Post:On Refractive Field - 1/29/2009 - 4:11:11

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Re: On Refractive Field · on 1/29/2009 4:11:11 AM 2266
Invisibility is one of the classics of magic, right up there with the fire ball and the divine blessing. Each of the signatories of the Lunar Accord came to the guild with their own slant on hiding the profound mysteries from the eyes of the uninitiated (as the Followers liked to refer to their liquor cabinets), ranging from cloaks of engulfing darkness to charms that befuddled the senses.

Each of the original methods had a flaw. Until Erzebet Crowther refined the pattern, the use of Shadows had a yearly body count. The Council forbade further use of the Visage of Unbidden Joy spell after the cannibalistic self-annihilation of a hamlet was linked to a G'nar Pethian quietly passing through (the G'nar Pethian was understandably shocked and saddened by the incident, and counseled use of it as a reminder that everyone must free their minds from worldly lusts).

Light manipulation became an early favorite for a new approach, since psychic magic proved too unreliable and weak for the effort required to generate the effect. While some adventurers claim thieves have developed techniques to "think" themselves gone from the world, the researchers of the Moon Mage Guild rightly point out that this notion is a preposterous violation of physics. Besides, guttersnipes and common thugs certainly couldn't master mental techniques that elude learned mages.

Early attempts to generate an invisibility field exposed unexpected problems with the technique. While light could easily be bent and transduced with Lunar magic, it was irreparably altered in the process. Effort toward Refractive Field almost came to an end after a highly anticipated "perfect field" did, indeed, turn the magician invisible -- and tinted all the light that passed through it noticeably toward blue, regardless of Xibar's state.

The modern Refractive Field spell is a refinement of the less-than-perfect field. Fine-tuning the qualities of the field resulted in true color, while expanding the pattern with error-correcting structures reduced the visible distortion it created. Unfortunately, this resulted in an "expensive" spell. While the Moon Mage Guild does not, as a general rule, fund research into held mana techniques, the guild accountants refused to truck with a spell that required 720 mana streams every 15 minutes.

Perfect invisibility was never achieved. The modern pattern produces tiny but persistent distortions, which look like the shimmer of blistering heat. In addition, rapid and violent movement change the magician's position faster than the spell can correct, creating an obvious blur of misplaced colors in the process.

Both these anomalies can be worrisomely obvious when someone's attention is drawn to them, but fly below the average person's perceptual radar otherwise. In addition, there are two other redeeming qualities to the spell design. First, its constant activity means that errors are continually being corrected (and new ones created). There is no single, distinct feature of the field to track; even blinking at the wrong moment can make an observer lose sight of it.

Finally, wise Moon Mages remember that even perfect invisibility wouldn't be everything. Past a certain perceptual threshold, the quiet tap of a magician's shoe, the stir of the air as he passes, or even the odor of his flesh will give him away. Even equipped with the perfect field, Moon Mages would need to be prudent and cautious to avoid detection -- so, they reckon, why lament an inevitable feature of the spell?


This message was originally posted in The Moon Mages (24) / Guild Events (8), by DR-ARMIFER on the forums.