Witches exist at all levels of society, including the top echelons. These individuals summon the orgone within themselves to perform various feats of magic through invocations. This form of magic is slow, requiring ingredients, circles, and rituals that can take minutes to hours to perform. There is, however, a quicker form of magic that focuses specifically on attack and defense. This works through a series of intricate runes that are magically imbued with orgone. An individual simply focuses their power while reciting the incantation, using their physical body as a conduits for the spell.

These runes are created through the slow process of ritual magic which are then infused to the body. Different runes provide for different abilities. Some focus on enhancing the physical (strength, speed) while others give the person unique abilities (fireball, ice freeze). They also operate differently, with some offering a certain amount of times it can be reused before being applied again (3-4 shots) and others being used within a specific time frame (5-10 minutes). Runes cannot be used together or mixed (mixing enhanced strength with fireball) because one negates the other.

A system in society developed which introduced the concept of bodyguards, who are tasked with protecting these witches throughout their lives. These guards are like samurai/geisha warriors who are raised since childhood to protect their employees. Parents often give their sons to this element, and earn money from their eventual employment. Witches power up their guards with whatever runes they seem necessary for the occasion.

The reason I invented this system was to prevent witches from being overpowered. Therefore, witches are unable to use these runes themselves, or apply them to other witches. Instead, they are responsible for ritualized magic and their bodyguards are capable of instant spells to protect and guard them. The problem is why individuals who create runes with orgone are then unable to use them even though both utilize the same source of power. For some reason, runes can only work for non-magic users.

How can this be explained?


7 Answers 7



The magic users channel orgone through their bodies. The runes are created by infusing them with orgone. Since you can't combine two runes, it seems natural that you can't really combine a rune with a source of orgone - magic users being a very big source.

If you put a rune on a magic user, then at best it fizzles out. But it might be worse if it triggers incorrectly (e.g., releasing the fireball early) or the effect gets warped (e.g., blessing of strength instead does something different).


Runes negate all other magic

In the question you mention that one rune negates another if both are inscribed on the same individual. This could be taken a step further, so that inscribing a rune on a magic user would negate all other magic that person can do. They can still use the rune-power as anyone else, however they would find themselves unable to summon any orgone within themselves while the rune is still active.

This would allow you to take the system in several possibly interesting directions. Applying a rune to a magic user could for example be a form of punishment or imprisonment. You could stick an enhanced vision rune on a magic user for example and be quite sure that they're (temporarily) unable to cast any sort of spell. It could allow magic users and bodyguards to spar/compete on an equal playing field.

If you would prefer a stronger deterrent, you could make the magic negation a bigger risk by giving it a chance to be permanent. Normal people don't have a risk of losing anything when a rune is applied, however magic users could potentially lose their ability to use magic permanently. Each time they apply a rune on themselves they risk losing all magic.


There is a reason ritual magic is slow.

Ritual magic is slow because of the risk of explosion - if you tap magic energies all at once they can come in an uncontrollable reality warping surge. All of the rituals and ingredients are actually just reminders to take time and be gradual and disciplined. Release the magic little by little.

Runes short circuit that orderly process. In someone without intrinsic magic there is no risk. But if you are a witch, use of a rune throws the magic channels wide open. The result is dramatic and unpredictable, and may cause chain reactions that echo for decades.


If you send Orgone out of your body during a ritual it doesnt just exit your hands or a convenient place, but will exit your body at various points.

Having a rune on your body means that during a ritual it'll sap Orgone at best, or have disastrous and lethal consequences at worst as you randomly throw some fireballs during the ritual or the rune magic is mixed into the normal Orgone causing the ritual to fail. Since a ritual might need to be performed at any time its not handy to have runes on your body. But having them on a bodyguard who can use his otherwise useless Orgone... now that is a useful way to use it.


Side effects

Obviously, mixing runes and incantations must have some side effect.
What side effect happens depends on what else fits best with the story. It could be that nothing happens, or that the witch is incapacitated before (or after?) she completes the ritual, or an uncontrolled energy release, the witch simply vanishes, or reality is warped.

The society may or may not know the reasons behind that side effect.

Too powerful

Mixing would actually make the witch so powerful that she's more powerful than anybody.
There are multiple ways that this could happen, depending on what fits best into the story: The mere ability to vary runes during a spell may make her so flexible that she can't be beaten anymore; or there's a rune and a ritual that make it easier to create the next rune, creating an exponential power increase, or... or... or...
The downside is that the ritual takes time. And it is obvious, at a distance.

So whenever a witch tries this, all other witches will converge on her.

It is anathema

It is forbidden, for some reason lost to history.
The bodyguards are there not only to guard the witch, but also to prevent her from doing anything that is not within the social rules, which involve that you simply don't do both ritual and runes.
This could be done to place them under control: Establish a rule that makes them depend on others for some task, and you have limited their ability to do stuff. The restriction could be totally arbitrary, preventing them from doing something that's technically entirely within their abilities - except the bodyguards answer to the witch in all things except when to enforce that rule.
A society that emphasizes tradition and/or obedience would help with enforcing that: the witches are powerful, but they are bound to rules of discipline and answerability just like everybody else.


Runes are slow to produce and have negative effects on the body.

Like any source of magic, the rune must have something to gain power to be able to activate or be constantly active.

The rune for the body could be considered as a radioactive chemical. They slowly consume the vital energy of the host to be operative. After years of constant use of runes, the user begins to notice the wear caused by the runes. The damage is irreversible. Since they are samurai and can no longer serve their master, they proceed to die with honor by doing a ritual (perhaps harakiri).

As the process of preparing the rune is slow and also has negative consequences for health, the cost-benefit is not viable.

Perhaps with the past of time, somebody study the negative effect of the runes and begin to ban them.

It reminds me of alchemy theory, to get something you must give something of equal or greater value (vital energy / runic power).


Simple: runes channel orgone.

A witch could apply a rune to herself, but she's a creature of magic, orgone flows through her body like blood does through her veins. Runes are infused to the body with magic, so they bind the witch's magic, making the rune permanent and diverting power from the witch's orgone reserves to power the rune's effect.

This would prevent witches from using runes for many reasons:

  1. Resource Depletion-The Witch always has less orgone to use for magic, since the rune is always taking some. If witches die upon completely depleting their orgone, runes are also a potentially dangerous drain on their orgone. There is an exception though (see below).

  2. Interference-Using your rune examples, it's clear that you have passive (constantly running, like strength enhancement) and active (must be activated to have an effect, like the fireball and freeze runes) runes.

Passive runes not only deplete resources, but eventually get annoying: imagine having superstrength all the time, and I'm sure you'll see what I mean. With that on all the time, witches would break things all too often, and find it very difficult to perform fine manipulation of objects. It'd be like becoming a gorilla for us; sure, you're stronger, but you'd also have less motor control. The same would apply to enhanced vision, smell, touch and so forth.

Active runes are the exception mentioned in Point 1: they only expend orgone when activated, but guess what? They activate every time the witch tries to use magic. This is horrible for witches, because not only does that make spells more expensive to cast, but it adds a rune-specific effect. For example, if a witch was trying to cast Freeze Solid and had a Rune of Fireball, the result would be an angry, soaked opponent.

  1. Runes Ruin Stealth-As creatures of magic, witchs can sense most magic around them, as long as they have proper training. Witches know how to cloak themselves, but they can't cloak any runes they have. Additionally, runes connect a witch to magic in a way that leads to an unwanted side effects (Ex: a Rune of Fireball attracts fire elementals).

  2. Runes Are An Unwanted Weakness-Going off the example above, a fire elemental can use a Rune of Fireball to draw orgone out of a witch, consuming her mana and when it's gone, her entire being. Besides that, a witch can disassemble a rune on another witch, but when she does so, she absorbs both the power that's gone into the rune's construction but all the power that's ever gone into it, skyrocketing her orgone capacity and leaving her victim weak and vulnerable to her power (ie. prime target for domination and enthralling spells).


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