For Magic Mondays this week we take the termed ‘scorched earth’ to a whole new meaning.

This week we show you the Hell Plain array.

Notation: Transmute, within an area 1 million times the size of the array, Stone into Carbon and apply the effect of Created and Sustained Fire to the Carbon.

Class: Offence

Description: Most people only have their imaginations to help them when it comes to picturing what hell looks like. Those who have seen the Hell Plain array in action don’t need their imaginations any more for this, they have seen hell with their own eyes. The Hell Plain turns any stone, brick, soil, clay, pebble or bit of sand into amorphous carbon (ie coal) and sets it on fire. Keep coal burning long enough and it will sustain that fire all on its lonesome, so the fire part of this array is only intended to start that reaction.

The first thought at seeing this array might be that it is meant to incapacitate opponents by turning the ground they are standing on to burning coal, or perhaps it is a means of losing pursuers as they would want to get their hands on you somewhat fiercely if they are to cross burning coals voluntarily. One might even think that this array is meant to destroy buildings or entire towns (noting the size of the transmutation), and while it has been used for all of this and more, the purpose of this array is actually more sinister than any of that.

A scorched-earth campaign is when a military force denies its opponents the resources they need to survive and fight back. This can be any type of resources, but as the name implies, a lot of comes down to literally scorching the earth and salting the lands afterwards in order to destroy farms and crops and ensuring nothing can be planted there again for the foreseeable future.

This is precisely what this array is meant to do, but it goes one step back and an intensity further. It doesn’t salt the land, but you don’t need to afterwards. A field of coal set alight will burn for weeks if not months and then for ages afterwards the soil will be far too hot to sustain plant life. All it takes is one primed cannonball to turn everything within 30 kilometres or so in a hellscape and starve the thousands around it who depended on that farmland. All it takes is one determined army to turn an entire country into a living hell. This is precisely what happened during the century long Delkan Holy Wars, and nearly half of the Delkan nations are now barren, black fields where nothing has grown in centuries.

Of course, you could simply use it on the enemy armies and give them a taste of hell before they get there, and this is precisely what the mad king Markus VI did when the Heavenly Empire of Man invaded Fresland. The western marches of Wesfresia today is now called the Black Border with the Empire and if you go digging in there, you don’t need to dig awfully far in order to find whole platoons of skeletons fused into their metal armour.

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