Magic in Adylheim is very different from the normal sorts of spells mages cast in books, games, and RPG’s. Before delving into the nuts and bolts of magic, I present a number of examples of how magic does NOT act followed by a general explanation of why.
MYTH: Ms. Jayne Mage throws a fireball and destroys Aram.
FACT: High Magic allows certain mages to cause ‘direct’ damage albeit on a far, far smaller scale. It involves the manipulation of an already-present element (say, a campfire). However, there’s no way to learn High Magic—it’s a trait scattered across the collective gene pool. So Ms. Jayne Mage might be able to set an attacking bandit on fire, but not rain meteor death on a city. In times of great distress or need, she can scorch a decently sized area, but at significant risk to herself.
MYTH: Mr. Johan Mage constructs a sigil and instantly calls forth a fairy to help him.
FACT: Low Magic can take hours (even days) to cast a significant spell. Even simple spells can take a long period of time to cast and, conversely, create only minor annoyances for one’s foes. The trick when it comes to Low Magic is finding ways to outsmart and outmaneuver your foes using your repertoire of spells.
Rules of Magic
- Nothing comes from nothing: Magic cannot create something from thin air, magic is the art of manipulating the forces around oneself.
- Something must come from something: All magic requires a source of power. There are a multitude of these found throughout the Multiverse, the foremost among which are the life force of the magi, the Numen, as well as Ley Lines, Artifacts, Divinity and other beings.
- Magic is affecting change: Magic takes on several forms, but they all work to alter the environment around the mage, or to alter other things forcibly to the mage’s advantage. Magic is manipulation, not creation.
Playing a Mage
There are two magic-type skills your character can learn:
- High Magic: The manipulation of an element (fire, water, earth, air, life, nature) through the direct use of one’s Numen.
- Low Magic: The manipulation of various types of energy through a wide range of rituals, sigils, and other methods. The Arts (Necromancy, Enclosing, Scrying, etc.) are all different ‘schools’ of Low Magic. Most mages choose to specialize in one Art, but also dabble in other disciplines.
Your character can practice Low Magic, High Magic, or both. Many mages consider people possessing a talent in High Magic as excellent potential practitioners of Low Mages. This is largely a social effect as, in practice, there’s no such positive relationship. High Mages can only manipulate a single element. There are cases of individuals changing talents during the course of their studies, but this is a rare occurrence as talents are usually heavily tied to the personality of the mage. Low Mages possess knowledge of 5 + # of experience points in Low Magic. This represents the spells a master mage taught during the course of a PC’s training and apprenticeship. These can be spread across most of the known branches of low magic, but the majority will likely be in the area of expertise of their master.
Notes on Spells and Progression
High Magic does not become more powerful with practice and experience. Mages, however, do learn strategies and methods to manipulate their chosen element with more precision, accuracy, and skills.
Low Magic, however, does become more ‘powerful’ as PC gains levels. This happens as mages learn to unlock new sources of power generally tied with their Art. Necromancers, for example, need to sacrifice humans to cast some of their spells. They also learn the general ability to use the death throes of creatures to power their spells earlier than, say, a Low Mage with a specialty in Enclosing. Conversely, the second mage learns to recognize and employ ley-lines far earlier than their necromantic counterpart.
Spells are rare and valuable objects. It can take weeks and months of careful, meticulous research to create a new spell. Powerful spells can take years of hard labor for a master mage to craft from scratch. Apprentices slave for years and years to learn only a fraction of their master’s spells. Most PCs, in all likelihood, will not create their own spells until much later in their careers. There are three primary mechanisms for learning new spells:
- Flashback-style learning: PC with a current mentor/master (or a past master) can assume that, after obtaining a certain amount of experience, their master teaches them a new spell.
- Questing: Magical tomes and figments of knowledge are often the subjects of quests and/or intrusions.
- Modify a current spell using the character's knowledge: Eventually, the PC will become knowledgeable enough to create their own spells.
PCs with other training methods are encouraged to contact a moderator or an admin with their ideas!
Levels of Training
Acquiring training in magic is far from easy. There are some paths that are easier than others. One of those is gaining admittance to the School of Magic in Salen. However, most of those who would learn magic are taught by magi who live in their solitary towers. Please note that this list is only valid for those looking for an education in Low Magic.
- 0. Someone without any knowledge of low magic generally has very little insight into it, wizards guard their secrets carefully and most would only be able to tell that low magic is afoot, insight into the mechanics of spellcasting is jealously guarded.
- 1. The point at which a low magic practitioner enters training.
- 3. Rigourous training allows a low magic practitioner to manipulate their numen to allow for controlling spells with their minds.
- 5. By this time a spell caster has picked up the ability to see auras and their senses will have expanded somewhat to allow them to sense when powerful magic is being practiced nearby.
- 6. The spell caster may at this point have gained enough control over their numen to fuse it with a Familiar without the guidance of their teacher.
- 7. A spell caster generally starts becoming more aware of how spells are put together and may start their first clumsy steps in modifying spells for greater or smaller effects.
- 9. This is about when the spell caster becomes able to make a Geis.
- 10. For wizards, they will now be nearing the end of their apprenticeship. Outside of wizards and heavily specialised spell casters you rarely find anyone with low magic skills greater than this.
- 11. At this point a spell caster may learn how to make use of the more advanced arts of low magic.
- 13. As their skill with Prime Words and magic increases a spell caster may be able to hazard an educated guess as to what another spell will do merely by studying it.
- 15. Around this point the spell caster may learn the costly technique of enchanting items and infusing their spells into them.
- 17. Around this time a spell caster becomes so proficient with using their numen that they may fashion it into a Great Work or Death Curse at the cost of their lives.
- 25. The pinnacle of low magic skill, those who reach it are considered the very most potent of wizards and may be so ensorcelled that the very air around them feels unreal.
Most practitioners of Low Magic learn a handful of spells from their mentor during the course of their apprenticeship. For the purpose of character creation, the number of spells your new PC knows is equal to 5 + # of experience points in Low Magic. These can be spread across most of the known branches of low magic, but the majority will likely be in the area of expertise of their master. Additional spells can be learned or developed as your character gains experience during roleplay.