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My name is Malevolencia, and I am an evil mage on the path to godhood. Magic is a gift from the creator that was given to humanity as a sign of them being chosen. Magic works through a series of steps that are rituals. A person forms a ritualized circle by focusing their own power using their mana. They also form the various sigil and runes within the circle that are associated with the spell. Finally, any ingredients or materials must be placed within the circle, followed with chanting for a specific period of time. This is a time consuming process that can take many hours.

However, there is a shortcut that lets me skip right to the spell itself. By using a particular dark ritual, I can sever my connection with the creator. This ritual must only be done once. The result is that I can bypass the steps, such as ingredients or sigils, and just power the spell with my own mana. This provides for instant results without the hassle of spending much time setting up, giving me an advantage over my enemies.

It is often said that he'll isn't some fire and brimstone place, but eternal separation from God's love. It turns out that I have actually become more powerful, proving that it is better to reign in hell than serve in heaven. By removing the limiters placed on us, we can increase our strength and become gods of our own. What I can't figure out is: if humans come from the deity, and he gave humans magic, cutting myself off from him should eliminate my access.

How can removing a deity from the equation make me stronger as a mage?

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    $\begingroup$ Does mana come from the Creator or is mana already everywhere and the ability to utilise it is the gift? if the ritual like giving parameters to the Processor(God) then your mage should have weaker control (making larger spells next impossible?) without the greater processing power but will have more flexibility and speed. I realise this is a psuedo answer paired with a clarification but I have not the time to make a full fledged answer. $\endgroup$
    – IT Alex
    Sep 12, 2019 at 15:29
  • $\begingroup$ What are you talking about? What does "eternal separation from God" even mean? Why do you believe that the mage wannabe follows one of the Abrahamic religions? What stops them to convert to, say, some sort of neo-pagan religion and sidestep the entire problem? If "separating oneself from God's love" (whatever that means in your religion) gives superpowers, then it gives superpowers. It's not as if you are talking about something which can be understood rationally. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Sep 12, 2019 at 15:31
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    $\begingroup$ I think you mean "Hell" not "he'll" but its too small of an edit for me to change it. $\endgroup$ Sep 12, 2019 at 17:09
  • $\begingroup$ * Tanya von Degurechaff wants to know your location. $\endgroup$
    – stix
    Sep 12, 2019 at 17:34
  • $\begingroup$ This question has been flagged as primarily opinion-based, and I tend to agree. What distinguishes the "best" answer from a good one? Is "Because you entered a cheat code that made you an administrator in the system" a more complete answer than "Your power still comes from god; the deity just isn't as benevolent as you thought"? $\endgroup$
    – Frostfyre
    Sep 12, 2019 at 17:59

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What I can't figure out is: if humans come from the deity, and he gave humans magic,

He didn't. His Almighty Marketing persuaded you that it was so.

How can removing a deity from the equation make me stronger as a mage?

He is parasitic, of sorts. He drains power from you, and further hinders your power with meaningless and awkward rituals and hoop-jumping to stop you becoming great enough to one day be a threat, or (more likely) to fall prey to some other similar parasite. No-one likes sharing food with the competition.

Orrrr, maybe the competition are actually not very nice and your former god was actually acting in your best interests. Now you've cast off the cloak of ritual and all the associated safety devices you've effectively turned yourself into a great big flashing sign that says EAT ME, and a bunch of eldritch abominations will make themselves known to you shortly, and you'll learn that the alternative to serving in heaven is, in fact, being served in hell. Bon appetit, etc.

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    $\begingroup$ A variation on this could be that God created Man in his own image - as Mana Generators, constantly feeding back to him. A bit like a multinational company with branches around the world who all send their money back "home". Part of the ritual is then persuading God to allow you to spend some of that Mana instead of sending it on ("Our profits will be lower, as we have additional costs to cover") $\endgroup$ Sep 13, 2019 at 10:42
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    $\begingroup$ @Chronocidal or, creation myth as pyramid scam ;-) $\endgroup$ Sep 13, 2019 at 10:56
  • $\begingroup$ Perhaps you won't go to hell but ryleh instead. $\endgroup$
    – Q Paul
    Nov 16, 2019 at 20:33
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In the beginning, God created man. Man was created in his/her image and as such access to the magical powersource. Some individuals had more and some less access to the magical powersource.

After a short time, God grew worried. The little uneducated humans were leading a life of debauchery, and mayhem.

Those with large magical abilities had little educated control over their powers and caused unintended/intended damage where-ever they went. It was cataclysmic. God saw this and was greatly worried for his/her creation. Those with less powerful abilities were less likely to cause death and destruction and had more time to learn to harness their powers safely. God saw this and was pleased.

God chose, at great cost, to place restrictions and limitations on human's magic access for the safety of his/her entire creation project. This was his/her gift to his/her chosen people. This allowed magic users time to learn and pass down the secrets of controlled magic use. Accidents still happen, but not planet destroying accidents. Over generations of knowledge building this control over magic become more common and the threat of magical annihilation due to a sloppy spell less likely.

By removing these God-given safety locks, you are not removing your access to magic. God isn't your connection to magic, God is your connection to a safe and secure-ish environment to learn without overdoing it. Your magic can now grow and can become unlimited, reach unknown bounds. By removing your God-given link, you no longer have the safety net and unless you truly know your own magical limits amd how increased power increases the danger of an overload, you may just magically kill yourself...and everyone else in the world...

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The Almighty might have given magic to humans, but magic wasn't his to begin with.

Think about the fire - gods may have given it to humanity, but once it's given, they can no longer control how humans use it. This Almighty is more crafty than Greek Gods - rather than waiting for inevitable (Prometheus) transition of technology, he gave it away willingly - but wrapped in a magical contract, which enforces that humans would use magic only in a specific way.

A human can break this contract and use the magic any way he or she likes - but then face the wrath of God for doing so.

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Because you are special. As you said, almost everyone has to handle this through the almighty. However, if you circumvent this, then you are drawing from your own mana. A mage who is already too weak couldn't possibly handle the dark ritual. Anyone who can handle the dark ritual was born with two things:

  1. An unusually strong mana that can handle the spell on their own
  2. A "dark side" personality that makes you want to turn your back on your god in the first place

So, you didn't get stronger. You just used your inherent talent and predilections. Of course, this could also mean that the reason you are capable of handling it is because some dark energy manipulated you, possibly in the womb, to be able to handle it...

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You've graduated from the nursery.

As an analogy: the planet Earth is designed to foster life. It provides air to breathe, water to drink, and a very complicated system by which the energy of the sun is converted into food that we can eat. If a human being could leave Earth without very special protections, they would immediately die. Even if they could survive the vacuum of space, they would soon be killed by the raw, unfiltered radiation from the sun.

Separating yourself from God is like separating yourself from the planet Earth. It should have killed you. But somehow you're special. And now instead of needing to eat and drink to get enough energy to survive, you're basking in the full radiant power of the sun, absorbing it and channeling it all directly. (Or to put it another way: instead of needing to use the rituals that God provided to allow humans to safely access mana, you're bypassing them and accessing it directly.)

Now, someone more cynical might ask: Where does this mana originally come from -- what is the "sun" in this analogy? Have you really cut yourself off from God? Or have you just cut yourself off from the buffers that God built to protect you from Him, for your own safety?

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Not exactly what you're looking for, but similar.

What most people don't like to talk about is Satan. Light and Dark and in an eternal battle to cover the earth but neither side can win, God and Satan are duking it out but are equal and neither can win. The thing is that siding with bad instead of good looks bad, no one wants to side with the bad guy because that's the bad thing to do, but the thing is that their mana supplies are equal. The other thing to consider is that if the mana supply is the same size as God's but there are fewer people using it (there are after all a lot fewer Satanists then Christians) then your share is bigger, so by serving Satan instead of God the amount of mana you have access to increases.

Again this isn't exactly what you're looking for because you still aren't drawing off of your own mana but it's something to consider.

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    $\begingroup$ Technically Satan is a fallen Angel created by God. I do not believe he could therefore be equal in power with his creator... this would work with other non-abrahamic religions where life is created out of a equal good/bad chaos field... $\endgroup$ Sep 12, 2019 at 17:33
  • $\begingroup$ @EveryBitHelps The religion doesn't have to be Abrahamic necessarily. If this is a fantasy wolrd the OP can mix elements of different religions too. $\endgroup$ Sep 12, 2019 at 18:28
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How about a slightly different answer: The creator deity did not actually give them magic proper.

All the magic circles, runes, components, chants, and other items are basically a mystical programming language that the creator deity gave to their chosen race to enact miracles up on the land. Humans are constrained to whatever this magic language can do, and while we can discover better or more efficient uses of this language, there is a limit to what it can do. The clergy of the creator deity extol this divine gift and their deity's love and promise good things for following this dogma. In addition, they actively discourage anybody from finding out the truth about magic.

A hidden reality could be that this deity gave a constrained magic both to prevent humans from rising to the level, and thus being able to challenge, the gods as well as syphoning tiny fractions of every spell to increase their own power. Nothing overt, but enough fractions of a cent can make dollars in the long term, and who will have the power to challenge them if they are found out?

The Dark Ritual(TM) is a twofold thing. First, it is the discovery of the actual progenitor/source of magic itself. Second, it ritualistically breaks your dependence on the magic language to get results and allows the user to cast directly.

The first part is why it can only be done once -- the first time, you break the bond to the magic given to you by the creator deity. To perform the ritual again breaks your bond to magic itself, rendering the user mundane or worse.

The second part means that all the steps that you went through physically before are now done magically. This does not necessarily make you stronger at the outset, but it does make you faster at magic from Day 1. In the beginning, this is a serious advantage and will enable you to survive long enough to get stronger. Doing everything yourself depletes yourself faster which leads to yourself getting stronger so you can keep up with the toll put on your body.

Since you are putting a greater overall toll on your magic, it will strengthen faster. This is why those that have broken the bond are stronger -- practice.

There can be few reasons as to why this is a Dark Ritual(TM). Pick and choose at will.

  • Undertaking it labels one a enemy of the Church and will lead to a Very Painful Death if caught.
  • Some die due to overexertion in the first days from casing spells that were within their power level before but not within it now that they have to do everything themselves
  • Some heed the warnings of a cost or sacrifice that must be paid to know the Truth and do not undertake the ritual. Likewise, others end up sacrificing too much to learn Truth and suffer horribly if not die outright.
  • Undertaking the ritual exposes yourself to side effects that the magic language prevents. Some are good while others aren't.
  • Knowledge of the ritual is not constant. This can be for a variety of reasons
    • It is placed by the true patron of Magic to be found by the people that they deem chosen ones and able to handle the responsibility
    • Inversely, it is given to those it has deemed will kill themselves by using it as a punishment or karmic justice.
    • A third option is that it is given to people that will make the world more interesting. Your definition of interesting may vary.
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  • $\begingroup$ So basically like coding in binary instead of C++ or Javascript. $\endgroup$
    – Q Paul
    Nov 16, 2019 at 20:36

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