What is Paradox?
Paradox is a metaphysical contamination, most commonly created as a side effect of spells. It accumulates through most spell use, but gets worse when spells are used “vulgar”, “indiscriminately”, or in the presence of innocent, scared victims, under the sun, near bigger populations – especially human populations. There are ways to isolate Paradox contamination by Priestly or Clerical rituals, to create safe zones for use of spells – generally isolated pockets during wartime, but even then the onslaught of Paradox can debilitate and destroy a spellcaster. Paradox is what keeps all manner of spellcasters from whilly-nilly throwing around spells at their convenience.\
Paradox is known as Rot, Blight, Slainte, The Taint, Cancer, Dissonance, Vulgarity, Disgrace, Curse, etc.
Magic infuses the Dreamlands, and comes easy to the enlightened, the talented, the wise and those willing to accept consequences. These consequences are quantifiable, but can not be controlled, identified or ever fully cleansed away. Many spellcasters have their own pet theories on why magic should be capable to enact such price, but any willworker who looks at the void beyond the human Kingdom must realize that the universe, including the Dream, is not human and monstrosity lies beyond the human sphere – and this aberration and abomination is the destiny of all who work magic. It is said Paradox is a result of the OS (Ontological Substrate) lashing back against the spellcaster.
How does Paradox work?
Paradox accumulates in discrete quanta. Say, a spell cast produces under the circumstances, and under that type of casting Five points. Five points is somewhat manageable but still a bit on the “vulgar” side. These points stack and displace Mana (spell power energy) in the Mana pool of any spellcaster, so it’s cause to get rid of Paradox as quickly and expediently as possible. Most common ways to get rid of Paradox are through Priestly rituals of Flagellation, Atonement or Confession (each having their own unique constraints). When Paradox accumulates beyond a certain point (generally between 10 and 15) it can go critical and find itself into discrete scripts – something to avoid for any spellcaster.
Paradox manifests strongly in some willworkers and less so in others. It is weakest in priests, as priests supplant personal paradox with collectivized Paradox infused with the sacred emanations of the shared faith and deity. Paradox is the first taint trait of most willworkers – in particular Warlocks, Magi, Magicians, Wizards, Witches and Wu Jen. Shamen, Priests, Psions and some other of the traditions may start without discernible resonance, and are least likely to develop it. Low Paradox leaves a subtle trace on the magic that may be discerned and identified by forms of forensical research, divination and visions.
Emergence of Scripts is random, where the total amount allready accrued (including all active or dormant scripts….) add as a worsening factor in the random determination (percent-wise). In this random process it’s bad to go over a hundred – that’s where the real tragedy starts. Release of Paradox tends to occur in batches of 1 to 6.
Paradox Scripts (Thorns, Blights)
Scripts have generally (nearly always) two qualia – (1) how persistent they are to removal and (2) what they do and how bad it is what they do. This persistence rates from one to 10, where 6 means it’s pretty much irremovable except by high level means, and it will keep on ‘grabbing” any stray Dox, and return over and over again. High persistence Scripts are effectively a chronic condition caused by excessive paradox use.They can be with a typical Wizard for years and years, until some kind of Quest is undertaken to remove them, and even then the removal requires Pilgrimage, long atonement and much nuisance. The (2) badness of the script is basically the universe come to torment you and the people around you.
A List of Scripts
Homer with the giant Knife
Ire of the Dragon
Open the Labyrinth
Sir Grimhead, Esquire
Spawning a Hell
The Unhallowed Benefit