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Wushanko Occult-Ritual Magic?

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Rondstat

Rondstat

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This is a theory I've held onto since 2012, originally based on graphical clues throughout the game (most significantly the updated Ritual Circle model). The release of Ports only expanded the concept, and I've alluded to it in many other threads (including a lore for Temekel and a quest series proposal). With the interest in Eastern Lands lore and Rowl*y's promise to focus on narrative, I thought this topic merited discussion.



Magic in the Wushanko Isles does not function the same way it does in the West. With little access to runestones, mystics of the east wishing to manipulate anima have turned to other means - siphoning it directly from creatures' life essence.

In its more mundane forms, this art is known as soothsaying, and can involve the sacrifice of small animals or working with the entrails of larger beasts. Soothsayers are closer to the seers of the West, having limited clairvoyant powers, and able to subtly influence fortunes, particularly upon the sea.

But in its more extreme forms, Occultism seems to harness almost limitless power, its practitioners able to summon hordes of powerful demons, subjugate the wills of others, even obtain immortality. Occultists work with far more sinister catalysts, preferring great sea monsters (Kami, creatures of pure anima), or the sacrifice of intelligent creatures, including humans and sea orphans.

This type of magic is not necessarily unheard of in the west. Nomad practiced a modified from of anima siphoning. One of the 12 Elder Artefacts seems to exist specifically for that purpose. But, three instances seem particularly compelling:

15-Jun-2016 20:41:17

Rondstat

Rondstat

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-Ritual Magic, which seems to draw on the life force of a group to accomplish great arcane feats
-Mahjarrat Rituals, in which one is sacrificed to empower the rest
-The Ectofuntus, which apparently drained the life from an entire town


Let's explore these in order.

In most of its appearances, Ritual Magic is an explicitly Zamorakian pastime, typically used to summon demons (Delrith, Agrith Naar, Slayer Tower Abyssals) or open portals (Death of Chivalry). One of the key elements is the circle itself, drawn in chalk or blood, and inscribed with apparently Mahjarrat characters. While rituals usually require multiple spellcasters, very powerful individuals can conduct rituals on their own.

Meanwhile, we have the Mahjarrat, a race of mighty sorcerers, skilled in both demonology (Lucien) and portal magics (Sliske, Zemouregal). Is the use of their language in these ritual circles a coincidence?

I propose that Ritual Magic was first developed to allow humans use of Mahjarrat magics, similarly to how the rune-based ancient spellbook gave humanity access to the magic of Mahjarrat ancestors. Spells that are beyond an individual human's meagre abilities are bolstered using an attenuated form of the greatest reservoir of magical potential known to the Mahjarrat - each other.

It is, quite literally, "Ritual" magic.

Changing gears, we turn to Phasmatys. Necrovarus was a mage/priest from the Eastern Lands, who offered the residents of this coastal town a means to repel Drakan's vyres. In reality, their presence was likely fortunate coincidence. Necrovarus traveled to the West seeking immortality, which he somehow hoped to obtain from the pool of Ectoplasm buried deep beneath Phasmatys, at that point unbeknownst to its populace.

15-Jun-2016 20:41:24 - Last edited on 15-Jun-2016 21:17:12 by Rondstat

Rondstat

Rondstat

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He set the townsfolk to work, excavating the pool and eventually constructing the Ectofuntus, which saved and doomed the town.

We can't say how Necrovarus knew about this subterranean pool, but we do know the source of his arcane knowledge. The Book of Haricanto, written by an ancient mage from the East, was Necrovarus' primer, and held within it the secret to bind souls (utilized by both Necrovarus and the adventurer), and, if Necrovarus is to be believed, power over life and death.

Let's return to Occultism. Drawing on life force. Human sacrifice. Even (in flavour text from the Scythe) use of ritual circles.

While little information is given on the figure, given the state of magic in the Wushankos and the sinister overtones, it would not be a leap to deduce that Haricanto must have been a powerful Occultist. And (if all of Necrovarus' knowledge truly came from this figure), an Occultist familiar with loci of anima in the West.

Are the parallels between Ritual Magic and Occultism intentional? Could the founders of Eastern Occultism have started as 2nd/3rd age Western Mages? Unlike most religions, Zarosianism has a presence in the Wushankos. Is it possible that the founder of Occultism is in fact a Mahjarrat?

I realize these are all bold claims, and perhaps not as firmly grounded as some of my other threads. Still, I think Haricanto and the origins of the Occult can provide fascinating story potential, whether or not the Eastern Lands were deliberately written with this older lore in mind.

Feel free to discuss, I'd love to hear some of your theories!

15-Jun-2016 20:41:28 - Last edited on 15-Jun-2016 21:32:59 by Rondstat

Nolhiir
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Nolhiir

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That certainly sounds possible. Though I'm not sure there are any more unaccounted for Mahjarrat, so I believe it is more likely that some Zarosians fled east (probably from the area of Phasmatys) to escape Saradomin's armies. From there, they developed Occultism.
The Zamorakians, however, would have developed ritual magic separately.
Just a thought.

Though your mention of Nomad's use of a modified version of anima siphoning makes me question where he picked it up.
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15-Jun-2016 22:40:09

Cthris

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Nolhiir said:
I believe it is more likely that some Zarosians fled east (probably from the area of Phasmatys) to escape Saradomin's armies.

While I do believe that the East was inhabited by Zarosians, I disagree with your timeline.

In Kindred Spirits, we learn that Zaros had a navy. The Zarosian Navy was reportedly in the east, presumably around Mos le'harmless. Why? Desert was to the south, Hallowvale was just south of them, Armadyl lives in the sky.

The best answer would be that Zaros was trying to populate the Eastern Lands. (Personally, I also believe he was combating Bandos during this time as well)

So that would mean it would be populated in the Second Age, as opposed to the Third.
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One thing that's worth mentioning is that Sliske gave Karil his crossbow, and we know that Karil's crossbow is of eastern origin.

This tells us a two things:

1) It establishes a plot on the timeline. We know that near the end of the third age the Easterner's had managed to form their own cultural identity.
2) It mean Sliske had some access to the East at some point. Presumably not in the third age since the Zarosians had no navy at this point.

16-Jun-2016 01:42:59 - Last edited on 16-Jun-2016 01:48:43 by Cthris

Captain Lime
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Captain Lime

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Ritual Magic seems like a pretty broad and all-encompassing term for any magic that requires a ritual (which is most things beyond the most basic level of magic). I don't feel like ritual magic is a thing that was specifically limited to the Zarosian Empire, but rather the next natural step in the progression of magical knowledge. The Zarosians were known for their advanced spells, however, and the people of Wushanko would have had little access to runes. However, back before the Fifth Age, when people were unable to runecraft, I believe Ritual-based magic would have been equally as common. We've even seen an example in Rune Mysteries.

That's not to say that Zaros and other gods didn't have a hand in the east. It's likely that the Menaphites would have been in contact, and with them Saradomin. We do see Golems in Eastern, Menaphite, and Saradomin cultures. It's very likely that there was a huge cultural exchange between the East and the West. This could have included Ritual-magic exchanges as well as luxury goods and novelties such as Golemtronics.

On a subject more related to the first posts, there was the Guardians of the World storyline that we can draw on. Davosi slaughtered numerous sea monsters in order to build enough power to kill us. This is probably based heavily on ritual magic.
^ "Some of those words were
STUPID.
" - Mod Raven

16-Jun-2016 05:38:11

Sepulchre
Feb Gold Premier Club Member 2019

Sepulchre

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I have little doubt that the Occult magic used in the Eastern Lands has origins or roots in Zarosian magic. The including of Mahjarrat-esque characters would certainly support that idea.
Ritual magic, as you pointed out, draws from life energy of the soul (or, life essence, if you prefer). I suspect that the Ritual magic is actually based off of the Ritual of Rejuvenation used by the *ahjarrat, the idea of using living sacrifices to rejuvenate oneself, or to use powerful magics to do various other things. Interestingly enough, this would technically trace itself back to Seren, who originally taught the Mahjarrat this ritual.
With that being said, I find it interesting that there are so many different theories of where magic comes from. Ariane claims it to come from the Anima Mundi itself, the Kra claim it to be a shard of the Elder Gods' powers, and Zaros says that magic comes from "within."
I think the idea of occultism supports Zaros the most. The idea that runes only focus a mortals inner power to cast the right spell.. Occultism is just skipping over the runestones and instead uses ritualism to focus their magics in the proper way.
Perhaps a new form of magic.. perhaps even an Elite Skill.. Occultism
A
World Guardian
must learn to find
Balance
in themselves.
Only then can they
Control
themselves and forge their own
Fate.

16-Jun-2016 06:57:25

Rondstat

Rondstat

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In response to Lime~

You are correct, and I realize some of my wording in the thread is unclear.

There are many varieties of magic in Gielinor utilizing unconventional catalysts or groups pooling their abilities. We see plainly non-Zarosian/Zamorakian iterations of the magic circle in Druidic Ritual and Rune Memories, among others. I'm sure that magic by committee has developed independently many times.

In this thread, however, I'm referring specifically to upper-case Ritual Magic. The type that uses groups of wizards, chants in an unknown tongue, and deliberately drafted circles utilizing the same characters that we've elsewhere seen used by Zamorak, Sliske, Bilrach, and Nabor.

Granted, without knowing any specifics about the Occult, this conjecture can only assert itself in broad strokes. But, I would like to know about how close the ties ever were between the East and West. With all the pre-ports mystery of the east, it seems that, even pre-Quin, the relationship never went any further than trade with Waiko, and perhaps further slaving based out of Menaphos.

But, I like the idea of a greater connection in the second or third age. Like you point out with golems - which seem to have a hazy origin that both Saradominists and Menaphites lay claim to.

18-Jun-2016 02:25:09

Nolhiir
Mar Member 2019

Nolhiir

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Let's not forget that basic teleportation involves a chalk circle.
Think I'll have to agree with Sep about rituals helping focus our anima.
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19-Jun-2016 02:55:37

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