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 Singers, A great big enigma
Tiamat
 Posted: Mar 11 2014, 02:40 PM
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Singers are women with the power to cause changes in the world around with with the power of song and will. They are a relatively new phenomena, one that came about a couple decades after a moderately-sized extraterrestrial object impacted Pern 90 years ago (probably a metallic asteroid given dolphin sonar readings, but there were no witnesses to the impact and the crater is under hundreds of feet of murky water).

Singers seem to have a different biology from ordinary women, despite their outward appearance. They grow very slowly and often reach puberty much later than their peers. They develop their powers very shortly after puberty, accompanied by sudden muteness and sudden, unexplained, and dangerously high fevers that can last up to a week and subside after a mark appears on their body, after which they have full control of their abilities... in theory. In practice, many Singers try to hide what they are for fear of being taken from their homes and can become so stressed out by it that they suddenly lose control of their abilities. This loss of control, called a "Break", tends to be violent and highly destructive, so it's a priority of all Weyrs to find any Singers before they Break. You may notice that this is not helping the base problem.

Singers also seem to Impress at higher rates than other people, and dragonkin seem to generally like them. Additionally, dragons seem to have a stabilizing influence on a Singer's power, as Impressed Singers have more consistent levels of power than their unImpressed peers. No dragon-Impressed Singer has outlived her dragon, but given that some have lost whers to accident and Singers throughout Pern felt the loss... Well, no one wants to find out the consequences.

Physically, Singers tend to be taller than other women. The marks that appear when their power awakens vary in both shape, size, and color among women (the smallest known is a centimeter in diameter, and the largest covers the Singer's back), and no two Singers have identical marks. The size and shape of the mark has no relation to the Singer's strength, despite common belief. The marks are slightly more sensitive than the surrounding skin, but this usually just means that things that would otherwise go unnoticed, like rough cloth, cause mild discomfort. However, marks that appear on the eye or tongue generally make seeing and tasting at ordinary levels extremely uncomfortable if not painful. Additionally, after developing their powers their vocal cords deteriorate and they develop a syrinx, allowing them to sing harmonies alone with a bit of practice. This also means that they do not require a tongue for speech or singing, although it tends to sound slightly... off.

Singers are all linked on the subconscious level. While this allows for Spells to be transmitted to all Singers capable of using them upon creation, it also creates a sort of mental backdoor that can be exploited by any Singer who figures out how.

It is generally accepted that those who identify as men cannot be Singers.

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Aleksand - Singer, Wher Lord, jerkface
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Tiamat
 Posted: Mar 11 2014, 02:54 PM
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On Spells

I would recommend just sticking to stating that your character is singing a Spell and what the intended effect of the song is instead of writing out the lyrics for every Spell your character knows (but feel free to do so if you have the time). For the Ar Tonelico fans out there, the language is basically Pastalie, with a few cases of Ar Ciela.

Spells are not sung in any language the Pernese recognize, although all Singers are innately capable of understanding it. While there are clear structures to it and it can be learned, the fact that most Singers just know the meaning can make it difficult to teach non-Singers, although many Singers do make the effort. The language has some relatively complicated grammar structures, which makes things more difficult. A written form has not yet been created IC as of the start of this site.

The power and affect of any Spell is affected by the Singer's emotions and how confident she feels. A Singer with a lower maximum potential but extreme confidence in herself is almost always more powerful than one with a higher maximum potential who has little confidence. Despite how strongly linked the power of spells are to emotion, it's nearly impossible for a Singer to craft a genuinely useful Spell at a moment's notice. Crafting a multi-tasking and/or powerful but controllable spells takes an average of 6 months of self-reflection. Short-notice spells are usually weak, extreme uni-taskers (one notable spell is useful for dusting high places and only high places), or (in the case of Breaking Spells) don't discriminate between friend, foe, and the pillar keeping the ceiling from crushing them.

Note on writing spell songs: While the majority of Spells are Pastalie alone, Breaking Spells and Spells that induce a trance state are written primarily in Ar Ciela.

Power

Singers can be roughly grouped into four levels of power. These are not used ICly and are here strictly for OoC reference.

Level 1 - The weakest level. Few Singers are innately this weak; those that are are generally on the higher end of the scale. A Singer at this level has extreme difficulty making most Spells function at all.

Level 2 - Most Singers are at this level. Most of them are able to cast smaller spells, like healing non-lethal injuries or strengthening people/fortifications/crops.

Level 3 - What most Pernese think of when they think of a "strong" Singer. Generally able to cast extremely powerful Spells, like healing otherwise-terminal injuries and siege magic. Most Singers at this level are on the lower end; those that are at the upper end are usually Level 4s who lack the confidence to function at full power. The majority of Level 3 Singers are kept by Weyrs, and they are almost never allowed to leave the Weyr outside of combat situations.

Level 4 - Essentially mythological to most. The only current Singer whose maximum power lies in this area and can use it consistently is Aleksand. There are others whose maximum is Level 4 (including at least one of the High Reaches Weyrwomen), but they generally lack the raging egomania to use their full power. A Singer at this level has basically no limit besides her endurance to what she can do, but if she reaches that limit she will probably have a heart attack or fatal aneurysm from the strain on her body (a weaker Singer will generally just feel extreme exhaustion if she overexerts herself, for comparison).

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Aleksand - Singer, Wher Lord, jerkface
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