While we had some time before getting to our next destination, I decided to investigate no-mana zones. I wanted to understand how they worked, and if there were any ways to create a mana-filled area within a no-mana zone. It seems to me that there are three ways a no-mana zone can work, and I like to picture the three ways with an analogy of a well-irrigated field. The field represents normal space and the water represents mana. In a normal well-irrigated “field”, the “water” flows throughout, and anyone can use the water wherever they are in the “field”. If you want to stop the “water” from being in the “field”, you can put up a dam to stop the “water” from entering the “field”, you could wreck the irrigation system so the “water” doesn’t flow anywhere in the “field”, or you could put in drains to suck out the “water” as fast as it flows in the “field”. I.e., Drain Mana may work by putting up a mana barrier, wrecking the way mana flows through space, or “shorting out” mana. Which is it?
To test, I used Drain Mana to cast a 10-yard-radius no-mana field. Then I first cast a 5-yard-radius Restore Mana in the center of the field, and then just inside the edge of the field. If Drain Mana wrecks the way mana flows through space or “shorts out” mana, and Restore Mana repairs the “irrigation system” or removes whatever is causing the “shorting”, the order I cast these two spell shouldn’t matter. Regardless of the order of the Restore Mana casts, at the end I should end up with two adjacent areas of restored mana as soon as there is a path for the mana to “flow” into the circles.
However, if the mana is kept out by a mana barrier, the order would matter. In that case, Restore Mana would work by getting rid of any mana barriers within its area of effect, and creating a mana barrier anywhere a no-mana zone existed on the other side. So if I cast the center 5-yard Restore Mana first, it would create a new 5-yard barrier around the rest of the no-mana zone, but there still wouldn’t be a way for mana to flow in, and I’d still have a no-mana zone within that 5-yard radius. I would have to cast the edge Restore Mana first, and then the center one so the center has an opening to let in the mana.
With Lazarus’ help, I was able to do some testing, and the tests did show that the order does matter. I observed exactly the behavior I would expect from Drain Mana creating a mana barrier.
The next step is to try to see if there is a way to pierce the barrier. Any hole in the barrier should let mana flow throughout the no-mana zone, much like a hole in a dam causing a field to re-flood. I tried to create a gate with a Teleport component that gates from the outside of the no-mana zone to inside the zone. Unfortunately, the barrier seems to stop not only mana from flowing through, but apparently magic spells, too. Anything sent through the gate appears to hit the barrier and be destroyed.
Unfortunately, at that point, I ran out of time. What I would like to try when I next have time is to do some tests with different planes of existence. I wouldn’t think that mana flows through dimensions, so there shouldn’t be a barrier between different planes. If I open a gate into another plane of existence within a no-mana zone, could I then bypass the barrier and have mana flow through the no-mana zone?
If that doesn’t work, that would indicate a Drain Mana spell does create a barrier between planes of existence because mana does flow between them. In that case, I should be able to create a Restore Mana spell linked with Plane Shift to restore mana in an area by erasing the dimensional mana barrier. I wouldn’t be able to flood a no-mana zone with mana, but perhaps I could create pockets of restored mana completely surrounded by a no-mana zone.