Magic in Feyworld
Most scholars of magic agree that there are five sources of magic, known as Emanations. Though these sources of magic are discrete, each Emanation interacts with all other Emanations to create a separate (though generally weaker) sort of magic referred to as Paths. For example, Hermetic Magic relies on mathematical interpretation that allows the practitioner to access power of the Astral plane and Divine Magic allows a practitioner’s faith to channel magic from the gods while a combination of the two Emanations results in Astrologic Magic, the ability to use Astral and Divine power to more deeply understand the hold fate has on the mundane world.
Each Emanation and Path has a corresponding Limiting Skill. This represents a basic Skill that a caster of each type should be familiar with in order to cast spells and spell skills cast under that Emanation or Path are limited by the base skill of the Limiting Skill. For example, the Limiting Skill for Divine Magic is Theology (p. B226), so any spell cast by a Divine Caster is limited by base skill level in Theology.
The ability to wield magic is available only to a select few, typically inherent in the individual, not something that can be learned. An individual may not realize his ability until later in life and the ability to wield magic is rarely useful without studying or training in how to use it (though many with the innate ability that do not learn how to use it may manifest powers unexpectedly). Only about 1 in 100 people are capable of channeling magical energies of any sort and many of those never receive the training necessary to fully develop their powers. About half of those capable of performing magic can only tap into the power of a Path, while the rest are able to directly access one or more Emanations. Of those who have the ability to access an Emanation, around 20% are able to use Hermetic magic, 40% are able to use Divine magic, 25% can use Nature magic, 10% have an aptitude for Songweaving and only 5% are able to use Sorcery.
Emanations of Magic
There are five known Emanations of Magic, each with a difference source that practitioners draw upon for their abilities, including spells. There is some debate over which Emanation is most powerful (each scholar tends to have his own bias) and some dispute whether all five Emanations are actually discrete or if some may be aspects of one another.
Limiting Skill: Mathematics (p. B207)
Hermetic magic derives its power from the concept that the world was created on a mathematical basis that can be affected by understanding those mathematical traits and manipulating them. Hermetic magic focuses on the interaction of the four basic elements (Air, Earth, Fire and Water), illusion and the rational processes of the mind. Hermetic magic relies on a connection with the impersonal Astral energies that flow through throughout all reality.
Places of Hermetic power are known as Nodes, immovable locations in the world where connections to Astral energies are most powerful. The vast majority of Nodes have been adopted by and are defended by a powerful wizard who usually constructs his home around it.
Practitioners of Hermetic magic are generally called Mages and Wizards. Mages tend to be a scholarly and highly ordered individuals, spending decades researching the minutia of Hermetic magic deep inside a guild library. Some few mages, however, prefer to live solitary lives well away from the distractions of society.
Limiting Skill: Theology (p. B226)
Divine magic derives from the power of the Gods themselves, who grant this Entitial energy directly to their devout worshipers capable of channeling such energies. The focus of Divine magic varies depending on the deity granting the power, but usually depends heavily on ritual and/or prayer… only the most devout receive the blessings of the gods, who will only grant their grace when properly called upon.
Places of Divine power are called Hallows and are sanctified either through the prayers of the faithful or by a particularly devout action or event associated with a deity or group of deities. Unlike Nodes, Hallows can be created and often must be maintained through periodic prayer or reaffirmation. A Hallow ignored will fade in power over time, eventually fading altogether (though particularly powerful Hallows may take decades or even centuries to fade entirely).
Priests and Clerics, those who can tap into Divine energies, tend to be somewhat scholarly in nature, though their intellectual pursuits are tempered by a deep faith.
Limiting Skill: Musical Composition (p. B210)
Songweaving derives its power from the spoken (or, more often, sung) word and the creation of music. It is based on the concept that reality came into existence when some entity first spoke, the first tone was created. Songweaving tends to focus on evoking emotions, either in others or using the emotions of the practitioner to affect reality. It is believed that all things, great and small, carry a Harmonic Resonance that can be affected by the practitioner.
Songweaving does not have places of power like other Emanations, though a group of Songweavers can work in conjunction to create a Tapestry from which an individual practitioner can call upon the power of the Emanation. Tapestries are ephemeral at best, usually dissipating as soon as the practitioners have ceased to sing.
Limiting Skill: Cosmology
Sorcery is the study of the architecture of reality and its power derives from the manipulation of its structure. Sorcerers believe that Creation was an act of Will and that a proper application of Will can change the architecture of Creation to the practitioner’s desire. Ritual, study and patterns are important to Sorcerers, but only inasmuch they serve to focus the Will appropriately in manipulating not only how the mundane world works, but creating bridges between the mundane world and other worlds beyond.
Sorcerers have the External Sources Only (External Energy Only) Special Limitation (Thau p.24). To be able to cast, they must be within the bounds of a Source of Power, borrow energy from others or from familiars. Needless to say, familiars are commonly associated with Sorcerers for this very reason.
Gates are the primary places of Sorcerous power, whether they are created by a Sorcerer’s actions or “naturally” occurring in the fabric of the cosmos (though most Sorcerers believe that even these ‘naturally’ occurring Gates were created by some unknown Will). Unlike other places of power, Gates aren't so much ‘regions’ of magical energy as they are defined openings through which a Sorcerer can more easily exert his will.
Unlike other practitioners, Sorcerers can also access the power places of other Emanations. The theory is that places of power are, by their very existence, ripples in the fabric of existence through which a Sorcerer can more easily manipulate the cosmos as it is aligned in that area. Depending on how the place of power is manipulated, a Sorcerer could potentially taint or even destroy that place of power if he exerts his Will there in such a way that is anathema to the Emanation.
For example, a Sorcerer who has gained access to a Hallow can more easily construct a Gate and summon an otherworldly servitor of the deity the place is Hallowed to, binding that servitor to his Will. This sort of sacrilege would likely taint the Hallow, decreasing its power, and, if the servitor is powerful enough, may destroy the Hallow altogether.
Practicing Sorcery is generally prohibited in most cultures. Sorcerers tend to practice their art in secret and, when discovered, are generally hunted and destroyed by other sorts of practitioners. In some areas, even the study of Sorcery is considered dangerous. While not all Sorcerers are necessarily “evil,” the practice of Sorcery tends to be viewed as “Dark Magic” and its practitioners are often executed for no other crime than studying their Art.
Limiting Skill: Naturalist (p. B211)
Nature magic relies on guiding the power of the natural world. Practitioners believe that magical power lies in all living things and that all of existence is subject to its power, whether a god, a man, a rock or even the tiniest of mites. Some practitioners of this Emanation refer to it as the concept of Chaos, referencing a mystical force that existed even before Creation and from which the cosmos was created.
Natural places of power take the form of Ley Lines, which are viewed as rivers, roads or ridges of Natural power through which a Natural practitioner can more easily encourage Nature to move to his desires. Places where Ley Lines actually cross are called Convergences. Practitioners of Natural magic believe that life and, thus, existence itself is stronger at these Convergences and that even unattuned beings can unconsciously ‘sense’ the power in these places, or else the power in these places leads unattuned beings to be greater. Druids will sometimes construct great moments of stone, called Henges, at these Convergences to mark and guard them.
Paths of Magic
Limiting Skill: Alchemy (p. B174-5)
Alchemy is the study of the transformation of matter. Though most consider Alchemy to purely concern itself with the brewing of transformational potions, the Path also concerns itself with the transformation of metals. The end goal of most schools of alchemy is discovering the process by which one can transform the very soul of the practitioner, perhaps even uncovering the secrets of immortality.
The Alchemical Path is a combination of the Emanations of Hermetic Magic and Songweaving and is viewed by its practitioners as a blending of the rational and the emotional mind that transforms being into a cohesive whole. Its practioners are generally known as Alchemists.
Limiting Skill: Thaumatology (p. B255)
Apotropaism is generally the ability to avert bad luck, though practitioners understand its focus is to abjure the magical ability of others and protect against creatures not aligned to the natural world (demons, fey, angels and even, some whisper, the gods themselves).
The Apotropaistic Path relies on the combination of the Emanations of Sorcery and Divine Magic. Though most Abjurers align themselves with beneficent forces to protect the mundane world, Apotropaistic magic functions just as well against benign magic as it does against the malign.
Limiting Skill: Fortune-Telling (Astrology) (p. B196)
Astrology is the practice of understanding the hold fate has on the mundane world by studying correlations between the celestial and mundane events. Though most consider it merely a means to divine one’s future, Astrology also concerns itself with past events and the exceptional Astrologer can determine a great deal of information on ages past by extrapolating information based on known dates of births, deaths and major events.
Practitioners of the Astrologic Path are known as Astrologers and rely on a combination of the Emanations of Hermetic Magic and Divine Magic. They generally believe fate is fixed and unchangeable, with the past and the future etched into the movements of the sun and moon against the backdrop of the fixed and movable stars.
Limiting Skill: Fortune-Telling (Augury) (p. B196)
Divination is the study of signs and portents of what may be or what is likely to be. Unlike Astrology, Divination is based on the idea that fate is not fixed and can be changed with sufficient foreknowledge of events and will to change those events.
Divinatory magic is a combination of the Emanations of Divine Magic and Songweaving and is seen as the expression of Divine Will upon the Tapestry of the universe. Practitioners of the Divinatory Path are known as Diviners.
Limiting Skill: Symbol Drawing (p. B224)
Enchantment is the ability to imbue physical objects with magical force that can improve the natural abilities of an object or confer magical ability on the wielder of that object. Practitioners of the Enchantment Path view their ability as a combination of Purpose and Power. The basic idea is that each crafted item is imbued with a Purpose (a sword is meant to kill, a shield is meant to defend, a wagon is meant to carry) that Enchanters can enhance by weaving magical energy into the tapestry of the object. Additionally, objects can be imbued with Power, wherein they can hold Spells or magical abilities of other Emanations in stasis until called upon by the wielder (usually through a spoken command word).
Practitioners of the Enchantment Path are known as Enchanters. Enchantment relies on a combination of the Emanations of Nature Magic and Songweaving, though it can interact with any Path or Emanation when imbuing an object with Power, even one the Practitioner does not have access to (though such requires the assistance of a practitioner who does).
Limiting Skill: Herb Lore (p. B199)
Herbalism relies on enhancing the natural properties of plants to enhance the body’s processes. Though often medicinal in nature, Herbalism can be used to enhance the body’s destructive processes as easily as it can be used to heal. While other sorts of Practitioners may use specific plants as a focus to channel their magical operations, Herbalists empower a plant’s existing properties to enhance their effects.
Limiting Skill: Ghost Lore or Expert Skill (Thanatology) (p. B193-4)
Mediumship is the ability to communicate with the spirits of the dead. Often, it is used to discover secrets, access wisdom from beyond or, in the case of an unquiet spirit, calm the deceased and help them find their way to Rhadamanthus for judgement.
Practitioners of Mediumship are called Mediums. Mediumship draws on the Emanations of Sorcery and Songweaving. Practitioners view the Path as using the spoken word and strength of emotion to more naturally thin the barrier between this world and the Ethereal plane, through which the spirits of the dead can communicate. Because of its association with Sorcery, Mediumship is generally considered dangerous, at best, to practice, as some dark forces can use the conduit created to enter the mundane world through the medium. Despite this danger, Mediums are rarely prohibited outright, even if they are often ostracized for meddling in matters many consider best left alone.
Limiting Skill: Meditation (p. B207)
Mysticism is the study of the affect magical forces have on the natural world. Of all the Paths, Mysticism is the most versatile. Mystics can observe and interact with magic from Emanations and other paths. This includes imbuing crystals and rocks with some small amount of mana to create an effect, interaction with and control of natural (non-human) spirits and utilizing their understanding of how magic interacts with their bodies to achieve certain alignments of mind, body and spirit. They can also interpret dreams and consider dreaming to be an interaction between the soul and a distinct realm of Dreams, where Chaos is given form, however fleeting. It is said that some Practitioners can even attune themselves so as to separate their body from their soul and travel in the spirit world and, perhaps, even to planes even more remote in the search for wisdom or knowledge.
Limiting Skill: Expert Skill (Thanatology) (p. B194)
Necromancy is the art of forcing the spirit or soul into a deceased corporeal form. Though originally used as something of a means to communicate with the dead, Necromancy is also used to animate corpses, ostensibly to serve the Practitioner. Proficient users can even restore (or force) sentience to a corpse, creating ghouls and wights. The ultimate expression of Necromancy is the ability to become a liche, vastly extending the practitioner’s existence with his mind more or less intact, though in a rotting, undead form.
Practitioners of Necromancy are known as Necromancers. Necromancy relies on a combination of the Emanations of Sorcery and Nature Magic. Needless to say, the practice of Necromancy is reviled in most civilized and savage cultures alike, perhaps even moreso than the practice of Sorcery itself.
Limiting Skill: Occultism (p. B212)
Witchcraft, also known as the “Left-Hand Path” by other Practitioners (because it is often depicted as to the left of Hermetic Magic in diagrams), is the study of curses, corruption and demonology. Unlike other Paths and Emanations, the ability to use Witchcraft is not an accident of birth. Practitioners must negotiate a Pact with a Demon or Devil wherein they offer up their soul, collectible at a later date, in return for the ability to wield demonic powers. This is, essentially, a corrupt and debased version of the connection between the gods and Divine Practitioners.
Practitioners of Witchcraft are known as Witches, Warlocks (depending on their gender) and Diabolists. Witchcraft draws on a combination of of Hermetic Magic and Sorcery, through a spiritual connection with the Practitioner’s Infernal Master. Needless to say, Witchcraft is reviled in most regions and even Sorcerers tend to view their cousins as pathetic creatures deserving of their eventual fate.
|This article is part of the Feyworld Sourcebook|
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