of a flying spear that connects with a person will receive an accurate feeling of pain from his brain at the affected location, and the brain will only allow that part of the body to operate as though it had actually been hit. In actuality, the brain's nervous system has been fooled to have been harmed at the location that determines the point on the body affected. A victim who has, for example, suffered the above scenario will either be in a lot of pain or extreme shock, all depending upon the phantasm. Phantasms are incredibly difficult and need a strong mastery of Cogitation, along with knowledge of how it affects the nervous system. Because of such, it is not uncommon to see Cogitators seeking out mystics for their knowledge of the body.


The Vally Spear”

By making use of Vallahad’s enormously aerodynamic body, it is possible to use him as the medium for the most potent of Phantasmi. The racial slurs against his mortal enemy, the Westerner, also serve as a major method to demoralise the recipient. Hurling the Sooleran head-first is the most effective method of this spell, as it utilises his furiously gnashing teeth, and allows him to latch on with more effectiveness. His thick skull also serves as a protective buffer. Advanced users of this ability may utilise Vallahad’s staff as a propeller of sorts, allowing him to travel further distances. Unlike the other spells, this one has several different ‘splinter techniques’ of a sort branching off of this ability. Those such as the infamous “Vally of Spears” where one is subject to several different Vallahad’s- each seemingly more enraged at the unfortunate Westerner victim than the last.
 
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Naelwyn

Non sum qualis eram
Universal rules of Illusions:


All illusions follow the same basic rules. These are:

  • Illusions do not actually exist in the real world. A semblance of a giant weight cannot tip a scale, an alteration of an item into a skeleton key will not unlock a lock, a pattern of quicksand does not actually suffocate trapped targets (though their mind will think they are lacking air and go unconscious. Once unconscious, the mind cannot be affected by the illusion and begins to breathe normally again).

  • Illusions are sensory dependent. A deaf person cannot hear an aural figment. Someone closing their eyes cannot see an optical one. Phantasms however can ignore this rule if the danger has already been percepted by the mind. Closing your eyes after seeing a phantasmal spear flying at you is not a defense against the phantasmal attack, since your brain has already processed the impending danger, and is thus vulnerable to the attack.

  • Many creatures cannot be mentally affected by a Cogitator. Undead creatures have no sentience with which a Cogitator can link to, golems are entirely foreign sentient beings when compared to an Alteran creature, and hiveminded creatures are vastly complex; it is too complex a network for the Cogitator to effect with his willpower . Those whose wills are not being blanketed at the time can often help release others from the Cogitators’ will. Semblance illusions cannot affect an unconscious person, whereas a pattern can be used to affect the person’s unconscious mind, much like a dream, which they will have little recollection of after the fact. Phantasms are impossible to use whilst one is unconscious, as the brain is interpreting it in a dream like state.
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Spell: ‘Corking’ [Beginner - Scaling]

This spell is named for its effect on the body. As the body lives and works it is in constant movement internally, through your blood circulation, digestive system, respiratory system and many others. ‘Corking’ is a low level trick that comes paired with the Trance, and grows more potent and useful as the mage progresses.

A Cogitator is very much in control of his own mind, and is therefore able to control his body in a unique way that others can not. They are capable of affecting many of their bodily functions manually, for example, the beating of the heart. Such can be used to control things like blood flow and metabolism. Because of this, it is not uncommon to see a Cogitator survive longer than others in harsh situations, either bleeding out more slowly, or starving at a lesser rate than others. Once more this ties in a Cogitator with a Mystic to learn more about the functions of their body. This system works much like a valve where one can increase or decrease an effect to a desired point, however doing so may lead to other, not so desirable consequences.


“Dis be a way ta stop yaself from bleedin all ova da place and ruinin’ someone’s floor.”

“...Does it have a name?”

“A name? Aye sure it does Ranja… Corkin’.”

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Spell: Telepathy [Beginner]

Telepathy is the act of communicating via thoughts, rather than verbal noises like speaking. While taught fairly early on in a Cogitor’s training, it is a difficult concept to grasp and put to use.

Effectively, the caster must gather his willpower, and using that, force his line of thought outwards across a ‘bridge’ of sorts. This bridge is a way to perform many spells in Cogitation, but it is first learnt as a way to use Telepathy.

As a beginner, building this bridge is strenuous, maintaining it even more so, but as one grows more adept at the spell, connection can be made with another’s mind in seconds. Due to the nature of the spell, proximity greatly affects the difficulty on a case by case basis.

It is important to note that performing telepathy with an individual does not grant the caster access to roam through the subject’s thoughts and memories; telepathy is communication only, and therefore the Cogitor picks up the recipient’s projected thoughts, images, and emotions. However, many people have minimal control over their own mind and as such stray thoughts may stand out for the Cogitor to see. (For example, do not think of a pink rhinoceros.)


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Technique: Schism (requires Adept Trance) [

The schism is essentially having the willpower to split one's mind into two (and possibly more) separate parts (not a separation of lobes into different sides, think psychological, not physical). The mechanical benefit of this is that the mage can now cast and hold spells with one half while performing advanced actions with the other (attacking; defending; running; complex fine manipulation of objects; writing; speaking; etc). You cannot use this ability to cast two spells at the same time, as the combined mental drain is too much for a mind to handle and will result in brain damage at a minimum of a class three overuse case. Also, due to the reduced mental capacity given to cast spells, spells of the highest potency the mage can normally use are uncastable during a schism. Finally, staying in a schism for longer than the mage can comfortably manage is dangerous. Mages that prolong the schism state to the point where they initiate an overuse case run the risk of developing split personality disorder. A schism performed by a mage with split personality disorder cannot control the actions performed by one of the halves. The rogue personality immediately tries to sever the connection with his other half, doing everything he can to physically split his shared body in two.


Cogitation and the other Schools:

Mysticism: As mentioned above, it is not uncommon to see other Cogitors approaching Mystics for information about the way the body functions. In turn Cogitors can help Mystics with things of the mind, especially in settings where the Mystic is lacking the physical tools necessary to utilise anaesthesia, morphine, or other sedative drugs. Cogitors are masters of the mind, and Mystics are master of the body. Paired together they are manipulative masters of biological matter and sentient thought.

Evocation: Evocation being a fast and gritty magical school, it may seem like an odd choice when paired with Cogitation, being the slower and more deliberate discipline. However, in a combat sense the two disciplines work extremely well together, what with one concerning the pure control of energy, and the other concerning the sleights and tricks performed on a subject’s mind. Imagine having fireballs hurled at you, and not knowing which ones are real.

Thaumaturgy: (TBD)
 
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Naelwyn

Non sum qualis eram
Unlocking and Training:

The training undertaken by an apprentice Cogitator is almost identical to that of one undertaken by that of an apprentice merchant or banker in the age before common literacy - extensive memorization tricks and training on managing large amounts of information.


Eventually this is taken to the point where the instructor and apprentice have their first bit of mental contact, guided by the instructor, and exchange basic, empathic information as they form a bond. From that point onwards the apprentice is guided into using their focus on their own.


A lot of the success of Cogitation abilities depend on the fundamental understanding of the caster. Because of this, one of the hardest principles for apprentices to learn is the philosophy behind Cogitation, and the approaches needed to grasp certain spells and techniques.
 
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