Literomancy (LIT-er-uh-man-see | / 'lɪt ər rəˌmæn si /)

The Game of Tomes is a game that is scored by acquiring word counts in creative writing pursuits. Literomancy is the in-universe way of explaining the use of creative writing as a form of magic that decides the outcome. Original concept by Coral (a.k.a. ScarredSaphicAndSexy,) adapted by Sable Aradia and the GoT community.
Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and at last, you create what you will.
— George Bernard Shaw
  Literomancy is the art of using words and story to create sorcery and other magical effects in the GoTverse. In simplest terms, the power of a story created with invested intent alters the fabric of reality. The more compelling the story, the more effective the magic.   Literomancy is practiced exclusively by Tome Knights, and the ability to practice it is the defining characteristic of a Tome Knight .  


To invoke literomancy, a Tome Knight must tell a story. However, there are numerous ways in which to tell a story, and it is by no means limited to prose. Poetry, music, visual arts, interpretative dance, tapestries and murals, creative non-fiction, RPG creation and raw worldbuilding are some of the many forms of practice utilized by Tome Knights. Even computer coding, or altering or reinterpreting creative works can draw upon literomantic energy, as long as the end goal is a creative project, although coders, editors, and translators are less common among Tome Knights. Some of these methods are very personal and specific to a given Tome Knight.   The only stipulation is that literomancy must utilize some form of creative writing, and use of the written word must be involved, although language doesn't seem to matter. Non-creative forms of writing lack sufficient inspirational impact to invoke literomantic power (so accounting, for example, is ineffective.) Tome Knights using a form of art that does not typically involve the written word, such as dancing or making a tapestry or mural, typically incorporate runes or other forms of writing into the work.  


Effects can vary broadly. It is perhaps most common for Tome Knights to "buff" themselves with powers or magic, talents or skills, prior to engaging in combat. For example, the Owsla might tell a story of their combat prowess, their magical weapons, or their innate sorcerous powers before hitting the battlefield, and then find those powers available to call upon at will.   Less common is "combat literomancy" -- that is, rewriting reality while engaged in combat. This requires the implements of a story's creation (ie. pen and ink, laptop, tablet, musical instrument) and focus and concentration. Disarming a Tome Knight by taking or destroying these implements can put a halt to their literomantic enchantments, so there is an extra element of risk. However, the advantage of practicing combat literomancy is that the Tome Knight can adapt to the changing conditions of the battlefield; either by creating new effects, events and abilities on the spot, or by countering other literomantic enchantments.   Does my character practice combat literomancy?
If you have been involved in writing original material for the Game of Tomes Lore videos or filks while the Game is in progress, or if you have engaged in the in-chat roleplay in such a way that you have told an entertaining story for the audience, you are considered to be a practitioner of "combat literomancy." You have proven your ability to create stories on the fly, in adaptation to the ongoing situation. Congratulations!


And guys? Be careful! The tropes of this plotline don't tend to end well for the parental units.
Sable Aradia to Darth Nikolas and Realm of Music, re: Lord Galakrond having been taken by the Undead Horde
  Literomancy's effectiveness is determined by how compelling the story is that the Tome Knight is telling. As a result, it is bound by the needs of the story.   Breaking free of literary tropes, plot beats, and narrative structure is not impossible, but reality resists such efforts. It is unlikely that a Tome Knight will be able to escape literomantic enchantments unscathed, things tend to happen in a logical order, and the rules of Chekhov's gun apply. A literomancer is most effective when they can make the craft of writing work in their favour to tell a truly memorable tale.   In addition, it is easier to build on an established story than create a new story entirely out of the ether, as long as one is able to obey the already-established rules in play. This is why literomantic houses develop traditions, and then build on those traditions, rather than reinventing themselves every generation. A story works best, after all, when it has continuity.  

How is Literomancy Learned?

The most common method (if anything can be said to be "common" with Tome Knights) is to be born into a literomantic family line, such as most of the Great Houses and some of the Minor Houses. But it is possible to learn it through other methods as well -- natural talent, less-than-above-board acquisition of study material, or raw determination and discipline. Eli Kwake the Great Flame of House Incendium claims they learned literomancy in back alleys and other maverick, on-the-fly environments, and Lord Galakrond was demonstrably studying literomancy on his own long before his formal instruction began (there is a rumour that the same is true of Sable Aradia.) Nor does being born into a literomantic line necessarily guarantee that one will have any literomantic capabilities. The ability to tell a good story forever eludes logic or definition.
Literomancy makes reality go brrrrrrr.
— Princess Melody of House Felis
Metaphysical, Arcane

A writer typing at a laptop that is producing magical fire

Eli Kwake's Literomancy by Eli Kwake & Sable Aradia

A man's hands typing on a rainbow-illuminated keyboard

Literomancy by Mr Big T Anderson

A woman typing frantically on a glowing keyboard, implying magic

The Mother of Bunnies casting combat literomancy by Siobhan the Writer

A man shrouded in shadow and firelight leaning close to the camera with runes painted on his face

DM Stretch before the Battle of the Warren by DMStretch

A woman writing in a spiral notebook with both hands at once using fantastical pens

Ambidextrous Literomancy by Tazfa2

A person typing on a glowing keyboard underwater

Coffee Quills' Literomancy by CoffeeMate Maple

True Literomancy

Once upon a time...
— The first few words on the pages of the Iron Tome
According to myth, The Iron Tome is written in glyphs of unusual power. Tome Knights can read these runes, and interpret them in their native language, but to anyone else, they appear as pure gibberish. Scholars sometimes refer to the language of The Iron Tome as the lingua literoprimordia, or "the primordial literary tongue." It is said that using these glyphs, or writing one's tale on the pages of the Iron Tome itself, is so effective at reweaving reality that the usual limitations do not apply. The very nature of the laws of physics, causality, and even the fabric of time and space itself can be altered. Since the reappearance of the Tome, no one has yet experimented to see if this is true.

Cover image: The Queen of Bats and the Mother of Bunnies engaged in combat literomancy by Sable Aradia


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E. Christopher Clark
16 Dec, 2021 11:41

I loved this! I can see why you were telling folks on stream to come read this, as it explains well a central part of how the Game of Tomes works. Nicely done.

Check out my pledge for Summer Camp 2022
17 Dec, 2021 20:38

Thanks Chris! :)

Author of the Wyrd West Chronicles and the Toy Soldier Saga. Mother of Bunnies, Eater of Pickles, Friend of Nerds, First of her Name.