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Ars-Pactum

By contract, we strengthen.

Introduction

Fri Aug 19, 2016, 3:03 AM by DustBunnyThumper:icondustbunnythumper:




The train rattles as you cross the trestle spanning the ocean, towards the shore. Atop your suitcase sits a cluster of downy lint: it chirps and floats out the window as you brush it aside.

Out the window is an endless expanse of sea. Not too distant now is the rising front wall of Concordia College, snug against the mountains of the Hebride Islands. The new semester started much sooner than you expected – time to hit the books!

The magical earth of Ars Pactum is inhabited by three types of creatures. Humans: beings with powers of the soul, willpower, and incredible ambition; Magicians: their magical counterparts, capable of terrifying displays of power, and Entities: mysterious beings of the natural world, who have existed even before the first signs of life.

For as long as there have been words, there have been promises. And in this world, there have always been contracts, or pacta: a complex relationship formed between two beings, allowing them to better their intrinsic capabilities. A contract allows two individuals to share their magic, wounds, life force, and soul. To some, this means the opportunity for unfathomable potential. To others, a contract is a pledge of friendship, love, or commitment.

For humans, a pactum is an opportunity to use magic despite the biology of their birth. For magicians, a pactum provides energy never attainable to them previously. And for entities, a pactum is the acquisition of a sentient soul. But regardless of what each pactum means to its participants, once it is established, its terms are law, broken only by critical measures.

The current year is 1966, in a world with history affected by the presence of magic. Your character is a magical member of society, whether that be by birth or contract. They’re educated at Concordia College, an academy for students learning to control, improve, or better understand their power. And then they take the train to school and go to the place and Make Friends an Have a Good time and Shit

Will ur character find love? Or power? Or MORE?!?!?! Find out next
Sry im bad at summaries Read and review



it's an anime gif for ur anime needs by DustBunnyThumper


How to Join

Fri Aug 19, 2016, 3:00 AM by DustBunnyThumper:icondustbunnythumper:





Requirements

Ars Pactum is a private roleplaying group with an emphasis on character development and interaction. To help facilitate the narrative, it also features dungeon exploration, a combat system, and optional character-attuned storyline events. There is no activity requirement. The application process consists of a character sheet check, and acceptance into the group. 


Interested applicants should enjoy roleplaying!


Applying

If you’re considering the application process, thank you for your interest! We know the reading is quite dense, so here’s a quick guide you can use to streamline the information and get started.

If you’d like to read these journals in compiled document format instead (with a clickable section outline), follow { this link } and choose the options Tools > Document outline to access the sidebar.
This is highly recommended for the sake of your eyes, because dA is horrible!

The Setting

  1. Learn about the three character types you can create, the two types of magic, and soul capacity in Ars Pactum over in the { World } section.
  2. Learn about pacta, and the unique relationships between contracted character types in { About Contracts }.
  3. Learn about nature of magic in the universe in the { Magic } section.
  4. Learn about the society and setting of the Ars Pactum world over in { Setting }.
  5. Learn about the school in { Setting: Concordia College }.


Once you’ve read through the setting of Ars Pactum, if you’re still interested, you can proceed to developing your character for the group.

Character Creation

  1. Read the standard { Rules and FAQ }.
  2. Head over to { Mechanics } for an explanation of the stat, experience, and
       activity systems.
  3. Use the { Application Template } and draw a character sheet. Note that you don’t need to be finished at the time of your application – but until your reference
       is completed, you can’t gain any in-character items, experience, or bonuses!
  4. Fill out a { Written App } with your character’s profile.
  5. Submit your sheet to the “Pending Applications” folder in the group gallery! Treat this as an app check: we’ll take a look, let you know if anything needs to be tweaked or further explicated, and move the folder into the main gallery when it’s been accepted.
  6. Fill out your { Stat Sheet }.


If you manage to get through all of this reading, we’re eternally and utterly grateful. We will literally give you a medal for surviving this. We aren’t joking.

After Submittal

Once you’ve submitted, you’re all done – thanks so much for your time! In the meantime, if you’re interested, there’s an optional { Extended Reading } section that covers a bunch of things you don’t need to know including:

  • Further details of the nature of arcanum and magic in Ars Pactum
  • The history of the Ars Pactum world
  • The Labyrinth: Dungeon mechanics
  • Folklore, mythology
  • The founding history of Concordia College
  • Miscellaneous Trivia



World

Fri Aug 19, 2016, 2:53 AM by DustBunnyThumper:icondustbunnythumper:





Arcane Energy, Corporeal Magic, Soul Capacity

The world of Ars Pactum has two types of magic: arcane energy, and corporeal magic. Some beings of the Ars Pactum world also have soul capacity, or a life force.

Soul capacity is possessed only by humans and magicians. It is akin to life force: when fully depleted, the being it sustained will die. When used outside the realm of simply breathing – for example, for magic – it will slowly regenerate to a normal level over time. It is often associated with willpower, vitality, spirit, and the ability for a being to feel human emotion: love, loss, joy, hope, kindness. Entities alone cannot possess these things,  but when contracted to a being with soul capacity, they will gain them.

Arcane magic is connected to the immaterial world, and is often attributed to chaos, creation, and the supernatural. Magic that involves the manipulation of the metaphysical: things such as resurrection, summoning, space, time, or divination require arcane power to achieve. The only beings that possess arcane magic are entities. Other creatures cannot use arcane magic unless contracted to an entity; they can only gain access to the usage of arcane magic through a pactum.

Magicians have the ability to use corporeal magic without being contracted to an entity, as they have the biological facilities to use their soul capacity to manipulate the world around them. However, they can only use magic beneath the corporeal branch of magic: magic bound by the laws of the physical world. Corporeal magic is often attributed to magic such as matter manipulation, the elements, or control of biology. Corporeal magic cannot manipulate magic itself: only matter, and the physical universe around a magician. Most powers of corporeal nature also be achieved – often on a far more grandiose scale – through the usage of an arcane magic counterpart.

For magicians, energy cannot be created or destroyed. And for magicians, there will always be entropy; magicians passively and actively lose their soul capacity during the usage of magic, often times more quickly than they can regain it. Each spell casted uses a small portion of their soul capacity – and if the magician uses an especially large amount without waiting for their soul capacity to replenish itself, it can lead to fatigue or death. Magicians in need of more soul capacity to supplement their magical undertakings often contract humans for additional energy: who by nature, are born with substantially larger soul capacities, even if they’re unable to utilize it.

Humans, Magicians, Entities

You’ll receive two character slots to begin with. These two slots are sentient characters – they have thoughts, feelings, and can be roleplayed. You don’t need to fill both of these. If you choose to enter only one character, you can enter a secondary character at a later date whenever you’d like. Tertiary character slots are purchasable with experience points { Mechanics: Experience, Currency, Inventory } in the out-of-character shop { Shop }. If you’d like to enter a pair that’s contracted, you can choose to roleplay both members of the contracted pair, or you can roleplay members of a contracted pair with another roleplayer. Human and entity characters must be entered with a permanent contract partner, with minute exceptions to this rule due to detailed backstoriess. Magicians may be entered without a permanent contract partner if you wish.

We’d actually suggest you start with a character that doesn’t require a sentient contract to start with - for example, a non-contracted magician, or a human contracted to a non-sentient entity. Save your second character slot! As you meet other group members, you can start formulating a permanently contracted pair with other people, and enter these characters in the group together at a later date. A contract relationship might be pretty instrumental to a character’s development: and that’s always fun to write with someone else.
     

Humans

Humans make up the majority of the population on earth. They lack the ability for magic. While essentially identical to their counterparts in the real world, note that they are more likely to be in professions where their skill set cannot be easily replaced by magic. Lawyers, for example, will likely be human, as theirs is a job that isn’t improved by magic (let’s face it-- nobody’s legally allowing a pheromone-altering magician into a courtroom). Corporate management, retail, architecture, and creative careers are all options. Generally, humans tend to be lower or middle-class. If they make their fortune, it’ll be by close ties to mage families, or through something thoroughly unconventional that they can perform better than a magic user. Humans contracted to entities or magicians are frequently referred to as vessels. Humans tend to live in different parts of town than magicians, and have some of their own fashion trends and music taste. However, they have passing familiarity with magic, as it powers a lot of their daily lives – for example, everyday technology. The average lifespan for a human is 80 years.

As Concordia College only accepts students looking to control or better their magical powers, humans can usually only attend Concordia College if permanently contracted to an entity or magician. 

Human characters attending Concordia College will take up a character slot. They can either be permanently contracted to a magician, or permanently contracted to an entity to start with. If the entity they are contracted to is of tier two or below (See { World: Tiers }), that entity is non-sentient, and will not take up a character slot. However, these entities should be treated as pets, and will be non-playable. If the human character is permanently contracted to a non-sentient entity, they can form a second permanent contract with another character if they wish to.


Magicians

Magicians are a select few (roughly eleven percent, more or less) of the population with the ability to convert their soul capacity into a power that allows them to manipulate matter. Due to their rarity and natural advantages over normal humans, they’ve grown to become the dominant elite. Poor magicians exist, but it likely means that their power isn’t in demand enough to warrant a fat paycheck. Perhaps their power is too dangerous, or perhaps they have extenuating circumstances keeping them from utilizing this power for a career. Use your imagination!

Ironically, many magicians have jobs that might qualify as manual labor; the man fixing your refrigerator is likely going to be an ice mage, and the engineer figuring out your central heating system is likely a fire magician. Most heads of state are magic users themselves, as are their staff; most will have at least one advisor who can see the future on retainer. 

Many aristocratic magicians received their noble titles for valor in wars, and more still can trace their descendants back generations, with a specialty in certain areas of magic. Somewhere along the line, for aristocratic magicians, being a mage stopped being about your magic and more about your family name – in Britain, at least. If your character is from outside the Western sphere, or even in it, feel free to adjust this to your liking. One man’s cultural standard is another man’s taboo, after all. The average lifespan for a magician is 75 years: slightly less than that of a human, as they passively lose soul power due to their ability to use soul capacity to produce corporeal magic. This process is sometimes referred to as entropy. The average lifespan for a magician contracted to an entity is even shorter, dependent on how much soul power the entity consumes through the pactum.

The majority of students attending Concordia College are magicians looking to hone their craft. Magician characters attending Concordia College will take up a character slot. To begin with, they don’t require a contract, but they can have one to any type of character. They can only form a single permanent contract with a sentient character, but can have a second permanent contract with a non-sentient entity.


Entities

Entities are a different mode of life entirely. They lack a human soul – and as an extension, human emotions such as love, loss, joy, hope, or kindness. They are never truly selfless, and have agendas perhaps not fully logical by human standards. Entities are not always malicious; sometimes they are curious or passive – but they never act upon pure benevolence. They come in many shapes or forms. An entity can be a mythological creature we’re familiar with (such as a unicorn, siren, werewolf, cyclops), or something different entirely. They can be the manifestation of emotions leftover from a battlefield, the shadow in your peripheral vision, a tree growing beside the ocean, a dog that’s learned to speak. There are strong entities, weak entities, little entities, large entities – passive entities, destructive entities. But despite their variegation, they have one thing in common: they have a tendency to crave a soul, whether consciously or subconsciously – and once they’ve obtained one, an entity can suddenly feel all the emotions it might have lacked.

This appetite can manifest in a variety of different ways. For some entities, perhaps they simply gravitate to humans and magicians, from sheer curiosity. For others, perhaps they believe they can attain power through a contract. For even more, perhaps they crave the emotions they might experience by forming a pactum and sharing a human soul. Regardless of the rationale though, even some entities themselves can’t quite understand what strange force makes them so inclined to a contract with a human being. However, although entities are drawn to the idea of a contract, it is relatively uncommon to see an entity that chooses to contract with a human or magician, and rarer so to see a human or magician willing to contract with an entity. Entities sometimes consider humans to be lesser beings - and humans and magicians consider most entities to be inexplicable, volatile, or even extremely dangerous.

Entities can only attend Concordia College if they’re permanently contracted to a human or magician. They cannot be contracted to another entity. Sentient entities will take up a character slot. Non-sentient entities won’t take up a character slot, but cannot be played as characters or gain experience and currency.


Tiers

Each type of being can be classified into one of six tiers. The higher the tier, the more powerful the individual. This is especially applicable when describing entities – in everyday conversation, humans and magicians are rarely referred to by their tier level (but for the sake of stats and character creation, it’s a good idea to know your character’s skill tier). Characters of a significantly lower tier than their contract partner will sometimes lower the natural ability of their contract partner.

Even if a character were contracted to an entity of the sixth tier (like a volcano), a first-tier character would only have the capacity to call forth small embers. By extension, their entity would also be “weakened” unless beneath certain circumstances: details of tier disparities are covered in { About Contracts }. 

Entities

Because the system to classify entities was written by magicians, naturally, the tiers of entities are measured by the ease of which the entity can be killed.

T1: Akin to household pests. Non-sentient, pose no threat – only annoyances. Examples: dust entities. Insect-type  entities. Entities that float around harmlessly. Entities that make you sneeze every time you tell a lie. Entities that eat away at your scaffolding.
T2: Weak and non-sentient, but can pose a threat in certain circumstances. Examples: Carnivorous land-fish that roam in packs – weak alone, but nightmarish together. Entities that function like familiars. Entities that attack woodland animals. Entities that spontaneously combust and cause tiny fires. Many contracted entities are of the second tier. Occasionally, extremely weak sentient entities can also be considered of the second tier.
T3: Entities can gain consciousness at this tier. Could pose a threat – mainly because of their gained intelligence – but can killed with reasonable ease. Examples: Tree dryads. Talking dogs. Mischievous goblins. Some nature spirits. Entities that speak and look like humans. Fae. Entities that break into your house, eat everything in your fridge, and insult you before leaving. Entities that lead unwitting humans off cliffs. Some non-sentient monsters are of tier three, only because they can be a perceived threat.
T4: Entities of the fourth tier are considered dangerous to humans and magicians. They can be sentient. They require skill, magic, or a method to kill. Without care, an encounter with an entity of the fourth tier could easily prove fatal. Examples: werewolves. Small dragons. An entity that eats your shadow. Vengeful spirits. An entity that can summon smaller, equally vengeful entities.
T5: Highly dangerous, and likely sentient. Require the effort of several incredibly-skilled individuals to kill. Could easily destroy an entire city alone, left unmonitored. Encounters with malicious fifth-tier entities might warrant several casualties. Examples: Entities that steal faces. Entities that swallow the light. Hydra. Manticores. Minotaurs. Entities that bring the plague while the village sleeps.
T6: Entities of the highest tier are simply forces of nature. Perhaps they are what some might call gods, or deities – but regardless of what they are, they can rarely be killed by human or magician hands. It is equally rare that they concern themselves with the matters of humankind. (After all – how does one fight a volcano? Or an earthquake – or the tidal wave off the shore? And with absolute certainty, the volcano, earthquake, and tidal wave could hardly care to give a human or magician the time of day). Examples: The entity of a cyclone. The god of a mountain. A red tide. Entities that hang stars at night.

Magicians

The tier system classifies magicians into their skill levels, often based on their education rather than the potency of their powers. It’s generally accepted that through study and granted a large amount of time, all magicians have the “potential” to become equally powerful. If a magician has an incredibly strong natural specialty, often times they’ll require a great deal of education to learn to control it anyway.

A good gauge is also the number of mages from a certain tier required to kill an entity of the same tier. One could kill an entity of the same tier with some considerable effort – exceptioned by entities tier five and above, who will pose a threat regardless of how strong the individual is. If the entity is tier six though, perhaps the endeavor is a suicide mission in of itself.

T1: Beginner students. Magicians without formal education. Your younger sister that has air magic, but can’t control it: maybe she calls a breeze when she sneezes.
T2: The average student. Students having received a good chunk of compulsory education. Most members of the magical society are of the second tier. People with a general understanding of their magic, citizens in vocational jobs. Your plumber, who uses water magic to unclog the pipes.
T3: The gifted, or well-studied student. They have likely either achieved a good level of mastery in their natural arcanum, and have perhaps moved on to adopt a second specialty. They have likely also completed primary and/or secondary education. The elemental mage – of several elements. That guy that can use telepathy and telekinesis. That guy that graduated secondary school last year working for the government with his mastery of divination. Graduate students also fall beneath this category.
T4: The teacher: someone who has likely mastered a couple of lesser arcanum (such as the elements, or parts of biological manipulation). Your alchemy professor, with twelve degrees. Your dad, who works with aeronautical magic, nuclear fission, and your crazy mom. Your weird aunt that never left school to continue studying the mysteries of the universe.
T5: The professional: mages of this tier might make a living ridding the world of problematic entities. That demon hunter you always hear about in the newspaper, who can use all types of elemental magic at his will. The man with two permanently contracted humans, who can bring storms. Nicki Minaj??? 
T6: Magicians of this tier are simply put, folk heroes. Merlin. Gandalf. Nobody can tell if they’ve been killed, or if they’re already dead (but then again, how could anything kill people this powerful?) – perhaps they’re simply on another plane of existence.

Humans

One could say that humans have only really been given tier classifications out of courtesy. After all, they have no powers of their own – but regardless, they have the ability to become quite powerful when contracted to entities. Humans contracted to entities receive the ability to use arcane magic. Humans contracted to magicians cannot use magic – but they receive accelerated healing and increased physical strength. Humans contracted to magicians are unable to use magic: but their tier can still be measured by their speed of regeneration or their innate strength.

One can only really measure the tier of a vessel, or a contracted human. Uncontracted humans have no way of displaying their abilities.

T1: The regular human. Nothing of note – one might even say that they’re quite frail. When contracted to a stronger entity, the entity is severely weakened, regardless of its former glory. They can output power equal to a first tier entity. Tier one humans contracted to magicians still cannot survive fatal damage. Tier one humans make up the majority of the population.
T2: The second-tier human, when contracted to an entity, can output power equal to that of a second-tier entity. Tier two humans contracted to magicians might notice increased physical fortitude, or slightly faster healing. While a broken limb takes six-eight weeks to heal normally, a second-tier human might be fully healed exactly on the sixth week. They’re a little more durable than the regular human being.
T3: The third-tier human contracted to a magician is able to sustain fatal damage – perhaps with major injury, but without the risk of death. A broken limb for a third-tier human takes two weeks to heal, although it is rare a third tier human breaks a limb. They usually will not fall ill. If they were to punch stone, they might leave a sizable indent in the rock – at the expense of some broken knuckles, though. A third-tier human can lift 200-300lbs (90-136kg) without too much trouble. For magicians looking to contract humans permanently or temporarily, humans of the third-tier are more than optimal.
T4: The fourth-tier human contracted to a magician can sustain multiple bouts of fatal damage. They heal very quickly. If they were to punch stone, they might create a hole in the rock. They bolster their contracted magician’s power by over an extra 100%. Fourth-tier humans contracted to entities of their tier or higher are considered rather dangerous.
T5: Fifth-tier humans are incredibly uncommon – notable fifth-tier humans are likely historical figures. A broken leg would hardly be an issue at this tier: getting the broken leg in the first place would be more difficult than not.
T6: … saitama



About Contracts

Fri Aug 19, 2016, 2:49 AM by DustBunnyThumper:icondustbunnythumper:





General

pactum | noun | \ˈpakt-əm\ | pack – tum | plural form: pacta
A complex relationship formed between two beings, allowing them to better their intrinsic capabilities. An agreement to share the soul.
par pactum | adjective | par – pack – tum
To be bound by a pactum to another. To be par pactum to another is to be two individuals that share a soul, or partners par pactum.

In the world of Ars Pactum, two characters can form a contract called a pactum – plural pacta. These have terms settled upon by its two participants. This contract allows them to share soul capacity, or their life force. A pactum grants unique advantages based on the nature, strength of, and character types involved in the contract, delineated below in { Pactum Relationships }. 

Characters form contracts with each other for a multitude of reasons. Sometimes, it is to gain access to a branch of magic the individual would not otherwise be able to use. Other times, it is to increase one’s capacity for magic usage or soul power. And in the case of entities, it is a natural disposition – the craving for a life force in general.

Contracted characters are only able to use magic as strong as is permitted by their partner. A magician of third tier contracted to a human of the first tier is slightly weaker than usual – but as their human partner becomes stronger, the pair will find their abilities become collectively more powerful. 

For characters contracted to other characters of a lower tier, they may have conditions under  which they’re able to use the full extent of their power. Storyline-wise, you’re free to interpret the way this information applies to your characters freely: 

  • Maybe one of your characters is an incredibly powerful magician contracted to a human that functionally handicaps certain aspects of their powers.
  • Maybe you have a strong entity contracted to a weak magician that can only use the full extent of their magic upon the consumption of blood.
  • Maybe your character is a weak magician contracted to a strong human: the human is a very powerful retainer for soul capacity, but this can hardly benefit the magician because the magician is so weak.

Stat-wise, two contracted characters with a considerable tier gap will receive penalties that can be removed by closing the gap between the two character’s tiers (see: { Mechanics: Tiers, Stats }).

Pactum Relationships

All pactum relationships involve the sharing of the soul. A pactum grants the contract partner access to their par’s (short for partner par pactum) reservoir of soul power, if applicable. Permanent contract partners are often referred to as a character’s par in casual vernacular. Temporary contract partners are generally called a temporary par.

Sharing life force has repercussions, as well as equal dividends. Normally, a day’s worth of average soul power consumption can be replenished with a good night’s sleep. But when a contracted character uses soul power, it is depleted for both individuals. When one half of the pair uses too much soul power – more than both individuals combined can safely lose – they will both experience the ill effects. 

Being deficient in soul power will cause a character to experience intense fatigue. A constant soul capacity deficiency, or the failure to replenish soul power faster than the character loses it, will result in death. The consumption of all a character’s soul power is also fatal. The concept poses benefits as well, though: a character that shares soul power with another is sometimes able to sustain fatal blows through the usage of their par’s soul power.
 

Contracted partners of the highest caliber can sometimes experience the sharing of pain: a dull sensation in the same area their partner par pactum sustains wounds, or even sharp pain in severe circumstances. And sometimes, oddly, they might feel something is off when their par suffers. Some especially close pairs might find their emotions are inexplicably linked – they might share feelings of joy, sadness, or fear.

The below chart explains in detail the unique relationships between characters when contracted in a pactum. The leftmost column indicates the character forming the contract, and the right columns indicate the character type of their contract partner.


Forming Pacta

Forming a pactum is quite simple. Each constituent writes their name on the other’s body. In the case of an entity, sometimes a symbol (called a sigil) is written instead. The strength and duration of the contract is determined by the permanence of the writing, and the location of the contract on each character’s body. The location of the contract should be the same area of the body for both parties involved.

Upon a successful pactum, this mark – a person’s name or an entity’s sigil – will change appearance to a design called a pactum mark. The design of the pactum mark has the name of the writer incorporated into its design, but often takes a different form completely. However, the name or sigil of the contract partner is always preserved somewhere on the mark. Often times (but not always), pactum marks will take form in what appear to be ancient script, generally related to the heritage of the character that wrote it.

For the artist: this means you can freely design the pactum mark so long as the writer’s name is still incorporated in the design! It can be writing if you’d like, but it doesn’t have to be. I.e.: You’ll design the pactum mark that appears on your own character, but it should incorporate the name or sigil of your contract partner in some way (in whatever language, script, or writing form you choose). Optionally, you can draw pactum marks for each other. It’s up to you!

After formation, sometimes the pactum marks will take the appearance of tattoos - and sometimes, they simply look like scars, regardless of the instrument they were written with. This is different for every character (the appearance and formation of this pactum mark is up to your discretion: Rule of Cool, guys). Pactum marks cannot be removed or obscured by any means – not even through magic like body manipulation or illusion creation. They can be covered by clothing, but not erased from the skin: even if scratched off, the mark will shine through and reform on the surface of its original location. For temporary contracts, pactum marks will disappear when the ink used to write them has faded.

Please add a visual reference and the location of your character’s pactum mark on their character sheet.

Sometimes, the constituents choose to include terms with their contracts – these terms are undeniably unbreakable, but equally dangerous. Breaking contract terms can result in extreme or violent consequences – further explained in { Types of Pacta, Breaking a Pactum }.

Types of Pacta, Breaking a Pactum

Characters can form both permanent and temporary contracts. Permanent contracts are stronger than temporary ones, but can also be more dangerous, lasting, and pose more liabilities. Contracts are not always willing: sometimes, creatures are tricked or forced into pacta. Contracts can also optionally include terms to seal an agreement between the two involved parties.

Temporary Contracts

 

Not all contracts are permanent. In fact, most contracts used in daily society are simply temporary alliances in order to achieve a bigger goal. A temporary contract is formed by creating a mark on the other individual’s body. This could be makeshift: with pen, marker, or some other writing instrument. Some temporary contracts might be formed with special long-lasting ink or temporary tattoos (like mehndi henna). The temporary contract will fade over time, when the ink has disappeared. When the pactum is activated, the written name will change shape, and the writer’s pactum mark will appear on the receiving character’s body in whatever ink has been chosen.


Temporary contracts allow access to only a portion of the par pactum partner’s soul capacity. It is rare to feel emotionally or physically linked to a temporary par. If both contracted characters can use magic, they allow access to certain aspects of the par’s specialty. For example, contracting characters able to use fire magic might allow their temporary par to make small embers, or ignite a small flame. The small aspect of the character’s specialty acquired by the temporary par cannot be determined before the contract has been formed, and may not be consistent. If the characters make a second temporary pactum after the first has ended, this inheritable aspect might be different.

Breaking the terms of a temporary contract result in excruciating and constant pain until the terms have been righted. If the terms cannot be righted, the pain an individual receives from breaking these terms will not disappear until the contract has been rescinded. For a temporary contract to be removed, the ink marking needs to be erased from the body. The difficulty of removing a temporary contract naturally depends on the method by which it was written.

Characters can form up to three temporary contracts at a time without feeling ill effects. Forming more than three temporary contracts can result in chronic fatigue, migraines, aches, pains, nausea, daytime sleepiness, eczema……...

Permanent Contracts

A permanent contract is also formed by creating a mark on the other individual’s body. However, this contract is formed with a permanent marking. This can be a tattoo, or by creating a scar on the skin. This marking will sink into the skin, and it is not uncommon to see an imprint of the marking on the bone. The strength of this contract is determined by its closeness to the character’s heart. For a human, it would be their biological heart – for an entity, it could be a more theoretical or symbolic location.

These contracts allow for access to the par’s soul capacity and magical specialties. They can only be broken by removing the mark from the body, bone, and bloodstream completely: simply removing the offending skin isn’t sufficient. Marks on the hand will require the loss of the hand. Marks on the arm will require the loss of the arm from the pactum mark down.

As a result, it’s very easy to see the level of trust or commitment present based on where the contract has been printed; a finger is one thing, and a more private area… well. 

Pactum partners with marks extremely close to their heart are more likely to experience the emotional and physical linking effects of the contract. Permanent contracts closer to the heart also imply commitment: complete and utter devotion to the terms of the pactum.  Breaking the terms of a permanent contract results in death for the offender, regardless of circumstance. Magicians and humans tricking troublesome entities into breaking the terms of a permanent contract in order to kill them are not too uncommon.

Your character can only form one permanent contract with another sentient character. Characters can form several permanent contracts with non-sentient characters. Human characters can form up to three permanent contracts with non-sentient entities or one contract with a sentient character and a second contract with a sentient character without feeling ill effects. Magician and entity characters can only form a single permanent contract; magicians will generally choose to form their permanent contract with a sentient being.

Further Details

Young schoolchildren will often form temporary pacts for fun, and temporary pacta are generally regarded as harmless due to their impermanence. The contract will only last so long as the ink stays on the skin. As it’s washed away, the contract will weaken and vanish. Short contracts do not have any shiny or light-show effects, and tend to simply look like mundane ink on the skin. 

Permanent contracts are a milestone regarded akin to marriage. Like marriage, there are horror stories of teenagers rushing into it, people being forced into it, and unpleasant stories of backing out. It’s also difficult to hide from bystanders; the second a contract is sealed, a beam of light will burst out from the carved tattoos like an ungodly Bat-Signal, alerting any nosy stargazer within a ten-mile radius of your sin. They will continue to glow dimly for up to forty-eight hours, thus emphasizing your embarrassment.

It is common for the mark of a permanent pactum to ache, twinge, or darken whenever the other par pactum is in dire trouble or severely injured. When a par pactum dies, unless the terms of the contract were written to remain after death, the pactum will also disappear. Some especially devoted pars choose deference to the terms of a pactum after their par’s death out of respect. Others choose to never sign another permanent pactum, signifying grief, love, or simply lasting friendship.



Magic

Fri Aug 19, 2016, 2:47 AM by DustBunnyThumper:icondustbunnythumper:





Arcana

The most expansive arcana, or categories of magic, have already been covered – corporeal magic and arcane magic. These are referred to as the two major arcana. But magic of these two categories can be further broken into smaller minor arcana, which are almost infinitely diverse.

All magic in Ars Pactum can be classified beneath its own arcanum. Your character can choose to specialize in any of these fields: we suggest choosing a character’s natural abilities, before deciding on the arcanum it falls beneath.

Your character’s powers are not limited to the arcana or specialties listed in the chart below: feel free to message the group if you’d like an ability outside of this chart, and it can be added to give you an idea of where the power might apply in the Ars Pactum universe!


Some powers are achievable through a different arcanum than the one listed, or more than one arcanum (For example: super speed could be achieved by manipulating the magician’s biology or by dilating the time around them). Feel free to message the group with these ideas also!: they can easily be added to the chart based on the explanation you’ve chose for the mechanics of your character’s powers. (Note: @kimitama and DustBunnyThumper are not physicists. If you’ve got a better or alternative scientific explanation for the categorization of these specialities HELP US oh god please help us)

You can access the charts of arcana and specialties here. Hover over the labels to view additional notes!

Each character is born with an affinity for a certain specialty of magic. Characters in pactum will share the specialties of their partner, if their partner has access to magic. As the character further develops their magic, they’ll be able to learn magic of a higher arcanum – and by extension, have access to the specialties that fall beneath that higher category.

The higher arcanum they’ll have access to is based on their initial specialty. If your character has super speed explained by time dilation, perhaps they’ll gain other powers related to time dilation. On the other hand, if their super speed is explained by body manipulation, they might gain other powers of body manipulation – like super strength or the ability to change their appearance and biological makeup.

Some brief examples:

  1. You’d like a character with the ability to manipulate fire. This could be either arcane or corporeal magic. Corporeal magic is limited by the laws of the material world, arcane magic is not.

    Corporeal fire magic might consist of a magician heating a fuel to an ignition point, and manipulating the oxygen flow around it.
    Arcane fire magic would allow the magician to generate a fire without fuel.

  2. Your character has the ability to read minds. This could either be arcane or corporeal magic.

    They might be able to achieve telepathy corporeally by interpreting the electrical signals of another individual’s brain. In arcane context, this particular explanation isn’t necessary.

  3. As they develop their studies, a character that has a specialty in corporeal illusionary magic might learn light manipulation in a more general form. This would allow them to learn the specialty of other light manipulation type magic. They might also learn a specialty beneath illusionary magic: glamour, disguise, or cloning.

  4. A character with a specialty in seduction might develop their powers to encompass other types of suggestion-based powers: like love-based magic. From there, they might develop their studies further to encompass mind control – and from there, they might be able to learn other related specialties such as fear inducement or hypnotic suggestion.


These categorizations (as you can probably see) are very subjective: there's plenty of wiggle room for you to decide upon the progression your character's powers can take. For example, if you'd like a character that will eventually be able to manipulate all plants, but currently only has a green thumb, consider writing out a few minor arcanum in between their current specialty and the "final" skill you'd like them to reach (i.e.: from green thumb, to accelerated plant growth, to plant movement, before finally reaching full-blown plant manipulation) so they have the opportunity to grow. You can also consider requiring them to learn skills from other arcanum (i.e. in the plant example: elemental water magic) to achieve their "final" skills as well! This chart is not rigid - feel free to simply use it as a guideline to help shape your character's growth or arc as a magic user.

Guidelines

Because we’d really like to see a wide variety of characters, we don’t have limitations for the scope of your character’s powers: so long as they’re sensible! We will accept characters with incredibly strong abilities – like time travel, space bending, and the like. But remember that these abilities will be quite carefully assessed: expect many restrictions on specialties like these and assume that characters won’t be able to use this type of magic in their everyday lives; they probably won’t be able to use especially inconceivable or world-changing powers without heavy and lasting repercussions. This is, as is everything, always up for discussion – if you have a vision in mind, mention it in your application and we’ll see what can be done!

Your characters, while attending Concordia College, are also in possession of a uniform pin imbued with power suppressing magic. These pins can “bottleneck” a student’s magical capacity during their years at school. It is mandatory by school dress code, and can only be taken off when within the student’s personal room. The school takes this very seriously, and punishes infractions severely. If your character has especially dangerous powers, you can assume these powers have been controlled to some extent with this pin. These pins will deactivate while exploring the labyrinth beneath the school. This is presumably for their own protection, as it’s too difficult to ban curious students from entering the labyrinth entirely (after all, what else are a few thousand magically talented youngsters to do for fun?) – but it’s perhaps even more difficult to keep them from dying while down there instead (so it might be best to give them some means of self-defense...). Graduate students are not required to wear these, but occasionally graduates with especially dangerous and uncontrollable powers (or several infractions on their school record) may be very forcefully reminded to wear their pin as a courtesy.

For magicians using corporeal magic, in the description of your character’s abilities, please provide a somewhat reasonable and sort of credible explanation of the magic they’re able to perform grounded by the laws of the physical world. We aren’t physics scholars – but so long as it might hold a little water against  (very…) theoretical science, it’s fair game!

For characters able to use arcane magic, please provide the scope and restrictions of your character’s magic: for example, a character with arcane powers over water might only be able to produce a certain volume of water, or only sustain the water for a certain duration of time. 

Give your character’s powers some thought! How might it affect the way they live their daily lives – do they use it for convenience? Might it cause them problems with their peers? Do they have enough energy to use it continuously? How have these powers affected their development as a person?  How might they use these powers when interacting with other characters?

Keep in mind that powerplaying and godmodding rules will always apply: so as an RPer, you’re welcome to make some judgements during character creation about their power limitations based on what might be convenient for you. If they’ve got a really terrible personality that might cause them to drop rocks on everyone they dislike, you might want to give them some limitations (for example: can’t raise the rocks over a certain height) to make it harder for them to misbehave. 

                 

If in doubt, there’s always the uniform pin. You’re free to use this pin to your advantage, especially if you’d like to create a student with extremely volatile magic but still make them easy to interact with.


Specialties and Affinities

Though the words specialty and affinity are sometimes used interchangeably, on your application sheet and in Concordia curriculum, the general distinction between the two is as follows:

  • Affinity: A student’s natural-born talent or arcanum. A character with a fire affinity was born with this power. If the student gained powers through a contract, the natural power of their par pactum.
  • Specialty: A student’s abilities or learned arcanum. A fire-affinity mage might have a specialty in combusting objects. They might also have a specialty in earth magic, having learned a second arcanum.


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