A geas is a magically enforced oath, or a magically enforced command. You can bind a geas on someone using telepathic hynosis, or nymic magic, or as its own type of thematic magic, or simply with a sufficiently potent and tightly aspected burst of prana. They must then obey the terms of the geas, which, if you are careless or cruel, they may not even know. Generally, binding a geas must be done face to face.
Almost all jinn and some folk of other races have True Names connected to life-long enchantments that let them bind themselves with a geas, simply by swearing by their Name.
The penalty for breaking the geas can be anything within the magical powers of the binder, but it is most commonly to lose some amount of prana or health or both, or to suffer a certain amount of bad luck. The penalty can be lethal.
Generally, the binder of the geas can absolve the bound party, canceling the geas. Absolution, like binding, is generally done face to face.
People can resist being bound by geas.
Contrariwise, binding a geas on a willing subject is easier the more of these factors come to bear.
Since the esoteric economy largely runs on geas contracts (mostly voluntary), meddling with geases is the esoteric equivalent of forgery or counterfeiting. But of course it happens, though it requires a high level of skill in geas binding.
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Copyright © Earl Wajenberg, 2010