Arcane-addled, also known as "Chrono-addled," is the state of having one's body too overwhelmed by Chrono. In contrast to the faith-forfeit, arcane-addled individuals are teeming with more energy than their bodies can endure, and the effects can manifest with horrible bodily mutations in worst cases. Due to the prominence of arcane magic in Ealdremen, the dangers of becoming arcane-addled are well-known to everyone, but especially those who study Chrono in its rawest, most primal state.
Arcane-Addled vs. Chrono-Addled
Generally speaking, the term "Chrono-addled" is most often applied to someone who became arcane-addled by means other than trying to cast spells their body could not withstand, such as by constant exposure to Chrono from non-spellcasting sources. "Arcane-addled" tends to have the connotation of someone who "chose" the state by delving too deeply into arcane magic. However, many people use the terms interchangeably.
Becoming arcane-addled is often caused by attempting to cast an arcane spell that the spellcaster is not yet able to endure the strength of. It is for this reason that students of the arcane learn to cast spells "level by level," starting with basic cantrips and only moving onto more powerful spells incrementally as opposed to all at once. Those who study arcane magic are taught about the perils of arcane magic early on in their schooling to dissuade them from trying to learn too powerful spells early on in their magic careers.
In the case of individuals who spontaneously learn to cast magic and do not study it, Chrono suppressants are often used for their own safety if it seems as though their latent magical ability is outpacing their ability to control it. Sorcerers who do not learn to properly control their magic form the bulk of the arcane-addled population, as formal students of magic tend to be in more controlled environments where they cannot access powerful spells that could lead them to becoming arcane-addled.
It is possible to become arcane-addled through constant exposure to densely concentrated Chrono, the likelihood of becoming arcane-addled increasing exponentially depending on where on the spectrum the Chrono falls. However, it is rare to find such potentially dangerous Chrono naturally outside of particular areas (such as Chronofell). The most likely instance of someone being exposed to Chrono in such a manner would be if it was done intentionally, often by someone with malevolent intent for the newly arcane-addled person.
Something appearing to "snap" is the most common descriptor given to arcane-addled people. The process is very abrupt and almost "all-or-nothing" -- either someone will resist the Chrono and not become arcane-addled at all, or they become arcane-addled immediately upon exposure or as soon as they attempt a high level spell they are not yet ready to cast. Because some people do not become arcane-addled instantly, they may be lulled into a sense of false security that they are somehow "immune" to becoming arcane-addled. Ultimately, however, they will succumb to the arcane-addled state if they continue to try and cast too high level spells or are exposed to strong Chrono.
Arcane-addled individuals will glow the color of the Chrono that is addling them, and the effects vary depending on what Chrono it is. More powerful Chrono -- and the spells of the school that type of Chrono is used for -- will addle individuals more frequently than less powerful Chrono. As such, a disproportionate amount of arcane-addled cases are red or orange Chrono, and the popular perception of someone who is arcane-addled is someone who glows vibrantly red. Even if they were capable of casting spells of different schools before, arcane-addled individuals will find it easiest and most "rewarding" to their body and mind, which is now addicted to the rush of arcane magic, to cast spells of whatever Chrono color is addling them.
Behaviorally, arcane-addled individuals will run themselves ragged, as they have more energy than their body can endure, and they have much poorer planning and impaired judgment compared to before the arcane-addling. They will stop sleeping for days at a time and be constantly on the move, even when their bodies are exhausted. It is all too common for arcane-addled people to quite literally work themselves to death, their emaciated bodies grim reminders of arcane magic's dangers. Their threshold for pain is much higher as well, making it dangerous when they do spontaneously reckless things, such as testing even volatile evocation spells on themselves. Mentally, an arcane-addled individual will most often not even see how what they're doing is destructive, but some have reported feeling "out of control" and like the Chrono is forcing them to do something they don't want to do.
Chrono can also cause unnatural changes to the bodies of arcane-addled individuals. Other than making them glow, they will sometimes suffer unnatural limb growth, change in size, have altered physical traits, and so on. Some might perpetually or spontaneously suffer from particular spell effects as the Chrono manifests in spell form, especially by repeatedly having their body "force" a cast of whatever spell caused them to become arcane-addled to begin with. Consequently, there have been reports, for example, of someone who is evocation-addled being constantly subjected to various high-level fire spells and self-immolating when the Chrono in their body "overtakes" them.
Arcane-addled individuals can be treated to some degree with extremely strong Chrono suppressants, which shuts off the excess Chrono in their body and prevents it from affecting them further. However, this results in the body becoming inert to all forms of magic entirely. This means that the individual will no longer be able to cast spells of any sort, and they will be unable to be affected by others' spells that change the body in some way, including healing spells or spells that augment size or physical strength. Casting spells on someone who has become inert to magic can also reverse the effects if the spells are strong enough, so rendering someone inert to magic is generally only done if there is a guarantee that the individual will not come into repeat, frequent contact with spells or magic.
Treated arcane-addled individuals may feel the draw of arcane magic all the more strongly; their body will respond with withdrawal symptoms, and many who continue to pursue treatment will end up addicted to some sort of narcotic in order to alleviate the addictive draw of arcane magic that their body is craving. Between this arcane withdrawl stage lasting for years in the best of cases and for one's lifetime at worst as well as treatment requiring giving up all magic, many arcane-individuals will go off their treatment in time and descend back into a fully arcane-addled state.
A member of any Ealdremen race can become arcane-addled. The base creature's size, type, speed, abilities, and class do not change. Arcane-addled status does not have to be applied at character creation and can be added during a campaign if the prerequisites are met.
Ability to cast arcane spells. Must have attempted to cast an arcane spell of 5th level or higher without the ability to do so.
Command the Arcane
An arcane-addled’s inherent, inseparable connection to chrono augments their spellcasting and grants them insight into the inner workings of the arcane. An arcane-addled gains a +2 racial bonus to whatever ability score was used to cast the spell that made them arcane-addled (Intelligence for wizards, Charisma for sorcerers, and so on). In addition, they receive Skill Focus (Knowledge [Chrono]) as a bonus feat if they did not already possess it.
Zeal and Greed’s Nativity
Arcane-addled have an inherent connection to the school of magic associated with the color of chrono that they are addled by. They may spontaneously cast any arcane spell from this school by succeeding on a DC20 spellcraft check and sacrificing a spell slot of the appropriate level or higher. If the spellcraft check is failed, a DC20 fortitude save must be made to prevent becoming mutated by the overflowing chrono surrounding their body. An arcane-addled may spontaneously cast spells in this manner even if they do not know the spell in question, however this increases the DC of the spellcraft check and fortitude save by 5. An arcane-addled may also attempt to cast a spell in this manner without sacrificing a spell slot, increasing the DCs of the spellcraft check and fortitude save by 15.
Their tireless, yet reckless nature grants an arcane-addled a bonus to their Constitution-dependent checks and a penalty to their Wisdom-dependent checks, with the exception of saving throws, equal to their level.
In Search of More
An arcane-addled must devote the rest of their lives to arcane magic. An arcane-addled with levels in a prepared spellcasting class must seek out new spells to add to their spellbook no matter the cost or danger involved. If necessary, they will take the spells from another spellbook by force. Regardless of class, an arcane-addled must use their magic to solve problems whenever possible; they may not attempt to take a mundane solution if they can solve the problem by using one of their available spell slots.
An arcane-addled adds their character level to any saving throws made to resist exhaustion or pain. An arcane-addled must successfully pass a DC20 Will save to fall asleep for the night. On a failure, the arcane-addled’s boundless energy reserves prevent them from sleeping, and they may not try again to fall asleep until the next night.