Kiarrcats of Ryll

Magic

Magic is an inborn, innate ability of all kiarrcats, a part of their being. Though some may be stronger than others, no kiarr is without it. A kiarrcat's magic does not consist of set, named spells or moves, but is instead focused around allowing them to manipulate their native environment. Exactly what a kiarr can do is determined by their species.

Most kiarrcats stick to an average level of magical skill, enough to allow survival techniques such as building small shelters and finding food, and will team up with others to carry out large projects. Gaining more skill in magic is hard to do. It has its rewards, as a highly skilled user can produce awesome results, but takes plenty of time, study, and effort. (To give a real world example, knowing how to drive is a common and important skill amongst modern humans, but very few of us will ever become champion racecar drivers.)

Forest kiarcat using magic

A rough guide to magical skill levels is described below. Note that this is not a strict in-universe tier list. Kiarrcats don't have "levels" like in a videogame, and they may or may not not use these terms to describe themselves, but for the purpose of character creation and comparison, some kind of scale helps clarify matters.

All magic users, from the weakest to the most powerful Archetypes, are also bound by physics. A magic user may not create or destroy matter, only work with what is there and around them. A Water kiarrcat in a desert, for example, is out of luck without a handy oasis to work with. This is one way to negate magic - another is to immobilise the caster, as magic use relies on gesture and motion. Kiarrcats describe this movement as allowing their own natural energies to flow from their bodies into the material to be transformed. Magic use is also tiring, just like fighting with teeth and claws.

Kiarrcat magic is frequently mistaken for elemental magic, but it's not the case. It's true their magic has a slight elemental bent to it, but it isn't strictly speaking the same. True elemental magic does not exist on Ryll. There is something of an overlap between the different species' magic (e.g. both Mountains and Polars can manipulate snow, as they both live in areas where there's a lot of it), which gives them some versatility when travelling out of their preferred habitat.


Species abilities

These are just examples of what a character might be able to do. The system is flexible, so use your imagination!

Forest

Plants and trees: sculpt living wood, encourage of discourage the growth of a specific species, breed plants to encourage specific traits (tasty fruit, medicines etc), ensnare an enemy with vines...

Mountain

Rock and snow: sculpt rock, carve caves, hurl stones through the air, trap an enemy in rock, create earthquakes (high skill only!) shape snow, melt snow (to create drinkable water, clear a path, etc)...

Polar

Ice and snow: similar to a Mountain's snow-based abilities, also sculpt ice, imprison an enemy in ice, freeze water...

Water

Water (oddly enough): heat or cool water, divert its flow (irrigate fields etc), propel watercraft, swim efficiently, drown an enemy...

Grassland

Grass and earth - plant manipulation abilities similar to Forests, but more grass-orientated (breed, sculpt, encourage/discourage growth etc), also carve dens in the ground, throw earth, raise earthworks...

Savannah

Grass and fire - grass based abilities as with Grasslands, also create and control fire, divert wildfires, attach with fireballs, cook food, fire pottery...

Desert

Sand, rock, light: similar rock abilities to Mountains, also sand abilities (cause or shelter from sandstorms, create quicksand effects etc) also light up dark places, create illusions...

Rainforest

Plants, trees, water: similar to Forest abilities due to similar habitat, but with tropical species, also some water based magic (albeit not as strong as Water kiarrs).

Air

Air: direct or still air flow (good for keeping warm!) suck air from an enemy's lungs, solidify air, command weather (high skilled abilities only), levitate objects...

Cave

Rock, metal, gems: similar to Mountain rock abilities, also find metal/gems, sculpt metal, cut gems...

Halfbreeds

Halfbreed kiarrcats will have magic from both parents, but can never go beyond average ability as they're split between the two. This is non-negotiable. (The purpose of this limitation is to avoid overpowered hybrid characters, which was a problem in some of the old RPGs this setting was inspired by. The lower skill level available to hybrid characters should be balanced out by the wider range of magic available to them.)


Other abilities

Animals

In addition to environmental control, a kiarrcat can command the animals of their native habitat - usually small ones, unless they've gone beyond average use - for the purpose of finding prey. More skilled users can command larger and more powerful creatures - a group of very powerful users could command a whole herd of grazers - but this is very difficult to do.

Overuse of this ability can cause burnout, as the animals become habituated to the call and no longer heed it, so it is wise not to abuse this form of magic.

Talents

There are other forms of magic that any kiarrcat can have. Such talents are inborn and cannot be learned, though an individual with one can study and raise their skill level as with their natural magic. Talents are very rare. Some examples are:

  • Healing: close wounds or cure illnesses. This talent seems to work by accelerating the body's natural healing abilities and immune response. It cannot restore missing body parts - if you lose a limb, eye, etc, it's gone for good. Not even the most skilled healers can get past this barrier. This is one of the more common talents, but still rare.
  • Precognition: see or understand something that may be about to happen. Note this doesn't mean the event will come to pass, it just means it's likely! Average level precognition feels like a hunch - the kiarr might get some feeling of dread that something very bad will happen over there, but no more. With more skill, the kiarr may gain specifics, but even then the future is not set in stone...
  • Postcognition: see or understand something that has happened in the past, usually triggered by entering the area the event happened in. As with precognition, average level ability grants the kiarr the ability to feel emotions etc linked to the place (e.g. 'something scary happened here') but can gain specifics with a higher skill level.
  • Dream control: sense another's dream, learn to manipulate or share them. Handy for therapy... or just plain entertainment.
  • Spirit sight: the ability to see and communicate with the spirits of dead kiarrcats that still roam Ryll. This is exceptionally rare.

As with species magic, talents must be practised and perfected and no kiarr is born knowing how to use them. They can be described using the same aptitude scale as before. Note that hybrids can progress past Average for their talent if they have one. (This is because talents are not hybrid-only, so they don't confer any unfair advantage.)


Banned forms of magic

The following forms of magic do not work on Ryll. They may not arise as talents or in any other form.

  • Time travel
  • Cross-dimensional travel
  • Shapeshifting

(This list is not exhaustive. I may add to it in the future as I discover more things that don't work. The ban list is mostly intended to keep Ryll an isolated system, by disallowing characters from other worlds etc, but some of it's just stuff I didn't think worked with the setting.)