The Basic Concept of Smoke Magic
To use smoke magic in roleplay is to have a character make use of charms, runes, and spells to supernaturally manipulate the ancient force of smoke. At its most intuitive level, a magician using smoke magic has the ability to manipulate smoke and its corrosive, poisonous qualities 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 smoke he can control at once, and the intricacy with which he can control it. So, a mid-level smoke-magician could either roughly control a large volume of smoke or could delicately control a small volume of smoke.
The ways to combat an enemy with smoke 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 the smoke: burning, choking, and poisoning and they are often all used together.
"Burning" is a method that makes use of the searing, corrosive properties of smoke magic. In this technique, the smoke mage brings his magic into contact with the skin or equipment of the opponent, intending to slowly and painfully burn it away. This can be done however is most appropriate for the situation; the mage can project a thick, globulous volume of smoke at the enemy, carefully guide a snaking stream of the smoke towards and under his garments, or throw a veil of smoke all throughout the nearby air such that it would thinly engulf his entire body and environment.
"Choking" is a method that makes use of the suffocating properties of smoke magic. In this technique, the smoke mage attempts to get his magic into the opponent's respiratory system or otherwise block it so that the opponent can't manage to inhale enough oxygen to stay conscious. This attack can also be a catalyst for "poisoning," as an enemy who fails to resist the attack and accidentally inhales the smoke would likely be poisoned. This can be done however is most appropriate for the situation; the mage can project a thick, globulous volume of smoke at the enemy to fill his air before he can properly react and close his airways, he can carefully guide a snaking stream of the smoke towards and into the opponent's mouth and nose, or he can throw a veil of smoke all throughout the nearby air such that it would thinly engulf his entire body and environment, making it difficult to escape into clean air.
"Poisoning" is a method that makes use of the poisonous, toxic properties of smoke magic. In this technique, the smoke mage attempts to get his magic into the opponent's lungs or otherwise into his body such that the toxins enter his blood stream. This can be done however is most appropriate for the situation; the mage can project a thick, globulous volume of smoke at the enemy to fill his air before he can properly react and close his airways, he can carefully guide a snaking stream of the smoke towards and into the opponent's mouth, wounds, and nose, or attempt to burn his own wound such that the poison could directly infect his blood.
Defending with smoke magic is just like attacking with it - the possibilities are limited only by creativity. Three basic ways to defend against an assailant include veiling, disabling, and shielding.
"Veiling" is a sort of debuffing tactic to use against an assailant. The premise of veiling is to somehow throw a veil over one of the enemy's senses. For example, if air in the area has filled thickly with smoke, he would have a hard time seeing or smelling his opponent to attack or defend. Similarly, when faced with the issue of needing to breathe clean air, he would have difficulty paying attention to much other than where he needs to move to breathe again.
"Disabling" is a defensive way to handle an assailant in that the smoke mage uses his power over poisonous air to make it harder for an opponent to fight. The mage would channel smoke into the attempting attacker's space such that it would make him more concerned with getting to clean air than attacking. Furthermore, a focused clump of smoke on, say, the assailant's hands would burn them and make it more difficult to hold a weapon. This can also be applied to gloves or clothing.
"Shielding" sees the smoke mage discouraging his assailant from attacking by challenging him to run through a shield of toxic, corrosive smoke to reach the mage. One way or another, the mage puts a barrier of smoke between himself and the enemy. He could do this in several ways. The mage could surround himself in a sort of smokey egg such that the opponent couldn't reach him from any angle without passing the smoke. He could also throw up a long wall of the smoke that the opponent would have to run around to pass safely, giving the mage a fair chance to escape on foot.
Defending Against It
The key to staying safe from smoke 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 where the mage throws a volume of smoke haphazardly in your direction. 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 air - between you and your enemy smoke magician. Jump under water or use a fan or air spell. Cosmic or ceramic barriers work well against smoke magic, and any kind of leather armor will weaken the effects of a magical spell or, even better, cancel them entirely.
As smoke magic usually attacks the respiratory system, a face mask may help do ease or negate the effects.
Smoke magic has a number of practical uses outside of combat. The following is a list of potential ways to use smoke magic in everyday or commercial life.
- He would be particularly useful as a rodent exterminator.
- An smoke mage would be handy for spy jobs and infiltration, particularly where there needs to be a subtle, non-messy assassination.
- He could add flavour to bacon
This category addresses traits that players, often new ones, give their smoke mage characters but that aren't actually legitimate or acceptable traits in users of smoke magic.
- Just because you can use smoke 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 ancient 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 smoke spell the size of a low-level missile would be at full power immediately. In contrast, to build up to a smoke 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 normal character without close knowledge of Zaros or intensive practice at a school of magic like the wizard's tower would know how to use smoke magic.
- Normally effective unless you are wearing a facemask to prevent the smoke from entering your lungs - though a facemask is hardly any defence at all, and smoke could enter through the mask almost as easily as air could, unless the mask is wet.
- As with most magicks, metal conducts smoke magic. Smoke magic that comes into contact with an enemy in metal armor would most likely accelerate through armor and continue on its trajectory.
- Also like most magics, leather weakens smoke magic. Smoke 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.