ďWhere Art is life, Lore is thought, and Song is beauty; Arselu`Tel`Quess is all three in their immaculate forms yet combined into a new, purer whole. No N`Tel`Quess can conceive of achieving such a union with life, thought, and beauty to weave such wonders, for only the People can touch the Weave in this way. I realize some of the People and even some savant humans seem to cast the same magics, but these are mere effigies of the true magics they mime. The humans have copied the replica spells, but they have never felt the Art sing in their breath, their pulse, and their heart as the Selu`taar do. This you will learn, youngling, or forever know the loss of such resplendence in Art.Ē
High Mage Pheardryn Ealataerin to an elven initiate
Elven High Magic, the rarest and most wonderful of magic still practiced today, is called Arselu`Tel`Quess, or the Great Art of the People. High Magic is nearly a myth among the N`Tel`Quess, referred to erroneously as Old Magic or Ritual Magic. In truth, it is both and neither, as these simple concepts fail to embrace what High Magic truly is. True, it is old, for the elves practiced this magic long before they ever trod the loam in Atlan`ysse. Likewise, it is ritual, for the ceremonies of High Magic are as necessary as elven blood to attune what is a communing flow of forces among the elven caster or casters and the Weave itself. Casters of this powerful Art are secretly called Selu`taar, the Artís Disciples, or the High Mages. No non-elf can withstand the powers involved in High Magic, and elves are equally in awe and fear of such forces and their conduits, for most of them are also found wanting by the energies and disciplines of Arselu`Tel`Quess. High Magic is known to the elves, though its practices and practitioners are secret (or, at least, not publicly acknowledged). As an open secret, High Magic is never discussed, nor are High Mages officially recognized as anything other than wizards; given the elven nature to share and commune, the mysteries of High Magic cannot be shared, and thus it is better to be left unmentioned among the elves, rather than allow it to be a divisive power to be grasped. It is as much a power beyond the reach of mages as magic is above the prying reach of a thief. While most elves are unaware of the identities of many High Mages, some have been publicly witnessed as such practitioners, such as the Valishar. Despite a lack of official status and acknowledgement, known, or suspected, High Mages are granted greater respect due to their hidden power (and the fear and respect it engenders).
The Theories of High Magic
To understand High Magic, one must fully understand the elves. From birth, they are part of a communal tribe, community, and race that shares a subconscious mental link. They can boost this link through magic and other rituals to actually become of one mind and spirit with other elves of like attitudes. In fact, elven reverie is both a reflection on one elfís life and likewise a meditation on all the lives of the elves of a tribe or community. All elves also feel a pull toward the elven homeland of Arvannaith, the home of the Seldarine, and this pull grows stronger with the passing centuries. It is not so much a call by the gods to pull elves to their sides but a yearning for all elves to journey to Arvanaith, the hidden homeland realm of the elves. In Arvannaith, according to belief, all elves become of one mind and one spirit with the gods. In all, this ability to be part of a greater whole and link one mind with many is discretely elven. High Magic both interferes with and fulfills the needs of exceptional elves by al- lowing them to touch the Weave and become part of its greater whole while still in mortal realms. Given the length of time involved in learning High Magic for the defence of the elven realms, an elf must ignore the call of Arvannaith and remain on the world far beyond the years when many elves move beyond. In essence, High Magic and its learning is a conscious decision to delay oneís movement to Arvannaith by relegating the need and longing for the mental communion of Arvannaith into High Magic workings. On a basic level, elven High Magic illustrates the most fundamental difference between humanity and elvenkind. The magic that humanity is capable of mastering without the gods decree is individual in nature, and the wizard has only to rely on himself and his knowledge for this power, in only exceedingly rare cases can humanís magic be worked among more than one caster, and this requires trust and cooperation, things the elves believe humans have in only limited amounts. Elven magic, on the other hand, relies on cooperation and community, and High Magic depends on that unequivocally. Culturally, humans stress every man for him self, while the elves culture embraces the idea of all for one and one for all their magicís reflect those very same ideals.
The Purpose of High Magic
While High Magic separates an elf from his fellows and severs some of the sacred ties with Arvannaith, the High Mage and the elves understand it is for the greater good of both the Mage and the community. High Magicís primary use is the protection and support of the Weave, the forces of nature, and for the betterment of the elves, all of whom are dedicated to physically and magically supporting those same goals, albeit less directly. High Magic may create mythals to protect cities and gates to allow instantaneous transport across the planet, or allow elves to grow majestic buildings and walls around their sylvan cities. However, High Magic also (and far more frequently) is used to prevent droughts and blight from destroying forest glades, slow or speed the flow of rivers or winter run-off to prevent (or some- times cause) floods, and work with the magics inherent in the planet to find large-scale problems and solve them for the Weave and all the races of the world, since the Weave cannot do so itself, and the mortal races cannot ignore the immediate to see the inevitable.
High Magic Loss or Abuse
The communion of the elves and their spirit is one of the primary reasons they alone have High Magic. High Magic depends on the unity of mind, spirit, emotion, and sense of self and community within the High Mage and his surroundings. If a large number of elves are at odds with their community or a High Mage, the emotional conflict can sometimes spill into the Weave and disrupt a ritual, causing even powerful High Magic to fail. Dissension among the elves makes High Magic nearly impossible, for it relies on supportive power from the surrounding community on many occasions. It is a measure of elven solidarity that this has rarely happened since the Crown Wars and the Descent of the Drow. Even antagonists can work together for the greater causes, allowing High Magic to flow among them, as was evidenced during the raising of the mythals at Myrith Veyraalis and Myrith Drakkor. It is this need for cultural and communal togetherness that makes many theorize (and secretly thank the Seldarine and the Weave) that the Dark Elves are denied High Magic. Given their almost-human individualization and constant strife, the Drow can never achieve the oneness their surface brethren can with the Weave. However, given their array of other powers, the Drow have achieved a link with another power source of sorts. While the original Dark Elves from before the Crown Wars were merely dusky elves with pale hair, the Drow of the Underdark have, over the millennia of exile, darkened to obsidian and taken on their more familiar visages as enemies. And many shudder when they hear tales that the Drow are trying to create some sort of fell analogue of High Magic to replace what they do not have.
The Forms of High Magic
Like many forces, High Magic is both one thing and many. In its fullest essence, High Magic is the direct energy of the Weave, the web of energy that sustains the planetís life (and that of every living being upon it) and provides the source of magic for both wizards and High Mages. Whereas wizardly magic pulls an infinitesimal bit of energy out of the Weave to harness its effects, High Magic maintains the Weave but redirects and manipulates the local flow of energy to achieve the effects of the ritual. Three types of High Magic rituals are known, all of which tap the Weave, but each draws upon a different level of power.
Rituals of Solitude
These most basic forms of High Magic are spell rituals that are performed by only one caster. They are low-level effects (in terms of directly touching the source of all magic and life) that can be harnessed without immediately endangering the caster or the target of the spell/rite. While this appears similar to standard wizard spell castings (one caster), solitude is misleading, for all High Magic ceremonies tie the caster with the target of the power subliminally (from the targetís perspective). The caster reaches through the Weave to connect with the target of the ritual in order to effect these simplest of High Magics. On a remote but very basic level, many wizard spells such as magic missile work on this principle, though wizards are taught that line of sight is the important feature (and the spells are crafted to rely on such).
Rituals of Complement
The mid-range High Magic rituals requires three High Mages to cast different parts of the ceremony for the High Magic to be tapped and controlled. These rituals link the trio together in a conscious sharing of minds while each performs a particular (or, in some cases, identical) ritual within the larger ceremony. Each of the Mages drops all mental defences in order to take part in a multi-person ritual such as this; they all share their knowledge and perception of the ritualís workings, and they experience the wonder that at least (for High Mages) approximates the ascension the elves feel upon entering the Oneness of Arvannaith. Rituals of Complement are more complex and longer than the lesser rituals and on average take at least an hour or longer to cast. During this entire time, the casters are mentally linked and casting in unison. While not all of the elves are casting at once, they can communicate and read each otherís minds, though they do the latter only if invited. Anyone who would use such an intimate bond to reap knowledge or power is either immediately outcast from the clan and all elven contact (a fate worse than death!) or killed outright. If another High Mage were to do so disruptively during a casting, the High Magic would treat that caster as if he had breached the Ritual Wards with all three versions of the backlash defences (see Ritual Wards below) should he survive that, one set of the previous consequences is imposed.
Rituals of Myriad
These are the most powerful magics cast by mortals; while the humans contest this with the wish spell as evidence, High Mages contend that the effects of that not-inconsiderable spell are extremely local and individual and often fall under the attentions of some divine agent. The Myriad rituals of High Magic are the titanic sorceries of which legends are born, and woe upon the enemy who forces the elves to unleash these forces. Rituals of Myriad require a team of at least five High Mages at the castingís centre, in the identical manner used in Rituals of Complement, with all the attendant dangers and protocols. Myriad-level High Magic takes far more time to cast, due to many factors. Extended preparation and purification rites open the ceremonies, and these cleansings take nearly as long as a Ritual of Complement in itself. Once the site of the central casting and all the extended casting sites for all the other secondary casters are purified and readied, there is a delicate opening liturgy cast by the central caster that links the secondary (and any subordinate casters or link supporters) to the primary caster at the spellís centre. Once all five (or most often, nine, with a quartet of tertiary High Mages casting a supporting rite) casters are linked and focused, the casting of the ritual actually begins. Depending on the ritual, Myriad High Magic can occur in as little as three hours or could last from dawn until dusk of the following day.
Unmentioned factors to High Magic workings must be noted, as they involve the other elves of the realm that the High Mages support. It is quite the point of honour and pride for many elves to be included thusly in a ritual, and a few elves brag of their role in old rituals. Of course, bragging for an elf is mentioning something with pride more than twice in a single decade. High Mages often count on diviners to foretell and forewarn them of major portents and events to come. While High Magic was never intended to be used for combat, often, it best serves the elves by carefully marshalling power when needed. Thus, the High Mages cannot fall prey to poor planning and mislaid strengths, as did at least one of their predecessors, when lack of preparation and lack of High Magic led to the death of the realm of Kael. Myriad rituals draw upon a great amount of power and are massively taxing upon all the casters of the ritual draining for the secondary and tertiary casters and potentially life threatening for the primary caster. Therefore, many of the Myriad rituals allow the casters to draw upon energy and mental support from normal elf wizards who volunteer to passively join the link and freely offer up energy (and spell memory) to sustain and bolster the High Mages. This allows the High Mages the luxury to concentrate on the ritual without having to worry about keeping their bodies functioning (breathing, heartbeat, etc.). The support from these volunteers further grants the secondary casters the freedom to monitor and adjust the major working of the central caster; for example, when casting a mythal, the primary caster weaves the primary framework, but the secondary casters determine its final breadth and many effects. Without the energy of their brethren, none of the casters could afford the attention to finer points, and High Magic would be far rougher. Finally, from the supporterís point of view, it allows many normal elves a chance to participate in a magic they donít normally experience until they pass to the realm beyond.
To Wield High Magic
High Magic is puissance as rarely embraced among the elves as wizard magic is embraced among humanity. It is a path of learning, power, and self-discovery that few tread, but those who do touch aspects of the elven nature that most find only when they pass beyond to Arvanaith. High Magic grants elves the power to aid the Weave by supporting the natural world that sustains it; in return, High Magic helps preserve the elves presence among the mortal realms. High Mages help shape the Weave of The world and concentrate it at various places to create mythals and gates and other great magics. Finally, High Magic allows its wielders to experience the joys of the oneness of Arvannaith through their links to the Weave, as their own abilities and learning prevent them from experiencing it firsthand, for- ever separating them from their comrades for the good of all.
To become a student of High Magic, an elf must have a basic understanding of magic and its related forces. Thus, the elf needs to be a wizard, and only elves of at least 15th level are capable of beginning the study of High Magic. The candidate also must be of far sounder health to wield this power than he ever needed for traditional wizard magic, and must be among the more erudite and wise of his race in order to contemplate the powers he may eventually touch (minimum ability scores: PE 18, IQ 18, ME 18).
Education and Learning
Just as he is separated from his comrades for his training in wizardly magic, a student of High Magic must undertake a voluntary apprenticeship to a High Mage. This apprenticeship lasts for approximately 75 years, though it can last longer. While the finer points of a High Mageís education are cloaked in secrecy, enough elves have witnessed some of the practices of apprentices to get a broad view of the elements of training. Students are taught meditative techniques to allow themselves to more readily feel, see, and sense the Weave around and within them. In essence, the apprenticeship teaches the students to look beyond the physical world without the use of spells or other devices. The ability lies in many an elf, but those with the industry to learn wizardry do not necessarily have the diligence to sit patiently and learn to see what the Weave teaches them unconsciously every day. An apprenticeís exercises entail reflection and looking at the world with new eyes. By concentrating on the flow of water, an elf can learn how and where it moves, what forces are at play within it, and how any intervention affects that flow. Once students master that, they learn the same about wood smoke, meditating in a smoke lodge for months or years at a time until they can track the tiniest cinder into the sky above the trees. By the time a student learns to see the flow of incense, then wind, and then heat, he begins to see hints of the Weave. Students then learn to focus on the sun, moon, and other celestial bodies. They study each in turn, watching them rise and set, following the flow of light, energy, and the many forces set forth by each in succession. By the time an elf has endured 40 to 60 years of training, he may begin to learn the patterns that are the Rituals of High Magic. The teaching of these Rituals is an intensely guarded secret, though the performance of them is not, since they are obvious in effect, once begun; apparently, more magic is always inherent in the ritual than is visible or understandable to non-casters. There are hints that the things learned in the latter half of apprenticeships are such secrets as true names of animals and folk, the location of places of power across the world, and ways to unravel wizard magic after it is cast.
The Rituals of High Magic are exhausting in all senses of the word, and the more powerful they are, the more arduous they become. Once a High Mage casts her maximum number of rites (of any level) in a ten-day, she must rest for a ten-day before attempting any more High Magic. If a High Mage meets the casting limits posted in the table, the next attempted ritual to exceed these limits (e.g., a fifth ritual in a ten-day) has only a 50% chance of success. If it succeeds, the High Mage suffers no ill effects; if it fails, the High Mage is consumed by the Weave due to the overtaxing effects it has on mortal forms. This is treated as a retributive strike or wild-magic surge. Further attempts at a ritual that exceeds the casterís limits, results in automatic failure and the destruction of the High Mage with no chance for resurrection. Elven songs and legends tell of High Mages who dared the Fates for the sake of their people and exceeded the limitations of High Magic. One legend, The Phoenix Rises from Cysar Vale, tells of a High Mage who attempted one too many Solitude rituals to bring relief to her vale and, even when tapped for small effects, the Weave proved too much for her and she burst into flames, becoming a great bird of fire that flew aloft and burned into nothingness.
While the chances are slim of anyone attempting to disturb a High Magic Ritual, the few intrusive rabble-rousers who have tried over the centuries have found the results not to their liking. As part of the opening ritual of any High Magic, the High Mage cleanses and purifies the site where the casting will occur; this defines a boundary or ward surrounding the caster and most often the target as well. The greater the casting, the wider the cumulative ward radius surrounding the casters (10-foot radius per caster involved), though these wards donít impede casters within a ritual. The invisible ward prevents all interruptions and intrusions (physical, magical, psionic, or other) within the area of casting that are not part of the casting (such as supporters lending mental energy). The ward disappears at the end of a ritual. The wards contain hit points equal to those of the primary caster, combined with his Intelligence and Wisdom scores. The wards are treated as a physical AR of 17; should these borders be subjected to pressure by spell, psionics, or force, they crackle into visibility as an energy sphere radiating out from the High Mages. Should the wards be disturbed while a ritual is in progress, there are dire effects for the intruder (all are allowed saving throws vs. death magic for half effect). Physical Intrusion (physically piercing or crossing the wards): A 50-foot-long 20d6 arcane bolt (visually similar to a lightning bolt but with no known defences against it) rebounds from the point of contact straight back along the contact trajectory (accounting for missiles); if any physical body actually touches or penetrates the ward (with a body part or with a hand-held weapon), the above damage hits the intruder and throws him 1d20 feet outside the ward. Magical Intrusion (casting a spell through the wards, attempting to magically pass through wards, etc.): The magical intrusion is instantly traced back to its caster (via emanations in the Weave) and the caster (whether an actual caster or an item wielder) is subject to a sink spell. Mental or other Intrusions (ethereal, astral, or psionic attempts to breach/bypass the wards): The intruder (or the caster of the intrusion) is subject to a trap the soul spell effect, and the intruder is either absorbed into a small gem created instantly by the ward magic or into the High Mageís selu`kiiru (see Magical Items below). Newly created gems float in the air within the ward and zip unerringly into the hand of the primary caster upon cessation of the ritual. The effects are the same if such attempts are made during a Ritual of Complement or a Ritual of Myriad, but the saving throws vs. the effects suffer -3 and -5 penalties, respectively. Only a carefully worded wish spell or other High Magic allows anyone or anything to breach these ritual wards with impunity (i.e., no harmful effects visited upon intruders).
High Magic Resistances
The final note about High Magic is its strength in resisting the effects of wizards and priests lesser magics. Since it taps directly into the Weave (rather than through the distillation process of component-driven magic), High Magic rituals and their effects have an active immunity against their magics being altered or stopped by lesser magics. In general, High Magic effects are permanent unless they have ways of being nullified set in the ritual (e.g., Reverie of Ages.). High Magic also can be disrupted if the requirements for the magic are not met (i.e., breaking a wall with theurglass windows disrupts the magic if the window frame loses any of its complete four sides); this, however, is not a foolproof method. Ruins still exist where birds fly accidentally into still-extant theurglass that hangs in mid-air, the wall it graced long fallen. Dispel magic, limited wish, and even wish spells cannot cancel High Magic; the spells have respective 40%, 60%, and 0% chances of temporarily nullifying active High Magics. If successful, GMs should adjudicate how the spell affects the more potent magic; a basic cue is to cancel all of the High Magics normal active effects for a number of rounds equal to the spell level of the disrupting magic. After that, the High Magic is revived by the Weave. Two things are important with regard to affecting High Magics with lesser spells. Objects and items created by the use of High Magic are susceptible to these effects provided the entirety of the item can be contained within the area of effect of the disrupting spell. Thus, buildings in Arethane created by the Oacil`Quevan ritual cannot be brought down by a dispel magic. The minor and major wish effects on High Magic entirely depend on the wording of the wishes. Most wizards see and understand only the surface effects of High Magics, and without a full understanding of how High Magic works; their wishes may disrupt only one or two obvious effects of a High Magic ritual. Thus, a wish to cancel the magic of a summoned building might be enough to disrupt the fields that support a normally impossible structure and cause parts of it to collapse, rather than erase the building cleanly from existence.
High Magic Rituals
High Magic rituals are typically long and complex in nature, unlike the quick, battle-ready magic of wizards. All Rituals listed here are identified by their elvish and human titles; however, words in elvish tend to convey more meaning than a single Common word, making for long titles. A description of the ritualís effect follows the title.
Rituals of Solitude
- Adoessuor/The Reverie of Ages: This ritual places a subject in deep reverie, and the Weave, rather than mortal food consumption, sustains the elf. Thus, an elf can be placed in a trance that allows him to ignore the passage of time. The elves, for all intents and purposes, operate under the effects of a temporal stasis spell, though they spend the entire time in reverie rather than unconsciousness. On at least one occasion, an elf in the Adoessuor has been used to establish a controlling mental influence over a powerful artifact of magic (see the Quess`Ar`Teranthvar below). A subject can be awakened under preset conditions or by the touch of a High Mage.
- Akh`Faen`Tel`Quess/ Life of Duty, Form of the People's Need: This ritual, the most intensely private of all rituals, alters the form of an elf into any living elf race or subrace. The elf becomes one of another elf race (including the lost avariel) physically, but not mentally. This transformation ritual is undertaken only with the full consent of a clan elder or the Valishar and the participant (unless in banishment) and is usually invoked only for an important mission for a community. The change is permanent until a second ritual is performed to revert the elf to his original form, or upon death. (The change happens slowly over 1d12 hours after death.) This transformation ritual can alter an elf from its own race to another, including Drow, avariel, or aquatic elf. It can be performed only once in three centuries on any elf and only twice in a lifetime; while in the changed form, the character gains all benefits and drawbacks of being one of that race of elves, though any psychological norms of that race are not adopted since only the elfís form changes, not her identity. This ritual accommodates the difference in ages among the elves, so the transformed elf becomes a different elf of the same age class; while the elf wears his new form, he ages as the current elf rather than his natural form (i.e., a gold elf shortens his life by nearly 200 years with the transformation). Therefore, while a middle-aged gold elf (age 400) would be an old aquatic elf, the ritual makes him a middle-aged water elf (age 270). Theoretically, this ritual could allow an elf to be transformed into a human or a dwarf (or other race), but no High Mage has ever dared to attempt such, nor have any volunteers been solicited to make such a sacrifice. In over ten millennia, this ritual has been used only five times to change a surface elf to a Drow elf for the purpose of infiltration (twice) or banishment (thrice), so it is impossible that any elf would condone the change to an N`Tel`Quess except as the most extreme punishment.
- Daoin`Teague`Feer/Starshine Upon the People: This ritual of rejuvenation is one led by the High Mage (or an elf of royal blood using a variant of the older ritual; see below), but there can be as many as 100 other participants. Under a clear, starry night sky, the ritual cleanses an elf both physically and spiritually. This ritual of chant and dance is often used in wartime to bolster morale and prepare the troops for battle. With the High Mage leading a group of elves in both song and dance, the ritual summons a shower of glittering star- dust within the boundaries of the ritual. The luster settles onto participants and makes them glow lightly throughout the ritual. This starshine removes all grime and dirt from folk and equipment, cures all of non-magical diseases or sensory loss (blindness, deafness, etc.), heals all with cure serious wounds and neutralize poison spell effects, and bestows an elven blessing upon them all equal to an aid spell for 12 hours after the ritual. This ritual lasts for one hour per ten people involved, with all effects manifesting at the completion. GM's Note: This ritual is also a 9th-level wizard spell (or 7th-level priest spell) exclusively for elves of royal blood, willed to them as an automatically known spell by Corellon and Mystra. The spell duplicates the effects above, though this reduced magic heals participants only as a cure light wounds spell and allows them the benefits of a bless spell for 12 hours. This spell has never been recorded but was always (and still is) taught verbally from elder to heir, and it is always tied to regalia (i.e., a royal bowl from which the caster draws the glittering starshine, a sword to define the areas of the dance, etc.) and some ritual songs of an elven domain. Any non-elf or non-royal elf that attempts this spell suffers a curse of the GM's devising for daring to usurp these blessings.
- Eva1iir`Enevahr/The Song of Enevahr: This spell allows a High Mage to inspire allied troops and demoralize opposing armies. The only battle-intended High Magic, this ritual places the singing High Mage among the troops to sing of elven glory and the folly of the foes who oppose them. This wide-ranging enchantment/charm-style magic affects all sentient beings within a 100-yard radius of the High Mage. All elves and allies gain bravery and morale boosts from the song, making them immune to fear effects of any kind and eliminating Morale checks. The opponents, regardless of any understanding of elvish, are infused with fear and terror, and any actions that force Morale checks (or allow individual checks against fear) panic them, causing them to flee in terror from the source for at least one hour. The High Mage is so intimidating to all while in the ritual that none dare approach him, whether due to awe or fear.
- Kai`Soehtakal/Skin and Breath of the Wyrm: The elf reaches through the Weave, connects with a metallic dragon, and adopts some of its energy. In essence, the High Mage wraps himself or another target in the aura of the dragon, granting himself or another the abilities of the chosen dragon for a short time; to the Weave, the target is a dragon, not an elf. The elf gains all the physical abilities of a brass, bronze, copper, gold, or silver dragon, including its special fear radius, breathe weapon, Armor Class, claw attacks, and flight. If preferred, the High Magic ritual can be shortened to adopt only portions of draconic ability (6 rounds) or lengthened to allow the elf to physically assume the form of the dragon, though this is not necessary and adds 15 rounds to the ritual for transformation time.
- Ol`iirtal Eithun/Flights of True Mark, Arrows of Art: Contrary to what some humans believe, this High Magic enchantment does not increase the damage or effectiveness of an arrow, since that is not how High Magic works. It does allow the arrow to affect the Weave at its point of impact and deliver its effect by either cancelling certain effects or introducing others. One of the few combat-oriented High Magics, this ritual allows the High Mage to enspell a quiver of 20 arrows with one effect noted below. These enchantments last for 24 hours after the completion of the hour-long ceremony, and the arrows magic can be cancelled only by wish and limited wish spells. Often, word of an impending battle will prompt at least one or two quivers of arrows to be prepared, and the akh`velahrn divide the arrows among their archers ranks to provide a unified effect across the battlefield. The spell effects vary according to the situation and the ritualís exact performance, but the arrow always delivers its standard damage to a struck living target regardless of other effects. Five effects can aid elven forces on the battlefield:
- Dispel arrows will, upon contact with a specified magi- cal field or effect, cancel that effect as a 20th-level wizard; these are used in battle against spell casters who use shields and other defences to prevent enemy missile and spell fire against them. If targeted on an item of less than artifact status, these arrows can cancel an itemís effects or function for 1 round.
- Snuff arrows act like an affect normal fires spell on con- tact, though their only effect is to extinguish any normal fires (of up to 5. radius from point of impact) or reduce the strength/damage of magical fires by half. These are, by far, the most common of the ol`iirtal`eithunna, and they are used with great effectiveness against ogres (and dragons) who hope to burn Arethane down around the elves.
- Eagleís Mark arrows act as magic missiles, homing in on a target unerringly to deliver 1d6 points of damage. There is a limitation to this magic that allows only two of these to hit any one creature in 24 hours; any more arrows of this enchantment targeting the same creature will merely burn up a few feet from the target. The elves know this limitation, and thus always use these arrows to break charges by orc hordes, selecting key figures whose injuries can slow their thunderous advance.
- Targeting arrows crackle an ominous purple, and deliver their damage and a mystical signature upon contact with the target. The following round, the elves may use a key word named by the casting High Mage to make the affected target the focus of their spells, regardless of whether the target is within the spellís range. This allows elven mages the chance to launch spells into battle with- out worry of interfering with or affecting their own troops or spellcasters.
- Message arrows, when they contact either a target or a hard surface, deliver their damage and a message of 30 words or less from the archer. This audible message can be heard easily by any creatures within a 10í radius of impact. Spells or auditory powers cannot be used with these arrows, though an elven war cry emanating around wounded opponents has sometimes been enough to cause a rout or a resurgence of hope to battle-trapped elves as they hear a message telling them of reinforcements.
- Saloh`Cint`Nias/Gift of Alliance: This ritual allows a High Mage to call upon the ancient allies of the Tel`Quessir for aid in the defence of an elven realm. The summoned aid is often in animal or monstrous form, though the creatures tend to match both the surrounding area and the casterís alignment. Other planar creatures also can be summoned with additional ritual time, though the larger creatures and more powerful extra-planars require longer summoning times and produce fewer allies. This ritual acts as a powerful and highly specific monster summoning spell, akin to call woodland beings, animal summoning III, and monster summoning VII. Beyond the strictures of those spells, creatures such as whales and kraken can be summoned if near a sea, and other creatures such as dragons, devas, bariaur, and even Reverend Ones (baelnorn) can be called to inland battle sites. This ritual requires at least one turn and summons 12 levels of summoned creatures per turn of continuous ritual.
- Theur`foqal/Summoned Shield, Conjured Screen: A common magic within Arethane, this High Magic creates windows of magical energy stronger than glass. If the area where such a field is set is bounded by physical walls, it can be placed anywhere. This ritual summons invisible fields of magic within small-enclosed areas (i.e., window frames). At their weakest, they keep out all solid matter while allowing in summer breezes or sunlight. This is the standard for windows in Arethane`s buildings, though this minimal magic can be improved with additional time in the ritual or if summoned within a building created by Myriad ritual. The best of these windows can be set to turn opaque, heatproof (in both directions), or soundproof with a touch. Maximum size for the fields that this magic can support are 5 feet square, and they may be used only as windows in noble villas and Cedrea`Teradryn.
- U`Aestar`Kess/One Heart, One Mind, One Breath: This ritual provides a creature and an elf with a mental link, not unlike the one shared among elves in communion. This link is permanently forged. Most often, this ritual is used as a marriage rite, forging a bond between spouses, though it is not limited to pairs of elves. An animal mount and rider might form an empathic link that allows them to interact far more closely than two creatures (two elves, or animal and elf, or other pairings) normally could. The link between the two creatures is permanent, and allows the linked elf or elves to ignore the Call to Arvannaith for greater periods of time due to the communal nature of the link. The two creatures are partners, friends, lovers, or kindred in all but form; each knows when the other is in danger and will stop at little to render aid. This passive link is always semi-empathic, but with intense concentration, it can become telepathic, allowing mind-to-mind communication. While all rituals are assumed to have elf targets, this union could easily be formed for all races, linking dwarves or humans with elves. An elf can be placed in U`Aestar`Kess with a maximum of two beings in his or her lifetime, most often a spouse and a beast-mount such as a dragon.
- Vuorl`Kyshuf/A Message on Birds. Wings to Silver: Elven High Mages use this ritual to mentally, visually, and audibly communicate with other High Mages or other dignitaries without leaving their strongholds. This ritual allows a High Mage to use some physical medium such as a pool of water, a polished shield, or a mirror to summon an image of a person or persons with whom the High Mage wishes to speak. The image remains and communication can continue for as long as the High Mage maintains concentration. In all other effects, this ritual acts as a sending spell with no word or distance limitations, aside from concentration on the magics.
Rituals of Complement
- Ahrmae`Suol/The High Revival, Restoration: The Ahrmae`Suol is a broad spectrum healing that affects a wide area beyond the ritual site. It has a number of effects, depending on the casting and the situations. It cures all trees in a half- mile radius of blight, allows weather-altering magics to take hold and cancel droughts or floods, bestows a cleansing of those same forest areas (accelerated decomposition of all dead matter into soil and thick moss), and it can banish the effects of curses and broad corruption of animal- and plant life in a half-mile radius. This circular ritual of three High Mages is one of the most common High Magic rituals performed in Arethane or any of the elven realms. In game effects, this acts as a mixture of major magics in an expanded area: weather summoning; remove curse, cure disease, and so on. The magic affects only trees and animals, the forest ecosystems, and the life and health of the surroundings, not elves or other sylvan creatures within that area. Granting their effects to creatures in High Magic requires the Daoin`Teague`Feer ritual.
- Ghaatiil/The Traveling Path: After two High Mages individually perform a Vuorl`Kyshuf ritual to allow communication across great distances, a third caster maintains this link during the ritual. All three unite in this Complement ritual to link the two sites with a gate, setting its operating conditions during the ritual. Visually, a light mist surrounds each High Mage; as each performs the rite, a ghostly apparition of the counterpart High Mage at the other site joins him. The ritual ends when each High Mage uses the gate to join the other to close out the ceremony at first one and then the other gate site. This establishes a permanent gate at the sites of the ritual. Historically, High Mages created these at the behest of their Valishar's, as well as their own wishes. Their express purpose was to allow travel among the elven capital cities and strategically important strongholds. The ritual established many strictures over its gate's use by type of elf (race, occupation, or status) but often set the portal to activate only in the presence of a key (anything from a physical key to a lock of golden hair or the sound of a whistled tune). However, Arethane`s High Mages established an increasing number of open gates to allow greater access and alliances with far-away lands and peoples. While a High Mage (and some wizards) can easily close down a gate, the existence of so many worries some elves, despite the assuaging words of the Valishar Rhysanus. This ritual can create one-way gates, though this becomes a ritual for four High Mages. One High Mage performs the standard gate construction, while the other three mentally corroborate each otherís knowledge of the gateís exit point. The exit must be a place physically visited by at least three of the High Mages in the ritual to allow success.
- Lalyshae`Seldar`Wihylos/Sacraments of Seldarine Blessing: This ritual, for which many hidden variants exist, ties a three-person High Magic ritual with the concurrent ritual of priests of the Seldarine to create magical items and artifacts endemic to the elves. This is not a commonly invoked ritual but often is used when creating a number of items for a specific purpose (such as cloaks of elvenkind for an entire unit of akh`faern). This ritual creates many different items of magic for the elves, and the final results of the ritual depend both on what is brought into the ritual and which gods and priests are involved. The most common items produced by this ritual are swords, though this special mix of priestly magic and High Magic can enchant anything from small gems to cloaks and scarves. The priests involved in this ritual invoke their godís attentions and patronage to the working, while the High Mages perform the ritual to bind the summoned power to the items. Sometimes, the gods themselves directly infuse powers into the items that are not invoked by the priests or High Mages, and these often become the relics of that godís religion. Effectively, nearly any magical item seen as an exclusively elven item can be created through this ritual (as well as through standard channels), and its powers are tied to its form and the patron god. For example, the tel`kiira gems come from a ritual to Sehanine as the goddess of omens and mysticism, while the elfblades of Arethane required a priest of each Seldarine god within the ritual to create the powerful artifacts that created the great elf empire. The types of items to enchant and resulting magical items are noted below along with potential patrons. Note that the more powerful an item, the lengthier the ritual and the more priests are involved, but there are never more than four High Mages in this ritual, keeping it among the most powerful of the Complement Rituals.
- Arrows and bows blessed by Rillifane or Solonor
- Bracers (of archery, protection, etc.) blessed by Solonor or Corellon
- Boots (of elvenkind, of the north) blessed by Rillifane
- Cloaks (of elvenkind, of the manta ray) blessed by Rillifane or Deep Sashelas
- Gems (tel`kiira, selu`kiiru, etc.) blessed by Labelas or Corellon
- Swords (dragon-slayers, moon blade, etc.) usually blessed by any (or all) of a quartet of gods: Corellon, Sehanine, Erevan, and Labelas. This ritual creates items with only one or two powers and a maximum of one combat effect (to attacks or damage) unless the ritual gains the attention of a god. The maximum number of items created in one ritual cannot exceed one quarter the weight of the involved High Magic casters (i.e., four 150-pound elves can enchant 15 10-pound long swords).
- Fhaor `Akh `Tel`Quess/Tribute of One's Duty to the People. This ceremony allows an elf of any age or health to sacrifice his or her life and normal existence in order to better serve the clan or community in a different form. This ritual severs the elfís ties with the Call to Arvandor, but the duty and the powers of its new form prevent the elf from descending into madness; now, the Call is replaced by the Duty the form gives him. Elves can become undead baelnorn, or Reverend Ones, in which their duty is guardianship of things, places, or people. They can also be transformed into tree spirits (choice of form as dryad, hamadryad, satyr, or treant), in which their duty is the guardianship of the trees and to act as advisers of Elven court. This transformational ritual alters the elfís dying form into a different state, not quite undead but not alive in the conventional sense for an elf. Transformed thus, the elfís body is either changed into its new form or the body dies and the spirit then inhabits the new form, and the body is then interred as a special part of the closing ritual. This is one of the greatest sacrifices an elf can make for his community or clan, and thus those who undergo it are accorded the highest honours both before and after the ritual. GMís Note: Even at this height of elven civilization, a major part of this ritual has been lost. In times past, elves also could be transformed into weave spirits, beings of pure magic who help maintain mythals and spell fields and guard against abuses in magic. High Mages now theorize that the last Weave Spirit was created during Kael's rise, and the last High Mage who knew the casting was slain by an archwizard. While there is no proof, some High Mages wonder if such beings as will`o`wisps, nyth, and wizshades are not elven weave spirits gone mad or degenerated into corrupt forms due to the damage to the Weave with the Fall of Kael.
- N`Maernthor/Hidden Homeland. This ritual cloaks an elven homeland in mystery and protects it from outside intrusions and unwanted visitors. While less a physical barrier than a mental one, the N`Maernthor magics convince a person that the route to an elven realm is actually another path that leads away from or around the protected lands. This ritualís effect is a mixture of illusion/phantasm and enchantment/charm magics plus a mythal or ward. It is hardly a powerful magic, but the amount of energy and subtlety involved in its effects make it High Magic. Saving throws against the effects of an N`Maernthor barrier are checked with a -10 penalty for N.Tel.Quess and a -6 for elves). Even if persons or structures of the realm are within sight of a stranger, these barriers divert most intruders. More powerful variants of this ritual can be placed within mythals, and these forcibly (yet imperceptibly) teleport intruders away from a homeland. Like the starshine ritual, this magic has a wizard's. variant available to certain royal elven personages across the Realms, which allows them to duplicate these effects on a limited basis. However, to build this magic, every capable elf within a settlement must participate in the dance that establishes the N`Mmaernthor. Not unlike hallucinatory terrain and mass suggestion, those not welcome in the realm can be diverted from finding the actual paths into an elven city.
- N`Tel`Orar/Corrosion/Erosion. By wrapping themselves and an area in the Weave and the natural forces that extend from it, the casters of this ritual can induce centuries of natural weathering forces upon the enclosed ritual area to erode buildings or other unnatural things. All that remains after this ritual is new soil consisting of soft loam. This ritual summons high winds, mists and rains, and light, abrasive silt. All these forces are focused on a four- sided area (maximum of 300. per side) within the ritual site. Under the total control of the casters (one for wind, one for debris and abrasives, one for water and rain), this wears down and disintegrates buildings of wood in one hour and those of stone in six to 1 hours. It is summoned only to break down structures, cleanse pollution of civilization, and restore the natural order of a place. It is always performed on abandoned elven sites if possible, elven ruins, therefore, tend to be places where the High Mages fell in battle or left the site before it could be cleansed. The wards on this ritual are strong due to the forces at work and should be considered Myriad wards.
- Oacil`Quevan/The Forms of Unity and Age Among the Forests. This ritual creates the many wondrous, massive forms of plant life seemingly indigenous to elven realms. It allows far more control and manipulation than standard plant control spells. The magics are permanent and grant casters the ability to make their work permanent beyond the lifespan of the plants through a petrification ritual. This ritual alters existing plant material and either petrifies it or shapes it into forms envisioned by the casters. One High Mage affects the growth and size of the plants, one determines the extent of the ritual site and the area of change, and a third High Mage reshapes and reforms the plant life to the shape desired. The maximum effect this spell can generate is the fusion into a single tree of a grove of trees with a cumulative branch-span of no more than 1,000 feet; in general, this spell creates monstrous hollowed or solid trees with trunks of up to 400í in diameter. This ritual also allows partial fusion of trees, allowing the lower trunks to remain separate but fusing the higher branches and trunks into large enclosures, such as the homes in Arethane. Effects and forms created by this ritual include impenetrable barriers of thorns and brambles within certain areas of Arethane, branches among the treetops strengthened and woven to provide a defensive barrier proof against all but the mightiest dragonís claws, trees with immense hollowed chambers for homes or multiple trees sharing a living wood community home high above the forest floor, petrified versions of the same (when the trees begin to die), or even petrified large mushrooms set in parks for use as seats for the weary.
- Quamaniith/The Vow Tangible. The Quamaniith ritual creates a tangible, solid stone object that both records and makes a promise solid. Should either party knowingly and willingly break the pledge, the object shatters, revealing to those who notice that a solemn oath has been broken. This ritual is a loosely structured rite that summons a physical symbol of a vow made during the casting. The vow itself is inherent to the symbol, and neither it nor the object can be marred or affected by any means less than divine, aside from one. Should either party involved in the vow intentionally and flagrantly break its word beyond the spirit of the agreement, the symbol shatters. The casting High Mages is not the folk involved in the vow, only in the binding of High Magic to the Vow Tangible and the thoughts and spirits of two or more representatives involved in the vow. The size of the physical symbol is relative to the number of people it encompasses, so a promise made among cities creates a boulder-sized symbol, while a vow between two friends creates a small fist-sized object. Most often, this ritual summons a stone plinth or slab of the relative sixes mentioned above, and the vow made in the ritual is carved somewhere upon it; the Standing Stone is the major example of a vowstone (or oathstone), its size relative to the two groups of people (Humans and elves of Arethane) involved in the vow through the three human representatives and the Valishar. If additional time is spent in ritual and either of the representatives has artistic skill, the vowstone can manifest as a figurine or statue rather than a formless rock with inscriptions. The common use for this ritual is to make it a part of a marriage rite among elves, creating an Aestar`Khol (.Marriage Stone.).
- Suyoll/The Revival. This ritual restores an elf's life, health, and harmony with the Weave. This is seen as an acceptance back into the community of elves, despite any changes that occur during the elfís life (or death). This ritual restores an elfís natural state, neutralizing all ill or unnatural effects upon him. It cancels curses of any nature other than those divinely placed (i.e., personally inflicted by a god) and spell effects such as petrification and polymorph. Suyoll allows the regrowth of full limbs, muscles, and organs (such as eyes, tongue, etc.). It also negates any magical or non-voluntary alignment changes. The most advanced form of this ritual involves the restoration of undead elves to a living state, as they were 100 years before their deaths or transformations. GMís Note: This ritual is rarely used; for the elves are a stubborn lot and forgiveness is not a virtue they practice often. Thus, any outcast elf or seriously injured elf is often perceived as pitiful or as a fool who learned his lesson for straying away from the path of elvenkind. However, great sacrifices made for sake of a clan or kingdoms are looked upon proudly, and the Suyoll is invoked to honour heroes who act in such interests. This ritual can even restore a Drow to status among the Tel`Quessir, though the ritual erases all powers (but not appearance) of the Drow (judge as a moon elf).
Rituals of Myriad
- Arrn`Tel`Orar/Storm Erosion. By wrapping all the High Mages of this casting in a near-solid ward, High Mages can weather away an entire city. Unlike the near-untamed forces of the N`Tel`Orar ritual, these forces find any unnatural states for living and nonliving matter and restore them to their most natural states. Stone buildings are reduced to the soil from whence they came, wooden buildings are reduced to seedling trees, and so on. This ritual effectively deconstructs and reduces all artificial constructs (including High Magic-altered trees) to their natural states. All buildings vanish, reduced to component matter. This ritual has no destructive effect on living matter such as plants, though it restores them to full natural health. Like the lesser N`Tel`Orar ritual, this ritual cleanses pollution by civilization and restores the natural order of a place. All that remains of an entire city (maxi- mum size is a 50-yard radius per High Mage; minimum size cannot be less than a 250-yard radius) is enriched soil (as well as surrounding plant life) and loam.
- Elaorman/Place from All Around and Nowhere, Home of Summoning. This ritual stakes out a ritual site, and the castings of five High Mages pull together rock and minerals or small seedlings and plants to grow a building. While far more advanced and detailed, this ritual creates a building from nothing as does Leomundís Secure Shelter the magic of the Elaorman ritual allows buildings to be creatively constructed, and the inherent magic of creation allows the structure to stand. Thus, buildings in the shapes of waves, monstrous spiders, or other strange, nonsensical configurations are supported by the Weave as if they had solid supports. If the Elaorman summons a stone structure, the area around the building becomes a very fertile patch of land for trees or crops, with all the larger, extraneous rocks removed from the soil. Large buildings can be created from plants as well, though the wood and plant matter calcifies and petrifies as part of this process, making it a nonliving permanent shape. This process also can be adapted to create the uniquely elven crystalline ships.
- N`Quor`Khaor/The Banishing, Binding Outside of the People's Lands. Just as the Ghaatiil ritual allows High Mages to create a spatial vortex between two points (a gate), this great ritual of at least nine High Mages both summons a physical form of an extra planar entity (such as a tanar`ri lord or a godly avatar) and binds it, setting certain limitations upon the target entity. In its least form, the ritual banishes the entity temporarily from the Realms, while the most advanced form of this ritual fully banishes the entity permanently from the Prime Material and confines said physical avatar in a subdimensional prison. All levels of binding must have one way to undo the binding set by the High Mages. Any extra planar creature or entity is bound to a certain place by directly anchoring said creature's avatar or Prime Material form to the Weave in that implicit spot. These bindings are physically unbreakable and immune to all magics including wish and other High Magics, even the influence of other gods. The avatar is bound and the creatureís influence is banished from the Realms and limited to his prison sub- dimension. There must always be a way to unlock the binding ritual, and the binding must be released at the exact site, not by far- away magics. Given the cost of a binding, it is understandable that the elves make the keys nigh-impossible stipulations; for instance, dissolving a bind through the efforts of a non-born child, by moistening with the tears of Kosset (the Lord of Elemental Fire), or via spells cost by the human son of a dwarf or elf. This is the most costly of rituals, since all casting High Mages are either consumed utterly or turned into baelnorn by this ritual. The god or creature is bound using the pure life force of the casting High Mages and any supporting members of the ritual. A correlation exists between sacrificed hit points and the strength of the binding: 400 hit points are needed to imprison any lesser extra planar creature or agent of a god, and at least 900 hit points to imprison godly avatars (900 for demigod, 1,200 for lesser, 1,600 for intermediate, 2,000 for greater). Supporters are sometimes necessary, since the ritual needs additional hit points worth of life-force from those supporters to finish the binding, though all hit points are drained first from the High Mages (their fates are accorded after the ritual). Legends say that a variant of this ritual performed by Corellon and his priests alongside the High Mages banished the Drow from the surface lands. This idea is dubious as their imprisonment is lax, though many believe their reduced power in sunlight is the nature of the binding.
- Uaul`Selu`Keryth/The Sundering, At War with the Weave. Used only during situations most dire, twelve High Mages can harness the energy of the Weave to cause it to fluctuate across a great distance. In lesser ritual forms, the Uaul`Selu`Keryth ritual disrupts all magic for miles around and causes great turmoil in weather and animal life; thunderstorms, earthquakes, dead magic, animal stampedes, and tornadoes are common. In its ultimate form, the Weave is temporarily torn asunder, and the damage is made manifest in major cataclysms and storms, tidal waves, and permanent changes to the lands of any planet. The exact working of this ritual is lost to all but two High Mages on The world; the Srinshee of Arethane is one of them. The long-lost Killing Storm magic is a by-product of this calamitous ritual, and involves the loss of life of all involved in the ritual including the twelve High Mages. This ritual has been invoked only once in the history of the elves on Otara, and the ensuing cataclysms broke up large landmasses to allow the creation of the Elven Islands. In crude effect, this is mimicked by earthquake and weather control spells. Upon leaming the High Magic and passing the first ten years of initiation, the new high magician learns to manipulate magical energies in a raw state, and to power them with his own elven blood as a vessel of arcane might. All of the following skills are spell-like abilities that the high magician can use as many times per day as he dares, for they are paid for in ability points. Each skill carries a different cost in temporary ability damage that, like the one incurred by casting augmented spells, is only healed by rest.
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