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Winter Magnitude 30

Performing the Ritual

Performing this ritual takes at least 10 minutes of roleplaying. If the ritual is cast using the Imperial Regio it requires at least 5 minutes of roleplaying instead.

During the ritual the casters must be in a strong Winter regio. This ritual targets a territory, and must be performed at a regio in that territory. If the ritual is used to target an Imperial territory, it may instead be performed at the Imperial regio at Anvil.

This effect is a curse. A target may be under more than one curse at a time.


All crops in the target territory are scoured with blights and unseasonable weather. Preserved foodstuffs are ravaged by rot and mould, and weaker animals fall sick and in some cases die. Residents of the territory often fall ill while this curse is in place.

All farms in the territory provide 72 fewer rings (3 crowns 12 rings). This means that a standard farm will only provide 5 crowns and 8 rings following the curse.

The effects of the ritual are obvious to anyone living in or passing through the territory. As with any effect that targets an entire territory, there may be unanticipated consequences to this ritual. The nature of the area and the current situation there may prompt additional unpredictable effects, often resulting in an entry into the following seasons Winds of Fortune.

The effect lasts until the start of the next Profound Decisions Empire event.

The Rune of Hunger is powerfully resonant with this dreadful curse.


This ritual blights a territory with sickness and hunger. It causes crops to wither, food stores to become corrupted, and inflicts illness and general malaise on people and animals alike. Hunger becomes endemic, which may lead to disturbances in times or places where food is already scarce. Those who are already sick, weak, of vulnerable to disease are likely to become especially ill and may die if their illness. The curse is often accompanied by bad weather (depending on the time of year), and disturbing nightmares of famine, pestilence, and loss.

The ritual is particularly despised in the Marches, and threshers take an especially dim view of anyone who casts it. It seems that every few decades a landskeeper-sponsored attempt is made to interdict the curse but so far it has resolutely remained part of Imperial lore. In the past, the Imperial Conclave has been loathe to remove a potential weapon that might be used against the enemies of the Empire. It is perhaps ironic however that in the latter part of 379YE the Empire itself was brought to the edge of famine by a carefully orchestrated campaign that saw each of the Marcher territories subjected to this curse. The Marches is not called the "breadbasket of the Empire" for nothing, and in the wake of the disastrous harvest inspired by the curse, food prices rose across the Empire, with serious implications for the Imperial treasury and the Empire's armies alike. The Marcher assembly urged their farmers to tighten their belts and lower prices.When the Spring planting was again ruined by malignant magic, it inspired the creation of the Imperial breadbasket to help mitigate the effects and hopefully safeguard against future such attacks. Yet for a short time, there was a very real risk of widespread famine for the first time in Imperial history. The culprits were never definitively identified, but it is widely believed to have been the work of the treacherous sorcerers of Dawn's House de Lusignan.

While the campaign of 379YE is perhaps the best known usage of the curse in recent years, there have been several other incidents as well. During the biting winter of 380YE, for example, the magic was invoked over Skarsind leading to a truly atrocious season for the newly-resident Imperial Orcs. There is some speculation that the curse was enacted by furious Winterfolk,angry about the decision to eliquinsh the territory to the orcs. In 382YE, the nation of Urizen was subjected to the curse. Dismal weather flattened the fields; a virulent strain of black footrot swept through the cattle, and across Spiral, Redoubt, and Morrow people fell sick with an unpleasant strain of influenza. This came at a time where the Citadel Guard were experiencing significant difficulties, and the mountain spires were dealing with a number of misplaced citizens driven from their homes by the Druj invasion Without aid from Highguard, and food from the Marchers, many of the refugees in particular would have succumbed to starvation.

The curse is very old, and goes by different names in different parts of the known world. It is also known as the Famine Song, The Scourer's Lament, and Call Crows of Want. By whatever name, Naeve's Twisting Blight is often viewed by Imperial magicians as powerful but particularly cruel. Nobody is immune to the threat of sickness and hunger, and those who have laboured under the influence of the blight rarely forget it. The ritual is believed to be a particular favourite of Agramant, who provides boons to those who wield it to harm their rivals. Sometimes the desire to make enemies suffer can backfire of course; in times of scarcity, people come together and forge stronger bonds of community almost as often as they turn on one another, scrabbling over the last sack of grain.

Common Elements

The ritual releases a malign, oppressive pestilence across a territory and the ritual performance reflects that. Grim, throbbing musical rhythms, slow threatening movement and invocations of dread and hunger are all used to raise and direct this malign power. Frightful masks or hooded cowls might be used to conceal the identities of the casters - not only thanks to magical symbolism but also practical concerns of avoiding consequences from those affected by the curse. Small amounts of food or drink might be befouled or wasted. A noxious concoction created from poisons, venoms, vile liquids, and whispered imprecations - often in a cauldron, chalice, or goblet - and poured over a representation or map of the target territory.

It is obviously common to evoke the rune Naeve as part of the casting, but the ritual also resonates with the Rune of Weakness. A practitioner of heraldic magic might evoke the wicked aspect of the manticore - a hateful creature associated with blighted lands - while a master of beast magic might use notoriously unclean creatures such as rats or serpents. Marcher magicians might call on crows, who devour seeds, or burn black feathers during the casting.