Magical theory

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Magic on Elanthia is a force that is described in mechanistic, systematic terms; unlike most other settings, magic is a force that is treated like a science, with well-understood laws and guidelines for use[1][2]. Magic is the act of manipulating streams of mana to produce supernatural effects.[3]Most magic is a rational, logical process that can require intense concentration and can be both physically and mentally draining for the magic user.[4]In order to cast a spell, the magic user must be attuned to a realm, or frequency, of Mana so that they can "see" and manipulate the mana streams. Some magic users, known as sorcerers, attempt to extend their abilities beyond the rational into a dangerous world of emotion that allows them to manipulate mana that they cannot see. Doing so is irrational, dangerous and illegal.[5]

Sanowret crystals are magical devices that contain additional lectures on magical theory and history. See that item's page for those lectures.

Mana & Attunement

Mana flows in lines through and around the planet, and is the force that ultimately powers spells; this is done by temporarily manipulating and diverting away from its natural state, producing spell energy[6][7]. It is an inexhaustible resource that is effectively eternal, as mana cannot be truly created or destroyed, merely altered[8]. It flows at different wavelengths known as frequencies, which are named for their associated applications and the method in which they are produced. From highest to lowest, these are Holy, Life, Elemental, and Lunar, with Divinity and Gravity existing outside of the spectrum that is usable by mortals. Each type of mana has different inherent properties that lend themselves to certain kinds of magic and a tendency to manifest in certain ways. Though mana does not actually have a physical appearance, during the process of attuning a mage learns to "see" mana in a particular way by means of a sort of optical illusion, which is influenced by the guild or discipline they are receiving training from.

Spontaneous attunement is possible but is very rare event, therefore most magicians must actively gain attunement under tutelage from another spell caster. This process usually takes place in modern times under the tutelage of a trained guildleader, and how prehistoric mages went about being attuned to mana is not known. In any case, attunement to a specific type of mana is typically permanent, as the process involves mental exercises that leads to subtle modifications to the senses of the mage that are usually non-reversible. Although some people have an inherent predisposition to one type of mana or another, this is never more pronounced than naturally being better suited to playing a flute than an ocarina. Some casters have been known to fail to attune to one type of mana or another and there are known to be many people who lack the ability to attune altogether. Currently this trait is estimated to be present in 1-5% of the elanthian population but appears to be becoming more common. [9][10][11]. In normal circumstances it is physically impossible for a caster to be attuned to more than one type of mana, though exceptions exist.[12]. Necromancers, for example, attempt to train themselves and alter their physiology by way of barbaric modifications to their nervous system in order to "see" more than one type of mana at once[13]. This process is imperfect, however; what they end up perceiving is an illusion caused by their brain and nervous system being unable to comprehend "seeing" more than one type of mana at once, resulting in the perception of a hideous amalgamation of the different types that doesn't really exist. This is typically referred to as Necromantic mana, though it isn't actually a separate type of mana.[14][15]

Spells and Spellcasting

Casting most spells is a two-part process for the caster. The primary portion of a spell involves the psychic process of preparing the spell, which manifests as a spell preparation. At this point no mana has been harnessed and the spell can be released without effect. For most spells can be cast at this point, which involves forming a spell pattern or matrix.[16] A pattern is a simple, static spell pattern while a matrix refers to a spell pattern that can change properties based on some arbitrary condition.[17] The process of forming a pattern or matrix involves harnessing and channelling the needed mana and is the stage at which the spell casting can succeed or fail and possibly backfire. Once a spell is cast, the streams of mana return to their normal state and leave behind spell energy is used to maintain the spell pattern as long as it remains coherent[18] .If the spell is self-cast or cast at an area it takes effect at this point.

Offensive Spells

If a spell is a non-targeted spell cast at an opponent (meaning it is most likely a Debilitation Spell) it can then be resisted and, if successful, the spell pattern (or matrix) collapses and the mana returns to its' natural state.[19]. If the resistance is unsuccessful the spell takes effect and must be resolved.If he spell is a contested spell the spell pattern must contest the power of the spell, determined by mana used in the spell and modified by the casters' attributes against the targets' defences, also determined by their attributes. Success or failure at that point depends on the results of the contest. If a spell is a targeted spell an additional step is required; the caster must weave a target matrix around whatever they are attempting to direct their spell at using the Target command. The primary spell pattern forms near the caster and cannot be resisted but a secondary targeting pattern is required to direct the spell and forms near the target and it is this pattern can be resisted.[20] If the targets' resistance fails the spell is resolved a similar way to using a weapon by contesting offensive vs defensive factors first and then using the core damage mechanics afterward.[21][22]

Spell Attributes

Spells have three defined attributes:

  • Potency - Affects the raw power of the spell. It directly correlates to the amount of damage, level of protection, degree of skill buff or amount of skill reduction caused by a spell.[23]
  • Duration - the time the pattern hangs there doing whatever the spell is designed to do.
  • Integrity - Affects how well your spell can pierce magical defenses and resist dispellation. Once a spells integrity is depleted it ceases to function[24][25]

You will have the ability to "stance" between these three attributes using the Spell Stance command. By default, mana is split evenly between creating Potency, Duration and Integrity but it can be adjusted to give as much as 130% of a normal amount to one attribute in exchange for reducing another attribute as low as 70% of it's normal amount. The total contribution to all three attributes must be 300%, however. For spells that lack variable potency, such as Focus Moonbeam , or duration, such as Targeted Magic spells like Footman's Strike, only the ratio of the relevant attributes applies.[26]

Spell Categories

Spells can also be broken down into four categories:

  • Battle spells like Ice Patch are designed for use in during of combat. They have short preparation times, relatively lower mana costs and shorter durations[27]
  • Ritual spells like Persistence of Mana are the conceptual opposite. The have long preparation times and long durations. The mana costs of these spells can be impossibly high, but can be dramatically reduced with a Ritual Focus
  • Standard Spells like Ease Burden fill the middle ground between Battle spells and Ritual Spells.[28]
  • Cyclic spells like Glythtide's Joy and Ghost Shroud are spells that do not have a set duration and instead periodically draw mana from the caster and will fail only if released or if the spells mana requirements are not met. The mana can be provided from harnessed mana, charged cambrinth or, with the appropriate Magical Feats, directly from your attunement. Only one cyclic spell can be maintained at any given time.[29]

Magic Resistance

Living creatures have an inherent resistance to the manipulation of mana streams through their bodies and this is the source of Magic Resistance. Consequently Magic Resistance only applies to the actual manipulation of mana, not spell energy. As such, Magic Resistance may weaken the power of a spell or even stop it from being cast entirely, but once the pattern has been created and cast the spell energy is not affected and cannot be resisted, though it can still be manipulated or dispelled with the proper tools.

Types of Spells

Augmentation Spells

Most Augmentation spells, like Hands of Lirisa and Benediction, generally increase one ore more Skills or Attributes for their duration. Some spells provide more exotic effects, like Aesandry Darlaeth, which speeds recovery from debilitations, and Divine Armor, which strengthens the protective abilities of the caster's armor.

Debilitation Spells

Debilitation spells create effects which hinder enemies directly in some way. They suffer from "diminishing returns", meaning that after the first debilitation is cast current and further debilitations spells have reduced duration.[30][31]

Some effects include:

Crowd Control:

  • Stunning Spells - Thunderclap, Branch Break and similar spells provide a short stun that prevents the target from taking actions and reduces their defensive abilities.
  • Immobilizing Spells - Spells such as Halt and Petrifying Visions prevent the target from moving or taking actions. They also reduce their targets' defensive abilities more than even stuns and reduce balance to "solidly".[32][33]
  • Calming spells - spells like Albreda's Balm and Calm prevent the target from taking hostile actions, but often fail if the target is damaged.
  • Sleep Spells - Sleep, Nissa's Binding and other sleep spells induce a stake of unconsciousness The target cannot move or take actions, much like an immobilize spell, but will awaken if they are damaged.
  • Webbing Spells - Harawep's Bonds and similar spells imprison the target in a web.

Other Debilitations:

  • Debuffs - Spells like Devolve and Damaris' Lullaby directly reduce the effectiveness of an enemy by reducing their Skills or Attributes
  • Damage Increasing Spells - Mark of Arhat and Heighten Pain are examples of damage increasing spells. They provide bonus damage whenever a Targeted Magic Spell or attack is made.
  • Dispel Spells - Spells such as Rend, Dispel or Ward Break remove beneficial magical effects from enemies.
  • Knockdown spells - Frostbite and similar spells put the target in the prone position
  • Knock Back Spells - Spells like Grizzly Claws knock opponents back from melee range to pole range or even further away.
  • Fatiguing Spells - Spells like Lethargy reduce their targets fatigue.
  • Unbalancing Spells - Tremor and similar spells reduce their target's balance.

Targeted Magic

Targeted Magic spells are those that cause direct damage to opponents and always dealt two types of damage [34].

Types of Targeted Spells:

Utility Spells

Utility spells create effects that are otherwise difficult to classify. Teleport, Caress of the Sun and Heal Wounds are all very different examples of Utility Magic. In general, Utility spells typically have no mechanical impact by the pure virtue of casting them, but instead rely on the player to utilize the effects of the spell for their benefit. [45] There are several exceptions to this generalization, however, with effects that are similar to Augmentation or Debilitation spells. For example, Revelation and Divine Radiance respectively.

Warding Spells

Warding Spells can be classified in two ways:

  • Physical Barriers - Physical barriers like Aspirant's Aegis that reduce physical damage done.
  • Integrity Barriers - Integrity barriers, such as Lay Ward or Shear, contest the integrity of the incoming spells, resulting in either complete dispellation or no reduction. Multiple integrity barriers can damage a spell and rip it apart, however.[46]
  • Potency Barriers - A potency barrier such as Aether Cloak reduces the potency of incoming spells, lessening their power whether they are fully dispelled or not.[47]

  • Ablative Wards - Ablative Wards like Veil of Ice and Manifest Force are weakened or otherwise diminished in integrity or potency by each attack they affect.
  • Non-Ablative Wards - Non-Ablative Wards like Worm's Mist and Ethereal Shield maintain their integrity and potency with each attack but are often weaker or otherwise more limited than Ablative Wards.[48]

Some warding spells have effects that are difficult to classify such as Sanyu Lyba, which provides no protection but stuns foes who use magic against the caster and Whole Displacement , which teleports the caster out of combat.

Sorcery & Necromancy


Sorceries and necromancies are spell patterns that rely on the laws and inherent metaphysical properties of two different types of mana working in tandem to function. Sorcery is the mixing of any two non-Life types, while Necromancy utilizes Life in the pattern[49]. Different sorceries utilize these energies in different ratios to produce their effects, but the majority tend to manifest as blue fire or unnatural purple light. Sorcerous spell patterns as a result of their composition are inherently unstable and destructive. Using these patterns always possesses an inherent danger; a bit of misplaced energy within a sorcerous spell pattern can easily result in backfires which lead to an incredibly violent sorcerous backlashes. The results can range from minor debilitations to manifestations of black and blue flames which destroy the hands and arms or worse. The risk of this happening can go down based on the particular spell as well as what is being mixed, but never fully goes away, even for the most talented magicians. Natural laws prevent Holy and Life from being mixed together easily, causing violent necromantic backlashes when it is attempted. This means that "holy necromancy" is an impossibility, but whether this is due to the Immortals manipulating natural law to make it so, proof that there is such an innate evilness to necromancy that the emanations of the gods repel it, or is simply a convenient coincidence is unknown. The best possible interactions between mana streams are the "metaphysically concrete" frequencies, Elemental and Life, that deal with the elements and ecosystems of the planet Elanthia, and the "metaphysically abstract" frequencies, Holy & Lunar, that deal with forces from outside Elanthia. The worst interactions are between the "conceptually physical" frequencies, Elemental and Lunar, that deal with physical properties, and the "conceptually ephemeral" frequencies, Holy and Life, that deal with spiritual and life energies[50][51].

A Necromancer's unique way of attuning to mana grants them the unique ability to effectively manipulate and use those different frequencies of mana in their spellcasting, though your average Necromancer isn't really aware of what is happening.


A confound is any external force outside of mana that influences the casting of certain spells. In reality, no modern magical discipline relies purely on mana manipulation and spell energy to generate all of their magical effects; the most extraordinary spells, usually those that are considered "signature" abilities for a guild, typically rely on some kind of intervening external force to produce that effect. Without these confounds, those effects would not be possible and magic would be much weaker than it is.[52][53][54]. In fact, it is impossible to manipulate Holy Mana without a confound as some element of divinity is required.[55] Examples of confounds playing a part in magic can be seen in spells like Moongate or Murrula's Flames, as well as countless others.

The confounds for each guild are:

Guild Confound
Clerics Devotion and attunement to the Spiritual Plane[56]
Paladins The sanctified soul[57][58][59]
Empaths Empathy[60]
Rangers Attunement to the forces of nature
Warrior Mages Attunement to the Elemental Planes
Bards Exertion of sound waves and a relationship with the Naga
Moon Mages Latent mental link to the Plane of Probability[61]
Traders Starlight Aura.[62]
Necromancers Thanatological link and (potential) attunement to certain demons
Redemption serves as a secondary confound for Anabasis magic.


  1. Post:Occupation? Stand-up Philosopher - 10/16/2009 - 20:39:48
  2. Post:Magic Theory and Magic Resistance (long) - 2/10/2009 - 21:55:03
  3. Post:Magical (de)Vices - 6/22/2008 - 18:41:59
  4. Post:The Physiology of Spellcasting - 11/20/2009 - 14:54:15
  5. Post:Proposed Scroll Focus Feat - 06/03/2014 - 14:31
  6. Post:Introductory Magic Theory - 11/06/2014 - 12:23
  7. Post:Confounds, Necromancers and the value of sharing pt 1.1a - 12/12/2014 - 11:39 AM
  8. Post:Confounds, Necromancers and the value of sharing pt 1.1a - 12/12/2014 - 12:36
  9. Post:Born with it? - 3/29/2011 - 14:36:19
  10. Post:Looking for Ideas - 12/19/2011 - 14:17
  11. Post:Magic (and other) Usage - 2/6/2010 - 23:25:56
  12. Post:Questions about mixing mana types. - 11/10/2009 - 20:07:32
  13. Post:Neurobiology of the Hunger - 1/21/2010 - 17:40:16
  14. Post:PP and sanity breaking horror - 1/21/2010 - 16:13:07
  15. Post:Collected Forageables Pile Description - 12/16/2009 - 13:22:05
  16. Post:Nostalgia - 10/28/2011 - 00:13
  17. Post:Pattern vs. Matrix - 12/19/2009 - 14:23:57
  18. Post:Introductory Magic Theory - 11/06/2014 - 12:23
  19. Post:Nostalgia - 10/28/2011 - 00:13
  20. Post:Nostalgia - 10/28/2011 - 00:13
  21. Post:TM and Ranged Adjustments - 01/04/2014 - 22:15
  22. Post:Potential Cleric Issues - 12/20/2012 - 18:11
  23. Post:Magic 3 Status Update - 02/03/2012 - 22:24
  24. Post:Magic 3.0 Overview - 7/13/2010 - 19:45:27
  25. Post:Introductory Magic Theory - 11/06/2014 - 12:23
  26. Post:Magic 3 Status Update - 02/03/2012 - 20:54
  27. Post:The Big Post of Magic Techniques - 1/30/2011 - 14:17:56
  28. Post:Magic 3.0 Overview - 7/13/2010 - 19:45:27
  29. Post:Magic 3.0 Overview - 7/13/2010 - 19:45:27
  30. Post:CC Diminishing Returns - 02/27/2013 - 16:59
  31. Post:Diminishing Returns and You - 02/27/2013 - 14:42
  32. Post:Stun and Imobilize Tweak - 01/04/2014 - 01:30
  33. Post:Halt v. Stun Foe - 9/9/2009 - 15:53:45
  34. Post:Significant Magic Changes (Magic 3.1) - 11/13/2013 - 23:03
  35. Post:The State of Targeted Magic - 3/2/2009 - 1:23:29
  36. Post:Significant Magic Changes (Magic 3.1) - 11/13/2013 - 23:03
  37. Post:The Good, the Okay, and the Ugly - 3/22/2011 - 19:41:02
  38. Post:Upcoming Change to Shield-Ignoring Spells - 2/2/2009 - 20:52:06
  39. Post:Upcoming Change to Shield-Ignoring Spells - 2/2/2009 - 21:30:59
  40. Post:3 things - 01/23/2014 - 12:57
  41. Post:DFA Spells - 11/25/2012 - 10:41
  42. Post:DFA Changes - 2/7/2009 - 11:26:51
  43. Post:The State of Targeted Magic - 3/2/2009 - 1:23:29
  44. Post:The State of Targeted Magic - 3/3/200 - 00:56:02
  45. Post:A whole bunch of information - 04/11/2012 - 12:08
  46. Post:BMR - 02/18/2013 - 13:55
  47. Post:BMR - 02/18/2013 - 13:55
  48. Post:Tentative 3.0 Spell list - 10/1/2010 - 12:41:48
  49. Post:Thought crossed my mind. - 2/19/2009 - 17:17:54
  50. Post:Umm... Shadow Web? - 2/21/2011 - 18:27:12
  51. Post:Other school's spell scrolls - 1/14/2009 - 23:32:05
  52. Post:Occupation? Stand-up Philosopher - 10/16/2009 - 20:39:48
  53. Post:The Trader Confound - 12/08/2013 - 15:55
  54. Post:Introductory Magic Theory - 11/06/2014 - 12:23
  55. Post:Why does Holy hurt so much? - 11/03/2010 - 12:25:08
  56. Post:Other school's spell scrolls - 1/21/2009 - 15:16:29
  57. Post:Other school's spell scrolls - 1/21/2009 - 15:16:29
  58. Post:The Sacred and the Profane - 2/15/2010 - 22:16:03
  59. Post:Paladins need to help others - 9/28/2010 - 22:15:25
  60. Post:Anti-Magic World - 6/17/2008 - 17:13:00
  61. Post:Lunar Magic 101 - 05/31/2014 - 10:27
  62. Post:The Trader Confound - 12/08/2013 - 15:55

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