Burnout Condition in Cathedris | World Anvil

Cathedris Themesong


Catalurgy beyond natural limits

While appreciated, your concern is unwarranted. I can do anything.
— A proud Genesist.
  Catalurgy is magic in Cathedris; blood, known as Ichor, is harvested from the God-husks and fed through a Catalurgists veins, where the innate power is then able to be harvested and redirected.   This power comes at a sometimes very grave cost, however -- Burn. As the Ichor courses through the user's body, it lets creates heat and warmth all throughout the body. If not mitigated, the Burn can cause lasting damage known as Burnout, and ultimately, death.  

Buildup of Burn

Burn by itself, or momentarily, is not enough to cause lasting damage. To Catalurgists, it is just the same as expending energy -- be it physical, mental, or creative energy. No matter what is being done, it takes energy, and Burn acts just like that. The danger comes from repeat expenditure over a long period of time, pushing the body farther than it can go, or taking on far too many tasks at once -- this is what will eventually lead to Burnout.
If I just push... a little bit more... I can get this done. I just need to hold on a bit longer.
— A Catalurgist under pressure.
For the most part with Catalurgy, this Burn is a physical phenomenon. Heat rises, and the body reacts to that -- burns, fire, charring, ash, all of that may come as a result of too much Burn. However, in some cases, Burn may cause mental damage as well, and Burnout may appear entirely invisible from the outside.
  Burn can be handled, and Burnout avoided, through careful planning and usage of both equipment, and Catalurgy itself. For general everyday usage, a Catalurgist must work to keep their limits in mind, and not overdo things by doing too much magic. However, should the need arise for lots of magic to be done, they might need to bring in outside solutions -- this is normally done with ice packs, or heat pumps and cooling systems for the more wealthy Catalurgist.  


When an excess of Burn leads to Burnout, the outcome is never good; Burnout for a Catalurgist means either death, or the loss of the ability to do Catalurgy. Organs, muscles, and even bones can become brittle and charred from heat cycling and overloads of Burn. It's not uncommon for some Catalurgists to wear gloves or large jackets to hide the burnt skin and scars.  
Once the damage is done, it's nearly impossible to recover. If the damage is done to organs and bones, a Catalurgist likely does not have that much longer to live, and effort is spent on making their last days comfortable instead of trying to heal them. Thus every organization, community, or country that employs Catalurgists for extended periods of time generally has an Ash Hall or two at hand for these unfortunate souls to rest within until their time comes.
Sure, I might've overdone it a bit... but look at everything I accomplished. I view that as a win, even at an early end. I just wish I had more time.
— Acceptance at the very end.


Burn. Fresh. Covers about 80% of the Catalurgist's torso. Still in the hot stages, and it will be some time before the true damage sets in.
  Survival unlikely. Recommend transfer to Ash Halls for end of life care.
It's not often we see a patient still walking with Burnout that big and that fresh. Have the Ash Halls been considered?
— Field Medic

Catalurgic Healing

Catalurgy is an incredibly powerful art, only limited by two things; the user's body, for purposes of Burn, and the user's intelligence, as the magic is generally built off of understanding and imagining. Some users, generally Transmutists, use their ability to heal wounds -- done through understanding the human form, the injury in question, and just what needs to be done to fix it.   However, despite efforts from many Catalurgists from across the world, none have figured out how to heal Burnout yet. Either the Burns are too intrinsic to understand enough to fix with Transmutive Catalurgy, or the magical nature of the wounds interferes with any attempts to heal it.

Cover image: by Mohamed Nohassi


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Jul 4, 2021 21:11

I feel that opening quote in my soul. I'm pretty sure I might've said those exact words at some point.   Awesome stuff :D As always, you create wonders

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
Jul 5, 2021 18:23 by Stormbril

Yeahhhh... I think many, many of us have uttered something close to that quote D: I think that's what made this article so easy to write, haha.   Thanks, Q <3

Jul 4, 2021 21:41 by Goddess Zenith Reborna

An absolutely incredible article with some fantastic jabs at the concept of "burnout" while also providing a fascinating look into your world. A fitting yet harrowing first article in your Summer Camp series, lets hope you can keep up the pace in a sustainable way.   Lovely CSS by the way, as always.

Jul 5, 2021 18:26 by Stormbril

Thank you Zack! It seemed a fitting to adapt Burnout to an in-universe phenomenon, when I've had so many run-ins with it D:   Aiming to do SC at a reasonable and healthy pace, and be happy with whatever I achieve, so lets see how that goes :D   Thank you :)

Jul 5, 2021 07:23

That was a "fun" take on burnout. I really like the idea of it literally burning the cathalurgists alive, and them trying to pretend like it's nothing they cannot deal with. It also really fleshes out the world.   I caught a couple of omission typos:
blood, known as ichor(?), is harvested from the God-husks and fed through a Catalurgists veins
When an excess of Burn leads to Burnout, the outcome is never good

Jul 5, 2021 18:28 by Stormbril

I'm glad it appears to have fit nicely, thank you :D I think anyone with a lot of power or energy often feels like they can handle anything, it was fun to play off that with this article.   Thanks for catching those missing words!

Jul 5, 2021 07:29 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

Maybe I should invest in ice packs to get more done during summer camp...   Great article :D I really feel for those poor catalurgists, limits are just so bothersome!

Jul 5, 2021 18:29 by Stormbril

Don't you dare push yourself that hard! Avoid the Burnout! D: (Ice packs might not be a bad idea though :P)   Thank you :)

Jul 5, 2021 12:51 by Avalon Arcana

This is very body-horror-esk. I love it. Are the limits for the burn and eventual burnout different for different people and species, or are the limits generally the same. Wonderful article :)

You should check out the The 5 Shudake, if you want of course.
Jul 5, 2021 18:31 by Stormbril

Thank you, Avalon! I love working in some body horror into Cathedris >:D   The limits for Burnout definitely vary from person to person! And there's an amount of self training one can do to increase their limits, similar to exercise. Still, a person can only push themselves so far, before... *fire sounds*

Jul 5, 2021 17:30 by R. Dylon Elder

and here we see just how dangerous burnout is and why ash halls are a thing. It really sucks that its common enough to need ash halls. Its understandable though. its easy to push one's self to the limits. i love how much detail you throw in here. you explain the process of burn becoming burnout beutifully. well done!

Jul 5, 2021 18:33 by Stormbril

Wayyyyy too easy to push yourself too hard! The sad thing is, many people don't realize they're pushing too hard until it's too late -- real life, and in Cathedris D:   Mostly though I wanted to make sure Catalurgy has major drawbacks -- in an industrial world, magic can be terrifyingly strong, so making sure it's balanced because of the danger is something I wanted to ensure.   Thanks Dylon! :)

Jul 5, 2021 18:42 by R. Dylon Elder

And you did a great job of it. I'd be cautious knowing this was a possibility

Jul 6, 2021 23:30 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

I feel called out by those quotes.   Really great article, Stormbril! My skin crawls a little at the idea of the damage your version of burnout can cause. I'm looking forward to reading about the Ash Halls.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Jul 12, 2021 09:03 by Stormbril

I think there's a little of all of us in those quotes, to be honest! I know I was calling myself out with them as well, for sure.   And thank you, Emy! I somehow had fun writing this one, I'm glad it worked out <3

Jul 27, 2021 13:06 by AS Lindsey (Pan)

Great work, as always. The limitations / risks of magical abilities are often what make for the most interesting stories.   And of course your first SC article this year is literally called 'burnout'...   Best of luck for the rest of the month :)

Jul 27, 2021 17:18 by Stormbril

Thank you Pan :D I agree, I love seeing how people balance the two, risking going over that line etc etc.   I think I'm glad I wrote burnout at the start of SC, rather than the end :P   Good luck to you as well, and thank you again!

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