Untrained, unknowing, or irresponsible magic users who do not care or have the ability to develop the incredible sharpness of mind required to weave Qhaysh from the Winds of Magic may choose a more direct, immediate, and dangerous path for their spellcraft. Such spellcasters may channel all available magic around them into their spells, regardless of the different parts in the surrounding environment, and focus it into a far less specific spell. Such spellcraft is less spell construction and more abrupt acts of absolute will. Those who wield magic in this way do not carefully sculpt and tweak the Winds of Magic so much as simply grab the Winds and force them into the effect required through harsh and bloody-minded determination. This form of magic is called Dhar, or Dark Magic.
Dark Magic is similar to High Magic in that it blends the various aspects of many different Winds, but it differs in that it is corrupted, polluted even. Where Colour Magic and True Magic are controlled, Dark Magic is wild and unpredictable, crudely drawing on a number of winds, often pulling too much, resulting in terrible and unexpected side effects.
Spells of Dark Magic are potent because they use all available magical energy in an area. But this also releases a lot more unguided and partially activated magical residue into the material world. This undirected magical residue can manifest itself in all sorts of unwanted ways and with often unintended side effects. The side effects can manifest as summoning of Aethyric entities, physical mutations, or psychological alterations.
See also: Necromancy.
But Dark Magic can form of its own volition through Human spellcraft. Collecting in bleak places, near lodes of warpstone or corrupted lands, it is this form that many of the Orders of Magic refer to as True Dhar. Dhar that forms by itself is the most terrifying and dangerous of all Aethyric energy manifest upon the mortal plane.
Like the eight individual Winds of Magic, True Dhar is separate and exists outside of mortal interference. Dhar is a careless mix of all the colours of magic in an area, used for maximum and swiftest effect. True Dhar, however, is not just the process of using the pure colours of magic in an unbalanced way; instead, it’s an independently existent stagnant pool of all the Winds of Magic. True Dhar, then, is perhaps best described as the result of all the colours of magic in a particular area swirling and merging together under the pressure of physical reality, coagulating and stagnating in a metaphysical sense. Within True Dhar, none of the eight colours of magic retain any independent identity.
Although those who study this heinous form of magic regard it as a kind of corruption of settled and undisturbed magic, they are not absolutely certain as to how it forms, even if they feel certain as to the why. The most popular theory, presented by the combined works of the Light and Gold Colleges, is that just as there are areas of the mortal world where the Winds of Magic are particularly dynamic, and there are also areas where the Winds of Magic cease to blow regularly but where the Great Vortex of Ulthuan doesn’t touch strongly enough. In these areas of isolation, the colours of magic slowly combine into immaterial pools. It is in these areas where True Dhar is thought to begin forming by a process that could be described as Aethyric stagnation.
This darkest magic could be described as magical energy that has become trapped within particular parts of the mortal world where it cannot leak out or be stirred up by either the Great Vortex or the Aethyric Winds and has lost its creative vitality.
True Dhar could be seen as Aethyric energy that smothers physical things, breaking them down into their component parts, only to crush them into a new form. Once this true Dark Magic has formed, no amount of agitation or use can ever purify it again—it remains perpetually soured, dark, and destructive.
The Substance of Destruction
While a Magister might argue that mortal-engineered Dark Magic is no more evil than High Magic is good, True Dhar, on the other hand, could be seen as something that is almost entirely bent towards deconstructing, suppressing, and dominating physical things. However, by mixing Dark Magic with other Winds, various darker methods of magic are produced, such as what results when Shyish and other Winds are blended to create Necromancy.
True Dhar is said to be drawn to those beings who seek ill towards other beings or the world at large. True Dhar promotes an absolute vision of destruction and dominance where other magic promotes cycles of extreme adaptation and creation. This means that Dhar and True Dhar are the most destructive of all Aethyric forces, used knowingly by only the most power hungry or insane spellcasters—like the Druchii (Dark Elves) or perhaps the greatest practitioners of Necromancy.
The price of tapping into True Dhar is high indeed, for not only is it just as hard to use and focus into a spell as is True Magic, but it is also far more likely to consume the one who uses it. To those with witchsight unfortunate enough to have witnessed it, True Dhar is said to flow like sluggish tar, and any being it is drawn to will have their minds and souls slowly drown in its black and sticky depths. Where High Magic is the combined magical energy of several Winds used with a total tranquillity of mind, an acute sensitivity of will, and focus of intention, and where mortal-created Dhar is multiple Winds of Magic used without subtlety, determination, and often blind self-belief, True Dhar is very different indeed.
True Dhar must be actively wrestled into shape, requiring supreme strength of mind, a megalomaniacal self-confidence, and an absolutism of will and purpose that only Humans of true or borderline insanity could ever hope to posses. Even the most sane and balanced person exposed long enough to the malign energy of True Dhar will become psychotic, absolutely self-obsessed, and completely uncaring of other living creatures.
- Malekith, the Witch King of Naggaroth.
- Morathi, the Hag Sorceress, mother of Malekith.
- Nagash, Creator of Necromancy, and Vampirism.
- Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd ED -- Realms of Sorcery (pg. 37-39).