The Concept of Magic (Members Knowledge Base)
Where does magic come from?
All magic regardless of who uses it (with a few exceptions), come from the demi-plane of Magic. This demi-plane freely floats through the ethereal radiating magical energy into the ethereal plane and then into the rest of existence via the border ethereal.
What is the weave?
The weave is the rays of magical energy. As the raw magic passes between one plane and another, the energy refracts like light would going through a prism. As it passes through each plane, the magic refracts differently creating different rays within the weave. As the energy passes into the prime material plane, it breaks up into 8 major distinctive rays and several minor ones. These rays allows for the creation, conjuring or manipulation of something. Users of magic began to specialize in the use of each of these rays creating schools of magic dedicated to their study and use.
What are the schools?
There is primary schools, lesser schools and sub-schools of magic. The primary schools are those that are recognized by everyone and comprise of the 13 effects of the weave. The lesser schools seek out the lesser strands of the weave, these can include the elemental, shadow, positive/negative, and chaos these strands are the ones that have passed through an elemental plane or demi-plane and picked up some of its properties before finding it way into the prime material plane. The sub-schools have broken up a primary school into specializations, such as abjurations that only protect against elements. Sub schools can also be based on the combining of primary and lesser schools of thought, such as necromancy and negative energy that focuses only on undead.
The sub-schools are far to many to list, and more are created every day.
The primary schools of magic are listed below with a basic explanation;
- This is magic that has protective properties. Spells from this school can reduce or even prevent any damage to a living or non-living thing. It can be used to dispel other types of harmful magic or conjured creatures.
- This part of the weave allows for manipulating other magical spells or physical objects, changing color, size, weight, shape or even substance on nearly any object living or not living.
- The charm section of the weave allows for the mental control or deception of other living intelligent beings. Only the most powerful of domination spells can cause the affected being to harm themselves or others, or to perform actions that are opposing to their moral or social alignments.
- This part of the weave allows a spell caster to conjure something to him/her. These spells actually cause the physical object to move from one location to the casters location. A conjuration can be done over a few feet to include distant planes of existence. Conjuration however, by itself does not mean control of the objecct conjured.
- This magic is tied to knowledge. Since magic touches all things living or not, information about nearly any and everything can be obtained via this school. To understand this, imagine that the magical rays are a spectrograph passing through all object, a skilled magic user can read these in the weave and determine details about objects even in distant locations.
- A section of the weave can be used to pass magical energy into objects that can be released at a later time. This is what this part of the weave does for a spell caster. It allows for the creation of magical items, and infusing object and people with magical abilities.
- To evoke magic, is to bring something into being or to create it from outside the body. A caster will generally use the weave to make the desired effects. These spells can be harmful or generic in nature
- To invoke, is to use from within. Spells of this type are passed through the body to be release from the caster, these can also be harmful or generic in nature but can also be the most taxing.
- Illusionary magic take one visual or audible aspects that caster wishes, those caught up in the illusion can actually believe they are experiencing what ever the illusion is set to display. Illusions however, have no physical form therefore can not cause any real harm, the creature subjected to an illusion however can believe an object is real to a point, that sight, sound, taste, smell and even touch are included. In some causes the being can believe so whole heartedly that wounds because visible on the body such as burns and cuts. Many of these are superficial, but some creatures have been known to actually die from an illusion.
- This magic deals with life energies both positive and negative. Most who specialize in this type of magic however tend to use the latter and very few even attempt to study the former. Magic of this type can regenerate tissue, slow or reverse the effects of aging, restore vitality or lost abilities and even restore life to a dead being. These spells can also be used for the reverse, causing harm, speed up the aging process, take vitality or abilities, cause death, animate lifeless bodies and control undead creatures.
- Unlike illusions a phantasm does have some physical form, depending on the power of the spell. The phantasm added to an illusion can create extrememly real looking and feeling effects, some can even cause actual harm.
- This part of the weave allows a caster to summon beings to their location. This is not like conjuring, the creature becomes compelled to travel to the location of the caster, if they fail to arrive before the spells duration ends, the spell effect ware off. Creatures from other planes who do not have the ability to travel to the caster will not be affected. The summoned creature will make all attempts to travel to the required location, however they will not harm or violate laws to do so, unless permitted by their natural alignment. One the summoned creature determines that travel is impossible, the spell effects end.
Combining of the schools
For many spells to be effective schools of magic are required to be combined when casting the spells. Alteration for instance can be used to alter the necromancy energies to create a completely different effect. An evocation can be combined with an illusion and an alteration to create a specialized combative spell with a particular look and feel. When creating spells, the sky (and DM approval) is the limit.
Class and Magic
Certain classes cast and use magic differently. A priest uses the power of his/her god, either using themselves as a conduit or directing the power from a distance. The target of the priest must be known and within a sphere of influence of their god. Spell ranges listed in the book are based on the god having full control over the area. These concepts and other concepts of gods and related powers will be detailed further in another section. For this section, the ranges and power in the book can suffice.
A priest as said above calls upon their god asking for something to happen, this is generally done in the form of a standardized prayer. The standardize prayer serves several purposes, first, it ensures a mutual understanding between the god and the priest so there is no confusion on the priests part about what is being asked of the god. Secondly, this demonstrates to the faithfulness of the priest, by using the correct prayer. As stated above the power from the god either passes through the priest to where the priest can shape the magic or it is provided outside of the priest, where the god shapes the magic.
Spells by priests are gained by remaining in their gods favor. Some gods will have specific methods requiring some sort of sacrifice to be made on a regular basis by the priest, while others simply require a nightly prayer and meditation. Prior to playing a priest character, it is a good idea to understand what each god requires so you the player are not blindsided when you have no spells the next day. Once the daily routines are complete, the priest will have access to their full range of spells per day. However, allowing the power of a god to pass through you will cause fatigue, and though you have access to the power, using it can cause extra stress on the body and mind. The results can be temporary or permanent stat loss, hit point loss, or the acquiring a magical disease. New prayers gained for new levels are simply taken out of the book. I have an optional rule that I will sometimes implement requiring a priest to roll for new spells based on their wisdom.
Wizard and Bards
A wizard, magic user, or mage cast spells by accessing the different strands of the weave, each strand represents a school or type of magic, by adding a verbal component and a material component the wizard is able to shape the magic into nearly anything. However each of the components must be precise. How are the components used? First the Semantic component or the wizards movements is how the weave is moved about and shaped, the finger, arm and sometimes even the entire body is used to shape out the spell. The verbal component adds vibrations to the strands causing them to vibrate as they are being shaped, forcing them to combine in new ways. The material component adds some element to the spell to further force it to do the wizards bidding, these materials can infuse their properties in to the magic itself, such as giving an energy bolt the properties of silver making it do extra harm to undead. A wizard forms each component into runes that he/she must imprint in their minds. These symbols are representations of the movements, words and materials needed for the spell. Once cast however the power strips the knowledge from their memory and the spell will need to be memorized again. Unlike priests, a wizard is restricted to the spells they have memorized, but like a priest they are also restricted to a number of spells per day do to the physical and mental strain, wizards can cast spells as soon as they memorize them, however this can, like the priest, cause extra stress by physically and mentally. Over use can cause magical diseases or attract the attention of some parasitic monsters who feed off of magical energies.
A wizards daily spells are gained as mentioned above though the memorization of spells from their spell book. New spells are required to be researched and learned. Simply because a wizard finds a scroll or book detailing a spell does not mean the wizard can then cast the spell. The spell belongs to another wizard and therefore the movements and verbal components are based on that wizards physique and tone of voice. A wizard will need to experiment with the spell to attempt to uncover the exact movements required for the length of their arms and fingers for their height and build and for the correct words that will produce the proper sounds and vibrations to shape the spell. Learning from someone else's book is still far easier than attempting to create a new spell or altering a known spell, because most of the work has already been done. Research into new or alter spells can cost allot of coin, time and resources. This also requires and wizard to have a laboratory, a library and not be disturbed for several weeks.
Druids and Rangers
If the caster receives their power from a god, the caster is a priest, if the caster receives their power from nature then the caster is a druid. A druid absorbs the energy around them and is able to manipulate that energy to create, control or destroy. This energy is magic, however this magic is what has passed through the elemental planes and living beings. These still have the same basic schools as defined by wizards, however these also have spheres of influence. A sphere of influence are animals, plants, earth, fire, water, air, healing, decay, plus others. Druids spells are like that of a sorcerer, they come naturally to them, and each druid, like a wizard has their own method of shaping the spells. But like priests, spells can be cast at will up to their number per day, this number is based on fatigue levels, a druid can attempt to over cast, (with an increasing difficulty level) but the results can be like the other class, end with stat loss or disease.
Rangers are like fighter/druids, they use spells much like druids, only they are less tuned in to nature and rely more on fighting ability than spell.
Spells gained by druids and rangers are acquired though communing with nature and practice. They can be taught by another, however success is not guaranteed.