by T.A. Saunders ©2010 v1.5
The Mind Unchained: The Gift of the Will-Shaper
To become a will-shaper is not a matter of training, conditioning or desire; indeed, most will-shapers never realize their potential or the fact that they are will-shapers. Most merely excel at a particular craft and do so with surprising ease. The weapons they might smith are exceedingly strong for their kind, or the clay pottery they craft is superlative in its durability, while remaining elegant, or perhaps a will-shaper who has taken a career as a singer has this strange ability to move people who listen to his or her songs in such a way that they are often brought to tears or find themselves singing along. Most are ordinary people, with a desire for an ordinary life, but through incident or accident, it is discovered that they are will-shapers.
The ability to will-shape is a rare and unexplained gift that can happen in any race. These individuals are born with an ability to use their own will ‘shape’ reality to create feats based on whatever affinity they are naturally attuned to. In the aforementioned example of the blacksmith, such a will-shaper could have an Elemental affinity and be able to alter metals and stone for greater strength, or perhaps alter their state all together. While this ability does not require Mana to accomplish it does require a great deal of focus. The possibility of mental exhaustion and if pushed too far, coma are great with extended or overuse of their power.
The skills of a will-shaper are not taught at a school or a particular guild hall that a gifted individual could go to in order to hone their skills. Those seeking a mentor in the art of will-shaping must find a master through research, rumor and myth. Many of these masters hide in plain sight, having no desire to draw attention to themselves. More than one will-shaper has been captured by an enterprising mage wishing to discover the secrets to their powers through experiments that aren’t always humane in the application. There are whispers about the Hazjid of Tashran having an elite sect of will-shapers trained as assassins; if these rumors are true, this is the closest anybody has come to remotely making a concerted effort in training and capitalizing on the talents of will-shapers. If such an institution actually exists within the Hazjid, those most informed within the family are tight-lipped about it.
The Mechanics of a Will-Shaper’s Powers
Each affinity is associated with one of three Realms: Elements, Mind and Metamorphic. Realm of the Elements covers manipulation and utilization of the four natural elements, Realm of the Mind covers all psychic powers, such as ESP, telekinesis and domination and the Metamorphic Realm covers being able to change one’s physical state in some manner, such as shape-shifting. The aforementioned examples are not the limit of each Realm, but rather cite the most common expressions they manifest within people.
Will-Shapers can never gain another affinity. The natural attuning a Will-Shaper has to a particular realm cannot be changed save through a direct divine act of a deity, though no such divine act has ever been performed. However it is possible to become so skilled within a particular Realm that the Will-Shaper exerts almost no effort at all and uses only fractional amounts of their willpower. These Will-Shapers are masters and can accomplish incredible feats with their talent and make it seem almost effortless providing they are working within their Focus.
The powers of a Will-Shaper also have a limited range, relative to the Realm; a Will-Shaper with an affinity with the Realm of Elements could create a tidal wave to smash an enemy ship, if they were aboard another vessel nearby, but could not produce that same tidal wave if they were on the shore, far from the conflict. A Will-Shaper with an affinity for the Realm of the Mind could see weeks, perhaps months into the future, but could not see years or decades into the future. This theoretical range can increase somewhat with skill, but will never cover vast stretches of time, space or reality.
There is also no real list of Will-Shaper feats, since they are all based on the will of the Will-Shaper. If a Will-Shaper with a Realm affinity of Elements wants to produce a wall of flame around themselves, they simply choose to do it and concentrate. These feats largely must have concentration to maintain, though with skill and practice, less and less concentration is needed to maintain a particular feat. It is possible to break the concentration of a Will-Shaper in much the same fashion one breaks the concentration of a wizard, by simply hitting them hard enough, though the prepared Will-Shaper will be generally ready for this. Powers of Will-Shapers can be blocked with Iradium, an alloy combining Starmetal with common lead.