the radiant

What is Ka?

Ka is the manifest; the intrinsic substance that allows the living to ask the question of "What is Ka?". Ka is the radiant of life.

The prescence of Potential.

Where is Ka?

Ka permeates all things that are intrinsic to an environ. Objects. Living and once living things. Even the space between living things has a certain radiant of Ka. Within a Shadow, Ka is often everywhere within the confines of that place.

Disasters of great magnitude can eradicate Ka and strip it from an environ.

Who uses Ka?

Ka Masters are much like magicians. They can operate within a Shadow to effect Change. They draw on their Ka Stick or Focus to take hold of the Ka force and work their will.

Magicians and sorcerors use energy taken from the Environ. Primal sources of Shadow. They rack and redirect powers that have little connection to them.

Ka Masters sculpt Ka radiant already in effect in the Environ. They take nothing. They move nothing. They alter the flow of Ka already on the threshold of action. They use their own will to do these things and do not prepare or rack the energy in advance. Meditation can strengthen Ka actions.

Magicians find Ka Masters are hard to fathom and defend against. Sorcerous defenses of physical or energy nature usually fail to prevent Ka effects. Magic defenses of the mental or psychic kind work best.

Ka Masters can not defend against magickal attacks except by mastery of the larger environ. Physical and energy attacks are not directly influenced by Ka, except at the highest levels of mastery, where the availability of magic can be curtailed by Ka.

In summary: The system of magic is largely Kinetic Change. The system of Ka is Potential Change, sometimes also referred to as 'Coincidental Change'.

Special notes:

Awareness of Ka starts with training in self-discipline. When ready, the Ka novice will make the leap through the Veil of Ka and search out a focus to bring back.

Ka Change is permanent. It has no tendancy to revert or lose energy.

Unlike the Kinetic Change of magick, Ka alters but does not destroy. The more powerful effects of Ka Masters must therefore always include understanding of what happens after the alteration.

The Ka touch, the focus, can never turn on itself. One Ka Master may affect another, but never himself. Example, a Ka Change could affect clothing, coins, or accessories worn by a Master, but not wounds or his own person. For this same reason, defense against hostile Ka is nearly automatic for an aware Ka Master of the same or greater skill. Since will is required for all Ka work, sleeping or unconcious Ka Masters can not make their automatic defense.

Machines and other fabricated constructs have distorted echoes of normal Ka. The process of making them tends to diminish their natural Ka. So, for example, a laptop computer has less Ka than a rock of the same mass. This makes altering fabricated items a less prodigious Change. It also means that in environs where there are a lot of fabricated items and few people, there is a lot less Ka. Most technological worlds are also densely populated, so the two offset each other.

Ka, Amber, Amberites, and resistance to Change:

Real items, creatures, and artifacts carry their own unconscious awareness of Ka with them. This means that they resist Ka Change without special training or deep awareness. Treat such conditions as one step higher on the Influence chart of partial powers. Example: altering an amberite's clothing would be upgraded from Object Influence to Living Influence if they were aware of their clothing and uncooperative. If the clothing is hanging in a closet, it does not have special resistance.

Ka Change in the Golden Circle or any Primal Shadow is upgraded one step. Example: Altering Shadow Rules in such places is upgraded to Reality Influence.

Ka Change in the First Shadows of Amber, Rebma, and Tir is upgraded two steps. Altering Shadow Rules in such places is off the chart. Impossible.

If any kind of Ka change is opposed by a Ka Master who is anchored to reality (Amberite, Chaosian, Athanor, etc.) then the change is upgraded an extra step. Example: a Ka Change of Environ (choking off oxygen) is attempted in Rebma, but Moire (assumed Ka trained) is aware and resists with her Ka. This is three steps of resistance, the change goes off the chart and no Psyche check is required. The change does not happen.

Ka - the radiant

 *** Partial Power System ***
 [5] Initiate Ka Touch
  		(break the Veil and acquire Focus)
  		:quest for Ka complete
   [5] Object Influence
  		(objects and once living)
  		:coincidental Change Shadow object
     [5] Living Influence
  		(living and sentient)
  		:coincidental Change Shadow creature
       [5] Environ Influence
  		(probability and environ)
  		:coincidental Change Shadow environ
  		:weather, temperature, quality
         [5] Shadow Influence
  		(Change of Shadow)
  		:coincidental Change Shadow rule
  		:magic, physics, quantity
           [5] Reality Influence
  		(Change of Reality)
  		:coincidental Change Shadow meta-rule
  		:time, access, nature

GM's comments:

--- another magic system for Amber diceless? Why?

The magic evident in the first five books of Amber is subtle, off-stage and seemingly a bit beyond the grasp of Corwin's narrative. Perhaps as a consequence of this, many GM's have a definite distaste for the magic system proposed by Wujick, which does seem faithful to the second five books of the series.

Perhaps something that I've done in my campaign offers a counter to the Amber DRPG magic system. A system of magic that works well in Shadow, has powerful subtlety, and yet does not work well in Amber.

The Chaosians would not like it, either. I see them as preferring Kinetic Change in their magickal stylings. After all, in the face of the Abyss, what point subtle magick?

Therefore, for my purposes, the Chaosians use the magick system as proposed by Wujick, and most of Shadow emulates them, using this 'chaotic' style of arcane workings.

That system is properly called Sorcery and Conjuration.

There is a very small arcane group that does something different. A system that tugs on the strings underlying basic Shadow.

Where Kinetic Magick changes the nature of Primal Sources of power within Shadow, Potential Magick (Ka) changes the nature of resident living radiant within Shadow.

For gaming purposes, you may compare Ka to the workings of Shadow manipulation. Ka masters require a disciplined focus, yet they do not rack spells or construct conjurations. They focus their will and their own Ka to effect change. They draw on their own psyche and endurance to tweak changes in what already is.

Ka masters do not produce matter from thin air, nor do they consign "what is" to oblivion as this is a violation of Ka principles. For those who have enjoyed the Belgariad Chronicles, you may recognize this Ka principle as similar to the magick prohibition on Unmaking.

For those who have tried to explain the actions of Items created to manipulate Shadow 'stuff', 'folk', and 'reality', these notes might enhance those definitions.

For those who have admired the Coincidental Magick of the World of Darkness, you will more easily understand the subtle use of Ka.

While Shadow can be Changed in obvious ways by Sorcery and Conjuration, the mastery of Shadow seems to be beyond the nature of most magick of the Kinetic kind.

Not so with Ka.

At the highest levels of mastery, Ka can limit or negate Kinetic Magick. The potential of Sorcery and Conjuration can be rendered null by manipulating Shadow Reality. Changes not outside the Shadow, as in Pattern manipulation, but inside the Shadow, altering Potential.

Yet, at the lowest levels of mastery, Ka might not save you from the easy fire and lightning spells of a common sorcerer.

Shadow resists "vulgar alteration". Even the sentience of the Ka master resists overt change. The novice Ka practitioner "knows" that she is initiating the Change, and that informs against the subtle nature of Ka. Perfect changes in Ka involve changes that are accepted or consensual. Appearances may change little, but the nature of probability, the decisions of the living, the nature of an animal, are all subject to Ka change.

The found chest will contain a clue.

The new dress will be the greatest expression of the maker's ability.

The horse will take well to the new rider.

The captured thief will cooperate.

The forest fire will spread slowly.

The storm will dissapate quickly.

The rooftop fall will not be fatal.

Ka begins to touch upon the concept of Stuff. Working for the Ka master, and against his adversaries, Ka can define the momentum of the story told. Ka takes the diceless concept and puts magic in the hands of the player.

Ka in opposition requires a Psyche check. Endurance matters in extended Ka operations.

Ka ability is ranked through six levels; Novice Touch through Master Shadow Reality.

More importantly, is the resistance factors the GM must arbitrate. In addition to normal resistance, or resistance by another Ka master, resistance by Chaosians, Amberites, Primal Shadows, are all factors. Each step of resistance lowers the rank of the Ka work being done. Sufficient resistance may make change impossible.

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