This section gives two different types of information: one type relates how magic is handled in the mechanics of the game, the other is about the structure of magic in the game-world, as represented by excerpts from an imaginary book, called All Spheres, written by an character in the game, Yohaness Salassiee.
If you like, you can choose to view only the parts from All Spheres, or only the magic mechanics, or, you can skip straight to a listing of the specific spells or spheres. Or, you can have them both at the same time by just reading on. It all depends on which you find most cohesive.
All magic has been arranged, or I should say fractured, into seven fields of study, or "spheres". No matter how knowledgeable a person may become in any one sphere, so long as he knows only that sphere, he will have only a paltry conception of magic as a whole. Sadly, it is in exactly such a manner as this that most practitioners stumble through their magical training. It is for the purpose of correcting this pedagogical error that I am writing this.
I first grew into my magical ability through the study of Cabala. My teachers were myopic and their knowledge meager. I learnt much of my sphere, but little, if anything, of magic. It is not until I studied under the great Zosimus Hearthstone, master of all spheres, that I began to have any conception of exactly what art I was practising; he gave me my first glimpse of what magic really is. I would like to here share this knowledge, and hopefully assist some whose knowledge is still, as mine once was, bounded by a single sphere.
I will start with a description of each individual sphere, since it is an undeniable fact there are some spheres of which practitioners of magic lack even the most basic of knowledge. I'll then proceed to an description of how the spheres inter-relate, and how knowledge of any one sphere only is really no knowledge of magic at all.
In game terms, proficiency in a sphere is determined by one's rating in that sphere, judged on a scale of 0 (no skill) to 10 (mastery). All Hearthstones have been taught the rudiments, at least, of every sphere, and so have at least a 1, but other NPCs will most likely not have any proficiency in a sphere.
Each spell belongs to a particular sphere, and has a level rating within that sphere. A spell of a given level in a given sphere may only be learnt by someone of that level in that sphere. Some spells will require proficiency in more than one sphere, in which case both requirements must be fulfilled before that spell can be learnt. That spell still belongs only to one sphere; it merely has an additional pre-requisite.
Spells can be learnt by various means, most notably by reading spell books. Each book contains one spell. A character who lacks the required skill in the necessary spheres cannot learn the spell. However, a character will always be able to determine the name of the spell, its sphere, and a brief (and not necessarily accurate) description of its effects. Of course, all this assumes that the character can speak the language in which the book is written.
Casting spells often requires a certain degree of preparation, and therefore time. A Fast-Cast spell is a spell which can be cast with un-preparedness and haste (usually allowing it to be cast in combat), but which suffers in doing so. The detriment of Fast-Casting is different with every spell. There are also some spells which are actually designed for combative purposes; these, obviously, suffer no drawback for being cast quickly and during combat. They are designated by the word COMBAT.
A sphere is raised as per any other stat; every other level, a stat can be raised, and if you so choose, that stat could be a magical sphere. However, there is one stipend specific to spheres. Once a character has attained a level 5 proficiency in a sphere, for every level thereafter he must first attain a specific amount of knowledge before he can attain that level. This knowledge is expressed in terms of the spells he has already learned. Count up the level total of all of his spells of that sphere, a level 1 spell counting for 1 point, and so on in a rather obvious manner. This number is then his learning total for that sphere. To attain level 6 in a sphere, a learning total of 20 is required, and this is incremented by 20 for every level thereafter, so gaining the tenth level would required a total of 100 learning in that sphere. It is therefore very difficult to completely master a sphere.
Below will be covered, in slight detail, all the spheres, their alternate names, and all the spells which fall under them. They are written from the perspective of an learned outsider, though most spheres would of course not allow any outsider intimate knowledge of their higher level spells.
With every spell is written a description, one of the stats required to effect it (ROLL), and a difficulty (DIFF.). A spell may also have the identifier FAST-CAST or COMBAT attached to it; these are both covered above. If the spell is a Combat spell, it might well have a DMG identifier as well, which states the likely damage to be dealt. To determine if a spell succeeds, two statistics are combined and rolled against a certain difficulty. Every spell rolls its particular sphere + a stat given by ROLL, against the DIFF. listed. For more detail on rolling, see the Rolling Dice page.
Many types of what may be considered magic are not covered above. Indeed, many believe that the entire idea of spheres is defunct; they argue that it is merely an unnecessary system of classification rather than representative of any sort of tangible lines along which the realms of magic may be drawn. Whether spheres are the essence of magic, or merely a system for classifying it, is, however, a question which it is not the purpose of this writing to answer. Still, a brief note on what is by some called magic, but does not fit into any of the above categories, may be useful.
Telekinesis, telepathy, pyrokinesis, and the like are not generally considered to fall under any sphere. There are spells which mimic their effects, but these powers themselves are more properly innate mental faculties than learned magical abilities. Still, some argue that the exclusion of the term 'magic' to those capacities which can be studied is false.
Faith is considered by some a type of magic; some even argue that it should be considered the eighth sphere, though both of these viewpoints would, of course, often be considered blasphemous by those who possess that Faith. Unfortunately, Faith is difficult to study because its practitioners are often, even more than jealous of its secrets, unaware of its existence; generally, they see its effects as the work of God or of gods, not of themselves (which may be valid). Still, Faith can allow for some amazing things, often things far beyond the scope of the traditional spheres. It is unknown what affect the practitioner's particular religion can have on the effect, degree, and nature of Faith magic, but thus far there does not seem to be any prevalence of Faith magic in any particular religion.
The Oriental philosophies have their own brand of magic which does not seem to submit well to the traditional organization of Occidental magic, as the Oriental has an holistic approach centred not around the individual magician and his knowledge of spells but rather on his position relative to other, exterior powers. Mages have tried, with varying degrees of success, to qualify these Oriental magicks in the Occidental sphere system, but such fits ultimately seem forced and unnatural. This leads some to speculate that the organization and realization of magic is based on regional or cultural variables, or even that it is merely a practical convention and has no parallel whatsoever in the true world of magic. While evidence to support this view is growing, it is far from accepted among most magicians, and I'll speak no more of it now.
Magic Mechanics § Spells § Animism § Cabbala § Chaos Magic § Metempsychosis § Necromancy § Sympathetic Magic
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