# How can I avoid accidentally killing my mages during a ritual?

Orgone is the measure of a person's connection with the cosmos. It is the conduit through which the power of the cosmos flows, focused through a sorcerer's will. Ritual practicioners must draw on this reserve of power to make a magic spell work. Spells require a constant infusion of Orgone through rituals that are performed inside a transmutation circle. These rituals vary by time, and can last anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours depending on the spell.

Enchantment Spells – These are spells designed to capture cosmic power within a crafted item, so that its power can be called upon in times of need.

Scrying Spells – These are spells designed to allow a user to perceive in ways that go beyond his fve senses.

Summoning Spells – These are spells designed to call up unnatural creatures, either for communion or servitude. They can also force such creatures into bondage.

Transmogrifcation Spells – These are spells designed to fundamentally alter or control another being

A circle can have a maximum of 9 mages. If more power for a spell is needed, a new, separate circle must be formed with its own individuals. For those circles to combine their orgone, a bridge must be created between them to link them together. Orgone cannot be transferred to inanimate materials or objects, as it needs to be actively moved between circles. Therefore, a channeler is used as this link. This individual connects the circles together in order to transfer orgone from one to the other and combine their power. Using this method, several circles can be combined to conduct a ritual.

There is a problem. These circles joining their power together creates a lot of excess energy. The transfer rate of orgone from one circle to the next will ultimately speed up during the ritual, turning that excess energy into heat. As the point of connection between these transmutation circles, the channeler inetivably becomes the bearer of all this heat buildup. This could be dangerous to the individual, for the link must remain open for the spell to work. This can potentially kill the channeler by cooking them from the inside.

How can I prevent this from happening?

• With magic? If the source of the heat is internal little can be done other than that, or stopping the process. A high fever can kill you, and the only thing we can do is to put the patient in a cold environment to increase heat transfer, but that has its limits. – SJuan76 Dec 16 '18 at 23:25
• Why are you trying to save the channeler? Sacrifices are a part of many rituals. Maybe you have just discovered why. – Henry Taylor Dec 17 '18 at 0:35
• I just realized an issue with my potential answer: is the channeler selected from the 9 mages in one of the circles, or is the channeler sperate (thus a 2 circle spellcast would involve 9+9+1=19 mages)? – Cort Ammon Dec 17 '18 at 3:01
• @CortAmmon they are separate from the 9 mages – Incognito Dec 17 '18 at 3:10
• @HenryTaylor, he's asking how to avoid accidentally killing them, you don't want them dropping dead before the critical moment. – Separatrix Dec 17 '18 at 8:59

So the real key to this is doing something with the energy before it becomes the unknown wobbling mess of thermal energy that turns your witch into a pop tart. If you generate the heat, you have to get rid of it, period. The only real solution is to minimize the rate of heat generation.

Consider how one can use capacitors or inductors to shape current flow. If there's too much voltage, you can bleed some of the energy into a capacitor and release it later. Because you released it back into the system, it doesn't get turned into heat. If you had used a resistor, you would have had to convert it all to heat. They make big resistors for that, but you don't need them.

So your channeler never tries to fix anything by opposing it. They simply bleed some energy into themselves when there's too much in one form, and emit it back out in the other. You can be arbitrarily good at this.

The other big thing you may need is a failsafe. If your channeler isn't very good, and gets in trouble during practice, it'd be nice if they didn't die. For that, I'd recommend taking a lesson from High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) lines. HVDC lines have to have a circuit breaker, like all power lines. However, this is difficult. Normal AC power cycles at 60Hz. This means once every 0.86ms, the voltage across the circuit breaker is zero. This extinguishes any arc that may form between the electrodes and makes interrupting the current comparatively easy. Doing it in the HVDC world is harder because the current is never interrupted.

One solution is the "hybrid" breaker. This approach is based on the observation that there's two kinds of breakers in the HVDC world. There's slow mechanical breakers which arc badly if opened under load, and there are fast semiconductor breakers which don't arc because they simply change the resistance of the semiconductor. However, the semiconductor breakers have a problem that they generate resistance during operation. You can't get them down to negligible resistance, so they are constantly generating heat. A mechanical breaker, when conducting, is basically a large wire. It's resistance is very low, so very little heat.

The hybrid approach is to have both switches in parallel. In the normal conducting state, the mechanical switches are closed and the semiconductor switch is open. This means all of the power runs through the mechanical switches, keeping the channeler... I mean conductors cool. When a fault occurs, the system first closes the fast semiconductor switch, so that both switches are conveying current in parallel. Now the mechanical switches open. Because the semiconductor is conducting current around them, there's virtually no voltage across them, and thus they don't arc much at all. Now the semiconductor is conducting all the energy, and heating up like crazy. But it can then be switched open without an arc, and the current is fully interrupted.

This mechanism brings the best of both worlds. When everything is going properly, the mechanical switches conduct the current without generating heat. When everything goes wrong, the semiconductor switch can handle the load just long enough to let the mechanical switches disengage. It strikes me that your channelers would want to be trained in some art which mirrors these hybrid switches, so they aren't cooked to death!

Incidentally, my original answer was going to be relating limit of 9 mages to this idea of only doing reversible things so that you don't cook while using Ogone. In mathematics, quasigroups and loops are structures which have this reversible property. Anything which can be done in a quasigroup or a loop can be undone. This makes these actions reversible, and thus there is always a way to keep the energy flowing as magic rather than as heat.

Loops are interesting structures in that they have an identity element. It's possible to be in a state where you simply don't change anything. You let it be what it is. This seems like a really useful property for spellcasting. If things are getting dicey, you really want to have the ability to pause and just let things be as they are while you girdle your loins. If you just have a quasigroup, there's no such way to just let things be. You always have to know what you are doing to be able to keep things stable.

We know how many quasigroups and loops there are for different sized structures. For small orders (i.e. small numbers of mages), there are very few of them, and most are full fledged loops. But as the order goes up, the numbers get messy:

 order  quasigroups          loops             % quasigroups that are loops
-----  -----------          -----             ----------------------------
0        1                  0                    0%
1        1                  1                    100%
2        1                  1                    100%
3        5                  1                    20%
4        35                 2                    5.7%
5        1,411              6                    0.42%
6        1,130,531          109                  0.0096%
7        12,198,455,835     23,746               0.000194%
8        2.69e15            106,228,849          0.00000039%
9        ≈1.52e22           9,365,022,303,540    0.0000000061%
10       ≈2.75e30           ≈2.08e19             0.000000000076%
11       ≈1.94e40           ≈1.476e27            0.000000000000000000000000000000000075%


This could be a part of why the circle tops out at 9 mages. If something goes wrong, the casters in the circle need to operate in a reversible way to make sure they don't turn into crispy critters. If something goes wrong, and you have to regain control, you'll regain control into one of these patterns. 9 elements is already a gargantuan number of possibilities. If you can't rely on everyone to agree on a particular pattern when they get spooked by the Orgone getting loose, you have to rely on taming the beast after the pattern has been decided. There's just too many 10 element patterns. Worse, most of them aren't loops, meaning you have a very high risk of a pattern emerging that is merely a quasigroup, meaning you can't slow the casting down. It's gotten out of control.

Maybe its just my love of mathematical flavor, but I found it interesting that this sort of pattern crops up.

• Incidentally, if spell casting is like a game of magic hot potato where one mage has the potato, and each mage has something they can do which moves the potato to any other mage, then you'll truly have a quasigroup. If you have one mage whose actions never do anything, you may have a loop -- that would be interesting if a channeler had to interact with the one mage who can't do anything... they are the identity element. – Cort Ammon Dec 17 '18 at 4:34

Drink something icy cold during the ritual chanting, such as this assuming that the magic in your world can produce icy drinks.

Even better cool the mages' whole body in an icy pool, such as this

• If you could add some line to these two images you could make this an answer. – L.Dutch Dec 18 '18 at 4:12

The simple answer is to get one or more liches into the loop.

In fantasy fiction, a lich (/ˈlɪtʃ/;[1] from Old English līċ meaning "corpse") is a type of undead creature. Often such a creature is the result of a transformation, as a powerful magician skilled in necromancy or a king striving for eternal life using spells or rituals to bind his intellect and soul to his phylactery and thereby achieving a form of immortality.

In the eternal words of Balon Greyjoy, what is dead may never die. Dude's already croaked in the name of magic, might as well turn the dial on eleven to the bridge he's holding. I'm sure they won't mind the heat.

There are a couple of ways you could end up limiting this or restricting your magic system to account for this.

The first way is to simply place a limit on the number of Magic Circles a Mage is capable of channeling before they are roasted. Rituals that do result in a roasted mage are considered forbidden and not practiced except in dire times.

The second way is to have another animal act as the sacrificial channeling object. You can do this by either having the animal directly channel the energy between two circles. Have a mage who can control the challenging though the animal or have the mage direct the energy through different animals (In this case, the mage will still need to interact with the energy, but since it doesn't pass through them completely, the damage is minimal). Think of the mage like an Electrician and the Animal as a piece of Wire. In the original case you mentioned, the Mage connects himself to both ends and lets the electricity pass through him. In the second case, the mage can just tie an animal to both ends and is done with it. In the third case, the mage pushes the animal onto the ends, but needs to hold it in place. In the fourth, the Mage needs to make an initial connection using his arm which then goes into the animal, but doesn't pass through the rest of the mages body.

Finally, if your system allows it. You can have sub rituals going on at the same time to actively cool the channeler. This makes your larger spells grow in complexity and size, because you will have people cooling channelers and more channelers to provide power for more cooling for the core channelers and so on.

I have two parts of this answer one - how to stay alive longer without using (much) magic and the other a thought on how to use magic to survive:

### Without magic

Well, assuming this is just internal heat or at least not enough to actually start cooking the person, standard methods for extreme heat environments and treatments for high fevers could work to at least slow the effects on the channeler:

1. Start the person on an IV drip (or constantly drinking water if equivalent level of technology/relic/magic item cannot be made) and start this before the circles are complete.

The idea here is your body is going to need a bit of hyper-hydration before starting an activity that will raise one's body temperature significantly. Then as it begins, our channeler will need to continue this hyper-hydration to help maintain body temperature (compensate for added heat).

Note, if no "IV drip" you could have a second circle going which is casting a very low level "restoration", "cooling", or etc... spell on the channelers - one which is perfectly within safety requirements and can even stop and switch when needed.

1. Have buckets of water ready to dump on clothed person

Yeah, your going to be hot so the natural instinct is to wear as little as possible. Think about the last time you were rained on during a hot day though - it was nice at first but then you walked inside and were freezing! The light clothing will actually help hold the sweat, and the added buckets of water, on you by not allowing it to evaporate.

If it is a really big spell, the channeler might actually sit in a tub of ice water (or pool dug in ground) to keep that core temp lower.

1. Aspirin/Acetaminophen equivalent

There have been numerous studies showing that these two can help reduce fevers. This would be the most hand-wavy though as you would first have to determine herb/plant equivalents for these and they are not meant to treat heat from an external source (they inhibit the reaction of certain systems). However, its still an option if you want some hand-wavy but seems real-ish solution.

### Using magic items/own magic

Now the above may work for your average channeler on an average spell but for those really big spells - you'll need something different and either a special channeler or special tools:

1. Mimic the thermophile of Earth

Thermophile actually use the heat, and sulfur, to survive they way we use oxygen. So alter these channelers through magic to require heat to survive. This could be a permanent change (maybe make them require sulfur, such that they must live near volcanoes) or have a polymorph spell prepared in an enchantment.

1. No heat is lost only transferred - so give the excess a new place to transfer

This could be a channeler who is also a mage and so during the transfer uses the heat to cast a separate small spell or keeps an enchanted stone that works as a heat sink.

Another thought is they sit as both channeler and mage in a second circle and use the "lost" energy from large spell 1 to fuel minor spell 2.

• On your second "Magic method": Boost the frequency of the heat from IR to visible light - that's why your ritual circles glow. – Chronocidal Dec 17 '18 at 14:00
• @Chronocidal I thought about that (and a few other "transmuting heat" ideas) but wondered if they would fit in the magic system of the OP. Granted, matter can be thought of as condensed energy (loosely....think Higgs particles) so it should be possible if maybe extremely hard to transmute but seemed a stretch. Of course, morph a person to a type of creature which only exists as bacteria did not - so I guess I'm weird like that :) – LinkBerest Dec 18 '18 at 1:14

We know that air is pretty bad at dissipating excess heat, that's why we normally have to use a lot of air to take cool down something. Liquids, in particular water, are way better for this task. This can also help you with your problem.

Form the circles under a waterfall, or at least place the channeler in such a place.

The constant flow of cold water will help keeping the temperatures down.

===========================================

unrelated: quite ironically, this can also answer the question on the purpose of artificial waterfalls.

If the heating process for channeling is internal, then the solution must necessarily act at the source rather than externally. Sitting in an ice bath isn't going to cut the mustard here.

Describing the solution while not getting an 18 rating for your story is at the discretion of the author. However it does put a new spin on the requirement for wizards to own a staff and robe. Though convention doesn't mention the ice bath the bottom of the staff has to sit in, perhaps a natural water course is sufficient.

Use the energy augmenting power of the connection to more efficiently use mages. From OP /A circle can have a maximum of 9 mages/

The OP states that more circles tends to increase the amount of total magic over time, and produce heat. I conclude this is a property special to magic. If there were a finite amount of energy produced by each mage, connecting them up would not elicit more energy. More connections generally reduce power via entropy. An electrical connection that is heating up is losing energy to heat. The risk is that the heat breaks down the connection. In mundane energy transfer scenarios (e.g. electrical lines, water traversing pipes) the connection itself cannot increase total energy input, only (always) decrease it.

But here the connection itself somehow increases the energy input. /These circles joining their power together creates a lot of excess energy. The transfer rate of orgone from one circle to the next will ultimately speed up during the ritual, turning that excess energy into heat. / The answer - mages drop out of their circles as the connections augment power. When power reaches 110% one page can drop out, reducing from the 9 maximum to 8. The 8th next mage drops out when power reaches 125%.

This capitalizes on the magic augmenting nature of the circle and frees up some mages to go have lunch early. Courtesy dictates that these mages released early should also make sandwiches for the other ones still magicking away in the circle.

# Enchanted items you say...?

Introduce a simple enchantment that only needs the participation of 3 or 4 mages in the circle, which has the effect of producing a heat sink. As long as a mage has one of these, as most mages will, any excess heat will always have somewhere to go.

# No Magical

## Drinking

Before starting and during the ritual, your designated mage to perform the link must drink a lot. Hydrating your body helps to cool your body and improve sweating. If possible drink very cold water, maybe even eat snow or ice, you must lower his temperature.

# Bathing

Before starting and during the ritual, your designated mage to perform the link must take an ice bath, which literally means bath in very cold water usually full of ice cubes. It doesn't matter if he suffers a bit of hypothermia, in a few minutes he will want to have it, just don't let him die. Unlike normal ice bath, your mage must be naked so he lowers his temperature even quicker.

If you dare and have enough technology, you may take one of these baths.

# Magical

All these suggestions require a smaller circle surrounding the linker:

## Healing

Self-explanatory, don't you have healing magic? Maybe cast healing on him.

## Cooling

Instead of cast healing on the linker with more mages, you may cast a cooling ability, like freezing ray or frost wind...

## Dissipating or use a Heat Sink

Healing and cooling may not be available but your mages could dissipate the heat produced around the linker with magic, maybe dissipating it to the environment or transferring all that heat to some heat sink (like water or magical spell).

## Transfering

If all of that spells aren't available we still have some solutions, but riskier. The smaller circle of mages around the caster will drain part of the heat to themselves, effectively avoiding overheat the linker.
Instead of cook a single person, you warm several ones. You could even nestle this ability adding more circles of mages for each mage that absorbs the heat or make it recursive to balance all the temperature.