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How can Limits be placed on Reincarnation Magic?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Erebus, Aug 31, 2019.

  1. Erebus

    Erebus Minstrel

    Maleficient is an evil witch on a quest for true immortality. Until she accomplishes her goal, she uses a midpoint form of magic called reincarnation in order to buy her more time and keep her alive. Reincarnation magic allows an individual to reincarnate themselves after death in the body of another human. Maleficient has a number of host bodies scattered throughout the world and trapped in a deep sleep to take control of in case she is killed by her enemies or dies of old age. Her most recent claim, a young girl named Snow White, is the next host that she will possess.

    This spell takes a number of steps. After a person dies, their soul jumps into a magical item called a soul stone, which keeps the soul in storage and prevents it from crossing over to the next world. The soul is then transported and absorbed into the host body, giving the person possession over it. Reincarnation requires the victim to be living, so these hosts are placed in a coma-like sleep and kept in magical stasis to prevent them from aging. They are stored in this way until needed for further use.

    The result is that the body now contains two souls within it that continue to remain separate, with the original soul remaining trapped and the dominant soul of the witch retaining control. The witch now has access to the person's memories, knowledge and spells to use. They can also access the person's mana for an extra boost in spellcasting if needed.

    Powerful witches are likely to use this method to cheat death whenever possible, and limits need to be places on this form of magic to prevent constant overuse. To accomplish this, I have decided to make mana essential to the process. Mana resides in the soul, and its amount is determined at birth. For reincarnation to work, the potential host must have an equal amount, more or less, to that of the witch. In essence, individuals both weak and strong should only reincarnate themselves into others of their caliber. A witch might be powerful, but would have a hard time with this spell because there are few people walking around with that kind of power level. Alternatively, an average person would have an easier time because of a larger pool of individuals. However, this isn't a power grab. Even if they managed to take down a powerful opponent, transporting their own soul into them wouldn't be an option.

    I need a valid reason for why this would be the case.
  2. Yora

    Yora Maester

    I would go with mana being tied to the body instead. A witch could transfer her soul into a body with less mana, but that would mean that her powers would be crippled. So she rather keeps looking for a better candidate than picking the first one available.
  3. Nirak

    Nirak Minstrel

    I like the above! Also since the potential host isn't dead, their natural magic could be too much for a lesser spell-caster to overcome. Sort of wrestling the other soul into submission - if the host is more powerful than the usurper, the usurper can't dominate them. This could be the case, even unconscious. They just have too much magic. Something like this might leave the door open for a villain (or hero) who trains to be able to do this and take over more powerful people, which could be interesting!
  4. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

    What you are describing is 'possession,' not 'reincarnation.'

    I have something extremely close to this in my tales, especially the 'Empire' series. My solution: the host body had to meet certain criteria (magical ability, among other things), but also required extensive ritual preparation. Even then, it was a far from certain process.
  5. Sheilawisz

    Sheilawisz Queen of Titania Moderator

    Hello there!

    I have already edited the title of this thread, from how can limits be placed on reincarnation magic? to How can Limits be placed on Reincarnation Magic? Normally I would not comment regarding the ordinary situation of needing to edit thread titles, but with you it happens over and over again and I finally wanted to point this out to you.

    Please be more careful with the titles of your threads in the future.
  6. Saigonnus

    Saigonnus Auror

    Maybe when a mage transfers his soul to a stone, it degrades a bit. Maybe each time, the degradation is worse. Like making copies of a copy. Maybe it could lead to insanity.
  7. Bruce McKnight

    Bruce McKnight Troubadour

    I was thinking along the same lines as Saigonnus, but more in the degradation of the person using the spell. I would think they would be a little weaker each time they go into a new body - like heat loss. Going back and forth from body, to soul stone, to body over and over wears on the magic user.

    Maybe the impact is:
    • Mental: they don't remember everything or all their spells, maybe eventually forgetting how to jump to a new body
    • Physical: the body they take loses vitality when the new soul takes over and it's a bigger impact on each successive body the magic user takes over
    • Spiritual: the control over each new host is a little weaker until it gets to the point where the host soul could overpower them, maybe the odds of this increase by 10% each time since the trapped soul is probably constanyl fighting to get out, which would wear out the magic user longterm
    Either way, they are a little "less" each time. They extend their life, but it's fleeting - they are a little weaker each time.
  8. pmmg

    pmmg Auror

    I agree, this is not really reincarnation, but meh...

    My thoughts is, when taking over a new mana infused body/soul, the mana becomes additive. Meaning it increases the witches power, and as time goes on winnows away the pool of people that would be suitable for such transference, essentially phasing out her own chance at immortality over time. I would suggest that one who has too much mana will overwhelm the less powerful witch if they were to transfer, and so the lack of control over so much power would lead to their destruction, whereas, transference into one with far less power would have a similar effect...kind of like trying to stuff 18 tons of rocket fuel into an 18 gallon tank.

    Is the problem with the title that it was in lowercase letters?
  9. Chaingun Samurai

    Chaingun Samurai Dreamer

    Steven Brust handled this very well in his Taltos books.
    Certain weapons could consume a soul, or if the brain is badly damaged.
    Both prevent revivification

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