Arcane Script Language in Ulterra | World Anvil
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Arcane Script

The Language of Magic, Inscribed

When magic is learned from the writings of other mages by a wizard, or when magical text is found on ancient artifacts or items, these writing are difficult to decipher. They take time, and may by inscrutable if the reader does not have a sufficient understanding of magic. Unlike legal jargon or mathematical textbooks, the reason for the difficulty of understanding these works stems from the nature of magic itself.   When magic moves from a living mind to another medium, whether it be written in a tome or carved into steel, there is a phenomenon of obfuscation that occurs. The author, in an attempt to communicate their understanding of a magical topic, will unconsciously include magical glyphs, diagrams of magical forces, and arcane equations. Attempting to decipher the magical writings of another requires you to try to understand these supplemental writings, as the concepts that drive magic cannot be communicated without them.   Arcane knowledge has a sympathetic relationship with existing arcane knowledge. It is easier for a student who has already learned many other topics to decipher a new secret, than for a more intelligent student who has not previously studied arcane lore.  


Arcane script was not so much invented as it was formed when the first magic was taught, very early on in the world's creation, when everything that was done shaped the world to come. Since those early days, it has been a constant truth. The magical language reserved for wizards has changed slightly over the years, with the advent of organized magic. The greatest wizards of each generation would set the trends for how to notate certain magical concepts, making it slightly easier to read Arcane writings that were created later in history. This is how wizards can learn from one another's spell books without great difficulty. By virtue of being taught the same things, the same histories of magic, they are inherently more likely to write in similar forms of Arcane Script. This effect of shared magical culture does not serve to help mages unravel secrets penned by magic users of ancient times, who followed the trends and patterns of their own times.   Ancient magical writings detailing incredibly complex magical effects, such as those often found on artifacts attributed to gods and their like, are sometimes studied for generations but never deciphered. The Arcane Script that enchants these items is simple too old and too powerful for mortal scholars to ever develop their understanding enough to decipher (not for lack of trying). The few mages who have managed to decode these items have often become legendary wizards, redefining magical understanding in their time.
"I've been pouring over these ancient rune inscribers we found for months. The Arcane Script carved into the side is usage instructions, I'm sure of it, but it's damn near impossible to understand what they're trying to say. They just didn't understand things the same way back then... And it doesn't help that this person's handwriting was atrocious! I need to make a cup of tea."  
- Garner Miller 


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