This page discusses all available types of Magic, their limitations and how they can be used.
Types of Magic
Magic is split into four primary types or schools, each of which has three or four secondary types. Each character that uses magic may only learn one primary type. How proficient a mage is with a certain secondary type depends mostly on the time they have spent training it and on the quality of their training. A self-taught teleporter, for example, cannot be expected to be as skilled a one who has received extensive professional training.
Manipulation magic is generally thought to be the simplest school of magic, mainly because it is the most obvious one. It is, however, no easier to pick up or master than the other types because of that. It focuses on the manipulation of physical matter.
Elemental magic focuses on the basic manipulation and movement of the elements. This can mean moving simple objects, such as rocks, manipulating air or water currents, setting something on fire or (for the most advanced) even make a solid wall appear from the ground.
Telekinesis is a simpler form of elemental magic, but also applicable to more complex objects. It involves moving items without physically contacting them. This can be very useful if an item is unsafe to touch or out of reach.
Experienced manipulation mages can teleport objects or maybe even living creatures, including themselves, over long distances. It is only possible to teleport anything to certain "tether" areas, which have been magically prepared for teleportation arrival. The further away the tether, the more difficult a teleportation is. This kind of magic is also very risky, in that there is always a small chance of something coming out... different, on the other side.
This type involves taking the souls of dying creatures and placing them into objects or even other bodies as well as summoning objects and creatures from somewhere else.
Soul Snaring & Infusing
When a living being is dying, its life force starting to slip away, a soul mage may capture its soul and place it in a temporary or permanent vessel. Such a vessel may be a specially enchanted gemstone or a magical object the soul is intimately familiar with. The more sophisticated a soul is, the harder it is to snare. Snaring humanoid souls is not only extremely difficult, but also illegal is most places. Captured souls are always conscious, from the very moment they leave their bodies. After some time, they may even be able to influence the objects they inhabit in minor ways.
Most objects may be enchanted with a spell that allows soul mages to summon them from afar. This differs from teleportation in that it can only be done with inanimate objects and there is no risk of misshapen results. Distance is still a major factor in the difficulty of the summon. It is possible to either summon objects for only a limited amount of time or permanently, the latter being much harder to accomplish.
It is also possible to summon certain magical creatures, although only temporarily. Great caution must be taken, since those creatures are not in any way guaranteed to be friendly to the summoner or anyone else around.
Some advanced soul mages are capable of infusing dead bodies with living souls. This results in the quite disturbing and morally questionable practice of necromancy. The souls of the undead beings that come from it are only a shadow of their former selves and will obey almost any command given by their creator. While not wholly illegal in itself, unless done with humanoid souls, necromancy is generally frowned upon.
Psychic magic deals with influencing someone's perception and thoughts, be it positively or negatively. This is arguably the most complex type and the hardest to master.
Psychic mages working with perception magic can enhance their own senses or those of their allies, resulting in eagle-sharp vision, extremely accurate hearing, et cetera. However, such heightened senses may be too much for minds that are not used to them and long term use may have negative effects, most of which only make themselves known through mild headaches. It is also possible to cloud the perception of others, magically disguising or silencing objects or beings. Obviously, the more complex something is, the more difficult it is to disguise. At the peak of their skill, psychic mages may even render moving creatures fully invisible.
Those who have a great understanding of how the mind works may find a way into another's, and read their thoughts. Such magic is very difficult to execute and almost impossible to remain unnoticed by a fully conscious mind. A number of risks are involved in this practice. For one, reading unwilling humanoid minds would likely be considered a punishable invasion of privacy. More seriously, probing other minds may take a toll on one's own. There is always the danger that parts of one's consciousness may get lost on the way in-between and several mages are said to have been driven insane trying to perfect this art.
A mixture of the other two secondary types, thought injection comes with all the risks and difficulties of both of them. It involves tricking another's mind with thoughts planted there by the mage. In extreme cases, it can go as far as a complete brain-wash. Of course, the danger of harming one's own mind as well is still omnipresent.
This school focuses on healing wounds and ailments and improving or deteriorating the physical and mental capabilities of a subject. Enhancement mages also tend to have a certain natural affinity with protective spells.
The most popular and widespread use of this magic type is helping to mend wounds and treat illnesses. From extracting poisons all the way to magically sealing wounds, it has an extremely varied range of uses. More powerful healing mages may treat or even cure dangerous diseases, some of which have no non-magical cure. As such, most major medical facilities employ at least one such mage.
One can not only return someone's capabilities to normal, but also enhance them beyond any previous peak. Enhancement magic may be used to improve physical strength, speed or even mental prowess, albeit only for a short duration of time. This bears many similarities to perception magic, but is both simpler and, in many situations, more effective.
On the exact opposite end of the spectrum, one may magically weigh down on their enemy to slow them, weaken them, or make it difficult for them to concentrate. It should be noted that, under normal circumstances, this is legally seen as just as grave as physical intervention.
Other Forms of Magic
There are other forms of magic, which do not fall into any school in particular and may be practiced by anyone, some of them not even requiring any previous knowledge on the subject.
All mages can cast a wide range of protective spells, shielding themselves and allies from harm. However, mages of a certain school have a much higher affinity with the protective spells that match it. The best defence against a psychic mage's mind attacks is in fact another psychic mage's protection.
Most objects can be enchanted with magical properties. All adept-level mages can enchant items, according to their primary type. In most cases, the enchantment will require some form of power to remain active. For example, an advanced manipulation mage can enchant a specific area to prepare it for teleportation. They may imbue other nearby items with magical power that can then fuel the reception process. Such items are typically gemstones, seeing as they possess an abnormally large capacity for said energy. It is also possible to make enchantments draw power from the user, in the form of physical strength, tiring them as they are used. However, this method is very risky, since it can be difficult to control.
Scrolls and Runes
For those with limited or no magical expertise, scrolls may be read out loud in order to cast spells. One must only know roughly how to pronounce the symbols of the old tongue, a magical language very little is known about today. However, letters can only hold so much power and, as such, scrolls can only be used to perform minor magics that require little energy. More importantly, though, magical scrolls allow mages to use magic outside of their school, albeit to a very limited extent.
Due to the complexity and obscurity of the old tongue, the creation of new scrolls is extremely difficult. The original scrolls themselves do not seem to follow any particular kind of grammatical syntax, making the contents mostly indecipherable.The current art of scroll creation consists of carefully copying symbols by hand. Interestingly, a scroll with the exact same words as another will not function. As such, scroll writers are forced to mix up words from different scrolls that have shown identical or similar effects, in hopes of recreating them without producing exact copies. Due to the writers' lack of comprehension of the old tongue, such newly made scrolls are unlikely to be as powerful as an original and may even display off-putting or dangerous side effects.
Runes function similarly, in that they can allow the casting of spells that would otherwise be inaccessible. A rune consists of a small enchanted piece of rock or metal, inscribed with a magical symbol. However, they may contain spells of a somewhat greater magnitude, some of the strongest ones being able to teleport the user over short distances. However, the art of creating these runes, like so many other pieces of knowledge, has been lost to the ages. Many attempts have been made and the mysterious symbols have been studied for decades, but none have succeeded in creating a rune more powerful than any conventional piece of enchanted rock.
The Old Tongue
The old tongue is an ancient magical language, which is said to hold great power. Wizards of old would use it to cast spells, a thousand or more years ago. Today, the world's knowledge of it is basic at best, mainly due to the lack of reliable source material, which mostly consists of ancient spell scrolls. Only a handful of words have been translated and the number of fully understood sentences can be counted on one hand. The fact that writers of new scrolls sometimes falsely advertise their items as genuine and original in no way helps those who wish to study them.
While many a philosopher can be found arguing about the old tongue's origins, no real evidence has been found. If it was created by someone or something in particular, that someone or something must have been very powerful indeed. According to legend, every object and creature in the world has a unique true name, describing it in detail in the old language. Such a name can be just one or two words long, or dozens. It is said that a true name could be used to influence its owner in ways not possible by conventional magic. Finding a true name, however, required relentless study and extensive meditation. One more thing that demonstrates the language's great power is the belief that one cannot be dishonest in it. Lies cannot be told and oaths given in it cannot be broken.
There are always limitations as to what a user of magic can do with a certain method. This depends on the method itself as well as on the user's training and knowledge. There are three basic levels of understanding of any school of magic. The novice level represents comprehension of the fundamentals of a primary magic type, commonly acquired after a month or two of careful study. After a couple of years of training, one may consider themselves an adept of their school. Most spells are available to adepts, although the most powerful ones still pose a great challenge. After at least a decade and probably even more, mages can reach mastery of their school of magic. They can perform the most complex spells known to them.
The time spaces listed here are only a bare minimum. The rules as to what is and is not allowed for each individual are not very strict, seeing as it would logically vary from mage to mage, depending on what they have been focusing on the most during their studies and on what kind of training they have received. As such, we expect players to remain within reason with their skills. A character who only just picked up a book about manipulation magic a week or two ago will simply not be able to teleport and may not summon a rain of comets to annihilate everyone who looked at them the wrong way in high school.
As usual, if there is a disagreement between players or any other kind of uncertainty as to whether or not something is possible, a member of staff should be contacted to settle the matter. It is highly recommended to mention any training or knowledge in matters of magic in your application, so that staff can get an idea of how powerful your character is supposed to be.