Your mind has a telekinetic muscle that can channel an invisible, immaterial, but tangible force called willforce, when you are focusing your mind on exerting force.
This muscle is initially extremely weak, such that its effects are barely perceptible, but like many muscles, with strenous and repeated exertion and exercise it can become incredibly powerful.
As you channel too much willforce too quickly, your mind will start to feel exhausted and strained, and eventually you'll get headaches and have difficulty continuing to exert willforce.
Your mind will recover from low levels of overexertion within a few moments, but continuous or heavy overexertion will take much longer to recover from and may require you to sleep it off to fully recover.
Because the muscle is so uselessly weak without sufficient training, and that training is mentally exhausting and straining and uncomfortable, most people don't bother to train it.
This willforce can channeled out from your body in general, or it can channeled out from an outstretched hand or a pointing finger.
It has to be channeled to wherever you want that willforce to effect things. You can control the path of the willforce through thought alone, and the willforce goes where you channel it instantaneously.
Channeling Efficiency and Pointing
Channeling willforce outside of your body is not perfectly efficient. The further away the willforce is channeled, the more of it is lost.
Beginners are so bad at this that they can't channel effectively beyond mere inches, and so they channel out from a hand or finger that they've positioned close to the location of the desired effect.
As you become more used to channeling, you become more efficient at channeling it, such that you become able to effectively use it to elicit effects further away from yourself.
Eventually, you won't need to point at the location of the desired effect with your hand or finger for reducing channeling distance, because the willforce loss from doing so won't be substantial.
Obstructions and Willforce
Willforce can't go through solid objects.
If there's a solid object in the way, your willforce can flow around it, but the amount of that willforce that reaches its destination will be reduced -
the more it has to wend its way to the focal shape, the less willforce will make it there.
You can also channel your willforce through openings, such as through the crack between a door and its wall, but much of that willforce will be blocked by the object -
the smaller the opening, the less willforce can pass through.
Shaping and Exerting Willforce
Through channeling, you send your willforce to the location where you want to effect change and there have it manifest as an applied force, in the direction you want, on the location you want, with the strength you want.
Generally this will be in the form of applying force upon one side of a solid object (thereby pushing it in the other direction).
You do this by mentally shaping your willforce into a focal shape from which the willforce is manifest as force.
The focal shape can be any size and form you will it, though generally you'd go with simple geometric shapes to simplify the focal shape (for reasons described later).
For better control, you can have it envelop an object, e.g. you conceive of a focal shape enveloping a pebble and then apply willforce through that focal shape, allowing you to levitate the pebble.
One can move a number of such pebbles simultaneously by creating focal shapes around each one and moving them separately, or by creating a single focal shape that applies the same force to them all.
Willforce can also be used to launch objects as projectiles; since channeling gets less efficient the further away it gets and these need to be traveling quickly by the time you stop exerting force on them,
you generally have only a fraction of a second to exert force on it while it's still within a few meters of you.
By exerting willforce, you can manipulate objects, send things flying, hold things in midair, crush things, tear things apart, raise an orb of water out of a pool, and more.
You can apply willforce in an effectively infinite variety of ways, all depending on the focal shape and how you're applying force.
You can do fine object manipulation, but only so long as you're not using a lot of force into it.
However, it's hard to focus a lot of willforce on a particular location as it and the focal shape have a tendency to diffuse out (just as a kinetic force of an impact would, but even more so).
Your willforce will instead also be distributed to any objects behind whatever object you're applying force at (e.g. other books when pushing at a row of books), as well as any objects closely bonded to it (e.g. other stones in a stone wall).
(This for instance means that if you try to stab out someone's eyes with willforce, you'll instead knock their entire head back.)
The more willforce you exert, the greater the extent of that diffusion. At high levels of willforce exertion, the willforce can potentially be distributed over an entire boulder's worth of contiguous mass.
This makes it hard to break objects by just exerting concentrated willforce in one particular place. Less resilient objects, and small isolated objects, may still be bent or broken, but destroying something large and resilient can only be done by the most powerful willshapers.
Willpower is how quickly you can channel willforce. It is one of the most important measures of a willshaper's ability.
It is scaled on a base-2 system, where each +1 corresponds to a doubling of one's willpower, or of the willpower needed to achieve an effect, and is generally used as a way for beginners to grasp the limits of their abilities.
Dividing Focus and Attention
- The willpower to barely lift a 1kg mass off the ground, at close range, is defined as 1 WP;
- Being barely able to do so when having complete focus is also defined as 1 WP;
- Launching an arrow (~50 grams) (in a split second) at 70 m/s requires 3 WP;
- Deflecting an arrow sufficiently to avoid getting hit (also in a split second) requires 4 WP;
- Stopping an arrow entirely (also in a split second), such as to avoid it hitting your allies, requires 5 WP;
- Making or deflecting a heavy melee weapon swing (also in a split second) requires 6 WP;
- Barely lifting the average human (64kg) off the ground requires 7 WP;
- Lifting a burly human with equipment off the ground requires 8 WP; and
- Levitating a person around pretty quickly may require 9 WP.
You can exert willforce in multiple places / multiple ways simultaneously, however since the strength of your channeled willforce is based on your being able to focus,
and paying attention to multiple things simultaneously prevents you from fully focusing on anything, splitting your attention and dividing your focus will greatly reduce your ability to exert willforce.
It's easy to keep attention on a group of objects that are all in the same place and moving in the same way (or not moving) while at the same time paying attention to other things. In one's mind, the former gets treated as a single group.
However, it's much harder to keep track of objects that are further apart in your view (especially in the periphery), moving in different directions or at different speeds, or in different patterns, or are changing direction (especially if quickly).
Depending on the specifics, most people can, with training, keep track of two objects of attention readily, and beyond that their accuracy and reliability of attention diminishes rapidly.
As a general rule, for every additional object you are simultaneously paying attention to, you halve the total willpower you can muster (among all the ways you're applying it), giving rise to the term "dividing your focus".
Then, if you are applying willforce in multiple ways or multiple objects (and treating them differently), you are further splitting your willpower between all those applications.
This means that if you could barely lift a 4-kg weight while paying full attention to it, you can barely lift only two 1-kg weights (as this requires dividing your focus).
In other words, each additional object you focus your attention on results in a 1 WP drop in your effective willpower, while each additional way you're exerting your willpower results in a 2 WP drop in willpower applied to each.
By contrast, if you're treating a group of objects all in the same way and they're all in a tight collection, such as a stack of loose papers, you can pay attention to them all as a single object of attention, so this doesn't divide your focus.
Focus and Distraction in Combat
In combat, where the power and reliability of a willshaper's exertions are paramount but they are also under the most stress, detractors to willpower may include any number of the following:
- Panic and fear of getting injured or killed;
- Battle fright (shell shock), which can exacerbate distractions;
- Pain, such as from wounds;
- Other bodily discomforts, such as from being thirsty, hungry, nauseous, or sick;
- Being unprepared for combat;
- Needing to pay attention to one's surroundings;
- Being flanked by the enemy;
- Worrying about whether they'll be supported by their allies;
- Scanning for and identifying potential targets and threats;
- Moving about, dodging or defending against attackers and/or incoming projectiles;
- Being sleepy from lack of sleep or being surprised in a night attack or ambush;
- Having to account for changes in enemy forces' positions relative to you; and
- Distractions from the chaos of battle.
As a general rule, each one of these that's salient and applicable is liable to result in a 1 WP or greater drop in a combatant's willpower, not to mention the accuracy and reliability of their willshaping. As such, a willshaper's abilities in combat are greatly reduced compared to out of combat.
Battle Training and Techniques
Because of the difficulty of remaining focused in battle, willshaper training for combat is much more intensive and difficult than one might expect. The point is to:
- Teach proper combat techniques;
- Suppress their fear of combat;
- Prepare them for the hardships of combat;
- Train them not to be distracted;
- Instill unwavering trust in comrades and bolster teamwork;
- Maintain accuracy and reliability of willshaping in high stress situations; and
- Make behaviors second nature to avoid having to take the time to consciously make decisions.
It is of paramount importance to ensure that willshapers operate in teams (at least pairs), such that one can focus on the defense and another on the offense,
as a way to reduce the need to split one's attentions and thus bolster one's willpower.
Operating in larger teams, such as a foursome, allows them to operate in pairs, which allows them to flank opponents as well as avoid being flanked themselves.
Use of Aiding Gestures
Beginners and even adepts may use gestures as a crutch to help focus their mind on what they're attempting to accomplish. However, gestures are also widely used in combat, where their attentions may readily be divided, to help bolster and maintain their focus. Some of the ways this may manifest:
- You can thrust your hand forward, palm-outward, to cause anything in right front of you to be sent flying away from you (in a conical burst if with many objects or liquids).
- You can thrust forwards with both hands brought together, to launch light objects and liquids in a concentrated orb (almost as a projectile).
- You can hold your hand before you palm-outward, and any incoming projectiles from that direction will be brought to a stand-still and float in mid air.
- You can hold your hands palm-outward to your sides, and incoming projectiles will come to a stand-still as if they'd run into a spherical shield.
- You can sweep a hand past you to guide any incoming weapons strikes, projectiles, and the like to harmless deflect past you in that same general direction.
- You can raise forth your hand palm-inward and curl your fingers to cause lighter objects or liquids in front of you to be pulled toward you.
- You can clench your fist while willing for an object in front of you to be crushed inward from all directions as if crushed within an invisible giant's hand.
- You can put your hands out to the sides and lowered, and raise them palms-upward, and any lighter objects near you will be lifted up to float in midair for a moment.
- You can put out your hand with your index finger horizontally curled into a C shape, and thereby remotely choke a person in front of you by the neck and even lift them up.
- You can thrust downward with your open palm while you are in mid jump, to thrust out a burst of wind below you and thrust yourself up again (allowing for a 'double jump').
- You can cross your arms before your chest and then swing your arms out to your sides, to unleash a burst of force outward from you in an expanding, repulsing ring.
- You can bring your hands out before your chest as if holding a ball before you, and lighter objects or liquids can be made to float in a sphere between your hands.
- You can catch incoming objects and liquids to hold them between your hands and then turn around before releasing them back out in any direction.
- You can point at a nearby lightweight object with your index finger and redirect your finger, and the object will go floating or sliding along in that direction.
- You can point at a nearby lightweight object with both your index and middle finger and you can turn your fingers about and the object will turn accordingly.