Basics of Magic – Mana

If one asked two random scholars for a definition of magic, they would probably get five different answers. At its core, though, magic is pretty simple to understand – it is a process by which magical creatures and mages utilize mana to affect themselves and their surroundings. Most of the arguments stem from disagreements about how direct and conscious such mana utilization has to be in order to count as ‘magic’. Do the ‘impossible’ biologies of magical creatures and passive magical traits of some human bloodlines count as magic, even though there is no conscious shaping of mana? Should alchemy and other forms of magical artifice, which simply utilize magical materials and involve no actual mana shaping themselves, be classified as magic?

For many people, such questions are nothing more than pointless theorizing. For an average civilian, a mage is a very broad and fuzzy concept – a lot of them consider even products of mundane engineering, such as trains and guns, to be a form of magic. The fact that fancier versions of technology often include some form of magic in their construction doesn’t help in that regard. However, for people whose lives depend on magic, the questions are not entirely academical. Magic and people involved with it are extensively regulated in most places, subject to closer scrutiny and higher taxes, so many people would object bitterly to the idea they are mages or working with magic. On the other hand, mages have a high status in society, and are often incentivized and protected in various ways, so a lot of people fight hard for their right to be considered ‘real mages’.

Legal definitions aside, it is obvious that any explanation of magic is inextricably connected to an explanation of mana – the mysterious energy that provides the fuel and building blocks necessary for it to work.


Mana is an invisible, intangible substance that powers magical abilities and phenomena. Every soul produces it to some extent, and massive quantities of it well up from the depths of the planet to inundate the underworld and large portions of the surface. In many ways, mana behaves as a strange type of gas, although one that can pass through and permeate solid objects.

Mana comes in two main types: personal (or attuned) mana and ambient (or raw) mana.

Personal Mana:

All beings with a soul have a pool of personal mana at their disposal. The size of this pool varies greatly between individuals of the same species, but it’s always there. Since this mana is attuned to the mind and body of the being producing it, it bends easily to its creator’s will. This makes personal mana innately more malleable and controllable than anything else a magic user might use to power their magic, as it does not resist the caster’s efforts to shape and wield it.

Mages refer to this pool of personal mana as their mana reserves. If any of these reserves are spent, they will gradually refill themselves on their own – souls generate mana ex nihilo at a rate proportional to the size of one’s mana reserves. In addition, it is possible to speed this process up by absorbing a steady trickle of ambient mana and assimilating it into the one’s mana reserves.

It takes anywhere between 30 minutes and 3 hours for a mage to regenerate their mana reserves from total zero to full if ambient mana levels are sufficiently plentiful, depending on their personal skill and willingness to risk mana poisoning. It takes about 9 hours to do the same if they’re in one of the rare ‘dead magic zones’ that have no ambient mana whatsoever. Most places have at least a little ambient mana floating around, however.

This is unaffected by the size of one’s mana reserves – those with higher reserves will simply regenerate more mana per minute.

Although higher levels of ambient mana are helpful in speeding up personal mana regeneration, beyond a certain point the individual’s ability to siphon ambient mana to regenerate their own will depend more on their ability to assimilate said foreign mana safely than actual mana availability. Generally, mana wells of rank 3 or higher are  important only in the sense they allow progressively more mages to siphon progressively more mana without depleting the ambient mana reserves.

If separated from the soul it has been attuned to, personal mana will rapidly degrade into ambient mana – which seems to be the default form of mana when not attuned to anything. This makes attempts to create an external storage of personal mana doomed to failure. Regardless of the method used, the mana will un-attune itself in a matter of minutes.

Personal mana can be given to another, or be forcibly taken away from people and souls. Since this mana is already aligned with someone, it is difficult to shape and control. This is especially true if it was forcibly taken. The difficulty also depends on how similar the user and mana donor are in mind and body – creatures of two radically different species would find it almost impossible to use each other’s personal mana in any manner, for instance. For the most part, mages only use other people’s mana in ritual setups, where speed of spellcasting is not a concern and they can take steps to mitigate the additional shaping difficulty.

A soul bond, such as that between a familiar and caster, makes sharing mana easier. Frequent mana sharing between the same people will cause them to gradually get used to each other’s mana, likewise easing mana sharing… though only between those specific individuals. Some creatures and bloodlines can innately use other people’s mana with greater ease than normal.

Ambient Mana:

Mana doesn’t disappear on its own. Unless it is spent on magic use, any mana that is released into the environment will slowly disperse throughout the area it is in and linger there. This free-floating, ownerless mana suffusing the environment is called ambient mana.

Ambient mana is everywhere. Aside from a handful of rare (and mostly artificial) areas, most of the planetary surface has at least small amounts of ambient mana suffusing it. There is too much mana floating around for it to come from living beings, who are rarely in the habit of pointlessly venting their mana reserves into the area around them. Where, then, does all this ambient mana comes from?

The short answer is that it comes from underground. Beneath the surface of the world is an extensive network of tunnels and caverns known by many names, but most commonly as the Dungeon and the Underworld. The Dungeon is very rich in ambient mana, and the deeper one goes, the higher the concentration of ambient mana becomes. Something down there seems to be generating incomprehensibly huge amounts of mana, which then gradually wells up to the planet’s surface.

No one has ever descended deep enough into the Dungeon to find the source of all this ambient mana. Since the only other thing that produces mana are souls, most cultures have decided since ancient times that there must be something alive down there. Something so powerful that its soul produces all this mana to inundate the world with. For example, the Ikosian creation myth states that this something is the heart of the World Dragon, from whose body the entire world was fashioned. Ultimately, though, nobody knows the answer to this mystery, and it is unlikely it will be solved any time soon.

Although ambient mana is relatively abundant in most places, it cannot be used directly for spellcasting. Or more precisely, it is very unwise to do so. Ambient mana erodes and damages things that channel it, which makes it highly toxic to living beings. Even small amounts of it will cause people to sicken and become delirious for hours or days, and prolonged use will quickly result in permanent physical disabilities and incurable madness. Drawing too much of it at once will lead to the death of the user, usually via sudden body explosion or being cooked from the inside out.

Despite these dangers, ambient mana is still in widespread use. The simplest, as well as the most reckless form of this consists of outright ignoring the dangers in isolated occasions. This is certain to incapacitate the mage in question for quite some time afterwards, but if the situation is desperate enough, they might feel the price is worth it. Since overuse of this tactic can easily result in reasonably healthy but thoroughly insane mages (with all the dangers this implies) the practice of drawing upon ambient mana is usually categorically banned in most places. Most mages do it anyway if they are backed into a corner or think they’re about to die if they don’t, so in most cases the authorities turn a blind eye to such usage of ambient mana.

Toxicity aside, ambient mana does not resist being wielded. It is relatively easy to shape into effects, though not as much as one’s personal mana.

The second, and probably the most widely used method, is to utilize ambient mana to augment the regeneration of one’s mana reserves. This is done by slowly drawing upon ambient mana and assimilating it into existing mana reserves. In the past, this was a rare and ill-understood ability – it is only in the last 200 years or so that mages figured out a reliable and easy-to-learn method to attune ambient mana into one’s personal mana reserves. This was mostly done by closely studying magical creatures, who passively and unconsciously use this method to ‘feed’ upon ambient mana. Even today, most magical creatures are still better at assimilating ambient mana than the average human mage.

Finally, it is possible to sidestep the toxicity of ambient mana by anchoring persistent spells upon inanimate objects and instructing them to draw upon ambient mana to power themselves. This is the method used in construction of some magical items and warding schemes. Although, technically speaking, this doesn’t negate the destructive tendencies of raw mana usage, a chunk of stone or a block of wood are a lot less delicate than living beings. They cannot sicken, and have no minds that can be driven insane. However, if too much ambient mana is channeled through an object too inadequate to bear the pressure, it can still break, burn or melt. This ambient mana overload is not necessarily an all-or-nothing deal, and it’s perfectly possible for a spell to quietly erode the structural integrity of its anchor over a long period of time until the damage becomes too much and it collapses under the weight of its accumulated flaws. Poorly made magic items can be quite dangerous for the wielder, and people trying to sell them for a living are often subject to official quality controls of a sort.

Higher order undead, such as liches and vampires, do not have living bodies but are capable of spellcasting nonetheless. At first glance, it may seem that they would be able to use ambient mana a lot more freely as a result. To an extent, this is true – they certainly won’t be incapacitated by sickness in the aftermath of such use. However, in order to retain their sapience, such undead need to possess a sort of magical brain to think with… and that brain is every bit as vulnerable to insanity as biological ones. Undead can’t get sick, but that just means they can get insane without being physically crippled – most people, even undead people, agree this is not a good thing.

148 thoughts on “Basics of Magic – Mana

  1. For magical objects which collect ambient mana is there a practical difference between those which slowly collect and store mana and those which channel ambient mana directly? Do golems crudely attune mana to themselves to avoid fast damage? You mentioned in the last worldbuilding that, say, a very unstable and short lived blasting rod could channel ambient mana directly but would probably fail catastrophically and cost a lot.


    • No, there is no difference. Even items that store mana must draw on it to store it.

      Golems have no souls, and thus cannot attune mana to themselves. They’re just very durable, allowing them to use ambient mana anyway.

      If a blasting rod is used too often without pause, that would indeed happen.


      • Then binding a souls to equipment you keep on yourself could be useful for spells that are less shaping intensive. Testing how many reserves change with soul meld would also be pretty important, since drawing from a single large soul would be easier then a bunch of ‘small’ ones.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It amuses me how people keep advocating crimes against sentience in order to get more powerful. Hey, maybe someone could eat babies and wear their skulls as a hat for the wisdom bonus. Might be possible, right?


      • @Captain Amazing: Wait eating babies gives advantages? Quick! Start kidnapping the women and get a black room as a factory! Also is the important factor for gaining power, eating more baby meat? Cause if that’s the case we could heal as we go, will make them last much longer.

        More seriously though, I was thinking about using monsters souls rather than human ones.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Is the difficulty of shaping others’ mana less relevant for individuals or species that tend toward the high-mana, low-control end of the spectrum?

        I’m envisioning such a mage as being like a giant, with hands too big and clumsy to do delicate work – but not caring so much whether the material is wood, stone, metal, or something else, because raw strength means they can bend and mold just about anything.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Less relevant but still relevant. Using other people’s mana is far slower than using your own, no matter the spell. Like using syrup instead of water. For some spells, this doesn’t matter all that much – you can take all the time and preparation to cast them. Having multiple mages working together to control all that foreign mana also helps. If you’re trying to use magic to fight, though, ever second matters.

        But yes, for individuals like you describe, the difficulty is less important than it is for an average mage.

        Liked by 1 person

      • @Captain Amazing

        You ever played Pathfinder, or any other TTRPG for that matter? I did an evil campaign once and we did everything from eating a town’s guard captain in front of them as an intimidation tactic to sacrificing ten’s of thousands of innocent souls to pit fiends and dark gods in exchange for terrible power.

        Good times.


  2. Thanks for the post!
    So you can use someone else’s personal Mana without corrosion of mind and body, harder than using ambient mana. Or would using something very alien to your nature (like the personal mana of a very different species) be corrosive even if you were able to do it?

    You said the de-attunement of personal to ambient makes all “attempts to create an external storage of personal mana doomed to failure.” What about Soul Magic? We have seen soul can be over written and blended. Could you shave off part of your own soul to store somewhere (which would have your personal mana signature) and ‘grow’ that somehow while your soul regenerates, so you have a soul battery that is as easy to use as your own mana.
    Or binding an animal soul to a ring you wear or something, and in addition to repeated use making it easier to use, you imprint your soul characteristic onto it to artificially create similarity?

    Or spell imprinted on the soul, like a soul marker all members of magical society society receive, to artificially create similarity, so they can use each others personal mana in group rituals easier?


    • Using other people’s mana is not corrosive, just very hard.

      If soul magic was capable of producing alternate sources of personal mana so easily, everyone would be using it. And shaving off parts of your soul is not a minor matter.

      A soul marker won’t change the fundamental nature of a person’s soul, and will thus have no effect on how similar their personal mana is to other people around them.


      • Why don’t people use bound animal souls to power magic items/rituals? Is it seen as animal cruelty, like a dog fighting ring might be, or is the mana pool of any mundane animal just too small to be worth the trouble?

        Has anyone ever used a constantly mana venting soul network as an artificial mana well, or is it always more efficient to just drill into the dungeon?


      • It’s seen as total heresy, just like most soul magic – you’re enslaving a soul, making a mockery out of gods gifts, in order to power trinkets. Besides, most people who can afford magic items and the like live in areas with enough ambient mana to power such things. The only places where this might be notably useful is in powering ships and building wards, since they are very mana hungry and may need to venture/be placed in places where mana in very thin. As shown in the story, some people really do employ bound souls for such purposes, but in that case they usually go for human souls instead of animal ones. Much more effective, and you’re already going against the law of the gods and men…

        Drilling into the dungeon is always more efficient. If you’re gathering souls to use as mana generators, you have a specific purpose for them and would never waste them by venting mana into the air.


  3. Possible soul battery:
    1) create a simulacrum.
    2) have the simulacrum commandeer someone’s soul, so that they now have a soul and can store/generate their own mana.
    3) Soul-bond with your simulacrum, passing over any soul markers and stuff.


    • > Possible soul battery

      Necromancers already turn souls into batteries, every time they create undead. The most recent chapter even demonstrated how the excess mana generated by the enslaved souls can be used to power wards. Sure, souls can become batteries, provided that you don’t get burnt at the stake by angry mobs.


  4. Thanks for the new worldbuilding post.

    I don’t remember ever seeing before in the series that attuning ambient mana has only been a skill developed in the last 200 years. That would mean modern mages can cast quite a few more spells than their ancient counterparts, and that’s without trying to factor in that modern spells and mages tend to be more mana efficient.

    Hmm, what happens if something merged two (more or less) identical souls into one? I’m taking a wild guess that it works to double mana reserves at the least. What about in regards to innate or bloodline abilities, does it have no effect or does it double their efficacy?

    This most recent chapter made Zach’s 232 magic missiles look pretty bad. If he’s effectively got natural reserves of 50, his max reserves should be around 200. His efficiency gains were only around 16%. Zorian on the other hand is casting 35 missiles in a row in chapter 46, despite not having reached his peak reserves of 32. Does using the magic missile wand instead of casting spell entirely reflect Zach’s reduced gains?


    • Weird things happen when souls are involved. Especially when they are blended together. Nobody knows for sure what would happen.

      I’m not sure what you’re asking in that last paragraph. Zach is actually not very practiced in magic missile, since he moved on to other, better spells pretty quickly. A pretty common thing among battlemages, since magic missile is too wimpy for their purposes and they have enough mana to spam better spells.


      • I forgot a few words, let me try rephrasing it too:

        “Does using the magic missile wand to cast the spell result in reduced gains over casting the spell entirely on his own without aids (as a reflexive spell)?”

        I think you pretty much answered it anyway: using a spell formula tool vs manual casting is irrelevant. Zach’s relatively minor gains in efficiency of the spell compared to Zorian is because he is less practiced in the spell than Zorian. I would have thought that Zach’s usage of massive magic missile swarms would balance out Zorian’s in-depth study of the spell formula itself to result in a similarly efficient magic missile. But it seems like Zach really never bothered to make his magic missile nearly as efficient, since like you’ve stated, he has better spells in his arsenal. Zach’s magic missile is at roughly (200/232) 86% cost, Zorian’s is probably below (~21?/35) 60% cost.


    • > I don’t remember ever seeing before in the series that attuning ambient mana has only been a skill developed in the last 200 years.

      Chapter 22 doesn’t give a timeline, but it does imply that universal access to that skill is a modern occurrence. Somewhat like Kirithishli’s (chapter 15) explanation that modern mages have better shaping skills than most ancient ones. Magical education has greatly improved over time.


    • Something I’ve been wondering about: what if the souls were actually identical, like two copies of someone from the time loop. Maybe this was what godturtleOm was trying to get at already, but how viable would a soul bond/merge be as a solution to the problem of having two Zorians when the time loop ends.


  5. In the theoretical event that our copy Zorian leaves the time loop and meets his original, would they be able to use each other’s magic as their own?

    You mentioned that mana is attuned to and heavily related to both the mind and the body. Does this mean that significant physical changes such as horrific burns or losing a limb affect your mana signature? Do magical alterations like transformation potions or Spear of Resolve’s mental restructuring do so?


    • Their mana would not be interchangeable with each other, but using it would be much, much easier than using some random stranger’s mana.

      If you’re referring to the mana signature Xvim uses to authenticate Zorian’s identity in one of the chapters, then no – obviously, or it would be useless for identification purposes. If you’re asking whether such alterations will affect how compatible one person is with another when sharing their mana, then yes, absolutely. Well, except for the transformation potion – in a way, the user’s real body never changes in that case. Yes, transformation magic is weird.


  6. How does crystallised mana form? Is it possible to artificially manufacture it? It would be great if the trains are actually using renewable resources.


      • That’s a real shame. I’ve seen a bit of discussion recently about whether Zorian is going to produce a mana battery of some kind; if he could devise a way to stabilise ambient mana and make it portable (a la mana crystals), that would be a great boon to mankind.


  7. I’m curious about the inherent mana generating possibilities of souls. Would it be hypothetically possible for a human to attempt to merge their soul with a primitive animal’s soul and normalize for a net mana gain? Essentially, is there a way to ‘add’ to a soul in order to increase its size? Do plants have souls, could it be done with them? What would happen if one took a highly magical creature and did this, would a larger soul ‘win’ dominance?

    Eg. Human McHuman finds a small animal that has an extremely basic mind and is still capable of generating Mana and undergoes a ritual to merge souls. The smaller and more basic animal’s soul is then added to the larger Human’s soul, with the animal body dying in the process. The Human ends up with a net Mana gain at the cost of a long period of recuperation as the soul normalizes and potentially permanent damage to the lifeforce of the Human during this normalization process. (something that the MC’s don’t have to deal with, at least)


    • Souls are poorly understood and the consequences of merging two of them together are hard to predict. It might grant you more mana or it might not. In any case, it’s far more likely it would just mess you up. There is a reason why Quatach-Ichl used soul blending as an offensive spell.

      Plants do have souls, yes, just like all living beings.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thanks for the answer!

        Has there been experimentation done on soul merging of two animals / plants? I mean, behind closed doors by the magical elite, since no one would want to openly admit they’ve been fooling around with (albeit somewhat ethical) Necromancy…

        It could be an avenue for experimentation for Zach or Zorian during the loop as they get functionally identical variables each month with which to test. Then again slippery slope with Necromancy and all that.


      • Necromancy experiments exist, of course. However, since the discipline is illegal, information and legacies are rarely shared and mastery is hard to achieve. As such, these experiments are often done by specific individuals and die with them or get only partially handed down to someone. Especially since the church will often destroy such records on sheer principle when it finds them.


  8. Does the power of the gods use mana? What about that of demons? Primordials? Basically, are these beings operating using a different rule set that a mage wouldn’t consider to be “magic”, or are they still using mana (albeit vastly more powerful/sophisticated)? Or if the answer isn’t known for sure, what are the accepted theories?

    If souls generate mana and souls are indestructible, then shouldn’t the afterlife be massively filled with mana?


    • Nobody knows how gods worked for sure, and primordials are a mystery too, having been sealed away long time ago. Demons, angels, elementals, fey and other spirits do use mana, yes.

      I intend to write up an article about religion at some point, so I won’t linger much on the topic of the afterlife, except to say that MoL-verse isn’t exactly D&D, with its ability to step into the afterlife and talk to the deceased. Once people, die, their souls move somewhere beyond both the material world and the spiritual planes (which are not really afterlives) and no one can interact with them afterwards.


      • Would it be worth writing a worldbuilding post about souls? I guess it might be too spoiler-ish while the story is still unfinished, because obviously something funky has happened with the souls of the three Controllers.

        I’m particularly curious about where memories are stored. If they’re in the soul, where do simulacra keep their memories? If they’re in the brain, how are they retained by the loop? If there’s a copy in both places, with a new Controller/simulacrum brain being populated from the soul, does that mean that the ability to cast Simulacrum implies the ability (ordinarily reserved to the gods, I thought) to peer into someone’s soul and read all of his/her life experiences and deeds?


      • Souls are deliberately made mysterious. Maybe I’ll write something up about them once the story is finished, but even so there is bound to be plenty of things left unexplained in regards to them.

        Both the brain and the soul store memories, I’ll say that much.


  9. You’ve mentioned that an overly-ambitious user of raw mana could actually explode.

    Presumably a captured mage could use this deliberately as a suicide method? Would shaping-disrupting manacles stop them, or would they be bypassed since the mana is merely being drawn in, not shaped?

    And are we talking massive fireball, or mere gruesome internal rupture? Could it be a kamikaze method?


    • Yes, it is a perfectly viable suicide method. No, shaping disruption methods would not be able to stop this.

      Grotesque rupture more than a fireball, though immolating yourself is also a possible outcome. It not a viable kamikaze method, unless you’re literally hugging the enemy or something.


  10. Could shaping the mana of others serve as training method for general mana shaping?

    You mentioned that one could train over time to shape foreign mana more easily.
    Could that same training benefit shaping skills in general, or does it only train the use of foreign mana?

    I feel like it is something Xvim would have tried due to his shaping obsession.


    • It trains foreign mana shaping only. The challenges of shaping other people’s mana are different from shaping your own.

      Xvim has plenty of shaping-related things to attract his attention. The number of interesting training regimens and exotic exercises is vast, almost numberless, and people are less protective towards them than towards structured spells – it’s less of a matter of finding something that interests you and more a matter of sifting through the pile to find something good and prioritizing things in general.


  11. My question is about Zorian’s shaping exercises. Last I saw, he was working with water. Has he tried using shaping to boil the water and control the steam? How about freezing the water and controling the ice?
    He could also try manipulating both at the same time. Gather the water into a large sphere, freeze the outer layer, and then turn the inside into steam without breaking the now highly pressured ice bubble.

    That seems like it would be difficult and complex enough to provide a real challenge. I don’t think Zorian is quite at that level yet from what we have seen. I wonder if Xvim (or anyone really) could pull that off. Maybe I just invented an impossible shaping exercise.

    But hey, since I am already suggesting insanely difficult shaping exercises, I might as well suggest something truly insane. what if he continued to make layers of ice and steam till there were tens or hundreds of layers with each ice layer only as thick as a sheet of paper and the steam pressure high enough that should he mess up, there would be a minor explosion.
    Oh, and make it glow too, each ice layer a different colour just to make life more difficult.

    I bet not even Xvim could pull that off.


    • As you have just found out, inventing shaping exercises is really easy. The difficult part lies in:
      1. Inventing a shaping exercise that can actually be mastered in a reasonable amount of time.
      2. Inventing a shaping exercise that that does more than just provide a challenge.


      • I don’t know how effective a new shaping exercise might be, but what if Zorian did the same water shaping exercises that he is already doing except using mercury (a much denser and heavier liquid) instead of water? Would that make the exercise(s) more effective?

        I am also wondering how far he can alter really basic spells like a force bolt. We already know that they can be made sharper (piercers). We know they can be made to home in on their target. We know they can be made invisible when made with perfect efficiency.

        Can they be made to move faster though? I feel like there really ought to be a way to make a force bolt move faster or even make it move slower. Can the shape be altered to the point of becomming a screw shape? Can they be spun so that they are effectively drills instead of spears? I really feel like Zorian is only scratching the surface of this perhapse very versatile spell.

        I might be wrong, and the spell might have some very strict limits on what it can do before falling apart. If that is the case, Zorian should make a new force emission spell that is more free-form and easier to modify. With all his experience, it is about time zorian makes his own spells. A simple and easily modified force emission spell would be a great place to start.

        I’m thinking about all this because of how ineffective Zorian’s force bolts were against the grey hunter. If they were a bit faster, if they could make sharper turns, if they could rapidly change shape to cover a larger area or become narrower to fit through tight spaces, any one of those would have been a significant help in the grey hunter fight.

        If they could be sharpened and compressed far enough, one could effectively eliminate friction and shoot the force bolts through the ground to hit the target from below, expanding the bolt explosively at the point of impact or expanding it inside the target to maximise effect. At that point, it might be an entirely different spell, but I feel the concept is simple enough that the current Zorian could formulate and master such a versatile force spell within 6 months even with all the other stuff on his plate.


      • Zorian is using force bolt to its limit. If he wants something more flexible, he would indeed have to find or invent a new spell. In all likelihood it would be a collection of similar spells that are each adjustable in their own way – this is because the more flexible the spell is, the more it approaches non-structured magic in principle of operation… and thus the harder it is to learn and the higher the shaping skills necessarily to even cast it.


      • Assuming Zorian can master such shaping skills in a short enough amount of time, wouldn’t the ideal course of action be to focus on developing his force/telekinetic shaping to the point of not needing any spells at all?

        I think I am finally understanding what Xvim was talking about in regards to shaping potentially becoming superior to spells of the same ‘kind’. I feel like I am finally understanding the direction Zorian’s magic is taking.

        If Zorian masters shaping unstructured force, he could probably make shields, bolts, swords, claws, nets, drills, even armor, and just about anything he can imagine at what I am guessing would be a significantly reduced mana cost compared to structured magic. I think you mentioned it somewhere that unstructured magic was inherently more mana efficient compared to structured magic.

        I might be overestimating Zorian, but it would definitely be cool if he could completely master a single branch of unstructured magic (besides mind magic). I really want to see somebody master a branch of unstructured magic through sheer effort and not because of a special bloodline like Zorian’s mind magic or that one student’s earth magic ability.
        I would like to see what the limits are to training.

        For instance, could a talented but otherwise ordinary mage ever get as good as someone with a special bloodline? Alanic is a good example. He is noticably superior to most mages in regards to fire magic, but could his shaping of fire and heat ever get to the point that he would be comparable to someone with a natural ability? Could his control over fire ever reach that of a naturally talented creature like a dragon?


      • If the bloodline user is lying around and letting their natural abilities rot? Absolutely. If they are working on it, but not as hard as the ordinary mage? It’s possible, but in no way guaranteed. If both the bloodline user and the ordinary mage are hard workers doing their best, though, there is no way the ordinary mage can beat the bloodline user at their own game unless the bloodline in question has some kind of in-build cap on user abilities.


      • Hmm… I don’t recall anything about unstructured magic being more efficient. If anything, I would expect the opposite; but with enough training, most likely they’re equal. The advantage of unstructured magic is its flexibility.

        And as for practice vs talent, we don’t get know whether Alanic actually has a bloodline. But in the cases where we’ve been able to compare, there’s just no way to catch up through mere practice. Assuming that the inborn talent has been developed.

        Zorian can shape earth, but he isn’t going to reach Estin’s level, and certainly not if they practise for the same length of time.

        Even with rituals, there are limitations on what soul magic you can do without soul sight – if only because you might need to invent a new ritual, and it could be very long and complex, requiring expertise in ritual theory and long experimentation.

        And Red Robe must have trained unstructured mind magic for a long time to be able to use it as well as he did, but he will never ever catch up with Zorian.


  12. I follow all MoL discussions I find but didn’t see some topics I would like to know myself.
    About green hair for example. It is certainly a reference to some kind of ability. What an ability if you may tell that have both infamous House Reid and priest Batak?
    Can Zorian get better physical capabilities by becoming better in soul magic or blood magic? Got this idea after seeing people with some expertise in these spheres (Alanic jumping from second floor, Kael hadn’t been fatigued in the slightest after a long trek in the forest, Red Robe wasn’t felled by firearm and Sudomir’s words that he is ‘quite hard to kill’, vigorous Silverlake).
    And who are Immortal Eleven? Whom this title referring to? (From the chapter where Zach killed Oganj.)
    I understand that empathy is a part of being psychic and Zorian now is master mind mage. But apparently some people differentiate empathy in another category from mind magic and by itself it is pretty underwhelming gift, I just don’t see any exceptional usefulness in it. Is there something more to empathy and sensing emotions part of the field?
    I like scenes of Zorian’s interactions with different people. Eagerly await the next appearance of Kylae and Batak, not long to wait for Silverlake;), mentioned healer empath in hospital or even someone new may be good too. And please, more screen time of Xvim, I implore you.


    • Green hair is simply an outward sign of Reid bloodline (though it’s not the only way to get green hair in MoL-verse, of course), which gives the user supernatural resistance against poisons and ability to analyze things they ingest. They House as a whole chose to leverage this ability in order to pursue magical plant cultivation and, to some extent, alchemy.

      Yes, enhancement of physical capabilities is very much possible. Augmentation magic like that is a subset of transformation (drawing upon traits of base creature) or alchemy (magical drugs; this has far more side effects than transformation).

      I don’t want to say much about the Immortal Eleven at this time, but they are a group of eleven mages (duh) that created and drank a potion of eternal youth. They’re not really immortal, but they will never die from old age. (People who have found a way to halt their aging without becoming undead are called immortals in the setting.)

      Empathy is differentiated from mind magic because it is a passive sensing ability, unlike most magic, which requires that a mage specifically target’s another’s mind. This makes it hard to detect and stop. And as for usefulness – it’s very useful in all manner of social tasks, provided the user actually has control over it.


      • Thanks for the answer.
        I knew that expertise in potion making is a ticket to healthy life if you didn’t get a defective/faulty potion. Sorry if you misunderstood but I was asking about life force. If a person could get a good grasp on their life force they could probably leverage not only health problems but with better control of it get their health up? Get better salubrity? Better resistance to physical stress? This is what I meant to get better physical capabilities.

        By the way is there a permanent augmentation magic with the help of transformation?

        Also wanted to know why Zorian didn’t try visiting his witch grandmother? Anyone would have thought he could get some instruction from her. From what we know he didn’t have any arguments like with his parents.

        Also Zorians dealings with the police in the past. What this about?


      • Not really no – the body is pretty damn good at making use of its life force. Not much room for consciously making it more efficient. If you could somehow add more life force to yourself, that would be able to produce such effects, but this isn’t what blood magic is about. Blood magic spends life force, it doesn’t add to it.

        Of course transformation-descended augmentations can be made permanent/perpetual – that’s pretty much what most enhancement rituals are about.

        Zorian’s family relations and past are something I’ll decline to answer for now.


      • Hmm… Zorian has met a certain cantankerous potions expert with a mysterious past, very few signs of aging, and a preference for staying out of the public eye. Not that I would expect you to confirm or deny at this stage :).


      • > People who have found a way to halt their aging without becoming undead

        Presumably the church frowns upon this? After all, it doesn’t approve of magically anchoring a soul to the material world instead of letting it depart…

        I’m curious about what defines “undead” in this case. Obviously undead have souls, and advanced undead even have minds. What officially distinguishes them from living beings?

        Incidentally, since a lich’s soul *is* inhabiting its body, albeit with contingencies, does it immediately die if the phylactery is destroyed, or do you have to kill the body as well?


      • Becoming unaging without resorting to soul magic is not frowned upon. On the contrary, it’s seen as an impressive and highly coveted achievement (assuming no massively immoral methods were used, of course).

        Undead are creatures who have died (their bodies can no longer house the soul without magical assistance), but are kept reanimated through soul magic. Even if they can think, it’s pretty easy to draw the line between them and living people.

        Yes. The only thing keeping the soul anchored to the phylactery is the soul magic embedded in it. When it is destroyed, the soul immediately departs to the afterlife, and the lich is slain on the spot.


      • Hang on, this isn’t making sense to me. What practical difference is there between a potion of endless youth, vs lich-hood? Both mean that you won’t die naturally, but can be slain by violence. It may take more effort to finish a lich, but that’s only a difference of degree. What makes one praiseworthy and the other evil?

        It can’t be the mere use of soul magic, since the use of soul magic defenses is perfectly acceptable; indeed, part of the calling of a priest. It can’t be the enslaving of another soul, since an aspiring lich is only working on his/her own soul. It can’t even be the magical anchoring of a soul to the world, since that was part of Zorian’s enhanced soul perception training, and Alanic didn’t seem to think it was immoral, merely very dangerous. Was Zorian considered undead after undergoing that training?

        Liked by 1 person

      • It is automatically assumed that a lich – by necessity a high level necromancer – has done a lot of immoral things to get as good as they did. And they’re usually right, too. While it is technically possible for a mage to limit themselves to personal soul manipulation, and the process of transforming yourself into a lich is not necessarily unethical, in practice it is virtually impossible to get as good at soul magic as you need to be without breaking some eggs. Quite possibly a lot of eggs.

        A lich claiming they became as they are without violating other people’s souls and desecrating the dead is like an expert assassin claiming they’ve never killed anyone and only learned their skills to prank people. Who would ever believe that?

        Expert mind mages like Zorian are distrusted for much the same reason.

        Although Zorian has effectively died multiple times, his body is not reanimated and his soul is not being forced to remain on the material plane through magic. So no, Zorian isn’t considered undead. Just effectively resurrected.


      • > the process of becoming a lich is necessarily unethical

        Um… this sentence makes more sense if you meant “not necessarily unethical”. Typo?

        Interesting that someone needs to be a high-level necromancer. Alanic indicated that Zorian, who can cast Simulacrum, is halfway there already. (And it’s clear that Alanic is far more skilled.)

        So… Could a lich get a trial and submit to truth potions and/or mind magic to prove that they haven’t attacked anyone else?


      • Yeah, it a typo. I’ll correct it after I write this response.

        Yeah, but if Zorian wants to acquire the other half he needs to acquire soul perceptions and… practice.

        Not really. Necromancy is categorically illegal in most places, and the court wouldn’t care. The best they can hope for is to enter into some kind of secret agreement with the authorities.


      • > Necromancy is categorically illegal

        OK, yes, that’s at least a clear rule to distinguish immortality-via-alchemy from immortality-via-phylactery. Still seems a bit unfair, but I’ll acknowledge that necromancy is much more likely to have a body count.

        Alanic used necromancy to train Zorian, though. Apparently he takes a “flexible” approach to the laws of the land when it suits the greater good?

        Black ops might actually be a pretty good deal for an ethical lich (ethilich?). If it deposited its phylactery with a government agency, then they get leverage/insurance and the lich gets taxpayer-funded security. If it was someone who just dislikes death, rather than a megalomaniac, it might work.


  13. I actually forgot about the imortal eleven. Now I really hope Zorian tries to meet them in the story. They all seem to be masters of alchemy as well as whatever else they use to protect themselves from those who would try to steal their secrets. I am sure Zorian could learn a lot.

    Speaking of things Zorian ought to learn, learning how to be more subtle with mind magic would be great. Spear of Resolve was pretty amazing when it came to infiltrating a mind and remaining undetected. This would be an extremely valuable skill for Zorian to learn.

    And now for the sketchy bit. Increasing life-force was just mentioned. From what I have seen so far, the only probable way I can think of to do that is most likely to steal it from someone else, and that might require some pretty advanced hybrid soul/blood magic ritual. Zorian might also need soul sight to pull it off. Either way, very difficult and time consuming to learn. That is the difficult part, especially since he already has so much to do and so little time to do it.
    If by some miracle, Zorian stumbled accross such a ritual already set up with a handy instruction booklet nearby, then he would actually be in a position of great advantage because of the nature of the time loop. He could keep absorbing life-force from the same people over and over again. Cultists would be perfect sacrificial subjects in this hypothetical situation. . . I wonder if the Academy library has a book on such a ritual hidden in it’s restricted section. It might.

    This could potentially be a perfect workaround to the draining effects of enhancement rituals. If a resource is being drained, just get more of that resource. A mana pool enlargement ritual would also be very cool.

    These are easy to write about, but I am guessing it is probably extremely difficult to nearly impossible without divine or primordial intervention for someone to increase their base mana pool and/or lifeforce without any side effects. I am tempted to ask how possible any of this is, but it might potentially be spoiler material.

    Speculating is fun.


    • I’m not going to comment on most of the speculation, but I will note that any enhancement that isn’t imprinted into the soul is going to be lost when the time loop resets. So absorbing life force from same people across restarts wouldn’t work, even if you had a way to do so.


  14. It occurs to me that a soul can theoretically have infinite minds attatched to it. How about the inverse? Can one mind be in control of multiple souls?


      • Well, there is a process to create a magical brain attached to a soul, which is used to create simulacra/liches and for extreme soul sense training. In theory, could such a process be adapted to work with an existing brain (magical or mundane)?

        Since the soul and its recorded experiences shape the mind, I suppose it’s quite conceivable that this might have similar effects to a soul meld: “the resulting entity is virtually always rendered insane or otherwise defective from the stress of the merger”.


      • What Iam thinking is a complete and perfect case of schizophrenia. Where instead of the personalities “taking turns” controling the body/mind, they are all fully active at once. This would be different from two souls melded together as in a shifter ritual. This would be two distinct beings inhabiting the same mental space.

        It would be an absolutely beautiful bit of torture magic. I could imagine a necromancer having a lot of fun merging all his enemies into one mind. It would probably be even worse than the soul meld.

        I guess the spell would be something along the lines of a mind meld.

        Nobody would ever want to do such a thing to themselves unless maybe they could create an artificial ‘blank’ soul.


      • Well, I could consider creating a magical mind of my own to think about different problems. Also, Zorian used simulacrums to make massive mind attack. Creating only a mind without a body is a great way to level-up your mind attack capabilities and save mana/time creating unnecessary ectoplasm bodies.


  15. Aaand another question, is soul sight an ability obtained by an enhancement ritual like a bloodline would be, or does it work differently? Context clues are giving me mixed signals.


    • You *can* use blood/soul magic to copy soul sight from someone else who has it, if that’s what you’re asking.

      The only known way to get it without copying someone is to make a dirge moth potion. I’m guessing that that means dirge moths have soul sight natively in some fashion. Most enhancement rituals are like that, copying a magical creature.


      • Ok, so there are in fact two different ways to get it. I was assuming there was only one.

        This potion stuff brings up something else which has been bothering me. Potions seem to be able to effect the soul, some even permanently. Potions also seem to be much more testable and easily controled compared to blood rituals. Why go through a blood ritual, if one could use a potion for the same effect?


      • Blood rituals bind the ability to the target much more firmly, which lessens the amount of mana you need to permanently lose to obtain it. Additionally, an ability gained through a blood magic ritual can be passed down to your children, whereas potion-gained abilities cannot.

        But you’re kind of right – most people in-setting consider blood magic rituals too dangerous and difficult compared to potions and other means of enhancement, and prefer not to use them.


      • . . .Besides the fact that some potions are obnoxiously difficult to make because of rare ingretients or whatever.


      • Blood magic would presumably also allow you to copy abilities you come across without having any idea how to brew the relevant potion.

        And I would imagine that studying such subjects would give you a better understanding of how enhancements work in general, which would give you a better chance of making any kind of enhancement ritual work, including potions.

        I wouldn’t be surprised if a sufficiently skilled mage might even be able to modify or repair enhancements (eg the Boranova bloodline).


      • While true, it’s not like blood magic rituals are one-shoe-fits-all. You’d need to figure out a proper blood magic ritual to copy that specific ability, and the consequences if you fail would be direr than if failed a potion. Additionally, getting that in potions will also help earn you money, while blood magic expertise is hard to monetize and much less respected.

        The second paragraph is true, yes.


  16. Hold up! Does this mean the immortality of the immortal 9 (formerly eleven) can be gained by just using blood magic, and that this immortality would be a superior and hereditary version?

    If blood magic can do what I think it can do, it is my new favourite magic.


    • > Are there quantifiable units

      I’m guessing not, since they’re instead estimating ‘magnitude’ based on the number of magic missiles someone can cast. Which changes as you become more skilled, so it’s very imprecise.

      Once you can cast magic missile flawlessly (transparent), you could probably use that as a standard measure. However, since hardly anyone actually does that, it’s not much help.


      • No, not with magic missile. Such a measurement would necessarily have to be done with an extremely ridgid and precise magical formation that creates a particular effect when supplied with sufficient mana and repeates that effect as mana becomes sufficient. The measurement would need to be done in a room completely devoid of atmospheric mana.

        I have no doubt that such a process of quantifying mana is possible. I just wonder if anybody has bothered to actually do it.

        Similarly, a formation could be made to measure atmospheric mana by something like a light indicator that gets brighter with more mana in the atmosphere. Or better yet, the formation could rotate an object, and one could measure the rpm to get a mana value.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Seems like the early days of magical research. Each city or maybe even each scholar might use their own system to quantify their experiments. They might actually do this intentionally to make their experiments harder to understand in case their notes get stolen.


      • Ah, I finally fot to that part with the magic sensor. I see why you asked me this question. It’s an interesting story. Not nearly as interesting or carefully developed as Mother of Learning of course. But for a largely improvised story, it is rather good when ignoring some of the more subtle logical inconsistencies.


  17. Is there magic that uses sound for combat purposes? All the uses I can recall were along the lines of utility spells. All the combat mages I have seen so far don’t seem to use sound as a means of attack.


    • Sound attacks exist. They’re not too popular because they’re very simple to negate for a competent battlemage, aren’t lethal or incapacitating enough, and don’t discriminate between enemy and ally. That said, those various flashbang attacks (which include both bright lights and loud sounds) will sometimes be used at critical moments, since these kind of spells are fairly cheap and there is always a chance the opponent is too inexperienced to negate the attack in time.


      • > there is always a chance the opponent is too experienced

        I’m guessing that this was supposed to be “inexperienced”…

        Also, not everyone is a mage, right? So flashbangs could be useful for police.


      • Hang on…spiders don’t have eyelids, right? And the light and sound from a magical explosion would be mundane light and sound, created but not sustained by magic, therefore not subject to magic resistance – but easily blocked by a spellcaster. And flash-bangs don’t just deafen; they disturb the brain’s equilibrium. Which would probably interfere with all delicate and complex senses. And they have a ranged effect.

        Carpet-bomb the grey hunter!


      • If grey hunters could be done in by a simple flash-bang, they would not be seen as such terrors.

        Basically, yeah – a flash-bang does momentarily blind and deafen grey hunters. But that’s all it does, and they’ve got other, more important senses at their disposal.


      • Um… Stun grenades do more than just blind and deafen you. The concussion messes with your inner ear, disorienting you and messing with your balance. They leave afterimages on your vision and ringing in your ears. It’s a big shock to your whole system.

        Granted that a grey hunter is built differently. But the nature of sensitivity is to be delicate. I have to think that a tremendous concussion is going to wreak havoc on its ability to watch air currents – if only because the air will be full of a shockwave. And if that sense is based on something like microscopic hairs all over its body, then they’ll all be hyper-stimulated by the blast (170 decibels is no joke).

        I wasn’t meaning to suggest, though, that a single flash-bang would incapacitate it. Rather, I was thinking that it would temporarily hinder its Matrix-style dodging and make it easier to blast a second time. And a third. And fourth. Once you have a half-decent chance of actually landing a hit, start mixing in more potent bombs, like that combat potion that Zorian stole from the cultists and used to freeze the centipedes.

        Who knows, they might even drive it berserk, in which case, it’s less likely to dodge things anyway. With all Zorian’s research into grenades, surely a lot of options open up if you actually have a reasonable chance of hitting it.


      • If the potential effectiveness of flash-bangs really doesn’t fit in with the story, though, you have an option: repeated exposure gradually causes you to build up a tolerance for them. So Silverlake could have immunised it, in theory.


    • Interesting. Now about radiation, has that been weaponized yet?
      Particularly X-rays, gamma rays, and microwaves?
      Are humans even aware of such things as “invisible light” that is beyond the visible spectrum?


  18. Typos

    individuals of same species/individuals of the same species
    those will higher reserves/those with higher reserves
    between same people/between the same people
    into area around them/into the area around them
    cooked from inside out/cooked from the inside out


      • Corrected. Incidentally, I know I didn’t respond to your earlier corrections, but that was just because I didn’t want to spam the comment section – I do notice them and try to correct them as I can. (Now if only I were as vigorous about dealing with the massive backlog of errors people found in MoL itself…)


      • No worries :). Please take such corrections in the spirit that they’re intended: a desire for MoL to be the very best it can be, because it’s an awesome story.


      • > massive backlog of errors

        If you ever want a hand with that, just ask. I’m happy to take copies of chapters in your preferred editing format, and send them back completed (with accompanying notes of what I did, of course).


  19. If there is time after Zorian and Zach locate and retrieve all the keys, I hope they take a trip to ulquaan Ibasa. I am sure the trip would be worth while even if just for the tourism and cultural/historical appreciation value.

    I remember mention of the “gate” spell and how difficult and dangerous it is to cast. What makes that spell so much more advanced than the teleport spell?


    • Teleport manipulates dimensional fabric for only a short period of time, just enough to transport something to another location, before space is allowed to snap back to normal. Gate requires that that you twist space into a knot and keep it that way for long periods of time.


      • How costly is it? For instance, if zorian could cast it perfectly to connect Cyoria to Koth, how long could he sustain it with his current mana pool?


    • > just for the tourism

      Um… You’re joking, right?

      This is the country that is sending Quatach-Ichl with an army to unleash a primordial upon Eldemar primarily for revenge. And their native citizens look distinctly different from Eldemarians. I somehow think that there’s not a lot of tourism.


      • Obviously there isn’t much tourism. That is all the more reason for them to visit, it would be a unique experience. There might even be an opportunity for Zorian to raid a few minds and get some great information.


      • > it would be a unique experience.

        I’m reminded of Igor, from Thief of Time:

        “while Igors did not believe in ‘forbidden knowledge’ and ‘Things Man Was Not Meant to Know’, obviously there were *some* things a man was not meant to know, such as what it felt like to have every particle of your body sucked into a little hole, and that seemed to be one of the options available in the immediate future.”

        Liked by 1 person

      • They have soul defense. What’s the worst that could happen?

        They just need some clever disguises to look like they fit in. They could probably find some good Halloween costumes at a costume shop and fit right in with the locals.


  20. Holy KRUMP I feel as though I may have discovered something. Since the primordial is in a separate dimension, it is not duplicated along with the planet in the same way the astral realm is not duplicated.

    Therefore, the primordial being summoned is the ACTUAL primordial from the real world. If Zorian and Zach could find a way to make the summoning succeed, they could trap (and kill in the subsequent dimensional collapse) the primordial in the time loop.
    If they could somehow then enter the primordial realm before the total colapse of the loop, they could switch places with the primordial and end up being summoned to the real world by the cult of the dragon when they try to summon the primordial (who is dead at this point).

    I feel like a mad genius!

    I am not sure about a lot of details, but it seems possible.


    • Wait a second. . . The primordial could die simply by being recycled in the loop restart since it is not part of the template. . . What happens to a limb of the primordial that breeches the dimensions? Does it get broken down and then recycled to reform the world for the next loop? Can the primordial be slowly chipped away in this manner?


      • The automatic loop reset when the primordial is released (ie when the loop dimension is breached) was probably designed exactly to stop such interference with the outside world. We know from the Guardian that the loop is not supposed to threaten anything outside.


      • I wonder how long the delay is between dimensional breach and emergency reset. If the gap is long enough, it could be a potential back-door plan-b out of the loop if they don’t find the keys in time.


      • Spoiler Alert to new readers!!

        I knoooow! I was pretty surprised to see my idea of hijacking the primordial dimension to create an escape tunnel approached in the story right after I wrote it. Layering pocket dimensions is much smarter than what I was thinking though. There is still the obvious issue of how to make it work. If the primordials can’t get through on their own, how will Zorian and Zach? Seems like they might also require someone on the other side to create a link similar to the gate spell.

        P.S. I am glad we are finally going to meet the infamous Damien who has been a shadow lurking in the background of this story for far too long. I can’t help but be very curious about him.


    • We were told the Gods trapped the primordials because killing them was too much trouble. If just killing them inside a pocket dimension was sufficient you’d think they would have done so already.


      • Uh, the loop is extremely difficult to set up. It only works with a very specific and rare planetary alignment. Using the loop to solve a problem is the very definition of “too much trouble”.


      • You wouldn’t need to set up the full Sovereign Gate just to destroy primordials inside pocket dimensions. They’re already inside pocket dimensions. Presumably it’s not possible to simply erase everything in the prison.


      • The sovereign gate is not significant in this case for being a pocket dimension but because it can rapidly decompose everything within it into raw energies and then reassemble everything according to a template. The reconstruction is unnecessary in this case, but I am pretty sure just having that level of control over the internal environment of a pocket dimension is extremely difficult. Primordials may even be able to put up resistance to such an effect. We know too little at this point to talk about what kinds of challenges gods face when trying to solve primordial level problems.


      • I think it’s not such a problem of killing primordials if assume even people can kill them (with divine weapons or maybe ten thousand artillery barrages). It’s about what happening after their death. Maybe even gods can’t stop devastating effect from spreading with a pocket dimension or not (The mini Big Bang or smth).


    • I hope this happens just so I can see the cultist’s face when he attempts to summon this dark and terrible entity…. and then a pair of random teenagers show up.

      It would require leaving at the end of the month though, so the city will be wrecked, Nochka will be dead, Red Robe will have had an entire month to run amok, and war between Eldemar and Ulquann Ibasa will be inevitable.

      More importantly, those damn enchanted robes hide the user’s face. *sighs*


      • I consider the loop realm to be ‘within’ the sovereign gate in a sense, so for me the terms are interchangeable. The legend described the king (or emperor or whatever) going into a new world, so perhaps ‘Sovereign Realm’? ‘Sovereign Black Box’ seems fitting. It is the same idea escalated into a perfect state only a god could accomplish. Perhaps the black boxes were designed with inspiration from the sovereign gate. Seems logical. . . Especially if the designer spent over a thousand years in the time loop studying time-space magic. I wouldn’t be surprised if the designer of the black boxes also made the Bakora Gates. For some reason they seem mundane enough to be human made. The primitive AI in the bakora gates is probably based off the advanced god-made AI in the Sovereign Gate.


  21. The most interesting feature with the whole ‘backdoor’ approach out of the time loop is that there will be two Zachs and two Zorians in the same world. This would actually be an ingenious cover for their operations. If Red Robe sees Zach and Zorian as their unlooped selves, he would think he succeeded in trapping them. Nobody would expect there to be a second Zach and Zorian sneaking around to foil Red Robe’s plans.

    Liked by 1 person

    • > This would actually be an ingenious cover for their operations.

      It would be even more interesting than that…

      What would Zorian’s family make of having two of him?

      How much would he be able to ‘upgrade’ his other self? Would they even be able to stand each other? I suspect that he would hesitate to trust his original self with important information at first, since that guy is really immature and ignorant.

      Which one would take on the task of looking after and teaching Kirielle? Obviously Controller!Zorian is subjectively much older and more capable, but how would original!Zorian react to that?

      Lots of potential fun.


      • I was thinking they would never meet. If it were me, I would write a helpful instructional manual for developing and dealing with empath abilities as well as other bits of useful information (like Aokja’s feelings and how to better deal with Kirielle) to help “Original!Zorian” get a handle on his life and secretly leave the life manual in a easily noticed place.

        Other than that one indirect interaction, it would probably be best for the Zorians to never meet. Zach on the other hand probably would not have enough self control to keep away from his original self.


      • Loop!Zorian made promises to Kirielle. I don’t think his conscience would let him walk away and leave her to his pre-loop self. He would want to stay on the scene. Just leaving a note wouldn’t give her the big brother that she needs.

        And why shouldn’t he stay? Arguably he is just as much Zorian, just as much entitled to his family.


    • Zach’s the original looped (probably). There’s only be one of him. Though he would be in a separate physical body, which would be just as useful for fooling Red Robe. It would look like he just dropped dead, exactly as if he really had never left the loop.

      As for strategies for beating Red Robe though… hypothetically he’d be shoved into his body at the time the loop started, which is around 2am. If ZZ exited physically they would be awake at the beginning of the loop and if they didn’t then Zorian could use aranean mind arts to put an alarm clock in his brain and wake himself up early. Either way they could steal a crucial head start on Red Robe.


      • >Zach’s the original looped (probably). There’s only be one of him.
        It may also be that Red Robe’s soul was put on Zach’s body (the one outside the Loop) when he left the Loop.


  22. I have this wierd idea. Has anyone ever tried doing the shifter ritual with two humans? If so, what was the result? Is it possible to properly merge two people like the fusion ritual in Dragon Ball Z?


      • Just the fact that you use ‘rarely’ instead of ‘never’ makes me really curious. That means it’s possible.


      • > That means it’s possible.

        Sure. It’s also possible that you’ll survive developing skin cancer as a result of spending too much time in the sun. It’s possible that Russian roulette with five barrels loaded will end well. It’s *possible* that spending your life savings on lottery tickets will result in a big win. But they’re not recommended actions.


  23. Hello again. Just had a passing thought about augmentation and transformation potions. Сould they grant some monster’s mana pool or faster assimilation of ambient mana without a need to meditiate?
    Could ‘soul clothes’ mitigate some soul damage?
    How people protect themselfs against soul magic in general if they hadn’t been trained in sensing their soul, it wasn’t mentioned but is there wards or magic shields for that?
    There were happenings in your story when part of the spell casted by enemy mage on the platform bypassed Zorian’s shield and slammed into him or when patrol aranea executed mental attack that could partially pass through mental barriers. Could it be these attacks jast have more than one component or there is something else?
    Could you have a layered mental protection consisting of both structured and unstructured defenses? Soul based?


    • No, granting another’s mana to pool to someone else is not possible. That’s integral to a particular soul – you’d have to be them. As for faster mana assimilation, nobody has succeeded in it yet, but it might theoretically be possible.

      Yes, soul clothes can mitigate soul-based attack spells – in which case the inhabitants of MoL-verse think of them as soul wards rather than transformation shells. I actually had Alanic mentioned them and even teach them to Zorian – they require no personal soul awareness, just a long ritual spell, and last for a while.

      There is something of an arms race between mages that develop attack spells that counter shields in some fashion and mages that develop stranger, more sophisticated/specialized shields to counter those… the result is that one can never be 100% that any particular defense will hold against the enemy attack, though being much better than your opponents greatly reduces the chance that whatever they can pull will be beyond your ability to counter.

      Yes, defenses of all sort can be layered. However, only to a point – each ward will clash with all others in the area to some extent, and if the clash is bad enough the whole thing will fail like a house of cards. Possible exploding something in the process. Knowing which wards can be layered with one another and what is the most effective way to do so is an entire field of study on its own. As a rule, the more effective a warder a mage is, the more wards they can layered atop of each other.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. What factors(mental/physical/or just plain roll of dice) determine how big a human’s, or any being for that matter, starting natural mana reserves can be?
    Do microorganism also have soul? If so how does soul sight deal with them?
    Also is it posible to create spells that will check whether a condition is being fulfilled like checking for the presence of sunlight and then based on that firing a fireball or something? Then shouldn’t it be theoretically possible to create a sort of pseudo self-casting spell rod?


    • It’s very inconsistent. Normal humans have a magnitude that ranges from 1-35, but hovers around 10 for most people. The exact distribution is rather random and does not seem to depend on genetics, or at least depends on them very weakly. It is in no way guaranteed for two high magnitude people to have high magnitude children.

      I have no idea how microorganisms slot into my system.

      It’s possible but once that fireball has been triggered, the spell that produced it is gone and never coming back. There is no spell that can cast the fireball spell over and over on its own. So this method is good for producing one-use items (Zorian already uses this, as does everybody else), but it won’t make you a wand of fireballs.


    • Zorian believed his mana magnitude to be 8 when the story begun, but it is actually somewhat larger (10 to be precise; perfectly average), which was being masked by the fact his mind magic abilities were permanently locking down some it. Magnitude is set at birth and cannot be increased through training. Zach has mana reserves like his magnitude is in the 50s, but he has shaping skills like it was around 25… the cause of this is an ongoing mystery in the story.


  25. What is the relationship between mana reserves, and mana magnitude? I thought they were the same, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

    i believe that you’ve mentioned before that that performing the shifter ritual with a dragon would not significantly boost the mana reserves or mana magnitude of a wizard. You’ve also said that mana magnitude is something that you are born with, and is dependent on your soul, and that dragons have mana reserves or magnitude significantly larger than humans, so much so that most humans are incapable of casting draconic magic. My question is that if mana comes from the soul, would merging your soul with that of a dragons allow you to tap in to its mana reserves or magnitude?

    Why can you only increase your mana reserves up to four times.

    Is it possible to create a storage device for your mana, and implant that device into your self so that the mana does not degrade?

    Finally, you’ve mentioned that storing and accessing mana from an external source is impossible because of its poisonous effects. It is known that if you start with a non lethal amount of poison and consume it in an ever increasing amount over a large period of time, your body eventually learns to neutralize it. Is this also true for mana poisoning?


    • Mana magnitude is the variable that determines how big a person’s mana reserves are. Nobody knows what it depends on, and it cannot be directly measured. Instead, they look at a person’s mana reserves before they’ve started serious magic training and take that as a person’s magnitude. At the start of a mage’s career, their mana reserves and mana magnitude will be the same (because people are taking the value of their mana reserves as their magnitude) but will gradually diverge from each other from then on as mana reserves increase and magnitude… doesn’t.

      Soul fusion results are strange and inconsistent in most cases. It’s impossible to say anything with a degree of certainty there.

      No, you cannot make a mana storage device, even if you implant it into yourself. The stored mana is still disconnected from your soul and mana reserves, it doesn’t matter that the storage has been embedded into your body.

      No, it is not possible to become immune to mana poisoning. Although called ‘poisoning’, it’s a magical effect that burns and destroys anything that channels raw mana through itself. The cells are literally burned, crushed, ripped apart and so on. You can’t become immune to that.


  26. One thing I don’t understand, if it’s impossible to make a mana storage device, what about the crown of the Ikosan Emperor, that Quatach-Ichl uses? Is it not supposed to be a “mana battery”? Or does it work under a different principle
    Or is it impossible in the sense of it’s very hard and the crown is the only object known to do this, and no one could understand how it works so far?


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