Soulstrain in Vernelis | World Anvil


Written by UmbralGoat

Ack- My chest is burning...

  Soulstrain is a progressive and dangerous condition brought on by continuous, strenuous taxation of the Soul. This is most typically a result of magical practices.

Even the most skilled magical users with the highest stamina will eventually run into Soulstrain if they push themselves far enough. The threshold for which symptoms begin to appear depend on the individual.


The manifestation of symptoms does not immediately tell that the user is in danger, they are more of a warning. Symptoms vary drastically across individuals in terms of spread, severity and onset speed.

Universally, those who suffer from Soulstrain will feel greatly fatigued, and their muscles will begin to ache in the areas affected by more specific symptoms. Most commonly, a burning sensation is first felt in the right side of the chest.
Soulstrain from fire magic begins with the singing of fur or blackening of scales on the fingertips and/or toes, and soon after, the digits will catch flame. The user will feel no burning sensation despite the damage. The flames will spread into the hand and down the arm if the user continues.
Soulstrain from magic controlling the water may be easily mistaken at first for intense sweating. As it progresses, it becomes clear that parts of the body start to liquify and melt. This can immediately cause severe debilitation and will not heal quickly, but it is not very dangerous.
Soulstrain from magic affecting rocks or the land will manifest as minerals crystalizing on the bones, starting at distinct joints. As they grow, movement will become labored, and then painful, and the crystals will grow along the length of the bones. Typically, this will begin in the fingers and hands.
Soulstrain from air magic is the most directly obvious and immediate of all other symptoms, as it manifests without warning with intense wind flaring from the user's body. As the wind intensifies, the physical strain on the user becomes more unbearable.
Soulstrain from manipulating minds causes intense dissociation and delayed reactionary times. This can last for hours even after the user ceases their magic, but recovery is guaranteed.

Effects on Magical Ability

The use of magic is not directly inhibited by the onset of Soulstrain. One can continue to perform their desired magic even as symptoms begin. The symptoms themselves may be what inevitably causes the user to stop, especially if they begin to compound with each other.


The most common treatment for Soulstrain is an extensive period of rest, usually about a day. This, however, is not always ideal for those who suffer from the condition, as their circumstances may not allow such rest.

There have been various concoctions explored throughout history to aid the Soul in recovering quicker. They range from specific brews of tea, to smokable herbs and mixtures of fruits.

Condition Type
Continuous strain on the Soul
Rare among the general population
Common among Dragonminds and young learners of Soul Magic
Not contagious
Not genetic
Progressively worsens
Can lead to coma, rarely deadly

Cover image: by Sebastian Wagner


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