The natural phenomena that occurs when mana is shaped and refined, wielded by the Magi of the world, is referred to as Magic. These magi study and practice their magics to cause various effects by casting spells, either for practical reasons - such as the development of technologies through artificing - or for combative purposes.
- 1 Four Pillars of Magic
- 2 Workings of Magic
- 3 Runewriting
Four Pillars of Magic
There are hundreds of types of magics throughout the world, but they can be categorized into the following four. Within these primary forms of magic eixsts many sub-types, some of which are still being discovered to this day.
The four elements that make up the physical universe, such as the oceans, sky, forests, and volcanoes. The building blocks of the world: Fire, Earth, Water, and Air. These are often the most approachable for an apprentice magi due to their primordial aspect.
Magic in an unrefined form, such as the raw, blue energy of mana, or the golden rays of cosmic magic. Unlike elemental magic, rather than taking this innate mana and shaping it, ethereal magi will reinforce it and conjure it as is; this is an especially malleable type of magic in that sense.
All magi are capable of using ethereal magic to some extent, even if it's as simple as causing ripples in the water by generating mana at the fingertip.
The unseen mechanisms of the world, such as gravity, the timestream, or even a person's senses.
Light and dark. Destruction and life. Positive energy and negative energy.
Workings of Magic
An incorporeal, immortal vessel that lives through many different lives, all of which are connected. A person's soul is what gives them life: it's their consciousness, and it provides the energy for the magic circuit to operate. When a person dies, their soul heads toward the netherworld, which can be accessed through the stars, to be cleansed and rejoin the world once more in a cycle of reincarnation.
The gospels of The Faith tell us that the Angels weave new souls under the guidance of the Creator, through the use of divine magic.
The soul is linked to the Magic Circuit, and it can provide a limitless amount of mana... however, this is restricted by how much the circuit is able to tap into: the stronger it is, the more it can access at once. If a person goes over their limits, it will drastically tire the mind and body.
As a result of the soul being protected by a barrier of divine magic, it is not possible to manipulate the soul directly. Though certain processes that disturb its reincarnation cycle can have a subtle effect (such as the Occult).
The color of the soul varies depending on the person, but most are silver. A person's eye color might hint at the potential hues that might occasionally shimmer within their soul, if it were made visible.
While the soul is a collection of lifetimes, each individual one is called an Essence. This is an individual's memories and their state of being.
When the soul's body dies and it leaves for the astral plane to enter a cleansing process, if the Essence feels great unrest they may lead the soul wayward and explore the planes of the netherworld. It is easy to get lost in the spirit realm and some may explore for centuries before they finally rejoin the stars to begin anew.
Once attuned to mana, a person's Magic Circuit becomes active. It's an intricate pattern of lines and shapes that connect a person's body to their soul, the wiring of their magic.
By closing their eyes, a Magi is able to visualize their circuit and they can see it light up when they try to use their magic, almost like watching muscles react to movements. As a spell's complexity goes, so does the signals sent to the Magic Circuit. Many techniques are recorded with diagrams explaining the specific steps to replicate the effect.
There are roughly 3100 connective lines in a human's Magic Circuit, though the number and layout varies slightly from person to person. Casting a sphere of Wind Magic at a target would involve the following steps: 1.) Produce Air, 2.) Rotate the Air, 3.) Locate the Air around the target, 4.) Direct the Air toward it. While in practical terms it might seem straightforward, but the spell would require the use of at least a hundred circuits, each of which is a micro-step on the spiritual level. The mind, body, and spirit must learn to process each step quickly if the spell is to be effective.
There are also several points of 'convergence' on the circuit. The crown/forehead, the throat, and the heart, are all key points where the circuits concentrate. These translate to different casting styles as well.
Symbolic - Feeling | The Heart
Symbolic magic is the most basic of all casting technique and can be combined with others due to its nature. The style uses emotion to amplify and control magic... such as adrenaline, hatred, and love. To advance beyond beginner level almost all magi will learn a second casting style.
Visionary - Visual | The Eyes
This style has a close relationship with the magical circuit. While all experienced magi can view their circuitry by closing their eyes and concentrating, a visionary caster is able to do so in battle, with their eyes wide open. They use a demanding amount of cognitive energy to navigate mana through the many thousands of 'tunnels' in the circuit - linking them up to spell-cast.
Basic spells might involve ten instructions/commands that the caster has to consciously navigate, while advanced ones can require hundreds - the best visionary casters can do so in moments, and it can take several minutes for an inexperienced magi.
Notably, this style of casting causes the irises to glow with mana (in whichever color the irises happen to be). The eyes are, after all, a window to the soul, and by extension they're a gateway to the magical circuit.
Runecasting - Mind | The Temple
The written language of the divine, otherwise known as runes, is the code of all matter and even existence itself. While humanity's overall knowledge in runes is only a small fraction of the overall picture, it is nonetheless a potent tool.
Spell-writing involves the design of battle-runes that can be conjured in battle to cast different abilities, with the mana manifested as spinning discs of magical energy that is typically wielded by the hands. The magi activates the different runes on the spell circles mid-battle, channeling their mana (and the runic instruction) for an effect.
This is for combat only. Other areas of runic expertise involve rituals, enchantments, and most forms of technology.
Wordcasting - Voice | The Throat
The voice is a tool of expression, and can be used to amplify or initiate spells through song and incantation. Mana is carefully channeled through the vocal cords while the magi says their incantation, often giving a synthetic effect as their will and desire is vocalized by the commands they utter.
Conjuring something like a sphere of water, then channeling mana that connects the magi to the liquid - with an emphasis on the vocal cords - will 'link' the command they say out-loud. For instance, willing it to spin. The more creative and compelling the incantation, the more the person themselves believes it, the better the outcome, too. This is usually a good fit for charismatic, confident magi, such as performers and singers.
Whether or not someone is capable of harnessing mana, they passively generate magical power as it is required to live. Certain magitech can even take a read on how much of this energy flows through a person, though it's purely a measure of their raw magical potency rather than their overall combat skill. There are five tiers that individuals might be placed under depending on this reading.
- Basic: Minimum of 10 Magic Power.
- Intermediate: Minimum of 50 Magic Power. Above average.
- Master: Minimum of 100 Magic Power. Higher than 90% of Magi.
- Exalted: Minimum of 300 Magic Power. Higher than 99% of Magi.
- Mythic: Minimum of 1000 Magic Power. Among the millions that live in Esshar, there's rarely more than few dozen at a time within this tier.
Quantifying the above would be something like the following, though it naturally varies from person to person as specializations differ. This is meant to act as a rough guide and base line for a character's speed (including reflex) and how much power a charged, concentrated attack delivered by them might pack. Generally speaking if they generate that much force they're also durable enough to defend against similar impact from another person.
- Basic: Avg. sprint of 20MPH, a focused attack generates enough force to crack stone.
- Intermediate: Avg. sprint of 30MPH, a focused attack generates enough force to destroy a wall.
- Master: Avg. sprint of 60MPH, a focused attack generates enough force to destroy a small house.
- Exalted: Avg. sprint of 100MPH, a focused attack generates enough force to destroy a large house.
- Mythic: Avg. sprint of 150MPH, a focused attack generates enough force to destroy a mansion or similarly giant structure.
A magi's power scaling can be between two tiers, naturally, rather than one or the other. The attack force is also their standard, focused strike, rather than their absolute limit. It is their baseline.
A rune is a magical instruction, typically charged through a ritual, imbued onto an object, place, or person.
Runes are the primary method an artificer employs to interact with the laws of the universe and influence them. It is the closest branch of magic that humans have to divine magic, the written language of the gods. There are two main types of runes: a primary sigil, then the supporting glyphs, and there are tens of thousands of commonly used symbols, with an endless amount of potential combinations. This highly sophisticated language is written in mana by the conjurer's hand. Sometimes a different type of substance is used depending on the ritual, such as a person's blood if it's specific to them and a connection is necessary.
If activated, runes require a mana source. For something simple like strengthening an object, the energy can be derived directly from the artificer, but more complex rituals may need something more potent to harness. Magical crystals that have stored energy over the years are a common choice, whether it's an insignificant fire attuned shard or as rare as the starstone, chiron. These crystals, for full effect, have one use in a ritual and are measured based on total mana points (MP). Common crystals may measure in at no more than 10 MP, whereas a good quality sample of chiron can come in at several thousand MP. Artificers have specialized scales for measuring crystals overall mana to properly value their worth.
Runemancy is used in all forms of daily life, from empowering a warrior's armor to adding cooling runes to ice boxes for food storage, even street lamps and wind mills. This naturally makes the demand for magic crystals high.
More advanced (and expensive) uses include basic golems, from carrying out every day tasks such as cleaning to acting as defensive guards. These expectedly come in all different shapes and sizes depending on their functionality.