This page addresses information about miasmic magic and its in-character uses as they apply to World 42 roleplaying. Any valuable contributors are welcome to add, especially as new content or ideas come out in-game.
The Basic Concept of Miasmic Magic
To use miasmic magic in roleplay is to have a character make use of charms, runes, and spells to supernaturally manipulate the ancient force of miasma. At its most intuitive level, a magician using miasmic magic has the ability to manipulate miasma around at his will so long as he has the runes and physical energy to continue. As with most magics, there is a direct correlation between the experience/skill of a magician, the quantity of miasma he can control at once, and the intricacy with which he can control it. So, a mid-level miasmic magician could either roughly control a large volume of miasma or could delicately control a small volume of miasma.
The ways to combat an enemy with miasmic magic are really only limited to the creativity of the player and his character. That being said, these are three common techniques for attacking with miasmic magic. These include engulfing, choking, and [blank].
"Engulfing" is perhaps the most basic and direct approach to using miasma. The gist of this technique is to expose a victim to the miasmic air en masse and allow it to naturally produce results. Exposure to the toxic air is reliably corrosive, causing painful damage on contact and possibly starting to rot and wear away any vulnerable skin. In addition, it seems to produce certain qualities similar to dangerous illness, like sluggishness and possibly disorientation. A mage who engulfed a victim in miasma successfully would see his speed and reaction diminish as far as half previous performance, as well as the immediate physical rejection of the victim's skin to the rotting toxicity of the air. Note that engulfing can be limited to a small quantity of miasma or a small area of the body, such as exclusively the face or hand, and the effects would be limited to that one exposed area. The advantage of this adjustment is that it allows a less accomplished magician to have a more precise and delicate level of control, as opposed to the original concept of just chucking a large mass of miasma at a victim and hoping it suffices.
"Choking" is perhaps the most directed and controlled technique. The basic premise of this technique is that the mage is trying to force miasma into the victim's system. The mage would, using a high level of precision and probably a low quantity of miasma, direct the spell under his control to force its way inside the victim's body through an existing orofice. This can be directed at an open wound, a mouth or nose, etc. The end result is that the toxic, degenerative miasma would enter the opponent's system and enflict the same sort of results as appear in "engulfing," but the effects would in theory be more likely to alleviate and the symptoms would last while the miasma remains in the victim's system. Note that a spell handled with this level of delicacy would be easy to interrupt, something as simple as strong dragonleather breaking the hold of magic on the conjured miasma.
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Defending with miasmic magic is just like attacking with it - the possibilities are limited only by creativity. Two basic ways to defend against an assailant include
"Wall" - This doesn't make an actual wall, but rather a cloud made of miasma. A miasmic user can create a small cloud of miasma in front of him. The wall will act as a barrier to keep close-combat away. A melee user going through the miasma wall will find himself infected. The cloud will also decrease visibility and blur the miasmic magic user, making it more difficult for rangers and mages to aim.
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Defending Against It
The key to staying safe from miasmic magic is to either disable the mage, dodge the spell, or prevent it from hitting you. Disabling the mage is a basic idea - if he can't cast the magic spells, you won't be harmed by them. The way to go about disabling him depends on your combat style. Dodging spells works mostly for projectile-type fighting methods that throw dangerous objects or concentrated masses at you. The simple answer for these is to get out of the way or out of range. If all else fails, though, prevent the spell from colliding with you by using some kind of barrier method. Put another element - especially water or solid earth - between you and your enemy miasmic magician. Jump behind into the ocean or behind a building or rock. Wooden, cosmic, dragonfire, or ceramic shields work well against concentrated blasts of miasmic magic, and any kind of leather armor will weaken the effects of a magical spell or, even better, cancel them entirely. However, note that any magic involving a fluid substance (a gas or liquid) is best defended against if you can get away from it or hinder the mage, as barriers are only so effective when the magic can see through and around them.
Miasmic magic has a number of practical uses outside of combat. The following is a list of potential ways to use miasmic magic in everyday or commercial life.
- Composting dead organic matter for spreading on ones garden.
- Clearing away unwanted vegetation
This category addresses traits that players, often new ones, give their miasmic mage characters but that aren't actually legitimate or acceptable traits in users of miasmic magic.
- Just because you can use miasmic magic doesn't mean that you can use all of it effectively in every way. A 28 year old human would be competent if he had committed a lot of study to the one element or style of magic, but the realm of expert is not yet within his grasp. Remember, if everyone is a prodigy, no one is a prodigy.
- Typically, roleplayers accept generating one level of spell per turn. That means an ice spell the size of a low-level missile would be at full power immediately. In contrast, to build up to an miasmic barrage, your magician would have to avoid the enemy for a few turns in order to operate it at full power.
- Given the archaic nature of ancient magicks, no character without close knowledge of Zaros or intensive practice at a school of magic like the wizard's tower would know how to use miasmic magic.
- Miasma is even more restricted in this respect, as it requires Zuriel's staff to cast (or some well-founded explanation as to how you might be casting without it).
- As with most magics, metal conducts miasmic magic. Miasmic magic that comes into contact with an enemy in metal armor would most likely accelerate through the armor and continue on its trajectory.
- Also like most magics, leather weakens miasmic magic. Miasmic magic that comes into contact with an enemy in leather armor (especially dragonhide) would lose a lot of its power and do much less damage than it otherwise would have.
- The word "Miasmic" very likely refers to medieval theories about illnesses such as cholera or chlamydia that presumed bad air and bad blood were the causes of disease. This was, of course, before bacteria and germs were theorized.
- It is unsure if miasmic magic has a prolonged effect. Like a regular disease, once infected you could stay sick until treated. This can be overpowered in roleplay.
- Potentially, the lunar spells could offer a cure.
- It is unsure if miasmic magic is contagious. This could be overpowered if other roleplayers suffer the effects of this magic without being directly hit by it.