Magic in the Arcane Realm Part 1: Principles of Magic

This is the first post of the magic system of the Arcane Realm. One of the self-imposed challenges in this that I want the Arcane Realm to incorporate the major concepts of almost every type of magic there is (or at least the one’s I’ve exposed to) so let’s see how this goes.

In general, there are 2 broad types of magic.

Belief magic is built on the idea that supernatural powers can be compelled, or at least influenced, to act in certain ways for good or evil purposes by using ritual formulas. As such it is more like a religion or belief system. Magic can also be a term for a phenomena that is currently unexplained through natural processes.

Applied magic is defined as the extra-ordinary manipulation (either consciously or unconsciously) of natural and spiritual forces towards an intended result. This is what mages and wizards are known for.

Magic is though to came about as a natural defense mechanism for sapient beings that possess intent and will power. Angels were believed to be created with the gift of divine magic, Jinn with arcane magic and Humans with natural magic.

Principles and Phenomenon unique to Magic


As suspected by Polynesian culture, it is a force that is inherent in all objects, plants, and animals (including people) to different degrees.

It’s the energy needed to do magic, the fuel or magic power/points. It’s what gets attacked by anti-magic and referred to when the potential for magic is stored or arguably “measured”.

The main idea is simple; all matter; all things emit energy including consciousness. All sentient creatures, when they think or feel emit a wave of energy which on a micro scale changes the energy around them to resonate at that same vibratory level– the vibrating energy is ambient mana and magic happens when the practitioner is in sync with its vibrations.

This means that Mana itself has more or less an infinite source, but the practitioner cannot preserve any Mana if he exhausts his own willpower/consciousness/sanity/ and especially intentions. In this state, the practitioner can be said to be out of Mana. An idea that is also important to chi (something I get into one day), even though magic is separate, is that drive is a replenish-able, but finite resource.

There are individual differences when it comes to Mana capacity, it is an innate talent or ‘gift’ difficult to develop through training. One way to increase Mana capacity is to reinforce ones drive, which governs Mana. It is believed that by intense meditation and self-hypnosis, one can be more naturally aware of mana around them and the ability to hold Mana also increases. Another method is to improve the efficiency of the techniques used to convert the energy in the atmosphere to Mana. If the amount of willpower used can be reduced by this process, then Mana capacity can increase as a result. Sympathetic magic

is a principle that applies to specific types of magic spells. It is based on the principle that “like produces like.” For instance, whatever happens to an image of someone will also happen to them. This is the basis for use of Voodoo dolls in the folk tradition of Haiti. If someone sticks a pin into the stomach of the doll, the person of whom it is a likeness will be expected to experience a simultaneous pain in his or her stomach. Spells that have aSympathetic magic is also referred to as imitative magic.

Equivalent Exchange

While mostly applicable in alchemy, this rule can also be true for other types of magic. The desired effect of magic must be equal to what the user brings forth (whether in terms of aura gathered during the spell or in the use of focii and magical aids). The only way to truly understand this law and the equations it requires is through study and experimentation.

The majority of spells that operate on this principle either manipulate relatively huge amounts of energy or involve multiple transformations of matter and energy in one ritual.For most other types of spells there actually does need to be exchange, it just doesn’t always have to be equal coming in or out.

The Power of the Spoken Word and True Names

In the magical sense, words are powerful and can have a great deal of effect on connecting one’s intent with ambient mana. For these magic users, words are their bond and hold a great deal more significance than just communication. As a result, magic ritual and practice is always strengthened when it is paired with an appropriate incantation. The same goes with Names, which allow wizards to exert their power. Knowing someone’s true name creates a strong link between the magic-user and the person, spirit and vice-versa.

Contagious Magic

Once two objects or energies have come in contact with one another, they continue to affect each other even if they are separated. In other words, it is believed that there is a permanent (or at least long lasting) relationship between an individual and any part of his or her body.  As a consequence, believers must take special precautions with their hair, fingernails, teeth, clothes, and droppings.  If anyone obtained these objects, magic could be performed on them which would cause the person they came from to be affected.  For instance, someone could use your fingernail clippings in a magical ritual that would cause you to love them or to fall ill and die.

The Oneness of All

This one is subject to much debate and controversy due to being more of a belief than an observable phenomena.  It contends that all energy and life is one and interconnected, founded upon the fact that magic users are not able to create energy, rather can only draw in and manipulate what is already present in an existing form. But this view can be seen as at odds with traditional magical understanding. Some contend that mana can be “re-written” to fit a practitioner’s purpose regardless of where it came from, but others argue that doesn’t mean that everything is the same.  Others see the concept as more in a social sense or that everything is at least connected by mana.

The Process

Gathering Energy

Magical energy is gathered, usually by the practitioner from some source of mana. This source can be the practitioner themselves or some other source. Common sources of energy are living things, items of power (also known as focii or focus), and natural elements, such as dirt, plant life, shells and so on. In the Arcane Realm, there are imaginary lines said to track how the largest amounts of mana flow throughout Kaf, called ley lines. Certain supernatural beings can also lend their power to a practitioner, or in other extreme cases it can be taken by force (such as sacrifices). It is important to remember the source one gather’s from or the effect of a ritual could turn out very different.

Focusing Energy/Preparation

This could be described as where “the magic happens”. The practitioner takes the gathered energy and begins to focus and refine it to achieve a desired result. There are many methods with which to focus and refine the energy:

This can be done with various actions such as Sign (tracing a symbol in the air), Gesture (Specific Dances),Step (precise stances and walking), Ward (geometric mandalas, imbued tattoos, runes, gylphs), Incantation (specific words and phrases), Focus (charms, wands, magic assisting device), or Component (item metaphorically relevant to the spell, like physical ingredients-roots or related abstract concepts)

The key component however is the user themselves. They are always the source of the focus and cannot be replaced in a ritual. (In other words, some mages have the power to cast great spells with no focus aids at all, some require many) The energy in and of itself is not used up but simply altered to have an effect. This is also the most dangerous part of magic…If too much energy is gathered or too little, the effect can be much different than what was desired. Also, if the proper methods of focusing are not utilized properly (poorly drawn circle, wrong crystals, or if the practitioner is in the wrong state of mind).

The Effect/Activation

The result of the practitioner’s hard work. There are variables associated with effects that even an accomplished magic-user cannot always predict so each user should be keenly aware of what is at stake when using certain magic (especially when it comes to one’s intentions). Of these concerns are mainly with high level, complex, or combat related magic most often. Magic users should also be wary of  contagious types of magic when it comes to the effect of the spell since, the energy does not dissipate but rather returns to the aural plane. The contact it makes with the material can have a unintended lasting effect or fade unexpectedly (on the person, object or place where magic rituals have been conducted or items have been used).

#appliedmagic #belief #equivalentmagic #mana #spellconstruction #sympatheticmagic #magic #worldbuilding #religion #truenames

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