Omphalos Item in Derkomai | World Anvil

Omphalos

An omphalos is an object through which a Magus focuses emotions while performing a spell ritual. Most omphali are imbued with magical properties by the magi that own them through a process of spell rituals usually known as infusion, so that even in the hands of a normal person, they may be able to alter reality in some limited and specific way, like creating a light or a small bit of fire. In the hands of a magus, however, the omphalos is much more powerful, allowing the magus to concentrate and focus his or her emotions more quickly and effectively. Often, the use of an omphalos can obviate the need for the magus to perform more complex, time-consuming, or expensive spell rituals.   An omphalos can take most any form, but is commonly a wand, staff, ring, necklace, or other article of jewelry. It can even be a painting, a lamp, or some other everyday object. Objects that are easily carried on the magus' person are most common.   The magus has a deep emotional connection to his or her omphalos. Breaking or destroying an omphalos is an enormous blow to a magus and can leave a magus unable to focus or perform spell rituals for some time. Stealing an omphalos from a magus is a capital offense in the eyes of the magus, and the magus will look for the thief for as long and as far as it takes to find the omphalos and will certainly kill, or attempt to kill, the thief when found. The emotional connection between a magus and omphalos means that most magi know immediately when their omphalos has been broken or stolen. Given that the magus from whom the omphalos was stolen may very well have powers of divination, able to locate the omphalos wherever it may be, stealing one is very likely to be one of the last things the thief ever does.

Manufacturing process

Once the physical form of the omphalos is created, typically by highly skilled crafters, the magus that owns it begins the long and arduous process of infusion. Infusing an omphalos takes two forms, one required, the other optional, but almost always performed.   The required form of infusion for an omphalos creates the emotional connection between the magus and the omphalos and allows the magus to focus his or her passions and emotions through the omphalos. The magus performs rituals that often require rare, difficult to obtain, or expensive reagents, such as hair or blood of a loved one or rival, water from a pool where a Naiadrim lives, a leaf from the tree of a Dryadrim, flowers from a Wax Rose tree, expensive perfumes, and other rare items.   The optional form of infusion gives the omphalos magical properties that allow the magus to quickly perform some spells without needing the elaborate rituals and reagents usually required. The types of spells that an omphalos may "absorb" are limited. Spells of great power require focus of emotions too powerful for an omphalos to contain. Spells that allow the omphalos to emit light or small flames, protect the magus from magical or physical attack, or do limited divination are most common.

Significance

For the magus that owns the omphalos, it may very well be the most important thing that he or she owns. Omphali are usually constructed with the finest craftsmanship and materials available, then infused with magic through long, exacting spell rituals that require rare and expensive reagents. The magus focuses powerful emotions into the omphalos: deep love, the loss of a loved one, rage at injustice, longing for a place, hatred of a rival, and so on. For normal persons, even holding a powerful omphalos can impact their moods and thoughts deeply, even dangerously.
Item type
Magical
Rarity
Omphali are quite rare, as are magic items in general. Most magi carry one, and some have several, but as magi are very rare within the population, so are omphali. Some omphali have been lost by magi and found their way into the hands of normal people, where they are seen as either a "simple" magical item or an everyday object, depending on the magic with which it has been infused and the form of the omphalos.
Raw materials & Components
Whatever form an omphalos takes, it has deep significance for the magus that owns it, so omphali are most often constructed of the finest materials and with the finest craftsmanship. They are often made from rare metals, gold, silver, steel, the finest wood, inlaid with precious gems and jewels, engraved with mystical designs and patterns. Many are extremely beautiful, but some are non-descript, with their emotional attachment to the magus being far more important than their physical construction.


Cover image: by Peter Nelson (Zero Sum Games)

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