Magic[edit | edit source]
Magic is the ability of certain character classes to alter the physical world, the minds of people and animals, or summon creatures from other places. Most classes have magical abilities of one sort or the other. The only difference being how they obtained those powers, and what they can do. There are many sources of magic in the world, with each one offering different abilities and limitations.
Types of Magic[edit | edit source]
Imperial Wizardy[edit | edit source]
Wizardry is the sole province of the Human Empire. The source of power is the Nameless Machine underneath the Pristine Palace. Any citizen in good standing can apply for admission to Imperial Mage's Legion. A basic level of competence can be achieved within a year, allowing for simple tasks such as heating and cooling of houses, warding off insects, personal defensive shielding, and the like. The vast majority of citizens do not pursue even this rudimentary level of education for two reasons. The first is that the risks inherent in even such minor wizardry are great. A miscalculation can cause severe damage or death. The second is that even such basic training automatically makes one eligible to be summoned for duty at any time in the Imperial Mage's Legion.
Wizardry is all about channeling the energy that the NM provides. The amount drawn must be calculated in accordance with the task the mage wants to achieve. A rigorous set of mental exercises forms the energy into the desired shape. Much of a Mage's initial education is spent on mathematics and physics.
Wizardy excels at altering the physical world, particularly in raw destruction. Lances of fire, bolts of lightning, and hurricanes are all things wizards excel at. To a lesser extent, the endowment of enchantments (set magical effects that once in place do not require a mage to be used) can be performed by a skilled Mage. The Imperial Enchanters supply many of the magical arms and armor to the Legions.
Non-citizens are rarely granted access to wizardry. For one, no one, not even the Emperor can sever a link with the Machine once it has been created. That level of trust to an outsider is rarely given.
Psionics[edit | edit source]
Psionics are an inherent ability that is found in all races. It is relatively rare compared to other forms of magic, and is not a skill one can be taught. One has to be born with it. It has never been found in children, and is almost always seen to manifest in the late 20's (or comparative age for other races). Psionics tend to manifest in moments of stress, be it physical or emotional, and almost always cause extensive property damage or psychic damage to bystanders.
The source of a psychic's abilities are himself, making it extremely difficult to interrupt or block their access to those powers. Psionics can accomplish things that other forms of magic do poorly, if it at all. The first, and perhaps most useful, is mental domination. Psychics have the ability to enter the minds of others, and given enough time, ferret out any secrets. They can erase memories, implant false ones, destroy a person's mind completely, or even force them to do their bidding, attacking former friends and comrades.
Illusions and hallucinations are another field psychics excel at. These are projected directly into a target's mind, and thus can even cause damage.
Psychokinesis is another capability of psionicists. THey can move objects from a distance, or just inflect purely physical damage.
Psychics are facing increased recruitment efforts as spies and interrogators by the Empire.
Spirit Bargaining[edit | edit source]
Bargaining is not exactly a form of magic. At least, it isn't one that is practiced by an individual. Spirit Bargaining involves communicating and arranging a deal with a spirit, often a local one, for powers or abilities in exchange for a payment or ongoing service.
This is a tactic that those who do not have the time or capability of following another path of magic choose. Since so many spirits of so many types about, it is relatively simple for a human to find a spirit who can grant increased strength, healing, and the like. Many small villages have a chosen protector who has been granted great abilities by local spirits, and the village as a whole often pays a great tribute for them. In return, he protects the village from all dangers.
Most spirits are more than willing to engage in such bargains. Some are friendly and honest, some are deceptive and will seek to trick the bargainer. Bargains take the form of a verbal agreement, sealed with blood (which in the case of most spirits isn't actually blood, but the spirit is still required to pierce their skin or outer covering, and merge the resulting liquid with the blood of the human). It can be of any duration, and more than spirit has been tricked into giving favors to a bargainer for the entire lifetime of the bargainer. A spirit is bound to the letter, and only the letter, of the agreement, and as such, the agreements can become quite convoluted. If the bargainer has sufficient funds, there are guilds that specialize in arranging foolproof bargains with spirits.
What a spirit can ask for is virtually unlimited. It can be as simple as burning an offering of wheat in the spirits name once a week, to an ounce of virgin's blood per month, or anything else. Spirits are fond of requiring memories (taken in the form of XP from the character) to be sacrificed.
Common Favors include increased statistics, resistance to types of damage, rapid healing, keen senses, resistance to magic, invisibility, or any other numerous possibilities.