Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Relic Hunters: Ifrits and Living Spells

Pieces of sapient chaos given shape, they can give life to your wildest dreams...or your worst nightmares.  Are they the ghosts of powerful sorcerers and the remnants of relics, or are they something else entirely?

The origin of ifrits and living spells is tied directly to the nature of magic in the Relic Hunters universe: magic occurs when Chaos is tapped into and given shape by a strong enough mind.  Normally a spell will run its course and then vanish, the chaos drawn into the world to power it spent.  Artificers of course are able to make items that are more or less permanent, and the ancient Imperials were masters of the craft, but in normal circumstances an external form is required for the spell to be bound to.  Rarely, though, through accident or artifice, a self-perpetuating spell can occur, the pattern of the magic somehow making it able to renew itself.  These strange creations are known as living spells.

A living spell could potentially be any kind of magic, from an endless firestorm that drifts between the dunes to a roving zone where gravity no longer applies to a contagious transformation transmitted by bites.  They are not attached to a particular place or item by anything more than the vagaries of chance.  It is said that a sorcerer can consume a living spell, if she knows the trick, and learn the ways of its casting - but like so many things said about sorcerers, this may well be a lie.

However strange living spells are, the ifrits are stranger still.  While both are constructs of self-perpetuating Chaos, the ifrit is self-aware, intelligent, and able to alter its own structure: essentially, a living spell capable of changing and casting itself. As such, an ifrit is essentially a master sorcerer, and one able to cast without fear of the repercussions of channeling Chaos through the fragile human body and mind.  In a way, they are very like gods, and they are worshiped as such by the beastmen.  In general, the ifrits care little for such things, for what can a worshiper give them that they cannot obtain themselves?

Dealing with an ifrit is a terrifying experience.  You can never be sure what they want, how they will react to you, or even how they will communicate: anything from telepathy to blasting words into the side of a cliff with lightning to possessing a handy creature for the duration of the conversation.

Encounters with either should be rare, and the sort of thing talked about (and largely dismissed as tale-telling) in Relic hunter taverns for some time.

Given the vast variety of living spells, it is almost impossible to provide stats for them.  Each living spell has a Spellcasting die and a pool of power points which refreshes each round with which to fuel itself.  The only way to defeat a living spell is to counter it or drain it, although some sorcerers are rumored to know a spell to capture and confine them.

Ifrits can be handled in much the same way, although they also receive a Wild Die, may gain Edges and Hindrances, and may cast any spell using the Sorcery rules without suffering backlash.

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