Learning Magic

Magic. The word often falls from the lips of the wise as if the very word itself was a curse. While the young foolishly dream of feeling fireballs launching from their fingertips or soaring through the air on wings of magic, the experienced remember their feelings of disappointment and disillusionment as spells fizzled at their fingertips or failed to work at all. Battle-hardened warriors put their faith in the sword, the spear, and the axe. Weapons such as these, forged of steel by experienced smiths, would rarely fail you in battle, unlike the mysterious and alluring currents of magic. When facing a foe on the field of battle, it’s imperative that your defences hold, that your weapon strikes true.

You must not raise your hand to throw a fireball into the face of your enemy only to see a wisp of smoke before you die or fall forever maimed.

Many who seek to walk the path of magecraft are deterred by the immense effort required to successfully cast even the most minor of spells. Individuals study for hours, days, even years – dedicating their lives to a phenomenon that nearly defies all explanation. Few achieve the ability, and what is the point of it all, they wonder, if even something as minor as a sleep spell will leave you weak in the knees and faint? Assuming the magic even works at all!

Yet, the seductive nature of magic never fails to beguile many to the practice, even if the chances of success are low. They believe that godhood awaits, for those who have seen an archmage on the field of battle know that magic can have a devasting effect on the battlefield. Unlike a lesser mage who would only be capable of minor feats of entertainment, archmages are capable of weaving intricate enchantments. They wield this magic to defend their people with all the power at their disposal or pursue their study field. They are storied as riding mounted atop their trusted steeds into the fray, brandishing magical blades and ancient staves that serve to channel their fierce energies.

Archmages command the fear and respect of others despite their slightly superior attitude. When an experienced mage steps into a warzone, soldiers take note and are heartened at the sight of a critical ally on the battlefield. Allied veterans are thankful for the mystical arts when wielded in their favour – and they scatter before the might of enemy magicians.

Very few mages reach the archmage status due to the complexities involved in casting spells. This appendix provides extra details for each mage rank sorted with the lowest level first.

Mage Ranks

Initiate

Individuals embarking on their magical journey are granted the initiate title by their mentor for successfully channelling their art to cast a sleep spell on a lesser creature (such as a mouse). Completing this step confirms that they will have the focus to continue their training. Often students choose a different discipline after experiencing their first spellcasting. They typically fail to generate the magical power or mana to successfully cast their spell.

Many failed attempts at spellcasting still generate value for the student. They often leverage magical power in other fields of work. Magic is used by rogues to reduce their presence or even become invisible. Hunters use magic to bind and heal their animal companions. Holy knights wield light magic to enhance their strikes.

Associate

Once initiates can successfully cast basic evocation spells and have demonstrated the ability to conjure a minor elemental, they are granted the title of associate by their mentor.

Apprentice

To achieve the acknowledgement of their mentors, an associate mage must command conjured elementals, manipulate basic evocation spells into more complex attacks, and provide minor protection magics. At this rank, mages are permitted to research magical specializations. The most popular domains are evocation and conjuration.

Magician

To officially be called a mage or magician, an apprentice must reach level four expertise in a minimum of two magical specializations. Typically, the specializations are evocation and conjuration.

Master Magician

A master magician has achieved rank five expertise in two specializations and rank four expertise in two additional domains. Achieving this level of knowledge usually takes between two and five years. Still, at this rank, mages are permitted to teach lower-ranked students.

Lord Magician

The lord magician title is highly sought-after as it bestows many of the rights and privileges of a feudal lord. A mage must achieve rank six proficiency in four specializations and complete a quest bestowed upon them by the Mage Council. The quest generally involves components of combat, research, and magical development to successfully complete the request. It is estimated that only sixty percent of mages who take on the quest will succeed.

Archmage

Archmages are feared by many as masters of warfare and death. They must have mastered a rank seven specialty, three or more rank six specialties, and completed a ‘master quest’.

Spell Types

In this section, we change our focus from the mage ranks to the various categories of spellcraft.

Evocation

Also known as destruction magic, evocation magic is the focus of all mages. Fireballs, frost bolts, chain lightning, walls of earth… and most of a mage’s main war spells come from the evocation specialization. The exhilarating feeling of a spell hurtling forth from one’s fingertips is as memorable as the screams of those struck down by your spells. Often the cries of the dying will forever haunt the mage who cast the spell.

Yet, evocation magic can be used for more than just destruction. It can be used to build bridges and create safe homes. The dragonkin were masters of using evocation magic to reshape the environment to suit their needs. They forged many great castles out of the rock and stone, fusing the edges and coaxing fantastic shapes out of the earth.

Conjuration

The summoning of spirits or the control of elementals belongs to the school of conjuration magic. Most mages learn to be able to summon and direct an elemental in the element of their choosing. The chosen elemental usually matches their preferred evocation element.

The most common elementals for mages are water, fire, wind, and earth. Priests use elementals of light or shadow. Few souls were brave enough to attempt to summon spirits from the land of the dead.

Restoration

The ability to heal yourself or others falls into the school of restoration magic. Under the influence of restoration magic, wounds knit back together, and blood replenishes itself. Priests and priestesses are the most proficient users of restoration magic and use the healing arts to propagate the words of their gods or goddesses. Their work also generates the significant revenue required to build their places of worship.

No proficiency can heal a mortal wound or restore life to the dead, although necromancy magic comes close.

Illusion

Bringing the shadows to life as demonic apparitions to distract enemies or bending light around oneself to become invisible are feats of magic that illusionists aspire to employ during battle. Otherwise, illusion magic is used to distort one’s senses and provide the rich with entertainment.

While a fireball cast by a mage talented in evocation strikes fear in the hearts of soldiers, a master of illusions can strike true terror in the hearts of all. Instead of a single fireball can become a hailstorm of firebolts striking down from the sky. The land can even appear to be on fire. So powerful the illusions can be on the minds of those afflicted by the illusionists' power that the imaginary wounds become the new reality.

Alchemy

Flasks of volatile mixtures or vials of healing salves displayed prominently by storefronts selling magical wares are formulated and prepared by experienced alchemists. The art of alchemy focuses on mixing spell components to create magical items usable by all.

The darker side of alchemy creates love potions to enslave the minds of romantic targets and provides assassins with their most deadly poisons. The transmutation of copper to gold or similar manipulations of matter is considered the ultimate ability of a master alchemist.

Alteration

The alteration school of magic allows its user to alter reality and lighten a heavy object. The core philosophy of alteration magic is to manipulate a property of an object or entity to meet the success criteria. The most popular usage of alteration magic is to endow things with power. Swords could be given the ability to ignite into a fiery blaze or to cut through stone. The least popular usage of alteration magic is to grant oneself additional strength or other skills due to the enchantments' strain on the body and mind.

Affliction

Illnesses and curses are feared by peasants as a source of misfortune and death. Mages are employed to cause sickness as a form of population control by some of the lords. Curses can be used to cause trouble to families and businesses. A once successes merchant can become a poor pauper at the whims of a talented mage.

Necromancy

Mortals are obsessed with the concept of death and the fear of their own mortality. This leads some mages to experiment with the dead, seeking answers to the mysteries of life. The results are usually a macabre resemblance to the living. Necromancer’s command shuffling skeletons, rotting zombies, and malevolent mummies. The dead are used as servants and warriors by the necromancers.

Necromancers often become liches as they age to circumvent the fear of death.

Demonology

Demons are fierce and powerful, but they can be compelled to obey orders by talented warlocks. Summoning demons is neither trivial nor safe for the summoner. Demons do not wish to be compelled by mortals and will wreak terrible vengeance on the summoner. Once summoned, if the demon manages to break free of the warlocks summoning circle, it will remain in the world to inflict pain and suffering however the demon chooses. Warlocks utilize demons as bodyguards and servants. The ingenuity of demons can surprise many as they seek to circumvent their summoner.

Wizardry

Magic comes in many forms, and wizards and witches are masters of enchantments. Barriers, shields, spell-restricted zones, and enchanted items are common abilities.

Gravity

The study of the laws of attraction is the focus of gravity magic. A gravity mage’s primary abilities are pushing or pulling objects, levitating or flying, and even binding items together.

Time

Time magic is a forbidden power that can be used to manipulate the fabric of reality – a time anomaly is often quoted as the cause of the fall of humanity. Events that are about to happen can be foreseen, and events that have occurred can be undone.

Such power is not without its price. Time magic often consumes those who dare to wield it, either killing them or driving them insane.

Void

Considered the dark opposite of magic fueled by the arcane, void magic is commonly used as the primary form of magic by demons and creatures of the void. It’s generally used to penetrate defensive spells and slaughter any who stand in their way. Void magic has also been used as a form of torture and to control minds or even possess mortals.

Mortal practitioners commonly utilize a form of void magic known as blood magic. Blood magic was initially introduced by an ancient demon named Isabella after granting her human followers immortality in exchange for their service. The followers abused the gift and brought suffering to non-believers causing Isabella to be cursed for her generous gift. Her followers fell from her favour and turned to demons to maintain the gift. This gave birth to the vampires that went on to ravage the world.

Sonic

When used offensively, sonic magic generates violent vibrations through high energy output. These vibrations disrupt regular molecular interactions and can cause matter to negatively react. Proximity to the magics’ area of effect increases the amount of harm sonic spells inflict. Active offensive use of sonic magic is relatively rare. There is no way to defend against sonic attacks. You can try to cancel a sonic attack out with another sonic attack, distance yourself from the sonic magic, or endure it.

Spell Ranks

In this section, we change our focus from spell categories to spell ranks. Spells within a specialization are given a level to categorize their difficulty and efficiency.

Initiate

Minor spells such as emitting flames from one’s hands or creating a small were light that hovers nearby are feats managed by initiate level spells.

Novice

Applying control to spells allows a mage to better direct their energies, transforming an initiate level spell such as flames into a firebolt spell. This allows a mage to use the attack at a greater distance. At the novice level, a firebolt will not travel far, dispersing after several feet.

Apprentice

At the apprentice level, the firebolt spell is finally helpful in battle. It can travel across a battlefield as quickly as a room. A skilled mage is capable of adjusting the firebolts’ path to better strike a foe.

Adept

Transforming a firebolt into a fireball spell is a complex task that is achieved at the adept level. Before mastering the ability to accomplish the distance need in the firebolt spell, the fireball spell would have been too dangerous. The critical difference between the two spells is the explosion or expansion that occurs once the firebolt traverses the targeted distance.

Expert

With the basics of the spell school mastered, a mage can seek new heights in their spell castings. Instead of a single firebolt or fireball, a mage can conjure and direct several at once. Other uses become more readily available, such as barriers made of flame to deter the advance of foes.

Master

Fire no longer holds fear for a mage that has achieved the master level of the element in the evocation specialization. Shaping fire and even wearing it as a cloak to protect themselves is a sign of their mastery.

Sage

To achieve the title of archmage, a mage must achieve sage level mastery of the specialization. Sages can manipulate their spells freely even when the spell is at max power. They can even take it further, granting the spell the appearance of life. The phoenix flames spell shows off their mastery.

Divine

Few mages are capable enough to cast a divine level spell unassisted. This spell casting level requires immense magical strength and unshakable control. Plus, the caster must have complete faith in ones’ mastery of the magic. The penultimate fire spell ‘meteor storm’ is an example of a divine level spell.

Even more terrifying than facing fiery meteors striking down from the heavens is the fear of the ultimate fire spell: dragon’s fury.