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It's often very difficult to characterize the magic that is used on Felarya, due to the fact that many people from a variety of worlds have their own ways of drawing upon this force. A fire elementalist native to Felarya and a fire elementalist who has just arrived through a portal may approach magic in entirely different ways. What is certain, however, is that Felarya is an extremely magic-rich world, allowing powerful spells to be cast and summoned creatures to remain indefinitely, and it tends to attract magical beings such as genies who feel especially at ease there. While there still some mysterious, incomprehensible, and uncharted forms of magic, for the most part everything falls under one or more fairly broad categories in terms of how they actually work. Most of them where listed by the Loremaster Saladrex, archmage and Ps'isol Magiocrats, in his famous essay "The nature of magic". Some of the major types are the following:
This type of magic is based on rules of sort, such as incantations or rituals, which are required before casting it. It's a very stable type of magic and easily the most used on Felarya and most other worlds. If you draw on magic following these rules in a normal environment, then nothing unexpected can happen to you. If you don't follow these rules, a couple things can happen: either the magic doesn’t work, it backfires horribly on you, or you invent something new and get to name it after yourself (in his youth Saladrex created the famous spell "Saladrex's scorching hands" after a stupid bet, and nearly lost his life in doing so).
Rule-based Magic is heavily traditional, with most spells being developed through centuries of trial and error. The only people who break the rules are the maverick wizards who wind up eventually discovering something new and/or blowing themselves up. Extensive experimentation is usually socially acceptable among mages, although the “Hey, you know what would be cool?” approach to things tends not to go over well with stuffy archmage councils. The advantages of using Rule-based Magic is it's totally reliable and, generally, more advanced than other types. When most people think of “mages” or “wizards”, they are imagining some form of rule-based magic. The same is true for shamanism, but to a lesser extent, as shamans tend to combine it with other types of magic as well. While Rule-based Magic is reliable, the problem is that it also becomes easily predictable. Most potent wizards know it usually won't be enough to defeat an opponent of their level in a magical duel and that it must be combined with other types.
Also called Living Magic or Chaotic Magic. More than a way of casting magic, Wild magic is actually a whole different magic than the "normal" one; it's like a living, breathing entity. It has its own will, it comes and goes as it pleases, and you can’t actually make it do anything... but you can give it a nudge in the right direction, or ask really nicely and maybe it will help out. It can be docile and primitive, wild and unpredictable, or devious and calculating. The Wild Magic of Felarya is often referred to by wild mages as "playful and mischievous and a bit cranky too".
If you are calling on the Universe itself for help, and it actually talks or responds in any way to you, then you are using some type of Living Magic. Needless to say it's nigh unpredictable, uncontrollable, and wild mages tend to not live very long because of this. However, while extremely bizarre and nonsensical things might happen to the mage, they aren’t happening for no reason at all. There is a reason behind them, you just don’t know it and might not even be able to comprehend it even if you did. Wild mages actually spend a good part of their lives trying to understand why (and a good deal of them lose their sanity in the process). According to Saladrex's studies, a huge portion of the magic found in Felarya can be classified as Living Magic. Like one could figure, the main disadvantage of using Wild Magic is it isn't reliable at all: one day extremely powerful, useless the next. Moreover, extreme concentration is required from the caster when performing it, and the smallest moment of inattention can result in dire and immediate consequences. One remarkable aspect of wild magic is it can sometimes bypass wards and magical protections like it isn't concerned by them.
You were born with powers beyond the understanding of mortals, or perhaps not. The point is, it isn’t so much that you know magic, as it is that you are magic. For whatever reason, there’s something about you that has magical qualities/properties; maybe your eyes can see in absolute darkness as though it were noon on a sunny and cloudless day. You can teleport to any spot within your line of sight, or your breath makes magical spells unravel. Whatever the case, the abilities granted by Innate Magic can not be taught or granted to others, unless there are specific mitigating circumstances.
Innate magic is an ability everyone of your species has, or a genetically inherited trait, or the organ or biological feature responsible for the ability is somehow transplanted in to another person. Innate Magic is always rooted in a particular feature of a person; their soul, their eyes, their heart, their genes, etc. Fairies, genies or succubi are good examples of this. Innate Magic often involves specific abilities rather than defined spellcasting abilities, sometimes this can be a rare type of magic that can only be used by a specific group of people (for example, a portion of the magic performed by angels is unique to them). If your parents were archmages, and you were born under a rare celestial conjunction, and there’s a prophecy about you saving the world, AND you manage to learn magic very quickly despite no prior training whatsoever... chances are you just might have some Innate Magic in you. So, you were born with awesome powers which is great of course, but there are some downsides as well.
Most people will envy or fear you. As long as it is passive-aggressive hostility and resentment you are fine, but watch out for angry mobs with a penchant for bonfires and pitchforks. Some people may take a step further and decide to take your power for themselves. Watch out for evil cults, priests of dark gods, body harvesters, and pretty much anyone else who might want to ritually sacrifice you, cut you up for spell components, or slice out your organs and extremities so they can implant them in their own body. Some Felaryan predators are especially fond of magical beings as well. Moreover, most spells affecting magic will hurt you badly. A simple dispel magic will become painful and you may not be able to enter warded areas. The anti-magic aura of tonorions will make you incredibly uneasy as well.
Potions, elixirs, transmutation, reinforcement and enhancement of physical objects, scroll crafting... Alchemy is all that. Pretty much any spell one can think of can be turned into a potion or a scroll. Quaff a high-level potion, and suddenly you can travel between planes of existence. The big drawbacks to any form of Alchemy is that it tends to require a lot of preparation. Trying to gather the reagents is never easy, but on Felarya, it's even more dangerous. Most alchemists prefer to let their assistants do this part of the job. (Protip: If your alchemical formula calls for fairy wings, go back to the drawing board and figure out a way around it, it will be probably better in the long run!)
You can’t actually use magic yourself and you can’t cast spells, but you come from a long line of blacksmiths, some of whom have crafted legendary weapons. Or maybe your people have been making magical items and trinkets for thousands of years and selling them for profit. Whatever the case may be, you might not be able to throw fireballs, but you know how to make something that can. You are the magical equivalent of a mad scientist, inventor, or tinkerer. Artifact based magic can refer to something simple such as a magic dagger to a marvelous and very complex magic-powered engine and anything in between. It tends to be a bit more complex and... more “scientific” than other types of magic. In those instances where it becomes so sophisticated it becomes an equivalent of technology, it is referred to as "magitech"
The major advantage of magical artifacts is that they are reliable and solid, assuming you know what the item does and how to use it. Typically, there’s no chance of miscasting or botching a spell, so long as you point the business end of the sword, staff or magirevolver in the right direction. They are often usable by everyone as well, although if the artifact is damaged or cursed, it can be like playing Russian Roulette every time you use it. The downsides to artifact-based magic are the breakage, like previously mentioned; in addition, it tends to take a lot of preparation and hard work to craft magical items, particularly if they are of any significant power. Finally, the power isn’t actually yours, you’re just borrowing it. If something happens to the item (misplaced, stolen, broken, destroyed, develops a mind of its own), you are in trouble. Oh and you may attract the attention of Subeta, the "collector fairy" as well...
Also known as “Let’s Make a Deal” magic. You can’t really do much in the way of casting spells, but you like to read books. You found an ancient tome bound in human skin, and although it took you a while to figure out how to properly pronounce the words through all the bloodstains, you managed to reach out and touch someone or something. Thaumaturgy is all about knowing the right (or the wrong!) people. For example you decide to worship Ithag-Shagoth "the eyeless god of the pit" and in turn, he lends you some of his divine power and lets you cast spells, or teaches you how to turn the brain of your enemies into mud. Or maybe you’re a tribal shaman, and you’re down with the local forest spirits, or the Great Animal Totem.
Whatever the case is, your style of magic involves dealing with supernatural beings in some context, and reaching some kind of understanding with them. Sometimes it involves a rigid contract, spiritual bond, a pledge to look out for the spirit/god/demon’s interests on your plane of existence, or maybe you just asked politely and they thought you were cool. Or it was the opposite and you’re a black-hearted bastard with enough power to make them do your bidding. Summoning magic, spells of binding, and Divine magic all fall under the category of Thaumaturgy.
The upside to Thaumaturgy is that it can be incredibly powerful, assuming you know what you’re doing, stay on the good side of your patron(s), and they are willing to back you up. The downside is you are only as powerful as your patron(s) lets you be. There's no such thing as a “no strings attached” deal in Thaumaturgy. Expect to be inconvenienced at their leisure. Also, you do not want to tell them “No.” Trust me on this. Moreover, just because the spell says that you can summon the Lord of Destruction to smite your enemies doesn’t mean that you can control him, or understand his ancient language, or even survive long enough to introduce yourself. Think about what waking up an ancient being of unimaginable power actually entails, and why getting an unsolicited phone call when you thought your number was unlisted ticks people off.
Also on Felarya, powerful Thaumaturgy tend to attract the attention of guardians which is generally not very healthy.
Also called Ley Magic, primordial magic is a very specific type of magic that rely a lot on the location of the caster. By using it, you aren’t casting spells by roots or formula. You are grasping the raw energies or threads of Magic itself (those that you are able to see anyway) and weaving them as you will to accomplish... well, pretty much whatever you want. Primordial Magic ebbs and flows, waxes and wanes, and when you are familiar with it you not only can perceive it, but actually directly interact with it. Spell casting with this Magic can either be a clumsy, unrefined exercise, or a fanciful, “Look, I’m playing music on the threads of the Universe!” affair. This type of magic is typically extraordinarily effective in certain places and less effective or utterly powerless in others, working the best along the streams of ley lines that crisscross Felarya. Skilled Ley mages can even use them for travel, zipping along them.
Abilities common, although not exclusive, to Primordial Magic are meta-magical effects; being able to directly alter the effect of a spell and bend it to your will. Maybe you can make it last longer, shorten the duration of a harmful curse, negate a spell altogether, amplify a spell’s power or range, make your spells more difficult for someone else to dispel, etc. Primordial magic is also the magic of choice when it comes to creating defenses and barriers. The obvious disadvantages of Primordial Magic are that the caster is powerless away from certain places, or in certain “dead spots”, and that, asides for the main lines, the flows of Primordial magic tend to fluctuate in Felarya.
The way Felaryan fairies effortlessly change their size has always fascinated many mages and could be considered a special type of magic in itself. The archmage Mezzus has come with many interesting theories regarding it.
For reasons unknown, any spell involving meddling with the afterlife and calling forth a soul to inhabit a body (such as resurrection, or raising the dead) doesn't work on Felarya. A wandering spirit can still decide to possess a body on its own, or be bound to an object or a golem body, but recalling the soul from afterlife and forcing it in any way just won't work. If you encounter an undead creature in Felarya, you can tell for sure it wasn't created in this world. Xarmaroch, the cerberus in the Jadong temple, is a interesting case, as his condition is the result of an extremely powerful curse rather than necromancy. Some powerful necromancers have come to Felarya and made numerous experiments... with always the same result in the end: most of their magic remain useless. If you are one of them and you want your army of zombies to conquer Felarya, you will have to raise it elsewhere and then transport it to Felarya, where it would lose the main advantage of any undead army: the multiplying factor. So better just forget it, really.
Often mistaken with magic, psionic powers are more of a special ability, and don't actually draw on magical energies. Psionics can be described as the power to affect things through ones mind. Telekinesis or telepathy are examples of such. It's a powerful force, very hard to counter unless you possess some sort of natural protection. Psionics also ignore any magical immunity or anti-magic wards, and countless mages have lost duels with psionic users by mistaking their art with magic and thinking themselves duly protected. While powerful, psionics have some serious drawbacks. First, it's a two way road. The user must open their spirit in order to interact with their target, leaving them directly vulnerable to counterattacks. That's why most psionic users are cautious people and not really the type to get over-confident or to underestimate an opponent (though exceptions exist of course). A wound to the mind is generally extremely hard and long to heal, if it can actually heal, and the soil of Felarya isn't of any help here. Moreover, you will have a hard time using psionic powers on creatures that have a different mode of thinking than you. Not only other races of course, but also your own if the being in question is chaotic, acting on instinct, unstable, etc.
- Credits to TheQuantumMechanic for his characterization of magic, and to Shaman for characterization of psionic powers.