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There is a hidden rule for all mages that is to jump every time when casting a lightning spell to prevent self electrocution, how this work is as follows:

First the mage recites an incantation to transform their body into a meat vessel to act like a capacitor to store electricity, the only indication of saturation is the tingling sensation and hair raising up. When it is about time to cast the lightning spell, the mage has to jump high in the air and commands the power of lightning to flow towards the target. Failing to make the jump while the spell is active will cause the vessel to discharge through the legs and result in severe burns or in the worst case scenario death!

No footwear because the vessel is siphoning the electricity from the ground while having to make sure the current is tolerable by focusing deeply, however there seems to be an exception to this. There is a particular mage who doesn't seems to have to jump to cast any lightning spell, in fact this mage is the only mage in history to be able to do nested casting! It just means casting multiple spells at once but the level of concentration is absurd with just one spell let alone two, I am wondering how does this legendary mage managed to pull off this feat without getting self electrocuted?

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    $\begingroup$ why not just wear chainmail? the electricity siphons through both the metal and earth, so it doesnt break the connection, and when the electricity discharges from the lightning, instead of running into their flesh it forms a current in the chain mail $\endgroup$
    – zackit
    Mar 8, 2021 at 13:45
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    $\begingroup$ There's always the time-honoured alternative of giving him a forgotten magical artifact or even one he invented himself to do the job. Something other than his body to act as the capacitor. $\endgroup$
    – Gwyn
    Mar 8, 2021 at 13:52
  • $\begingroup$ @zackit, chainmail probably doesn't have enough conductivity to channel all the electricity in a lightning bolt without a lot of resistance. If you try to push more electricity through a conductor than it can handle, that conductor starts to get hot. Really hot. You're going to wish you weren't wearing that chainmail. It will be glowing. $\endgroup$
    – Seth R
    Mar 8, 2021 at 21:30
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    $\begingroup$ If the target is further than his jump height, that won't help much. $\endgroup$ Mar 10, 2021 at 1:33

6 Answers 6

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Tricky Mage:

Your unique mage has worked out the basics of electricity, and has used this knowledge to design unique gear. It's not that other mages CAN'T do what he does, it's just that he's not talking and all attempts to copy him have failed because they don't know the secret.

Your mage has insulated boots to protect him from grounding. He bypasses the need for drawing power through his feet by having a conductor that he touches/dangles to the ground to draw charge. My suggestion is a staff with a metal core covered in an insulator, or a bullwhip with a wire in it (this would be less mage-like but really cool), or even just a wire he dangles out of his robe and lifts up as needed with a string. It could even be a metal spike or spurs on his heel he pulls out of the ground before casting to break the connection.

Once he's charged up, he disconnects from the ground (allowing him to hold the charge longer than any other mage, BTW) and waits for the opportunity to zap. If using a staff or whip, he snaps the whip/gestures with the staff and can discharge through the device. The combination of NOT jumping (imagine trying to fire a gun while jumping - accuracy will suck) and a very precise conductive discharger (the equivalent of a long barrel on a gun) means he has unprecedented range, control, power and accuracy.

All that stuff about concentration and special extra spells is a smokescreen. He's drawing more power through a conductor, and faster, with less concentration. In fact, the most he needs to worry about is singed fingers as he charges/discharges through his device (or perhaps in the case of a staff, the power is stored inside the staff akin to what I think L Dutch is proposing). Because everyone assumes he's got special magic powers, they are trying to work out a magical solution. In reality, he's just clever.

Other mages have stolen his boots, and failed to cast at all. Others have tried to use a staff, and electrocuted themselves. Others snap whips, and either suffer worse aim or electrocute themselves. Until someone else works out the details of resistance and conductivity, our mage is a rock star of lightning.

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  • $\begingroup$ Also, the cunning fella may be able to recharge from Power Lines! What about the Photoelectric effect? So many posibilities. $\endgroup$
    – Gustavo
    Mar 8, 2021 at 14:40
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    $\begingroup$ Ah yes, the ol' dangle-your-wire-outside-your-robe trick $\endgroup$
    – Mirror318
    Mar 9, 2021 at 1:40
  • $\begingroup$ @Mirror318 Under the robe! out from under the robe, but under to contact the ground. We're being sneaky! ;) $\endgroup$
    – DWKraus
    Mar 9, 2021 at 1:49
  • $\begingroup$ @Mirror318 Third time I've seen it used this week! $\endgroup$
    – Davy M
    Mar 9, 2021 at 18:41
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DWKraus's answer seems like it would work, except that actually insulating shoes against electrocution is really hard using non-magical / non-industrial era materials. A few mages would have probably figured out the staff/insulated shoes trick for minor lightning spells, but if you try it on a day after it rains, and you get just enough moisture saturating your shoes then you shock yourself anyway.

The Key Here is Nested Casting

There is a particular mage who doesn't seems to have to jump to cast any lightning spell, in fact this mage is the only mage in history to be able to do nested casting!

Not only are there spells out there for casting a lightning bolt, but there are also spells out there for stopping one. So, every time this mage casts a lightning spell, he simultaneously casts a shielding spell between the Earth and his feet just before discharging, preventing any energy from passing that way.

Because no one else can cast nested spells, no one else can replicate what he is doing. They can steal his shoes, his staff, or even his spell book which explains in exact detail how to do it, but without his raw talent for casting 2 spells at once, no one else can actually copy this ability.

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There are several possible ways:

  1. Use a proxy for accumulating charges, and have it discharge on the target: as long as the proxy has a higher dielectric rigidity than air, air will be a preferred path of discharge. It comes with the bonus that the target doesn't know where the discharge will come from
  2. Form a cloud above the cast field and charge the cloud, the same way as lighting happens in nature.
  3. Use a levitate spell to avoid jumping and the discharging

All of the above require casting two spells in parallel. To be able to do this, the mage has developed a preliminary spell which enhances the focus capability of the target for a certain amount of time, therefore they can, under the effect of the preliminary spell, cast two parallel spells with the same effort a normal mage would use to cast one.

The preliminary spell is their most valuable secret, until the Mage Against Doping Agency finds it out about it.

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  • $\begingroup$ @user6760 magic, duh. $\endgroup$ Mar 8, 2021 at 9:54
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Magical lightning rod to the target

For many reasons the static electricity is 'attracted' to the ground. However, the mage wants it towards a target. Realistically jumping wouldn't help when discharging, as it would likely shoot out your legs back into the ground. For whatever reason your mages don't, but your legendary mage doesn't know that. He's smart and thinks rationally. Discharging a ton of electricity potential should safely from me to a target, where it'll do damage. Discharging into the ground will fail both those goals.

To facilitate this, a magical lightning rod can be created. Just before the lightning is discharged, a path is thrown magically towards the target. This path can have whatever form or speed you deem fit for the story. Right after the lightning flashes, flying along the path and discharging at the end.

Safe, based upon logic he can think of himself and takes note of the nested casting. Even though it's basically rapid consecutive spells, but gathering and discharging the lightning is much the same I wager.

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Did you hear about diodes? They let electricity to flow in one direction but not the other. So he figured out how to do that.

btw electricity is not as simple as you think. If you jump but then cast a lightning that jumps 10 meters, then you need to jump more than 10 meters high so that resistance from feet to ground is higher than resistance from mage to target. So the whole thing with jumping is somehow funny.

Update: actually if body is a capacitor, then electricity is already in and then it discharges. It doesn't matter in which direction. If one is to be electrocuted, it should happen in either direction.

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He's got a wooden leg, so he just shifts his weight over it and bends his other knee to lift his foot off the ground. Nobody can tell, because of the robes. The real trick is the spell he uses to keep that leg quiet when he walks around.

It also works if he only wears one shoe. Perhaps he was born with one leg slightly longer, so in adapting to his deformity, he found a tremendous advantage over other mages.

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