In the world of Teilequin, a thing called magic flows abundantly, almost akin to a natural resource. Most of the world's denizens can learn to tap into this resource, although their aptitudes will vary significantly. It's even the case that some Races have magic tied into aspects of their biological make up. Suffice it to say, magic is not a rarity, and it is not surprising at all to see it being utilized in various forms and for various purposes. The surprising parts tend to be what a person can do in the furthest extremes of magical exertion, and what such exertion costs.
But first, it would do to provide a more specific definition of magic. In essence, magic is an ethereal, intangible, and normally invisible substance that dwells in and among all living things. While it can be applied to nonliving things, it would not exist within them naturally. It would not be incorrect to think of magic along the same lines as air in its natural state, albeit with something of its own subtle sentience. What differentiates it is what it can become. The practice of using magic is an exertion of will, a desire to enact some form of change or effect in the world around us. Magic is highly responsive to will, and it will oblige if the mental strength behind the intent is strong enough. Of course, it takes more than firm thought to make full use of magic. To change some part of the world, even a small part, will cost something. Nothing is free, and depending on the scale of change you desire, the price can be quite steep. In essence, think of the use of magic as a transaction - to acquire the effect you desire, you must exchange something of roughly equivalent value. Magic itself is the arbiter of the value of what you offer, and it will not react well to attempts at shortchanging.
To offer an example, pretend that you wish to increase your own physical strength so that you can lift a massive boulder blocking your path. You can call upon magic to do this, but that strength has to have come from somewhere. Did you spend the day being unable to lift a pebble until your chosen moment of Herculean might? Or do you move at a snail's pace in exchange for your greater physical force? Either option would allow you your lifting power, but both could leave you vulnerable at a crucial moment.
That particular example is fairly straightforward and blunt, but tapping into magic can lead to many different sorts of transactions. Using magic effectively is about considering the cost of the effect you are trying to produce and finding the right opportunity to pay that cost. What happens if you don't feel like paying the cost, you might ask? Well, magic will take what it is due, whether you want to give or not. Best not to leave it up to magic to decide what it takes.
Principle of SovereigntyEdit
Regardless of what sort of magic a person tries to develop, there is a constant across all the Spheres. The origin point for a magical effect that you are attempting to achieve cannot be set within another individual. In other words, a mage cannot have a black hole suddenly appear in another person's stomach. Everybody in Teilequin has a kind of innate protection from that sort of thing, which has come to be known as Sovereignty. What this means is that if you want to affect another person, your efforts to do so must be external. There is only one exception to this principle, which would be if a person knowingly and willfully allows you to enact magic upon their being.
(You may be wondering about potions and poisons. The origin point of those things would be within the substance being created, not the effect they produce when consumed or injected.)
There are three types of Sovereignty, Greater Sovereignty, Lesser Sovereignty, and Proxy Sovereignty. Greater Sovereignty is the Sovereignty possessed by the sentient races of Teilequin, it is a thin sliver of magic that covers an individual without question. Lesser Sovereignty is possessed by all other living things, it can be overpowered, but offers some protection. Proxy Sovereignty is perhaps the least effective, but most complicated. Proxy Sovereignty is a faint, but effective form of Sovereignty that is itself an extension of Greater or Lesser Sovereignty. The immediate area of things that Greater and Lesser Sovereignty touch have limited Sovereignty themselves in the form of Proxy Sovereignty. This prevents a sword from being yanked away or turned into molten steel while an individual is holding it.
Spheres of MagicEdit
While the Spheres of Magic have vastly different qualities, there are a few aspects which are shared across all of them. First, thematically appropriate sacrifices will dramatically improve the potency of magic. Second, all of them are capable of imparting enchantments onto inanimate objects. Third, the spheres of magic are vast and to even master all of the basics of a single sphere is impressive, the advanced aspects infinitely more so. Regardless, the Spheres of Magic have many applications and there are certainly more outside of combat than within it. As a final note, regardless of aptitude, an individual's magic system can only handle so much strain before it gives out or worse. Delving into three spheres is a mortal's limit, going further is ill-advised.
The Mundus SphereEdit
The Mundus Sphere is comprised of the world's natural elements and their many variations. The elements are fire, water, earth, wind, light, and dark. This sphere is more diverse than most and therefore offers a variety of applications for those that utilize it. This sphere can be found abundantly in nature and when a Mundus Sphere mage is literally within their element, they can quickly become a dangerous force.
The Vita SphereEdit
The Vita Sphere is comprised of the flow and cycle of life. This consists of things like reinforcing and weakening organisms, restoring and sapping vitality, and giving life to the lifeless. This sphere generally has an opposite for any conceived application, and thus it has the potential to heal or hurt. This sphere can be witnessed within its natural form by looking towards things that give life such as the sun and seeds, or in things that take life such as disease or aging.
The Esper SphereEdit
The Esper Sphere is comprised of the mind as well as things unseen. Through this sphere, the mind is capable of doing things remotely and things unseen become less unseen, things such as thoughts, mysteries, and the future. The most common applications of this sphere include Telekinesis, Telepathy, and Fortune Telling. This sphere is unseen within nature, but it is still very much present. It cannot be observed directly but its effects can be, effects such as patterns that lead to a predictable conclusion and objects that focus the mind.
The Praeter SphereEdit
The Praeter Sphere is comprised of things both beside and beyond the natural world. In a word, this sphere is "summoning", and has a surprising variety of applications. Most prominently, spirits may be summoned from the Ethereal Plane and those who utilize this sphere are capable of reverse summoning their own spirits in an act known as Astral Projection. This sphere has no natural occurrences within the Material Plane, but it is omni-present within the Ethereal Plane.
The Gravis SphereEdit
The Gravis Sphere is comprised of the dimensions of space and time. This sphere bends and twists these dimensions to better suit a user's whims (almost always temporarily). The first magic that Gravis mages will typically produce from this sphere is typically either gravity manipulation or a time bubble. This sphere is the very backbone of the Material Plane, but is oddly sparse within the Ethereal Plane.
The Azoth SphereEdit
The Azoth Sphere is comprised of the tiny bonds that hold everything together. These bonds may be captured, removed, or rearranged to transform the properties of one thing into that of another. Potential applications include Alchemy and Transmutation, breaking things down and rebuilding them. This sphere can be found almost everywhere within the material plane, but only in tiny quantities.
The Anti SphereEdit
The Anti Sphere is comprised of magic flowing in reverse. It's primary capacities include the negation and reflection of magic. While it can be overpowered or outsmarted, the function of this sphere is plain and simple. This sphere doesn't occur naturally, and is considered an aberration. Embracing this sphere in any capacity will severe a person's connection with all other spheres of magic.
The Aether SphereEdit
The Aether Sphere is said to be comprised of magic in its purest form. The most basic function that it possesses is the capacity to alter a person's luck. It can do much more than that however, those who utilize this sphere are capable of becoming self-made monarchs or perhaps something even greater. To wield this sphere within a person's internal magic system is absolutely impossible, and to even touch it requires something greater than an individual. Though extremely rare, this sphere does sometimes occur in nature within objects or places that receive great worship.
Enchantments serve a great many purposes within this sacrificial magic system. Because they are a method of instantly using magic without cost (at the time of use), they are very popular. Once something has been enchanted, anyone can use, and thus even those without magical proficiency can enjoy its benefits. An enchantment will fade over time however, and must be reapplied lest the item lose its "charge".
Enchantments come in a great variety of forms and almost anything can be enchanted. That being said, some things hold enchantments better than others, and some things hold certain kinds of enchantments better than others. Mojuu feathers for instance hold enchantments from all spheres of magic quite well. Volcanic rocks on the other hand would hold fire enchantments extremely well, but would struggle to contain any enchantments from the Gravis sphere (it would also be a poor container for other magics within the Mundus Sphere that weren't fire or fire variants). Being thematically appropriate with Enchantments is just as important as being thematically appropriate with the sacrifices made to utilize magic in the first place.
There exist in the world a fair number of items crafted by the Xogar. These items, due to the nature of their construction, are beyond simple Enchantments. The effects they can produce are beyond compare, and do not fade over time, nor do they require a traditional cost to use. They are relics of the past, when the Xogari Dominion was the greatest power in Caevaria. Because there have been no new such items created in four centuries, those that exist are known as Artifacts. They are very valuable and widely sought after, and it has become increasingly rare to discover new Artifacts these days.
However, Artifacts are not simple tools that just anybody can use. They are sapient things, and as such it is the Artifact that chooses its wielder. Only an individual that the Artifact itself deems compatible will be able to use it. It forges a bond with that individual, a symbiotic relationship. This bond is a dangerous thing, potentially subjugating the wielder beneath the will of the Artifact, and possibly involving some form of physical strain over time. There are some methods of staving off this encroaching will, but none have yet proved to be permanent.
As you make use of an Artifact, it will slowly evolve depending on how you utilize it. Its form will change over time and will tend to grow into the wielder in addition to changing its outward appearance. Eventually, there will come a point when Artifact and wielder are no longer distinguishable. Only when the wielder has died will the Artifact revert to its original form.
Internal Magic SystemEdit
An Internal Magic System is the name given to the paths that magic will take within the body of an individual who utilizes one or more spheres of magic. These paths will vary based on a person's natural inclinations as well as the paths that were taken to learn magic. If a Mundus Mage were to learn fire magics first, they would create within themselves a path for fire magic to follow. As a person grows in their competency and variety in using magic, so too will the internal paths grow and shift and change. It is for this reason that learning new magic types is difficult even within the same sphere. Learning additional spheres is entirely possible, but each sphere requires a fundamentally different approach from one another, therefore it ends up being too much for many to accomplish. Many actually prefer to focus on a single sphere instead of dividing their attention, but both approaches have their merits.
If a person develops different paths of magic within themselves enough, then they will be able to combine the two magics. This can be challenging within the same sphere, and is significantly harder across two spheres, but the benefits speak for themselves. If a Mundus Mage were to combine fire magic and earth magic, they could create lava magic. If a Mundus Mage doubled as a Vita Mage, it would be possible through various combinations to create plant magics. Of course, it takes more than simple experience with two types of magic to combine them, it takes practice combining them and forging the internal paths to make it reliable.
It should be noted that individuals who share a common sphere have the capacity to detect one another. This isn't an immediately obvious thing, and it does require training, but it has its advantages. At the absolute highest level this can be a method of detecting the presence of others without actually seeing them. In general however, this skill is utilized by teachers of magic to find prospective students and to understand how they've come to utilize their magic thus far. It has some strategic uses in combat as well, if you know what sphere of magic a foe might utilize, then you can better prepare yourself for what they might do.
To understand why there are individuals with non, single, double, and triple sphere systems and why they get progressively rarer, one must understand something known as the "Strain Factor". The Strain Factor is how much stress and strain that an individual's internal magic system can handle. Most individuals are born with a strain factor of 0.5, but to wield a single sphere of magic it requires a strain factor of 1. Because of this, individuals will receive training or train themselves to extend the limits of their strain factor. Almost anyone can extend it to achieve a strain factor of 1, but not everyone bothers. To wield two spheres, it requires a strain factor of 2, and to wield three spheres, it requires a strain factor of 4. Effort alone is not enough to extend a strain factor to 4, it requires natural inclination and because of the combined factors, triple sphere systems are rarely seen, but hardly unheard of. When an individual combines spheres to create rare magics, it temporarily increases the strain factor (an increase of 1 for two spheres, and an increase of 2 for three spheres). Breaking or coming close to breaking the strain factor within an individual will damage their magic system or outright break it. Mages with broken magic systems might be capable of party tricks at best and there are no guarantees that they will ever recover.
- The sacrificial magic system was devised to create a more tangible cost for using magic, something that an imaginary MP bar simply won't be able to convey.
- They aren't labeled, but the Anti Sphere and the Aether Sphere are indeed included within the illustration for the Spheres of Magic. The Anti Sphere is in the very middle and doesn't get to be a part of the imaginary circle that is the "Circle of Six" to further illustrate its place within the magic system. The Aether Sphere likewise is the giant circle that envelops them all to illustrate where it stands among the other spheres.
- The idea behind the specific spheres of magic was to provide thematic platforms by which most any magic could be performed with enough creativity.
- The Mundus Sphere is mentioned here multiple times because it is serves as a great example sphere. If you understand how it works, then you can pretty much guess how the others will work.
The exponential strain on a magic system is immeasurable through any other race, but because a Dragon is capable of surviving it the following data has been extrapolated.
A single sphere has a strain factor of 1. Two spheres has a strain factor of 2. Three spheres has a strain factor of 4. Four spheres has a strain factor of 8. Five spheres has a strain factor of 16. Six spheres has a strain factor of 32. Because even Ancient Dragons themselves are not capable of making the Aether Sphere part of their own magic system, it is estimated that the strain factor that it would produce by itself is higher than 32. To clarify, any race with sufficient qualifications can use the Aether Sphere, but it is only touched, only borrowed, never owned, never contained within.