Canaan stood over his fallen foe, 6th round of the tournament won! Thank Pelor for that protective enchantment he bought off the wandering merchant. All Canaan needed to do now was face off against one more fighter, and the tournament money would be his. He had no doubt his enchanted armor would yet again push the enemy’s blade past his skin.
Canaan ignored the announcer, focused entirely on his final foe as he entered the ring. He seemed different to the others, much more…ragged. Unkempt beard, bristling like a tiny uneven bush. Grime smeared over his exposed chest. Even his sword looked rusty and mostly useless.
A horn sounded, the fight could now begin! Canaan held back, knowing his opponent would rush forward and expose himself to a counter attack once his weapon bounced off Canaan without drawing blood. But this time was different; the bearded hobo did run at Canaan, but this time with both arms outstretched, as though to embrace him.
Canaan blinked in confusion, why was this hobo screaming nonsense at him?
The hobo stabbed, and Canaan moved to counter attack. Except he didn’t. Canaan tried to move but found his body unresponsive. He looked down to see the Hobo’s rusty sword had impaled him straight through the chest. As the world went dark Canaan wondered whether the nonsensical words had somehow removed his protection.
Origins of the spell Edit
Spellcasting works by reshaping the magical energies of the world into specific patterns; this in turn brings about the desired semantic effects of the spell caster. This threading of magic has many names, some call it modelling mana, some call it weaving the fabric of magic, and others call it shaping the waves.
Most spellcasters (from here referred to as mages regardless of their magical tradition) first learn spellcasting by shaping small cantrips, perhaps by making energies align to release light or to restructure the shape of air to create false sounds. The more skilled (and in fact the more malicious) among beginner peer groups learn they can destroy their brethren’s magical creations and in turn make their accomplishments look greater. Disruption of simple cantrips is as easy as reshaping their magic to make said cantrips lose the order that sustained them.
But magic has a mind of its own – as soon as greater energies (and thus greater orders) are imposed on background magic, simple reshaping isn’t enough to disrupt the spell. The magic will realign to continue to produce the same effect that the mage initially cast. As soon as a spell slot is used in the casting of a spell, strong chaos is needed to overcome this natural rebalancing, a literal paradox of controlled chaos in fact.
This is the ‘spell’ called dispel magic. Not a spell, but an anti-spell.
Casting the spell Edit
Dispel magic is by its nature very individual to the caster. One mage might find they try to feel for the shape of the spell they wish to undo, and reshape part of the weave to the exact opposite of its previous shape. The self-balancing efforts of two spells with opposing effects would then cancel down to nothing. Another mage might find they try to cast an identical spell that is out of synchronisation with the effect they wish to dispel. This asynchronicity interferes with the spells attempt to right itself and eventually scatters the magic back into background. Most commonly however the mage learns to dispel magic by casting a packet of unshaped willpower directly into the centre of the magical effect they wish to undo. This rough and chaotic cluster of magic disrupts the order of the spell, causing it to fade away.
The spell requires two components: verbal and somatic. The precise components depend on how you learnt dispel magic. For the most common version (complete chaos) the verbal component is to loudly shout out gibberish. It is hard to pin down exactly what this entails, but compiled observations have noted that a variety of phonemes and phones [as in phonetics] over a few seconds seem to be present in successful castings. The somatic requirement is often to outstretch one’s arms, hands and fingers, as though one is forming a tunnel between the casters head (or other source of the verbal component) and the target of the dispel.
Other forms of dispel magic use components based on the original spells, for the reversal style the mage must reverse any incantations and gestures, whilst the asynchronicity style must use the verbal and somatic components out of order.
Usage of the spell Edit
The dispel magic ‘spell’ can be used to target a creature, magical effect or magical object within range. All weak enough spell effects are removed from the target (stronger spells are more likely to self-correct and not be dispelled). It should be noted that due to its disruptive nature, both harmful and beneficial spells will be dispelled.
Only on-going spell effects are removed, any effects from instantaneous spells will remain unchanged. For example if a witch hexes a person to be clumsy, the ongoing hex spell could be dispelled. If however a witch curses a person to be hideous, using magic to warp their face, then dispel magic would have no effect, because the magic went away once the warping was complete.
If dispel magic is used on a magical item (one that has been imbued with magical power, rather than simply affected by a spell), then dispel magic may be used to temporarily disrupt its effects, the duration of which depends on the level of dispel magic used and the skill of the mage.
Lastly, some spells are by their very nature far too ordered to dispel, mages know to watch out for these as they can be used to trap the unprepared.