Animus and Mana

Animus and Mana are the heart and soul of Astlan. Animus is the very stuff of life, while mana is the energy that surrounds it and allows skilled professionals to manipulate both the physcial world and the spiritual.  

Animastery is the study of the life essense and the bindings between all living things.  

Naturalism is the study of the interaction of Mana and Animus in the natural world around us.

Theology is the study of the divine beings which are the purest embodiment of Animus, and hence the greatest users and sources of Mana.

Wizardy is the scientific study of Mana and hence Animus.  It is the technology of Magic, the engineering of Animus and Mana to harness their power for the benefit of all Astlanians.

Animus

Animus is the "energy of life" it is roughly speaking the spirit or soul, the "living" part of all living creatures. All things that are alive have Animus. Animus inundates every cell and the very molecular and genetic structure of the creatures. It is what separates organic compounds from living organisms. When a creature dies, the Animus leaves the cells of its body and either disperses into the world around or in the case of high Animus concentrations, may travel to other locations or planes.

Higher levels of Animus result in higher-level beings. Plants and non-thinking life forms have the lowest levels of Animus, animals considerably higher, and sentient creatures higher yet. Many theorists have hypothesized that it is actually the concentration of Animus that causes thought and eventually consciousness. If the Animus collects beyond a certain point, thought and instinct become possible, and then, past some other point, true consciousness, or awareness occurs.

Animus is not static. It grows with the thing to which it is attached.  Or more precisely it is both generated by the interaction of the elements within the body and also collected from the environment. As something ages, or becomes more experienced, its Animus grows. In the case of sentient beings what this means is that as a being grows in life and experience the Animus grows with it. Individuals collect it in the process of their daily life, the more they get around, experience the world, the more Animus they are able to collect.  In particular, at a given time there is only so much Animus in any region; thus travel truly does broaden one’s horizons, and one’s Animus.

Where does this additional Animus come from? Ultimately, it would seem, from Mana. Animus by its very nature attracts Mana. The more Animus a thing has the more Mana it attracts. Some of the attracted Mana is apparently "consumed" by the Animus and the Animus grows.

In principle, on the physical plane, Animus must be contained or it will quickly disperse. Larger concentrations take longer to be dispersed; thus when a plant dies its Animus tends to go back into nature rather quickly, breaking back down to other substances and perhaps back into raw Mana. When a sentient creature dies, its concentration of Mana is large enough that it usually has time to exit the physical plane, usually with the assistance of some higher being (a god for example). In certain cases, discussed later, it may be possible to contain the Animus with Mana, and the spirit may stay around on the physical plane for a longer period of time. 

Lord Exador, Mage of Turelane, Member Council of Wizardry

Mana

Mana is the fundamental energy of the universe. It is a fundamental property that is either created by, or intrinsic to, the elemental forces. All of the elements radiate Mana into their surroundings. It is this radiated Mana that binds the elements together. Some theorists have thus referred to Mana as the Binding Element of the Universe, or the Raw Energy of the Elements. Whatever it is, it is usable by those who understand it.

As mentioned earlier, Animus attracts Mana to itself from its surroundings. The more Animus, the more Mana collected. While all creatures collect Mana, only those specially trained can hold on to it, or do anything with it. Non-magical, and non-magic using creatures, accumulate Mana, and store some of it in themselves to sustain their Animus. The rest radiate it away either to the environment, or they can channel it to some other being, such as a god, through prayers, sacrifice, and religious rituals.

High emotions tend to cause Mana to bubble to the surface of a being more easily. Thus it can either be radiated away faster or given up in religious rites more easily. It is for this reason that priests often like to incite religious fervor and emotion, in order that the worshippers may more easily donate their excess Mana to the god. It is also for this reason that certain dark and nefarious creatures and beings thrive on fear and pain, as this can make the Mana an individual has, easier to "harvest." Finally, it is also this reason that causes battlefields to be large regions of Mana which consequently causes a larger number of ghosts.

Animus must be contained or it dissolves away. If after death (the separation of Animus from its physical host) the Animus (spirit) can collect enough Mana, it can form something similar to a "Mana body," and thus one has ghosts. Similarly, spirits can sometimes collect enough Mana to reanimate a dead body and contain the Animus within it; however, in this case, the Mana is no longer infused within the cells of the body but is just sitting in it with the Mana keeping it inside. This reanimation is where one gets revenants, Liches, and other similar creatures. (Note that zombies and other truly "lesser" undead are different, zombies are corpses reanimated by Mana, but with no Animus huddled inside.) It is because emotion can free up so much Mana, that one most often finds ghosts and such creatures being the product great battles or highly traumatic experiences.   

Mana Absorption and Transmission

Unless something else is done with it, excess Mana simply dissolves back into nature. Certain magical spells and magical creatures are capable of harnessing this Mana before it is absorbed by nature. Strong emotions greatly amplify the rate at which Mana is radiated from and individual and make it much easier for the Mana to be harnessed by other beings.

Creatures that absorb radiated Mana include ghosts, ghasts, wraiths, revenants, the Ban-Sidhe, pooka and many of the other 'malevolent' races of fairy. Vampires also steal Mana as well as Animus, however they steal directly from the individual rather than from the Mana radiated by the individual. Liches also may steal Mana from individuals, but if so, then it is by standard Necronomical spells. For most such creatures fear is the predominant emotion they prefer to tap for getting Mana.
 
 Divine entities may also, and in fact almost always do, tap the Mana radiated by individuals. The normal method is through the prayers of their worshippers. Prayers channel all excess Mana during the time period of the prayer to the deity. Extremely devout and fervent prayers may actually transmit all of the Mana the individual would normally collect in twice the period directly to the deity. In either case, the person 'dries themselves up' for that time period; thus by praying in the presence of a Mana absorbing creature, one can stop them from absorbing Mana. It also tends to make the creature really mad. 

Finally, the mere presence of a deific individual (normally a saint, etc.) absorbs radiated Mana. Physically present deities automatically (unless they will it otherwise) absorb much of the radiated Mana from all creatures who view the deity, regardless of whether they are worshippers. 

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