Note: I'm considering one day maybe publishing these spellbooks, or making some kind of game around them. Is that something readers of this blog would be interested in?
First, some context.
The Noosphere is the term given to that untouchable, unknowable plane of existence where all ideas, thoughts, dreams, and impulses are drawn from. As a place, it is alive. It crackles with synaptic static, leaves the skin tingling with the electric flash of ideas both good and bad. This is why the Plane of Lightning is so oft called the Noosphere, as they are, in truth, both one and the same. After all, how does the brain communicate if not through electricity?
Thus, the Plane of Lightning, the Noosphere - think of it as the ever-dreaming mind of the universe itself.
A closer idea to how the Plane of Lightning might look
Drawing on the Plane of Lightning for your magic is a dangerous affair. In order to be properly initiated into these esoteries, one must perform a certain ritual.
Take a small nail of silver, pure silver, silver newly fashioned into this shape and cleansed in water purified utterly. Take this nail and insert it into the roof of your mouth, slowly. It will hurt. You will bleed. Reduce your hit points by 2 permanently. Find a storm and there, meditate. Think. Do nothing but think. Think as it rages and ensure no rain is falling, lest you call the attention of a different, more diluted plane. Ensure that Jupiter, or your settings equivalent, is bright in the sky just beyond the clouds. Think on things you do not know. Wonder. Muse.
Eventually, the lightning shall strike. Drawn by your thoughts and the silver in your mouth is this bolt slung from a dimension beyond our own and when it falls it stakes its way into you forever and always. Your mind will be overwhelmed. Your thoughts will be wiped from your brain, alongside your fears, your hopes, your ideals; this state is fleeting, of course, no longer than a second's sliver, but in that second your brain will become the host of the Plane of Lightning.
As it is a plane, it can exist in many places at once. While it is there, you will feel it. You will know it. Roll on the Fulmen's Omen table below to see how exactly your ascendancy into a Fulmen (as those so enlightened call themselves).
- The air around you smells of charged ozone, and animals scurry as your anger rises.
- When you speak, others hear peals of thunder far off in the distance, as if a storm neared.
- When others look at you, their thoughts are mixed with the thoughts of peoples and creatures somewhere far away.
- People close to you feel an electric shock whenever they touch someone else.
- When you are injured, the sound of buzzing, crackling, or hissing fills the ears of those around you, growing louder the more you are hurt.
- Metal objects within 30" feet of you let off a soft, pale blue-white glow - St. Elmo's Fire.
- When your eyes fall on someone, the hairs along their arms and neck stand up on end.
- When you see someone you intend to hurt, the hair on their head begins to raise.
- Intrusive thoughts bloom in the minds of everyone who touches you.
- Those talking with you feel as if they are experiencing a constant stream of new ideas.
- When you feel threatened, whoever is threatening you feels as if their teeth were vibrating.
- Those who you hurt feel as if they can speak a new language, know a new skill, or do a task they never had the knowledge to do so before. This is fleeting; it disappears after a moment's notice.
When you become a Fulmen, you learn a single Fulmen's Secret. You learn an additional Fulmen's Secret every 15 Fame, if you repeat the meditation process of the ritual 1 month after the first, or (if your system of choice has it) you gain 2 levels. You can learn a Fulmen's Secret of a higher level if you know 1 secret of the level immediately lower.
If you repeat the meditation ritual, your hit points are reduced by 1 each time. Getting struck by lightning repeatedly, even if magic, does little for one's health.
There are other ways to learn Fulmen Secrets. Traveling to the Plane of Lightning (& Thoughts), though dangerous to the extreme, is something that Master Fulmens oft do in the later years of their lives. Likewise, by stealing the silver nail from a Fulmen's mouth and performing the entire ritual over with that nail, you can learn all the secrets they knew. Doing so, however, means that you lose whatever secrets you both did not know.
A Fulmen who has dabbled in other magics too.
THE FULMEN'S SECRETS
Names & Levels (using standard B/X spell levels to determine what kinds of slots to use)
Roll 1d3 when learning a Fulmen's Secret to see which you grasp from the Plane of Lightning
- How to Become Wise as All the World's Sages
- St. Elmo's Fire Turned Upon Those Who Dare to Know What They Do Not
- The Painful Art of Forking Thoughts Into the Unenlightened
- Attract Those Crackling Thoughts that Evade You Still
- Dim the Stars that Fork Into Endless Logics
- Enrage Those Mindless Mortal Heavens
- Cast the Storm Across Mountains & Memories
- The Secret to Erasing All Knowledge of the Sageless Heretics
- Turn Thy Muscles Into Countless Thoughts
DESCRIPTIONS - FIRST LEVEL
How to Become Wise as All the World's Sages
Close your eyes and see naught but the roiling storm behind them. See flashes of lightning - of brilliance - and call one to you. Your hair stands up on end. Your eyes, still closed, glow so brightly they shine from behind your eyelids. All who see you see a bolt of lightning fork its way down from the heavens and into your body. Your veins burn blue through your skin; open your eyes then, and you will have a sage-like understanding of one academic, magical, or practical topic of your choice. You cannot speak to share this knowledge. If you do, the lightning escapes from your mouth and you lose your blessings. Lasts for as long as your mouth is kept shut. Some Fulmens even stitch their mouths to ensure they never lose their wisdoms.
St. Elmo's Fire Turned Upon Those Who Dare to Know What They Do Not
Lift your left palm skywards, for the left is that which masters the occult. See before you creatures that have blood, or else have iron or copper or some other metal inside of them, no matter how trace the amounts. Whisper. Whisper and close your eyes and see the storm and see them inside the storm. You do not know what you are whispering; only that there is sound coming from your mouth, and to others it sounds as if faint, distant, echoing peals of thunder are slipping past your lips. Open your eyes and see that everyone you just envisioned is glowing a faint, pale, cobalt blue. They do not know this, nor does any other non-Fulmen. Whenever you sleep, you shall enter into their mind; you will know all that they know for as long as you do, and if you wish, you can grant them knowledge that you yourself have. If you grant them knowledge, there is a 70% chance that portions of their brain are overloaded by the introduced static, making them forget 1d6 important details or memories that they know. If both Fulmen and victim are sleeping, their dreams are yours to control.
The Painful Art of Forking Thoughts Into the Unenlightened
Hold out your hand, aimed as it is towards the source of your ire. Let your emotions cascade into brilliant strikes of lightning inside of your head. Hear the echoing, pealing, roaring, angry thunders. Draw on the noosphere; hunt for information on how to kill, how to butcher, how to murder. In a flash of brilliance it comes to you; a lightning bolt drops into your hands, screaming, screeching, and in that moment you must fork it into that creature that you hate. When it strikes, the creature knows all the knowledge you just hunted for. It fixates on one method of murder. Then, that method happens. Perhaps their throat opens up just the perfect way to make a Glasglow smile. Maybe their bones suddenly break as they learn the appropriate number of hammer strikes that it takes. There is a 70% chance that they survive. And if they do, the knowledge remains with them, forever; a way to make assassins, if one has ample bodies for the coinflip.
What I imagine to be a Fulmen, enhanced with some crystal, preparing to create their assassins.
DESCRIPTIONS - SECOND LEVEL
Attract Those Cackling Thoughts that Evade You Still
Lift your left hand skywards, occult wand that it is. You know so little about the reality around you. But someone must. Think on what you do not know and create the cackling display. Every living creature within 1 mile and with an open roof above their heads will emit from their crowns a bolt of lightning that slings and slithers through the air to be gathered into an orb held in the palm of your hand. It burns away the skin there, singes the flesh; these are wounds that will heal supernaturally within 1d4 days time, but until they do you can hold nothing else with this limb. Now, with the lightning gathered, watch as it turns into a bolt of lightning that strikes you thusly. You will learn, from the minds of those you have sought:
- Their location.
- How to perform the skills they know best.
- Who they love the most.
- Who they hate the most.
Your personality is destroyed. You can learn nothing else, lest your brain be turned to ash. Memories will not take while this knowledge is held inside of you, but you can repeat the information freely, perhaps to a scribe to record it, or another Fulmen to learn it. Lasts for 8 seconds for every lightning bolt you have consumed through the casting of this spell.
Dim the Stars that Fork Into Endless Logics
Choose an individual that you can clearly see. Point to them with your left hand, palm facing the ground. Lower it. Slowly. Steadily. Your arm aches. The individual will turn their attention towards you entirely but will not move. The star that is their mind dims. Intelligence spills out of them; the ozone smells, their hair rises on end, metal objects begin to glow with St. Elmo's fire that they hold. Once your hand is flat by your hip, the spell is done. 30% chance of success and if so, they are a catatonic mess, totally incapable, drooling, tongue lolling out of their mouth, unresponsive to any and all stimuli. But the moment you move your hand more than 5 degrees in any direction, their star flares and intelligence returns to them. Useful for the binding of immortals; many a Fulmen has an apprentice bind their arm to their sides so that djinn or angels or demons work not their terrible works upon the world.
Enrage Those Mindless Mortal Heavens
All lightning that is not inside the Plane of Lightning is mortal lightning. It is mindless, stupid. Easily enraged. Close your eyes. Feel the storm beating against the inside of your skull. For just the briefest of moments, let it out. A wave of skin-tingling and invisible electricity will race from your body, felt for ten miles out. In the heavens above does the storm come suddenly. Bolts of lightning will fall to the ground haphazardly and non-stop for as long as your eyes are kept closed. For every minute there is a 2% chance of someone beyond yourself being struck by a bolt of lightning, doubling for every additional minute that passes. If struck by a bolt of lightning, a creature's mind is scrambled; they will become enraged and mindlessly run about attacking everything and everyone but the Fulmen until the caster's eyes are opened. Objects struck by lightning are sundered; if wooden, they ignite.
A Fulmen gathering knowledge, for better or for worse.
DESCRIPTIONS - THIRD LEVEL
Cast the Storm Across Mountains & Memories
See your victim. Inhale. Deeply. More deeply still. Your victim will feel then as if they have been struck by lightning. They will know your thoughts. They will know your intent. As they try to stop you, exhale. The storm inside your skull sends a budding piece of it across time and thought directly into the mind of your chosen servant. They may mentally fight back. As they struggle, repeat this ritual - simple as it is - and finish what you have started. 10% chance of failure. When you succeed, their brains have been utterly replaced with a sliver of the Plane of Lightning - your Plane of Lightning. In all ways are they now a mental clone of you. They know they are a budded thoughtform inhabiting a body of your choice and that they come from you. Your mind-clone will serve you in all ways. The original mind is gone, set adrift in the Plane of Lightning. Only by traveling there and capturing their lightning in a bottle can you restore them.
The Secret to Erasing All Knowledge of the Sageless Heretics
Grab your victim. Kiss them. As you do so, you create a bridge between your Plane of Lightning and their brain. In that moment, every single neuron they have is attuned to the infinite inside you. Choose which to kill. You are erasing vital information from their mind. Burning those neurons to cinders so that it literally can never be used again. Steal their ability to keep their heart beating, or their lungs filling with oxygen, and so on. A perfect assassination tool, used as such throughout Fulmen history. If used on another Fulmen, begins a tug-of-war between them; the two must say a word back and forth to each other, each taking a turn. The first to finish a sentence obliterates a chosen bit of knowledge in the other's mind that has less letters then the sentence does. A complicated affair - one oft avoided by Fulmens against each other to avoid the hassle.
Turn Thy Muscles Into Countless Thoughts
Be obliterated by your own Plane of Lightning. Let loose mental blocks you did not even know were there. It will flood your body. Your muscles will be destroyed, your skeleton too, every fiber of who you are. In a flash you are gone. And in a flash, you return. The lightning created assembles the perfect form. You levitate inches off of the ground. You are androgynous. You glow with sacred genius lightning. When you move, you move as fast as a lightning bolt does - or perhaps as fast as thought. You cannot be hurt save by silver or another's lightning. You need not eat, drink, nor sleep. Never again will you wear armor or wield a weapon or tool or touch another. In your mouth, your silver stake is still there. If it is ever removed, your form dissipates; you become one with the Plane of Lightning and disappear from all other worlds forever more. A method of ascension used by Fulmens to enter the Plane of Lightning and learn secrets that cannot be contained by mortal bodies - the secrets of the 4th level.
What else, but an Ascended Fulmen?
Apotheosis of Lightning & of Thought
Rod made of bones from the left hands of spellcasters. Covered in pure silver. Attracts lightning and Fulmen's Secrets and redirects them to someone else around the wielder. Created in the East, where all Fulmens were hunted and killed.
A coil of plastic, wood, and silver. Hand held. Attracts a single bolt of lightning and then forks it into 8 or less people within 10 feet of it. Each person struck is continuously struck; while continuously struck, all gathered can communicate with each other in ideas, visions, and thoughts- a method far faster than verbal communication.
Silver stake, covered in blood-rust. Belonged to a now dead or now powerless spellcaster. Insert into your mouth and learn 1 random Fulmen's Secret.
This cloak of wool has the static thoughts of dead Fulmens contained within it. Any who touch it are shocked. If worn, an hour later, one's body is in tune with this, and no longer shocked. Increases the efficiency of one's brain, making them more apt to learn new ideas, skills, and other talents.
Long silver stakes inserted into the hands, eyes, feet, and sternum. For each stake inserted, increase the % chance of success for your Fulmen's Secrets by 10% and become unable to use that part of your body save for spellcasting. If inserted in the sternum, suffer from a heart attack and die within 10d100 days instead. Inserted by Fulmens who know their time is short or that a great obstacle looms before them.
A cloth mask covered in a reflective substance. When worn, Fulmen Secrets cannot effect you. The mask is reflective of the outside world. Worn whenever Fulmens schedule meetings with one another, and taken off to show respect and comfortably.
Crystals that grow naturally when a lightning strike occurs. The lightning is not mortal; it is, somehow, from the Plane of Lightning. Grows into organic matter. Increases success rates of spells by 1% for every crystal growing on a Fulmen.
Potion made from a Fulmen's blood, captured lightning, and air from the Plane of Lightning. Once mixed, forms a moving, shifting helix in its bottle - a liquid that feels like a gas and moves like a crawling solid. When consumed, reduces brain activity to a minimum, putting the consumer into a coma for 1d4 days. Fulmens have made many tools to destroy their would-be killers. A hint to what happens to mortals who visit the Plane of Lightning unprepared.
A censer of black glass. Melt pure silver in it. Breathe in the fumes. Allows you to communicate with a Fulmen who has ascended to the Plane of Lightning. Ask them questions for as long as you remain conscious, though the silver fumes will surely knock you out in 10d10 seconds. Used to make pacts with the Thought Lords, the Neural Gods, and the Genius Fulmens of ages long past.
A pair of argentate wands with a bolt of lightning cackling between them, trapped. Wield both as a melee weapon. Swing them and anything they touch is electrocuted. Catch something between them and watch as the lightning obliterates them. 1d12 damage per turn touched or trapped. Used as an execution tool by Fulmens on those who broke pacts with the Thought Lords.
A silver tablet. When in the presence of electricity, St. Elmo's fire radiates on it, revealing a map or words and instructions. Used by Fulmens to hide their now extinct orders from their hunters & destroyers.
Glass bottle made with traces of silver from Fulmen Stakes. Attracts lightning when uncorked. Can a single bolt of lightning, mortal or not. When uncorked, lashes out against whoever the bottle is pointed at and fades.
Follow the storm to follow the Fulmen.