The path to one of the many mage schools is usually found either by trickery or accident. It is rare for a seeker to find for, as history shows, those who consciously seek the knowledge of mages are usually morally broken to begin with. Thus the need for such drastic camouflage. Whatever the path may be: psionic, enchantment, divination or others, the conscious seeker has always sought to control others and obtain security for the self rather than unravel the mysteries of existence.
However careful our guard has been, it seems we have more of these seekers in our midst than we thought. Another possibility is the susceptibility of bribery to our current students. We are speaking of course, of the alarming appearance of the Book of Common Prayer for the Misfortune of Others. Originally appearing in English, still its most widely used form, translations are appearing at an alarming rate. Our efforts at clamping down on its production have been met with moderate success, but rather than clean up the world, we must attempt to stop the problem at its source.
For those of you new to the schools, we hope that the Book is not such a commonality that we may assume knowledge. We explain: The Book of Common Prayer for the Misfortune of Others is a pocket-sized book of spells used to inflict general malaise on those who would get in your way. These spells may be cast by anyone, and most operate at around 15% capacity.
Some have praised the book, saying that its appearance has kept the amateur seeker contented and prevents them from seeking greater power which would cause greater harm. But we think its harm is great enough, and no amateur seeker before its appearance came close to perpetrating the current harm being done by the Book.
Its first appearance remains a mystery, and thus we fear, may have come from a high echelon indeed. We shall now briefly expound its effects, illustrating with examples.
Abjuration: A version of the Prismatic Wall was used recently at a Ruse of Habit concert in Boise. The spell user did not want to stand near the front of the crowd and wait for the band to set up, so instead, downed some shots at the bar. Then when the lights went down he cast the spell. Ruse of Habit are so named because they feel the term ‘drug addiction’ is a way of shaming people who find society dull. They feel that all drug use is recreational and there is no such thing as a habit. Which makes what happened next doubly unfortunate.
In its full use, the Prismatic Wall is several layers of light, each presenting its own danger to those who try to pass through. In this instance, only the back wall was activated, thus causing blindness and/or inter-dimensional banishment to the audience members it passed over, as well as the singer, Blunted Snortpill. In this dulled-down version of the spell, those who are randomly transported end up in the astral plane, normally a vivd and hallucinatory place, however, for those doomed to undergo never-ending withdrawal, would present a dark fate indeed.
Conjuration: Political activists and perverts alike have enjoyed the limited use of Far Step. Both are usually disappointed at the results and consequences. A recent intrusion into a Republican think-thank where the spell-caster had a camera ready did not in fact capture, as promised, ‘clear-cut plans entitled ‘Genocide Upon the Poor’ and ‘On the Enslavement of Women and Minorities’’ but rather, potential drafts of policy recommendations about road resurfacing and law-school interns studying for real-estate licensing. This person gave their spell book to a friend before teleporting and, as far as we know, the book has not made its way into government hands.
Misunderstanding of this spell is common as people tend to forget or overlook the fact that their entire body is transported, rather than just their sight. This is not a spell of astral projection, which Ronald Soderland found out recently when Stepping into a co-ed dorm during a females-only party. At full attention, he was subsequently sprayed with so many different kinds of mace that a new kind of poison gas was synthesized and the building had to be evacuated. He was held under quarantine until death. One cannot help but be a little grateful.
Divination: Of the spells so far mentioned, the practitioner has tested it upon themselves first, usually to ill effect. While an admirable personality trait, when complete knowledge is available it is a stupid option, much like trying to build a plane without studying the current literature on aerodynamics. See Invisibility, is the spell most likely to end in madness if self-tested and is responsible for a great deal of the bad publicity of occult practices. While a skilled mage may use it to advantage, in amateur circles it is almost always cast upon an enemy as it brings into focus creatures of the Ethereal Plane which feed upon human energy. Energy most people are ignorant of themselves emanating.
Our current pope was giving his address in Saint Peter’s Square, when he became silent and his eyes widened. This was unnoticed by most at first, given how high up he is on the balcony. He backed up, knocked over one of his Bishops and ran behind the curtain, glancing out from time to time and babbling in his native language about flying monsters growing fat on the wasting spirits of the people. When encouraged by his Bishops to address the crowd with this surely divine revelation the pope instead battened down the hatches, so to speak. He refuses to go out to this day. Already the most ardent supporter of exorcism that the church has had in hundreds of years, the pope has now more than doubled their number which has lead to countless cases of children and adults with perfectly explainable diseases to forego medical care and die at the hands of bumbling priests who are allowed to kill with complete impunity.
Enchantment: While many of us have run through our heads a hypothetical ‘what-if’ scenario, those who use the watered-down Enchantment spell get to test their theories in reality. While this spell has usually been used to win family or spousal arguments, lately, some have gotten close enough in physical proximity to politicians to make them change their actual words. The politician says something out of the blue completely contrary to his or her long-held value system, is momentarily confused, then continues on the original tract. They are mocked for a bit and then forgotten about and life goes on as usual. This spell is not as effective in a culture with a short attention span as actual hard work over a long period of time would be.
Transcript from CSPAN:
Rep. James Burt R-KT: “. . . the breakdown of the African-American family is responsible for the high crime rates observed in that community. Black culture itself celebrates the victories of capitalism and hip-hop is full of messages that hard-work and perseverance pay off. Along with their religious convictions, blacks and conservatives are natural allies. As we all know, a Socialist Democracy with Single-Payer Health Care is the only sustainable source of government that would . . . ahem, excuse me. I have welcomed the board of the Evangelical Association . . .”
and on the other side
Rep. Lonnie Nelson D-OR: “. . . it is time to hold accountable those who always fall in favor with policies that systematically oppress minorities and treat them as targets rather than citizens. After all if millions of illegal immigrants can help our economy, why couldn’t they help theirs? . . . Excuse me (drinks water, coughs) and, oh my, you’d think . . . you’d think that the business-friendly right-wing, with their worship of money, would want to sweep the issue of undocumented workers under the carpet . . .”
Evocation: Many of these spells are undoubtably used in traffic, few have the large-scale negative effects of Crusader’s Mantle. With the caster as the center, the spell extends fifteen feet, creating an aura which awakens boldness. With sedan-style cars, enough space to affect each adjacent car of the caster. During traffic jams, this causes explosive road-rage which only serves to increase the problems as fender-benders lead to fistfights, causing the spell-caster to be further stuck.
When Karl Navarro, 32, was leaving his apartment, late for work one morning, only to be stopped by a school-bus emptying in front of him, he looked for his newly acquired prayer book for advice, and cast Crusader’s Mantle. He assumed it would just be a sort of fast-forward spell for the children to get into school faster, or perhaps encourage the bus drivers to hurry the process along, but in fact, he revved his engine, and sped off like a race car, the children streamed into the street and all jumped, not out of his way, but upon his car, coating it like flies on a carcass. He continued to drive in the direction that he thought his work was on, children hanging onto his hood, each other, pasted over all his windows, waving at passers by. He ran three red lights miraculously before plowing into the back of a UPS truck that was stopped in the side of the lane. The children, none harmed, then streamed into the back of the truck and had an early Christmas as they opened all the packages, many of which were wines from across the country being shipped to current wine-club members. It’s hard to say if the children’s later actions were still the result of the spell or intoxication.
Illusion: Very popular in office environments which tend to all have the similar drab atmosphere, Hallucinatory Terrain has become a favorite at meetings, particularly to cast upon a hated project leader, district supervisor, or boss. Even the version in this book has a duration of around three hours. More than enough to wreck a busy executive’s day. He may have the CFO, Regional Manager, or Sales Captain on Skype, boldly step up to the podium, turn on his power-point, and then devolve into an almost primate state when he sees the world around him turn into a jungle complete with spiders the size of ponies and crawling mud devouring him alive.
Another popular use of this spell is in the realm of customer service. Perhaps an employee may find herself being harried by a customer demanding that she honor an expired coupon from a separate establishment. She asked the man if she could look in her manual for a brief moment during which she opened her spell book and recited the incantation. The man promptly found himself alone in a desert. It became clear from the tone of his voice that, although the desert was blistering hot, the sun was setting. He screamed for help, could not believe that no one was around. He dug through (hallucinatory) piles of sand looking for a charger for his phone, and when escorted out by police, assumed they were the freezing winds of the desert’s oncoming night. His children would never properly manage his portfolio, he muttered over and over.
Necromancy: In contemporary society, death is an unusual event and quite removed from daily events. However, hospital/mortuary employees, and hunters have found use for the stripped-down version of Animate Dead. One guess as to what the medical profession uses this spell for, and it’s not saving lives. This spell creates undead servants at even the advanced levels. It is not called after all, Raise the Dead, or Endow with Life, but merely, Animate Dead.
From that sordid subject let us move on to the rather creative use that hunters and hitchhikers have found. Carcasses already picked clean by predators can be reanimated which can then attract future predators which are in turn caught by the hunter or hitchhiker and eaten. This is one respect where the common man has found a use that our wizards had never considered. This is not an endorsement for the book’s continued circulation in society but rather an encouragement to learn what we can from this tragedy.
Parents resurrecting dead pets never ends well. Although the pet does not come back homicidal, like in certain fictions, it grosses a child out to have a freshly dead dog or cat follow them around and sleep in their bed. So stop it with the pets.
Psionic: While in a class of their own, a psionic spell has found its way into this handbook in the form of the Truevenom Weapon, causing an object in question to be endowed with toxic venom. This is another favorite of the customer service profession. Initially, it caused the shutdowns of many restaurants, but practitioners have been more careful as of late. A waitress, upon hearing a mother implore her daughter to never work in ‘a place like this’, instead of casting the spell on the food or utensils, cast it on the mother’s phone, laying on her lap. Phone attacks are increasingly common when you cannot brandish a weapon and hit someone publicly.
Another common use is people casting it upon open seats next to them in busses or trains. With air travel, this delays the entire flight as the plane must be evacuated so its practice has diminished. Corpses on the bus or train go much longer unnoticed.
Transmutation: This is another popular office trick which has bosses on edge. Many of them, after chewing out a disappointing employee, has found themselves unable to control their rate of movement, plummeting into walls and down flights of stairs. They have been the victims of Longstrider. It tends to be less effective in public, making crowds rather more chaotic than easier to maneuver through. In traffic it is deadly. Tailgaters bear the brunt of this spell. Upon being allowed to pass, the victim of the tailgating casts this spell upon the passing car, which then shoots ahead at a much faster rate than before often causing fiery chaos which ensnares the caster as well. This book has been found at many accident sites where the burning hasn’t quite consumed all, often clutched by or melted to the hands of the perpetrator.