The primary methods of ki manipulation are classified as ascendence and evanescence or rising positive and diving negative.
Ascendant methods tend to be subtle and lend durability to natural objects while stabilizing ambient energy. Ascendant methods also pull on the planar fabric of our realm.
From ascendance (positive) come the secondary methods of
Evanescent methods tend to be energetic and enhance the effects of prime material energies such as sound and light, but destabilize ambient energy. Evanescent methods push against the planar fabric of our realm.
From evanescence (negative) come the secondary methods of
The eight known methods of mystic energy manipulation
Abjuration: the best defense is a good defense.
There are actually two things a magician can do to prevent harmful forces from coming into an area she wants to protect: reflect or refract those harmful forces. The techniques that manipulate energy into thick barriers of opposing kinetic energies or transform it into baffling shockwaves designed to flex the path of approaching threats are called abjuration.
If you understand the treat you can form a shield against it.
Abjuration shielding can be customized to deal with many different threats, but rarely can a mage handle more then a few different weapons at once. And so the key to the effectiveness of any shield is not the amount of energy you can spend on maintaining it, but the experience and knowledge a user has in casting and recasting her shielding spells.
Multiple attacks break shields down very quickly. A novice, while very capable at stopping a single bullet with a shielding spell, would never be able to defend herself from an automatic weapon. Her shield would only last against four or five impacts, and she would not be able to bring up a new shield in time to intercept bullets 6 through 600. again the key to abjuration is practice.
Conjuration: out of thin air
Phantasmal force is a phenomenon that allows ki to push and pull on prime material objects. Phantasmal force can be weaved from any form of energy, but sculpting a facsimile of an object or creature requires ki to stabilize it permanently. Once the object is fully formed the phantasmal force sculpture behaves precisely as its artist envisioned it to behave until the energy supporting the sculpture is somehow disrupted.
The energy needed for sustaining a conjured, permanent object, such as a rabbit from a hat or a magical wedding dress, can come from a fragment of anyone’s ki, but a responsible user refrains from using ki that is not attuned and usually cuts away a small bit of his own spirit for use in such spells.
For the most part, each conjured object creature or creation has a tiny bit of the caster’s soul invested into that artwork. The spirit is never permanently damaged from conjuring, but there must be some recovery time between such projects.
Simple conjuration spells take no more energy then the energy you unknowingly cast off while breathing. However users have to be especially cautious when using advanced level spells for they can cast off dangerous amounts of energy if user is overindulgent.
Enchantments: persistent auric manipulation or creation
Enchantments share the strengths and limitations of conjured phantasmal items and creatures in that they are not necessarily anchored on a prime material object or person but can exist in the world as their own phenomena.
And just as with a conjured creation, an enchantment must be paid for by a small bit of the user’s energy.
But where conjured items manipulate phantasmal forces to affect the world, an enchantment exists to sustain a spell or effect within its sphere of influence for an extended period of time. The strength of the effect and duration of the enchantment are determined by several factors, including the skill of the enchanter, how much or how little of his energy he donates to the enchantment, and the complexity of the effect to be sustained.
A transmutation is an enchantment that is permanently attached to a physical object or living creature and so must be constructed a bit differently. The difference is great enough that transmutations are considered a discipline apart from enchantments.
Ignitions: explosions and rockets
Quite possibly the easiest to learn of all forms is the ignition form. Energy compressed or expanded quickly can make it unstable. Volatile. An agitated ki flash or spark from an unnatural phenomenon will detonate unsettled energy very easily. But there is a short window of opportunity to create such a reaction. Energy tends to return to stability and does so fairly quickly.
The key to ignition is control of the energy a user quickly makes available for the type of explosive force he has in store for his target.
For example, the casting of the concussion force spell flail has many different variations. All versions depend on the initial cone-sphere energy compression configuration. A sphere of energy must be quickly shaped into a cone as the energy expands. This action takes one swift movement, which must be done while preparing your ki spark to ignite the ethereal concoction. The ki spark is what is responsible for aiming the spell at your target and the trajectory your flail spell takes to its destination. And its not all booms and explosions. The spell crescent cutter, formed from a squashed half-moon ki expansion, detonates a thin line on impact, slicing like a knife.
Illusions: images, smells and sounds.
Illusionary craft is no trick of light or sound. No photons, kinetic forces, sound waves or conjured particles for olfactory detection are employed. The best illusions speak to to eyes of the soul.
Understanding this form is a matter of understanding the difference between what the eyes see and what the spirit perceives. Vision is only part of what we look at when we see objects and entities. Our spirits perceive through our eyes the ambient energy called ki. And though only a trained user can see into the ethereal and distinguish it from the prime material, all creatures subconsciously view the ethereal together with the prime material and interpret what we perceive as reality.
This form speaks to the part of the souls that perceives the ethereal. This part easily overrides the crude information our ocular, olfactory and auditory systems give us and makes those spells difficult to disbelieve.
Projections: lasers, rays, prisms, focusing
Creating rays, beams and cones of energy is perhaps one of the fastest ways a user can bring his power to bear for protection.
All tha a user needs to do to create a beam of harmful energy is to push energy through a shaped ethereal lens. This lens is usually a fragment of the users ki specifically prepared for beam-focusing.
It’s always easier to destroy then to create, and that truth holds for lens and prism creation as well. A lens fashioned from a piece of the users ki can be carefully crafted to produce rays or beams that have non-lethal or even beneficial effects.
For example, many shamans create staves to contain energy and store lenses. These carefully crafted prisms are usually created for the sole purpose focusing positive energy waves, which promote healing and melt away negative energy effects.
Lenses adorn the ki like brightly colored ornaments or jewelry, but users don’t have to worry about creating to much ethereal bling. The crafted lenses are never cut from the user’s ki, but are polished and fashioned while still attached. No damage is done, and the procedure is likened to putting on nail polish.
Summoning: planar bindings and shared rapports
Summoning is perhaps one of the most advanced methods of energy manipulation. The margin for error is incredibly high, so this form is never taught to novice.
Summoning involves sharing a mental rapport with the user, a summon subject entity, and the planar fabrics which are shared between. A mage existing in the earth realm who has an other-realm Pegasus as a summon subject must have a rapport with that Pegasus, the planar fabric of earth and the planar fabric of that realm in order to summon that Pegasus.
The actual process involves matching the harmonic frequency of the summon subjects spirit and the summon subjects realm into the planar fabric close by. Planar frequency resonation opens the closest path from one realm to another or between two places within the same realm. The user must be attuned to the locations and the subjects to allow such paths to be opened, however. The key to successful subject-summoning or gate-summoning from one place to another is attunement.
When a user is attuned to her summon subject and/or summon location, that mage can call or approach that subject or location relatively easily.
Yes, random frequencies can be pushed into nearby planar fabric and hasty, badly tuned gates can be opened. But users who carelessly summon or gate aren’t the ones with long life expectancies.
Summoning and gate summoning are not the only way to open dimensional gates, but they are very much the safest way known.
Transmutation: an altered state.
Ki exists not only as the skin of the soul, but as the skin of the prime material body which host the spirit.
There are many strange and unexplained phenomena in the universe and throughout the planes that sometimes have strange and debilitating effects on physical bodies and objects. Ki is the supernatural protection our spirits have over these unknown forces. Ki uses phantasmal force to stabilize our bodies from supernatural disturbances and to impose a mystical template on our physical forms of what we should be.
Transmutation adjusts and rewrites those mystic parameters and expends ki to cause that spirit skin to impose different properties on the prime material form it surrounds. The ki is used to support whatever phantasmal force enhancements are made to the prime material form.
So long as the ki remains, the new form and all of its rewritten properties override the old prime material form and its properties.
The greater the change between the original prime material structure and the new transmuted structure, the greater the amount of energy used to sustain the new structure every day.
However all transmuted objects, creatures or beings suffer from the ease certain spells and elements have in disrupting the flow of energy. Expert transmutation spellcraft allows for some, if not all of these inherent weaknesses to be modified to better suit the use of the designated transmuted form.
An inanimate object can only be initially transmuted with ki but that energy can be pulled away, much like a string attached to a coin which is inserted into an old vending machine. But any item changed in such away reverts back to its original state in as little as one hour.