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In my fantasy Mana is a resource found not only in people (really, really, really trace amounts) but also physically in the ground. In its natural state Mana is a bright blue stone that at night glows intensely however the only known source of Mana is deep within the Endless Sea.

Mana is, of course, a magical substance. In close proximity to Mana one has powerful dreams and visions, but if someone consumes Mana those dreams can become true. However, I've realized that allowing Mana to basically grant miracles can get out of hand and I don't want Mana to become Phlebtonium.

What could be some effects of Mana usage that would prevent long term abuse?

What I'm looking for in a answer: my two main requirements are that it's related to a person's mind/psyche (physical effects could be included but are not necessary) and second the dreams are tied into the effect, however I'd prefer the dreams aren't what directly kills them ex: they dream about falling and actually fall isn't something I'm looking for.

Note:

  • being near Mana and having powerful dreams would have minimal side effects compared to actually consuming Mana. So only after years of direct contact with Mana (not consumption) would the user feel adverse effects.

  • inhaling, grinding into dust, mixing into a liquid, are all valid ways to consume Mana. It's why mining Mana is a dangerous pursuit.

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Dubukay, We are Monica., Cyn says make Monica whole, Arkenstein XII, Trevor Jul 18 at 12:45

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ Okay as it stands "instant death" is a legitimate answer here, you might want to revise the question with some specificity as to what constitutes a helpful answer and what particular effect you want to achieve, do you want it usable but only in small doses or only to be used in extremity or what. $\endgroup$ – Ash Jul 12 at 18:53
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexP Answers don't belong in the comments. $\endgroup$ – Ash Jul 12 at 19:02
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    $\begingroup$ Read Ursula Le Quin's Lathe of Heaven for a good example of the dangers inherent in dream based miracles. Or just think about your own dreams and how literal interpretation of them into reality could have very undesirable consequences. $\endgroup$ – Henry Taylor Jul 12 at 19:02
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    $\begingroup$ @Ash: That's not an answer. That's a comment explaining why I voted to close as primarily opinion based. (Hint: the comment provides a list of conditions, without any rhyme or reason, all of which satisfy the empty list of requirements in the question. Since there is nothing in the question to choose between them, it follows that the question is primarily opinion based.) And quite obviously Henry Taylor's comment is also not an answer; it cannot be an answer, because the question asks for a medical or psichiatric disorder, not for a book. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Jul 12 at 19:06
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    $\begingroup$ @AlexP It gives the OP a whole lot of answers that work as well as noted that it's an extremely broad field and the question shouldn't be asked in the format it has been. $\endgroup$ – Ash Jul 12 at 19:22
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Dreams become reality, because your reality becomes Dream.

Being near mana brings you closer to the land of Dream. You can see it more clearly; learn from it. You might even be able to fly like a phantom through it. You return to your body when you awake. It is still a dream.

If you consume mana, you physically enter the land of Dream. It is an amazing and surreal place. You might have godlike powers - sometimes. It can be beautiful. It can be unpredictable and terrifying.

If you have visited the land many times, and paid attention, and studied the experiences of other Dreamers, you might get away with eating mana. Some people go with no intention of returning. Some try to return, and may or may not succeed.

temptation of Tony

https://www.max-ernst.com/temptation-of-saint-anthony.jsp

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  • $\begingroup$ So confused, how do any of these effects prevent long term abuse? $\endgroup$ – Rob Jul 15 at 13:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Rob: The consumption and consequent superpowers / miracle granting is the problem. That is sidestepped by moving the person with such power to a different plAne of existence (Dream) from which is it difficult to return. $\endgroup$ – Willk Jul 18 at 9:09
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What if your mana (over time) indirectly negatively impacted the right supramarginal gyrus in the brain? Then on top of that mana could have a more direct effect on the body such as raising the body temperature. If those two rather simple reactions occurred when mana was consumed the users would have to be very careful about how, how often and how much mana they consumed.

Over time, mana consumption wears away on the neurons in the supramarginal gyrus causing long term abusers of mana to loose their ability to empathise or to begin projecting their emotions onto others, among other similar problems. This would effectively render long term over consumers extremely narcissistic or perhaps even psychopathic.

Short term overuse of mana (over consumption) would cause the body temperature to raise drastically. The effects of a fever can be striking and rather dangerous disregarding the obvious effect of organ failure and death.

You could tie these concepts in with the use of magic. For instance, if someone consumes mana then they MUST perform magic less they want to die of a fever. More mana could mean stronger spells and a persons tolerance for mana could build over time. Ie a first time mana consumer could not consume nearly as much as one who is a long time user. Therefore, long term abuse causes users to go insane and short term abuse is certain or almost certain death.

EDIT: Perhaps mana should also be addictive? On a physical level though because obviously anything that would allow you to use magic would be addictive. Therefore, users of mana must continue using mana less they go through withdrawals.

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Here are some very simple ones.

  • It's unpleasant to consume. If inhaled, it burns, if consumed, it makes one feel bloated/nauseous
  • The body itself doesn't like it, and will react with rashes, vomiting, diahrea, or a whole host of unpleasant effects
  • The body simply can't hold much and moves to get rid of it. Your body will start to expel excess amounts, as it does water soluble vitamins. Or, you'll sweat it out. It may even cause a runny nose and expel it through the mucus.
  • Headaches/bad trips. Use too much Mana, and you'll get a hangover from it, REALLY use too much of it, and you'll start to hallucinate. All that magic isn't of much use if you can't tell friend from foe.
  • Power incontinence. Try to abuse the mana, and you simply lose control. The more mana you consume, the more you will have to concentrate to keep it under control. At high levels, any stray thought you have will manifest itself in some way. Something that startles you could make you think of a monster, that would suddenly appear. At lower doses, you wouldn't need much focus, but at higher levels, you'd need few distractions.
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Consuming something typically leads to your body producing less of it naturally, however, Mana production is how your soul expresses itself into your body. Consuming the soul of the Earth will lend your body to the desires of the Earth. You will start to behave more and more like a servant of the spirit of the Earth. Like a wild animal, you will desire to be naked and free and to leave humanity for the call of the wind.

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Make the dreams become addictive if overused.

Known abusers of mana turn into spaced-out street bums after blowing all they own on Mana Stones and the like. They become visibly detestable to those who are not abusing the Mana substance themselves. Much like some heavy drug users of our time.

Thus only scoundrels and ne'er-do-wells partake of such things to excess. you could use a lot of symptoms from common illicit substances to pad your downsides.

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I'm a big fan of insanity. especially since in your setting mana is tied to dreams. generally insanity is bad, but if mana makes your dreams come true insanity could be really bad for you and everyone around you.

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