Literomantic Power Material in Game of Tomes | World Anvil

Literomantic Power

As seen in
Literomantic power, also called literomantic energy, is a raw form of energy drawn upon by Literomancers to create magical effects. It is a tangible form of magical energy that exists in the "The GoTverse", and is measured in units of power called Werds (the fixing of that energy into a written or spoken word-form.)   There are many theories about what, exactly, literomantic power might be. Some say it is the raw energy of chaos and creation, and by giving it form through Literomancy, it can be harnessed to create changes in the universe that might seem to violate other natural laws.   This energy is used to power all literomantic effects. It can be harnessed and even stored, and it is finite. A literomancer who moves more literomantic energy around than they can handle is subject to Magic Drain, and a literomancer who is hit by unfettered literomantic energy, especially in large amounts, such as through a magical attack or the malfunctioning and misdirection of that energy, suffers Magical Backlash.


Material Characteristics

Literomantic power has no natural physical characteristics, except in large concentrations, which are almost always gathered by literomancers. Unless fixed into Werds, such concentrations often produce light and heat, or sometimes noises like ringing tones, crackling, or buzzing. The specifics of these effects vary broadly and seem to be related to the individual nature of a literomancer's magic. For example, Sable Aradia's magic is typically associated with pink and gold light, celestial effects such as starglow or comets, and sounds like the vibrations of bodies in space, crackling and twinkling. For another example, Senna Nightshade's technomantic magic is usually experienced in electric blue light and electronic buzzing noises. Tempest Kwake's magic typically looks and sounds like various forms of fire, and produces far more heat than the magic of other literomancers.  
Why does it always taste like burnt steak after you blast magic around, Lite Brite?
— Princess Sunny
I have no idea, but I know it smells like burnt steak after an astronaut has been on a space walk? Why does your magic smell like cotton candy?
— Queen Sable

Physical & Chemical Properties

Literomantic power is invisible and undetectable in its natural, ambient state, although literomancers can usually sense its presence. To a literomancer, it might be experienced in tactile effects such as warmth, a tingling sensation, or heat or cold. Some literomancers see it as auras surrounding a person or an enchanted item, although this is understood to be the brain trying to translate the sensation into another sense that it understands. This "translating" effect is also why literomantic power is experienced as scents or tastes or other forms of sensory input by literomancers.   In large concentrations or in storage, it is usually noticed through its side effects. Literomancers in the act of harnessing literomantic power typically experience high levels of physical energy, mental alertness, or a sense of calm or euphoria.

Geology & Geography

Literomantic energy seems to be present in a natural, ambient state in all of creation. Indeed, it might be the means of creation itself. Literomancers generate this energy through creativity and inspiration.

Origin & Source

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
— John 1:14
  Ideas appear to be the source of literomantic power. When a literomancer is inspired, that spark of creativity produces literomantic power. This power naturally dissipates into the surrounding universe unless it is given form through the use of symbols, such as runes, glyphs, or any form of the written or spoken word.

Life & Expiration

In its natural state, literomantic power is dynamic and hard to pin down. Forming it into Werds seems to hold it in place until the written words that harness it are destroyed, such as when paper that it is written on deteriorates beyond readability. Partial destruction of those written words or symbols can also alter the way in which it is used by changing the form the magic takes. Literomancers seeking a permanent method of fixing literomantic energy tend to rely on durable materials, such as crystal or Meteoric Iron. As different materials are sometimes thought to have different magical properties, this may also have effects on the nature of the literomancy.

History & Usage


Literomantic energy has probably existed as long as the written word. Literomancers have been regarded with varying degrees of respect, fear, or disdain throughout time, depending on the culture and the ease of accessibility. It is generally believed that literomantic energy was easily accessible through much of human history, but went through a period of decline sometime around the Renaissance. The reason for this is uncertain, but it is believed that a literomancer, viewing literomancers as a danger to the world, tried to use The Iron Tome to write literomancy out of existence. Magic in the world lost much of its power until the reawakening of the Iron Tome in 2020.


Literomantic power is at least as old as written language, and there are indications that it is far older. It is believed to have been broadly used by the Dino Civilization and the Molluscans before it was used by any human or werebeast. As a result, no one has any idea who discovered it or when.

Everyday use

Since literomancy has only recently made a significant return to the world, it is not commonly used in daily life, although this is beginning to change in the cities that serve as seats of power for the literomantic Great Houses. For example, Okanagan City has begun to incorporate literomantic power in keeping its drinking water clean and waste disposal. The most common use for literomantic power in daily activities is as a part of the security systems of the literomantic Houses, such as in security for The Warren, where it is used to banish undead, deflect uninvited teleportation, and seal off entrances and exits in a crisis.

Cultural Significance and Usage

The ability to harness and use literomantic power defines a Literomancer. This is the ability that differentiates a literomancer from other creatives, and it is broadly celebrated and incorporated into many of the literomancer traditions, such as Tomesmas or Avisalia.

Manufacturing & Products

Literomantic power can be stored in literomantic batteries (usually anchored in crystal) to empower delayed or large-scale magical effects. It can also be used to empower magical items, tattoos, talismans, or one-shot items intended to invoke its effects once destroyed (such as Queen TaraFaeBelle's origami charms.) Enchanted items can only be created by harnessing literomantic power.

Byproducts & Sideproducts

One could view the stories, filks, games, novels, poems, and other creative works that come out of literomancy and make it function as its "byproducts." Producing literomantic power is no indicator of the "quality" of such creative works one way or the other, however. "Power writers" do not produce better or worse literary works than "turtle writers."


Handling literomantic power is not without its risks. Because it is energy, it can have effects on the human (or werebeast) body that can be detrimental.   A literomancer who uses too much literomantic power at once can suffer from Magic Drain, a potentially fatal condition in which trace elements, particularly electrolytes, and calories are dangerously depleted.   A literomancer who is overwhelmed by a wave of literomantic power, either in the form of an attack or a magical "explosion," can suffer from Magical Backlash, which overwhelms their nervous system, causing headaches, spasms, unconsciousness, and potentially even seizures or brain and nerve damage.   Some forms of literomantic energy can have other detrimental effects; Void energy, for example, can cause people to become Voidtouched.

Environmental Impact

Uncontrolled literomantic power has been known to cause disasters with environmental impacts, such as earthquakes, storms, and explosions.

Reusability & Recycling

While this is often frowned upon, and tends to be used more by the Undead Horde than living literomancers, it is possible to drain an item -- or a person -- of literomantic power, and repurpose that energy. This process is likely how undead animate and sustain themselves.



Literomantic power can be stored in literomantic batteries, which are usually created from crystals. Clear quartz crystal is the most common, but other forms of crystal can be used, up to and including the crystalline silicone structures that make up microchips.   Theoretically, any material can be used to store literomantic energy, as long as it is sealed through the use of runes, sigils, or other literomantic symbols. However, crystalline lattices tend to be the most efficient way to store literomantic power, and result in the least loss due to material resistance or depletion over time (which can be thought of as a kind of "magical evaporation.")   The few known technomancers have been known to use synthetically-grown crystals and microchips to harness literomantic power, and have applied other technologies to limit the "magical evaporation" effect, or to transform literomantic power into other forms of energy, such as electricity. The Undead Horde has been known to use ice crystals to make literomantic batteries.
This article is a work in progress, and may be subject to changes.
This article is part of a series related to streaming the Game of Tomes. For more information, see Streaming Game of Tomes.

A woman in bunny ears rises from the ground, gathering gold-pink magic about her

Sable Aradia calls upon the power of love and hope by Siobhan the Writer & Sable Aradia

Literomatic power is common and easily accessible by literomancers, but only literomancers can make use of it
As with taste, literomantic energy has no natural flavour of its own, but it is experienced as having different scents by literomancers. Once a literomancer has directed this energy, it takes on different scents depending on the nature of the literomancer
Literomantic power has no native taste, although it is often experienced by literomancers as having a flavour associated with energy, like hot metal or ozone. Idiosyncratic flavours are also possible, such as strawberry jam, green leaves or fresh water
Like with scent or taste, literomantic energy has no visible colouration of its own, although it is takes on different colours and visual light frequencies depending on the nature of the literomancer using it
Common State
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Cover image: Queen Sable and Lord GalaWight Dueling (Battle of Mt. Mitchell) by Sable Aradia


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Jul 5, 2023 12:59 by Drake Ragon

I somehow got "The Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nog" vibes - and I loved that series. It's a good read and "different enough from normal" without being "weird".   Surprisingly different would also be fitting - and in a good way too.

„You are so blinded by the present that you cannot be enlightened by the future.”
Aug 11, 2023 04:51 by Diane Morrison

Thanks! I love "different from normal" and consider that a high compliment! Much appreciated.

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