OldMagic

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This page includes old lore! It is no longer relevant to the current Verdict storyline

To be a magician in the world of Verdict is akin to being a scientist in a more modern one. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule- sorcerer-esque individuals exist, who draw upon naught but natural talent- but most who manage these great feats are those who've studied and practiced all their lives. After the Void Crisis, this changed drastically, and not necessarily for the better. The increased influence of the Patron Spirits caused a swell of magical ability in nigh-all of humanity. Regardless of whether or not someone draws on their wisdom or their spiritual connection for power, however... one thing is certain: magic is a volatile tool for both good and evil.

The Nature of Magic[edit]

It'd be incorrect to say that magic is omnipresent throughout the Planescape, as it simply isn't. However, that isn't to say that magic is impossible in the universe; quite the opposite, in fact. Magic is borne of the five Aspects, firstly. The five Aspects are pieces of the five elements present throughout the planes, and Mana, which most living things have at least some regenerating portion of, can be thought of as a neatly-packed box of said Aspects. It contains a decent chunk of each, and to cast magic is to unravel this packaging and construct a spell from the contained Aspects.

It's worth mentioning that this process isn't always for the best, as a firebolt would obviously use up far more of the Fire Aspect, Ignis, than any of the other four. The result is plenty of waste that, simply put, doesn't get recycled well. That being said, it's very difficult for even adept mages to accumulate enough of these consequences for it to matter. This is called Backlash, and is only rarely observed in the most boisterously unstable of archmages. Spirits, at least as far as humans have thus seen, are seemingly incapable of suffering said Backlash.

Spellcasting[edit]

Casting magic is inherently a dangerous thing. It is opening up your body and your soul to the primordial forces that comprise existence to try and reshape them at your behest. A common analogy taught to young mages is that casting a spell without the proper training and tools is like trying to make a snow golem in the middle of a blizzard with their bare hands. In ancient times only a rare few could ever touch the powers of creation and reshape and mold existence as the Spirits did before the Void Crisis. Now their gift lies out in the open, available to any who would reach out and seize it. Little remains of that age's spellcasters; the majority of their mysticism and their designs were lost in the apocalypse. Some of the traditions that they followed and the tools that they used to mitigate the consequences of magic however remain. Each school of magic addresses the key problems that caster's face trying to do their art in a different way: where does their power come from, how do they shape it, and how do they deal with the consequences?

In the beginning magic was a boon given to those favored followers of the Spirits who had earned their blessing. It was not so much an acquired skill like it is now. Instead it was a true blessing where the boundaries of their flesh and the world around them were eroded, permitting them to touch the worlds as the Spirits did. These early Weavers did not have the same flexibility that casters do now: instead they had to hunt and peck across the world for magical energy to fuel their works, often settling down in the rare locations where Mana lay in abundance for a Weaver to tap. Some few others drew directly from the minute amounts of excess energy their own souls produced rather than stalk the land for the smallest trace of power to harvest. The abundance of magical energy in the Void keeps modern Weavers from having to bind themselves to sacred sites and sacrifice themselves in this fashion. Instead of those archaic methods a Weaver can now often find the Mana their spells need everywhere in the eternal darkness around them.

The act of shaping a spell varies drastically between the schools. There are three dominant methods that survived the destruction of the Void Crisis. Signers cast through their performances where each movement forms an elaborate runic symbol that stitches their spell into being. Masqueraders cast by disassociating with their own identities and echoing the Spirits who shaped creation, mimicking them so they might imitate the act of creation. Temporary school does temporary things. What a Weaver can feasibly accomplish with their magic is retrained by several universal laws that no spellcaster has yet been able to break. Those laws are the ones that govern Aspects and their manipulation as well as three more: the Law of Conjuration, the Law of Restraint, and the Law of Backlash. The act of creating out of Mana and breaking it down into the raw Aspects to work with is infinitely easier than trying to change and destroy complicated substances. Instead using raw energy to create something out of nothing is perhaps the easiest way for a Weaver to cast. The Law of Restraint is so named for a caster's inability to easily work their magic on other people. Any creature bearing Detria is more difficult for a mortal caster to work their magic on.

Just as an artist stains their hands with clay and paint a Weaver stains their flesh and soul with the spells they cast. Magic is a messy art. A Weaver cannot work with the primal stuff of the universe without dirtying themselves in the process. To weave a fireball a Weaver must work with their own flesh or some intermediary instrument; it is inevitable in the process that the magic they work with will end up embroiled in their own skin or tools. This process, called Backlash, slowly warps and possibly even kills unprotected spellcasters. Weavers usually stop this process by using their tools to cast just as a painter might wear gloves to keep the hues of their palette off their hands. Others make mutually beneficial pacts with Spirits to bare the brunt of the Backlash for them. A scant few casters choose to pay the price alone and without the protection of tools and Spirits.

Traditional[edit]

The most common implements used in casting magic are tomes, wands, and staves, with no respect to order given. They individually represent a unique style of traditional casting, mind, but ultimately achieve a very similar goal: channeling magic through an intermediary focus to amplify its strength. Tomes are associated with wisdom and experience from age. Wands are associated with haste and quick wits. Lastly, staves are- as the most popular choice- associated with potency, strength, and confidence.

Weaving[edit]

Weaving is, in truth, not so much a method of casting as it is the cultural belief surrounding casting. Those who practice magic will undoubtedly cross paths with at least the concept of Weaving. In short, it is the understanding that to cast magic is to "edit" the Tapestry in a sense, and thus to practice Weaving is to show respect to this fact. Many believe this to be a sort of magic-centric religion, wherein the goal is to maintain a healthy balance between self-promotion and environmental consciousness.

Maskcasting[edit]

Some mages would opt to fixate upon folklore, tradition, and history rather than modernity and lexiconic memory. Those who follow this path often arrive at Maskcasting, which entails donning the (imagined) visage of an ancient figure as a magical implement. This takes time, of course- often as much as it'd take to study the utilization of a spell with any wand or staff- but ultimately results in incredibly potent magics resembling that of said ancient figure. This art is one without precision or nuance, but with great ancestral devotion.

The Three Basic Laws[edit]

1. It is impossible to change the basic five aspects. While it is possible to combine and separate them from more complex substances, it is impossible to break them down further for they are the basic building blocks of reality.

2. It is easier to create than destroy. Combining aspects to create new and more complex substances is easier than separating a pre-existing one.

3. spirit detria restrictions ( add onto this later, need more information )

Elements & Hybrids[edit]

As mentioned above, there are five Aspects- one for each element: Fire, Earth, Water, Wind, and Essence. Generally speaking, mages will attribute themselves to at most two of these elements, fixating their lives on practicing each to their very core. In exceptional cases, though, especially powerful and skillful wizards have been found capable of mixing these Aspects and elements in unique and strange ways. Many combinations sputter out uselessly, but some produce absolutely incredible feats of magical ability. Nature is a particularly decent example, which draws on the caster's Mana to accelerate natural growth. Gravity, too, is quite fascinating; one can alter the pressure of air by combining the inherent manipulations of Wind magic with the density-altering properties of Earth magic.

By the time of the Void Crisis, nearly all ordinary elemental combinations- now deemed "Hybrids"- had been hashed out between the archmages of humanity's millennia. Each wields a primary element and a secondary element, with the primary attributed roughly two-thirds of the Hybrid's form.

  • Fire +
    • Earth =
      • Magma
    • Water =
      • Steam
  • Earth +
    • Water =
      • Nature
    • Wind =
      • Gravity
  • Water +
    • Wind =
      • Ice
    • Essence =
      • Body
  • Wind +
    • Fire =
      • Lightning
    • Essence =
      • Sound
  • Essence +
    • Earth =
      • Crystal
    • Fire =
      • Light