False Life

The tip had led them to an alleyway in the slums where they’d seen three hooded figures enter a backdoor into a condemned tenement. They stepped over the puddles in the alley, scattering a few rats, and prepared to break in and stop the whole operation. “Just a moment, Justicar”, said the investigator as he withdrew a flask from his robe. The rugged enforcer scoffed, “Hardly a time for drink, is it? They’re going to be armed in there.” The unarmored man smiled as he pulled the stopper. “You men have your shields, but you shouldn’t have to worry about protecting me.” He raised the container to his lips “There’s more than enough spirits here to quell my fears”. He threw back a mouthful of the sweet and powerful alcohol, swallowed, and made an inviting gesture to nobody in particular. “Have a round on me”, he whispered in plain common. The enforcers looked up as a stiff, chill breeze blew through the alley for a moment. Mimicking the motion of tying a knot near his navel, he nodded the enforcers forward.

The men were brewing their drug when the squad kicked in the door, and chaos erupted immediately. Crossbow bolts and cantrips began to fly as the Justicars attacked the crooks. The detective didn’t even feel the bolt sticking out of his thigh until the men had been subdued. When one of the knights saw it, he laughed away his concerns and pulled the bolt from the wound. Instead of blood, oily, translucent ectoplasm dripped from the tip. The fledgling wizard wiped at the wound with his cloak and showed that there was no cut – nothing but a pale scar. “One of these days you’ll stop thinking I’m dead weight” he said as he pulled up a stool and began his inspection of the contraband.

For time immemorial, beings across the realms have toasted their ancestors with ale, mead, and other strong drink. Pirates, princes, heroes and villains all drink to feel stronger. Tales of warriors drinking to their forefathers before battle, only to emerge victorious from overwhelming odds, have their root in a truth that mages have learned to exploit.

The spirits of the dead cannot resist a good drink

Now, there are several factors to consider. First, the aforementioned warriors only lucked into the spell by imbibing far more ale than would normally be safe. A good, stiff, distilled spirit is not only quicker to evaporate, but is more readily converted to ether that ghosts may imbibe while mixing with the humors of the caster’s body. Absinthe is best if within the caster’s financial means. With the right understanding of the forces involved, it takes only a mouthful of such a drink. Secondly, a spirit, like anyone else who’s been at the drink, is prone to wander about. This necessitates some form of invitation to any spirits who may be lurking in the nearby Twilight or Shadow, as well as a gesture to keep them within your body while they enjoy the drink. Finally, the purpose of the spell is to place the spirit between you and death, tricking the reaper’s senses into believing you are already dead, and interposing the ghost’s ephemeral mass in place of any harm to your own flesh. This requires the caster to focus on his own body while casting the spell and concentrate the ghosts just under his own skin.

Typically the amount of drink to consume without the caster intoxicating himself is enough to keep the spirits satisfied for about an hour. As the caster becomes more experienced, he may be able to entice more spirits or keep them within for longer. It is not advisable to attempt to keep one’s hold on the spirits after the natural duration of the spell’s effects, as they may become restless, or even hostile, and attempt to trample the caster’s psyche. More powerful magic may be employed to force them about, but it is typically easier to just take another shot and recast the incantation and gesture.

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False Life

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