THE SPELL FIZZLING
is an occurence during spellcasting when a desired
effect doesn't take place due
to various reasons. Fizzlin can be found frequently in magical history,
under literally hundreds of seperate names:
lit. "magic-war"), Avá's
Judgement, the Fool's Death...
each name with its own connotation, but each describing the same basic concepts.
There are two seperate types of fizzling as reckoned by the Ximaxian Institute. Incapacity Fizzles and Catastrophic Fizzles. Each is terrible in its own way... one far more than the other.
Incapacity Fizzles occur when the caster's cár'áll is not yet strong enough to bring forth and gather the forces that the caster would require for a successful casting of the spell. The private nightmare of every Initiate is an incapacity fizzle at their graduation ceremonies... doing so is a sure sign that a given spell is completely beyond the caster, at least if it happens repeatedly. Staticians at the Rainbow Tower have noticed that such fizzles usually occur when a spell is approximately three levels beyond the caster or when a spell is for the most part unlearned.
Of course Incapacity Fizzles can also occur when powerful mages cast spells, even simple ones. Even if you're a proficient spellcaster spells can fail due to sudden changed circumstances, prefenting a spell to succeed. Though such fizzles are much more rare at Archmages, there always exists a possibility of unwanted fizzling "accidentally". The more complicated the spell is, the better the preparations should be of course, otherwise a fizzling may lead to a Catastrophic Fizzle (see below).
Catastrophic Fizzles occur when all the necessary power has been gathered, but the caster's focussing power is insufficient. In effect, the spell is conjured... but there is no chance anything can control it. With lower-level spells, a catastrophic fizzle is usually nothing more than a sign more study is needed, compareable with a blow of a sword, which misses its target.
But as the spells grow higher in power, so too does the danger of one of these occurrences, which at such levels typically results in the death of the caster and the devastation of varying distances of the surroundings. One of the most dramatic Catastrophics in the history of Ximax is reckoned to have occurred during the siege of 733. As records and legends say, the Archmage of Fire Ghas-Turan attempted to summon a massive firestorm (evidently garnered from long study of the spells found within the Dread Lord's Tomes) to entirely obliterate the Shivering Woods and all the opposing forces within. Unfortunately, it took the efforts of all the rest of the Archmagi to channel the resulting apocalyptic blast of hellfire upwards from the husk of the consumed wizard's body, instead of over the entire Academy. The same staticians noted above have noticed that spells one or two levels higher than the caster show the highest rate of being catastrophically fizzled.
It is one of the more intriguing lines of thought about the world's creation that Caelereth itself might be the result of a Catastrophic Fizzle of some void-being's spell, at least such thoughts were recently brought up and since then fervently discussed by human scholars of the Santhalian university. Scholars of this line of thought point to the ongoing battle between Avá and Coór as an extension of some supreme God's failure to control his powers properly. (Human scholars. Reknowned for not entirely getting the point about the High Gods. As Khaelvan II. said, "It's just too simple. Humans have to believe all conflicts are grand, bloody battles, not the subtle, simple conflicts inherent in being.") Not surprisingly this theory is not accepted or commonly known outside of magical circles, and even there it remains something of a fringe thought.
Information provided by Xarl