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- Feb 2014
Help with corruption effects for the abuse of magic
I plan to create a camping in a dark D&D world where magic is not normal or happy. Where spellcasters are not so common that makes the world magic dependent, a place where there is a reason for you to pick a metal stick to hit things instead of throwing fire balls at it.
In this new setting I'm working on I want to fix something that really bothers me in high fantasy, the fact that magic is often used as a common source of wonder, solutions and in some settings it even substitute technology. I think that is absurd! And for my taste magic need to be a mysterious force. As I saw in a lankhmar blog once "Magic should be like rumors, often whispered about but rarely verified" a strange occult thing that very few are able to grasp.
I also love the power for a price trope so no free easy magic like, just say some magical worlds and there you go the spell is cast sort of thing. Magic also need to be slower, except for evocation spells I would consider one rank above the casting time.
So to try to make magic more… you know magical! I plan to make it rare, slower and more important costly I want it to be somewhat evil and the price for using such addictive, dangerous energy take a toll in both your body and mind.
Basically I want you guys to help me think about good corruption effects for the abuse of magic to help set the mood of dangerous and unnatural magic. I will put in the spoiler tag the background for the magic in this world. I will try to be brief but I don’t think I will be able to… I also apologize for any misspelling and typos. Since it is a lot feel free to skip it and just post you suggestions. Also criticisms and comments about the setting are a welcomed. Thanks.
SpoilerIn this setting the humans were not created by the normal gods like the other races but by a race of aberrations called “The elder things” (Yes, the same of H.P. Lovecraft books) using as the soul, fragments of a Greater divine true God and the energy of four dead ancient eldritch creatures. The corpses of these beings form the first sphere of planes around the material plane and are the source of magic for humans who can’t use magic naturally since they don’t have a deep connection with the planet.
That makes magic, something dangerous and mortal for humans, but most mages are not aware of this terrible origin of magic believing it consists of a natural energy meant to be drained and used, little they know that fragments of this terrible being are still alive in the energy that fuels the spells they cast.
So the basic premise is that we have four types of magic:
Divine: The same as D&D remains unchanged.
Hermetic: Similar to arcane but it has some differences depending of the source of energy. It can use as source 5 types of energy: Arcane, eldritch, spiritual and vital energy.
Elemental: Used by druids and elemental mages, draws power from the elemental planes of the second sphere.
Psychoactive: It is divided in two forms Black magic and white magic.
The divine casters are relatively safe but can only cast spells when that particular effect would be benefactive to his or her duty.
The Hermetic casters on the other hand play with forces that man was not meant to comprehend.
The energies are:
SpoilerEldritch energy is also known as mental energy, horror energy, insanity energy and emerald energy. It comes from a first sphere plane called “Emerald blink” the former the shell of a eldritch abomination who manipulated the universe with her mind causing insanity and delirium using enchantments and illusions. Sometimes referred as “He of many eyes” “The headless one” “The emerald angel” “She of the terrible voice” “They of many arms” “She of many visions” “The angel of insanity” “The voice of peace” and “The bringer of madness”. After her death her energy was used by the elder things to create the mind of the human race. The energy itself looks like a sickening radioactive green color energy that can turn into green fire and liquid, when it solidified it looks like a type of green metal.
Mages who use this sort of energy to fuel their magic normally use crowns and tiaras since the higher consecration of this energy is in the head, they tend to favor illusion, divination and transmutation spells. They are able to drain sanity of the ones around them and seal it in stones in order to power up spells or cure minor corruption. This energy type is more effective against spiritual and arcane energy.
The abuse of this magic or the constant exposition to it may lead to Addiction to the power pulsing in your veins, many insanity effects, visions of dead timelines and physical mutations such as multiple useless limbs (Legs, arms, wings etc..) And green eyes of different sizes growing around your body.
SpoilerSpiritual energy. Also known as planar energy, soul energy, blue energy and cold fire. It comes from one of the first sphere planes called “River of souls” created by the blood and remains of an ancient Dimensional Lord and Multiversal Conqueror who created many dimensional highways so he and his minions could travel at ease, master of the fabric of space and father of the portals even while using other types of energy to open dimensional gates it is still necessary to force a little of his energy to open portals. Some times referred as “The overlord of dimensions” “The master of planes” “The ruler of magic” “The being of crystal” “The living water” “The blue tentacle” “The blue veil” “The organic sapphire” “The albino dome” “The first archmage”. After his death his energy was used by the elder things to crate the human spirit a protective shell for the divine essence “The soul”( that takes form of white ball of fire in the center of the human body) of the human race.
The energy itself looks like a bright blue form of electricity that can change to blue vibrations and blue fire. When a human die and his soul escapes form its body the spirit take form of a thick smelly liquid that departs to the river of souls. When solidified it takes form of blue sapphires and crystals that glow in the dark.
Mages who use this sort of energy to fuel their spells normally grow old in appearance faster than normal while retain all the stamina they used to have, and may use blue spheres and stones around the body since spiritual energy acts like an aura, they tend to favor conjuration and abjuration spells. They can drain spirits and lock that essence in stones to power up the spells or to cure minor corruption. This energy is more effective against vital and arcane energy.
The abuse of this magic or the constant exposition to it may lead to: stoic personality, pure white eye, random teleportation effects, lack of spirit, glowing blue symbols around your body, spasms and several physical mutations such as bluish tentacles of different sizes growing everywhere and useless mouth less and eyeless faces.
SpoilerVital energy also known as primal energy, blood energy, profane energy, demonic energy, life energy, red energy, scarlet energy and lower energy. It comes from a first sphere plane called “vermilion plains” but since it is the heaviest kind of energy a lot of it dripped down to the lower planes and it is used as a source of power and food for the demons and devils, that is one of the reasons that this energy is one of the most hated and feared form of magic force since it is often associated with evil spell casters. The vermilion plains were born of the dead womb in the carcass of a nightmarish ancient cosmic horror who was born before time and used to be a source of material life to confine spiritual beings in order to devour them in a futile attempt to ease his hunger. Some times referred as “The cosmic hunger” “He who eat gods” “He of the many mouths” “the river of blood” “Gore” “The beginning and the end” “The bringer of life” “The opener of flowers” “The perfect aroma” “The sound of death” “The consumer” “He of the pleasant perfume” “The red sky” “The heaven of massacre” “The burning corpses” “The explosion of life” “The abridor” “He of many voices”.
After his death the elder things used his energy to create the life force of humans in the form of blood because of that his energy is the easiest to find and access, unlike the other ones who use their own spirits and sanity to create spells it is very easy for a vital mage to just sacrifice someone a use the blood as a conductor.
The energy itself looks like a blood colored form of electricity that pulses through blood. No flame form has being seen but since it is a phenomenon that happens in all other energies it is possible that it is also flammable. The solid form of this energy takes shape of some kind of fungal mushroom that glows red in the dark.
Mages who use this sort of energy to fuel their spells have the unique ability to drain life from the surroundings to replace their own, the heath of a user of this sort of energy is constantly fading making the user sick and frail if he don’t drain energy around him, it is possible to do it without outright killing everything around you but most mages don’t bother creating grey deserts of dead vegetal life around their towers and lairs. They tend to favor evocation, enchantment and necromancy spells. Some mages use blood in rituals to drain vital energy while other prefer to use their own vital energy in other not to hurt anyone but it is a rare event most vital mages only use their own life force when there is no living enemies or allies nearby. Rumors say some mages try to control blood itself in other to manipulate people as macabre puppeteers but none of this mages have been found. This energy is more effective against eldritch and arcane.
The abuse of this magic or the constant exposition to it may lead to constant anger, hunger, uncontrollable hatred to one specific group(Nobles, blacksmiths, sodomites, fishers, barkeeps, elves, druids, other mages and so on), agoraphobia and several physical mutations such as tooth, teeth and useless mouths growing around your body and developing a extremely fragile natural armor that like a crab or lobster “skin” in some parts of your body.
SpoilerArcane energy also known as purple energy, the barrier energy, true energy and magical energy. It comes from the barrier around the material plane that protects it from the influence, corruption and attacks of the outer planes, it was created using the energy of the Great ancient being responsible for the deaths of all other beings that serve now as sources for human magic. Since the barrier is imperative for the existence of life no effects created by this energy are capable of lasting too long since after the spells is over the energy must go back and reform the hole in the barrier it created but since it is closer to the material plane than the others it is some times more powerful and fasters than the other spells. The energy itself looks like a dread shade of purple colored energy that can became a blackish purplish fire and a light purple smoke, when it takes it solid form it looks like a type of purple glass that turn into sand after braking.
Mages who use this sort of energy to fuel their magic normally are not as feared as the others types, they tend to generalists in the spell list. This energy is more effective against all other energy’s but all other energies are also effective against it. It causes all types of mutations and corruption of the others but with a purple tint on it.
SpoilerElemental magic: Can only be cast near the said elemental so is less pratical for combat, it drains forces form the elemental planes of the second sphere it also mutate and corrupt its user such as a cold mage may lose body temperature, became blue and emotionless and only be able to cast spells in the winter or frozen places such as mountains. A fire mage may lose all his hair have several body parts burned but still working normally and be impulsive, present blunt mood changes and the need to carry a lantern or touch around. A water mage may acquire fishlike appearance and may only cast in contact with the sea or a river. An air mage may only cast spells in contact with wind or at very high places while a earth mage may have to touch the stand barefoot in the earth to cast the list go on there are many mental and physical corruptions to use with elementals. This type of magic is safer and less sinister than the other options but harder and less practical.
SpoilerWhite mages: They take spells form the list of cleric and druid. They are few some say they are not even real but these men and women are cable of using magic in a way no other mage can, they are able to heal wounds and even bring the dead back to life, the power they display seem to rival the gods them self’s. Harsh is the way of white magic since it demands the user to realize that all in the material plane is illusion, it is nothing but a prison created by a imperfect being to seal chucks of a greater and pure divine essence and in other to see beyond all the pleasures and suffering of the material world the white mage must walk a path of selfless and restrain. For that reason it is very rare for a white mage to participate of something ordinary as an adventure as most of them live contemplative lives. But since they “feed” the power of their spells with good and positive emotions such as: Happiness, hope and bravery they may try to fight along adventures for the common wellbeing of a community. Weaker, slower and most of the time not violent white magic is perceived by the other mages as a mere bad excuse of old mans who can’t see the beauty of the universe and prefer to live empty emotionless lives while some say that they can see the real truth behind the universe and simply do not share with the rest of the world still stuck in the material world lies and illusions.
White mages are the only mages that don’t suffer any type of mutation, corruption and disfigurement but can only cast spells in the presence of positive feelings and emotions such as love, hope and justice.
‘None can use black magic without straining
the soul to the uttermost – and staining it in the
the bargain. None can inflict suffering without
enduring the same. None can send death by spells
and sorcery without walking on the brink of death’s
own abyss, aye , and dipping his own blood into it.
The forces black magic evokes are like two-edged
poisoned swords with grips studded with scorpion
stings. Only a strong man, leather-handed, in whom
hate and evil are very powerful, can wield them,
and he only for a space’.
–– The Unholy Grail
Only those with the blackest hearts and those with potential for evil to take root would ever deal with the unwholesome and unholy discipline of black magic. It is unlikely that characters will ever learn to master Black Magic. Even dabblers in this twisted art put themselves at great risk when they wield these untrustworthy powers, while true Black Magicians have stripped their soul of all redeeming aspects in their hunger for power.Ultimately, for many people, the drawbacks of dedicating one’s time and efforts to such unwholesome practices offset the possibilities for power. Yet the addictive rush of black magic draws in many souls. The majority abandon their pursuit as soon as the costs become clear or their consciences restore them to a more normal existence. Many also die black magic is not a forgiving discipline. More than one would-be wizard has found himself torn apart by the foul energies he sought to entreat with.Those rare few that master Black Magic, commanding their own hatred into a sorcerous form, are among the most dangerous and powerful beings in the universe. They are still mortal, still possessing of human weaknesses, but they have unearthly powers at their disposal, making them devoutly feared by all those around them.
In practical terms black mages drawn power from two sources, black negative energy that forms the black gods and use as a catalyst negative emotions. Legends say that black magic is an old art that was created by a man when the world was still young and the mortals were salvages the man felt envy and with this strong feeling he started to cause disease, plague and death confronted by the others, outnumbered and twisted by the own energy he used to cause pain and fear he tried to fight and in his rage he burned to ashes all his enemies but the flames created by his new found powers also consumed him completely and from his flash and bones was created the first black grimoire.
In other to cast spells black mages must cause and drain negative emotions form others such as: Fear, pain, sadness, hopeless, boredom, hate and trouble. They also can drain the static cause by pure meaningless destruction and chaos or the corruption of the pure and innocent by vice and sin.
The existence of this outright evil creatures is often feared by but also acceptable by the populace since the destructive power of the black spells is sometime used against greater treats and the means to obtain the black arts are unknown for many(they know it is not something good but the populace image things such as deal with outworldy creatures or the use of magical drugs not something outright evil) and most of the regents see black spells as a good form of attacking a enemy not prepared to defend against metaphysical attacks, so is not rare for a king or a duke to have a black court mage who will end up destroying himself before pose as a threat meanwhile he is able to attack and protect the estate against other black mages in exchange for a magical time in the torture chambers and victims for the experiments. Because of this black mages often use black robes with hoods, masks and turbans, to hide the deformities caused by the art but also to use the fear and respect they invoke.
After all that info dump about the magic background in the setting here is what I need, I plan that every time a wizard learns or prepare a new spells and every time a sorcerer gains a spells or every so often he/she casts a spell. They must roll a save Vs. Magic or suffer a corruption, disfigurement or mutation effect that is temporary and if they abuse of magic like cast many spells in row or do something really big with magic they may gain a permanent one.
The hermetical spell casters I have almost all figured out but I need some ideas for the black mages and elemental mage corruptions, any ideas? An important note to remember is that none of these mutations should not be beneficial in any way. They need not to be significantly crippling (some may be) but some are merely inconvenient or distressing for the magician.
Last edited by S@tanicoaldo; 2014-08-17 at 03:08 PM.I'm not a native english speaker and I'm dyslexic(that don't mean I have low IQ quite the opposite actually it means I make a lot of typos).
So I beg for forgiveness, patience and comprehension.
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- Sep 2013
Re: Help with corruption effects for the abuse of magic
Here's my thoughts on possible mutations, althogh I feel that spells should have some beneficial side effects, with just a majority of really unpleasant ones:
Ice Mages: As new spells are learned, ice mages become increasingly sensitive to heat, to the point where they take greater than normal damage from any heat source greater than human body temperature. However, cold spells effect them as normal. They also become very lethargic, finding it difficult to cast spells as time goes on. An ice mage breath creates ice crystals in the air that cannot be hidden by magical means, including invisibility spells. Ice mages become very conservative, unwilling to take risks with out greater than equal rewards.
Fire Mages: As new spells are learned, fire mages become increasingly sensitive to cold, to the point where they take greater than normal damage from any cold source greater than human body temperature. However, fire spells effect them as normal. They also become very energetic, finding it difficult to cast spells which require precise movements as time goes on. A fire mage breath creates steam in the air that cannot be hidden by magical means, including invisibility spells. Fire mages become more reckless, and will proceed with an immediate course of action before thinking through the consequences.
That is all for now.
Question about the Eldritch Ancient one: Is the masculine reference "He of Many Eyes" intentional or a typo?
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- Aug 2013
Re: Help with corruption effects for the abuse of magic
Interesting setting idea. I like the "constructed of elder god corpses" origin for humans in particular.
Am I correct in guessing that, behind all the epithets and nicknames, the four dead eldritch abominations are named Xel'lotath, Ulyaoth, Chattur'gha, and Mantorok?
Quick question: what base rules are you using for this? I'm guessing D&D 3.5, and my advice will be based on that, but knowing which edition you're using would be very helpful.
Here are some corruption ideas for a black mage. Many of them are mental corruptions, as black magic is fueled by emotions. Also, many of them are perversely self-reinforcing, making the life of a black mage genuinely difficult to turn back from.
Chronic pain. Similar to arthritis or chronic inflammation, the black mage's longstanding association with pain gives it a permanent home in his body. This can start out mild, with twinges of pain when exerting oneself or during major changes in the weather, but can eventually leave the dedicated black magus in constant, near-debilitating agony that can only be suppressed temporarily by inflicting worse pain on others.
Depression. This is basically an extreme version of one of the negative emotions you listed as fueling black magic: boredom. The depressed mage no longer finds happiness in the things they used to enjoy. Spending time with friends and loved ones becomes boring and unfulfilling. Good food and drink seems pointless; it only lasts a few moments, anyway. Everything is so fleeting, so meaningless. Only black magic retains any interest at all, and even that isn't so much enjoyable as distracting from the unpleasantness of continued existence. Depression could be handled in bits and pieces by having the black mage lose their attachment to hobbies, interests, vocations, friends, and loved ones one at a time as they fail corruption checks, until they're basically hollow human beings who live only for black magic and the suffering it causes.
Withering. Some prominent part of the black mage withers and becomes useless. A hand becomes atrophied and unable to grip anything (but still able to perform somatic components). An eye rheums over and goes blind; the mage is totally blind if he loses both eyes. A nose or ear appears to rot, and the associated sense is dulled or lost. A foot grows stiff and numb, making walking slow and difficult. The black mage's destructive power is destroying his own body, piece by piece - and in so doing, leaving him more reliant on magic than ever.
Reddening eyes. A more cosmetic disfigurement; the mage's eyes become bloodshot and reddish, and never seem to heal. In extreme cases, the whites of the mage's eyes are replaced with a deep blood red.
Whispers. The mage periodically hears faint, whispered voices that sound like the voices of his past victims. Their suffering has stained his soul with a fragment of theirs. This is mostly a mild annoyance or distraction, but the voices sound to the mage like any other voices they can hear - they aren't obviously 'only in my head.' In extreme cases, the mage might involuntarily speak some of the whispers aloud in the voice of a past victim. The voices usually say random, nonsensical things or repeat things from the victim's life that are unlikely to be relevant to the situation at hand.
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- Feb 2014
Re: Help with corruption effects for the abuse of magic
Thanks yeah I do believe opposite elemental weakness are no possible corrupt effect for elemental magic, and yes it is intentional, each epithet was created by a different cabal of mages who entered in contact with the dormant fragments of the ancient ones via "abominations" that is when a mage suffer too many corruption effects s/he may become an abomination and lose all his humanity becoming a twisted form that will try to bring the dead ancient one back to life.
Even though the eldritch ancient is clearly a female the cable that uses the "He of many eyes" is a very sexist one that think only men can be mages so to think that a female entity is responsible for the energy they use is unbearable.
Hahaha! Yeah, eternal darkness was one of the inspirations for all this the evil Colour-coded magic system never really got out of my head since I played that game. Yeah I guess it is D&D 3.5 nand they look great I guess black magic should really be a mix of metal and corporeal corruption effects.
Here some of my ideas:
SpoilerHere is what I have so far for black mages:
Hideous face – The character face becomes misshaoped and ugly and he loses 1d6 points of charisma
Club Hands – The character’s hands become compact and stunted, a mess of knuckles and tiny fingerbones with limited capacity for motion. All actions involving manual dexterity (including holding weapons in combat) suffer a –20% penalty. Spellcasting suffers a –10% penalty.
Partial Blindness – The character’s eyes milk over with a whitish or yellowish fi lm that hampers his vision. From this point on, the character is treated as if acting in Partial Darkness, with a –20% penalty to all vision-based Perception tests.
Hideous Veins – The character’s veins darken and swell under his skin, becoming visible – blackened and bunched – on his cheeks, neck and elsewhere on his body. The character suffers a –25% penalty to all charisma tests.
Hair Loss – The wizard’s hair, eyebrows and facial hair fall out in clumps over the course of a few days, leaving scraggly tufts in random spots.
Partial Deafness – The character’s sense of hearing fades and he hears everything as if it were muffled or in the distance. The magician suffers a –20% penalty to all hearing-based Perception tests.
Black Tongue – The sorcerer’s tongue turns black and loses all sensation. The character suffers a –10% penalty on all charisma tests due to the strange appearance of his tongue and the minor difficulties he has when speaking.
Teeth Rot – The sorcerer’s teeth turn rotten in his gums and most fall out in the course of a week. He suffers a –10% penalty to all charisma tests due to his appearance and a –20% penalty to all spellcasting rolls.
Hunchback – The character’s spine arches unnaturally, creating a permanent hunch and an awkward gait.
Repel Animals – The magician causes nearby animals to hiss, spit, bark or flee from his presence. He suffers a –30% penalty on all rolls involving taming, controlling or riding animals.
Bleeding Gums – The character’s gums bleed a great deal at the slightest pressure: when he grits his teeth, yawns or shouts, for example. It looks grotesque but inflicts no penalties.
Bleeding Lips – The character’s lips crack and bleed at the slightest pressure, such as when he smiles, speaks or shouts. It looks unnerving and is clearly painful but inflicts no penalties.
Palsy – The character’s muscles betray him much of the time, inflicting tremors whenever he moves. The magician permanently suffers –1 to STR and –1 to DEX. Anything in his hands shakes noticeably in his tremulous grip.
Bleeding Eyes – The aqueous and vitreous fluids in the magician’s eye sockets become bloody and pinkish. His eyeballs have a pinkish hue to them and during any Moderate or Heavy Activity, tears of bloody fluid run down his cheeks uncontrollably. The overall appearance of his eyes imposes a –5% penalty to all charisma tests, and is doubled when he weeps.
Club Foot – One of the magician’s feet becomes warped and stunted, resembling a lump of malformed flesh and bone. The character subtracts –2 from his DEX, –20% penalties to Athletics rolls and suddenly finds it difficult to acquire shoes.
Twisted Leg – The character’s legs twist and bend, giving the sorcerer a noticeable hitch in his stride. He loses –2 to DEX and –30% penalty to Athletics rolls.
A friend helped me but I bet we all can think on more...I'm not a native english speaker and I'm dyslexic(that don't mean I have low IQ quite the opposite actually it means I make a lot of typos).
So I beg for forgiveness, patience and comprehension.
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- Dec 2011
Re: Help with corruption effects for the abuse of magic
Ok, before we go anywhere I want to say that the flavor you already have established is phenomenal. The Lovecraftian approach to magic is interesting* and has a lot of potential.
*(hrmmm... do you have any plans for summoning/pact magic?)
The first thing I'll throw out here is to link to another page, a custom 3.5 class that you could borrow material from or use wholesale if that's the system of choice:
Look it over, I think you will find a lot of inspiration there.
Now, for my own thoughts. First off, taking a note from the above link, I suggest most mutations are a mix of 'cursed with awesome' and 'blessed with suck' - they provide some benefits, but also severe downsides, with a general loss of humanity to boot.- EDIT - saw the response to the post above. Still think its a good idea, but its your sandbox.
Hermetic Magic: it seems like three of the four are very partitioned off from the others. I might suggest keeping this theme in corruption, and keep the mix and match to a minimum (but not quite zero):
Eldritch; - corruption effects are mental in nature, offering insights into reality at the cost of madness - a mix of straight out insanity and delirium mixed with other mental health issues.
Spiritual - Corruption of the soul. Not in a moralistic, good and evil manner, but in a apathetic, tether-less drifting way. The soul also may become partially unanchored to the corporeal body. (This has echoes of the 'Depression' idea for black mages, and is similar but not the same.)*
Vital - corruption effects are purely physical. Mutations of the flesh and a growing insatiable hunger are the hallmarks of a Vital Mage. By the end few are even recognizable as human. (Some speculate that many of the monster races were in origin Vital mages.)
* Probably the weakest idea of the the three.
Arcane energy is harder, since it has no one to one correlation to human anatomy. The role of Arcane energy in a cosmic sense is to keep the world as we know it from coexisting all at once with the rest of creation, or so I gather. A kind of wall around reality, separating it from the chaos of the planes and such. I might suggest that repeated usage of Arcane energies and spells might weaken the barriers around yourself, making you more susceptible to influence and effects from Elsewhere. Effects could include being haunted by ghosts only you can perceive, loss of focus as what is, what was, what will be and what could have been blur together (hallucinations combined with temporary degradation of the senses, but occasionally useful in the same way obscure prophecy can be) and magic becoming unpredictable in your presence. (Think Wild Magic tables)
As for elemental magic, its already been said that opposites can provide a good weakness. I'd say that they need to immerse themselves and surround themselves with their element, or risk not only losing access to magic, but depending on how far gone they are bodily and mental functions shutting down. The flip side of this, of course, is that they should be able to endure their own element more, if only to further press the limits of how far out of their way they must go at higher power levels to remain functional. Most powerful elemental mages have become hermits, isolating themselves in environs where they can be comfortable (but everyone else needs special gear or magic just to survive). Towers built in icy crags, or fortresses built into the sides of active volcanoes. Temples built on top of mountains or floating outright.
White magic - nothing needed, moving along. Nothing to see here folks.
Black Magic - It seems like you need little help in this area. There are a lot of good ideas in the original posting, and even more in the comments.
Black magic is addictive and its corruption is self reinforcing. (This is probably true of all the magics, but even more for black magic.) Feeding off of the darker emotions, tends to stain the soul and render it numb. It takes extremes of emotion to penetrate the cloud of darkness. Good emotions can do so, but are quickly forgotten in the larger stream, and it take more and more transgression, perverse acts to make a impression.
While the initial effects are mental, the staining of the soul eventually bleeds over into the flesh as well. Corruption of this sort manifests as sickness and deformity. Black magic slowly kills the flesh of the mage as surely as it kills the soul. Flesh dies and withers, even though it remains functional it has died long ago. As time passes and the mage grows in power, he or she will eventually leave all traces of life behind, and cross into undeath. For a Black mage, this is less of a event and more of a gradual process, they may not even notice as their blood slows within their veins, and muscles wither away, leaving them animated by nothing more than willpower and black magic.Insanity is the sane response to an insane world.
Besides, it is more fun this way.
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- Sep 2013
Re: Help with corruption effects for the abuse of magicAs for elemental magic, its already been said that opposites can provide a good weakness. I'd say that they need to immerse themselves and surround themselves with their element, or risk not only losing access to magic, but depending on how far gone they are bodily and mental functions shutting down. The flip side of this, of course, is that they should be able to endure their own element more, if only to further press the limits of how far out of their way they must go at higher power levels to remain functional. Most powerful elemental mages have become hermits, isolating themselves in environs where they can be comfortable (but everyone else needs special gear or magic just to survive). Towers built in icy crags, or fortresses built into the sides of active volcanoes. Temples built on top of mountains or floating outright.