Thursday, May 2, 2024

The Spell-Handler's Guide to Magic

Howdy, 'zardner!

So you're lookin' to become a certified member of the Wizened Pardnership of Spell-Handlers?

Well you should thank your lucky stars, because you've come to the right place! With this handy little primer, you'll have everything you need to embark on your journey to become a trained spell-handler, breeder, or even arch-rancher!

Let's begin by going back to basics, and answering a few simple questions about the nature of magic. If you have any aspiring young buckaroos nearby, now would be a perfect opportunity to introduce them to the topic of spell-handling as well!

To start off, what is Magic?

Magic is a blanket term for the huge and diverse range of bodily functions produced by Spells.

What are Spells?

Spells are small, domesticated creatures belonging to the phylum carmenifera. Each species of spell produces a magical effect unique to itself. It is the job of the spell-handler to rear and harness spells for their magic.

What can Spells do?

Why, plum near anything! A better question to ask would be "what can't spells do?" Even then, the Wizened Pardnership believes that it should be even more precise to ask "what can't spells do yet?

What is a Spell-Handler?

Spell-handlers (also known as "wizards" or "'zardners" for their association with the Wizened Pardnership) are specialists trained to rear and care for spells. They are the foremost experts on the theories and applications of magic, and often serve as pillars of their community besides.

How do Handlers use Spells?

Spell-handlers form lifelong² bonds with their spells that grant them the trust, familiarity, and know-how to coax magic out of them. This is sometimes called "casting" because many magical effects involve the spell ejecting substances from its body, sometimes at impressive ranges. A skilled spell-handler knows how to get their Fireball to sneeze, how to shake their Daylight just right, how to stimulate their Cure Wounds' musk glands to express healing goo on their pals, and so many other marvelous tricks!

What is Spellcare like?

Handlers have a robust set of daily obligations toward their spells. They must ensure that each spell is given proper food, water, exercise, and attention. If they are adventuring together, the handler must also tend to any injury or fatigue suffered by their spells, and keep any others from befalling them. Proper spellcare avoids waste and ensures that spells and their magic can be relied upon when they are most needed.

Why do Spell-Handlers go adventuring?

There's only so much a body can learn in class or in front of books. At the end of each handler's initial training period they enter their Journeyman Years, in which they gain practical experience and know-how about magic in the real world. Oftentimes this may be done by working at a string of ranches away from where they studied. Less common but more famous are the handlers who go a-venturin', often for the same reasons anyone else does: for excitement, challenge, and opportunity!

How long do the Journeyman Years last?

On average, handlers-in-training spend 2-to-3 years on the road. Some prodigies may complete this period in as little as 1 year, while slow-goers may take as long as 3-and-a-half or 4 years, depending on the details of their contract.

Contract? What contract?

Every spell-handler-in-training negotiates an education and employment contract at the start of their career. The contract outlines a mutually beneficial split between training, and making use of that training. Teaching someone how to handle spells is an expensive process, after all, and the educating institution has to make a return on its investment somehow. And that is why after a gap period, all spell-handlers return to their alma mater to work and repay the awesome opportunity that has been provided for them, as set forth in their voluntary and mutually agreed-upon contract.

Isn't that kind of like Indentured Servitude?

Haha, what?

Nothing, nevermind. Do Journeyman Handlers befriend their Spells?

'Friend' is a strong word that has many connotations incompatible with the realities of spell-handling. Spells are not pets, and handlers are not pet-owners. It is a serious working relationship in which attachment is unbecoming of someone of the handler's office, which requires executive decisions in the interest of the whole community.

Do Spells grow attached to their Handlers?

Unfortunately the spell-breeders have yet to breed attachment out of most spell strains. They are prone to mistaking grooming and cordiality for affection, and may respond in kind, even to the inconvenience of its handler.

But there is a silver lining: this makes spells great for ranch-sponsored petting zoos. Bring your kids!

How many Spells can Handlers have at a time?

As many as they can handle!

C'mon now buckaroo, you walked right into that one.

Jesting aside, the number of spells in a handler's repertoire can vary greatly depending on their individual responsibilities and skill level. Many folks go their entire lives with just 1 or 2 handy spells by their side, while some mavens have been known to handle a dozen or more at a time!

How do Handlers carry all their Spells?

Spell-handlers invariably rely upon the invaluable spell-kennel for all their on-the-go magical needs. A spell-kennel is a container for a spell meant to be convenient and accessible for the handler carrying the kennel, and cozy for the spell inside. Anti-magic lining³ and a convenient feeding port ensure that no day is too long or too arduous for a prepared handler.

What do Spell-Kennels look like?

Spell-kennels may take the shape of backpacks, bandoliers, folding organizers colloquially known as "spellbooks", and many other styles depending on individual needs and preferences. They may project an air of style, confidence, or simple, workmanlike professionalism to suit the handler. The beauty of the spell-kennel is that it is whatever you want it to be!

While supplies last, of course.

Can't Handlers keep Spells outside of their Kennels?

Technically they can, but any handler worth their salt would know better than to let their spells flop around all willy-nilly. It poses a needless inconvenience and risk to the handler to have their spells not immediately at-hand and under their control. Besides, most spells would not be able to keep up on foot.

Why can't some Spells walk?

The marvels of selective breeding have only been achieved by making a few very carefully considered sacrifices across the many diverse breeds of spells. One consequence is that many breeds of spells possess vestigial limbs that are no longer functional for locomotion- which makes it all the more important that the world have plenty of licensed spell-handlers to help take care of them.

Where do Handlers get their Spells?

Most spell-handlers receive their spells from the spell-ranch where they were currently are employed. If that is impossible or impractical, such as the case is with spell-handlers working abroad, they may acquire replacement spells from any nearby ranches or independent breeders at their convenience.

What is a Spell-Ranch?

Spell ranches are the centers of all things spellish. They are where spells are raised, new spells are created, spell-handlers learn, and countless members of your communities work, all to build a better and brighter future together. You could call it a farm that grows spells instead of crops, but to call it just a farm is to sell it woefully short. It would not be hyperbolic to say that the modern spell-ranch is the cornerstone of society.

Non-Handlers work at Spell-Ranches too?

Of course!

Spell-rearing is a multidisciplinary market, and it wouldn't behoove a ranch to have nothing but academics running around the fields sweating buckets. Anyone from any walk of life has the skills necessary to help keep a ranch running. Many towns and villages receive the majority of their employment from nearby ranches, all of which are solemnly grateful and duty-bound to provide for them in turn.

It may be hard for the layman to see it, but ranch hands know that they are essential: every spell fed, ditch dug, and pen mucked is a step toward prosperity and magical progress, and it fuels each and every one of their boundless hearts with a burning purpose that the Pardnership is plum gobsmacked at, even to this day.

I heard some Spell-Ranch workers are trying to unionize due to alleged mistreatment.

"The Wizened Pardnership and its affiliated spell-ranches are not anti-union, but they are not neutral either. They will boldly defend their direct relationship with their workers as something that is in the best interest of the worker, the ranc [sic], and the community. They do not believe unions are in the best interest of the ranch, the community, or—most importantly—the worker.

Spell-ranches optimize themselves to work best according to the core values of dependability, innovation, and efficacy, without which the world would not have such revolutionary wonders as brand-new spells."

Hang on, let's back up. How do you create "new" Spells?

So glad you asked!

An important part of spell-breeding is selecting for desirable traits. By paring the right spells of the same species together, those traits can be brought out and enhanced, made even more wonderous than what nature endowed them with. This is how you get new, subtle variations between spells of the same class; the kinds of things an outside buckaroo looking in might call different "ranks" of spells, though the reality is far more nuanced.

Alternatively, a skilled breeder may hybridize two different spells together into an all-new spell that combines some of the traits of each parent, or even results in something entirely new to magic and science.

It isn't as simple as plopping two spells down in the same room and waiting for the magic to happen, of course. Conditions must be carefully controlled, and a lengthy period of stabilization and strict testing follows all successful attempts.

What is Stabilization?

Stabilization is the process by which a new spell's magico-genetic structure is made stable enough for the specimen to be viable, as well as safe to handle. Failure to run a new spell through proper stabilization protocols is dangerous: it may behave erratically, attempt to self-terminate, discharge its magic uncontrollably, or even spontaneously explode.

Do some folks still try it anyway?

Regrettably yes, there are some bad actors among us who would disregard the wisdom of the Pardnership and pursue their own agendas in spell-breeding without oversight, putting themselves and their communities at risk. We condemn them in the strongest possible terms.

What should be done about that?

It is for the stated reasons above that unauthorized spell hybridization has been made strictly illegal in most jurisdictions. It is your civic duty—as well as the professional and moral duty of all 'zardners everywhere—to report any suspected cases of spell-breeding or related activity to local law enforcement.

We don't want another Larrold's Ridge Incident, now do we?

What Happened at Larrold's Ridge?

The Larrold's Ridge Incident was a tragic ████████ ██ █████ ███████ ██████ ██████ █████████ at an uncertified independent facility rapidly █████████ ███████ ██████████████ resulting in large-scale destruction and the almost complete loss of all ████ ███ ████████ within a 3-kilomile radius.

For more information, contact ███████████ at ████████████████████████.

Wow, I feel kind of unsafe right now. How can we trust Magic?

By trusting the Pardnership!

The Incident was shocking in its size and severity precisely because of the efforts of the Pardnership; otherwise, it and events like it would be far worse and far more frequent. But by putting the best and brightest minds in spell-handlerdom together, we can work to prevent such things from happening. It is thanks to these fine folks that magic remains and will continue to be a net positive and a force for good, both in your communities and across the world.

Trust us. We will protect you.

I feel much safer now, but I am not a certified Spell-Handler. How else can I help support the Pardnership?

There are many ways to help support the Pardnership, and they can all be done at the local level. You can volunteer your time at a local ranch, support the Pardnership by purchasing some of its marvelous products, or just be a good citizen and attend to the civic duties morally incumbent upon all of us. Keep the world clean and friendly, and make sure to report any feral spells you find!

Feral Spells? Aren't all Spells domesticated?

Almost! While most spells have been bred in captivity and virtually all extant species have been selectively bred from their wild ancestors, there are many feral spell colonies across the world. These "wild magic" populations are the result of domestic spells escaping captivity or being abandoned by negligent handlers, then reproducing in the wild. Wild spells should only be approached by certified spell-handlers with trap-neuter-return training, as they pose a potential danger to bystanders and their communities if agitated.

If you believe there is a feral spell colony in your area, please contact your nearest ranch.

Wait! I saw someone using Magic without a Spell. How is that possible?

Easy now, buckaroo. There are many spell-based products commercially available nowadays. What you may have witnessed was the proud owner of a spell-egg, magical wand, or staff showing off their shiny little slice of modernity.

What is a Spell-Egg?

Simply put, a spell-egg is an egg laid by a spell!

More properly, commercially available spell-eggs are unfertilized eggs that contain enough residual magic from the spell that laid it to allow it to be used as a sort of disposable single-use spell. The effects produced by eggs pale in comparison to what a live spell can do in the care of a handler, but they offer a wide range of options and conveniences to the layman.

How does one use a Spell-Egg?

Simply break open the shell of an egg to activate its latent magic. This may be done either by throwing the egg at the spell's intended target or, in the case of spells intended for oneself, by cracking that bad boy open and sucking the yolk down like a real Hoss.

Always consult the expiration date on spell-eggs before use. Do not purchase if shell is broken. Report any health code violations to your local ranch.

What are Magical Wands & Staffs?

Wands are a spectacular invention designed for the discerning non-handler who wants dependability and scalability out of their magical products for the best price. Through generations of selective breeding, certain spells have been designed to fit inside an enclosed space as small as a piece of wood or ceramic tubing without food, water, or air for months on end before reaching a natural expiration date.

Staffs are functionally identical to wands, except they are enlarged to hold up to a half-dozen (or more!) spells at once.

How does one use a Magical Wand or Staff?

Wands and staffs need only be activated with the proper gesture or phrase in order to effect its magic. This may be done several times depending on the size and type of the product in question. Once the spell within has been fully discharged of its magic, the wand may be disposed of in any way that is safe and convenient for perishable goods.

Vendors are required by law to supply suitable activation instructions with every purchase. Do not attempt to open wands or staffs or activate opened ones. Check your local ordinances.

Are there any sources of Magic other than Spells or Spell-Based Products?

We understand that in this modern age there is a growing sense of conscientiousness surrounding the use of spells, stemming from ecological, ethical, and dietary concerns. For those whom it concerns, it may be pleasing to know that a group of researchers is hard at work inventing a synthetic form of magic for experimental use. But R&D is a slow process, and Big Egg has one hell⁴ of a wizard lobby. In the meantime, remember that all available spell-based products are guaranteed safe and sustainable.

This has all been very enlightening, but I want to learn more.

You're in luck! Chances are, you have a world-class education in spells just a stone's throw away from home. Every Pardnership-affiliated spell-ranch has an information and admissions office ready and waiting to receive you and all your questions, curiosities, or concerns. Take a guided tour of the ranch, join community outreach programs, or apply for preliminary screening interviews to become the spell-handler of your dreams.

You'll know you're in the right neck of the woods when you pass the statue of our beloved mascot, Blorpy the Excarnating Illiquation spell.

Have a good'un, 'zardner!

¹ Such as create gold. No known magical effect can as of yet spontaneously generate gold, nor convert another substance into gold. But the fine folks at R&D are hard at work, and thanks to their ceaseless self-sacrifice and the hard work of their communities, a breakthrough could come any day now! The cost will be worth it. Literally.

² Lifelong for the spell, that is. The average life expectancy of a spell is 6-8 months, depending on species. Particularly long-lived specimens can exceed 2 years. Parents are advised not to get spells as children's pets.

³ Made from only the most high quality spell stomach lining using state-of-the-art rendering and polymerization techniques.

⁴ Literally. Since they successfully bred the Infernal Gulper (binomial name pending), portals to the underworld have been opening left and right. Watch your step, pilgrim!

1 comment:

  1. It reads very dystopically: all spells, basically, monopolized by a bunch of ranches, except a few instances of natural or artificial wilderness. That the ranches breed out mobility (or try to breed out sense of connections) adds to this impression that they try to monopolize it, not mentioning mage's own servitude later.
    Otherwise it reads a lot like pokemon world ad / propaganda / recruitment, which is actually quite an useful thing if one wishes to have a game in a bit more grounded world similar to these games.