Weaponizing Magical Backlash - Is It Possible?

This is something that I’ve wondered for quite a while, especially after Siobhan’s (brief) captivity in the cells underneath the palace. Can a thaumaturge weaponize magical backlash somehow? Perhaps by taking advantage of the explosion and directing it at someone offensively to cause physical damage or will strain?

So this is one of those questions where the various possibilities require a lot of thought.

Short answer, yeeees?

Medium answer, don’t try it unless you’re prepared to die/break.

There might be some small possibility of guiding a spell’s released power in the split second between having control and having fully lost control.

But it would be kind of like trying to guide the explosion of a grenade that you just dropped on your own foot. (An explosion that could have any number of esoteric effects beside actual explosion, and can cause insanity and mutation.) Unless it’s an accident and you literally have no other choice, it would be better to use a more traditional attack.

If S tried this, it’s very unlikely she would succeed. I would give Thaddeus less than 50/50 odds to successfully weaponize backlash without also harming himself.

But that’s not to say that if you are willing to take those risks, you couldn’t use spell backlash in an attempt to harm those around you. I can think of several scenarios where someone might make that choice, despite the danger to themselves. Backlash isn’t always fatal, and whether that’s something you consider a positive or a negative probably depends on said scenario.

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That is an AWESOME response, thank you so much! One follow up, though: Could a free caster (or someone who had already physically distanced the spell circle from themselves) cast a tiny spell, maybe near someone’s head, and have a reasonable expectation of avoiding the backlash?

They could avoid physical backlash in the form of an explosion or spatial cracks in the air or whatever, but there’s MENTAL backlash which is not dependent on the distance, and sometimes strange arcane backlash, too.

What exactly you’ll get from a failed spell can depend on the spell you’ve cast and also just random chance. So if they could avoid mental backlash, and were reasonably sure that the spell they were casting would have no strange effects if it got interrupted halfway through, that could work.

Basically, it seems they’d be wanting to create a physical-only effect that would cause physical damage to an enemy.

But if they were going to do that, unless for some reason they were trying to openly cast something near the enemy’s head without having the enemy suspect danger, it would make more sense just to use an attack spell at that same location. Someone like Thaddeus could cast either in approximately the same amount of time.

Less dangerous to purposefully create a “tiny bomb” where they know the effects, whether that be explosion or an attempt to horribly maim the target in some creative way, than to randomly create one that they can’t control.

Backlash, specifically, is due to LOSS of control. Which is basically the opposite of what a thaumaturge trains their whole life for. No protection for you or anyone else around you that you might care for.

Again, it’s not to say someone could never do this, or that people in power wouldn’t have captured homeless people and forced them to experiment with this idea to see if they could weaponize it, etc.

But it’s a very dangerous option that could easily lead to Will-strain, death, and break events. If people found out, it would be thought of the same way that weaponizing an Aberrant is (war crime/terrorism). Except you’re just weaponizing a small CHANCE of an Aberrant instead.