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Image:Scroll2.png "There are two sides to magic. The dark side, and the darker side."
- Zarik Mashaen, archwizard

This article provides an introduction to magic in Mizahar. Refer to Magic list if you are just interested in a list of all available magic disciplines.

Magic is a broad term for describing any supernatural effect, regardless of its cause. Mizahar is best described as a medium-magic world, in that magic is common enough to be witnessed by most people at some point, but only actually wielded by a minority of the population. These magic users can accomplish the impossible and are feared by most and hated by some; they tend to be secretive and will generally not share their secrets with the uninitiated. Magic is very serious business in Mizahar, and not an activity for hobbyists to dabble in. It grants power, but that power always comes at a price; the greater the power, the steeper the price.

Contents

Overview

Most normal people do not distinguish between different kinds of magic, and will label someone a 'wizard', 'mage' or 'witch' by reputation and appearance alone. The truth is that what people call 'magic' is actually a collection of innumerable disciplines, and any practicing one or more can be considered a magic user. It is postulated that each discipline may be a facet of the legendary True Way, the magic wielded by the earliest and long lost gods.

All magic is fueled by a principle called Djed (meaning "backbone" in the ancient tongue). Djed is inside everything, but occurs with the highest degree of purity in the souls of mortals and immortals alike. Djed is what gives things identity, substance, sentience and free will. It cannot be created or destroyed, but only transmuted from one form to another: the nature of Djed implies that something gained is also something lost. Magic disciplines are divided into three categories depending on the source of the Djed that fuels them.

Personal magic

Main article: Personal magic

Personal magic is fueled by the magic user's own Djed; this includes a creature's innate powers, if any. The wizard transforms a part of their own essence in return for a supernatural effect, be it conjuring a firebolt with Reimancy, open a portal with Voiding or transforming one's body with Morphing.

A self-centered form of magic, personal magic gives immediate gains and requires no tools, though it may benefit from gestures and incantations. It carries a terrible risk, however. Using your Djed means spending the very thing that defines your identity. Using too much of it, too quickly, may result in overgiving - a spectrum of side effects ranging from mild to devastating and deadly, or even worse.

Gnosis (Divine magic)

Main article: Gnosis

Divine magic falls into the category of magic granted by the Gods themselves and is generally called Gnosis. Recipients are specifically chosen by a God or Goddess for a wide variety of reasons. Some of these reasons include rewards for worship, linking the person more closely to the deity so the deity can keep tabs on them, or for the potential use of those gnosi as 'tools of the gods'.

A God or Goddess will 'brand' an individual with a Gnosis mark that gives them access to the divine powers of the marker. These marks vary in location and appearance depending upon which god or goddess does the marking. Gnosis marks can be forcefully branded upon the individuals, unwillingly, and grant them powers the users themselves find horrific. Depending upon the nature of these marks, the divine magic granted may work voluntarily, involuntarily, and may in fact harm the wielder.

World magic

Main article: World magic

World magic is the magic of craft and lore. The magic user possesses no superpowers of their own, but has learned to exploit secret pathways of the universe to gain power. World magic may not involve the direct risk to one's soul that comes with personal and divine magic, but it carries the danger of meddling with dark and obscure trades - and users often experiment on themselves. As with the other two magic paths, world magic is extremely diverse, ranging from the concoctions of Alchemy to the runes of Glyphing. Other important world magic disciplines include Summoning, Animation, Webbing, and Spiritism.

Mixing Disciplines

Unless a specific discipline requires otherwise, magic disciplines can be mixed and matched at will. Some wizards are purists and limit themselves to one discipline; these usually make the best teachers. Most, however, pursue several magic skills which they often use in combination. Magic disciplines almost seem designed to complement each other, and become much more effective when joined; of course, the risks are also multiplied by the same factor. The temptation to go further, to break one's limits, to learn more, is often called "the Sweet Whisper" by wizards, who have to live with it day after day.

Learning magic

There is no unified process to learning magic, as it depends on what discipline one wishes to study. Gnosis cannot be learned: it is bestowed by a god, and can only be enhanced by receiving additional Gnosis marks. Personal magic is often taught in magic schools or occasionally by traveling wizards, whereas world magic tends to require expensive labs that double as classrooms, though being accepted as an apprentice may prove a difficult task.

The Do's and Don'ts of roleplaying magic

Do's:

  • Try to keep an aura of mystique around your magic, especially around non-wizards. Magic is not normal, nor is it the norm. Make sure it's something that matters to your character concept as opposed to something taken as an afterthought.
  • Think before you use magic. Your character risks dying from using it, so he would probably think, as well.
  • Think before you include magic in your character's starting package. Who taught it to them? Why? What was in it for them? If it's only at a very low level, why weren't they taught more?
  • Think very carefully before giving your PC more than one discipline in their starting package. That's the mark of a professional wizard, and it's what your PC should be.
  • Remember that if you are using magic to look for trouble, you will quickly succeed.
  • Be cautious around wizards. A lot of people are suspicious of them. There is a potential madman behind most of them.
  • Always ask your Storyteller before you write a thread for learning a new magic form. They will tell you what needs to be in that thread or if there are any concerns you need to address.

Don't's:

  • Don't assume your character knows everything about magic only because it's neatly explained on these pages. A wiki needs to be comprehensive, but most people know little or nothing about magic. Unless your PC is a wizard, he'd likely not know much either, and even then, his knowledge would be mostly limited to his disciplines.
  • Don't take magic unless you are prepared to see your PC changed, messed up, maimed or killed by it. Magic is terribly serious in Mizahar - it's great as long as it works, then it gets horrible.
  • Don't complain if any of the above happens to you. If you didn't want it to happen, you shouldn't have taken magic to begin with.
  • Don't assume wizards will be eager to teach your PC. They won't. Be prepared to roleplay haggling and convincing them, whether it's a solo thread or a moderated one.
  • Don't think you can do magic on the streets without consequences. Mizaharians are often pretty narrow-minded around magic. You would be, too, if something like magic had pretty much destroyed the Earth 500 years ago.
  • Don't expect to be able to do much in a pinch with less than 10-15 Experience Points. It's usually better to focus on a few skills than to spread yourself thin on many of them. It will also make your roleplaying much more convincing.
Part of a series of articles on Magic
Concepts Magic · Magic list · Djed · Personal magic · Gnosis · World magic
Personal magic Auristics · Familiary · Flux · Hypnotism · Leeching · Morphing · Projection · Reimancy · Voiding · Shielding
Gnosis Gnosis · Gnosis list· Gnosis Marks · Religion
World magic Alchemy · Animation · Glyphing · Magecraft · Malediction · Summoning · Spiritism · Webbing
Magic in Society Magic academies · Magic factions · Famous wizards
Lost Disciplines Architectrix · Dominion · Pathfinding · Static
Other Antimagic · Paramagic · Wizard psychology