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Author Topic: Verse Curse - Witches' Spell  (Read 2981 times)
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Seagazer
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« on: 12 November 2015, 08:03:34 »

Not where I want it yet, but the main things are sketched out for Shabby and whoever else to read it

Name.
Verse Curse

Coven.

Rhyme

Level.

Spell Crafting

Overview.
Anyone who has accidentally spoken in rhyme, even for a sentence or two has realized how disconcerting it can be.

Imagine having a compulsion to speak like that all the time, with your thoughts divided into iamb every time you open your mouth. Every humdrum conversation about supper, every intimate word with your beloved, every anecdote of revelry shared with your friends comes in perfect rhythm and rhyme, quite without your knowledge or consent. That would be very disconcerting indeed. Even among the many quirky and inventive spells that are practiced by witches of all sorts, the Verse Curse is easily one of the most distinctive.

Spell Effect.
Simply said, Verse Curse gives the victim a compulsion to speak in poetry. The effect is frequently seen as amusing – for the first few days and weeks. Poets often delight in it, using their newfound talent to write sonnets from their heart. More ordinary people begin to sound witty and interesting without thought and without intent. A humdrum landscape of fields of grain becomes a beautiful scene of imagery and metaphor with the help of the Verse Curse. Beauty that was already there makes itself manifest with the help of the "curse." However, the curse does not render someone who can hardly string together a line of poetry into a master of the art. It simply gives those unable to write any poetry the overwhelming desire to share it.

Yet even for those who already enjoyed poetry, the effect soon grows less endearing after the fifteenth time that a dinnertime conversation about tuberoots turns into a lyric ode. The beautiful romantic spark that kindled a relationship soon turns into a thorn in the side, as the bedside poetry turns from endearing to infuriating. Fortunately, the curse wears off after a time, though it is often not soon enough for the victim. Conversely, people who have been afflicted a particularly long-lasting Verse Curse realize that all that attention they were getting for their quirky poetry under the spell was simply a result of the spell itself, and that they abandon the victim once they lose their "gift."

Procedure.
The casting of the Verse Curse is quite simple once the materials have been assembled. All that is necessary is the recitation of the victim’s words along with the poem written by the witch herself, along with a secret formula among witches. That poem will describe the style of poetry that the victim will be locked in for the duration of the spell’s effect. In addition to the words that are read, a formula must be read to bind the victim and the poem, if just for a time. The exact content of the formula is unknown to anyone but the Rhyme coven, as it is passed down from generation to generation of witches.

Materials.
A rhyme witch who wants to curse their victim with verse must first compose a poem of their own. This poem will determine the style of poetry that their victim will speak in for the duration of their suffering and is absolutely essential for the casting of the Verse Curse. In addition to the poem itself, the caster requires some of the words of the victim, the more personal and poetic the better. The witch could simply recite some of the words that the victim says ordinarily, but for the literate the written word is preferable. A formally written treatise would work less well than an angry letter which would work less well again than a love letter. Of course, the ideal subject of the spell would be a lovingly written poem written by the victim of the spell, which helps gives a touch of their own voice to the spell. It may take dozens of pages of terse prose to match the effect caused by just a few stanzas of tender poetry.

Crafting Time.
The casting time for the Verse Curse is minimal, taking no longer than the time it takes to recite the witch’s poem and the words of the victim.

Range and Power.
The most important variable in the power of the Verse Curse is the extent to which the victim’s words that are used in the spell are personal. A short, tersely written letter or simple words of greeting are unlikely to do more than make the victim sound a bit odd for a few hours. On the other hand, a delicate poem or powerful emotional words can make a properly cast Verse Curse last for months on end. When the spell is cast, the expected duration of the spell is unknown to even the witch who casts the spell as the extent to which a emotions that the victim's words represent emotions that are really genuine is unknown.

Like many other spells of witches, the power and range of the effect varies dramatically on the experience of the spell caster. A dream singer can cast the spell so it lasts weeks over strals, while a spell singer may only be able to make the effect last a matter of minutes.

Counterspells, Defenses and Immunities.
The Verse Curse has an effect on all who can speak; very small children and animals cannot, by definition, speak in verse. Other than that, all those who speak can be made to speak in verse by an interested witch. Of course the extent to which the experience is unpleasant varies greatly on the poetic skills of the victim. An esteemed poet might find the experience just a particularly creative period, while a very non-poetic victim might have a nightmarish experience of bad poetry flowing out of their mouth near constantly.
« Last Edit: 16 November 2015, 03:49:50 by Seagazer » Logged
Coren FrozenZephyr
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« Reply #1 on: 15 November 2015, 02:20:44 »

I can see poets playing pranks on withces in the hopes of catching this curse.  rolleyes
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Shabakuk Zeborius Anfang
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« Reply #2 on: 15 November 2015, 23:11:33 »

Hey Seagazer,

I really like it! I'm not a little envious of the idea, in fact. Your clever writing conveys how annoying it would be to bear this curse. Your idea for the spell procedure is great as well - you've clearly got into the spirit of Santharian witchcraft. The whole entry is fluttering with potential stories.

I have a few suggestions:


About the spell procedure:
Quote
The most important variable in the power of the Verse Curse is the extent to which the victim’s writings that are used in the spell are personal.
If the witch needs to work her poem from a piece of the victim's writing, the population of potential victims would be small, since only a select elite of Santharians are able to write. Couldn't the spell also be worked from something the victims has said, rather than written? Again, whispered words of love or an intimate confession would work best ... (A good reason for a witch to trick her intended victim into opening his heart to her!)


About the spell effect:
I wonder if you could clarify how exactly the spell accomplishes its effect. Your comments about immunities ("the spell aligns itself with the poetic sense of the subject") suggest that what is being manipulated here is the victim's minds. May I venture a suggestion?

I suggest the spell might work as a compulsion to speak poetically, whatever the victim himself believes this means. And the result would only be as good as the victim's own talent. Poets would relish the spell, as you write, because they would perceive it (initially) as an endless rush of inspiration. A dry, matter-of-fact scribe with no poetic sense might perceive it as a madness, or as something akin to being possessed by a demon. His rhymes might be as boring as himself, but he'd still be compelled to speak in rhymes. And the dull ruffian may be compelled to rhyme insults, foul language, poorly made-up bawdy verse - but still be compelled to rhyme.

So I guess, when you write:
Quote
To the uneducated or the uncultured, the spell has little to no effect.
... I would instead suggest that those with poor poetic sense are affected by the spell - but that the poetry that results is unspeakably poor!

We have examples of dreadful poetry in Santharia: alas, Sordoc the Great still lives in many a compendiumist's memory, for example.

What do you think, Seagazer? As always, my ideas are only suggestions... Aura for the idea, anyways!
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