On the Nature of Karma and Weaving

As I mentioned briefly in the previous post about Theology, the natural energy of the world is called Karma, and with Weaving and magic being abundant in Dragonia, Karma has a great impact on the everyday lives of the citizens of the world. Much like other energy abstractions (“mana”, “ki”), Karma is simply the name of the energy that permeates every living being and every unliving object, lending substance and essence to everything material and immaterial. The Gods themselves are beings of Karma, and so are the Dragons; everything orbits around it.

Pure, unaltered Karma is extremely dangerous and volatile; no normal being would survive contact with it. As such, it is distilled into the several different Elements before entering Dragonia, thus making the world capable of supporting such vast amounts of energy. In addition to this distillation, the land is filled with abstract magical constructs known as “Karma Veins”, which are pathways through which Karma flows, allowing for further containment of its tremendous power. The Dragons who created Dragonia knew of the hazards that pure Karma could be, and as such planned and created these Veins so that Karma could flow through the world and maintain the natural balance. Similarly, every living being have what is called “Karma Circuits”, the same concept as the Karma Veins, but in a smaller scale, which allows the flow of Karma through the body and its manipulation, called Weaving.

When a living being tries to Weave Karma, he needs to open his Circuits and synchronize himself with the Karma he is trying to wield. This can be done in one of three ways: the person can try to use his own reserves of Karma to achieve a desired effect, which is called “drawing from the Inner Source”, he can try to use the Karma already present in the environment and in his surroundings for the desired effect, which is called “drawing from the Outer Source”, or he could channel Karma through an outside force, like a God or a Scion, which is often called “drawing from an Sponsored Source”. Each way of using Karma has its pros and cons:

Inner Source: The Inner Source is the easiest to use, since the Karma being manipulated is the person’s own Karma, and as such is completely compliant to the user’s desires. This form of manipulating Karma is generally used with martial under-tones, closely related to the performance of martial arts movements and bodily techniques to draw, mould, and direct Karma. The downside of this Source is that the Karma used is depleted from the user’s own reserve, and as such the more they use it, the more they feels physically exhausted.

Outer Source: The Outer Source is harder to use, but offers theoretically unlimited power, as the Karma being used is coming from the user’s surroundings. However, due to this, the user has to first synchronize himself with his surroundings, and force the Karma around him to leave its inertia and be shaped into the desired effect; for this reason, the user must have a strong willpower to impose his will on the natural cycle of Karma around him, and even then, effects that use the exact same amount of Karma are always weaker if used with the Outer Source, since the Karma will always have a lingering inertial resistance to being shaped. Another downside of this Source is that the user becomes mentally exhausted if they force too much Karma to be shaped.

Sponsored Source: This method combines the pros of the other two Sources, as Karma drawn this way is fully compliant to the user, and comes from an outside source other than their own reserves. However, an entity capable of sponsoring a mortal’s Weaving is generally far more powerful than the mortal itself, and thus their Karma slowly erodes the mortal’s body away if used for too long – this is, in fact, the most dangerous of the three Sources. There is also the matter of debt; if such an entity is willing to lend his power to a mortal, they certainly expect something in return.

On the matter of naming, a person who uses Weaving is generally called simply a “Karmacist” – a farmer who uses a bit of Earth Weaving to soften his planting ground, for example -, unless they have undergone formal training, in which case they are called Weavers. The example of the farmer brings us to the question of elements, which are outlined below:

Primal Elements: These are Fire, Water, Air and Earth, and their subelements, like Ice (Water), Sound (Air), Metal (Earth) and Gravity (Earth), among others, called so because they form the basis of the material world, representing the aspects of Solid, Liquid, Gaseous and Energy matter.

Dual Elements: Light and Darkness, and their subelements like Lightning (Light) and Void (Darkness), among others, called so because they are in direct opposition of each other. Sometimes they are also added to the list of Primal Elements, even though they do not translate directly into any material aspects.

Continuity Element: Spirit, which is called so because it is used as a bridge to join two or more elements together and form a new element. It has little use or power on its own, however.

Joint Elements: Elements made by the union of two or more elements, through a bridge of Spirit. Examples include Wood (Water+Earth), Magma (Fire+Earth), Radiance (Fire+Light), and Venom (Water+Darkness).

Abstract Elements: Elements that are not directly correlated to the material world, like Fate or Dreams. Just as it is possible to Weave any of the normal elements, it is also possible to Weave Fate or Weave Dreams, though it is a much rarer skill, and seldom seen anywhere since the fall of the Dragons. Also, although not an Element on its own, it is also possible to Weave Karma through blood, the own user’s or someone else’s, and this Karma taken directly from blood has a much higher potency and strength; however, Bloodweaving is outlawed in most civilized places, since Bloodweavers are usually more interested in using the blood of others than their own, generally without their consent.

Lastly, there is also the concept of Internalized Weaving. While Weaving is, in general, the use of Karma to achieve a desired effect on the world around the Karmacist or Weaver, Internalized Weaving is the manipulation of Karma within the Karmacist’s own body, to increase or change his own personal characteristics. At the basics, Internalized Weaving consists of increasing strength, speed and endurance, but at higher levels it can go as far as transfiguration of the body.

-JNicolini

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2 thoughts on “On the Nature of Karma and Weaving

  1. This is great stuff! The idea of Karma Veins and their use to root your system of magic is a nice twist on the Eastern idea of meridians; a refreshingly “non-Western” view of magic, if I can say that.
    I like the elemental…uh, element, as well. It’s similar to my own created world, in that each element has a differemt use or effect on the magic wrought; though I haven’t come up with anything so creative as your three methods of Weaving.

    • Thanks; one of my goals with this setting is exactly to break free of some of the tropes and stereotypes that we all have come to expect from western fantasy, and magic is one of the easiest ways to explore this difference. I’ll read more about your own projects as soon as I have time, and will be sure to comment as well! :)

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