New sections –
Magic, stability, and ritual. Added wild magic.
The study of magic usually is understood, by the layperson, as a study of the five elements and their balance in the world.
As per usual, the layperson has hit the essential concept while entirely missing the truth of the matter.
Mage is the study of how a mage, a person, is comprised of five parts. These tie with themes that are similar to the elements – hence the misasumption by many a mage and peasant.
Stability – Earth
Change – Water
Creation – Fire
Emptiness – Air
Self – Spirit
If I must explain why fire is not, in fact, destruction, then you have no place reading this book and I suggest you put it down before you, in your ignorance, attract something that can hurt you.
All rituals then, are derived from the pillars that guide the mage. A mage with the power to call down fire and turn the ground to mud could combine the two, using a ritual, to draw forth the burning blood of the earth, whereas a mage who could bring forth water or turn into a bird could not.
These five guiding forces are why a mage can only learn five spells – he is only five parts. While some of my more gifted colleagues have mastered additional spells, this is simply further proof that we do not fully understand the workings of magic, and indeed never will.
On the Stability of Magical Forces
Magic and life are intertwined. Old magic is not the same as new magic – it grows stronger, more wild, more unpredictable. Without the careful tending of an educated wizard, the magic either in land, beast, person, or bound to items of power will warp. Sometimes, this waxing is to benefit. Sometimes, it would have been better if the power would have simply waned.
Mages can control that which they truly understand – the magic that makes up their own five-part being. This magic can be brought forth with minimal unexpected risk, excepting unusual circumstances or outside interference.
However, magic is fluid, and powerful. A novice mage knows that the power to do anything and everything lies within easy reach. An experienced mage knows that this is a half-truth, and hence doubly deadly.
A ritual, if poorly prepared, can unleash forces well outside the grasp of a mage’s normal power. From simple fiery devastation to more insidious erasure of memory or place, the power of a misbegotten ritual is best left to the imagination.
Rumors of mages that attempt to utilize the chaos of unbridled magic remain unconfirmed.
Magic can be either studiously studied or called upon by force of will, training, or desparation. It follows a certain set of laws and can be affected by anything that affects magic. It is the lifeblood of the world and as inexhaustible as the ocean. Magic can be found in any creature.
In-born powers don’t follow known magical rules. They are more difficult to affect with magic, but mages can still do so with effort and skill. In-born abilities are only found in non-human or mixed ancestery creatures.
Magic arrays have one spell per power level at maximum.
Magical Mastery, or other Variable effects, have a hard limit of three times power level, and a starting limit of power level. Additional spells may be researched or acquired as quest rewards.
Effects that are passed down through the blood are defined as non-array powers that are definitively supernatural. They can be affected by magic, and can affect magic. However, identifying a non-magic effect increases the DC by 5.
Countering magic – The world can handle magic better. This doesn’t mean every monster or NPC will be immune to magic or be able to nullify it, though such creatures do exist. Instead, Alkarin can ‘handle’ magic in the same way that our world can ‘handle’ firearms. We have systems in place to prevent widespread use and abuse, but these are far from perfect and we are far from safe.