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 Magic
uzair
Posted: Apr 20 2011, 08:49 PM


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magic


overview
    Escova is a world with a significant magical element. Though not overwhelmingly complicated, it does deserve a look into-- especially if you are looking to create a mage.

    Magic is a supernatural reaction. In its simplest forms, it is a twist on the norm. In Escova, magic begins with inherent skill (The Gift), but only comes out with practice and teaching. One cannot simply make magic happen without some form of training. Though this is the rule, there is one exception which will be dealt with later, and that is passive magic. But for now, we will take a look at the active form.
spellcraft
    In its most common form, magic is 'summoned' through the use of Spells. The caster must learn every spell individually and practice it until a satisfactory result occurs. Spells are cast in Duorian, a language mostly forgotten to man, and take long periods of time to master. Even the easiest Spells require days of study, and more complex ones can take weeks, if not months. Once a Spell is learned, it stays with the caster, who usually carries a spell-book to preserve it.

    Spells have two components: a Will, and a Command. The Will is where the magical talent of the mage comes in. In essence, the magic user wills the supernatural to occur. However, to activate his or her Will, the mage must issue a Command in Duorian. When these two unite, a spell takes place. Grounding the Will in Magic Theory is the process a Mage uses to focus his or her concentration. The Will is an unruly element, and to wield it, a Mage must have both clarity and self-awareness. To Ground the Will is to call it to attention.

    Simple spells require little external influences, but complex ones are usually augmented with material conduits. For example, a Spell summoning a gust of air is relatively easily, whereas a Spell like floating during a free-fall requires both immense Will and the availability of something light, such as a feather to channel the Will. Complex Spells also require ritual to centre both the Will and the Command. Rituals are as diverse as the mages themselves, and are done mostly to Ground the Will and bring it into attention.

    Spells can be from any spectrum, and a caster can draw from any of the natural elements: fire, earth, water, air, light, and darkness. Spells for control over life and death were once rumoured to exist, but were lost-- or destroyed-- with the murder of Tristella the Martyr. The only remaining Spells from Life include the ones that have been recovered for minor healing Spells. Another thing to note is that although Spells might be learnt in similar ways, each mage will cast the Spell differently. Whether through complex rituals to Ground the Will, or long moments of meditation, each spell that is cast is unique. No two mages use the same method to produce the same result.

    Most Spellcasters carry a magic kit filled with odds and ends they require to use during Spells. Magical items, such as the bones of magical creatures and objects warded by powerful arch-mages, are kept in such kits, as well as more mundane objects used to centre concentration and channel the Will of the caster.
wardcraft
    A sub-genre of Spellcraft is Wardcraft. Wardcraft is the ability to imprint a spell onto inanimate objects. When something is Warded, it is given magical properties. Thus, a spell summoning fire can be imprinted onto a sword, letting the user Command fire for as long as the imprint stays. Wardcraft is a long and tedious process. The imprint is impermanent (the skill of the Warder and the nature of the Spell decide how long an imprint lasts), and all Wards wear off eventually.

    A Ward can be reapplied, but the process is long, usually taking anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours to complete a single 'charge'. Thus, it is no surprise that expert Warders are a valued resource in most communities, for they can protect houses and material possessions, as well as make objects more efficient-- as well as more expensive.

    One thing to note for Warders is that some things, especially people, cannot be Warded. Another thing to note is that things may need multiple Wards to be fully effective. Using the example of the fire-sword presented above, a Warder must remember to negate the effects of heat upon the sword's wielder, lest the weapon be too hot to touch-- or worse-- burn the user. For that to happen, an effective Counter-Ward must be placed on the hilt to protect the user from heat. The same can be said for most Warding activities.
learning magic
    As stated before, magic, though inherent, needs guidance and nurturing to really manifest. Magic simply cannot happen without some sort of teaching involved.

    Which is where the Academy comes in.

    Founded a handful of centuries ago by the Magesí Guild, the Academy of Magic at Maristheum is the only school in Escova that teaches the magical arts. Magical studies are mandatory in Escova for anyone possessing the Gift, and children are usually brought in between the ages of 14 and 17 to study, learn, and become magic users. These children are found through the use of Seers-- men and women who have the passive ability to detect magic and its latent potential. Children may be seen at any age, but are only collected after their 14th birthday.

    Gifted children, regardless of background, are taken in free-of-charge to the Academy and spend approximately four years studying and learning the magical arts. They are taught the basics of Spellcraft, and from there branch into specializations. Some focus on the warrior aspects of magic in the hopes of eventually joining the elite Battlemages of the Escovan military. Others may specialize in Wardcraft, Healing, Teaching, or a dozen other disciplines. All Mages, however, receive a solid foundation in the basics, regardless of what field they end up specializing in.

    While at the Academy, students are given food and lodging, but are also assigned tasks and chores. Poorer children, especially those from refugee backgrounds, are assigned the least desirable chores, while the children of the elite enjoy easier chores, like being scribes or assistants. While the Guild and the Academy have an official policy against discrimination, in practice this theory hardly comes into play.

    Graduation signifies that a student is ready to join society as a Mage. Upon graduating, a Mage is enrolled in the Magesí Guild and given membership. After that, they may, under the sanction of the Guild, seek employment elsewhere. Military is a popular choice, as is civil service.
the mages guild
    The Magesí Guild is a powerful organization running under the auspices of the ruler. While not 'officially' governed by the Queen, there is a strong element of loyalty towards the sovereign. A lot of this can be attributed to the fact that the rulers of Escova are the primary financial donors to the guild, but a lot can also be attributed to a traditional alliance between the two.

    The Guild, in short, regulates and governs the Mages of Escova. The Guild maintains its own system of governance, and requires that all Mages to be registered and accounted for. Any magical misuse is often investigated by the Guild, and repercussions can often be severe. The Guild runs its own court system for smaller issues, but refers higher cases to the sovereign.

    The Guildís relationship with the military is unique and complex. Mages who decide to become Battlemages are 'loaned' to the military. While still members of the Guild, these Mages are expected to be complete soldiers as well. Itís a fine line, but one that all Battlemages are expected to walk. While loaned out, they are under the complete command of the Escovan military and may only break from orders under one condition: and that is a royal sanction. Not even a Guild Decree can return a soldier before the contract expires.
passive magic
    Passive magic is unique in Escova. It exists in addition to Spellcraft and is not always obvious. It is a rarer form of magic and thus is often overlooked. An example of passive magic is the ability to be fireproof, or the ability to See magic (i.e. a Seer). The latter make excellent magic teachers, as they can see the complexity of the Command, as well as the strength of the Will. They are also used as locators for potential Mages.

    Passive Mages cannot cast spells. At all. They cannot function as normal Mages, and have only one passive ability. They do not need to learn their skill, nor must they practise. Their skill does not get better or worse with time. It stays as a constant, never changing.

    Mages who have a passive ability do not need to be trained at the Academy. The only exception to this rule is Seers, who have their own unique program at the school. Passive Mages are urged to join the Guild, but membership is not mandatory. They won't be hunted down and forced to join, and they are not counted in the census as real Mages.

    The following is a rather short list of potential passive abilities. This list is by no means complete, and you are welcome as a player to invent new ones:
    - Magic detection (Seeing)
    - Being Fireproof
    - Perfect sense of Direction
    - Animal Empathy
    - Stronger Senses (only one per character)
limitations on magic
    Here at Escova, we want to keep a balance between the magical and the non-magical characters in the game. Mages are arguably rare, and we want site demographics to reflect that. So for now, we've limited each player to two Mages (including those with a Passive Ability) at the start. After these two Mages, once a player has three non-gifted characters, he or she may take a third Mage. Therefore, we're enforcing the 3:1 rule after a player's two initial Mages. So for every three non magical characters, you can have a Mage. We're not doing this to be controlling or limit your roleplay-- that's not the point. It's just to give this site a fair balance for all players involved.
further reading
    Click here For an in-depth OOC discussion on the mechanics of magic.
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