- 1 Useful Links
- 2 The Tatters of the First, The Original's Legacy
- 3 Initiation
- 4 Practices vs Disciplines
- 5 Difference Between Mages and Marked
- 6 The Halfbloods and the Spark
Q & A Forum: If you have any questions or spot any issues, please check out the Q & A Forum where you can ask for clarification etc.
Players' Guide To Magic Containing all basic information on magic, this guide can be found here!
The Tatters of the First, The Original's Legacy
In The Beginning, Ether was the unlimited power, the formless essence of Emea, harnessed by the Originals. From this chaos they came to Idalos, toting power that could defy the laws of fate and reality. Eight in number, none could challenge their strength, however, as they remained within this world, they slowly found themselves bound to it.
Though their power was great, they could not, or perhaps would not, permanently return to Emea completely. Instead they committed to the world of Idalos, its maintenance, its care. From the Originals came the Immortals, children shaped of Idalos and Emea both, belonging to both worlds and tasked with the governance of Idalos and its phenomena. Through the Ether they shaped their power, but unlike the formless potential of the Originals, each Immortal developed Domains, channels by which the power of Ether could be controlled.
Then came The Shattering.
Seven of the Eight were gone in flashes of catastrophic brilliance. Force so immense it tore holes in reality and shook the very foundation of Idalos. Gone, without explanation, leaving behind only the scars of their passage...and the power of Domain.
The Power of Domain
Domain is a power understood best by Immortals. All Immortals have a Domain and most have several. Even their mortal offspring are born with the strange power. The Power of Domain is the ability to control phenomena within a specific field. The Immortal of Fury has unprecedented power to manipulate, create, or banish Fury as they encounter it. None master a Domain better than an Immortal, but when the Seven were destroyed, their power did not simply vanish. Instead, it suffused the world of Idalos and found new homes in the souls of men. Remember that while the Immortals are bound to their Domains, the Originals suffered no such frailty. From their wild magic, all domains were released upon Idalos.
Domain Magic is the tattered power of the Originals taken into a body and grafted willingly to the soul upon initiation. Ether, then, is the clay by which one shapes magic. All souls of sentient mortals produce ether. So long as a mortal has the ability to dream (or did) they naturally produce ether. Through sleep their conscious minds are transported and by that same passage, ether can be drawn into Idalos. It is the connection to Emea and the ether there that nourishes a Spark, allowing it grow in the fertile soul of a mage.
As one grows in mastery and control, so does the Spark within them. Those who have reached the pinnacle of their craft know that sometimes, this ember will threaten to overpower the identity of the mage it once belonged to, purging human frailties and leaving something else behind, something peerless and ambitious. The being mages can become are often spoken of in legends as the most feared fiends and tyrants of Idalos. On the other hand, powerful mages have also been immortalized as saviors. Magic is the ink by which mortal imprint themselves upon history.
A mage inevitably seeks to become more than they are. No matter what discipline one originally chooses to pursue, all mages knowingly and unknowingly seek to transcend their mortal limitations. Why else would they seek so ardently to flout the laws of reality? One who takes the power of Domain upon themselves offer their very identity as tribute to the power itself. As it grows the fundamental battle between being human and being...other becomes a centerpiece of a mage's existence.
Note: The origin of magic, the nature of the Spark, and much of magic itself is still considered a mystery. As mages are quite rare in Idalos in comparison to the population, academic pursuit has been slow and often lost due to the staggering number of mage deaths in pursuit of magical might and growth. In character, you will not know that magic comes from the Originals. You will not know that the Spark is part of the Originals. This information is presented as an out of character guide to magic so a player is fully aware of what they are investing in.
Only those who have learned magic can initiate those who have not. The process of initiation is different throughout all disciplines of magic, but the similarity begins at the center. It begins with the initiator taking a bit of their essence, the essence transfused with that of the Originals, and using it to initiate a new mage. Initiation is a precious process for most mages. Some have likened it to creating a child, taking part of their own Spark and using it to seed the new mage. There is always a bond between Master and Student that persists as long as both are alive (And some have argued, even into death). A Mage can only ever initiate up to 6 people in their lifetime, regardless of which Spark they choose to impart, so selecting a student is often a heavily weighed decision in a mage’s life. Initiation is rarely done without consideration for that limit and it should be reflected in your character’s background (if they begin with magic) what about them compelled their teacher to offer that gift.
One must be at least competent in a magical discipline in order to initiate another, and they are only able to initiate someone in the discipline they are competent in. At expertise, two additional students can be initiated, and an additional three at Mastery. As the Spark has become part of the soul when a mage has Revealed, they are unable to initiate a student in any magic that they have Revealed in. Some have called magic an infection, communicable by choice and leaving monsters in its wake. Others have heralded magic as the only means to control one's destiny, to step out of the shadow of Immortals. Still others believe magic to be a tool by which any price is adequate. The truth remains widely contested. There is less known about magic than what is known. Its origin, true nature, and purpose in Idalos are often the subject of rich debate in both the arcane and mundane community. Truth, it seems, is subjective.
Note Magic is rare. This should be echoed throughout the article. While it is prevalent enough for people to have opinions about it, magic is not so widespread that most people understand it. The vast majority of Idalos fears, distrusts, or would like to use mages for their power. The foolish seek that power and those that have it often find it is more trouble than it is worth. MOST initiations end in failure. While it is not a staggering percentage of fails, the Spark often messes up the potential initiate and they perish or become much worse as noted in the discipline articles. While your player characters will not be subject to this failure, you should keep in mind that it is probable, when initiated, that your character will perish (at least to the knowledge of your character (if they’re told) and certainly to the Initiator). When constructing your Initiation story, take that into account. A master should not be eager to initiate a student as there may be a fairly good chance they’ll just end up destroying them. Magic is a gift, it is a power, it is a force, and it should not be taken into your character concept lightly. Magic must be a vital part of their existence, their lives, and it will generally follow them forever.
Practices vs Disciplines
The difference between Practices and Disciplines begins and ends with the Spark. Disciplines are those powers only attainable by grafting a spark to your soul through an initiation. Practices require no such ritual and are accessible to anyone who wants to learn. Although the Practices are heavily geared toward mages, anyone can theoretically pick up the basics and learn the skill, even if the skill isn't all that useful to them personally. As a rule, Practices require intense study but never threaten ones humanity (save for your physical safety. They can be quite dangerous).
What is Ether?
Ether is the dream-like potential of Emea. Before it manifests, coalesces, becomes, it has no established identity. Ether is just a word for the energy, a way to name the power where Domain draws its strength. Near and within Fractures (Where the distance between Idalos and Emea is thinnest), a mage's power is increased but at the real risk of overwhelming their bodies and minds. It is not known what a mage would be capable of in Emea, but if Fractures are any indication a mage would likely burn themselves out. In especially powerful magic, Ether manifests as the physical sensation of cool wind, somewhat electrified and carrying unique smell. For the purpose of this outline, Ether is like our mana equivalent. It exists. It can be used, and it is largely unknown...even by the mages who practice with it. Emea is boundless creativity, the Ether is untasked clay. Disciplines are the crafting hands and magic are the shapes.
The name for the consequences of a mage who pushes beyond their limits, Overstepping is one of the consequences in magic, also called Ether Feedback, or Arcane Recoil. The soul, like any muscle, has hard limits. Drawing ether through the soul can sometimes overtask it, force the magic to lash out in unexpected and detrimental ways. Most mages experience overstepping in their lives. While there is no mechanical limit, generally the greater the manifestation or the more skilled the technique, the more ether it takes. Overstepping can be chosen by the player or enforced by a reviewer. Most of these penalties are temporary and assign interesting new challenges to ones roleplaying experience. Players are encouraged to overstep frequently and learn, in character, their own limitations.
A Marked individual does not overstep. As the ether the Marked uses comes from the Immortal who marked them, it is a much more stable manifestation of power and rarely has such disastrous feedback as Domain magic does. When choosing a magic, familiarize yourself with its overstepping penalties and use your best judgement on if you believe you have overstepped or not. The consequences are not designed to be a punishment to check power gamers but an opportunity to explore those strange and esoteric frailties that no other kind of character can truly know.
Difference Between Mages and Marked
Certainly both are conjuring magic, so what makes a marked different from a mage? The answer is in ownership. A Marked has permission by the immortal to make use of their domain in predetermined ways. The Immortal regulates the amount of control a marked has on the domain of the Immortal. Marked magic is symbiosis with an Immortal while Domain magic is parasitic.
The No-Spells Club, Explained
Magic does come with its share of restrictions. Due to the unique physiological and spiritual makeup of Tunawa, none of them are capable of learning magic. It is unclear what exactly limits them from learning the Disciplines but some would say the Little Folk dodged a dark fate. Yludih, likewise, are not capable of learning all disciplines. A notable restriction is Becoming. A Becomer cannot become a Yludih under any circumstances and the Yludih cannot learn to Become something other than themselves. Due to the Yludih’s unique physiological make up, the Three Sovereign Substances cannot be gathered from their body. No magic works on obscuring or disguising their nature save their own transformation. Likewise, some aspects of Mirage are beyond a Yludih's grasp. Luckily, they can still shapeshift on their own. Likewise a Wisp, cut off from Emea by death, is incapable of learning magic…and any Sparks they possessed lie dormant within them.
A Naerikk, likewise, being a creature of shadow rather than true flesh and blood, could not engage in Becoming nor be taken as an appropriate totem.
The Halfbloods and the Spark
Mortalborns are a different being entirely when it comes to the Spark. Already awakened to their divine heritage, the Spark is something remarkably different and sometimes insidious when introduced to a Mortalborn. While any Mortalborn is capable of learning magic, initiating into the Disciplines begins a dangerous path that is difficult to deviate from. A Mortalborn receives double the Mutations at each level of mastery (explained below) than an ordinary mage. The nature of the spark grows exponentially in the fertile soul of a Mortalborn, steeped in divine energy. Ordinarily a Mortalborn is not capable of a Revelation as they are already awakened to their divine potential...but there are whispers of what could happen if a Revelation did occur. Apotheosis. Destruction, or worse, Descension. Some of the most dangerous beings in Idalos, The Fallen Lords are rumored to be Mortalborn who Revealed, becoming something much darker and more powerful than the sum of their parts. Most Immortals do not condone their children deviating into arcana and have been known to intercede to caution progeny against it at times. No one knows what will become of a Mortalborn who reaches Revelation and few want to. ((For now, Mortalborn are barred from Revealing with the Spark, meaning they can only ever master a magic))
Immortals, Marks, and Magic...Oh My!
So how DO the Immortals view magic? The answer is not entirely universal as most Immortals have different opinions about the strange power taking shape in the world. Some view it as an immense affront, stealing the shards of their predecessors to play the parts of burgeoning Immortals across Idalos. Others see it as an interesting development, curious how the mortals will adapt to this new ability and make it their own. These Immortals see magic as a way to gather answers about themselves, answers their creators did not leave with them. Still others see magic and those who use it as a tool, a weapon for power plays in conquest or defense. Following is a list of the Immortals and the simple version of the opinion they hold on magic.
These opinions have been archived while the Immortals undergo Lore Analysis. As each Immortal is analyzed and approved, we will update them here.