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Why would Mages not use stolen Mana to permanently boost their power?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Erebus, Oct 20, 2018.

  1. Erebus

    Erebus Minstrel

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    The soul of an individual is made up of two parts: The ghost, which is eternal and lives on after your death, and mana, which is the life energy that keeps your body functioning and your soul grounded to the mortal realm. When a person dies, their ghost travels to the hereafter while their life energy dissipates into the background of the world. All people are born with a set amount of mana, and there is a process in which one can steal theirs and add it to their own. This has led to human trafficking rings developing around the world in which people are kidnapped and sold to individuals interested in this practice.

    For this procedure to work, ancient runes must be carved into the flesh of a living victim from head to toe. Once this is done, the person is killed in a sacrificial ritual. This allows the ghost to leave the body, but keeps the mana contained within the corpse. From here, the witch/wizard can do one of two things. They can seal the reservoir of mana into a containment jar(s) for later use, or absorb the mana themselves.

    Sealing the mana in these specialized jars for later provide a temporary boost in power for spells or rituals. However, a significant amount of mana is lost upon the transference process from the corpse into the containers. It is also hard to store, as the mana eventually erodes the containers and decreases in quality over time. Absorbing it into your body immediately adds a permanent boost to your supply and makes your magic much stronger and can even extend your lifespan. Even though people are born with a set amount of life energy, the body can hold an unlimited capacity. All of the victim's mana is absorbed upon this process, with none of it wasting.

    Why would the 1st option be more attractive to mages if it provides less returns on the investment?
     
  2. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    I'll take Door #2, Monty. It's a permanent boost versus a temporary one. A maniac would just go around killing people right and left, dribbling a bit out to followers to keep them loyal, while becoming increasingly god-like. Once a particular mage got the lead, no one else would be able to catch up. The god-mage would then rule over a world of corpses and zombie-like followers.
     
  3. ScaryMJDiamcreep

    ScaryMJDiamcreep Troubadour

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    Same reason as why there's drug dealers instead of users that grow/make their own drugs: Because it's likely that doing this process is highly illegal, and not everyone who wants the benefits of it wants the level of consquences that doing it themselves gets. I mean, the process involves killing someone. That's bound to be illegal.
     
  4. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    A few quick possibilities:

    1) Some people don't want to get their hands dirty. In fact, maybe there's another, but more difficult way to create a jar of mana, and you can always tell people, "This is mana from the heart of the dragon, totally legal, totally ethical, take it and don't worry about it, right?"

    2) The rush from a jar of magic might be short lived, but maybe it's higher, and gives a rush, like a single supercharge spell.

    3) Having your mana boosted permanently... that could be trouble. It could leave traces. Maybe some people who can track magic, they might be able to spot that you've done this murderous thing to raise your power, especially if they had seen you before and after. Not everyone wants to walk around with this big stamp on them saying they're guilty.

    4) Maybe some victims for whatever reason aren't candidates for having their mana drained permanently. Their magic might be contaminated, or have the wrong "blood type" that your body could reject. The same thing could be true of the recipient, your body for whatever reason might just reject any new mana supply. The whole thing could have unpredictable risks - and if it goes wrong, where do you get medical help without getting "outted" for the crime?
     
  5. Protocol Orin

    Protocol Orin Scribe

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    This can work for one of my characters, who is literally a god of death. His name will already be stained by the fact that he kills, even if he needs to, but why give up something good that you can get out of it?
    So if you have a character in such a position, it might work.
     
  6. Night Gardener

    Night Gardener Inkling

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    Supply and demand. Not everyone knows the secret ritual. The public may have some idea of how it works, but don't know precisely. Practioners keep it a viciously guarded trade secret. As industry insiders, they can get it whenever they want, and refuel themselves whenever they need. Those who wish to absorb directly pay a LOT of money, and don't get to see all the innerworkings, lest the secret get out.

    To bottle and sell it, keeps them very much in control of the supply chain. Not unlike the cartel analogy used earlier in this thread. It's an easy to use, one-off product that is highly perishable. I could see as a graded market the most fresh mana commanding high prices, while older jars of mana demands less. I could also see a counterfeit market flourishing. I could see a refurbishing or blended market, with people trying to combine different mana grades into a consistent, predictable commodity. All of these products are black market, of course.
     
  7. SithLord

    SithLord Dreamer

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    You could make it like some designer potion that the nobles consume or trade or sell and the heroes of the story, peasants in their own right, discover that this potion is "people". Hints of Soylent Green, vampire legends or the modern conspiracy of Pizzagate.
     
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