Sorcery is the most infamous discipline studied by students of the Arcane. It is the use of spell patterns that rely on the laws and properties of two (or more) frequencies of mana at once. In contrast to the logical and methodical nature of conventional magic, sorcery relies on intuition and emotion. The act of casting a sorcerous matrix drags the caster beyond what is rational and logical into a dark world of unreason, intuition and unbridled emotion. This process is a distinctly painful experience.
All sorcery can be thought of a violent attempt to break natural or cosmological laws.
Compared to conventional magic, all sorcery has three universal characteristics:
- Sorcery is violent. It may be darkly pervasive, metaphysically violent, or even literally violent, but at some level it will be breaking something. This is an infuriating but nonetheless immutable element of sorcery spellbooks: it's never "nice.
- Sorcery is unstable. Even the best sorcerer is groping for at least half his mana blind, deaf and dumb. Even the most erudite sorcerer cannot hope to encompass the exponential growth in laws and mechanics that comes from interfacing mana frequencies that were never meant to work together. Even the luckiest sorcerer cannot escape that sometimes two streams cross and that's the end of that. Sorcery has an inherent tendency toward creating an unpleasant explosion of curses and half-formed spell effects.
- Sorcery is greedy. Sorcery exists to create in the world that which does not and cannot exist, because the magician arrogantly says it should or attempts to do alone with sorcery what could be done with outside help or with an intentional mien of misanthropy.
Mana Spectrum Theory
Conventional magic theorists espouse the mana spectrum theory with the claim that each of the types of mana is a distinct realm that has much in common with the other realms, but also has unique laws, principles and properties. Sorcery can be understood as the introduction of the properties of one realm into another realm with divergent properties. Consequently, Sorcery is the also the act of combining two (or more) of the four known realms of magic (Elemental, Holy, Life and Lunar) into a single matrix and, therefore, involves the use of mana that exists outside the magician's attuned realm. Magic users are limited to the ability to perceive a single realm of magic and therefore are forced to manipulate at least a portion of a spell matrix blindly. The facts that the sorcerer is attempting to combine the incompatible and shape at least some mana streams blindly causes such spell matrixes to be inherently unstable and dangerous. As a result, the use of a Sorcerous matrix always carries the risk of a Sorcerous Backlash that can have results ranging from inconvenient but invisible effects to spectacularly violent deaths.
Mana Spectrum Theorists believe each of the realms of mana can be seen to lie along a spectrum of mana ranging from Holy Mana at one end to Lunar mana at the other. Holy and Life Mana lie on the conceptually ephemeral side of the spectrum while Elemental and Lunar mana lie on the conceptually physical realm of the spectrum. When considering sorcerous interactions, many theorists view the spectrum as being curved rather than linear. This causes the realms at the top of the spectrum, Lunar and Holy, to be grouped together as metaphysically abstract realms and those at the bottom, Elemental and Life, to be grouped together as metaphysically concrete realms. The most stable interactions can be found among realms that are metaphysically similar but conceptually different (Holy and Lunar, Elemental and Life) and the least stable among those that are conceptually similar but metaphysically different (Elemental and Lunar, Holy and Life)
The Mana Field Hypothesis
Sorcerous magic theorists champion an The Mana Field Hypothesis, which states that the four known realms of mana are not distinct fields but are instead parts of a greater ubiquitous whole. The fact that the individual realms appear to exist is the result of a weakness of the mortal mind; if one could see mana in its entirety, one would see that the end of one realm of magic only marks the border to another realm. Mana Field Theorists believe that attunement naturally grants all magic users the ability to manipulate portions of the mana field that are beyond their natural perception. One could further argue that the mana field contains a set of universal laws, principles and properties that apply across all of the conventional fields of mana. Sorcerous backlashes are, therefore, not the result of blending incompatible realms of mana but rather are caused by the Sorceror's inability to perceive the mana field in its entirety or comprehend the unifying laws that bind all magic together.
Much to the frustration of sorcerous researchers, current observations cannot support the Mana Field Hypothesis as the four realms do not fit neatly together into a unified whole. Numerous modifications to the hypothesis ranging from the existence of invisible mana bridging to gap between the realms, field-warping forces interfering with mana perception or undiscovered realms of mana abound. The fact that Sorcery is possible provides encouragement to Sorcerous Theorists, who are quick to point out that they are able to do what Conventional Mana Spectrum Theorists say is impossible.
Types of Sorcery
Cross-realm casting (also known as "sorcerous casting") is the act of a magic user attempting to cast a spell designed to use another type of mana. Traditionally this has been called "sorcery" with a lower-case s by players due to the perception that it less dangerous and therefore more morally acceptable than other Sorcery. This distinction is obsolete.
Sorcerous casting may be as simple as a Cleric trying casting Clear Vision (a lunar spell), but it comes with the danger of sorcerous backlash. The danger of this is that even when not attempting to do so, any attempt by a magic user to manipulate mana will either wholly or partially include their native mana as an unavoidable reflexive action. Without even intending to, the Cleric would end up funneling at least a small amount of holy mana into the Clear Vision spell, which it is not designed to handle, and occasionally result in catastrophic results.
While sorcerous casting is not in and of itself illegal in most locales due to the general inability to separate it from normal spell casting, body-destroying backlashes are evidence of sorcerous manipulation and are likely to bring legal troubles if they occur in justice zones.
True Sorcery involves a matrix which is designed inherently to use more than one type of mana. It has also been traditionally known as "Sorcery" with a big "S" by players although, as mentioned above, this distinction is effectively obsolete. A True Sorcery spell that includes life mana in its matrix is also technically a Necromancy spell.
High Sorcery is a type of refined magic that combines two or more types of mana into a single matrix and requires the presence of a confound and special background knowledge. Using these spells is often associated with some form of corruption. There are currently four known High Sorcery spell book, each of which is a corruption of one of the four realms of magic.
- Antinomic Sorcery is the corruption of cosmologic laws and structure It often deals with esoteric grey areas of religion. Its spell patterns are based on Holy Mana with Elemental or Lunar Mana. Such spells will likely require knowledge of the Theurgy skill and be limited to the Cleric Guild. Casting these spells leads to Antinomic Corruption
- Hylomorphic Sorcery is the corruption of cosmologic shape and function. It contains, among other things, the legendary Blackfire Spellbook. Its spell patterns are a mixture of Elemental Mana with Lunar or Holy and requires knowledge and connections to the Elemental planes unique to the Warrior Mage guild. Users of such spells are sullied by Hylomorphic Corruption
- Teleologic Sorcery is the corruption of names and meaning, often dealing with fate, luck and probability. Its spell patterns are a mixture of Lunar Mana with Elemental or Holy mana and require a link to the Plane of Probability and knowledge of Astrology. As a result this book is only usable by Moon Mages. Casting these spells leads to Teleologic Corruption
- Necromancy, also known as "High Necromancy" or, by some scholars, as "Ontologic Sorcery", is the corruption of life itself. It often involves the creation of false life or perversion of living things into unnatural forms. Its spell patterns are a mixture of Life Mana with either Elemenal or Lunar mana. This sorcery requires knowledge of the blasphemy known as Thanatology and is not a single spell book but instead contains the entire spectrum of spells used by Necromancers. Unlike all other types of Sorcery, this magic does not contest the Sorcery Skill as long as it is used by an attuned Necromancer.
Low Sorcery lacks the philosophical and theoretical complexity of the High Sorceries and can, therefore, be cast by anyone who has attunement . The concept that unified the spells within a Low Sorcery spell book is the fact that that all attempt to do what is impossible with a single realm of magic. Such magic is usually violent, unstable and dangerous. There are currently three types of low sorcery:
- Low Sorcery is a combination of two of Elemental, Holy and Lunar magic.
- Lay Necromancy is the combination of Life magic with Lunar or Elemental Magic.
- Feral Magic is a combination of all four realms of magic and is exceptionally violent and unstable, even by sorcerous standards.
High sorceries tend to have corrupting effects on those that use them. Moon mages who cast Teleologic Sorcery spells will suffer Teleologic Corruption, which dampens the mages' connection to the plane of probability and therefore their ability to make predictions. Clerics suffer from Antinomic Corruption and War Mages gain Hylomorphic Corruption when casting their respective guild sorceries. Necromantic corruption is much less visible but is far more pervasive and affects a necromancers entire psyche. Necromancers, at best, dance along the the borders of insanity as a result of their arcane magic.
- Please go here to leave feedback on the new backlash system.
A sorcerous backlash is a significantly worse outcome than a backfire that is unique to sorcerous spell matrices. A sorcerous backlash results in uncontrolled bursts of spell energy that frequently manifests as characteristic blue-black flames. The risk of suffering a backlash can never be eliminated, but can be reduced through spell selection, increasing sorcery skill and choosing a safer mixture of mana. The effects of a backlash can range from minor to instant death.
- NOTE: It is also recommended that you DO NOT use a symbiosis with Sorcery casts, as the difficulty is increased a great deal.  
Backlash Risk by Mana Type
|Holy Mana||Elemental Mana||Life Mana||Lunar Mana||Necromantic Mana|
|Cleric, Paladin||Native Realm||Somewhat Dangerous||Most Dangerous||Least Dangerous||Most Dangerous (see below)|
|Warrior Mage, Bard||Somewhat Dangerous||Native Realm||Least Dangerous||Most Dangerous||Somewhat Dangerous|
|Empath, Ranger||Most Dangerous||Least Dangerous||Native Realm||Somewhat Dangerous|
|Moon Mage, Trader||Least Dangerous||Most Dangerous||Somewhat Dangerous||Native Realm|
|Unsullied Necromancer||Most Dangerous||Least Dangerous||Native Realm|
|Forsaken Necromancer||Most Dangerous (see below)|
Note: This table is not an explicit ranking of the overall backlash danger because it doesn't factor in individual spell backlash chances. E.g. a spell of a more dangerous mana type might actually be less dangerous to cast than a spell of a less dangerous mana type if the former's backlash modifier is low enough compared to the latter.
- Training in the Sorcerous Patterns feat will not only reduce the chances of backlash, but indirectly reduce the damage as well
- A Forsaken Necromancer casting a Holy spell is particularly dangerous
- A Paladin or Cleric casting a necromancy spell will suffer a loss of devotion and soul
- Battle spells have a lower chance of sorcerous backlash than comparable non-battle spells.
- High Sorceries are less explosive than cross-realm casting when comparing spells of similar difficulty and mix.
- For example, a Moon Mage casting a Teleologic Sorcery spell has half of the holy or elemental penalty to backlash chance, depending on which mana type the spell uses.
|Result||Messaging (Self)||Messaging (Others)|
|No Effect(?)||The spell pattern resists the influx of <mana type> mana and fails completely.||?|
|Stun||The spell pattern resists the influx of <mana type> mana though the backlash leaves you stunned!||<character> is stunned!|
|Minor Attunement Reduction||The spell pattern resists the influx of <mana type> mana. You are able to contain the backlash but doing so leaves your attunement to the mana streams dulled.||A sizzling sound briefly emanates from <character>'s direction.|
|Minor Debuff of all magic skills||The spell pattern resists the influx of <mana type> mana overloading your arcane senses in an torrent of uncontrolled power.||A sizzling sound briefly emanates from <character>'s direction.|
|Minor Internal Head Damage||The spell pattern resists the influx of<mana type> mana. You are able to contain the backlash but doing so results in a splitting headache.||<character> cringes in pain!|
|Minor Nervous System Damage||The spell pattern resists the influx of <mana type> mana though you are able to channel the worst of the backlash into your nervous system.||<character> winces in pain!|
|Major Internal Head and Nervous System Damage, long duration unconsciousness||The spell pattern resists the influx of <mana type> mana and everything goes black.||<character> crumples to the ground and is still.|
|Major Limb Damage|| The spell pattern resists the influx of<mana type> mana, and a strange burning sensation backwashes from the spell pattern into your body.
An instant rush of black and blue fire explodes into being, consuming your <right|left> hand and turning it into ash!
|An instant rush of black and blue fire explodes into being, consuming <character>'s <right|left> hand and turning it into ash!|
|Major Nervous System and Skin Damage||The spell pattern resists the influx of <mana type> mana as a strange itching sensation builds under your skin. Geysers of uncontrolled mana suddenly erupt from your flesh illuminating the surroundings in an excruciating display of blue-black fire!||Geysers of uncontrolled mana suddenly erupt from <characters>'s flesh illuminating the surroundings in an excruciating display of blue-black fire!|
|Temporary Inability to sense mana or cast spells with loss of memorized scrolls||The spell pattern resists the influx of <mana type> mana overloading your arcane senses and rendering you magically inert.|
|Multiple Major Limb Damage||The spell pattern resists the influx of unstable mana, and a strange burning sensation backwashes from the spell pattern into your body.
An instant rush of black and blue fire explodes into being, consuming your outstretched limbs and turning them into ash!
|Complete incineration||The spell pattern resists the influx of unfocused mana as a strange itching sensation builds under your skin. Geysers of blue-black fire suddenly erupt from your body consuming you in a horrific display of unbridled sorcery.|
A related, but separate phenomenon, Necromantic backlash is a type of Sorcerous backlash that occurs with Life mana.
Currently Necromantic Backlash has been turned off due to technical issues with the recent Sorcerous Backlash updates.
- You sense the spell pattern spontaneously extrude a series of uncontrollable ganglia with the influx of unfocused mana.
- A sudden and violent explosion of pale, sickly green light ruptures from within your fingertips, cascading up in a dramatic, shuddering display that finally collapses upon you like a tidal wave!
This results in random damage, ranging from arm wounds light enough to be tended to complete arm loss.
It also causes fleshrot.
Sorcery and the Gods
Sorcery is not inherently despised by The Thirteen. In most cases the gods will not even notice most sorcery. Even Paladins and Clerics can cast sorcerous spells with impunity and not suffer any ill effects from the gods directly, although being subject to the justice of society may still have repercussions for them. (See below.)
The one very notable exception to this is Necromancy. The gods are violently opposed to anything necromantic, whether the casting of a necromantic spell, undead created through necromancy, or a Necromancer himself. It is currently unknown exactly why the gods are so vehement in their hatred of Necromancy, and yet will completely ignore every other type of sorcery.
Sorcery and Society
Most average Elanthians (and many not-so-average Elanthians, for that matter) either don't understand the nuances of magic or don't care about them. In fact, trying to explain the difference between sorcerous casting and true sorcery is likely to be met with blank stares and confusion at best and derision at worst. As far as societies and governments are concerned, it is effect rather than method that matters. Casting Tangled Fate is (socially and legally) sorcery because anyone watching can tell that something "not right" happened. Casting Shadows with holy mana is not (socially and legally) sorcery; unless you cause a visible backlash, in which case the fact that you were dabbling in the arcane has been clearly exposed. On the other hand, if a Necromancer casts Eyes of the Blind it is not (socially and legally) a sorcery simply because no one witnessed the effect. To further muddy the waters, some "sorcerous appearing" spells are considered socially acceptable. The best example of this is among the Moon Mage guild where spells such as shear are legal primarily due to public relations campaigns due to the activities of Celestians and Tezirites 
With the notable exception of the Necromancer Guild, all of Elanthia's guilds publicly oppose sorcery. Both the Moon Mage and Bard guild are tolerant toward sorcery and consider the skill an acceptable prerequisite for guild advancement. The Moon Mage guild, in particular, has a longstanding history of dabbling with sorcery but generally condemn any member who is caught by the authorities. The War Mages' have institutions dedicated to suppressing sorcery within their ranks, largely due to the actions of the Blackfire Cabal and subsequent creating and loss of the Voidspell. The High Temple does not have a stance on the use of sorcery, given the lack of guidance from the gods, but its' long history of suppressing heterodoxy is not reassuring to would be sorcerers.
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