Prana, Magical Energy, Parasitic Entities, etc

This thread is a continuation from a chat with Yuu~desu#9867 on Discord, kind of trying to codify how her RP with Tal about how that works in the context of the developing magical system.

Magic, Psionic Energy, Aether, and Life

Ok, so a little bit of further exposition on how these things inter-relate. For the purposes of the game, Aether is both Magical and Psionic energy, they are nearly the same / identical. Now, how this correlates with what Yuu is doing with Saber and Tal is that his Prana is a refined form of magical energy generated by, as she put it, magical circuits which from what I gather are how the body generates Prana, since this is a form of magical energy we are going to identify it as Psionic Energy

Psionic Energy / Prana

So life energy (Aether) generated within the body is termed, in general game mechanics to be “psionic energy”, why is there a different name for it? Well in the mechanics of the game the ability to manipulate Aether is not a promise, people can either manipulate what their body generates (a psionic) or what is outside the body in the space around them (a magic user / mage). It is incredibly / impossibly rare for a person to manipulate both.

Magical Energy / Psionic Energy Balance

To live a person requires balance between what their body generates and what it gives off to the universe. This is setup as a dynamic where energy is both given off / bleed away like heat into the universe at large, making one part of the larger universe as a whole (like the Force in Star Wars) but also absorbs some from the universe, binding all living things together.

A person must maintain balance of these two forces, giving off too much into the universe (using psionic abilities) costs a physical toll on the body. Taking in too much (using magical abilities) has the same effect, both involve moving Aether in and out of the body to control and use as one wants to (there is a little different for magic since that is also about forcing surrounding energy into a pattern, but on a basic level we’ll say that it still has a toll on the body). The physical toll increases exponentially for the amount of energy being, shall we say, processed.

TBC I have to save this, laptop battery low, will continue this later.

So as I was saying, the magic circuits found within a living organism’s body can exist in either a dormant or active state. I have a suggestion regarding this:

A magic circuit becomes fully activated when one is performing thaumaturgy (you guys call it magic), this is when it assesses the psionic energy and give shape to the spells and thaumaturgy the user is casting. The same fully active magic circuit can also be used to draw in the aether energy from beyond one’s body. Of course, having an active magic circuit is already straining to a person’s body - even more so when one is not used to thaumaturgy.

When one takes a sharp intake of aether into oneself, the magic circuit (usually found alongside with the nerves) becomes overloaded and overburdened from having to cope with such an excessive draw. This puts a strain to the user’s body and unless the body can adapt to the changing, extreme conditions, it can cause serious and lasting consequences (as per human biology).

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Thaumaturgy & Circuits

Alright… I think I’m going to say that these magic circuits in a person can be wired differently, to extend the metaphor. So that some people cannot activate their circuits, some people can. These people are then wired to either pull energy from their own reserves, which would be a psionic and going to go ahead and call them psionic circuits and others are wired to activate their magic circuits and pull energy from outside the body. In either case, they are blind to the energy that they do not have access to. Thus, the study of both things as a “science” is thaumaturgy.

In either case, a person either balances out the energy in a sort of automatic way, that is nature abhors things out of balance and thus energy moves one to the other - without control of the person - to attempt to achieve balance, which moves energy in or out of the body depending on what happens. Thus, there is a tole taken on the physical body.

Room For Martial Arts & Similar Talents of Focus

Now, as an extension, I would like to have room for non-magic users or non-psionics to be able to do some of the interesting things that someone of martial arts or monks or others of similar archetypes who do things via balance and focus. I’m not sure what form this takes yet, but what I was considering is a concept that by manipulating the body - through calm and focus, one can thus secondarily manipulate it’s energy and move energy in and out of the body to impact the world around them without direct control. I would really like to get some more input on that as well, see what people think.

Impact of Imbalance

When things are out of balance there is a full concept of equivalent exchange. A person who uses an impressively large amount of energy (of either type) will cause a serious imbalance to occur. This imbalance will have a physical tole on the body, it will be exhausting for one but further, the more imbalance has to be corrected and this is corrected by Aether moving into (in the case of a persons personal energy being used moving from the inside to the outside), magical energy moves into the body.

In the opposite case, someone who uses a lot of magical energy to do something (casting for instance), the magical energy around them will be depleted in their immediate vicinity and then the body will be required to release psionic energy to compensate and balance the local energy field out. In this case, when a person loses energy to the outside world, the toll it takes on the person is even more intense, as they are both losing energy and the flow itself takes a toll.

Toll of Energy Transference

This is also the idea of equivalent exchange. Similar to how in electronics there is no perfect system, wires have resistance and thus it takes more energy to move into a system than the system gains from the transfer. This resistance to transfer is quite high and proportional to the amount of energy in movement. By the system, we term the body itself and the energy it contains. Any time energy moves in and out of that system it takes a toll on the body, and that toll is exponentially proportional to the size of the flow.

Thus in a nominal state the body stays roughly in balance with its surroundings, only minor energy flow in and out would have relatively minimal impact on the body. This also links back into some of the Star Trek ideas of, well it goes under a lot of names but the energy of the brain (this amorphous and poorly defined concept as it is state in canon) - which I will discuss in a different post.

However, the toll this takes on the body increases exponentially in proportion to the energy transferred and the first thing to go would be the nervous system, taking its toll on a person’s body in that way.

Progression of Bodily Damage

Damage is not permanent in most cases, and lasts a length of time proportional to the level of damage done, but the damage is a physically quantifiable damage. That is to say, nerves are actually damaged (increasing chemical imbalances, or lining of the nerve being stripped away, etc…), and other damage can be detected with sufficiently sophisticated equipment.

  • Nerve problems
    • Tingling or painful feeling in extremities.
    • Loss of feeling in extremities, as it progresses will get closer and closer to the main body.
    • Symtoms intensify to a point, but permanent nerve damage takes a significant amount of prolonged exposure to occur.
  • Muscle problems
    • Extreme muscle fatigue.
    • Lack of strength.
    • Lack of endurance.
    • Damage here becomes more intense, but also tends not to be permanent until significant exposure has taken place.
  • Illness
    • The body’s ability to fight off infection decreases rapidly.
    • The person can become generally ill with enough of an energy transfer, though it is more common here when the body is losing energy (psionic energy moving to the outside of the body due to a lack of energy in the local field around the body). These symptoms will be flu-like in nature, generally raised white cell count without detectable root cause.
    • Intensity of immediate sickness will increase from the intensity of the problem, however, at this level most of the damage is done by prolonged exposure of an intense energy drain. Low levels of drain should never reach this level.

Low level draining (such as what is going on between Tal and Saber, will result in something more along the lines of difficulty healing and perhaps an extra propensity with becoming ill or staying ill without any major effects or actual physical damage.

Energy of the Mind / Brain

As I mentioned in my previous post, there is a fair number references, especially in Voyager, but also in Deep Space Nine to the idea that not only the mind but the brain itself has some kind of specific energy to it that contains personality, memory, essentially the mind itself (or one could even say the soul if one was inclined to stretch canon). This could be seen as related to ones own Aether energy within the body, which in game is psionic energy. Here are references to canon for Star Trek on the issue:

Correlation - Psionic Energy, Aether, and Neural Energy

There is correlation, but within the game technology does not completely account for this neural energy, there is something else that goes with it, that is essentially the Aether. We don’t want to get into a true melding of science and magic (or psionic energy), I intend to keep them mostly separate except in specific cases, taken on an individual basis. To this end, we have to account for this other-worldly essence that goes along with a person via the transporter beam and the like.

Since it is also being codified the world of dreams right now, I’m inclined to say that a persons psionic energy is not this neural energy but rather the neural energy is the physical manifestation of the energy existing. Further that this life-energy of the Aether exists in this other plane of existence and is not thus bound entirely by the laws of the physical body. Thus one could say that Aether energy of a person could conceivable correspond to the soul.

Dark Implications

There are some dark, but appealing implications of this. Magic thus could be considered to use the energy of a persons soul, or rather the soul of the universe. Opening up to magic specifically designed to siphon off a persons life energy (Aether) and to use it to fuel magic. The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini comes close to this as well, saying that magic they use in that series is actually the life force of themselves - and can draw it from nature around them, which kills everything around them.

I’m not sure if this is going to enter into play or not, but this idea is very appealing to introduce at some point in time, a specific branch of magic, Soul Magic.

Sexuality and Energy Exchange

This concept is really still evolving in my brain, however it was mentioned that a persons reproductive cells contain the essence of life in a metaphysical sense, rather than metaphorical sense. This has some implications that may need to get explored at some point in time.

  • Sex as some kind of powerful release of Aether

In the sense of the real world and certain interpretations of paganism, this is entirely something that gets a real-world seal of approval. Many believe that magic spells can be powerfully cast based on a culmination in actual orgasm. Here I am separating the dirty idea from the metaphysical idea that the coupling of two people is a powerful thing and I think should be explored.

  • Sex as being an intense (but natural) transfer of Aether that avoids many of the pitfalls of requiring to balance the system.

This is a bit different, but in my mind sex is a natural and life affirming act where as manipulating Aether (in either psionic or magical forms) is not as natural, but rather a loophole that people use to manipulate life energy. Similarly with use of the Force, which it is already specified that Jedi are supposed to be celibate. Further is gives a potential non-shitty reason for two people to perhaps have some requirement of sex in-game. The transfer of quintessential energy, and even beyond that goes to darker places, the mentioned idea of Soul Magic perhaps would use this concept.

Put simply, sex and sexuality is part of the cycle of life and could be considered to be a kind of natural way to access and pull in Aether, and then master or consume / transfer that energy. This is pertaining less to the dirty side but more to nature and fertility as a beautiful thing rather than something to be avoided out of shame.

In one game I’ve done, the Phoenix RP that I’ve told people about with Lance Thomas in it, the ERP myself and the other person did was played out to release life to the world, actually transforming a landscape due to the other characters powers (being a Phoenix incarnate). This did lead to some things that were strange to role play, but turned into a rather fun role play.

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