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.
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