Imperium Material in Vazdimet | World Anvil

Imperium

Imperium is a protein hormone produced by every creature in existence, allowing them to tap into the metaphysical arcane power of the magical fields governing the different branches of Magic.   Each individual has a limited internal reservoir of Imperium, which they spend according to the strength and quantity of their spells cast. Once an individual's Imperium is depleted they must replenish those reserves, either through rest and meditation or by other means, such as the consumption of arbitrium. By contrast, too much exposure leads to Imperium Toxicity, with potentially debilitating effects.

Properties

Origin & Source

Mortal Plane

All living beings possess natural processes to convert nutrients into the fuels needed by the body for survival. Imperium is created in the same way, internal to the individual rather than from an external source. They metabolize their own Imperium, unknowingly tapping into the magical fields of Asterarcana present across Vazdimet to complete the process.  

Afterlife

With the advent of Afterlife Intelligence, many methods were developed with the intent of allowing bound souls to continue to access the Imperium necessary to continue their roles. Runic capacitors proved the most popular, due both to their efficiency and ease of manufacture.   These concerns proved unnecessary, as the AI quickly proved capable of accessing their own natural Imperium reserves despite the lack of physical metabolism. Further research revealed Imperium as a multidimensional material, with a notable presence on the higher planes of the Afterlife. Not only are the dead able to retain their Imperium reserves and production, but the resources available to them show a direct correlation to the increases in reservoir and efficiency experienced during life.   The specifics of how Imperium is generated by the soul are still a matter of intense interest and study among Necromancy and Metamagic researchers.  

Imperium Reservoir

The size of one's Imperium reservoir depends upon genetics, regular practice, and magical exercise. Among the sophont species, fae are born with the largest capacity for Imperium, while humans possess the smallest. These natural advantages, however, are no replacement for practice and exercise. A human who practices regularly will easily outperform a fae who rarely casts, both in their production of Imperium and the efficiency of their spells.   If an individual dies and is brought back via reconstruction clone, their maximum Imperium levels are reduced to those available courtesy of their genetics, although their soul retains its knowledge of their former capabilities. The resurrected are therefore prescribed a regiment of simple but effective Imperium-stretching exercises to help their mortal body return to its former reservoir capacity, often in as little as two weeks, provided the patient follows the schedule as prescribed.  

Replenishment

Once the Imperium reservoir is full the body will cease Imperium production unless some of the stored Imperium is used. If the reservoir is close to depletion, casters are advised to cease the use of their magic to allow their Imperium to replenish, as in all cases a small amount of Imperium is required to continue to metabolize more Imperium.   Due to the energy required, most creatures including all living sophonts are more efficient at manufacturing Imperium while sleeping. Some meditations are also able to tap into this process and stimulate the individual's metabolism to manufacture additional Imperium. Meditation has also proven effective for Afterlife Intelligences seeking to replenish their own reserves.   Among the living, certain nutrients can also be ingested. The safest methods involve a delay between ingestion and production, such as the ingestion of arbitrium which can be metabolized directly into Imperium when needed. While Imperium itself can also be refined and ingested or injected directly, this is not recommended outside of extreme circumstances - such as urgent efforts to prevent cosmic burnout, or small quantities when treating misattunement - due to the dangers of Imperium Toxicity and potential dependence.  

Misattunement

Fully depleting one's Imperium reserves deprives the body of the Imperium required to create more, a condition known best as misattunement. Consumption of arbitrium can help prevent the condition, but cannot cure it, as even the metabolism of arbitrium requires a connection to the magical fields.   If a creature is starved for sustenance, their internal processes will prioritize the production of physical energy first and only then will they use any leftover resources to manufacture Imperium. For this reason a severely malnourished individual will require not only nourishment and physical healing but eventually treatment for misattunement, to realign them with the magical fields and allow them to produce Imperium once again.   Misattunement is not life threatening, but does feel emotionally uncomfortable for the sufferer, due to their disconnect from the familiar but subconscious energy of the fields. The more powerful the mage, the more discomfort, and most Factions classify intentional misattunement as a form of torture. The Sparnell Confederation, by contrast, consider the process a mandatory step in the proper handling of long-term prisoners and captives.   Misattunement can only be treated through magical therapies, with the length of recovery depending highly upon the former magical capabilities of the individual as well as the duration of their condition. Patients are slowly eased back into a familiarity with the sensations of magic first, through Apotheturgic links with others to share magical reserves and eventually cast small spells, until finally being provided their own Imperium to kick start their natural production once more. Their treating physician will ensure throughout the process that they regain a proper grounding within the magical fields, allowing those fields to activate their Imperium for proper and effective casting.

History & Usage

History

The existence and usage of Imperium has served as a standard understanding of life since the ancient days of Fillimet, although time and expanding technologies have further increased knowledge on the subject. The discovery of the Cosmically Attuned brought a newfound interest to the subject, with many scientists launching lucrative careers as mages and employers alike sought how best to harness this newfound burst of power. Prevention methods for cosmic burnout also served as a smaller but still rapidly growing item of research.

Everyday use

While an individual's exposure to magic depends highly upon their culture, education, and daily experience, it's not uncommon to run across Magic on a regular basis, even within less magically-inclined societies such as the Space Defense Legion. Small low-power magic devices will often tap into their user's Imperium reservoir, often with little thought from the user besides their intentions for the device.   Those trained in the use of magic are able to use that magic on a more conscious level, and cast more powerful or focused spells as a result. Even individuals without training are capable of minor spell casting, often through rituals or processes which have become a natural or subconscious part of their routines. Craftsmen are particularly susceptible to accidental magic, whether that manifests as stronger thread in a tailor's clothes or more vivid colors on a painter's landscape, simply due to their comfort and familiarity with their crafts.   Magic is also not limited to the sophont species. Many creatures across Vazdimet have also evolved to rely upon magical senses and enhancements to assist in their own survival.

Hazards

The use of Imperium is not without risks. In addition to the potential dangers from incorrectly cast spells, exposure to Imperium itself can also cause harm to most creatures under certain circumstances, in the form of Imperium Toxicity. An individual can safely store enough Imperium to fill their personal reservoir, as the body has adapted to safely mitigate its effects, but direct exposure to raw Imperium - or even a higher concentration of Imperium than their bloodstream can support - can cause physical scars or burns as well as permanent physical or mental effects.
Type
Organic
Related Technologies
Material Type
Protein Hormone

Factual Tidbits

The Science of Imperium

Imperium doesn't power spells on its own, but rather allows the caster to manipulate the necessary magical fields in order to generate the spell's effects.   This is a fine point lost to many apprentice mages, but has proven critical to Imperium-related studies, particularly in the development of treatments for misattunement. Without Imperium, a caster can no longer ground themselves in the magic fields, thereby losing their access to magic itself.  

Enchanted Items

Most low-powered enchanted items contain Runework linking its use to the user's Imperium, allowing the devices to operate indefinitely without an internal power source, provided they receive proper maintenance to ensure the Runework remains intact.   Devices with larger Imperium draws are required to contain runic capacitors, which operate much like magical batteries. These runic capacitors either allow the user to slowly recharge the item with their own Imperium, but at safe power draws, or else permit replacement, where a spent capacitor is replaced with a fully charged capacitor of the same power level.  

Afterlife Imperium

Present-day research into Imperium generation from the Afterlife has stalled. Researchers still hope to continue the field, arguing a true understanding of Imperium on the higher planes will only help in improving efficiencies of Afterlife Intelligences, but funding has been sparse. AI successfully replenish their own Imperium, and most sponsors are happy to leave it at that and spend their credits elsewhere.

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