Rules

Night Magnitude 80

Performing the Ritual

Performing this ritual takes at least 10 minutes of roleplaying. During the ritual the casters must be in a strong Night regio.

This ritual targets a specific region. During the performance of the ritual the casters must name a region within the target territory which has the "marsh" keyword.

The ritual may target a region in a territory which is under Imperial control (that is, which is eligible to appoint a Senator) when cast from the Imperial regio. To effect a region in a territory that is not under Imperial control, the ritual must be performed at a regio within the target territory.

This spell is an enchantment. A target may only be under one enchantment effect at a time.

Effects

The ritual targets a single region of marsh or swamp within a territory. Over the course of the next few days a powerful enchantment settles over the region which offers protection to armies belonging to the force that controls the area.

The magical structure mimics the effect of a 2,000 strength fortification in the enchanted region. The fortification helps determine victory, and if the region is attacked it may inflict casualties. Unlike a mundane fortification, the magical fortification does not absorb any casualties itself. A region may only contain one fortification, regardless of whether it is magical or mundane in nature. The effect lasts until the start of the next Profound Decisions Empire event.

Description

This enchantment shrouds troops belonging to the force that controls the region; in places it pools to create fortification-like enclaves of mist that actively mislead and confuse attackers. In other areas it encourages marsh-creatures to attack patrols and causes scouts to become lost - sometimes permanently. A sense of creeping dread settles over forces belonging to an invading army and they are likely to become more cautious.

The marsh becomes more dangerous; bogs are deeper and harder to spot; waterways shift and change without warning; the weather worsens, and at night a sinister mist settles over the region full of dancing lights and flitting shapes. Under the influence of this spell, a marshland or fen can become a lethal deathtrap; invaders find themselves following phantasmal echoes and witch-lights that lead them into ambushes, while the fen-paths seem to open for the defenders and the same witch-lights may guide them to safety when needed.

Some reports speak of odd creatures emerging from the mists to assault enemy forces - shadowy warriors, disturbing phantasmal mirages, and even the rare report of a beasts such as drakes, dire crocodiles or even the occasional wyvern roused to assault the attackers. The ritual is effective at turning the natural predators of a marsh against an army, encouraging creatures such as catoblepas or marshwalkers to attack rather than retreat. On a few occasions it has also reportedly riled up some unliving spirits that lie in restless slumber beneath the marsh waters.

This ritual increases the difficulty a hostile force will have in claiming a region, even if there is no army to oppose them directly, Local militia and the like are able to take advantage of the defensive enchantment (once they recognise it for what it is) to engage in effective guerilla tactics, harrying and confusing a much larger force, at least for a time.

The ritual is an enchantment, and can in theory be made permanent with ilium. This has not been done in the history of the Empire, however.

The ritual can occasionally backfire; the ritual always aids the force that claims the region. Occasionally Imperial ritualsts have inadvertently aided the enemies of the Empire when a dramatic shift has allowed a barbarian force to claim an area of land while the Dripping Echoes of the Fen was in effect.

Common Elements

This ritual includes elements of concealment, and so is often performed while wearing masks or veils. Smoke is often used to represent the mists and confusion that the ritual evokes. Often, a map of the territory where the target region lies is included. It is often obscured during the casting, or even destroyed in water at the completion. Sometimes the map is created from sand or painstakingly drawn with salt or coloured powders, so it can be washed away at the culmination of the ritual. Some ritualists allow clouds of incense to blow over it to symbolically create enshrouding mists, while others create designs with blood or ink to confuse and mislead invading armies.

The rune Wyr or Diras are commonly used during this ritual, and the constellation of the Wanderer or the Web may be invoked. A dramaturgy performance in which the Witch or the Mountebank are involved in an intrigue in the Garden - might be appropriate. The names of eternals such as Sadogua, Sung and the Whisper Gallery might also be evoked.