Magic

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Magic is the power to distort and alter physical reality in ways that mere hands are most often incapable of or barely capable, via harnessing the power of mana, a substance that flows in the blood, depletes when using magic, but regenerates when resting.

Mana

Mana is a substance the flows in the blood of living beings. It is consumed and depleted by the body when spells are being cast, but regenerates when the spellcaster is resting.

More powerful magicians have mana is nearly all parts of their body, even in their bones, which is why liches still have mana, despite having no bodies left other than bones.

It is said that mana is generated by the person's brains, which explains why it regenerates when resting, and why losing limbs or other body parts does not mean the permanent loss of mana capacity - each individual's brain has a capacity to generate a certain amount of mana based off the person's intelligence and experience in magic. While amount of mana in one's body may exceed this capacity, mana only regenerates when it's below the maximal capacity.

All sentient beings have mana in their body, but those who never learn how to harness it - in other words, never learn how to use magic - will remain oblivious to it, and will be stuck with a limited amount that serves no purpose in their lives.

Basic Spells

There are some "basic spells" or "universal spells" which every single spellcaster (Cleric, Druid, Magician, etc.) can use. Those are Telekinesis, Lighting and Energy Bolt:

  • Telekinesis is probably the most versatile spell ever. Most people - especially non-spellcasters - believe that it can be only used for pulling, pushing and lifting objects. That is totally wrong, however, as telekinesis can be also used to enhance one's jump, to fly, to choke someone, to crush objects, etc.
  • Lighting is a spell that lights up in dark.
  • Energy Bolt is a bolt or arrow composed of nothing but magical energy. The damage inflicted may range anywhere between harmless to completely lethal, depending on the power of the spellcaster.

Types by source of energy

Arcane Magic

Arcane Magic - also known as Profane Magic - is the type of magic in which the spellcaster relies completely on his or her own energies - mana -, without the aid of any deity. This ensures that the spellcaster has the tendency to run out of mana rather fast, and needs to rest after casting a certain amount of spells.

In addition to that, Arcane Magic is also known for having effects on the mind and the body - Dark Magic will arouse feelings of hatred, anger, paranoia and lust for power. Will spellcasters who are evil will happily revel in these dark emotions, spellcasters with other alignment have to train specifically to prepare to the usage of these kind of spells.

Prolonged usage of Arcane Magic may also cause alternation of hair colour and eye colour, the most well known being white hair and yellow/orange eyes, but other, milder variants exist as well, such as premature greying of hair. The stereotype of glowing eyes associated with users of Arcane Magic is an utterly false one, except when the magicians get ill - only ill, sick magicians have glowing eyes, or ones who consistently run out of mana and push their bodies to the limits.

A forbidden and dangerous technique allows spellcasters to continue casting spells even after they have ran out of mana, but it consumes their body and life energies instead. Even limited usage of this technique causes the stereotypical glowing eyes, while overuse can significantly shorten the lifespan of the spellcaster by rendering their bodies frail. A legendary magician got away with using this technique because of his obesity. He went to battle morbidly obese and came back emaciated.

Clerical Magic

Clerical Magic - also known as Divine Magic - is the type of magic cast by invoking the help of the divines, the deity or deities the spellcaster worships. It is unknown what exactly causes the deity to grant magical powers to the spellcaster, but it has been noted that serving the deity's cause seems to be the primary requirement - the various deities of Artograch will grant their clerics and priests magical powers roughly the equivalent of what a similiar-level magician would have, lend them their own mana so they can cast spells at a higher rate, but in a more limited manner.

The text users of Clerical Magic have to recite often overlap with prayers, and while they only require a minimal amount of mana - presumably to establish a connection with the deity to borrow its magical power to cast the spell - users of Clerical Magic lack the ability to "abuse the system" the same way a user of Arcane Magic would. Once they run out of mana, they are unable to cast any spells until they regenerate, with the exception of "drastic backup" spells that may or may not invoke actual divine intervention, such as teleporting the spellcaster away to a safer place. The latter spell on the other hand is known for its many adverse effects.

The various deities grant magical powers to those who serve to spread or administrate their religion - they indiscriminately grant these powers to orthodox clerics and heterodox heresiarchs alike, making it impossible to tell which group is really favored by the deity. They also seem to turn a blind eye over abuse done in the name of the religion as long as it does not overtly contradict with the religion's core tenets.

The deities grant magical powers to their favoured ones that match the given deity's alignment. For example Titanius grants his Clerics, Knights and Inquisitors Light Magic focused on healing wounds, curing diseases, blessing people, uncursing items and people, and destroying Undead and Demons, while Clerics worshipping Braa'darh and Lolth are usually equipped with Dark Magic causing pain and misery to any enemy, with only a limited access to healing spells.

Nature Magic

Nature Magic - also known as Druidic Magic - is a variant of Clerical Magic that is used by Druids and Rangers. They receive their magical powers from both Selenna and Goronnion and nature itself: they absorb magical energies while doing deeds the favour nature, such as planting trees, taking care of flowers and feeding wild animals.

Nature Magic is special in a sense that it lacks the limitations most often associated with Clerical Magic - just like users of Arcane Magic, Druids can use up their own Body Energy after running out of mana, which may be considered redundant, considering how fast their Mana reserves regenerate when they are in a forest environment.

Another trait of Nature Magic is that it also has the diversity that Arcane Magic has, rather than being limited to a certain category of spells. Druidic Magic also comes with an impressive roster of unique spells that either allow the spellcaster to take the shape of a wild animal or to harness the power of nature by turning the wilderness against the enemy.

Types by category

Types of spells are typically traditionally divided in four categories:

  • Basic Spells
  • Light Magic: focuses on healing wounds, curing diseases, uncursing people and items alike, blessing people, this school of magic only has a limited roster of spells of destructive nature: the destruction (or scaring away of) of undead and demons.
  • Dark Magic: focuses on bringing pain and misery upon the enemy, curses, diseases, poisons, resurrection of the dead by unholy means, just like Light Magic, Dark magic only has limited amount of spells that really do cause direct damage, and they often do via slow and cruel means, such as blight and strangulation.
  • Elemental Magic: Making use of the elements, Elemental Magic is usually divided in two categories:
    • Destruction Magic: focusing on destruction, pure and simple. Fireballs, thunder bolts, ice bolts, and all of the spells of similar nature. Self-explanatory.
    • Summoning Magic: this sub-school of Elemental Magic focuses on the constructive, rather than destructive harnessing of the power of the elements. The most stereotypical spells belonging to this sub-school are concerning the summoning of the various Elementals, but they also include the manipulation of fire for purposes other than sheer destruction, the control or summoning of water to combat dryness, the magical manipulation of stone and earth to either create artificial caves or a more convenient way to chisel statues.
    • Some prefer to divide Elemental Magic into sub-schools by element (Fire Magic, Water Magic, Earth Magic, Air Magic) instead of usage (Destruction Magic, Summoning Magic).
  • Utility Magic: containing various other spells that cannot be categorized into any of the schools of magic, such as spells that aid Lockpicking, spells that lock doors magically, Teleportation, etc. Out of the Basic Spells, Telekinessis and Lighting are examples of Utility Magic.

Casting methods

Vocal invocation

Considered to the most basic form of spellcasting - but also rather time-consuming -, it involves the individual spellcaster chanting the spell vocally while clearly thinking about using said spell. The power of the spell is increased if the spell is written and spoken in an old language, such as Massenpreost Despotanfras or Proto-Elven, even if the magician butchers the pronounciation (although it does make offensive spells less accurate). It is not mandatory for the magician to memorize the spell - it can be read from a book or scroll as well.

Despite being the most basic form of spellcasting that students of magic master, it also has the highest potential for power: vocalizing a spell out loud in an ancient language with accurate pronounciation can render a spell much more powerful than using other methods of spellcasting.

Subvocal invocation

Also known as "silent casting" or "silent invocation", subvocal invocation involves the spellcaster simultaneously thinking about the spell's lyrics and having the will to cast said spell: the spellcaster recites the text of the spell using his/her inner voice, rather than speaking it out loud. This method requires the spellcaster to have memorized the spell by the heart - subvocal invocation does not work together with scrolls and books.

Subvocal invocation has slightly less power potential than vocal invocation: casting the spell out loud makes the spell slightly more powerful than using just the inner voice. Subvocal vocalization on the other hand has the advantage of being stealthy, potentially being faster (does not require opening one's mouth), and allowing mute and blind magicians to cast spells.

Innate triggering

The quickest but also weakest method, this can be considered a variant of the subvocal invocation, as both are silent. The differnece is, memorized triggering does not involve actually reciting the spell's lyrics itself: instead, the ability to cast the spell becomes innate to the spellcaster, allowing him/her to cast the spell with as little effort as moving a finger or opening their mouth (provided that they have enough mana to cast the spell). Usage of said spell effectively becomes second nature to the spellcaster, like an instinct. They just have to have a will to cast the spell, and the spell is cast if they have enough mana for it.

There are three ways one may acquire this method for spells:

  • The more generic way is through repeated usage of a spell which actually has lyrics to recite. Constantly throwing fireballs around will eventually give the spellcaster the ability to cast the spell without reciting its lyrics. Some categories of spells are easier to "make innate" than others: Destruction Magic and Utility Magic take little more than a few days of practice to render invocation obsolete, while Summoning Magic, Dark Magic and Light Magic are very difficult to make innate. Even the most powerful magicians tend to vocalize or subvocalize their curses and blessings, while even weaker magicians quickly start throwing around fireballs and thunder balls without reciting any lyrics.
  • If the spell is a basic spell - having no lyrics to recite - then all spellcasters innately know this spell and can use it at will without reciting or vocalizing any words.
  • If a spell is innate to one's race - such as shapeshifting for Nereids and Winged Cobras - then they can use the spell like an inborn ability. It is instinctive to them. Just like basic spells, these racially intrinsic spells have no lyrics to recite, no words to say.

It is important to note that this is the weakest method of spellcasting, with its one and only advantage being speed and convenience. The utter lack of vocalization and linguistic connection to the past deprives the spellcaster of any bonuses that may be gained from accurate knowledge of an ancient language or a strong voice. For a spells with variable strength - such as one that can be used to destroy a whole village - vocal or subvocal invocation is recommended. However, for spells that don't have variation in strength, innate triggering is the recommended method.