WATER SPELLS: QUICKSAND (LEVEL III)

SPELL EFFECT - CASTING PROCEDURE - FORMULA - FOCUS/TARGET - REAGENTS
SPELL CLASS - RANGE - CASTING TIME - DURATION - COUNTER MEASURES

Adding to the arsenal of spells for the water mage is this little nasty one. Typically it is used defensively, creating a patch of quicksand to slow or trap something hostile pursuing the mage so an escape can be made. But in more extreme cases it can be used aggressively to drown the target completely, or capture it alive. This is one of the hardest Sphere I spells for young mages to learn as by necessity it often requires a large focus area, of at least several peds of ground, to be of any use, and requires absolute concentration on a very specific property of water.

Spell Effect. The spell creates a patch of quicksand that will cause anything that lands in it to sink. The variations in effect for this spell are massive depending on many factors. In an ideal situation, such as a beach or lakeshore where quicksand can naturally form, the effect will be much quicker and more powerful as the liquidity property of a chosen cár'áll in such an area is comparatively easy to affect. It gets harder as the available water becomes scarcer, but so long as the ground is still a loose material like sand or soil, then the spell is still reasonably effective. Even in desert conditions, the water ounia of the sand can still have the property of liquidity influenced, creating a quicksand like effect but the results are not as reliable as when manipulating water itself. This spell is least effective when on solid surfaces like wooden or stone flooring, creating a sticky, tacky like effect that might cause a surprised pursuer to stumble, but little more.

The spell is in Sphere I, so will only last as long as the mage is casting, and focused. As soon as the spell ends, the ground reverts to its normal state, often sealing the trapped victim in place even more. In cases where there is a lot of water present, and the conditions are ripe for naturally forming quicksand, then cancelling the spell may not cause the effect to vanish immediately, but dissipate more slowly. Return to the top

Casting Procedure. The mage must concentrate on an area of ground nearby. The larger the area, obviously the more difficult the task. Within this focus cár'áll, the mage will concentrate on the water ounía present, seeking to increase their influence as much as possible, and specifically the property of liquidity. Circling gestures of the arms, tracing the area they are seeking to effect, often helps the mage map out the area in their mind and keep it in focus. Return to the top

Magical Formula. Not yet defined. Return to the top

Focus/Target. The focus is the ground, being very careful not to let concentration slip or nothing will happen. Wayward concentration could even cause the ground directly beneath the mage to be effected, with obvious bad consequences. However, in this worst case, the suprise of suddenly sinking would most likely cause a break of concentration and consequently a haulting of the spell, usually before the caster sinks too far. Return to the top

Reagents. A vial filled with water, and quite a lot of sand is often a very useful aid when learning this spell. Shaking it whilst casting gives a good image of what is happening to the ground as the water swirls through the trapped sand making it liquid-like itself. Return to the top

Spell Class. Sphere I, Transformation (Physical Representation of the Water School). Return to the top

Range. Due to the size of the area usually required to trap a hostile, the range can not be much more than a half dozen peds in front of a mage. Even beginners have to start at over a ped away so as to not endanger themselves hence why it is so hard for young mages to learn, as they can not get too close to their creation.

In a situation where they may be confronting a foe, perhaps engaging in talk with both parties stationary, the focus could be much smaller perhaps just a circle a ped across directly beneath the target. As such, the range could be a little further. Perhaps as much as ten to fifteen peds. Return to the top

Casting Time. This will vary with the location, to the same degree as the effect. Where there is plenty of sand/soil and water present, the spell can cast nearly instantly as soon as the mage properly concentrates on their focus area. As the location gets dryer and the ground more solid, so the casting time will increase. Return to the top

Duration. The spell will last as long as the mage concentrates. Again, all the variations make a precise answer difficult. In a wet, loose area it could likely be maintained indefinitely by a powerful mage well as long as the mage could stay awake anyway. Turning dry compacted earth into quicksand in hot dry weather would be much harder and likely only possible to be held for half an hour or so. Return to the top

Counter Measures/Enhancing Measures. Countering this spell is very difficult, as merely distracting the mage so they lose focus would only revert the ground to solid again and still leave the victim stuck. However this may be preferable to sinking further, so this would be your best bet. An earth or water mage could work their will against the water mage, either by enhancing the solidity of the earth ounía, to push them up from below, or reducing the liquidity of the water ounía respectively to simply work in the same way as distracting the caster. This would then boil down to a contest of wills, and the stronger mage would win. However, unless the victim is especially well controlled, the panic of finding themselves sinking would make focusing more difficult, so beating the casting water mage would require a lot of skill.

Your best bet is to be careful if you feel the need to chase down a water mage. Do not let them get far enough ahead of you to have time to cast this spell, or allow yourself to be caught monologuing whilst standing still.

Enhancing the spell: Enhancing the basic spell is mainly done by only attempting it in a favourable location. Adding water to dry ground before casting can help, as can breaking up hard ground. Return to the top

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