Good Morning, neophytes ~
I am your instructor, the one and only Magus Alesia de Botton!
Today, we are going to go over the basic aspects of Magic and Spellcraft.
First, the schools of Magic courtesy of D20 Open gaming and the Open Gaming License::
Evocation is a school that manipulate energy. IT IS THE BEST. It is also the most commonly awakened school of Spellcraft. Due to this fact, we become the mainstay of the citizen-soldiers, wielding spells of fire, earth, water, and more exotic elements such as lightning or radiance. As Evokers grow, we become more specialised in their elemental affinity, taking up specialist equipment and enchantments, attunement and contracts. In the popular eye, the Evoker is the archetype Mage, the spell slinging, fireball blasting Sorcerer of yore, tapping into and drawing limitless power from the elemental planes. Yea for Evokers!
Next are Abjuration casters. These guys weave spells that protect, block or banish. An Abjurer is a common but highly sought after profession. They were the mainstay of the protective barrier shells that shielded Human cities. An Abjurer possesses the special ability to also utilises restoration spells and a number of AOE combat buffs. Specialists in this field typically contracted elementals of earth, ice, and water, with exceptional individuals possessing more exotic quasi-elementals.
Conjuration is a school that materialises creatures or materials for the Mage, also called a Summoner. A Conjurer is a one-man army when trained to a sufficient tier of proficiency. Through contracting magical creatures, Conjurers gain life-long companions that grow with the Summoner in power. Due to this advantage, it is not uncommon for Summoners to become several magnitudes more powerful than Mages of equal tier. The disadvantage of Conjuration is the persistent mana drain caused by most of its sustained effect spells. Certain Conjurers choose to focus upon the summoning of items or beings. These valuable individuals are responsible for the Teleportation Circles around the cities.
Divination is a school that reveals information, highly prized for their cognisant abilities in detection and foretelling. Many diviners go on to become telecommunication specialists, becoming key intelligence and strategist operatives that served a number of roles. Other schools of Divination focused on disaster deterrence, by reading the threads of time and fate. Despite their lack of offensive capabilities, it is said that the most influential Magi on the U.N Security Council is the Oracle of the Acropolis. Though the Divination school has no preference for elemental afflictions, it is a school that synergies well with subsequent studies of other schools. Many Diviners go on to become Magus or Magister. Remember, if you are caught using Divination for nefarious purposes like spying on girl's showers, you'll go to prison and get assaulted!
The school of Enchantment remains the most difficult and expensive to train of all schools. Capable of imbuing items and buildings with protection, strengthening items and imbuing persist phenomena - enchanters are essential to humanity’s existence. The world's most successful manufatoriums are all operated by skilled Enchanters. Unlike regular Mages, enchanters seek specifically the mastering of additional schools such as Transmutation or Abjuration for the creation of magical items. A dangerous school within-a-school of Enchanters are those whose abilities allow them to control, manipulate, and glamour the minds of others. These Mages are closely watched by government forces, and the misuse of mind-altering effects on others could lead to stasis imprisonment or banishment.
Illusion is the school of Mirage, the altering of perceptions to create false visions. Many Illusionists go on to become involved in espionage if they choose the path of the militant. Many others, however, have chosen to be involved in the media, creating spectacles for adoring audiences, crafting impossible scenarios, and even becoming superstars in their own right for their creativity and passion. Illusion spells which deal damage attack the mind directly, creating what is known as psychic attacks. Likewise, aftereffects vary by spell and intent.
Transmutation is an unusual school in that it changes the caster and the objects they touch, manipulating the properties in powerful ways. Yours truly is a Transmuter herself. In the greater world, Transmuters become builders, architects and creators, working hand-in-glove with Enchanters. In combat, some transmuters choose to specialise in manipulating life itself, changing plants, creatures, and even themselves to become deadly and proficient in the art of war. It is said that Transmuters posses the most versatile school of all, and enjoyed the most lauded status after that of Evokers. As I am both a Transmuter and an Evoker, my Fire spells enjoy the benefit of being shaped! Whilst my Transmutation spells have the power of my Evocation blasts! Huzzah!
Then we have Necromancy.
The dreaded School of Necromancy was banned after WWI following the Geneva Convention. Currently, the school is studied only by sects that are authorised by the U.N, having proven that the study of souls and the afterlife is intimately connected to beliefs of faith, culture, and religion. The irony of the matter is that Necromancy is most likely the most ancient school of magic that exists. Dating back to the Egyptian Pharaohs, in an age when man first uncovered magic. As such, it is more specific to say that the summoning, raising, and animation of the death is strictly forbidden, as much of the world was turned into ash and cinder following The Great War with the No-Life Kings of Middle Europe. So remember kids! Stay away from Necromancy! Life Drain, not even once!
Finally, other schools of magic likely exist but were out of reach of the common man. These include various forms of item deification, ancestral worship, old world shamanism, naturalism, animalism, and so forth. By the same measure, rumours about of humans learning the magic of monsters, magical beings, and demi-humanoids. These are seldom taught or learned in Frontier Human cities though.
Now, let's look at where all your mana goes to get super charged into spells.
After activation by one's Sigils, the pure mana taps into the Elemental Gates within your body - everybody has one - to manifest the phenomenon. Usually, everyone has just one element, certainly, this is true for 99% of the Mages out there, but you never know what you'll run into out there in the wild, wide world.
Hence - the elements:
The Primary Elements of the Material Plane are what astrologists suggest the material plane is made from. It is the very stuff of existence itself, existing in perfect harmony. It is suggested that when a Mage is attuned to a certain element, it is because that element is present within their body.
To be perfectly honest, we in the tier 2 cities don't have too much interest in that kind of existential theory - we're busy just trying to survive.
Oh, what's that? Am I from a tier 1 city? Of course not, who am I, Gunther Shultz? What's that? Did I go to university? Yeah, I did. I went to University of hard knocks called the Coral Sea War! How's that for a graduation?
Look, stop interrupting me, let me continue.
[Pouts sulkily, plays with hair before flitting it backwards with a flourish]
The Positive Plane is obviously a place of life, it is where the healers draw their power to heal and mend your broken bodies. The undead is afraid of this energy, and we should be too. Too much positive power without the ability to channel it and you know what you get? Strange mutations, cancer, weird tumours, its a pretty dangerous element. There's always danger in having too much of a good thing, just like foie gras.
Negative Energy is the other side of the coin, where positive is life, negative is death. The Undead are closely tethered to this plane, drawing their undead lifeforce from this domain. When creatures with life use energy from this plane, they suffer what we call negative drain - or just straight up loss of lifeforce and vitality. In the old days, the Mage world saw this as just another source of power. After WWI, we knew better. There are no elements with a worse rep. Trust me.
The next four are common so I shall take the liberty of glossing over them.
Earth is one of the most useful and common elements seen in Human Mages, it is the element responsible for most of our industry, mining for Mana Crystals, building our cities, and so on. The Air element is as it suggests, a place of air, space, the stuff we breathe. Fire is another common element Mages manifest in. After all, is it not said that Fire was stolen from the Gods themselves? Well, I certainly felt like I stole something from the Gods. With fire, man has created many useful tools and beaten back the tides of monstrous creatures. Finally, Water is just as important as Air, after all, did not the Magi John Baptiste proclaim the Waters of Life in Revelations 21:6?
Of the four core elements, Earth and Fire are most common, whilst Air is the rarest of primary elements. Water is exceptionally common among coastal communities.
Next, we have the Parallel Elements of Nature, also know as Para-elementals.
Of these, the most common element is Ice, a useful element that creates immense drops in temperature - being a combination of Air and Water. Ice is capable of slowing your enemies, as well as providing good defence and offence capabilities. It's pretty much useless against someone like me so I don't really know what it really does, that's what they tell me anyway.
Ooze is a stranger element, exceptionally rare and virtually non-existent outside of, especially isolated bloodlines. Ooze Mages are specialists, pending on their school, with spells that focus on entrapment, debilitation, poison, and other strange and mysterious effects. A speciality of the Ooze Conjurer is the ability to summon the creatures that exist within that element plane - oozes. It is said that some oozes are virtually indestructible except by Mages tiers above their summoner's levels. Ooze, if you were wondering, is the combination of Water and Earth. I had to fight an ooze Mage once and let me tell you, Oozes, people, you get 'em hot enough and they boil all the same.
The Magma Mage is truly unique indeed, being a rare combination of Fire and Earth. Exceptionally rare, these Mages are typically found where there are volcanic islands or fjords. We still know very little about this class of Mages, but sufficient to say, their power combines the physical prowess of the Earth Mage, with the damage potential of the Fire Mage. Truly a power that is frightening to the extreme. Man, what I'd give to be a Magma Mage, the best of both worlds!
Finally, we have Smoke, the marriage of Air and Fire. This is an element that is said to only exist in legend. In fact, in all my years, I have only known a single Smoke Mage. We really don't know what they specialise in. One can assume that whatever they do, we'll know cuz they vape.
Now, let us discuss the stranger elements of what occurs when the Positive and Negative elements interfere with the Primary Elements.
These are the rarest and most coveted abilities of sorcery and Spellcraft.
One element with has rarety on par with Magma is the quasi-element of Mineral. This is a distinct source of power that takes its capabilities from the form of mineral that the caster is attuned to. As such, it creates extremely distinct abilities that differ from Mage to Mage. A Mage capable of summoning volcanic stones, for instance, would create obsidian barriers which are brittle and fragile, but by the Gods, their offensive power is nothing to scoff at, capable of shredding General class magical creatures to shreds.
What's that? You over there, what did you say? Alesia, have you ever seen, you know, a Diamond Mage?
I am fairly sure they don't exist, but if they do, they would be my best friend.
Then we have the power of Zeus himself, the mainstay of Thorian Priests of Norway fame. Lightning! The power to harness the most concentrated force in nature. Existing between the Air and Positive Elemental planes, Lighting is the most penetrative of all element due to its electrical nature. It can cause stun and paralysis as well, in addition to the power to manifest instantly and deliver its payload in a fraction of a second. Lightning Mages are preferably Evokers, Conjurers or Transmuters for it is truly wasted on the other schools.
Likewise, when Positive and Water meet, you get Steam. This is a rare element. Beyond rare. In fact, only a handful of Mages were recorded as having tapped into a Goldilocks' zone where two elements can meet in harmony. What does it do? I must confess that I have no bloody idea. There are worse ways to die than by scalding water so hot that it melts the flesh. Trust me, you can ask Yue the in the front row what happened to the Murlocs.
Finally, we have the element that belongs to Mr Shultz, the Radiant power of Fire and Positive energy. To be frank, this is the power of Light. In theory, it should be useless, too weak to be used offensively, to dispersed to be used defensively. It takes a special Mage, therefore, to change something so immaterial into a powerful projection of power. For my husband to be, he has found a way to concentrate it's power using a combination of Schools, refracting it's power a hundred times over.
What's the spell called? That's a secret, the ones who'd see it are all dead now.
You there, what did you say? Gunther ain't my husband? Well, you want to repeat that? Those who had are all dead now too.
Alright, alright, take a joke. Sheesh.
Finally, there are the big Negative Quasi-elementals.
Ash, a power of fire that rains corrosive ash and dark flames. The most destructive element which exists of all the powers. Ash Mage rarely live long. They are said to be bred especially through sorcery and magic, tortured beings whose every summons of the powers of Ash wreck their bodies with unbelievable pain. We've never seen them amongst humanity. The Demi-humans however, such as the orcs occasionally throw up a rare-spawn that has this power. If you see one, run.
Which brings us to Dust, a strange element indeed. Dust is probably the most stable of the Negative Quasi-elements, next to Salt. It doesn't have any offensive capabilities of its own but enjoys the same corrosive ability drain as Ash. The most annoying part of fighting a Dust Mage is their ability to mute all your elemental damage. It consumes fire, water, air, lightning, even ash. It is said to be the most powerful Abjuration skill next to Mineral Mages.
Salt is likewise a very stable Negative element, with the additional ability to form into a range of crystalline shapes. It's capable of dealing extreme damage to Slimes and Oozes, as well as an assortment of creatures composed mostly of water - which includes us. The desiccation caused by the Salt Mage direction draws out elemental water from the bodies of its enemies. For a full-sized human? A few direct hits and its all over.
Lastly, we have the rarest and strangest of all elements. Void. Truly, I have never seen it myself, only ever heard it in history lessons by my master. What does it represent? Think of it as a place of vast, unending darkness, where strange, forgotten things lurk in the spaces that are darker than black, always hungering, hungering - there's no good, no evil, no light, just a place of nothingness that desires to be made manifest in the material plane, to not be so... empty.
Well, that's about all we have time for.
Next time, we can hopefully pick up our sociology lesson on the dynamics of the Mage world and the NoM world.
[Winks, pulls back hair senusously]