Kelicho: Magic Primer
For a moment she didn't notice pulling away from him. It was only after he failed to answer her question that the widening gap grew apparent. It was a struggle against the crowd to return to where he stood glassy-eyed, fingers tracing the top of his cane as he idly gazed to the horizon. He hardly responded at all to her hand reaching to his shoulder, so trapped was he in whatever vision had struck him. "We should go home," he droned. He swayed unsteadily on his feet as his hollow stare grew wary. Uneasy. It was easy to follow him as his eyes lowered from the mountains to the treeline past the rough wooden palisade that had been erected around the town. "The tide is coming in." Ari stifled the sigh that threatened to escape her, smothered the dull ache in her chest. She chanced the risks of snapping him from his vision of the past, gently turning his head to face her. "Oh, Papa... We haven't lived near the sea in years. You're just remembering-" "No, Ari," he hissed. There was a fire in his pale eyes, weathered knuckles turning white with his grip on the cane. "The Tide is coming in."
The Ebbing TidesThe tides of Kelicho's great and treacherous oceans, much like those of a more familiar place, are wholly bound to the will and whims of the Moon. The essence of magic is much the same, the remaining power in the world inexorably drawn to something in Kelicho's silver ring. While the ambient presence of Kelicho's inherent power has reduced enormously over the life of the New World and the times prior, its residual presence has proven more than sufficient to fuel the Spelltides globally. This Spelltide ebbs and flows and idles through the lands with little care for direction or duration, drifting as it pleases to seemingly random and often inconsequential places. Much of the phenomenon remains an enigma even after centuries of comprehensive study by an indeterminate number of dedicated scholars. The heights of power available to individuals capable of applying Magic in Kelicho are often limited to the heights of the Tide. While the residual dregs of power left behind as the Spelltide withdraws from a region are more than adequate for spellcasting there remain some subtle, potent benefits to its full presence. Directing magic is significantly less strenuous when encompassed by the Tide, and recovering from its use is similarly accelerated when faced with an abundance of magic in the environment. In stable, civilized regions this is an enormous boon as magically-proficient defenders are empowered and those with the potential that had otherwise been overlooked find their inherent talents unleashed.
In wilder lands the Spelltide is a godless nightmare.Magic is an inherently dangerous force in the world. Its most common uses are either lethal or a means to become lethal through mobility, enhancement, or mitigating the lethality of your enemies. Some of its myriad uses are sufficiently heinous that they warrant immediate execution even where the Arcane is common. Unfortunately for the skeptical and superstitious one of the worst uses of Magic is leaving it unused. Without a sufficient outlet to counter the unyielding weight of the rising Tide, the power of magic will build in the environment until it simply cannot be contained any further. In the parts of the world still so unstable that the landscape can radically change over the course of mere months this can have disastrous consequences. Without an outlet Magic will set upon the weather or call something that might make use of it... may that be a man of unknown intent, a beast skulking across the world, or something entirely other to the world itself.
... Wood splintered as the still air suddenly roared to a howling frenzy. Wind cracked across skin and flesh like a harsh lash, carving the flesh of any poor soul caught outside cover... ... The earth twisted and warped before their eyes, clawing at the roots of buildings and trees alike until they were pulled below the surface. The river churned as it slowly became a wasteland... ... The clouds above thundered. Not water but fire poured forth, fit to consume the land below... ... Something walked from the Woods. Was pulled from the Woods. Something followed the Tide...
Be it known: Magic is subject to the Ring, where something wicked walks.
Form and FunctionThe practice of Magic is one of numerous facets, be its purposes Arcane or Occult, but these facets would be meaningless without a means of manipulation and conveyance. While the lingering essence of magic passes through all living beings equally, not all beings are capable of twisting its presence to their benefit. Some, such as the Azekarans, simply lack the properties that permit them to inherently channel the power. Others, such as Nulls, are nigh impervious; so resistant that mere physical contact can disrupt magic entirely.
Magic was never made for mortal hands, and they are poorly structured for its uses as a result.
Channeling is the art of manipulating the energy that passively flows through the body at all times, forcibly twisting it into the catalyst of your desired effect and redirecting it to your target. A wave of flames boils out through the skin of your arm. A shimmering ward growing from your back deflects a hail of crossbow bolts. A single step springs dozens of meters between heartbeats. Exhaustion and pain overwhelm you as you push too far and lose your hold on the foreign powers. These and more are examples of Channeling.
The limitations of Ritual magic are not well documented, capable of producing effects otherwise thought to be impossible. Otherwise impossible powers are all in the domain of Rituals, including things such as full Regeneration and Teleportation. Unfortunately, not all Rituals are consistent; two with the same end result may require wildly different requirements. Many a recipe requires some ghastly item or unsightly act to function at all. Whatever the end result, Rituals are draining and best performed in communions. For your own sake.
While Runes are generally designed to appear artistic, the actual appearance has no impact on their efficiency. The ink alone is responsible, capable of absorbing ambient magic like a battery to release on command at a later time. Volume and quality of ink both have a substantial effect on how powerful or efficient the rune can be, and as an externalized power source there is little risk of harm or fatigue to the user. The main drawback is a lack of versatility. Any single batch of ink is only attuned to one exclusive form of magic, such as the single element of fire, and some options available to Channeling simply cannot be replicated in the medium.
In most circumstances these engravings are used to temporarily alter the physical properties of whatever material they are etched into. These alterations can range from simple effects such as strengthening or weakening a physical object to more complex ones that can radically modify the chemical composition of working materials in the correct conditions. Due to the precise nature of the etching and propensity towards utilitarian effects over flashy and direct, the variety of options available for combat uses are extremely limited. At their most dangerous Glyphs are a key feature in a number of ancient trap mechanisms. This still leaves them only a threat by proxy and their limited duration may only mitigate it further.
Even still, past the practices and understanding of magic, there are things that cannot and should not be done by mortal hands. Some, like Necromancy, can only be conducted with the assistance of a focus; an object so attuned to unknowable forms of magic that they cannot be produced without an outside influence.
Strange powers are at work in this world, and it may be too late to stop them reaching out.
Magic is not a toy. Not a game. Some day you will remember this lesson and grieve for your folly.
Burning OutMortals lack the inherent ability to safely act as a magical conduit. Exhaustion and physical harm are common side-effects of overcasting, and Burning Out is the safety mechanism the mortal body developed to compensate for the inevitable Drain of spellcasting. Burnout refers to the condition a spellcaster enters when they exceed their physical tolerance to conducting magic. Mages often find themselves physically and mentally exhausted as their body attempts to recover. During this recovery period, they are rendered completely incapable of manipulating magic in any form. This recovery can take weeks depending on the local level of ambient magic.
Manifest Forms of MagicThere tend to be certain misconceptions about mages and the different means of spellcraft. To the untrained there seems no difference in effort between feats such as calling lightning and sealing mortal wounds with a touch. Even in its current anemic state, when much of its forms are made to cause harm, magic is a broad and varied craft. Mages are rarely created equal and even related forms of magic are learned and controlled very differently. Ritual Spells may bear a varied range of more powerful and bizarre effects, but conventional magic such as Channeling is far more widely available and has less risk of unsavory costs.
Elemental MagicThe Elements are the most common form of applied magic used in the New World, as well as the primary option to directly wound hostile creatures, monsters, or other adversaries. Most elements can be merged together in the spellcraft process. Unfortunately some have become inert from the slow decay of magic over time and can no longer be combined.
Fire - Ice - Lightning
Earth - Air - Ether
Light - Darkness
Merged Elemental Magic
Lemme tell y'what. You go poke fun at th'mage because y'think Starlight sounds too pretty t'be dangerous, and I'll skip town while he's busy.Merged Elements are measurably more taxing than individual forms, but make up for the increased drain by being dramatically more powerful when used in the right conditions. Elemental combinations are all categorized as Sorcerous, Celestial, or Tainted.
For our list, this order will be matched.
Radiance - Antiflame - Arclite
Sunlight - Moonlight - Starlight
Banefire - Felrime - Soulburn
StridingStriding is the magical art of personal short-range transposition, as well as one of the most demanding spelltypes currently known. Due to the triggering function of the spelltype itself, Striders must be capable of moving in the direction of their destination. This often requires taking a step or jumping. Some governments have access to Farstriding, though this remains rare and fiercely guarded.
HealingMenders are capable of diminishing or wholly repairing physical injuries on a living being. Diminishing to safe levels instead of complete mending is preferred, as excessive overhealing can shorten lifespans or cause forms of cancer. Activating the spelltype requires physical contact with the recipient, most effectively in proximity to the injury itself. As it partially acts through natural healing, the recipient can also be fatigued by the rushed recovery. Severe injuries will still tend to scar as normal, but this process typically prevents complications beyond specific circumstances.
WardingWarding is the art of protecting oneself from harm, along with those around them, through the use of arcane barriers and enchantments. Sentinels are most commonly associated with physical protection, but their specialization makes them similarly adept at disrupting the effects of tainted magic and curses that often originate from the Old World's fouled ruins.
InfusionWhile Evokers expel magic from their body to harm their foes, Binders channel their magic internally to augment physical abilities. While most Binders focus on themselves due to the inherent difficulties of binding magical energy into a living entity, some particularly skilled individuals are able to empower others in a similar manner. This is a more intensive form Infusion to maintain, though, and larger distances between caster and target can strain control even further.
IllusionIllusionists are masters of misdirection and confusion, shaping magic into sounds, visual images, and phantom sensations. While illusory magic is unable to inflict tangible injuries, the combinations and forms are able to fool its victims into believing otherwise. If not, the visual interference can remain a valuable distraction.