Truth Spell in The Web | World Anvil


The Truth Hurts

The magicians may lack sight, but they see more than most in The Web. They see the world without bias, without the filters of perception. To the magicians, we are but vapors locked in a box. The sense let us experience what is outside this box, but it's only a fraction of the whole. To experience universal truths, one must be freed from this box. On rare occasions, using the ability can bestow the power on another, assuming they can survive it.   The truth hurts. It's a fact of life and no one wants to hear it. Eventually, it catches up to us, no matter how hard we try to avoid it. This is the principle of Truth, a rather strange ability often used by the Magicians of Carthage. All those with the candlelight could use it. but not all of them possess what's needed to do so. Having the candlelight makes one more receptive to truth, but only to a point. To use this ability, one needs a universal truth that is impossible to deny, impossible to refute, and impossible to speak without rocking the very foundations of someone's world.   Often called Eldridge Tongue, the ability is designed to shatter the mind of the target. The user will speak a single truth, a single detail of the world as it truly is. That's all it takes. The damage is done. The user reveals this truth to the target, usually as a hushed whisper so only the target can hear. What follows is rarely pleasant. As said before, the truth hurts.

The Unknown

No one really knows what these truths may be. To know it and speak, it is literally using the ability, itself. For this reason, even if you wanted to reveal it, you do so at the risk of ruining the one you share it with.   Like a parasite, it would ravage any and all you speak it too, and only a small percentage will possess the composure to resist the downward spiral of madness.   It's not that people can't discover these truths. All those who try to solve the puzzle will succeed on a long enough timeline. Therein lies the beauty of the eldritch tongue: It's a self keeping secret.


When these truths are spoken, anyone who hears it, and understands the words, will go pale in the face. They will feel sick as the realizations floods their thoughts. Their minds will obsess in the seconds that follow, repeating the phrase in their mind like a mantra.   This is where the line between survival and certain death is crossed. If one cannot overcome this knowledge, compose themselves and move past it, they die. If one decides they cannot live in a world where these things are true, they die.   They may go mad from the revelation, turning on their comrades with violent fury. They may have a sudden cardiac arrest, or in some cases, they may take matters into their own hands. This is not some power given at random like the prestige, nor is it a gift from higher forces. It is not a talent possessed by those with greater minds, it is merely the power behind speaking the truth.


Those who already know the truth spoken will be rattled, but otherwise unphased by the revelation. Those who possess severe mental instabilities are similarly unaffected. This means any one truth can used on a target once, and if they shrug it off, it can never be used again on them.   The truth must be spoken clearly and with confidence. Any slurring or word barely heard by the target will leave something the target's mind can cling to, allowing them to ignore the words spoken or deny the truth entirely.   There is something to be said about those particularly averse to candlelight. Some, such as Hennie Everstark, are so resilient to the development of candlelight that they can simply choose not to believe the truth spoken. Research into this effect is ongoing. It baffles those unaware of this peculiar outcome.

Cover image: by Kristina Flour


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Dec 20, 2020 07:37 by Jacob Billings

What! The Web makes a sneaky return. Though, the fact this is in the web makes way more sense considering the title's lack of relevance to the Void Between and the fact it's a spell.   I love the idea that you've managed to combine the idea of the Prestige's deadliness into the idea that the truth hurts. It's a super interesting way to convey this magic system, which has to be one of my favorites because of its diversity and limitations.   The fact you've managed to make the literal truth a devastating form of magic in you system. It's also super interesting to consider the application considering its relation with the Candlelight. Additionally, is this a specific form of magic or not, as you kind of suggest that anyone can use it while equally suggesting it's too devastating for the Magicians of Carthage to possess?   How does one learn the truth other than hearing it spoken? I'm a bit delirious at the moment because of my brain's inability to function, but if I'm understanding this right, it's possible to find outside of just hearing it? Also, presumably, the truth is similar to the Prestige in that, once you pass the trial or whatever, anyone can use it?   You kind of have a bit of a split, at least I think you do, where you suggest that there is one truth and then say that there are multiple. I'm presuming the latter is the one you want to go with, so that might need to be double-checked for proper pronouns and all.   Hmm. I'm quite certain that I had more comments about something that might be interesting to expand upon, but my brain seems to have decided to stop retaining information. Normally I would have waited to read until tomorrow, but this was too exciting to wait to read. In any case, I think that's pretty much it.   Speaking of the Web, however, have you any updates on the Epilogue? Just curious. Anyway, this article was great and reminded me so much of reading the Scarlet Ashes.

Dec 20, 2020 09:41 by R. Dylon Elder

Oh yes, the web be very sneaky! lol Its kind of a quirk you get for learning forbidden knowledge if that makes more sense. It just makes my day to hear you love it that much. Im honored! I always thought of my magic system like an umbrella where everything under it can be its own unique system. This would be part of the system connected to candlelight.   The magicians are the ones who use it the most, but yes indeed, you too can shatter minds so long as your mind doesnt shatter first. Generally, any kind of discovery that is a universal truth would count, whether spoken, read,, or otherwise expirienced. Nice catch equating it to the rite for the prestige, as well.   I'll clarify that there are multiple truths that can be expressed. any and all universal truths work, but the truths must grant candlelight if known to work, So, "what comes up must come down," isnt likely to work, if you catch my drift.   Im so happy you were excited. The void between kind of took me by surprise in how involved i'd be, and ive been neglecting my poor novel. Soon though. I just need to go through and give it a nice edit.I'tl be out before the end of WE. I plan on jumping back onto edits and balancing the web with the void between in the coming year.   Till next time my friend! As always, thank you!

Dec 20, 2020 14:44 by Corvo Branco

Is not the true that is dangerous. The people's minds are too fragile, that's all.   I wonder if there is some sort of scale. Some trues that are valid but less effective than average, others more destructive than that. Others even more, and so on. Until the first motionless engine of true, perhaps...?   But not all webs must have a center, of course. So maybe not.

Dec 20, 2020 14:51 by R. Dylon Elder

That is a great twist of perspective, to be sure. I like that. There probably is a level of strength that can be scaled, but i imagine it's less about strength and more the ease of overcoming it. maybe some have a higher percentage of failure, perhaps. ooo excellent catch there. thank ya, and thanks for the comment as well!

Dec 20, 2020 18:57 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

The Web!   I really like this concept. I'm trying to imagine what truth could be so terrible, but I guess the point is that you can't. I like the idea that some people can just be like 'no don't believe it' and be okay, and it's really interesting that people with mental instabilities anyway can just shrug it off.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Dec 20, 2020 19:06 by R. Dylon Elder

Thanks so much. I'll be expanding on it just a tad, but for sure, the truths shouldn't be revealed. Makes it a bit scarier XD

Dec 21, 2020 17:26

Makes me want a character who can delay their understanding of the truth until they have time to curl into a ball in some corner. It might kill them, but not until they have time to really think about it.   Or maybe some folks are just too stupid to figure out whatever metaphor you use to explain this terrible truth.   either way, certain flavors of insanity can be a blessing more than a curse. adds a nice bit of flavor to this world.

Dec 21, 2020 18:51 by R. Dylon Elder

Those words be wise. I plan on having rules behind this and playing candlelight reliant characters. I imagine players that like to mess with the gm and group would have a field say

Dec 28, 2020 01:29 by Grace Gittel Lewis

Glad to see some Web content! I quite like this idea, of simple truth being weaponized.

Dec 28, 2020 06:57 by R. Dylon Elder

Yeah, decided to tap into the web for the spell article. Glad you enjoyed it!

Dec 31, 2020 13:58 by Michael Chandra

*shudders* I am now leaning towards Dresden Files way of dealing with magicians: Sniperbullet to the head.

Too low they build who build beneath the stars - Edward Young
Jan 29, 2021 10:04 by Janet Forbes

A fascinating article which feels very metaphysical! As an outsider to your world, I feel like I missed a few of the key concepts you were describing here - maybe a quick tooltip would help noobs like me absorb your concepts in more detail? Just a thought! <3

  • Janet Forbes (Founder of World Anvil, fantasy author and RPG designer)
  • Grab your hammer and GO WORLDBUILD!
    Jan 29, 2021 15:58 by R. Dylon Elder

    Ahhh! I forgot links?! So sorry, I hadn't realized. Lol will fix that once im allowed. Thanks so much!

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