Magic Origin (Action)
|Heroic Action Role-Play|
Magic is the power of inspiration and mystic understanding; it is a perfect union of reasoning and intuition. Magical powers are often the most well-understood and controlled of the supernatural powers, and the closest rival of technology. The Form of magic deals with metamagical effects that alter how other powers work.
- Alternate Names: Alchemy, Arcana, Astrology, Cabala, Magick, Hermetic Magic.
- Creature : No specific creature, very flexible.
- Skill : Know
- Attribute : Reflexes
- Sense : Astral sight
- Mood : Inspired, informed, enlightened
You can detect Magic powers out to a range of a Know roll and other Powers and Items by touch. You can create free-floating glowing runes, glyphs, or symbols out of thin air; these can be used as a chalkboard or to provide dim illumination.
Magic is the basis of all things; the world we live in is result of eons of interaction between magical forces. We live on the border between the realms of ideas and the realms of the elements. By manipulating these primal forces of the universe, great things can be made to happen.
The magic origin is the most common source of power in fantasy. It is akin to science in that it builds on an understanding of the world, but in magic this understanding is at least partially mystic and intuitive. Some wizards work magic by understanding and manipulating the rules, while others have magic more as a part of their core essence and work it by instinct. Magic is an art, not a science or a craft.
Mages gather in traditions, schools or orders that share a common world-view and work magic in similar ways. When a mage teaches another the art, she also teaches her tradition and imposes the limitations of her tradition on her student. However, it is possible to overcome the crutches of tradition and break free of their limitations. The world is not set and static as it is in technology.
Straddling the line between magic and dive power, the agent has a patron, a power-source that mages magic possible, but they work this power as sorcery and not by faith. Traditionally, this is seen as an evil and selfish path to power. You forsake your immortal soul for power in this world.
Some people are willing to sell their souls for power and become a more-or-less willing agent of some non-human power. The temptation of power is such that even intelligent and seemingly wise people fall in this trap. Just a tiny contract, a mortgage on your immortal soul, and it can all be yours. Some agents join together in cabals or covens, while others are loners, learning their magic at the feet of their patron without ever meeting another mage.
Not all agents need be evil. In fact, the conflict between the mage and the patron is a central facet of this tradition. Many agents do only the minimum required to uphold their magic and otherwise have their own agenda. As long as they work at the purpose their masters intended, their powers run smoothly and all goes well. But should they fail, they may discover their powers to be as much of a hindrance as a benefit. Few people ever escape from selling their souls - and the few that do tend to become legendary.
It might be possible to make a contract like this with a non-evil being - such as a spirit, elemental or animal lord. In fact, in a world where the forces of law and reason are persecuted, even the gods may make deals in this fashion. But whatever force you are dealing with is sure to be socially repugnant in your culture - why would it otherwise accept to become a patron in this way, rather than to accept normal worship?
A common theme of magic is that it was once much more powerful than it is today. Whether the past was a glorious golden age, or a time of chaos where giant walked the earth and waged war at whim is immaterial; the archaic mage draws power from the past and delves into secrets long forgotten.
There are several distinct paths to archaic magic; they all share a belief in the magic of the past and secrets, but go about it in different ways. Necromancers contact the spirits of the dead and learn magical lore from them. Delvers dig up ancient artifacts and use their power to work magic. Hedge magicians try to revive old superstitions and see the magical patterns in customs. All tend to be eccentric and erratic, using the dress and mannerisms of the distant past.
Elementalism is the art of understanding and mastering the substance of this world. It is also known as alchemy.
Elementalism claims that all things are composed out of elements. Not all schools agree which elements these are, though. Western schools vouch for air, earth, fire and water, while eastern traditions usually recognize air, fire, water, metal, and bamboo. On earth, elementalism is tied to Taoism and the works of Aristotele and the world-view that he developed. Some elementalists believe in elemental planes, places where one element holds dominance over all others, but generally, elementalists are content with this existence.
Elementalism is not limited to the physical world. Our minds and bodies are also made up of elemental substances, or humors, which fundamentally affect who we are, what we do, and if we are well. Thus elementalists can affect living minds and bodies just as well as they can affect physical objects.
Once upon a time, magicians had to rely on choirs chanting mantras, heavy props, arcane scriptures in huge tomes, and other cumbersome tools. No longer! The modern wizard can easily start up a holographic altar and perform a virtual sacrifice accompanied by perfectly-pitched recorded hymns. Welcome to the magic of tomorrow!
Technomagic comes in two main schools – occultech and virtual magic.
Occultech is traditional magic combined with technology. Neon pentagrams, holographic force field, pools full of bioengineered blood and sampled incantations repeated endlessly through a PA system create a strange blend of medieval magic and state-of-the-art technology.
Virtual magic uses the powers of computers and virtual reality to work magic. By accustoming yourself to a virtual world where you can overcome the limitations of mundane reality, you train your mind to do the same in real life. By altering the perception of the masses through the media, you change what reality is. A change created in virtual reality soon becomes real. In vitual magic, technology is a crutch used to gain access to magic. Virtual reality is the astral plane; the ideas and forms you find there are used to work magic in the meat, the physical world.
Wizardry is the magic of numbers, ideas and philosophy. Wizards observe "ideal forms" in astral space, and then use their magic to bring those shapes into reality. This tradition is often based on the work of some great philosopher – on Earth this would be Euclid or Plato.
Wizardry is not very practical or down-to-earth. Wizards see correspondences between the natural and supernatural worlds in numbers, relative positions and geometrical figures, not in simple things like form or substance. They are easily able to overcome limitations such as space and time, but have a hard time manipulating physical reality.
There are many sub-branches of wizardry, such as Astrology, Naming Magic, and Mysticism. Each claims to be the one true form, but most wizards pay at least lip service to all these forms.
Magic is in many ways the baseline for methods; most methods are applicable to magic depending on tradition.