The Nightmare Before the Dream
Sourcery differs from wizardry as it is the magical art of tapping into one’s own emotions, thoughts and experiences to fuel powers known as “spells.” Sourcerers are fairly uncommon as it requires a connection to one’s spirit or essence that most individuals do not possess. Unlike more traditional magical studies that can be both taught and learned, sourcery is far less accepted in society.
The most noted practitioners of sourcery were the fey – an offshoot race of elves. The fey were extremely powerful, but also terribly corrupt. It was the fey’s use of sourcery that first identified a weakness in its use, particularly in immortal or long-lived beings like orcs, dwarves and elves. For these races, tapping into one’s own spiritual reserves drains their essences, reducing them to emotionless “husks.”
The use of sourcery is banned by the elves and is an offense punished by a quick and merciless death. Dwarves avoid sourcery in general, having lived through the terror caused by the fey, but its use is not officially outlawed by dwarven society. Orcs rarely develop a skill for sourcery. Those that do are known as shamans. Being that most orcs die brutal deaths before they ever experience the scope of their immortality, and the fact that orc society is lawless and chaotic, sourcery is not banned, shunned or in any way thought of in a negative light. Humans practice sourcery against the advisement of the elves, however even the elves admit that humans display none of the adverse effects of sourcery. Magical theorists believe that this fact is explained by humans’ relatively short lifespans. Roden sourcerers are known as warlocks. Like orcs and goblins, the ability to use sourcery is rare and like humans, the roden exhibit no adverse effects from the power.
Bloodlines function a bit differently in the setting for “The Nightmare Before the Dream.” Instead of a relationship or familial tie to particular types of creatures, sourcerers draw their power from strong emotions. Over time (particularly amongst humans), these emotions have taken on imagery and associations to myths, legends and ideas. Sourcerers frequently tattoo figurative representations of their favored emotions upon their skin.
- Aberrant – Aberrant sourcerers draw power from the discomforting feelings of awkwardness, eccentricity, and individualism.
- Abyssal – Abyssal sourcerers thrive upon strong feelings of scorn, personal offense, and misery (amongst others).
- Arcane – Arcane sourcerers dwell within the more intellectual emotions of determination, diligence, and curiosity.
- Celestial – Celestial sourcerers have strong feelings of faith, righteousness and empowerment.
- Destined – Those few destined sourcerers exude confidence, courage and daring.
- Draconic – Dragons have long been symbols of destruction and chaos. Sourcerers of this bloodline demonstrate strong emotions of anger, superiority, and hostility.
- Elemental – Elemental sourcerers tend towards one of the four major elements, deriving power from the emotional manifestations of those elements. Earth sourcerers are patient, contemplative and determined. Air sourcerers are nervous, excited and suspicious. Fire sourcerers tend towards the emotions of aggression, impatience and frustration. Water sourcerers are usually unpredictable and eager but can be quick to anger.
- Infernal – Infernal sourcerers are capricious, driven and mischievous.
- Undead – Sourcerers that represent their emotional power well with the likeness of the undead focus on feelings of dread, misery (personal), and guilt.