Magic Rot Condition in Dark-Fall | World Anvil

Magic Rot

When the Mind Hangs in the Balance

Written by ninne124

The use of magic is an ability gained through genetics, but even if you are born with the ability to do magic, it's a skill that has to be mastered carefully. A human Spell-caster is a person who was either born with a Fae Mark or who got it bestowed by a Fae. Fae-marked humans can access the energy in the world around them and manipulate it to their will. It takes practice, patience and respect.   If human overuses magic or accidentally draws energy from themselves instead of their surroundings, they can end up with a condition known as magic rot.  

Too Much To Handle

Humans aren't naturally born with the ability to do magic, but through being fae-marked, they can access the same energy that the fae can freely use from birth. However, the human body isn't necessarily made for it, and lack of knowledge and teaching can add to the danger of being a human magic user.
  If magic is used carelessly, there's a chance that it will either harm the mind or the body, if the magic user isn't experienced enough to avoid this.   It's extremely important to learn magic slowly and practice even the small magical feats over and over, to establish good magical habits. Patience is key.   Good magical habits and lots of experience with them will eventually lead to Magic Muscle Memory, an invaluable ability for magic users who wish to avoid any sort of Magic Rot.

Magic Muscle Memory (also known as MMM)

The ability to easily and mindfully perform new or unfamiliar magical feats without harming oneself.   This ability is often seen in seasoned magic users, who have spent years practising how to draw magical energy. This experience ensures that they pull magic from the right places, even when they're in stressful situations.   It can take a long time to become so proficient in magic that you have perfect MMM, but it is well worth it.

Affected Groups

Most commonly, Magic Rot is seen in Fae-Marked humans who have had little or no access to any information or education regarding magic use. Since magic is shunned and sometimes criminalised in most of Dysvoll, many magic users are forced to hide their abilities from the world.   This has effectively erased most magical communities from existence, and the few that still exist do their best to remain hidden. This has resulted in many Spell-casters who have no community around them to help them learn proper magic use.   Those who decide to try their hand at magic are at risk of getting Magic Rot Especially those who are impatient and try to do more complicated magic fast are prone to being afflicted with this illness.

Mental or Physical

Magic rot can manifest in two ways: mental magic rot or physical magic rot. It's common to have both types of magic rot present in the same individual. Some individuals may only have one if they managed to learn how to avoid behaviour that would lead to the other type.    

Mental Magic Rot

This version of the condition is sometimes also referred to as Brain Rot. It occurs when the magic-user damages brain tissue or nerves during magic use, either by overuse or by accidentally drawing energy from their own brain or nervous system.   There are various degrees of mental mind rot and different severities of symptoms.  
Mild Symptoms
  • Frequent headaches
  • Blurry vision
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Brain Fog
  • Issues with concentration
Moderate Symptoms
  • Sporadic migraines
  • Black spots in vision
  • Memory issues
  • Sleep issues
  • Confusion
  • Worse impulse control
  • Worse motor control
Severe Symptoms
  • Frequent migraines
  • Significant brain damage
  • Loss of vision
  • Amnesia
  • Change in personality
  • Loss of language
  Midler symptoms might go away on their own if the magic user stops using magic for an extended period of time. However, more severe symptoms can take years to go away and in many cases they are permanent.  

Physical Magic Rot

When Magic Rot affects the body rather than the mind, it often ends in damage to the body physically, rather than functions of the body or the mind. This happens because the magic user is accidentally using energy from their own body to perform magic, often with painful side effects.
  Examples of symptoms include things such as sudden weight loss, brittle bones, hair falling out, dry and damaged skin, sores, open wounds, longer healing times, brittle nails, loss of teeth and loss of muscle mass.
If someone needs to have their toes removed because they turned black, it could be a sign that they're a magic user!
— Anti-magic protester
Some of these symptoms can be reversed by stopping magic use or learning how to avoid drawing energy from one's own body. Sadly, as most know, lost teeth and will not return.   Some of the worst examples of physical damage to the body due to magic rot is when the circulatory system is degraded significantly, which will lead to necrosis of the areas of the body that no longer get enough oxygen. The death of body tissue cannot be reversed and if the dead tissue isn't removed, the infection might spread and be fatal to the person. The most common areas for people with magic rot to get necrosis are the fingers and toes, which will turn black as the tissue dies.
Affected Species
Misuse of magic, inexperienced use of magic. Damaging of own body through incorrect use of magic.   Type
Physcial and/or mental

by Ninne124
Individual affected by Magic Rot.
Using magic is dangerous and wrong! It is outlawed for a reason, I tell you.   It's unnatural, and so if you use it, it will destroy you. Magic rot is real, and it will get you if you decide to use magic anyway.
— Anti-magic protester
Fae Mark
Condition | Jan 27, 2024

Fae Marks are bestowed by fae and give a human access to use Primal magic.


Cover image: by Ninne124


Author's Notes

Hello everyone! Those who have been with me since the start of this world (around Inktober 2019) might recognise the drawing used in this article. The article was published with just a few words and the drawing back then under the title Mind Flay. It's been private since 2020 or so, but now it felt right to write the article and use the drawing in a way that fit my current view of Dark-fall.   Hope you enjoy!

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Dec 20, 2023 22:33 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Well, that is terrifying. No wonder there are anti-magic protestors.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Dec 21, 2023 17:48

Thanks for the comment Emy :3   And yeah... it does make sense to be afraid of something that seems dangerous and harmful

Grab your hammer and go worldbuild! :3
Jan 19, 2024 20:58 by Tlcassis Polgara | Arrhynsia

This is well styled and very well done. The condition is interesting and the material is well written. I can see the potential for stories in which this condition plays a role and how the condition could effect the world and the societies and individuals in it. Very nice.

Follow my worlds: Arrhynsia and Compendium and check out my author website at to see my latest work!
Jan 29, 2024 21:08

Thank you so much!

Grab your hammer and go worldbuild! :3
Jan 26, 2024 21:51

It's a great article about the consequences of magic, and it's great that magic also has dangers and doesn't just work without consequences.

Jan 29, 2024 21:09

Thank you ^-^

Grab your hammer and go worldbuild! :3
Jan 27, 2024 09:18 by Kai

I love the idea of the misuse of magic, and being able to damage yourself through using magic incorrectly and drawing too much from yourself. It makes me think of how you can damage yourself playing an instrument or a sport incorrectly, but with much, much more dire consequences.

Jan 29, 2024 21:09

Thank you for the comment :3

Grab your hammer and go worldbuild! :3