Tome: A Mystery RPG
A death in the Library of Worlds forces the characters of the murdered writer to find his killer. With the fate of several literary worlds at stake, the murderer must be stopped if the Library is to survive.
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Jave Harron

Types of Thaumaturgy: All schools of thaumaturgy overlap to some degree, but these are the main types and schools of each.

-Biomancy: Biomancy is a sort of thaumaturgy that manipulates the Ladder of Life (genetic code) of organisms, as well as their processes. A skilled biomancer can transform any organism into any other, as well as create new organisms limited only by their imagination. Healing someone completely (and even enhancing them) and created diseases targeted towards specific populations are both possible with biomancy. While not the most powerful schools of thaumaturgy, it is certainly one of the most versatile.

--Functionality: Biomancy works using Minutiae, thaumo-autotrophic bacteria that live symbiotically with the biomancer. These act as extensions of a biomancer's own mind after training, and the biomancer can share them with those they wish to.

--Usage: At first, a biomancer must have the changes to the Ladder of Life they wise to use. Then, they must touch or remain close to a targeted organism to modify it. Afterwards, use of new abilities is natural, though training and practice is recommended to ensure efficient use of it. Enhancing existing organic systems is one thing, but creating a new limb and grafting it to an organism is a bit more complex. To use biomancy often is a manner of recalling which reflexes to trigger. To a skilled biomancer, altering the Ladder of Life is no more complicated than standing up and walking.

-Thaumechanics: Thaumaturgical mechanics is a type of thaumaturgy that involves machines that violate the laws of physics and thermodynamics. True perpetual motion machines, machines that provide more energy out than in, and machines that move without a conventional source of power fall under this category. The primary uses of thaumechanics are in construction of machines. There are many sorts of machines that net consistent thaumechanical results, such as etheric turbines and golems and self-animated constructs.

--Functionality: Thaumechanics works by utilizing certain loopholes in the laws of thermodynamics and physics. They draw energy from sources outside of the extant universe, primarily the ether. If left unchecked, a thaumechanical machine can run forever. Machines powered by thaumaturgical materials and power sources also fall under the broad categories of thaumechanics.

--Usage: Most of the time, schematics of conventional machinery are used. However, sometimes, changing components to thaumaturgical materials can help turn a normal machine into a thaumechanical one. Certain thaumaturgical symbols may be drawn or etched onto a machine to drive it as well. To program a construct, such as a golem, it must be hardwired into the device itself somehow, or drawn on top of it.

-Alchemy: Alchemy is a broad term for the quasi-scientific study of transmutation thaumaturgy and combination and creation of thaumaturgical materials and substances. It can range from secret arcane formulas of tribal witch-doctors to proto-chemistry. The conservation of energy and mass can be ignored, unlike traditional chemistry.

--Functionality: Alchemy allows the transmutation of lead to gold, water to oil, and countless other properties. A skilled alchemist may also alter the material properties of one material and give them to another. Steel flowing like water at room temperature is one such example.

--Usage: Alchemy is a useful skill for a craftsman or chemist to know, as many potions and artifacts can be enhanced significantly. For instance, steel turned flexible and as light as silk would make heavy armor much easier to wear. To transmute a material without solutions or reagents, the alchemist must touch or remain close to the material. Certain gloves can also be used to make the process more precise and efficient.

-Thaumaturgical Mathematics: Mathematics is the basis for all science, so the fact it is the basis for many types of thaumaturgy is hardly surprising. Alchemy and thaumechanics are arguably specialized forms of it, but math-based thaumaturgy is often able to be used by someone without using machines or materials as a focus. Most of it focuses on directly manipulating probability to turn the impossible into the possible, and the possible into the certain. It also can work in reverse. Other uses include opening realms up based on knowledge of multi-dimensional analysis.

--Functionality: Thau-math can be used for a variety of factors. It can cause a shot at point blank range to hit. It can cause the chance a weakened character will survive to be made more definite (especially along with some biomancy). It can cause the possibility a machine will fail to become reality, with enough understanding of the design. Another possibility is on offense. Imagine a target struck by not just one blow, but every possible blow from a weapon at once.

--Usage: There are two primary ways to use thau-mathematics. The first method is to recall how a partially theorem or equation could be applied to a situation, and focus on it. A secondary method (often used with the first) is to draw a particular function, theorem, or equation on an object it is meant to apply to. This method allows the formula to apply its properties to an object. However, "proofs" and boundary conditions must also be drawn to constrain the formula. This allows the results to be more easily controlled.

-Thaumokinetics: Also known as gravitatic thaumaturgy or space modulation, thaumokinetics is the use of thaumaturgy to alter the kinetic energy of objects, without often without touching them. Thaumokinetics was originally a specialized subdiscipline of thaumaturgical math and thaumechanics, but developed on its own. The thaumaturgy specializes in controlling mass and velocity through thaumaturgical modulation of gravitons by altering or simulating mass.

--Functionality: Thaumokinetics operates on many of the same principles of thaumechanics, but with more abstract concepts thrown in as well. Thaumokinetics can be used to grab objects from a distance, and then give them kinetic energy and direction. By definition, anything that violates the conservation of motion is argubly thaumokinetics.Telekinesis and throwing objects are the simplest use, and more complicated uses also remain. Forcefields and defensive barriers that slow or stop objects (or even energy) can be constructed. Gravitons can even be "tricked" into thinking mass and momentum of a certain magnitude exist, enabling the creation of "false matter," often used to create defensive barriers and "blades" and "projectiles" of raw kinetic energy (that often appear invisible to most). Thaumokinetics is solid sort of thaumaturgy for attack, defense, and daily utility. The more energy a task takes (such as lifting a distant object or heavy object), the more concentration is necessary. Using too much or too little force is also an issue.

--Usage: Thaumokinetics requires knowledge of physics and at least some thaumechanics and thau-math. Most of the time, a physical gesture and mental note of the object or area to target is necessary. Gestures such as reaching out to grab a very distant object and extending hands to for a shield have a psychological association with many of the powers associated with thaumokinetics. Reaching to grab an object often means telekinesis will be used. Slicing with an arm (in a manner similar to a karate chop) often means that a "gravity blade" is being used. These gestures are most often used by the novice thaumaturges, but a few wily ones mix up these gestures to mislead foes.

-Resonance: Resonance is a form of thaumaturgy utilizing sound and frequency to achieve effects. All objects have a natural frequency. This frequency can be modified with resonance, and the properties and conditions of the targeted object can be changed.

--Functionality: The uses of resonance deal with frequency modulation. Commonly, a rigid object can be made to levitate or shatter. Rigid objects generally have a more predictable frequency than organic ones. Conversely, a blunt impact can be made more powerful by amplifying the waves generated. Hydrostatic shock becomes much more dangerous with resonance. An object like a blade can be made to resonate at a high frequency, making cutting more effective. Certain aircraft, such as songriders, can be levitated, as they are made from ceramic-like materials. Resonance is very effective at demolitions of stoneworks and rigid structures, as they have an easier to find frequency than organic structures (like organisms and wood).

--Usage: The most simple way to use resonance is to hum the frequency that is desired to change out. However, humming the frequency requires very precise training of the vocal cords. Likewise, directing the soundwaves and frequency precisely is another issue. Blaring the frequency at a high volume makes precise alterations much harder. For demolishing a stone wall, this may work, but for levitating a ceramic vase, this is counter productive.

-Ley Energy: Ley energy is the energy common around the Earth as a result of biomass. Carbon biomass living and dying, often in an ecosystem, produces vast amounts of ley energy. Ley energy creates fey creatures (normally related to local legends) and allows for illusion and enchantment, from mind control to dream worlds. Iron and ferric metals have been known to interfere with ley energy, however. Fey creatures are weak against iron and steel especially.

--Functionality: Ley energy can be used to enchant a target, create an illusion, or create fey beings to assist. Ley energy can also be used to promote the growth of various ecosystems (more indirectly than biomancy), and even biomancers have been known to become easily enslaved by a ley-energy user. Ley energy users are most powerful in the wilderness, and even certain parts of the urban ecosystem (such as scum-filled alleys, sewers, and overgrown buildings). It can even be used as a thaumechanical power source, provided the constructs are made with organic materials.

--Usage: Several methods exist to use ley-energy, many often depending on local legends and folklore. These can range from religious rituals (which overlap with theurgy in many cases) and shrine construction to mental techniques. Chants, focusing, and various potions may also be used.

-Agony Driven: Pain is power. Agony driven thaumaturgy turns pain into a viable power source. The greater the suffering, the greater the power. Both physical and mental pains can be used, and the more complex the mind that suffers, the greater the pain. A human will have a much higher pain output than a shrimp. A thaumai will have greater a higher pain output than a human. The souls of the dead can also be used, and ghosts of those who died an untimely death can also be used as a power source.

--Functionality: Agony driven thaumaturgy can be used for a variety of things. It can be used to power constructs. A common theme is that agony-drivers use the pain they inflict to create a cascade effect that inflicts pain on others, and so on. Soul-burning steam engines and grotesque torture devices are common means of extracting pain.

--Usage: To use agony-driven thaumaturgy, one must have a subject to draw pain from (including the user themselves). Pain of some sort must be inflicted on them, and the user can either store pain, or store it within a specially prepared vessel (often in the form of "liquid agony"). It can be violently discharged to create a blast, suck the life of a target, or even animate mindless ab-dead. However, a vessel of some sort is necessary, and channeling too much pain into oneself makes concentration much harder.

-Theurgy: Theurgy is technically not a form of "thaumaturgy." Thaumaturgy violates the laws of physics only to affect the world of "mass and matter." Sometimes, theurgy goes beyond even the "realm of either" and "realms of probability" to higher ideas, such as deities, political causes, and powerful philosophies. With prayer, concentration, and devotion, one can turn the intensity of belief into physical results. However, it is important to note that such results are not dependant on the set of beliefs, but rather the intensity and interpretation of them. Theurgy is generally employed by praying loudly or performing a religious ritual of some sort. Two common sorts are ltheomechanics and sacred geometry. Theotechnology is a term for theurgy-powered devices, including mechanical ones. Sacred geometry is theurgy-utilizing mathematics.

--Theomechanics: Theomechanics is identical to thaumechanics in must respects, but is often powered by religious prayers or political rallying cries. A common use of the technology is faith-driven armor that works when the wearer prays to certain deities. Other uses include opening temple doors and driving golems and religious automata.

--Sacred Geometry: Many religions have sacred symbols and numbers. The study of these symbols and adapting them for thaumaturgical purposes is the purpose of sacred geometry. For instance, a theomechanical construct may be given a religious inscription to activate it. The study behind the symbols of different religious and political movements may help uncover the common angles between them, as well as where they differ.

-Others: Everything overlaps in thaumaturgy and theurgy to some degree. Anything conceivable, and then some, can be done by thaumaturgy and theurgy. For instance, telekinesis may be a combination of biomancy and thaumechanics. A thaumaturgical organ able to manipulate objects without directly touching them may be grown, and knowledge of forces and mechanics would determine how much force to lift to the object, and how to throw it. Resonance may also be applied to lift it or alter it while lifted.

5/14/2008 . Edited 5/20/2008 #1

Question about Biomancy: can biomancy be used to alter brain chemistry or memories? Because it seems that there would be a definite use for that sort of thing.

5/16/2008 #2
Jave Harron

Of course it can! Generally, neurobiomancy's one of the more complicated subdisciplines, but also one of the most interesting. Converting the brain into a thaumaturgic transmitter allows traditional "psychic" abilities (telepathy, telekinesis, etc.). Memory editing and mind control, as well as altering brain chemistry, is a bit easier. Altering brain chem is the easiest, mind control is a bit harder, memory editing is somewhat harder, and converting the brain is hardest. Each involves altering progressively more neurons in more radical ways. Brain chemistry just means changing chemical levels. Mind control is a 'brute force' type approach. Memory editing hits specific groups of neurons. And converting the entire brain means taking care to preserve memories and personality while undergoing the transmission.

It is even possible for a biomancer to control several bodies at once. Like a biomancer may break themselves down into a swarm of insects, colonies of bacteria, etc. and control each member. Having a backup copy of the complete mind often is unfeasible for biomancers, so brain power is spread out over wider number of creatures. The more creatures die, the more brain processing power lost. It's like a processor running several smaller programs rather than one big one. One novel idea is a backup body made using biomancy that activates when the original is killed. Other times, creating a 'hivemind' is possible. A bunch of mind-controlled warriors controlled by a primary biomancer is one such approach. However, if the biomancer is truly skilled, than each warrior is controlled by a decentralized hivemind, and each is also a capable backup. That way, no central thing to kill stops the army.

5/16/2008 #3
The Crazy Talk Kid

So controling these warriors... if they were forced into it or something along those lines then would that add to the processing powers of the biomancer and would the biomancer be at risk of being overpowered by their mind slaves?

5/16/2008 #4
Jave Harron

If they were forced into it, extra energy would need to be expended. But for mindless clones or organic flesh constructs, less mental processing is required. The drawbacks with legions of near-mindless fleshy constructs is that the more there are, the less autonomous they are. One biomancer may subvert another by giving a mindless construct new orders (or raise it to self awareness, but that's a mixed bag), or giving unwilling slaves their free wills back (or just enhance the urge the unwilling slaves have to kill the person controlling them so it overpowers mental conditioning).

5/16/2008 #5
The Crazy Talk Kid

While we're on the subject of biomancy, would it be possibly for the Minutiae to go rogue, for lack of a better word, and start creating on their own? Perhaps even take over the biomancer if rogue?

Combining the various disciplines is possible but are they always so volatile (such as combining ley energy and pain driven)? And is it possible to combine any two or even three or more?

5/17/2008 #6
Jave Harron

Minutiae have no self awareness nor capacity for it. They're basically just hyped up bacteria that use thaumaturgical energies. They may not respond as the biomancer wants if there's been a significant change to their internal chemistry real fast (like being injected with a Minutiae-killing compound). But a biomancer can easily re-establish control if he knows the nature of the change. After all, if injected with a Minutiae killing compound, they can just have their Minutiae reproduce faster to try to create an immune strain. Real life bacteria become immune to a certain antibiotic after it wipes out most of the others. Similar thing with Minutiae.

Certain types of thaumaturgy are more volatile than others, but keep in mind the "magnitude" of the change trying to be caused by thaumaturgy. Using thaumechanics to animate a lever to move up and down is less magnitude than trying to animate a giant automaton. Using ley energy to improve the soil in a garden is less magnitude than trying to improve the soil in a farm field. Using biomancy to clear out an infection is less magnitude than growing an army of mindless clone warriors. And so on. Consider the physics or amount of energy involved, and go from there.

It is possible to combine several types of thaumaturgy, as everything overlaps to some degree. For instance, a pain-driven construct also needs thaumechanics of some sort to operate. A prayer driven construct requires both some thaumechanics and theurgic theomechanics. Consider the combination a degree of engineering. In real life, for instance, different types of engineers often need to combine their work. For a solar powered boat, the electrical engineers must ensure the power systems and solar panels work. The mechanical engineers need to ensure the motor and hull are designed well. For thaumaturgical constructs, artifacts, and rituals, there is a similar logic. Instead of one person doing everything, it may be better to have different thaumaturges, each with an area of specialization, contribute to part of the project. To build a theomechanical suit of armor with biological filters for toxins, for instance, a thaumechanic and theurgist with a theomechanics focus can handle the mundane mechanisms and prayer driven power sources (respectively), and a biomancer to create the filters. Mundane engineering can also be applied to thaumaturgical constructs.

5/17/2008 #7

It is even possible for a biomancer to control several bodies at once.

How exactly does this work? Does the biomancer download part of their consciousness into another body? In FoL, there's a biomancer who is an old man and a boy (I'm not sure of the character's name, Nemo maybe?). How does a biomancer do something like that.

5/17/2008 #8
Jave Harron

Controlling several bodies at once requires some degree of familiarity with telepathy. They have to rework their brain a bit into a thaumaturgical receiver and transmitter of some sort. Remote sensor input is something that may take a biomancer a significant time to learn. Once they do so, there are few limits on what they can do. They can remove an eye and have it hover around, gathering information on their surrounds in real time, and pluck it back in. They can create a clone body for backup, and share their consciousness between two bodies (like the biomancer Nemo/Trishul in FoL did). It is possible, although extremely hard to "hack" a second body. Generally speaking, genetic codes are unique, as are the ways they transmit information to each other. To "hack" or overtake a biomancer's construct, one must know the target's "broadcasting method" as well as genetic code, and even then, rudimentary commands are easiest to do. In the case of several smaller, simple bodies, this becomes easier. Neutralizing a floating eye is easier than "hijacking" a backup clone body.

5/17/2008 #9
The Crazy Talk Kid

Fey creatures, can they gain setience? Can they use the ley energy that they were created from for their own purposes?

In Valley of the Winds, might the humans have similar tech as the British and Japanese in FoL, or even that of the Picts and the Eire in the real world?

5/18/2008 #10
Jave Harron

Fey creatures generally behave how they do in local legends and mythology. Feral beasts act feral, while sapient entities act sapient. However, they may sometimes resemble caricatures more than the "actual" characters. They do retain the powers they were granted by legends. Like a legendary strongman would be able to use strength, an enchantress would use mind-clouding thaumaturgy, and so forth. But they are largely unable to leave the region that spawned them without specialized thaumaturgical assistance from baseline humans (such as a biomancer creating a body for them, or thaumechanic making a non-ferrous soulshell). Iron weakens the fey creatures in their natural state, and even "traveling" ones try to avoid it. Strong magnetic fields and ferric metals interfere with ley energy flow, as well as keeping the fey away. A superstitious, rural community without metal, is often the worst place to be when faced with hostile fey.

For the Valley of the Winds, the humans generally lack metalworking (but some have noticed lodestones can deter ley energies and fey attacks. Their technology was inspired by the kinetic sculptures of Dutch artist Theo Jansen:

Like this.

Think those with seats as a dominant most of transportation. Wind thaumaturges use ley-energy to drive wooden constructs like that around. Some early barkskin armors and ley-striders to exist, though. Generally, the humans have a late neolithic tech level but certain city-states have arisen there. The Vox and Angui are older species, and generally apathetic to the new species. The ley-tech they have is much less advanced than British and Japanese in FoL, and closer to the Pict/Eire ley tech.

5/18/2008 #11
The Crazy Talk Kid

Wind thaumaturges using wooden ley driven constructs. I had an idea along those lines once, inspired by Don Quixote.

5/18/2008 #12
The Crazy Talk Kid

I have a few questions concerning some PC ideas I have; would one be able to incorporate ab-dead parts into a soulshell or mechanical body? Would an ab-dead character be able to use biomancy or ley energy? Would one with a ley powered soul shell be as weak as other ley derived items and beings to metal? Would it be feasible for a biomancer to create some sort of living, thinking prosthetic and control it?

5/19/2008 #13
Jave Harron

Yes to each of those. Soulshells are more a category of being than a specific type.

5/20/2008 #14

Another question about biomancy: how fast does it work? I presume the extent of the changes have something to do with it, but generally? Would healing someone with biomancy take a few hours/days, or would it put Wolverine to shame?

And a question about the tomes themselves: What kind of thaumaturgy would the tomes fall under? And how 'big' are the tomeworlds?

5/20/2008 #15
Jave Harron

With biomancy, the degree of changes is proportional to how precise the changes are. Writing someone's entire genetic code with additional precision will take at least a few days, while regrowing simple tissue (like muscles and skin) would take a few seconds. Time can be greatly reduced by preparing a reflex beforehand. Consider it this way: A martial artist may take time to focus on the steps of a move slowly at first, but training with it allows them to do the move instinctively. A biomancer trying to do a change at first may take their time, but repeated use makes it more familiar.

Some biomancers with plenty of skill can alter brain chemistry well enough to simulate the results of years of experience. While it still may take time for the person to get used to it, the time would be reduced from years to days at most.

The tomeworlds themselves are a unique version of thaumath. Math is the basis for all science and almost all thaumaturgical studies. Certain patterns (such as written words) can be used to stand in for mathematical expressions. When these patterns are connected (like into sentences and paragraphs), thau-math principles (referenced indirectly) create the world detailed. Thau-math is essentially reality's source code. Each Tome world generally comprises of the area described, with any other places being uninhabited. Generally, most are made in the loose image of Earth. Most have one moon, one sun, similar sizes and gravity, and orbit at comparable distances. Languages, measuring units, and distances in each society are kept identical for consistency.

5/20/2008 #16
The Crazy Talk Kid

You could have an army of super soldiers with perfect minds and bodies in less than a week with that level of biomancy.

5/20/2008 #17
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