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Nightmares and the Youma

Normal people cannot perceive the youma or their influence, but they can certainly feel it. An active youma generates a distortion in the tapestry of the world called a Nightmare. For ordinary people this manifests as simply a vague feeling of dread. For magical girls and any others attuned to magic, a Nightmare appears as an increasingly surreal region of distorted reality. On the edges of the Nightmare things will seem a little off here and there, but at its heart, where the youma resides, it is a maddening jumble of objects and images.

It’s not totally clear what youma even are, but they are unquestionably dangerous. They can take on countless different forms, from warped humanoids to masses of abstract shapes. Some believe that they derive their forms from the dreams and thoughts of the people around them.

Youma sap energy from unsuspecting humans, stealing memories, emotions, and life force itself. Victims who are only lightly touched by youma become tired and listless for a time, while those who suffer a more extensive attack can be turned in to suicidal zombies or ripped them from reality entirely. When a youma recognizes an actual threat, it will lash out and try to destroy that threat immediately.

Normal people can’t even properly perceive youma, much less hope to beat one. Only magic can harm them. Some magical girls have found that they can fight youma using normal weapons, but this is actually because their own magic imbues those weapons with the necessary power.

When a magical girl kills a youma, its Nightmare collapses, leaving behind only an Oblivion Seed, or possibly two or even three for a particularly powerful youma. These appear as diamond -shaped gems with some kind of magical writing on them. Magical girls can store them inside of their weapons. It is said that a magical girl who accumulates 13 Oblivion Seeds is granted one wish.

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