A term that angers every mage
as soon as its mentioned, physical magic is less a magical art than it is a way of utilizing mana
for the body directly. Being a natural process in itself, easy examples are any people from monsterkind
, and more dangerous beasts found in the wilderness or among the Relentless Herds and Packs
make great use of it in all their paths, as a more roboust body can usually do much more powerful magic easier. It is this simple truth that makes some mages also pursue it, though just as many attest it is unnecessary to do.
Physical magic seeks to break down, refine, and strengthen one's natural body through the usage of mana. Many warriors end up doing this naturally through training, but it is the explicit pursuit of this goal that qualifies it more properly. As an example, one who lifts weights may end up gaining great ability in that. However, a physical magic user could not only do that, but punch through solid rock (if not metal) with their bare hands. The exact boundary between normal training and physical magic is hard to define at the start, but it becomes painfully obvious later on.
Due to how easy it is to 'fall into', physical magic is widely known under countless names. Many argue it is not 'magic' properly, particularly monsterkind. One can argue they are, as a whole, naturally attuned to physical magic from their very cores. Whatever the case may be, it is through the understanding of physical magic that physical refinement becomes better known. It is more important to consider the realities around physical magic than the cultural perceptions of it.
The body, in its entirety, is a vast collection of different things: skin, bones, muscles, a dozen or more organs, blood, microorganisms, veins, and so on. Through natural evolution they have fallen into a harmonious relationship, so that the entirety of a complex meta-organism can 'function' and 'live'. If one was to over-emphasize a single aspect, this harmony becomes disrupted, and that person will have a bad time very quickly. One such instance would be empowering one's muscles may cause their joints to snap under the exertion, if not shattering the connected bones outright. Similarly, the muscles may not get the nutrients and care they need to sustain such power, and so destroy themselves as well.
To imagine training, consider throwing a rock versus carrying a boulder. The rock is any 'single' part of the body; the boulder is all
of it. To properly utilize physical magic is to shoulder the boulder in its entirety, always. Otherwise, one will very easily destroy themselves through misapplication of mana. For many pursuing physical perfection, it ends up being a slow, monotonous process and every attempted improvement is scrutinized carefully. Entire generations will go by without seeing much progress, and so families come to regard their ways of training as precious secrets. Combined with the reality of different species across Veltrona
, and physical magic becomes an insanely specialized pursuit.
Everyone can do it; not everyone will come to mistressy with it, for many and varied reasons.
Taken in its entirety, the fundamentals of physical magic can also be considered the origins of many forms of life. The lindwurm's
legendary might is a result of not just having 'strength' or 'durability'. It is possessing a body tuned to performances beyond extreme; the muscles, the scales, the bones, the brain and organs, all of it
bent to the purposes of their overwhelming might. Their own downsides resulted, but they have since learned and adapted around them. One cannot simply see a lindwurm's might and then copy it; they must embody
it so completely and totally there is not a shred of weakness left. Otherwise, destruction will follow.
In another light, the baarham
are not physically imposing or particularly strong by monsterkind standards. They have, however, refined their bodies so thoroughly they can withstand tremendous amounts of mana. The sheer power that can go through them is staggering, and often fuels their vast magical arsenals. For them it might be considered a lopsided arrangement, the pursuit of very specialized goals that clearly biases them. Yet they keep their bodies in shape and form, if only just enough to withstand their magics as needed. This too is a kind of downside, one also learned and adapted around.
versatility becomes all the more remarkable in the contexts of physical magic. While they may not be born to the same strengths as monsterkind, humans can adapt to all sorts of trials. They are a blank slate, perfect to pivot in any direction, while also having the ability to come back
. In other words, they are not intrinsically trapped by some pursuits. It may be little comfort to those who are 'weak' in times of strife or struggle, but it is this remarkable nature that time and again powers human change in the world. Just as much as humans envy monsterkind for their power, monsterkind can yet envy humanity for its unshackled potential.
What ultimately comes of physical magic is really determined by those pursuing, and for what purposes.