New Theory

!!! BEWARE !!! This book is NOT for apprentices and master mages! It is intended for experienced and knowledgeable Grey Mages only!!! If you small people read it nonetheless, do so at your own risk. But be warned, your mind may not be able to take the contents of this book as it is proposing ideas different from everything we teach you. More: You may loose control over your existing capabilities as your mind may be torn by doubt without being able to come to a new synthesis.

Warning to Grey Mages who want to read this book: This book is one of my feared lengthy documents. Take your time and read it thoroughly. Think deeply about it before starting to argue. Then argue.

New Theory of Magic, by Mara, Grey Magicienne of Atlantis

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. The new Concept of Magic
    1. Elements
    2. Force
    3. Action
    4. Ingredients
    5. Target
    6. Caster
  3. Convenience
  4. Magic and Mana
  5. Conclusion

1. Introduction

Magic is powerful! Who would dare to deny this statement! Magic is our Art!

Thankfully we appreciate the work of our forefathers who developed and taught us their knowledge. The effort they took cannot be underestimated as they founded our Art from scrap.

However, as you all know we - the Atlantis Magicians - are not the only magic users in this world. There are lots of guilds and even guildless people around us: Some of them prove to be even better spellcasters than most of us are. I have talked to a lot of them and some of them seem to have severe reasons to say that our magic is of no interest to them. Lets analyse this before going into medias res.

I counted four more occupational guilds of magic users: Necromancers, Followers of Rokoon, Priests of Huitzilopochtli, Bards. The Necromancers magic depends partly on the same roots as ours, they too work with a convocational concept, they even once were part of our guild as I've been told. The Rokoonies and Huitzis claim that their magic is no magic but of divine origin, they call it miracles; nonetheless some of their spells are very similar in appearence and effect to ours. The Bards magic works very differently obviously, based on very different ideas.

Even more: There is a laymans guild that offers some magical capabilities, the Alchemists.

Additionally I need to mention the countless magicians around this world who don't belong to a guild, some of them claiming to have never studied with us or any other guild, only to mention a few of them: Aziv in the Fairycastle, Rincewind in Woonoonga, Yamidad near Dalzungund, Mogul in Elohim, the Freemage Salsipuedes in Lonar, the mages in Old Tilverton, several witches, maybe the necromantic gnome and Death Knight in Tortoise, even Dragons and Kobolds are capable spellcasters. Most of them are specialized in only one or two spells but others belong to the most powerful people in whole Xyllomer.

What does this observation teach us? The obvious conclusion is that when others do successful magical resarch we need to do it as well if we don't want to be outrun. The Atlantis Magicians should be worlds leaders in magical capabilities and noone else.

You may say that we have restarted researching new spells in the last years and you are right. Nonetheless, did you notice how slow this research works? Exept the first three successful minor spell research projects all the others took hours after hours, consuming hundreds of hours without success, most of the intermediate results sticking more to rough guesses than to systematic research.

We need to systemize our research if we want to research successfully. When my thoughts came to this point I started to evaluate the basics of our magic: The concept of Convocations.

The Convocational Concept actually does systemize our knowledge and again I say we have to be grateful to our ancestors for inventing this early systematical approach. Nonetheless I came to the conclusion that it not only needs refinement but I want to propose a completely new theory of magic to you.

The existing concept has one major disadvantage: The Convocation represent different ideas: There are - action based convocations: healing, summon, manipulation - element based convocations: heat - force based convocations: energy - field (?) based convocations: nature, illusion, mind This often makes it difficult to find the obvious assignment of an existing spell to one of the convocations as well as it makes further research difficult as it is hard to tell where to start research.

(When talking to the Protector Tashgan about my toughts he said that heat might be seen as an action too because most heat spells result in immediate action. Apart from that this is not true (think of fireshape and firewall) it only proves my idea that the convocations provoke confusion as they don't represent a clear concept.)

So what I want to start here is the development of a new approach to Magic, of a new and systematical theory of Magic.

We will benefit from it in more than one way:

  1. We can better systemize our existing knowledge and enhance it both conceptually and practically.
  2. Spellresearch will be much easier when we know more about the underlying effects.
  3. The possibility to develop spells more easily would give us much more options for individuality as we'll have a much wider range of spells to choose from and even may be able to develop private spells.

2. The new Concept of Magic

The most inspiring talk I had with Salsipuedes, the Freemage in Lonar. Though he is a bit presumptious he gave me the idea of a 'Magic Matrix'. He would not discuss it further but I thought about it and found it a very promising idea. Here's the six dimensions I came up with that represent the major influences of Magic:

Magic=(E, F, A, I, C, T)
E Elements fire, earth, water, air, ether
F Force life, death, divine, energy, mental, sorcery
A Action summon, manipulate, transfer, detect, vanish
I Ingredients staff, items, herbs, runes
T Target self, other person, item, environment
C Caster stats, skills, masteries, style, emphasis, mana

In the following chapters I'll discuss the six dimensions in detail. It may come to your mind that this new theory easily covers and explains our existing Convocational Concept.

2.1. Elements

The first four elements are easy to find, they are just the four traditional elements of Fire, Earth, Water and Air.

Some of the spells are easily assignable to elements, even my dump friend Lyrana can see that fireballs and infernos consist of fire and that icestorms have something in common with air and water.

But what element can be the basis of teleport or tell? It is hard to assign them to those four elements but still they need some physical entity to work with.

Therefore I propose the assumption of a fifth element 'Ether' that maintains the physical basis for interconnections and interdependencies between everything and everything else in the universe.

An interesting question is if a spell can belong to several elements as my example above shows and if there may exist spells without elements. In this case the Magical Dimension 'Elements' would be replaced by 'Set of Elements'.

I am almost sure that the strength of a spell depends on the environment where it is casted. Different regions may influence the 'Elemental Potential', spells would be esp. strong in

Earth: Dalzungund, Caves
Fire : hot areas like Lonar
Air : Clouds, Silverlining
Water: Sea, forestal areas like Elohim and the jungle of Yucatan
Ether: Atlantis, Tortoise

From this we'd see that the elemental potential of Ether would be closely related to our nowadays 'magical potential'.

From this we'd also see that the energize rituals are element bound, our existing ritual would mainly affect the Ether Potential. So the ritual basis is set, and we see that the second mages action determines the element the ritual works on.

Ether: ... stares into space.
Fire : ... lights a fire.
Earth: ... picks up a lump of Earth.
Air : ... flutters around.
Water: ... sheds tears.

Of course this elemental concept is only rough outline. There will be lots of work to do for the scientists among us.

2.2. Force

The dimension 'Force' is most difficult to me, here the mysticists among us will surely come to clearer results if they focus their work on it.

Let me just list up the forces and their use I identified so far:

  1. Life : healing, protective
  2. Death : attack
  3. Energy : transforming and transferring
  4. Mental : things done by concentration, similar to nowadays mind convocation
  5. Sorcery: illusionary
  6. Divine : Miracles and Magic derived from them

Nature is no force of itself, it can be derived from life, death and divine forces i feel.

Just to be complete: What about necromancy? I know very little about it but as I've watched its effects I guess it could be called a force too, rivaling the concepts of divine and life/death magic.

2.3. Action

The dimension of 'Action' is easily explained: It determines basically, what will be done by a spell.

Summon : Similar to the convocations summon
Vanish : Opposite to summon
Detect : Detect the status of a target
Manipulate Change the status of a target
Transfer Transfer something from one being, item or spot to another

2.4. Ingredients

The question of 'Ingredients' to spells has never been raised sincerely before.

For most spells we need a magical symbol, the staff ... but why? What does it represent? For a short while it even was necessary to wield it; nobody ever found out what had happened in this period (ooc at least not ic ;) ), what had changed for a few days and then returned to normal again.

Then there are some spells that require a special herb, e.g. the selemental and a variant of the teleport spell. Again it appears that nobody knows why, these spells seem to have be discovered by accident and without a theory that explains the need of such ingredients.

On the other hand it obviously is possible to brew magical potions without the least knowledge about magic, you just need some herbalism and alchemy skill to create potions (that means: items!!!) that can e.g. make people invisible.

The ward and ward+ spells are special: They need something to cast them on - is this just a target for the ward spell or can this target be seen as the necessary ingredient for a delayed spell? Both ward spells allow us to create magic runes that contain a trigger and some action resulting from it, i.e. another spell.

Could it be possible to create more types of runes, that can be taken as ingredients for further spells? I imagine us creating e.g. elemental runes, that amplify the power of the element a spell is based on, either as direct ingredient or worn as a ring or amulet. I envision us creating time runes as a prerequisit for time-related spells.

You see, another field for lots of research.

2.5. Target

There are four types of targets:

self obvious
other being seemingly obvious too (OOC: but in the old system there is a difference between PC and NPC in some spells, here is a design decision required)
environment influence a room (like silence, flood) or a region (like energize ritual) or an exit (like ward)
item influence an item (like on staff: spellbind, transfer, on all: offview, identify), create a ward, forge a weapon or wand

With warding an item we can do some kind of magical engineering, a most interesting effect to create delayed spells or permanent effects.

2.6. Caster

The effect of a spell (here: success, strength, duration, ...) depends on a lot of influences. In this chapter I want to discuss those that the caster has a direct influence on: His/her abilities, the casting style, the power used and the emphasis.

The abilities are mainly

  1. stats
    1. intelligence: mana, the ability to create new spells
    2. wisdom : remember spells, ability to learn skills
    3. discipline : success, chance to get confused, effectiveness
  2. skills
    The knowledge of each element and each force must be learned. Research in elemental science or force mystic might lead to higher library knowledge, when a book about them is accepted by the community. Different casting styles have to be learned (see below).
  3. masteries
    With predefined spells (see chapter 3.) as well as free casting the caster needs mastery that would surely improve in a very similar way as nowadays.

The casting style determines the effectiveness and the chance to be confused. Spells can be done with much activity, that would include words and gestures as well as the mental power of the caster. This would give a great result in case of success, but the chance to be confused, especially in a fight would be relatively high. The other extreme would be to do spells only mentally. Others wouldn't even notice that you cast, when you're excellent at it, and they'd have trouble to confused you or mislead the magic in any way - but the result would be much smaller. Of course there are intermediate forms: With loud words and wide gestures, with whispering and small gestures, gestures only, words only, mental only. (OOC: This is contradictory to the existing system but much more beautiful. ;-) )

The power used is directly related to the amount of mana spent. That should be controllable by the casting mage.

The emphasis determines on which part of effectiveness the caster concentrates most: Success, strength, duration. It might be directly related to the casting style.

3. Convenience

Spells casted with this system won't be convenient, not at all, as there are a whole bunch of parameters to be taken in concern. In time critical situations like a fight this could prove very dangerous. Therefore we need some means to make them more handy.

I see two possible ways for this:

- We can prepare items, performing tasks like nowadays spellbinding, creating wands or maybe even forging magical weapons. - We must find a way to predefine spells both with and without the possibility of taking additional parameters, they might look very similar to nowadays spell formula, despite that they'd be driven by much deeper insight into the why and how of their effects. Masteries would probably work on those predefined spells as they work on nowadays spells. One example:

   cfire ≥target≤ ≥strength≤ ::= ({fire}, 
                me (≤strength≥)
   ≤strength≥ ::= (≤style≥, ≤amount of mana≥)
   cfire troll mental much

4. Magic and Mana

Mana is - contradictory to common assumptions - no inherent part of Magic.

True, it is needed and the more mana you have the more and the more effective you can cast. True, there is a close relation between mana and magic as spells like transfer prove. But mana is needed for other and very different activities too: Satais need it for their special fighting skills, Bards for singing, Priests for miracles, Psionics for their mental powers. Concluded from this we can generalize:

Mana is a measurement for the 'amount of concentration' you can give.

Nothing less, nothing more. If it is used up we can't cast anymore, that's all. Since the invention of focussing and overcasting we can handle it better than ever before, but even the precise effect of these are still subject to rough guesses.

There seems to be, however, one direct connection between mana and Magic: The energize ritual raises the magical potential of an area. Still I tend to believe that it is the mages involved who raise the potential and the mana they can spend only determines the result, so it is not the mana itself that is transformed into potential.

5. Conclusion

Now you know what my questing mind has thought about on my journey to my homelands while I wanted to find out how to fly. I ask you to discuss my theories thoroughly. They might be a complete failure but they might lead to a blooming new area of magic as well.

Thank you for reading,

Mara, in the second month of the year 250 after the big fire in Padorn