Ash Magic

The Powers

The Powers of Ash are the Lords of the Burned Realm. They govern the dead, the destroyed, and that which has gone before. They are neither malevolent nor benevolent, although they do have an abiding hatred for necromancy (which is a usurpation of their powers and as such also falls within the purview of Ash sorcery).
Note that the known Burned Realm only contains dead humans and half-humans - it is rumoured that there are other, similar realms for the dead of other races, although this has never been confirmed and the Burned Lords themselves remain enigmatically uninformative.
More information on the Lord of the Tower of Heroes, the Lord of the Lake of Suicides, the Lord of the Faithful, the Lord of the Silent Voices, the Lord of the Gardens, the Lord of the Grey Roses and the Lord of the House of Gods can be found here on the Gods & Cults page.

The Limits

Ash magic requires the caster to be in a state of delicate balance. Every spell must be prepared mentally in advance, the Sorceror placing themselves in tune with the living and the dead. As a result, an Ash magic spell will be usable only a limited number of times before the caster must retreat to meditation, during which time they must be completely undisturbed.
Almost all Ash Sorcerors within the White City are Ordained Priests of the Temple of Ashes and wear the distinctive grey robes of that Temple. Practice of Ash Magic within the lands of the White City by anyone who is not an Ordained Priest of the Burned Lords is illegal - someone who practices unordained Ash sorcery without the permission of the Temple of Ashes, whether willfully or through ignorance, will either be killed by the Temple when their existence is discovered or might be "brought within the fold" so to speak if they are sufficiently important or willingly cooperative.

Psychic Combat & Spirits Of The Dead

Several of the Ash Magic spells (Speak To Silence, Commend To Ash, Speak Through Stillness) can result in the caster facing the spirit of a dead person (or creature) in Psychic Combat. The spirit of a dead creature has the same Psyche hits and inflicts the same Psyche damage as it did when it was still alive, with the exception that all spirits do a minimum of Psychic Singles since psychic combat is now as natural to them as physical combat was when they were alive.
If the sorceror loses this psychic combat then at the least they can expect to be possessed by the spirit and subject to their whims for either twenty-four hours or until the next dawn or sunrise. The possession may last for longer or have other side effects at the discretion of the GM. Commonly, the spirit of a dead person will desire vengeance on its killers and those connected (however tenuously) to its killers.

The Spells - First Level

Call Forth The Ashen Cloud - The Sorceror can summon a stationary swirling cloud of ash which lasts for ten seconds and will cover a wide area, roughly thirty feet in radius, centred on where the caster stands when they cast it. This has two effects (three if you count just being damn impressive). Firstly, it renders everybody within the cloud who is not an Ordained Priest of the Burned Lords blind for the duration of the spell. Secondly, any dead creature touched by the ash cannot ever be raised as undead (note that this won't have any effect on creatures which are already undead, however much damage they've taken and however active they are). This spell can be used only once before it needs to be reprepared, however the relevant meditation takes only one minute.
Note that anyone rendered blind by this spell should not actually shut their eyes but should instead roleplay being blind, they are unable to call Dodges or Parries and unable to inflict physical damage or target spells. They can still use their weapons to defend themselves, within reason, and should wander around randomly if they wish to move.

Speak To Silence - The Sorceror may speak to the spirit of a dead being whose corpse is present, regardless of how much of the corpse is present, what condition it's in or how long the being has been dead. Language, however, may still be a barrier. If the Sorceror is an Ordained Priest of the Burned Lords then the spirit will speak willingly, unless it had a personal enmity with the caster. In any other situation the spirit must be defeated in psychic combat before it will cooperate (see the section above on 'Psychic Combat & Spirits Of The Dead'). This spell may or may not work upon undead creatures at the GM's discretion, and may have unforeseen side effects if the Sorceror attempts to use it on them. A spirit counts as "defeated" if it loses half its Psyche hits. This spell can be cast only once before repreparation and requires one minute of meditation to prepare.

Second Level

Commend To Ash - This spell instantly turns a single object or being into ash. Should an Ordained Priest of the Burned Lords cast this spell on a living being who has not been renounced by the Burned Lords then they will lose their Ordained status. Undead, on the other hand, are open season, as are the creations of the Vitriarchs. If a non-Ordained Ash Sorceror uses this spell to destroy a living being then they will immediately be attacked by that being's spirit as the Burned Lords unleash their vengeance. This spell can be cast a number of times equal to the Rank of the caster's Ash Magic skill before needing to be reprepared, which requires half an hour of meditation. This spell also requires the caster to touch the target.
If this spell is Parried then the spell is used and the weapon used to Parry it turns to ash. If this spell is Dodged or the target survives through sheer Luck then the spell is used and some minor inconsequential item of clothing or similar is turned to ash.

Forestall The Pyre - This spell will heal all points of physical damage the subject has suffered from unnatural sources. Any damage inflicted by one of the undead or a creature of glass counts as having come from an unnatural source, as does most injury inflicted through magical means. The Powers of Wind and Blood however, are so tied to the natural world that the wounds inflicted by their spells are considered natural. Damage taken willingly from a beneficial spell (such as the Light Magic spell 'Purification') or a similar source counts as natural damage.
The spell *can* also be used to heal natural damage, but this invariably incurs the wrath of the Burned Lords; it will cost a Priest their Ordained status and will cause a non-Ordained Sorceror to risk attack by one or more Ashen Guardians (see the Monsters page).
Whatever the source of the injury this spell does not restore lost limbs. This spell can be cast a number of times equal to the Rank of the Sorceror's Ash Magic skill before needing to be reprepared, which requires half an hour of meditation. If cast upon somebody else, this spell requires the caster to touch the subject.

Third Level

Speak Through Stillness - The caster may summon up and speak to the spirit of any dead individual whose name they know. Like the first level spell Speak to Silence, Ordained Priests of the Burned Lords can do this safely while non-Ordained Sorcerors must defeat the spirit in psychic combat to compel its obedience. This spell will not call up people who have transcended the Burned Realm to be with the other Powers. This spell may be cast only once before needing to be reprepared, and repreparation takes one hour. The spell counts as having been cast even if nobody answers the call.
Note that "knowing someone's name" means knowing their given name and at least one other significant thing about them. If you try to call up Dominic Estefanco when you know nothing about him except that he existed then you will fail. If you know that he was murdered last Thursday in the Port of Glass then you will succeed.

Open The Burned Gate - This spell must be cast on a doorway of some kind, although anything remotely gatelike will do at a pinch. Very simply it opens a portal to the Burned Realm which remains open until the next sunrise or sunset, whichever comes first. This spell has a number of uses, many of them even vaguely sane. It's one use and takes one minute to cast but a full twenty four hours (sunrise to sunrise or sunset to sunset) to reprepare, and would you like to guess your odds of being able to get a whole day of complete calm in the Burned Realm? The Burned Realm has no visible sun and it's hard to measure the passage of time while there, so it's generally a good idea to get back to the gate ASAP when using this spell to travel there. And don't forget that things can pass through the gate both ways.

Fourth Level

Condemned By Ash - This is either a blessing or a curse depending on your point of view, and is never used lightly. Very simply it renders an individual incapable of dying. That's all it does. They still age, they can still be hurt, they don't heal faster than anybody else but they will never, ever die unless somebody removes the curse from them by recasting this spell. An Ordained Priest of the Burned Lords may cast this spell on somebody whom the Burned Lords have specifically singled out for this curse. Any other use of this spell by anyone angers the Burned Lords immensely - Ash-Guard will track the caster down, Ordained Ash Sorcerors will hunt them to the ends of the earth and they become open season for Commend To Ash spells. The Temple of Ashes will almost immediately become aware of anyone casting this spell anywhere near the White City. This spell takes one week of preparation, an instant to cast and is strictly one use.

Call The Black Wind - It's wind. It's black. It's the Black Wind. When cast by an Ordained Priest of the Burned Lords the Black Wind will instantly dismiss all undead in the area, turning their physical bodies (if they have them) to ash, and will inflict a Through Single to the torso of anyone in the vicinity who is a non-Ordained Ash Sorceror or has been Condemned To Ash without the approval of the Burned Lords. A non-Ordained Ash Sorceror can cast the spell for the same effect, in which case they will also suffer the damage, or alternatively can cast it to raise every single dead body in the vicinity as an unliving servant under their command. Either way, this spell is one use with a week's preparation.
"Within the vicinity" includes only targets within the Encounter, within sight and within hearing. Complete armies cannot be raised from the earth or turned to ash without more complicated rituals.

Fifth Level

Rekindle The Embers - This is a resurrection spell. Note that it is not a simple resurrection spell, you do not buy it for two thousand gold pieces from your local Priest. This spell involves some serious dealing with godly entities. An Ordained Priest of the Burned Lords has a slim chance of talking a Burned Lord into allowing a soul to return to the world of the living - run this through In Character, it's a big thing. The price demanded by all Burned Lords is high. Very high. Expect it to permanently affect your character is significant ways.
The other option (and the only one available to non-Ordained Ash Sorcerors) is to engage the Burned Lord in psychic combat. Your "average" Burned Lord will have about 30 Psyche hits, strike for Psychic Triples and have access to a bunch of other nasty effects. Lose this fight and it's goodbye Gertie. The nature of the spell means that the psychic combat is a one-on-one duel between the caster and the Burned Lord in which nobody else can interfere by any means.
This spell takes one week to prepare, and can be cast once.

Invoke The Burned Lords - This is the catch-all apex of Ash Magic. You can summon up a Burned Lord and treat with them directly. Unlike Rekindle The Embers, this spell commands the physical presence of the Lord in question. This really pisses off most Powers so be very, very careful. It's one shot and a week's preparation.

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