Magic - The Finer Points Physical / Metaphysical Law in Costrus | World Anvil

Magic - The Finer Points

The Good


Magic is handy to have to make things happen, ensure a contract will be upheld, travel long distance, attack, defend, heal, the possibilties are endless and the applications are limited only by a mage's knowledge and imagination. It can be stored in spell scrolls and activated later either by the mage or someone with proper instructions, or they can be stored in jars and used by breaking the glass.

More rarely a mage is able to imbue a spell into an object by carving runes into its surface. These enchantments require an input of mana to activate just like any other spell, and most mages are limited to weapons or items they carry around themselves as they have the knowledge and access to mana supplies. However, the exception is mages who have access and know about mana stones. These mages are able to create enchantments that last through the ages and sustain themselves through the use of ambient mana supplies.

The Bad


While many would argue mages are most limited by their knowledge there is another factor that can hinder them. Mana flows through the world and some of it is more attuned to some elements than others. People collect these different types of mana within themselves and as they grow mana that surrounds them changes to suit their affinity. A mage who is adept at spells that focus on water might struggle or be totally unable to use fire magic, while another mage might be able to use any element they please but never be able to use spacial magic.

These ambient magic struggles mean that most mages may choose to only study the things they're good at, leaving gaps in their knowledge and understanding. Smart mages study the runes for these spells outside their affinities and specialties and use the ambient mana of others or locations to help activate these spells, usually by guiding the person in the way to activate a spell.

The Ugly


When an affinity is weak, the best case scenario is that the spell doesn't activate at all. The worst case would be that the mana being put into the spell activates it incompletely leaving the rest of the mana to run wild around the spell instead of being focused. This wild mana usually causes serious damage and will twist the nature of the mana around it, either permanently changing the area or destroying it completely. Recovery from mana disasters and rogue spells gone wrong can take an ecosystem anywhere from several years to severaly hundred years. Some disasters are too large and deeply rooted to be recovered from, resulting in entirely new landscapes.

Similarly, an enchanted item should match the affinity of the person using it. In the case of a mismatched affinity between the two it can cause the item to spontaneously explode due to the strain on the materials. This explosion can cause injury, or even death to the person using the item. Caution and a deep understanding of the mana affinities of the person using the item make it less practical than a mage enchanting their own items.

The Limitations


Spells have limitations. Small spells are easier to manage and use as they require less precision. Larger spells are more complex and the margin for error is smaller as each component of a spell is it's own runic circle, if they are ordered incorrectly it could result in them being fed mana at the wrong rate, which may differ from the other circles in the spell. This can cause a chain reaction of failures resulting in disasters. As such, many mages choose to use mostly smaller spells. There are also limitations with how big a spell can get as well, aside from the practicality of the spell, the ability to manage the mana it would require to teleport a mountain would be astronomical compared to teleporting a single person.

Bringing back the dead. While it has been studied in secret and may continue to be studied in the darker corners of Costrus, necromancy has seen limited success and is never catagorized as healing or restorative in any way. Most of the success seen by secret necromancers relates to plants, even still there are always going to be outrageous stories spread about animals and even people being brought back to life.

Healing spells are just as rare to see as healing affinities. True affinity to healing and restorative mana means that a person either has low affinity with at most one other element of magic or no other affinities at all. A magus may choose not to take on a student or apprentice who's affinity is healing because of the limitations that person would face. Instead these healers are encouraged to study alchemy as they are able to draw out the healing properties of ingredients and plants better than others.



How many can one person have? It is unknown how many affinities a person's body can handle. While historic and modern accounts do record elemental mages who were and are able to weild up to five affinities some conflicts between the natures of the affinities themselves make it impossible to have together, thereby limiting them.

Can only mages have affinities? No! Every person is a conduit for mana which means they create their own ambient mana that is compatible with their own affinities.

Classic affinities to elements include fire, water, earth, and wind. These elements are either primary or secondary to eachother. While it may not feel intuitive a person may have a primary affinity for water and a secondary for fire, even though they are not complementary. A person with affinity to all the elements isn't an uncommon sight, but usually means they have no other affinities to speak of.

Spacial affinity connects a mage to anything that takes up space and the manipulation of it. Teleportation, gravity control, and barriers would be excellent examples of it's practical application.

Spirit affinity relates to the nature of living things and their spirits or will, while also connecting to the properties of mana that relate to the light it produces in plants. It is required to make magic contracts, control light spells, and create illusions. One of the few offensive capabilities of a spirit affinity is the ability to concentrate mana into a single point and create explosions with the stored energy.

Healing is usually a person's sole affinity. It is required for any kind of restorative spell. Instead of tearing things apart it is used to put things together, while many would argue it has no offensive abilities others would argue that withholding healing could cause more damage than striking an enemy.

Death is argued by most to be an artificial affinity, created by those who twist a rare combination of a strong healing affinity and weak spirit affinity. This combination can sometimes affect the psyche of the person and twist their sense of right and wrong. This incredibly rare affinity is most strongly associated with necromancy.

Spell List

A sample of the spells mages may be able to cast or contain in jars. Most have limitations to their effectiveness, range, or have specific conditions that must be met before being used.

Spacial Magic
  • Teleportation
  • Pocket Dimension
  • Propulsion
  • Levitation
  • Barriers
  • Mira's Dome of Protection
  • Gravity Distortion

Spirit Magic
  • Contract Magic
  • Illusions
  • Glow
  • Binding
  • Energy Blast

  • Endless Bag
  • Lucile's Energy Blast Bow
  • Mira's Item Summoning Glove


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Dec 8, 2023 21:07 by Marc Zipper

This is a cool system of magic and how it work. That was an interesting read

Let's have fun creating the impossible, building new worlds, and all types of possibilities. Valcin