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Projection

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Image:Scroll2.png "I thank the gods for giving me enough sense to always use my left arm for Projection. It is only really good as a paperweight these days, and if that had been my right, chances are you would not be reading this manuscript."
- Vuld Shaik, "Magic and I"
Projection
Personal magic
Full nameProjection
AvailabilityThroughout Mizahar
Learned fromUsers
Key conceptProjecting one's astral body to perform tasks and combat
UsesTelekinesis, remote manipulation, damage, scouting and more
RisksPhysical and emotional trauma, nerve damage, death


Projection is a discipline of personal magic that allows the wizard to detach portions - generally the arms - or even the entirety of their astral body from their physical body thanks to the user's Djed. The astral body can thus be stretched to reach distant locations and perform remote tasks or even combat. The end result often looks like telekinesis or similar powers, though the user is still manipulating objects as they would with their physical body. The user surrenders control over the corresponding physical body part, which becomes limp and unusable as long as they are Projecting.

Contents

Overview

Projection is an ancient discipline. Together with Morphing and the Flux, it is considered to be part of a triad of disciplines related to the body and it is possible that the three were first developed by the same wizard circles. Unlike the other two, though, Projection is about the relationship between one's body and soul.

The astral body is the outermost layer of the soul of any living being. It is the only part of the soul that can interact with the physical world, and thanks to this ability the spirit can reside within a body, puppeteering it as desired. The discipline of Projection allows the user to forcibly detach and reattach parts of their astral body, using them to perform tasks beyond the reach of the physical body. The astral body can stretch much farther than the corresponding section of the physical body; for example, an arm's length can reach several meters away, or even many dozen meters in the case of very skilled users. Of course, the body part no longer occupied by the astral body becomes limp, as there is nothing transmitting orders to it until the astral body is reattached.

Just like the astral body can control one's body, it can interact with physical reality, though the Projector can choose to keep it intangible. Also, because the astral body is invisible to anyone without decent Auristics skills or other ways of detecting the unseen, the effects of Projection appear to originate without a cause. Note that, when the Projector stresses this power to its limit, the astral body may indeed become visible as a faint glowing outline for others to see, among other side effects.

The quality and scope of manipulations possible through Projection depends on the user's skill. Beginners usually accomplish minor acts of telekinesis, lifting and moving small objects. Intermediate users acquire finer motor control as well higher accuracy, strength and range and may be able to use Projection to land kinetic blows in combat. Advanced Projectors are skilled enough to wield a sword or another tool remotely. Particularly skilled wizards have been known to deflect arrows, operate complex mechanisms from a long distance, and even cut limbs with the sheer pressure of their astral bodies. Some wizards use this discipline to deliver magical projectiles to their foes, for example a fireball made with Reimancy. Also, a select few are able to absorb their physical body into the astral, turning themselves into a purely energetic being called Overbody for a short duration.

Much like any other form of personal magic, Projection is a dangerous path to undertake, as it stresses the synchronized relationship between mind and body. The act of abusing the ability beyond one's natural limits, usually called overgiving in personal magic, can lead to many side effects both temporary and permanent. At best, the user has trouble reattaching the astral body and the two are out of sync for a while; in the worst case, the user's soul finds itself banished from the physical body, resulting in the wizard's death or transformation into an incorporeal undead being.

Detaching

The first task in Projection is detaching the astral body from the physical. This is done by concentrating on one's Djed and using it to forcibly push a section of astral body out. There are two major ways to go about this - depending on whether one wishes to start from the extremities or the inner edge of detachment (usually the wrist, elbow or shoulder). The former method is faster as it mostly consists of "ripping" the astral body away from the flesh, but it also carries a larger risk of lasting nerve trauma. This method only takes seconds, and is the one used in a pinch, but it can be painful and uncomfortable. The second method is less intuitive and can take minutes, however it tends to be safer; instead of tearing the astral body off, the wizard slowly dislodges it starting from the larger joints and moving to the extremities.

Once a section of the astral body is out, the user stops feeling the corresponding body part, and also stops being able to control its movements. Involuntary movements not controlled by the brain (such as heartbeat, breathing, internal organs, etc.) still take place, allowing the body to survive even without a soul inside it.

A detached astral body starts out with approximately the same shape it occupied before. Lesser wizards will not be able to change this, and will be limited to simply manipulating the world around with ethereal hands and feet, but more skilled Projectors can reshape their astral bodies almost at will. Masters can turn it into anything, ranging from blades to additional limbs and tentacles for whatever purpose they are needed.

Stretching factor for an astral body grows with the wizard's skill. A novice may only be able to extend it around 2-3 times as much as the physical body, but a master could outperform that novice by a factor of 100. In the end, distance is not really the limit as much as usable distance; as there is a lag between an order and its execution that grows with distance (much like in the physical body), there comes a point when an order takes seconds to reach its destination and becomes useless for most applications. The wizard's speed, force and endurance and fine motor control with Projected parts also grow with skill. The astral body needs to be trained much like a real muscle would; with practice, the amount of actions it can perform increases, as well as the accuracy with which actions are carried out.

The strength of Projected limbs does not depend on the wizard's strength. One can be exceedingly muscular and still be poor at Projection, resulting in weak magic, whereas a sickly thin man can possess very forceful Projection. All races stand on equal ground as far as this aspect of Projection is concerned.

Beginners are usually advised against detaching the head, as it may hamper their ability to concentrate on magic (and consequently their ability to reattach themselves). More advanced Projectors do so, sometimes for reconnaissance purposes. More often, though, these wizards will perform a full detachment, completely leaving the body for a while. Of course, the body will become comatose and helpless, as well as a prime target for possession. In general, the fully detached form is more suitable for exploration than for actual confrontations, due to the larger Djed strain from Projecting the whole body.

A detached body can touch and hit ethereal creatures. The opposite is also true, and these creatures can hit and injure Projected body parts.

Attaching

Once the wizard has finished making use of Projection, they will want to reattach the body. Not only does keeping the astral body out consume precious Djed, but the longer it stays out, the longer it takes to do the attaching. The process is exactly the opposite to detachment, with two methods, a faster one gluing the body starting from the joint and towards the extremities and a slower one that fixes the extremities and moves up towards the joints. The faster one carries a larger risk of incomplete reattaching than the second. Rough attachment can cause numbness and pain, and nerve damage in the long run.

Projectors often aid themselves by drawing Glyphing symbols on the major joints they wish to Project; this eases up both tasks of detaching and reattaching the astral body. It is to be noted that Projectors defend their bodies fiercely, as loss of a limb will prevent them from Projecting that limb, as well.

Overbody

Overbody is the ultimate technique of master Projectors. They are able to wrap their astral body around the physical thousands of times, releasing such an amount of power that it becomes pure energy for a duration. An Overbody is glowing, fluid like water, and can be stretched across large distances, just like in normal Projection. It is also etheral and can float above ground level, thus protecting the wizard in ways his normal body couldn't. Just like most dramatic transformations, an Overbody is a highly taxing form only to be used as a last resort.

Learning

Learning Projection requires an expert-level wizard - unlike other disciplines, it cannot be learned through simple meditation and introspection. The mentor carefully causes the disciple's astral body to first detach with their own Projection. Little by little, the wizard pulls the student's soul out, which can take considerable time, and then slides it back into place, being careful not to damage it. From this moment on, the newborn Projector can access his new powers through simple willpower and mental manipulation, much like all personal magic, aiding himself with gestures and incantations if he feels the need to.

Risks

The main risks with Projection lie in hasty or poorly performed detachment or attachment. While a single episode of carelessness will only rarely cause more than temporary pain, discomfort and numbness, repeated abuse can lead to long-term damage. Loss of mobility, either partial or total, in the affected limb is the most common consequence, followed by spasms, involuntary movements, and synchronization failures (e.g. the wizard tries to move his leg to the left and it will actually move to his right).

Overgiving carries more dramatic effects, but short of abusing the Overbody it is difficult to get there as using Projection becomes harder and harder as exhaustion piles up. Much like overexerting a physical muscle, the Projected part will start feeling heavier and less responsive, making it difficult to even move at all in severe cases. Should one try to break the limit, though, paralysis and death become much more of a possibility. In some rare cases, the wizard is forever expelled from his own body and instantly turns into an ethereal undead or ghost.

Progression

Novice (1-25)
The Projector can perform basic tasks with sufficient accuracy. His Projection reach extends his physical one by about 3 or 4 times (for humans this means about 3-4 meters), and he can apply a very limited amount of force, for a limited amount of time. A typical application would be picking up a small item, activating a switch, or flipping a coin.
Competent (26-50)
With more experience, the Projector increases his reach to about 10 or 15 arm's lengths, while being able to perform more complex interactions. His power has increased to the point where he can throw a somewhat effective Projected punch if desired. He can maneuver larger and heavier items around - up to several pounds. Typical applications include stealing a money pouch, throwing or dropping rocks, tripping an attacker.
Expert (51-75)
The expert has gained an intimate knowledge of Projection. While lesser wizards Project ethereal versions of their limbs, the expert can transform them into shapes that are more suitable for the intended use. For example, he can turn an arm into six smaller tentacles for picking up as many items at the same time (of course, power is split accordingly). Range increases to 25-30 times his physical reach, and he can lift what the average human would be able to lift with the corresponding limb. He can do full body detachments. Applications include wielding a sword, playing the piano remotely, or grappling a running foe.
Master (76-100)
An incredibly skilled wizard, the master has no hard limits on what he can accomplish. His range is typically hundreds of meters, and is only limited by the lag in using Projection from such distances. He can move large objects and transform his Projected parts into almost anything, including sharp edges. He can unlock the Overbody. Applications include deflecting arrows, cutting an opponent, or lifting a wagon into the air.


Part of a series of articles on Magic
Concepts Magic · Magic list · Djed · Personal magic · Gnosis · World magic
Personal magic Auristics · Familiary · Flux · Hypnotism · Leeching · Morphing · Projection · Reimancy · Voiding · Shielding
Gnosis Gnosis · Gnosis list· Gnosis Marks · Religion
World magic Alchemy · Animation · Glyphing · Magecraft · Malediction · Summoning · Spiritism · Webbing
Magic in Society Magic academies · Magic factions · Famous wizards
Lost Disciplines Architectrix · Dominion · Pathfinding · Static · Sensing
Other Antimagic · Paramagic · Wizard psychology