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Shielding

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Image:Scroll2.png "It is a natural course of life that when something is invented, like Reimancy, something else is invented to counter it."
- Zantar – Master Shielder, Suvan Empire
Shielding
Personal magic
Full nameShielding
AvailabilityMizahar Wide
Learned fromMentoring, Books, Self-Discovery
Key conceptCreating Shields of Djed
UsesBlocking Djed, Creating Protective Spheres, Personal Protection, Structural Protection
RisksLow: Mild Overgiving.


Shielding is a discipline of Personal magic that allows the user to weave djed into very specific three-dimensional barriers that serve the primary purpose of blocking foreign djed from passing through these barriers so as to protect objects and people within from the effects foreign djed can produce. Shielding is a three-dimensional art form. Shields have size, shape, thickness and even those placed over a doorway or window have length, width, and thickness. Shielders must always think in three dimensions in regards to what they protect. Novice shielders may not be able to protect an entire structure, so they will instead shield doors, windows, and all entrances and exits. A shielded chimney, for example, will protect against djed penetrating it, but still allow smoke to escape. A multifunctional shield, however, can block not only djed but perhaps light or sound as well. Shielders design shields for a variety of reasons. Some use them as wards to protect their workrooms so they can experiment in peace without the worry of their reimancy experiments burning down their homes. Others cast shields for the ultimate form of privacy using them to block not only djed but sound from escaping a given space.

Shields have a variety and almost range of unlimited purposes. First and foremost, however, Shields are used to block the passage of djed across their spaces. They can be functionally designed to allow djed in but not out, out but not in, or completely block the passage of djed from both sides. All shields primarily block djed as an initial function. Through layering and tasking, shielding mages can then secondarily and tertiary task shields to do many other things like block weapons or people from passing through shields. The range and expanse of what shields can block depends on the caster and their level plus their inherent talent and ability with shields.

Contents

History

Shielding has been around a long time. Some of the most fantastical and powerful shields predate the Valterrian and encompass the scope and breath of ancient sites to a degree rarely seen in modern Mizahar. Shielding is suspected to be one of the most ancient art forms and may indeed be a remnant magic from other more specialized forms of lost disciplines. Shieldings survival, undoubtedly, has resulted from the sheer practicality of the discipline and its current and most popular usage of protecting mages laboratories and workshops. During the Valterrian, many shielders found their art forms completely necessary since at the more advanced stages they were able to task shields to block dangerous gasses found beneath the surface of Mizahar and allow only fresh clean air into spaces people occupied. Perhaps some of the more heroic efforts to save people in the part of mages during the Valterrian were on the part of Shielders. Able to filter out water, heat, dangerous fumes, and even unsavory people – talented shielders saved lives and were responsible for keeping those who managed to survive the initial onslaught of natural fury free from further dangers so long as they were smart enough to anticipate dangers far enough ahead of time to weave shields against them.

One of the more popular tasking for expert shielders is to weave into their shields a bit of biological material from predators such as cave bears or velispar and then task their shields to absolutely keep out anything related to the biological material. In these weavings, bears were then barred from the sanctuary of people (and of course anyone trying to enter wearing a bearskin cloak too!). Secret sects also learned the art of weaving their own biological material (mainly djed) into individual shields and then tasking shields to only allow people who were part of the initial weave to pass through the shield or violate it by say opening the cover of a book heavily shielded.

Throughout conflict and strife, shielding has definitely evolved, changed, and adapted to suit the needs of shielders everywhere. It will continue to do so throughout Mizahar, especially as the skill and expertise of modern day shielders grow.

Creating Shields

Shields can be cast on one’s body easily enough.

Shielders create shields in a variety of ways. Some extrude djed that they then weave into a sort of magical fabric that covers their own bodies, doorways, or even other objects. Some Shielders cast shields by painting on djed like a master painter would, creating layer after layer until the shield is the size and consistency they desire. Others form shields as one would manipulate a gas like breath, breathing out the djed and forcing it to surround an object like a fog or dense cloud. Regardless of how the shield is formed, the casting time varies wildly depending on level, size, shape, and purpose (often called ‘task’). Some mages are faster than others, taking a great deal of time to do the smallest most meticulous shield while others throw up wildly erratic shields of varying thickness and density. The shield is definitely a product of the time put into it. A hurried shield will have variation in size, thickness, and consistency. It may even have gaps in tasking should the shield be charged to do something other than absorb or deflect djed. Carefully constructed shields cast by talented well trained shielders will have identical size, thickness, and consistency all throughout its structure.

True masters control all aspects of the formation of a shield, weaving interlocking strands of djed into almost armor-like chain mail that overlaps and protects. The thicker and more carefully a shield is cast, the more effective it is. Longevity of shields also has a great deal to do with the effort put into casting a shield.

Shields can be cast by one individual and most often are. However, group shields are not uncommon when it comes to such places as temples and secret sect locations. Group shields are often stronger than individual shields can be together, though no shield can ever surpass the strength of the most skilled Shielder involved in the casting.


Learning Shielding

Many ancient temples are guarded by shields at their entrances

Shielding isn’t a difficult discipline to learn. It most often is taught out of necessity by other disciplines who like to see their students protected while learning new art forms, especially reimancy. Books commonly have been written on the subject of shielding. And truthfully mentors aren’t hard to find. One can even self-discover the ability to shield and hone the skill after multiple efforts. Often shielding mages learn how to create additional types of shields and deepen their art by discovering ancient shields of their level or lower which they can then study and pick apart to determine how mages of the past cast them.

In terms of shielding, because this form of magic is so passive rather than active or aggressive, it is very difficult to overgive when using this discipline. The shielder simply runs out of the ability to finish the weave of a shield as they run out of djed to use to power up their shields. And unless djed strikes and is absorbed in their shield, which then becomes ‘free djed’ to weave into additional space, they simply can’t continue shielding or spread their shields out over greater areas.

The Appearance of Shields

Shields are completely invisible and unseen. They may shimmer briefly and become visible momentarily as they absorb impacts from other djed, people, weapons, and indeed any substance or thing they are tasked to keep out. A shielder well versed in shielding can see a shield that has been produced by a shielder that is of his level or below. Shielders cannot see shields that are created by shielders that are higher level than they are. When visible through impact or training, a shield can appear in all sorts of manners. Each shielder will cast a shield that is slightly different in color, texture, and indeed weave. To those that study shields, one is as distinctive as a fingerprint. If a shielding mage’s work is known, then his work can often be identified from shield to shield, because once a mage learns shielding, his shields will always be the same in appearance, color, and consistency even though shields vary between individuals and in their tasks. They are indeed ‘signatures’ of their casters and often survive long after their makers are gone.

It is important to note that while shields are arcane in nature, the djed within them is considered a living entity unto itself – a part of the soul of the caster. Shields can grow, adapt and even learn the older and more ‘maintained’ they are. If they are neglected and forgotten they can equally deteriorate and become more ‘frail’ and less likely to protect against whatever they were cast and tasked to initially.


Tasking & Stacking Shields

A novice shielder working on a dagger.

Shields, when they are cast, are ‘tasked’ with a purpose. Every shield ever cast is tasked with the purpose of blocking or absorbing djed. Shielders learn this art form first and foremost. Then, later, shielders will learn how to weave shields that can block senses such as sight, smell, or sound. When a shield blocks a sense, there is no ‘invisibility’ to that sense. So a shield that blocks sight will not make an object appear to ‘disappear’ or be ‘invisible’. Instead will simply tend to be black and lack complete detail. Shielded windows and doors that block visibility appear black for example. Sound blocking shields creates a field of noticeable silence that will feel unnatural in its immediate vicinity. The same holds true of other sense blocking shields. They create an utterly artificial scenario that feels unnatural to those in close proximity.

At competent levels, Shielders can task their shields so that they not only block djed but absorb that djed and incorporate it into their own weave automatically strengthening it and creating a perpetual self-supporting magic. Even more advanced, shielders can learn to weave complex shields that will stop other things besides djed. Most common among these things are biologically tasked shields where in a Shielder will weave in a bit of biological material (hair, blood, tissue) and either task a shield to keep ‘all of that type’ out of its boundaries or allow ‘only that type’ into its boundaries. Shields can be as generic as ‘keep humans out’ or as specific as ‘allow only this human in’. The tasking is all up to the shielder.

Tasking involving blocking senses is not for the novice but can be practiced by competent shielders. They must simply add a drop of their blood to the shield while visualizing and holding the sense they are interested in tasking into the shield in their mind as they weave the shield.

Weapons blocking capabilities are common weaves for competent shielders on up and each specific type of weapons needs to be woven into the shield. For example, a shielder can weave a shield that they either form around them (which takes time and is complex) that blocks ‘blunt weapons’ like maces or ‘projectiles’ like arrows but not both unless they stack two completely different shields on top of each other. Far more practical would be a shielded leather vest that is not only djed absorbing but secondarily tasked with the purpose of ‘stopping bladed weapons’ such as swords and daggers. A tasked shield that’s primary purpose is to stop weapons will only stop a weapon that is wielded at a skill beneath the level of the shielder’s shielding skill. For example, a shielder wearing a vest that blocks ‘projectiles’ like arrows who cast his or her shield at level 50 in shielding cannot stop a level 51 archer from piercing their shields. They will, however, easily stop a level 15 archer’s arrows.

Even the smallest shields can have the greatest impact.


Stacking is a term used by Shielders to demote numerous shields woven on top of each other for a layered effect. Shielding is restrictive in that lower level shielders can only weave one or two functions into a shield. They get around this fact by stacking shields on top of each other, thus doubling the ability to shield against certain things. There is some debate among advanced shielders whether a stacked shield is stronger or weaker than a multiple tasked shield is. Shielders must stack shields at times, though this is considered inferior to multiple tasking. expert shielders and masters most always prefer to multitask shields at higher levels.

Vulnerabilities & Restrictions

All effectiveness in shields is determined by the caster’s level of shielding verses the level of the individual attempting to penetrate said shield. If a level 15 shielder shields a set of gloves against djed which is about all they can do at novice level, if a level 25 fire reimancer casts a fireball at them, their gloves will have their shield burned through instantaneously. If a level 53 shielder has a similarly shielded the same gloves and that same level 25 reimancer casts a fireball at them, the level 53 shielder will have no trouble absorbing or deflecting that djed attack (whereas the level 15 could not) and protecting themselves against fire.

This leads us to tasked shields. If a shield is tasked to keep a human of any sort from using a doorway by a level 32 Shielder, they may attempt to use an attack of some sort (unarmed combat, brawl, tumbling?) to penetrate that shield one time. Tasked shields are far stronger than simple djed blocking shields, so depending upon how often that shield has absorbed djed (and grown stronger) or how long it has been in place (deterioration) without maintenance, the tasked target may penetrate. Generally speaking they have a 50% chance of success if their skill at whatever skill they use is higher than the caster of the shield. This success might be adjusted higher or lower by a moderator depending upon the growth or deterioration of the skill. A failed attempt will result in a shield strengthening against that attack and making it impossible to penetrate thereafter.

At lower levels, shielders can only task a shield with a singular task. Nor can they stack shields for extra strength and durability. Later, shields can be stacked effectively to add strength and protection to the shielders’ weave.

A shield can only be made around an object such as a person, and is never a stand alone construct. A shield can never have a shape different to the object it's made/layered over. As such, unless by some stretch or special reasoning an object (or person) that is shielded can be stored in a glyph, shields themselves cannot singularly be placed in Glyphs for storage. Shields cannot be voided unless the object they are woven on is.

In terms of leechers, Shields are very vulnerable. While a leecher can’t actively see a shield until it flares or a leecher inadvertently runs into a shield, once a shield is identified it is not hard for a leecher to tap into it and drain it dry. The leecher, of course, has to be of a higher level than the shield itself to drain it.

Wear And Tear On Shields

To those that can see them, shields can be beautiful things.


As stated before, Shields do have a shelf-life. They can last incredibly long periods of time if they are maintained or if they are constantly bombarded by lower level djed that feeds them and acts like maintenance. Shielders need only check their shields periodically to maintain them, adding djed and fleshing out areas in a shield that may have become weak or susceptible by repeated use.

Deterioration of shields are common, especially among ancient shields found mostly in ruins and on artifacts. If shields do not come into contact with djed to ‘refresh’ them on a regular basis then they slowly decay over time. Some experts claim that a well-casted shield will deteriorate one level per year without maintenance. This means that shields well over a hundred years old have had regular infusions of djed (even inadvertently – wild djed can feed relics or ruin shields easily enough) to survive. A shield cast by a level 78 shielder and then not maintained will degrade one level per year until 78 years have passed and then the shield will exist no longer. If a shield degrades a full level, it can loose tasking, it can loose stacking abilities, and finally loose the ability altogether to absorb djed. If a deteriorated shield comes in contact with a djed source to refresh it, so long as it hasn’t deteriorated past the level it can absorb djed (25), it can refresh itself all the way back up to level 78 with prolonged contact to djed.

For this reason, shielders often ‘recharge’ shields they find in ancient places in order to study the weave and how the shield was cast. This is a popular way to expand a shielding skill. Many an annoyed shielder has inadvertently charged a shield they’ve discovered up past their level and ability to view it by feeding it Djed and restoring it to its former higher levels.

Combining Shields With Other Magic & Gnosis

Shields can be combined with other forms of magic in regards to ‘tasking’. For example, a shield woven with the gnosis of Ionu could provide invisibility or illusion or guard against it. One woven with the gnosis of Azenth could flare with a bright flame when someone with a strong emotion tries to pass. Not all gnosis or magic can be woven into a shield, but historically shielders have been very creative with their tasking uses.


Progression

Novice (1-25)
Novice shielders frankly have a lot of issues with their shields. At this stage, they are simply learning how to extrude djed, form it, and then surround objects (both living and inanimate) with it. They can purpose djed easily enough, tasking it with screening out sound, or blocking sunlight. However, their shields are always imperfect with varying thickness and complexity. They cannot weave permanent shields nor can they leave a shield in place and have it remain in existence for very long. Shields at this level can only do one thing at a time. Shielders can task against things like water, a specific metal or material as long as they add that material into the shield as its created. Shielders cannot stack shields at this level. At this level, shields block djed rather than absorb it. The size of a shield at this level generally remains small, no more than the mass of the caster’s total body volume. It takes a great deal of time for a shielder to cast at this level, as they must meditate and seek inner quiet to perform the spell and task the shield.
Competent (26-50)
At competent levels, Shielders can begin to have more uniform shields and their shielding ability begins to truly expand exponentially. They tend to get the thickness, consistency, and tasking more firmly set creating far stronger shields. Shields at this level can generally do two things at once, generally blocking djed and doing one other task at the same time – most commonly absorbing djed or blocking out one sense. Shields that block senses can be cast at this time, eliminating sight, smell, touch, or taste. Biological tasking at this point is possible as well. Shielders cannot stack shields at this level, though their shields do begin to absorb djed and incorporate it into their weaves rather than simply deflect or block djed which can be incredibly damaging to the shields themselves. Absorbed djed adds to the strength of shields, making them even stronger the more djed they gather. The size and fixation of a shield at this level grows exponentially. They can remain long after the shielder has left, fending for themselves by absorbing djed to maintain their integrity. Shielders at this level can shield whole encampments so long as they are not too big, and can definitely ward buildings and multiple structures and areas that extend into five acres or less. Casting at this level is smoother, taking only a few minutes to erect if one is not already present. Multiple shielder weaves are possible at this level also.
Expert (51-75)
At this level, a shielder truly becomes incredibly powerful. Not only can they task shields in numerous ways, but they can stack shields on top of shields to form impressive barriers of all sorts. Shields can do upwards of five things at once in terms of being tasked. They can also be stacked on top of each other so that two shields can almost act like one. Biologicals, other forms of magic, gnosis, and all sorts of other types of tasks can be incorporated. Shields can extend for a mile and encompass a number of things within that area. At this level, shields can also be erected instantaneously though it takes time to extend a shield outward for its needed distance so long as the magic user has djed stored or available for the task. At this level, weapons and other intrusive mechanisms can be blocked effectively as well.
Master (76-100)
True Master Shield Mages have no size or distance limitations. They can stack multiple shields and task them infinite numbers of times. They must still have the djed available to do so, which rather self-limits shielders at this level from doing a whole lot more than a level three shielder could. Where this level becomes significant is in group castings. Completely huge and intensely complex shields can be cast by entire groups of shielders that are unbelievably powerful and impenetrable. Shielders at this level are rare and most of the shields that are found at this level incredibly predate the Valterrian.



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