Imperium Toxicity Condition in Vazdimet | World Anvil

Imperium Toxicity

A dangerous but curable condition, Imperium Toxicity is caused by Imperium levels in excess of what the subject's metabolism can safely manage. Toxicity is most often caused by the ingestion of raw Imperium, although in rare cases an individual's natural abilities to control their own Imperium levels may be compromised due to illness or genetics.


Imperium Toxicity occurs when an individual – usually a magic caster – is exposed to excess raw Imperium.   Imperium is the protein hormone which allows casters to interact with the magical fields throughout Vazdimet. All creatures are capable of regulating their Imperium levels within safe levels, including the breakdown of excess Imperium as well as the creation of new Imperium to replenish depleted reserves.   Toxicity occurs when an individual is exposed to more Imperium than their metabolism and casting can reasonably break down or use. While this can occur from consuming Imperium-dense foods or drinks, the condition is more often due to the use of raw, purified Imperium.   Raw Imperium has therefore fallen out of favor with most healers and alchemists, although it's still common to keep a small supply available for treatment in severe cases risking cosmic burnout. In these instances, most casters would agree that avoiding the risk of life without magic at all is worth the potential side effects of an Imperium overdose.


Imperium Toxicity occurs when Imperium levels exceed a creature or individual's ability to process the hormone. This disrupts the natural balance between the subject and the magical fields present throughout the universe, an imbalance which remains even if the Imperium levels are later brought down below normal levels.   Those suffering from Toxicity will often experience things invisible to others around them. While often hallucinations generated by the body attempting to make sense of the additional sensory inputs caused by excess Imperium, this is not always the case. Sometimes these mental shadows are actually portions of the Afterlife, or Divination visions, or even a sensory manifestation of the local magical fields.   These hallucinatory experiences are as varied as the magic of Vazdimet. Symptoms are not limited by the subject's own magical skills or natural affinities, although spells the sufferer finds familiar are more likely.   Casting magic poses additional hazards. The strength, duration, and even target of the individual's spellwork has been known to vary widely from what they intended. Often, afflicted mages will cast spells without intending to at all, a risk which rises with the magic capabilities of the sufferer. The Cosmically Attuned are also at risk of cosmic burnout, especially if currently in the Void already.   Those suffering from Imperium Toxicity are therefore a risk to both themselves and those around them.


While historically Imperium Toxicity was considered a permanent condition, advances in medical science have since found a cure, although the treatment is not without controversy.   Patients require specialized housing, staffed by professionals familiar with treating the condition. They are locked within a cell, boxed in with full Antimagic protocols, and encouraged to cast their magic until their entire Imperium reservoir has been drained, thus inducing a different condition on the opposite side of the spectrum, misattunement.   With no more ability to cast or even interact with magic, patients are then kept in a misattuned state for weeks to months to ensure the effects of Toxicity have been flushed from their system, before beginning the slow process of treatment and magical therapy for misattunement.   Opponents of the treatment argue patients should not be subjected to the same barbaric treatment the Confederation uses on its most abused prisoners. Advocates argue that these medical facilities provide their patients with greater comfort than Sparnelli prisoners, and that short term discomfort – no matter how great that discomfort – is still preferable to a life suffering the effects of Toxicity.


As the body has effective ways of managing its Imperium levels on its own, the best way to avoid Imperium Toxicity is simply to avoid ingesting raw Imperium. Foods with a high concentration of Imperium should also be avoided or eaten in small doses.   Mages who wish the ability to replenish their Imperium reserves quickly should instead consider foods, drinks, and Alchemy with a high arbitrium content, allowing their body to metabolize the protoxin into Imperium as needed, rather than overdosing themselves with the hormone themselves.   In cases of medical emergency, such as treatment to avoid burnout, any raw Imperium injections should be managed by a trained medical professional.


In the days before the War for Enlightenment, Imperium Toxicity was formerly known as Hallucinatory Imperium Oversaturation and classed as an incurable mental disorder. Victims were often cast out of society due to fear of their reactions and hallucinations, not to mention the beliefs in addiction as victims often sought to self-medicate through the ingestion of even more sources of Imperium, which would temporarily lessen the effects.   It is only with the advances in medical and magical understanding, many rooted in the knowledge found within the Golding Library, that this disease is now understood as a dangerous but ultimately curable hormone imbalance.
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