Dark Magic

True power comes at a price

LORE

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Magic, rituals, and occultism connect the physical world with the supernatural, reaching across the gap to touch the unknown, manifest its power, and contact the denizens of these esoteric places.

While it is possible to invoke the occult for benign and even beneficial purposes, the practice of magic is often seen as unsettling and dangerous at best, if not malevolent and unholy. When used for self-serving or harmful purposes, the various mystical arts are often designated under the term of Black magic, evoking images of witchcraft, blood sacrifices, curses, hexes, noxious potions, devil worshipping, and necromancy.

While it must be acknowledged that accusations of Black magic were often thrown at any practitioner whose methods were perceived as undesirable or profane, the modern depiction of the dark arts places intent above practice when the time comes to identify what magic is considered ''black'' by nature. In that regard, folk and paganistic magical traditions that used to be persecuted by the Inquisition and the Church are no longer associated with Black magic if they do no harm or aren’t used for malevolent goals.

If Black magic is closely associated with Satanism and devil worship in popular culture, it is also important to nuance this relation, as many self-identified worshippers see no magic in their rituals and practices, but rather spiritual ceremonies with faith at their center. Similarly, many practitioners of the dark arts serve no master or spiritual patron, rather using knowledge of the supernatural like a tool they wield, a force they tame. This complex relation also spreads to literature and fantasy, Black magic being as much about profane cults as ambitious and twisted wizards working for their own agenda.

Characters

In the context of a LARP, a dark magic user navigates between the themes of evil sorcerer, shadowy mystic, insane cultist, tenebrous witch, grim necromancer, and demon follower. No matter the form of magic that is wielded by such a character, it came with a great price, may it be a moral, spiritual, or material one. Practicing the dark arts doesn’t come without sacrifice, and these characters are certain to have left behind their reputation, their mental health, their humanity, or even their soul in the process. The risks and the costs associated with dark magic mean that any character that goes on that path to power should have a well-defined reason why they made that choice.

Few seek power with as much fervor as those that felt truly powerless and vulnerable. The desperate, the pariah, the oppressed, and the destitute have every reason to grasp at any tool that can pull them out of their situation and give them the upper hand in their struggles against unfathomable odds.

They may be more susceptible to draw pacts with shadowy entities, and to seek forbidden knowledge, maybe justifying their moral transgressions as survival or as balancing the injustice of their situation. Revenge can also be a compelling goal, and one that may require magic when there is no brawn or clout to mobilize.

For the ones that were born into privilege and comfort, the forbidden nature of the dark arts may be its most prominent appeal. With the sense of entitlement that can only exist for those who always got what they wanted, the taboo surrounding these forms of magic can make it almost compelling to explore, out of boredom-fueled curiosity or manic refusal to conform to mundane social norms. The aristocracy may explore the occult like an eccentric hobby, only to be swallowed whole by it once they stumble on more and more profane knowledge.

Trauma is another obvious path toward black magic. Extreme circumstances and emotions can push any person over the edge, and open them to accept pacts and sacrifices no one would normally even consider. Those who suffered horridly may be dragged closer to the voices that whisper at the edges of consciousness, and be offered a new cursed path.

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CHAOS ARMOR

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Necromancer Armor

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Costumes

In terms of outfit, dark magic users may choose discretion and blend in with the masses with everyday clothes and garments, but it must be acknowledged that a part of the aura of power and intimidation that comes with black magic comes from the tenebrous presentation of its boldest adepts. Clothes and accessories that evoke the might of occult powers and the profane nature of their magic are best suited for these uncompromising practitioners. Spellbooks, pentagrams, sinister symbols, skulls, suspicious vials, and ancient trinkets can all be carried by such masters of the dark arts, as they are both tools of the trade and status symbols among witches and warlocks.

Many cultists and dark sorcerers may wear clothes inspired by traditional religious garments such as robes, hoods, togas, and cloaks. In these cases, only the choice of colors and twisted symbols are making clear that there is nothing holy or sacred in their faith. Dark colors such as black, purple, burgundy, and grey are often associated with dark magic, even if it may be preferable to contrast them with complementary tints for a more aesthetic costume in LARP.

The typical weapon of dark cultists is their magic, but sometimes, a sharp edge is all that is needed. Both for ritual sacrifices and cabalistic murders, knives and daggers are best suited for these shadow dwellers. Still, ceremonial staves and sceptres can also crack a skull if need be.