Magic flows throughout Iiosia and has been the single most important factor in shaping it as a world. Despite it been being utilised by many of the races, the origins and nature of magic are still largely a mystery. Magic has been categorised into four types, or arcs. These are the arcs of Nature, Mind, Light, and Black magic. Wizards often choose to focus on one or two of these to study. With much practice, they are able manifest them into spells or enchantments.
Magic is not really something that can be defined. It cannot be seen or smelt, and yet its presence is always present. The power of magical energies varies throughout the world. In some areas they are very strong, and in others they are relatively weak. Mages can generally summon enough of the energies present to form spells wherever they are in the world, though there are some rare places where magic works hardly at all – such as the Dwarf Kingdom.
Even the oldest dwarven and atian records offer no definitive explanation to what magic actually is, or how it came to be, because the fact is that no one really knows. What can be said is that Mind, Light, and Nature magic are all native to the world of Iiosia, and the powers of the Black arc flow from another plane entirely - the realm of Inferis. Because of this, Black arc magic interferes with the energies of Iiosia and warps them in supernatural ways, which has led to the formations of bizarre plants, animals and people not seen before it's introduction.
The greatest concentrations of the Black magic are found in the land of Ghrea, where The Rift was opened to Inferis at the time of the Sundering, which ended the Great War and started the age of Iiosia. There are also large concentrations in the areas far north, beyond the outlands. Why this is, is unknown, but it is clear that an abundance of Black magic can distort and disrupt the natural balance of things. In Cha'karthamoré, magical energies always flow strong, and so the land is a turbulent and troubled one. In the Outlands, Black magic has warped those who live there into strange beast-like creatures.
The use of magic differs massively among individuals, races, and places alike, depending on their affinity with it, and what kind of magic they're trying to use. But all magic, even the Light Arc, holds potential threat, and those utilising it must take care to respect it, lest it overwhelm them and they face dire consequences. Mages can further enhance their spell casting abilities with the use of entities known as conduits.
Magic is better utilised by some races than others.
Dwarves disdain its use – likely because magical energies are weak in their homeland – though some dwarves who have travelled further afield have come to utilise it.
The atia seem more attuned to it in general, and are able to use it more adeptly than other races.
Humans vary, as they do with everything, though the majority do have some magical skill, if they are willing enough to focus their energies upon it.
Gilth and other such beast-races have never been known to use it in any fashion - their intellects likely too small even to grasp the concept of it.
Ghreal and tar'tchii are able to use it with frightening ease; especially that of the Black Arc likely because they themselves are tainted with it, and the same can be said of most intelligent demons.
Generally the more hideous wielders of magic - the undead and demons - are more powerful than most other wielders of magic, as they have been tainted by or are even sustained by its corrupting influence. It also explains why many powerful human mages tend to go insane in later life as their brains are unable to cope with its destructive influence. The most powerful wielders of magic ever known are the Cha'karth; greater demons who are able to summon spells that could not be matched by a hundred combined mages of the human race. These creatures were defeated and/or defeated during the events of the Great War. However, one found its way back to Iiosia in the year 642 which resulted in the decimation of an entire human civilisation before it was destroyed. It is feared that they still reside, in some from or another, in the land of Cha'karthamoré.
There are several different kinds of magic within Iiosia, which are know as the Arcs.
The Black Arc
Of the four of the Arcs, it is the Black Arc which is the most powerful, and the most dangerous. The Black Arc has a corruptive influence on the creatures and objects it comes into contact with, altering them in vile, twisted ways. The Black Arc is what makes the dead walk in Orondor, and the demons dwell in Chkarthamoré. It was the weapon used by the atia to curse the tar'tchii at the end of the Great War. It was the influx of Black Arc magic that washed over the world thereafter and caused many natural disasters, and came to form demi-human races like the gilth and the outlanders.
Black Arc magic focuses on the more malevolent areas of magic, such as bringing harm to others and raising the dead. It is the least socially acceptable arc; one that demons, undead, and evil races use almost exclusively. Practitioners of the Black Arc are more often than not driven off at the very least, if not hunted down and killed. As it is the most powerful of the arcs, learning it can bring great power as well as terrible risks.
The Nature Arc
The Nature Arc focuses on manipulating the elements as well as plant and animal life. It is the arc with the most varied types of magic within it, from the destructive fire element to the more placid water element. It is often used by people who spend long amounts of time away from civilized areas.
The Light Arc
The Light Arc is the polar opposite of the Black Arc, and is perhaps magic at its purest. Casters of Light magic can heal the wounded, cure disease, and provide antitoxins for poison. Without the presence of the Light Arc, the Black Arc would likely have overwhelmed the entire world by now.
The Mind Arc
Mind Arc magic channels the mind of the caster or others around him to alter their thoughts or their perception of the world around them. One of the riskiest arcs to use, Mind mages are capable of mind control over people, as well as to manipulate objects around them through telekinesis, and even speak with spirits and see around corners. Mind magic does have a tendency to drive its users slowly insane with the constant strains on the mind it makes.
These Arcs are further subdivided into Aspects, and it is these that provide the primary areas of study for mages.
Dark Arc Aspects
Necromancy is the study of death, and with what lies beyond death. It is unsurprisingly the most shunned magic type of them all, bringing with it the most stigma and hatred. Necromancers are often found living alone, conducting experiments on dead bodies. The more powerful necromancers command groups and even armies of undead servants, bound to their will by magic.
Mages who specialise in Demonics specialise more often than not in opening routes through the planes to Inferis – the source of Dark Magic itself and home of the demons. With their power, Demonigists can speak with and even summon demons forth – this is often very risky, as demons are known to turn on mages who disturb them without warning or offering.
Witchcraft is primarily concerned with inflicting curses and hexes upon people rather than harming them directly. Of all the Dark Arcs, it is the most accepted – a witch/warlock can make a living on selling curses to people who want to take them away and “gift” them to others, though they must keep a very low profile when doing so.
Light Arc Aspects
A Divine mage who blesses bestows aid upon those near him, making them hardier in battle and granting other boons which will help them. Blessing mages can ply their trade at local temples, with bands of adventurers or on the wider field of battle; proving equally useful in all situations.
Banishing magic is the most holy of the magic arcs. It focuses on banishing unnatural and demonic creatures from Iiosia, and is more often than not wielded by holy priests and monks in their battles with the undead.
Healing magics are concerned with the restoration and rejuvenation of a fellow's friends. Healers are perhaps the most popular form of magic-user, and for good reason – their inclusion will save lives and make battle easier, and even raise comrades from the dead.
Nature Arc Aspects
Air mages control the power of the winds and the clouds. They are able to bring forth highly destructive forces, rivalling that of Fire mages, and as such are treated with much respect and reverence, though perhaps not the fear that Fire mages command.
The destructive powers of fire have as much symbolism with the Dark Arcs as they do with the Nature ones, and as such Fire has become the “dark horse” of the Druidic Arcs. A Fire Mage can unleash devastating spells upon his enemies when his wrath is stoked.
Water magic is the least offensive of the Nature Powers. Water mages have many useful abilities over water that makes them versatile additions to have on explorations, and are especially valued in areas where rainfall is lacking.
Earth mages exhibit the qualities of their chosen element – their magic is strong and powerful and creates great defences. Earth magic is extremely useful for protecting the caster from harm, as well as bringing the power of rock and earth against his enemies.
Mind Arc Aspects
Introverted Mind Aspect
Introverted Mind mages use their magical abilities to empower their own minds with supernatural abilities, giving them power to see into the future, sense things around them which their natural senses cannot see and move objects with telekinesis.
Extroverted Mind Aspect
Extroverted Mind mages are able to project their thoughts into the minds of others and are able to implant thoughts and emotions, alter their perception of the world around them, have conversations using telepathy, and even control their victims through mind control.
A magical conduit is something which enables a mage to enhance their abilities to shape and direct the powers of magic. Often, certain devices have affinities with one or more specific aspects, although this is not always the case and certain rare and highly treasured conduits can channel any magical aspect the mage attempts to cast.
They are very rare and valuable things; not more than a few hundred of such items may exist at any one time in the world. This is due to them being extremely hard to create – most attempts to imbue items with magical powers result in explosive failures at the best of times – and only a handful of mages will have the skill to even attempt creating a conduit. It is also a very time consuming and dangerous affair, with the processes involved taking weeks, if not months, of meditation and continual drain on a mage’s energies.
Nevertheless, where there is demand, there will be supply. Conduits are extremely valuable commodities and, while some are commissioned and sold legitimately, there’s often a great degree of secrecy about such things as thefts, kidnappings, and assassinations over their procurement are not uncommon.
Conduits generally come in the form of wands, which can be anything up to a foot in length, to full lengths staves. It has been found that the long, slim shape of such artefacts is the most efficient in shaping magic in the way the user wishes. Wands and staves are made of various materials, each varies in its ability to direct magic. Listed from least to most effective, materials include: wood, stone, metal (iron, bronze, steel, silver, gold) and bone (bones from more magically attuned creatures make better wands than those made from other, more primitive species). Wands and staves, however, are easily recognised by persons who know what they are looking for. While to the untrained eye a stave may well look like a walking stick , quarter staff or ornamental rod, they are a magnet for thieves and rival mages to target.
For this reason, conduits that come in the form of amulets, rings, and other small items are sometimes favoured over larger conduits for their ability to be concealed and the more subtle nature of their use. Wands must be held within the hand of the caster to take effect whereas jewellery will affect spell casting simply by being warn. However, the potency of such items are dwarfed by that of wands.
This is due to the physical size of the device also impacting on the power of the conduit device. This is another reason why wands and staves are more common than amulets and the like; they tend to be more powerful.
Conduits also come in the form of living things. Invariably, they consist of the creatures of the fae, who, while not strong casters themselves, have a firm affinity with magic and many believe are actually sustained by it.
Fae conduits are the most potent of all conduits, as they are able to channel all aspects of magic the mage would wish for. However, the fae are notoriously shy and elusive creatures, living within the deep forested wildernesses that are scattered across Iiosia, and so are the rarest of conduit to be used. This is not due only through their obscurity, but because it is practically unheard of that any fae would become a willing conduit servant to a mage.
Because of this, it’s been known that unlucky fae have been sought out, captured, and forced into servitude serving wicked mages as conduits. The black market on fae acquisition is very lucrative for anyone heartless enough to engage themselves in it – mages are willing to spend vast amounts of coin on them. Such practices are widely reviled by civilised cultures, and so it is only brave, secretive, or isolated mages that engage in their use, much akin to the use of husks.
With use, conduits can eventually begin to lose their powers, especially when over exerted and given constant use. Eventually, conduits will expire and lose their magical effects, effectively turning them into regular, mundane objects. In the case of living conduits, however, this tragically results in death.