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The Magnificent Manual of Mastering Mysticism: A Guide to Magic

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The Magnificent Manual of Mastering Mysticism: A Guide to Magic

Post by Anna on Thu May 07, 2015 11:26 am


I do in no shape or form own anything of this post, and all the credits goes to Drustai from

The original thread can be found here: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

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Re: The Magnificent Manual of Mastering Mysticism: A Guide to Magic

Post by Anna on Thu May 07, 2015 11:27 am

DISCLAIMER: The following is not intended to tell you how to RP. It merely offers suggestions and advice to aid in your roleplaying. If you disagree with something stated herein, do not feel like you are forced to follow it. Use what fits, discard what doesn’t.

Additional Disclaimer: This guide was written several years ago. As new lore emerges, parts of it may get rendered out of date. Keep this in mind when reading.


-Table of Contents-

-The Basis of Magic: The Elements
-The Basis of Magic: Mana
-The Types of Magic: Arcane
-The Types of Magic: Divine
-The Schools of Arcane Magic
-Arcane Corruption
-Advanced Magic
-The Materials of Magic



“An ostler has a mood and he kicks the dog. A mage has his moods and a town disappears.” – Anduin Lothar, The Last Guardian

Long in the making, here is my guide to magic. This guide consolidates various splintered pieces of magical lore from many different sources into a complete whole, and includes some theory crafting based off of the lore we have available. Additionally, it includes inspiration from real life magic and other, non-WoW sources, as looking at what rituals were like in reality or other mediums is a good way to get ideas on things where WoW's lore may be empty and provide little to use. Due to that theory crafting, speculation, and additional non-WoW elements, some of this guide may not be your cup of tea. That’s fine. This is simply what I use. Feel free to take the lore provided and come to your own conclusions from it.

It should also be noted that this is primarily a resource on arcane magic, and is therefore targeted primarily to mage roleplayers. While a chapter is devoted to discussing divine magic, this is more for the sake of providing contrast. There is also the fact that divine magic is not a studious craft, like arcane magic. Much of divine magic is based on personal beliefs and religions, and not step-by-step systems. It is not defined as much by rules and limitations. Therefore, while you may still find use from this guide as a divine caster, it is tailored to mages.

With that out of the way, let us begin.


-The Basis of Magic: The Elements-

The basic stepping stone used by all forms of magic in WarCraft are the primal elements. For most people, these are the elements of fire, earth, air, and water.

However, these are not the only elements. We are aware of at least two others: life and shadow. Life specifically is described as the 5th element, where it is referred to in shaman lore as the "Wilds".

And there was more. Out here in the void was another element, one that seemed to bind the worlds together, one composed of unspeakable energy. If [Nobundo] could call upon this one--but he knew immediately that he was far too inexperienced at this stage of his journey to commune with this mysterious new element. This was just a glimpse, a gift of understanding...” – Unbroken

Thrall, in Lord of the Clans, also states that shamans can speak to the “Spirit of the Wilds”. It is described as the spirit of everything living. We see life elementals quite often in-game--treants, Ancients, and bog beasts, to be specific. Life is also sometimes referred to as nature, primarily for the purpose of spell categories and resistances, though nature spells are typically a conglomerate of life, earth, and air, rather than just life. In the form of motes/volatiles/etc, the element of life itself is specifically referred to as life, not nature.

Shadow is the other element, though it does not fall onto the scale quite as simply. Despite common belief, however, shadow is not fel. It is a natural part of the world, the source of death and decay. Shaman speak to dead spirits (the orcs focused more on their ancestral spirits rather than elemental spirits), which are beings of shadow, while the naaru describe the void as a necessary part of the universe.

"Creatures of the void are naturally chaotic. They are a necessary part of the universe, but they must be kept in check by the Light." - A'dal, World of WarCraft

Like with life, we also find shadow elementals. Specifically, in Wintergrasp, in the Forest of Shadows, one can find [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] and [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] with the elemental classification. Voidwalkers and other void creatures can also likely be considered to be shadow elementals, as they have more connection with the void than with the Legion.

Thus, there are in fact six elements. Fire, air, earth, water, life, and shadow. Further proof of there being six are the elemental planes... each of these six has one. Firelands, Skywall, Deepholm, Abyssal Maw, Emerald Dream, and the Spirit Realm. Though the latter two are markedly different from the first four, they do still qualify as elemental planes--they are planes of existence that embody their element.

How the elements come together in the elemental hierarchy, however, is a bit more complicated. We know that fire, air, earth, water, and life are all considered on the same "tier", with life ("Wilds") being the 5th element. Shadow seems to occupy a different space, however. While it is still an elemental force, it does not appear to be on the same tier as the other elements. It is my belief, therefore, that the five primary elements are, in fact, the elements of creation, while shadow is the void upon which creation is exerted. Therefore, all six are natural, but the primary five are responsible for the development of life, while shadow is the empty canvass on which life is made and to which life returns when it is destroyed. If the five primary elements are paint, then shadow is the blank parchment.

These elements are utilized by both arcane and divine classes. Mages wield the primal elements, as do shamans and druids. They do not use separate forces, they just use different methods of casting. The mage forces the element to obey his whim, channeling it into mystical patterns that create the spell effect, while the shaman requests the element to aid him, offering it boons in return. The hubris of a mage's spellcasting typically results in arcane corruption, while the natural, respectful methods of a shaman or druid do not.

One other elemental force exists: Arcane. However, arcane is not a true element. It is, in fact, the combination of the elements. In the quest, Soul Cannon of Reth'hedron, an [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]. Upon its appearance, it then also demands life essence in order to maintain its existence. The one essence it does not seem to require is shadow... this hints that the infusion of shadow into this elemental conglomerate is what causes fel. Fel is often considered to be arcane at its most pure, and since arcane itself is a combination of five elements, the inclusion of shadow, the last element, would seem to indeed make arcane pure--it would combine all six elements together, instead of just five.

The elemental hierarchy does not include holy energy. Holy energy is a 3rd party energy, it is divine. While it influences the world, and is associated with nature, it lies above every other element.


-The Basis of Magic: Mana-

*Disclaimer: Be warned, this section involves heavy theorycrafting and may not be your cup of tea.*

Mana is commonly presented in WoW as raw spiritual energy. It is within everything, from the smallest pebble to the mightiest dragon. And it is mana that all casters—arcane and divine—use in the powering of their magic. It is to the soul what blood is to the body, and nowhere is this more obvious than the ley-lines, veritable arteries and veins of mana running through a planet’s ‘body’.

If we delve deeper, however, we find that mana, the substance of the soul, has quite a bit more impact than just being a floaty purply-bluey spirity stuff that every caster draws off of. Runic patterns, the configurations of the ley lines, give insight into a world with much of its structure determined solely by magic.

Simple runes mimic patterns of ley energy that appear, again and again, in the environment. These patterns occur in nature and are responsible for things such as the strength of a given type of stone, the ferocity of a given windstorm and the coolness of a given stream.” – More Magic and Mayhem

Ley line patterns exist not only within the planet, but also, in the case of Simple Runes, within any manner of creature or object. These patterns define the properties and characteristics of things. The pattern beneath Stormwind is what makes it windy. The patterns in Northrend are what makes it cold. A bird flies not because it has wings, but because all birds possess the Simple Runic pattern of flight. Extrapolating from this leads to the conclusion that the soul is a cosmic configuration, which defines exactly what an object is. In the case of a bird, their own “personal ley-lines”, define them as an organic creature that flies through the flapping of feathered wings. The configuration of a soul’s individual ‘rune patterns’ determines what creature they are. In the case of a sapient being, that soul is even more complex, and defines a personality, a character.

Let’s expand upon this. Consider a table. Why is it a table? Because its soul defines it as a table. Its spiritual essence, its cosmic plan, its internal configuration, has defined that the elements it is comprised of are assembled in such a manner as to be a table. In other words, the soul is the [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] and the elements are the [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]. The soul provides the plan, the shape. The elements fill out that shape and give it mass and presence. The soul is the mold, and the elements are the cement. Together is reality made.

Once one understands this, one can understand why magic users are so powerful. By manipulating the souls of objects, their primordial configurations, you can completely alter reality. This is most obvious in Transmutation. Transmutation is the school of transformation. Through a Transmutation spell, a mage could take a table, and turn it into a chair. How does he do this? Through magical ritual, he forces the table’s soul to alter its configuration from “table” to “chair”. The elements then rearrange accordingly to match the new cosmic plan.

Understanding the importance of patterns is essential to understanding Azerothian magic. The soul, comprised of spiritual energy (mana) in delicate configurations, appears to detail the cosmic orientation of an object or person. Magic is thus the art dedicated to rearranging the cosmic plan, forcing reality to bend to a new blueprint. Where science alters the matter (the direct physical form), magic alters the form (the cosmic definition), causing matter to rearrange automatically.

Summoning the mystic bolt was enough to weaken [Khadgar]. Another would put him in dire danger of fainting.” – The Last Guardian

One might then ask, what happens when you use up mana? What happens when you cast a spell, or drain mana from a person or object? Simple—the soul weakens. It has been shown several times in lore that using magic extensively physically weakens the caster. Thus, the cosmic plan that defines the person or object destabilizes as soul energy is diminished, much as loss of blood physically weakens the body. In the case of an individual, the person will fatigue, perhaps age before their time as the ravishes of shadow are no longer held at bay by the order provided by the soul. The body will begin to come apart. In the case of an object, like a rock, it will grow fragile, eventually turning into dust.

Just because magi do not heft heavy armor and weapons, does not mean that they cannot be fatigued by their abilities. Overuse of magic will quickly drain the soul, and weaken the caster. Destabilizing the form will cause the matter to literally come apart, as it is no longer properly defined by its cosmic plan. Continued use beyond this point will eventually cause collapse or death.


-The Types of Magic: Arcane-

The word ‘arcane’ has come to mean two different things in the WarCraft universe. First as a cosmic force comprised of all the elements, as described in the elements section. It also, however, represents a specific style of casting. This style, used by mages and their ilk, is based on around the individual shaping mana into patterns, which creates spell effects. Arcane-type magic would probably be better referred to as “pattern magic”.

Intellect relates to the capacity of the mind to learn, reason, and remember.” – World of WarCraft – The Roleplaying Game

Arcane-type magic is focused strongly on knowledge (Intellect). This means that arcane magic is not, in fact, based on willpower, as many magi in RP seem to assume. Willpower is Spirit. Intellect is knowledge—this means knowing things about how magic works and what is needed for it to work. Simply thinking really hard does not do arcane-type magic. “/emote concentrates really hard” is not arcane magic. Not on its own, at least.

The elder mage pointed at the younger and began to intone a string of alien syllables, words not crafted for the human throat.

Despite himself, Khadgar raised a hand and wove a symbol of protection in the air in front of him, but he might as well have been making a rude hand gesture for all the effect it had on Medivh’s spell.
” – The Last Guardian

How arcane-type magic is cast is through patterns and shapes. This means not only simple line patterns, like runes, but also the power of specific material and spiritual configurations: the alignment of the stars, the time of day, the rhythm of words and language, numerical significance, and the spiritual configurations of reagents and focuses. A powerful spell is accomplished at a specific time, in a specific place, with specific objects and specific words. These are things that a mage must know (intellect, not spirit, remember?)… usually through taking notes and listing everything necessary for the individual spells in their spellbook (what else would you keep in there if magic was done solely by concentration?).

Easily breached, easy broken,” said Medivh, leaning over the ring that glimmered with the dried blood of the two mages. He reached down and produced a thin straw that had laid over the cooling stones. “A-hah! A simple broom straw. If this was here when they began their summonings, all the adjurations and phylacteries in the world would not protect them.” – Medivh, The Last Guardian

Arcane mages are like scientists, or cooks. Each spell is a delicate mixture of ingredients manipulated under specific conditions to produce an end result. One piece out of place and the entire thing comes apart. Spellbooks are essentially magical recipe books.

When a mage prepares a spell, they can either study their spellbook beforehand to commit the spell to memory for later use, or take out their spellbook at the moment of casting and prepare things directly from their diagrams and notes. They must then also make sure they have all the proper reagents, and, in very complicated spells, proper measuring equipment to actually chart things according to very precise and specific dimensions. Arcane-type magic is a science.

Magic is a very difficult but very rewarding study. Mages spend years if not decades in magical academies learning how to cast. If it were easy, as ‘concentration-magic’ makes it, then they would not need such extensive periods of study.

There are three primary types of using arcane-type magic. These methods are subtly different from each other, but all share in the need for the will shaping magic into known patterns to create spell effects.

Khadgar laid out a magic circle of amethyst and rose quartz, still grinning as he laid out the lines. He was confident in his castings now, and did not need his ceremonial conjuration robes for luck. As he laid out the pattern of protection and abjuration, he smiled again. He was already shaping the energy within his mind, calling the required shades and types of magic, conforming them to their requisite shape, holding that fertile energy in abeyance until it was needed.

He stepped within the circle, spoke the words that needed to be spoken, made the motions with his hands in perfect harmony, and unleashed the energy within his mind. He felt the release as something connected within his mind and soul, and he called the magic forth.
” – The Last Guardian

Spellcasting is the standard method for mages. It involves forcing spiritual essence, mana, into unnatural shapes in order to facilitate a wide variety of spell effects. More than any other type of casting (save perhaps shadow priests), spellcasting is about individual control over the universe. It demands that the universe bend to its will, breaking natural bonds and limitations in favor of doing whatever the caster wishes. This hubris is what causes arcane corruption, making spellcasting one of the most dangerous types of casting (especially when the mage is manipulating fel or the element of shadow). However, it is also the type of magic with the most freedom. Unlike most other forms, a mage, with enough study and research, can do just about anything.

Typical spellcasting methods involve creating a circle of power on the floor, precisely measured and drawn with specific inks or dust, combined with the use of quantities of specific reagents. The magic is then channeled, typically from both the energies of the reagent configuration and one’s own soul, through a focus (usually a staff, rod, or wand) and into the circle’s pattern. This channeling is typically done through incantations and gestures, which shape the spell. The diagram, the arrangement of reagents, the time, the place, the gestures, the words, and the rhythm of the words all provide direct command to the energy, ordering it into proper shape.

Khadgar let his mind settle and become calm. This was no quickly-cast battle spell, or some offhand cantrip. Rather this was a deep and powerful spell, one that, if within the Violet Citadel, would set off the warning abjurations of other mages and bring them flying to him.” – The Last Guardian

Not all spells need be cast according to these specific criteria, of course. Battle spells, for example, are specifically tailored to use minimal reagents and preparation in order to allow them to be used on the fly in a tense combat situation. Weaker spells also need far less preparation, often sans circles (replacing them solely with shaping through hand gestures and words) and occasionally with limited or no reagents. Spontaneous mages are also able to shape magic by pure force of will—they are detailed in the divine-type section, however, as their confidence in their own ability to cast a spell is a form of faith, rather than direct pattern manipulation.

Certain types of metamagic can also be used to further alter the way a spell is cast—these are described in a later section.

Spellcasters are typically known as mages, arcanists, or wizards. Spellcasters that focus on a specific school of magic (as described later) usually go under the name of their school.

While empowering a rune is akin to casting a spell, the two actions are very different. Where the normal arcane caster channels arcane power and shapes it through the use of gesture, word and material components, the runecaster simply shunts the energy into the pattern formed by the rune, serving as the channel between the energy and the rune. […]

Runecasting uses patterns that already exist in the world. Since these are naturally occurring patterns created by manifestations of the Well of Eternity’s power in the world, the rune-caster need not force the energy to obey him. It flows willingly into the patterns—these are the patterns that the energy itself created, duplicated on a smaller scale.
” – More Magic and Mayhem

Runecasting is natural spellcasting. Unlike spellcasting, runecasting does not force magic into unnatural shapes. It channels it through specific runic patterns, which are the natural configurations of the ley lines. This makes runecasting very limited compared to spellcasting—one can only cast spells that adhere to the limits of these natural patterns. However, because of this, it also typically does not corrupt the user.

The patterns, themselves, come from several different sources. The first and most obvious is the configuration of the ley lines beneath a planet’s surface—like veins carrying arcane energy across the entire globe. These are not the only patterns, however. Some patterns, known as Simple Runes, appear instead in life on a regular and universal basis. The soul is the blueprint of objects and organisms, and so does that blueprint make its mark on the structure of individual beings. By studying the patterns inherent to those beings, one can learn, through rune magic, how to utilize various attributes common to that creature or object. For example, one might be able to gain a bird’s ability to fly through studying and applying the simple runic patterns present in birds, or become swift as a river by studying and applying the simple runic pattern of flowing water over a riverbed.

Runecasting typically involves much less preparation than spellcasting. One generally creates a small-scale version of a pattern, known as a rune, and then channels the energy of their soul into it. This activates the rune, causing it to generate its magical effects in a localized area. Typically, the rune then fades, and must be remade to cast the same spell again.

In this style of casting, gestures, incantations, and reagents are typically not needed, though specially prepared and magically-imbued ink is required for creating permanent runes—runes that can be empowered over and over again without fading. Focuses are also typically unnecessary (as the rune itself serves as the focus). For exceptionally powerful runespells, however, very rare reagents or focuses might be required.

Generally, the type of energy channeled into the rune will subtly alter the end effect. Thus, runic magic can corrupt the user still if the user channels corrupting energy into the pattern. This would still cause the rune’s typical effect, but tainted by the energy used in it. For example, a runespell that shields the user, when used with fel-corrupted arcane energy, might create a fel armor effect instead, as well as causing fel corruption in the user.

Inscribers, runemasters, and death knights are all common users of runecasting.

In the center of the room was a ring of power, an inscription carved into the floor itself. The ring was two concentric circles, incised with words of power between them. The incisions in the floor were deep and filled with a sticky dark liquid.” – The Last Guardian

Fel is the final primary form of arcane-type magic. Functionally, fel operates almost exactly like spellcasting. However, it employs one specific reagent that spellcasting typically does not—sacrifice. Sacrificing the lives or souls of other beings invariably corrupts the spell (along with the caster). This typically makes the spell more powerful, more evil, more corrupting, and much, much more intoxicatingly pleasurable to cast.

Demons, being consumed wholly by fel, are embodiments of fel energy. As a result, their blood is innately corrupting, and imbibing demon blood taints all of a caster's spells with fel energy.


-The Types of Magic: Divine-
Though the sources of divine power are varied, its use has one constant: faith. Effectively wielding divine power requires tremendous conviction; the dedication required to achieve such perfect faith is a lifelong pursuit.” – Magic and Mayhem

Divine-type magic is the opposite of arcane-type magic. Where arcane-type magic seeks to directly manipulate the patterns of the universe in order to achieve specific effects, divine-type magic focuses on indirectly affecting the universe through faith. Like arcane-type magic not necessarily referring to pure arcane energy, divine-type magic is also not necessarily “divine”. Druids and shamans typically work with nature spirits or elements, for example. Such spirits or elementals are certainly not “divine”, but the type of magic employed still falls under the divine-type spectrum because it is done through faith. In fact, only Holy casters actually use truly divine forces—most divine-type casters rely on faith of a more mundane kind. Due to this, divine-type magic would probably be better known as “faith magic”, as that more appropriately reflects all the various paths that are part of it.

Ultimately, magic done in this fashion still acts in the same manner as arcane-type magic. Mana is still drained from the caster’s soul, and the patterns of the universe are still altered in order to produce a spell effect. The difference is the step in-between.

There are two possibilities for this. The first is that, where an arcane mage will directly manipulate the patterns, a divine “mage” more or less asks another being to do it for them. This can often result in unexpected results… a nature spirit, or an elemental, or the Light, might just respond by performing an entirely different effect than what was asked for. In this method, the divine caster is supplicating themselves to their faith, trusting in their beliefs to carry them through. In this method, any components or incantations involved would be used for the sake of appealing to one’s “deity”, and have little actual effect on the spell.

The second possibility is that one asks another being for aid, but not to actually do the spell for them. In this case, one asks the being for the energy, which is then directly shaped into the spell by the divine caster. In this method, reagents might be required, and, as many religions rely on holy symbols and other components, this is not entirely out of the question. On the other hand, some who use this method simply rely on pure strength of faith or willpower to shape the energies. Ultimately, in this method, there is an equal share between faith and the caster. The faith provides part of the spell, but does not do the entire process for the caster.

It is possible that the exact method varies greatly between the faith, and even the caster. Some divine casters may allow the foreign being to do all the work, while others may only ask for the power in order to perform the magic themselves. In fact, certain faiths might even lend themselves towards one or the other.

In both cases, the caster offers up some portion of their own soul. Mana is still drained from the caster regardless of the fact that the vast majority comes from an alternate being. There are, again, two possibilities for his. The first is that the caster is simply using both sources for the spell. The second is that the caster is actually offering up their soul energy to the deity as a boon, an incentive for their aid. This makes the spell a trade—the caster offers part of themselves in return for the spell work.

Either way, the caster is not immune to being drained by their magic, despite their appeal to other beings. A divine caster still needs to be wary about weakening themselves too much. That being said, some faithful may be entirely willing to sacrifice their being for the sake of their beliefs. Unlike arcane-type magi, divine casters may indeed be granted supernatural power by their faith to accomplish their tasks, even if they are already far beyond their breaking point. This typically results in the death of the caster, but only after they have heroically accomplished their faith’s goals.

It should be noted, that not all divine-type paths actually rely on a foreign entity. While many do, some have faith of a different sort—faith in one’s own abilities. In these cases, instead of appealing to another deity for aid, the caster simply has such strong confidence in their own inner power that they can exert changes upon the universe through force of will. These paths are still divine-type, however, because they still rely on a form of faith, rather than study.

Druidism and Shamanism both represent two separate methods of divine-type nature magic. Both have similar goals—maintaining the balance of nature, for example—though they go about their practices in different manners.

Druidism tends to focus on the overall, immediately present aspects of nature. Animals, trees, and more esoteric forest folk. Druids will rely on their ability to be ‘one with nature’, and study methods that allow them to better integrate themselves as a part of it. In times past this involved embracing a single animal form, though modern “druids of the wild” now tend to follow multiple paths. Through this, as well as veneration of the Ancients, a druid proves their bond with nature, and this kinship is what allows them to call upon nature itself when they need its assistance. It is a form of community relationship, where the druid voluntarily joins with the ‘community’ of nature, and, through being part of this and assisting that community, receives aid from that community when he needs it.

Adherents from these races do not receive their power directly from the Ancients they worship; their faith allows them to tap into an inner spark, focus divine energy and cast spells.” – World of WarCraft – The Roleplaying Game

Of course, druids do have an inner reserve themselves, and do, with training, learn how to draw upon their own soul. Faith in their own abilities allows them to exert some control over the world, while greater effects require the assistance of nature itself. This method might involve components and incantations, though usually it comes from a druid’s own strength of will, his own confidence in the power of his faith to enable him to exert change upon the world.

Despite their focus on nature as a whole, druids often stick with living organisms and systems. They typically do not call upon the spirits of the deceased, and prefer to heal and restore even when this might, in fact, be undoing natural process (culling emergent animal populations or ending a forest fire, for example, rather than allowing nature to take its course and destroy itself). Druids thus tend to take more of a ‘keeper’ role, and communities in which they are a part often are more akin to carefully tended gardens rather than true freeform nature.

Due to this, druids prefer to utilize the element of life above all else. A rare few who truly focus on balance of nature (rather than the preservation of nature) might supplement themselves with the element of shadow. Some druids may also occasionally use the “primary” elements, particularly air and earth, but these come secondary to life.

The most rare of druids are arcane druids, who concentrate on the forces of arcane, the metaelement. Arcane druids look at nature from a much more distant vantage, and concentrate on its relation with universal existence: its place in time and space. An arcane druid is more likely to investigate the reasons why nature exists in the first place, how it evolves and changes, and its relation with civilization. Sholazar Basin, Un’goro, the Botanica, and the Emerald Dream are all areas that would be of great importance to an arcane druid—these areas are existential laboratories, where nature has been preserved and experimented on. The few high/blood elven druids were most likely arcane druids.

Shamans believe that everything in nature has a spirit and must be honored. In return for this homage, the natural spirits aid the shaman when he asks.” – World of WarCraft – The Roleplaying Game

Shamanism is different from druidism in that it tends to focus less on the wider community, and more on the individual. While shamans do focus on wider concepts than druids—the elements that drive nature, rather than nature itself—they most frequently commune with singular entites. Shamans will typically form bonds with an elemental or spirit, with whom they have a form of ‘contract’. The shaman asks of the elemental or spirit, offers something in trade, and the elemental or spirit responds (or doesn’t).

Shamans tend to be much more focused on balance than druids. While druids prefer to preserve nature, shamans do not necessarily believe in preserving nature if it might upset the balance of the elements. A shaman will not always stop a raging fire in order to save a forest—the element of fire has its own goals, and these should not be disturbed unless the shaman truly needs that forest and can offer something in trade to the elemental in order to convince them to stop.

This also reflects in a shaman’s acceptance of both life and death. Where druids focus primarily on life, shamans do have an accord with shadow. Indeed, orc shamans on Draenor communed more with their ancestral spirits rather than the elementals. Shamans in general are well known for their ability to project themselves into the Spirit Realm, and these spirit walkers and spirit champions are well revered amongst tauren and orc societies.

Shamans often have very esoteric rituals in comparison to many divine-type casters. Reagents, incantations, and other material components are common with shaman (totems being the most obvious component). Rather than using these as magical essence or to force mana into specific patterns, such tools are instead used to attract, ward, or offer to elemental and ancestral spirits. When dealing with a water elemental for example, a shaman may set up totems and other components that ward off fire elementals, who may seek to disrupt the accord. When dealing with a powerful earth elemental, a shaman may prepare an offering or sacrifice in order to appease the spirit and get it to respond favorably. Song and dance are also very common.

Shamans are very varied in their elemental focus. While the majority does concentrate on the primary four elements, many still focus on life (which they call the Wilds) and shadow.

Geomancy exists as a form of shamanism. Geomancers typically rely much more heavily on dance, and they often employ runecasting.

"Anduin didn't understand what was wrong with the thing. He didn't need to. The Light knew. Its power moved through the young prince, using him as its channel to set aright the creature writhing under his hands. The act of healing always made Anduin feel like the key in a lock, the tool applied to its proper use..." - Leader Short Stories: Prophet's Lesson

Holy users are the most traditional divine-type caster. In Azeroth, there are several primary holy faiths—the Light, Elune, the Loa, the Titans, and An’she. For the sake of brevity, we will not describe the differences between them here. For the most part, all fall appropriately under the purview of holy magic, even though each are widely different belief systems.

One of the key aspects of holy magic is that it is almost always supplicantory. That is, those who follow these faiths acknowledge their own insignificance next to higher powers, and act instead as servants and mediums of their deities. Priests and paladins who see themselves as masters of their faith, who use their powers as a tool for their own benefit, are sacrilegious at best, and faithless at worst. Faith comes from properly adhering to the tenants of their religion and avoiding the commitment of sin. Doing the work of their faith is what permits them their powers. Holy casters are not mages; magic is not their tool to better their life. Their faith in a higher deity grants them power to use in furthering that deity’s goals—nothing more. One does not ‘learn’ to ‘use’ holy magic. They instead have faith in their deity to guide and protect them, and the deity responds in whatever manner the deity sees fit.

Unlike druids and shamans, holy casters use truly divine power, and it is these faithful that most accurately fit the moniker of ‘divine caster’. Holy power is not one of the elements, it is something beyond the natural world, and does not apply to the same restrictions and rules. It is divine, and thus can do anything as long as the caster has enough faith in the power of their deity. Holy power drives away darkness, it causes pain to creatures incapable of feeling pain, and it cannot be resisted. In truth, holy power is the most powerful of any magic by nature of the fact that it is divine. Once again, however, that power is limited by the faith of the caster, and cannot be abused for personal gain. Despite what the Blood Knights and Gnomes might say, holy power cannot be manipulated and controlled. It cannot be understood. Those who utilize it either have enough faith in their ability to use it, or have been granted the ability to use it by a deity (M'uru allowed himself to be "drained" by the blood elves as a prerequisite for their own eventual redemption). That granted power is thus fragile, and can be taken away just as easily.

The power is never in the hands of the user, no matter how much they might think otherwise. This is one of the reasons why having true faith is actually much harder than many people think—you must give up your desires to seek, understand, and use, and instead supplicate yourself to your faith, allowing it to guide you through life.

Spontaneous magic is one of the most difficult forms of magic to place. Most often associated with arcane-type magic, spontaneous magic more accurately falls under the line of divine-type. Spontaneous magic refers to those arcane magi who utilize magic through talent and force of personality. Sometimes known as sorcerers or hedge wizards, spontaneous magi do not necessarily follow a proper faith (indeed, many are not religious at all), but their casting can still be considered one. Specifically, it is a faith in their own ability to cast a spell. A spontaneous mage believes so strongly in his capability to create a fireball that a fireball appears, even with limited or no use of reagents or incantations.

Spontaneous mages typically have very active or even volatile personalities, though some simply have a raw talent for manipulating magic that they are capable of weaving the patterns by sheer will. Spontaneous mages might undertake some formal study in an arcane academy, where they often excel, but many find any kind of rigid lifestyle to be impossible and choose to instead rely on their uncontrolled but powerful abilities.

Due to the lack of both proper reagents and an outside entity, spontaneous magi often have difficulty with both finesse and sustainability. They draw primarily from their own souls, which can result in them tiring themselves rapidly. However, their talent for manipulating mana often allows them to cast very efficient (if unwieldy) spells regardless, and their headstrong personalities typically cause them to continue casting long after it would have been prudent to stop. More than most magi, spontaneous magi often cast themselves into a coma—or worse.

Divine Shadow:
Divine Shadow is one of the most intriguing and most confusing of the divine-type paths. It is also frequently misunderstood. The first thing to note is that Divine Shadow and elemental shadow are two entirely separate things. Elemental shadow is a natural element, part of and essential for the operation of the universe. Divine Shadow is a religion, a belief in the ideals that are represented by elemental shadow. In other words, elemental shadow is the inspiration upon which the Divine Shadow faith is based. In the same way as a martial art might seek to emulate the strength of a bear, or the speed and cunning of a praying mantis, so too does the Divine Shadow religion seek to emulate the void of elemental shadow. Shadowpriests do not necessarily need to use shadow magic to be shadowpriests—though they frequently do, considering its importance to the religion.

In short, elemental shadow is a naturally occurring part of the universe. Divine Shadow is a manmade religious construct that is inspired by and often uses elemental shadow.

With that out of the way, the most important thing to keep in mind is that Divine Shadow is not ‘anti-light’. One does not ‘worship’ Divine Shadow in the same way that one worships a holy power. It is not ‘dark light’. It is shadow. And shadow is, at its core, void and vampirism. The element of shadow seeks to consume all life, until there is nothing left but shadow.

Those who follow Divine Shadow are not necessarily nihilistic, but they are selfish, seeking to empower themselves at the expense of all others. Divine Shadow is almost never supplicantory, typical shadowpriests do not prostrate themselves to another being except when they stand to personally gain from it. A shadowpriest is almost always out for himself. He seeks to selfishly take from others so that he might empower himself.

What does this mean for actually casting Divine Shadow magic? It is a form of faith, but it is a faith in one’s self. Shadowpriests are absolutely sure of their own power, and their own ability to exert that power upon the universe. Essentially, shadowpriests are spontaneous mages who have developed a severe case of narcissism. Both cast magic through the same methods—power of raw will—but a shadowpriest believes that that ability makes himself a god. Despite this, there is nothing actually divine about Divine Shadow, unless one considers the idea that the self is truly divine—divinity of self.

Ultimately, shadowpriests worship themselves.

As a result, Divine Shadow users are very close to being arcane mages, in regard to their desire to bend the universe to their will. Like spontaneous mages, the big difference between an arcane mage and a Divine Shadow user is that arcane mages seek to control the universe through knowledge and study, while a shadowpriest seeks to control it through nothing but the power of their own will. To a shadowpriest, it is his own godliness that will bring the universe to heel—tools, wands, and incantations are only for those of weak will.

Now, there is always the exception. Some shadowpriests might indeed supplicate themselves to another being. In these cases, the shadowpriest is “projecting” themselves unto the other being. They might see themselves as insignificant (or as a favored pawn), but view the deity itself as worthy of controlling the universe. In a way, they see themselves as a part of that deity, and that anything they do to empower that deity will empower themselves as a result. They project selfishness unto the deity, and do all they can to empower that deity at the expense of all others. This kind of faith, while having aspects of Holy (supplication to a higher being) is ultimately Divine Shadow because of the tenant of destroying the rest of the universe to feed one singular entity. These kind of shadowpriests are typically far more nihilistic than narcissistic, as is evidenced in cults like the Twilight’s Hammer. Indeed, the word ‘twilight’ represents this type of Divine Shadow perfectly… for it is both supplicantory (like Holy) and selfish (like true Divine Shadow).

Divine-type Fel:
As mentioned in the arcane-type magic section, fel magic can be cast through divine means as well. In this method, the fel user devotes himself to a specific demon, typically a powerful eredar or pit lord, making a pact in return for more powerful magic. The caster often uses esoteric, sacrificial rituals to appease their demon master, and their spells from then on are invariably tainted with fel power provided by the demonic pact.

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Re: The Magnificent Manual of Mastering Mysticism: A Guide to Magic

Post by Anna on Thu May 07, 2015 11:27 am

-The Schools of Magic-
Each of these categories is known as a school of magic, for they are often learned separately and mages frequently choose to specialize in one type or another. Other mages attempt to master all forms of magic, but few have achieved this lofty goal.” – The Schools of Arcane Magic: Introduction, World of WarCraft

Regardless of whether cast by arcane or divine methods, all magical spells tend to fall under the following DnD-inspired classifications. These do not represent specific types of energy, but rather are simply man-made categorizations for the purpose of putting magical effects into commonly defined lists. Mages often specialize in a specific school, focusing all of their research on spells of that school while dedicating less to the others.

Of course you meant to say that when you create fire, all you are doing is concentrating the inherent nature of fire contained in the surrounding area into one location, calling it into being?” – Medivh, The Last Guardian

Evocation is the most basic of magical arts. To put it simply, Evocation is the art of channeling elemental energy from one's surroundings, concentrating and releasing it upon reality. Therefore, it is so pervasive that it is utilized in every other school--the very art of channeling energy, of drawing it from reagents and other spell components, is evocation. In fact, the only thing that makes the other magical schools different from evocation is that they start at evocation and then continue on to do something specific with the energy they have gathered. For example, while both an evoker and a necromancer might draw forth and channel shadow energy, only the necromancer will continue to weave that energy into a specific effect, like the creation of an undead minion. Where every other school controls and binds and directs the energy they call forth, the school of Evocation chooses instead to focus on the raw, chaotic elemental energy itself. The evoker does not care for golems, illusions, undead, mind control, transfiguration, or summoning. The evoker simply wants to watch the interplay of cosmic forces in their 'natural environment', unburdened by the standard laws of reality.

As might be expected, this gives Evocation its explosive connotations. Arcane magic is already extremely unstable and requires great effort to direct and control. Evokers do not care for this--they see beauty in that instability, in that chaotic primordial substance that makes up all matter. Evokers do not wish to place walls and boundaries on the elemental forces that govern the universe. To the evoker, even the ocean or the earth beneath one's feet are tainted, defined as they are by ley line patterns and Titanic order. Indeed, an evoker would find the curse of flesh to be an improvement on reality, and [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.].

Despite this, Evocation spells do come with some direction. However, this is typically only to a very minor degree, like choosing the location in which it manifests (such as for a shielding spell), or ordering it to move in a certain direction (as in a fireball). More complicated effects are reserved for the other schools.

Due to the chaos involved in the forces they wield, evokers typically come in two camps: the horrendously deranged, and the incredibly disciplined. The former are chaotic, uncontrolled, and often end up blowing themselves up within a few years. They allow themselves to be swept up by the current of the chaotic forces they wield, and live their lives wild and untamed. They seek to survive by the seat of their pants, and rely heavily on their quick reflexes and wit. The latter, on the other hand, understand perfectly well just how dangerous the elements are. As Evocation does not have the same kind of barriers applied to their spells that other schools do, these evokers train their will, learning how to perfectly control their emotions and insure that their volatile magic remains completely free of any foreign interference--that is, free of their own emotions. Regardless of if deranged or disciplined, both types of evokers are focused, blunt, and more than a little stubborn.

Due to their focus on raw elemental energy, evokers are apt to dedicate themselves to a specific element, such as frost or fire. Almost all of their spells will channel this element, and in exceptional circumstances the evoker will begin to take on physical and emotional aspects of that element.

As evocation channels elemental energy, drawing it forth from the world around them, evokers are at their most powerful when in locations governed by their desired element. Thus, an evoker using frost spells will find his abilities elevated when he is in a blizzard or tundra, whereas a fire evoker will enjoy enhanced powers while at the rim of a volcano or in a raging forest fire.

Due to the instability and chaos inherent in Evocation, many battle magic spells come from the Evocation school. Additionally, as it is the base from which all other schools derive, Evocation is usually the most common school practiced among young magi.

Conjuration is the study of summoning - both creatures and objects. Ever really, really wanted a fresh drink of spring water when you're in the middle of nowhere? Conjuration, my friend, is the answer. There is nothing more enjoyable for a mage than creating a fresh slice of bread or a glass of water. Just ask any of us!” – The Schools of Arcane Magic: Conjuration, World of WarCraft

Conjuration is one of the most versatile schools of magic. Also known as the ‘Creation’ school, conjuration is often considered to ‘create something from nothing’. This is not literal, as conjurers must always summon energy from somewhere else for their magic, but it does have the effect of having something appear where nothing was before.

Conjuration works by summoning various portions of energy from other planes, then assembling it through their specific reagents and patterns to actually configure a real object or being. Consider it like replicators in Star Trek… drawing from disassembled matter at one end then reassembling it at the other, in whatever form the conjurer chooses.

Conjurers essentially ‘play God’. As most conjurers are not actual deities, however, their creations typically fall short of reality. This means they are typically weaker than an equivalent ‘natural’ object, and often of limited duration before falling apart. Conjured food should never substitute for real food, for example, and conjured gold is not anywhere near the value of real gold. Conjured elementals are also usually inferior to real elementals. Very powerful conjurers, however, can create some permanent and almost immaculate constructs. Jaina’s water elemental, for example, has become all-but permanent, and even possesses a form of sapience similar to real elementals. Such powerful creations are very difficult, and very taxing on the conjurer themselves.

Due to this power to create and control, conjurers are often very headstrong and dominating. They require both imagination and discipline, as they must know what to create to best suit the situation and be able to control whatever they do summon. Conjurers, not necromancers, are the school most likely to fall to fel, as demons are both very powerful and deceptively easy to summon and bind. Many conjurers have made the mistake of thinking their abilities were great enough that they could master the Legion itself, only to find themselves the slave and their demon the master. Even those with the strength of will to resist the temptations of fel are often very ambitious and overconfident regardless of their restraint, and conjurers can therefore be very demeaning towards their compatriots. Their path in life is as a god, as a creator of reality and as a master of reality. All others are pawns, to be used and discarded at their whim.

For RP, conjuration is one of the most useful schools, but it is one that is very open to exploitation. If an RPer is not careful, they can quickly ruin an event by popping a needed MacGuffin out of their ass. Consider the recent famine plot. Imagine if a mage came in and started conjuring perfect food out of nowhere? Suddenly, the entire basis behind the plot ends. Thus, conjurers must be respectful of their fellow RPers, and ensure that their conjurations in no way perfectly replace real objects or be used to arbitrarily solve life's problems. These things can certainly be used in emergencies, but keep it as an emergency tool.

One of the key ways to reduce the power of Conjuration is, as with all magic, relying on material components. There should always be a trade off. If you want to conjure X item, you need to use Y and Z item in a ritual to summon X. If you do not have Y and Z on you, then you cannot conjure X. In case of common objects, a simple reagent like Arcane Powder will do, but for a specific magical key to unlock an enchanted door, the quest to get the reagents to properly conjure the appropriate key should be just as much of a quest as finding the real key!

Illusions can also be used to deceive your opponents into thinking that you are elsewhere, or even trick your enemies into fighting each other. This is no easy task, but the accomplished illusionist can turn allies into enemies - and his or her own enemies into allies.” – The Schools of Arcane Magic: Illusion, World of WarCraft

Illusion is the little brother of both conjuration and transmutation. Like conjuration, it creates. Like transmutation, it changes. Unlike both, illusion spells have no reality to them. They are designed to fool reality. Essentially, illusion creates masks. These masks can seem lifelike in every way, even touch, but ultimately have no real physical presence.

Ultimately, illusion is about fooling the senses. It makes the eyes see what is not there, the nose smell that which does not smell, the fingers feel what should not be felt, the ears hear that which does not make a sound, and the tongue taste what is tasteless. Powerful illusion spells hit on all of these senses, creating something that is completely fake and yet seems completely real.

Typically, illusionists devote an extreme attention to detail. To make something seem real, they must get everything right. Otherwise, something will feel off and possibly ruin the illusion. An illusion of a red carpet, for example, cannot simply be ‘red’. Rather, it must be a very specific hue of red, and the texture and thickness of the fiber in the carpet must be such that that hue of red shades correctly based on any way the light hits it. Not to mention that one must account for areas where the color has faded from use, or where dirt and grime has been worn into the very fabric through continued pressure.

As such, very, very few illusions ever feel completely real. Just like art, there is almost always something ‘off’ in some subtle way. Some illusionists, respecting this truth, might specifically leave something off as a personal signature. Indeed, illusionism often attracts artists and other visionaries, who see in it a way to envision every wonder of their imagination. This can make illusionists flighty or extremely focused. Many are hedonists, becoming lost in their own illusions--they are consumed by the knowledge that they can create anything they can dream of. Others focus less on what they create, so much as how they create it. They might focus on getting every little detail right, making sure everything is in its proper place in order to craft a masterpiece. More than any other school, illusionism demands a personal touch.

Illusion is truly one of the most intoxicating schools. Conjuration and transmutation are often limited in what they can create, but illusion is only limited by the imagination. It may not be real, but few care, and fewer know. Those targeted by an illusionist’s spells, or even the illusionist himself, often become completely enraptured, lost in their own fantasies.

Imagine this: Take an unwitting victim. Offer him all the lavish food, housing, and women he can ever want. Allow him to follow you into your prepared illusive mansion. Lock him in there, and watch as he explores and relishes in the wonders of his new abode. He feasts, he fucks, he lives the life of a king. But none of this is real. Though he feels full, the food does not sustain him. Though he sees a handsome man in the mirror, he is gaunt and thin. Though he feels energetic, he is tired and weak.

Weeks later, he is dead, a withered carcass upon the floor. He starved to death, without ever knowing it. An illusion so perfect, that every sense was completely and utterly fooled.

RP-wise, illusion is one of the most fun and practical schools. Want to use an environment or object that would not be practical in normal situations? Illusion is the way to go. Want to hide or change character attributes without relying on disguises? Again, illusion can do this. In my own case, Drustai, who was an illusionist before anything else, uses one that most know by now—she hides her unsightly undead form with an Illusion of a pretty, healthy body. That isn’t all, though. I keep various trinkets around to use for Illusions, as well. The Leyara trinket for example, or the C’thun/Yogg’saron tentacle trinkets make for excellent short-term illusions that you can actually present to other characters.

Divination is the school of magic dedicated to gathering information. Powerful divinations can allow the mage to see targets from a great distance, or even view what may normally be invisible. One of the most common uses of divination magic is scrying, which is the art of seeing something that may be far away - perhaps even on another plane of existence.” – The Schools of Arcane Magic: Divination, World of WarCraft

Divination is one of the most underestimated schools, but also one of the most powerful. It represents sight and knowledge in all forms—not just of the future, but also the past, the present, the truth and the lie, the divine, the what-if, and the [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]. Scrying, fortune telling, psychometry, astral projection, all of these are tools of the Diviner. All magi are well-studied knowledge-seekers, but only diviners truly know. Shamans are the most obvious diviners (farseers and spiritwalkers), though mages can be diviners as well (in fact, most real world wizards were diviners).

More than any other school, divination is magic. Indeed, real life magic was almost always based around divination, uncovering lost secrets and hidden knowledge. Ultimately, what a diviner is interested in is simply knowing. Where all other magi grasp at the foundations of the universe, thinking they understand it and can control it, it is the diviner who steps back, watches, and understands how ultimately insignificant he really is. For he knows the universe is large, complex, and, most of all, untameable. Therefore, diviners are typically open-minded and often very wise, for they must be willing to explore all possible truths before they can discover the truth.

All of this can often make divination a difficult school to RP. Afterall, none of us can really see into the future, and divination offers little real practical power, like an explosion or a magical minion. Like a player who RPs a character more charismatic or more knowledgeable than he himself is, it can be hard to properly convey the kind of information a diviner (or someone using divination spells) might possess.

The trick with divination is to rarely treat it as specific. Divination often involves attaining an “enlightened” state, through the use of intoxicating and hypnotic scents, sounds, and sights. Drugs and even deadly neurotoxins are key for this, as they put the diviner into an otherworldly state of mind. Ultimately, the goal of the diviner is to abandon reality in order to see beyond, to project his spirit beyond his body. Therefore, processing such views in a tangible form is not possible. This is why a diviner sees visions, or feels sensations. No vision is ever crystal clear. It is always murky, vague, to the point that they could be considered mad ramblings. Visions often can be applied to multiple scenarios. By keeping your divinations vague, mystical, you can avoid the pitfalls of trying to see what the future actually will be. Diviners can’t really pick and choose what they want to see, they merely open their minds and allow themselves to be flooded with all the cosmic possibilities of the universe.

Imagine this scene: A diviner sets up what is basically a personal opium den, complete with rich, velvety cushions. He leans back and allows the scents to fill his lungs, until he drifts off into blissful dreaming. Through the arcane preparations he has done (circles of power, additional materials in the smoke, and so on), he begins to see visions of the future, or visions of the past. Or perhaps he goes further, into the Great Dark Beyond, where he encounters eldritch creatures beyond his understanding. Hours later, our diviner wakes up, having experienced these incredible dreams, and knowing that they are true without a doubt, and marvels. Of course, like all dreams, these are all-but completely incomprehensible when you try to translate them into reality.

Yes, playing a diviner can basically be like playing a drug addict. The difference is that they are doing it primarily for knowledge, rather than pleasure (though knowledge can be pleasure...). The drugs are a medium, a method of entering an otherworldly dream to see the beyond. That isn’t the only method, though. Be creative. Drugs are one avenue, but there are other means of attaining the necessary separation of body and soul. As mentioned, neurotoxins are another option—a deadly poison that creeps into one’s body, all-but kills the diviner as they experience a myriad of sensations within their body and mind. Sexual intercourse is another method—the state of orgasm briefly elevates the subconscious into an otherworldly bliss.  

Divination can be a lot of fun.

Now, this isn’t always the case. Some areas of divination can be more specific. Scrying, for example, which is an incredibly useful tool for all magic-users, not just diviners, is a more precise magic. Scrying involves peering on a situation or individual that is happening right now, or perhaps in the recent past. Typically, scrying requires very specific components. Crystal balls, a mirror, a pool of water, or rolling smoke are the ‘canvas’ upon which the image is shown (though more esoteric canvases are possible… liquid-hot candle wax, for example).

One must specify what exactly they wish to see, through the incantations as well as the material components. Due to the Law of Sympathy (discussed in a later chapter), scrying typically requires an object of some relation to the person, place, or event that you wish to scry. For example, if I wanted to scry an individual character, I would need a part of them—the more recent and direct, the better. Thus, recent skin flakes, nail clippings, hair strands, or bodily fluids would make the best components. Older components might still work, but will result in a much more murky image, or one that is slower to appear. Objects recently held by the subject would also work—clothing, a recently-read book, or a recently-wielded weapon, and so on. Such objects would result in a less clear image, though, and may simply reveal the time and place where it was last used, rather than the current location and happenings.

The same principle applies to specific locations, or specific incidents. Psychometry is a type of scrying, for example, which involves ‘reading’ an object or place to determine what previously happened to or around it. Thus, a discarded weapon from a battlefield might allow a diviner to witness the actual battle, or at least parts of it as seen through the ‘eyes’ of the weapon.

Scrying is a very powerful and very fun tool in any mage’s arsenal. A divination specialist would be very skilled at reading the visions granted through scrying, where those from a non-specialist are more likely to be murky and difficult to read unless very recent components are used. I also tend to use lengthy scryings… the image developing slowly over the course of hours.

Scrying is one of the most mystical of spells, and a potentially very powerful one. By adding the limits of direct components and vague, slowly-developing images, one can keep it rare while still permitting its use in RP. Diviner characters should not forget this key tool in their arsenal.

Because of how much things they learn about the universe, divination is the most likely school to drive its practitioner mad. Whether from seeing apocalyptic futures, the deaths of themselves or their loved ones, traumatic memories in someone's mind, or an encounter with an eldritch horror from beyond the Great Dark Beyond, knowing what man was not meant to know is often deeply unnerving.

Enchantment is the process of imbuing an object - or person - with magical power.” – The Schools of Arcane Magic: Enchantment, World of WarCraft

Enchantment is one of the most complicated schools in the WarCraft universe. Where every other school follows the standard DnD form, the Schools of Arcane Magic description for enchantment solely describes enchantment as the profession of enchanting. Traditionally, however, enchantment has been the the school of charms and mental powers, rather than imbuing objects with magical power (which usually falls under transmutation). As WoWRPG establishes that the mind-affecting powers of enchantment are still in its domain alongside the enchanting profession, we must therefore first determine just how both of these aspects would fall under this school.

The key aspect of enchanting is that it imbues an object or person with magical power. The term 'imbuing' can be a bit confusing, however, so let us change 'imbue' with 'add'. It adds magical power to an object or person. Therefore, it adds properties, rather than changes pre-existing properties. In this way, one can now see the major difference between transmutation and enchantment. Where transmutation modifies, enchantment adds. Transmutation can change an axe into a sword. But enchantment would be what would add fire to that sword.

Therefore, enchanters never actually change the inherent properties of something. Instead, they add variables, new lines of code into the existing structure. If one considers an object to be like a program, then enchantment would be an expansion--it adds new content (transmutation, meanwhile, would be a patch--modifying previous content). Thus an enchanter would expand the spiritual foundation of an object so that it incorporates new properties that an object of its type simply should not have. Spell effects are added to objects that should not have those effects, while memories are added to a person that did not previously have them.

This still leaves a problem with the mental side of enchantment, however. Afterall, enchanters are supposed to be able to control and mold the mind as they see fit. How can you add control? Well, just think about that for a moment. Adding control. You can add control in the real world. Dogs, for example, are not domesticated by magically changing some core aspect of their personality to make them suddenly more compliant. They are gradually molded via proper application of external stimuli. Thus, the mentalism aspect of enchantment is the adding of a leash. It is the adding of external stimuli that compels a being to act in accordance with the enchanter's wishes. An enchantment spell becomes the shock prod, the bullwhip, the torture rack, or, even more insidious, the tender loving care. The enchanter adds these properties to the victim's mind, compelling it to change via coercion, rather than outright dominance. This, then, explains why such subjects can attempt to resist... their minds are, in fact, still their own. They do not have their will changed to offer less resistance, but instead have coercions added to make resisting impossible. They have so much magical stimuli incorporated into their mental processes that submitting to the desires of the caster is far easier and far less painful than trying to fight back.

Now we're getting somewhere! So, enchantment is the school of adding magical properties to a person or object, expanding the spiritual foundation to include new lines of code. Enchanters are not the people hired on to renovate existing parts of a building, but to add new buildings to the overall complex. Enchanters add spell effects to weapons and armor, increasing the weapon's capability and allowing it to perform actions that would normally be impossible for it to do, or they add coercive effects to a target's mind, encouraging their compliance.

Knowing these two different forms of enchantment, it is likely that the school would offer two types of students, like with evocation. There would be those whom are craftsmen, and those whom are manipulators. The craftsmen would focus on the physical side of the school, playing with all the various fun attributes they can add to items that should not have them. Craftsmen enchanters would be the inventors of the magical elevator, or the flaming longsword. Manipulators, however, would focus on the mental aspect of the school. They would probably care little for trinkets and baubles and instead prefer playing with the mind, seeing just how much they can do to it before it breaks and becomes like putty in their hands. Such enchanters are often mesmerizing and terrifyingly charismatic; they are more than capable of wrapping others around their finger without needing to cast a single charm. Craftsmen enchanters would probably be much more welcome than manipulators, and it is likely that most magical academies would focus on craftspells rather than charms. Indeed, many charms would be illegal, as they are often the province of shadow due to their intrinsically selfish nature. However, manipulators would be consummate interrogators, and many otherwise noble nations might just be willing to hire one to do their dirty work.

[Transmutation] is among the most popular and useful of all of the schools, allowing a mage to manipulate time and space. Perhaps the most iconic Transmutation spell is Polymorph, which allows a mage to turn something - or someone - into something else.” – The Schools of Arcane Magic: Transmutation, World of WarCraft

Transmutation does exactly as its name says. It transmutes, transfigures, changes, evolves, and renovates. All spells of the transmutation school are based around changing the cosmic properties of another person, place, or anything. This can be anything from granting great strength to a weak creature, to changing a table into a chair.

Transmutation therefore deals almost solely on the cosmic plan behind reality. Where other schools might directly manipulate singular elements to enact relatively minor changes, transmutation just takes the blueprint and throws it right out, replacing it with a new one. It alters key runic patterns within the subject. The magical patterns for human strength, for example, are replaced with the patterns for ogre strength, granting a human the strength of an ogre despite being a human.

This, of course, can be quite risky, and transmuters need to be very aware of just how the new changes might affect the old structure. Transmuters spend years and years studying the spiritual foundations of every organism or object they seek to reshape. Much like a building contractor, they learn where the underlying structure is strong and where it is weak, and figure out ways to achieve the desired change without over-stressing what is already there. An over-enthusiastic transmuter, one that ignores the basic spiritual foundation, is very dangerous, causing untold damage to the subject. The patterns that define reality are incredibly complex, and can fall apart with only one piece out of place. Consider how much damage Malygos did to Azeroth when he rearranged the planetary leylines. This was a massive transmutation spell, one that was done recklessly and thus caused great destruction across the world. Of course, this kind of power can be harnessed willingly, leading to some very destructive offensive Transmutation spells.

Regardless of the dangers, transmutation is one of the most directly useful schools of magic. It is practical and the most often to be used in everyday life. Transmutation can be used to make a person more beautiful, stronger, faster, and tougher. It can turn common purchases into expensive luxuries. It can literally turn lead into gold. While, like conjuration, many of these spells are temporary in duration, they are often permanent in effect. A stronger sword arm during one single fight leads to one survivor and one corpse. A now-beautiful face during one single interview lands a new job. A chair turned into a toilet when you just really gotta go...

Much like evokers, transmuters believe in the strength of mutability. They do not like allowing things to stand still and remain static. Transmuters are inclined to changing aspects of themselves whenever they get bored, and would be the type to regularly change their hairstyles or style of fashion. A transmuter's house will probably be decorated much differently depending on when you enter it. A transmuter might not necessarily be unpredictable or restless, but they will rarely be traditional or static. Transmuters are ambitious and constantly seek to better themselves--they will never be content with their current lot in life.

It should be noted again that while transmutation is quite similar to the school of enchantment, for both alter the spiritual foundation of an object or person, transmutation differs in that it modifies, instead of adds. Transmutations will always have a one-for-one effect, replacing one thing for another. They will never add something that should otherwise not be possible for the target being (though changing the entire form of the being into something that can accomplish that effect is one way around this. You may not be able to make a human fly, but nothing's stopping you from turning him into a bird!). Transmutation changes what the target is, enchantment changes what the target does. Additionally, illusion, which often looks like transmutation, is different from it in that it changes what the target appears to be, rather than what it is.

One last aspect of transmutation that must be addressed, is portals. Portals are... tricky. Traditionally, teleportation is the realm of conjuration, as that is the summoning school... this is not the case in WarCraft. In WarCraft, teleportation and portals are firmly the realm of transmutation. And while portals can fit in transmutation, it is a rather clunky fit. Essentially, transmutation portals involve transmuting air into interdimensional gateways. For example, in a Blink spell, the caster swaps the air in front of him with the air of his destination. Thus he steps into the air-switch and is transported only as a side-effect. With portals, the caster transmutes the air in front of him into an interdimensional gateway that has been calibrated to match that of the target destination's gateway (in other words, like a [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]). The target destination gateway has been prepared beforehand for arrivals with an anchor spell, as portals in WoW require these anchors at the destination end in order to work safely. It is possible to not use an anchor, but it is extremely dangerous, likely teleporting you into a wall or a thousand feet in the air.

Despite transmutation being the school for portals and teleportation, conjuration remains the school of summoning. The difference between these two is that conjuration can only summon something from somewhere, it cannot send something to someplace. Transmutation is needed in order to traverse back and forth, as it creates stable interdimensional tunnels by transmuting the air into a magical gateway.

Abjuration is the study of protective magic and one of the most important schools for a young mage to study.” – The Schools of Arcane Magic: Abjuration, World of WarCraft

Abjuration is the school of defensive magic. It negates, counters, and deflects spells of all other schools. Due to this, abjuration is typically very passive and subtle, and it lacks much of the flash of other schools—they are the tanks of spellcasters. As a result, abbjuration tends to be the most rare of schools—even diviners typically to outnumber abjurers. Most mages know many abjurations spells, but very few actually specialize in it.

Abjuration differs from divination in that, while divination is very mystical and vague, abjuration is very precise and deliberate. Abjurers learn the ins and outs of spellcraft as a whole, and study the various methods that one may unravel and defeat any spells. Thus, abjurers often come across as highly knowledgeable—where other casters may follow tried and true methodology of casting their spells, without truly understanding the processes they use, abjurers dig deep into what really makes magic work. Like divination, for an abjurer, knowledge is power. The more one knows about how magic works, the more one knows about how a specific spell works, and the more one knows about what spells an individual opponent may use, the greater the ability to counter and destroy it.

There are two primary ‘styles’ of anti-magic. These are dispels and wards1. A dispel is a spell that immediately and completely ends a magical effect. A ward is a metaphysical shield that will protect a person, item, or location from specific conditions. Both styles have their places, and both are immensely valuable.

The key thing to keep in mind when playing an abjurer is to always be prepared. They are often very cautious and thoughtful; a skilled abjurer will almost always be one step ahead of his opponent, having studied and predicted their moves. Abjurer RPers should never go into a battle without understanding exactly what they will be facing and how they can counter it ([You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]). In a way, abjurers are paranoid—they are always thinking about the danger around the next corner. An abjurer will therefore rarely ever make a move without first determining that it is the best and most efficient course of action. While this can make them slow to act, they almost always succeed once they do.

An essential skill for abjurer is warding. Indeed, magically warding an area will be one of the most common tasks of an abjurer. Like scrying, warding is best used with components from the being you wish to ward against. By using a lock of hair or drop of blood, an abjurer could create a protection circle that prevents that specific individual from crossing. This is most commonly seen with circles of protection against demons. When a conjurer summons a demon, they always encase it in a protection circle, which is typically specifically tailored to that demon’s own individual arcane signature. General protection circles, used with objects that represent a global idea or species are also possible, using general components relating to that species but not pertaining to that specific individual. These are typically weaker than individually tailored protection circles. Once again, knowing what exactly what you are facing is key for the abjurer. With proper knowledge and resources, an abjurer can prepare wards that are virtually impenetrable for the opponent they are targeted against.

The same idea goes into dispels, by the way. While general dispel magic exists, the most powerful dispels will be those that have been specifically tailored to the spell the abjurer wishes to counter. Against curses, for example, the abjurer will want to research the curse, discover how it works, and then devise a specific counter to negate its effects.

One of the most intriguing areas of abjuration is in counterspelling. Counterspelling is the art of defending against an enemy spell on the spot. Skilled counterspellers can reflect a spell back at their opponent, or absorb the energy for use in their own spells. Thus, abjuration is quite possibly the best school for magical duels. Not flashy or explosive like an evoker, an abjuration duelist relies on an incredible finesse in their shielding techniques. An abjuration duelist is like a fencer—focusing on avoiding or defending against attacks until an opening is presented, and then exploiting it.

Despite abjuration being a frequently maligned school, it has great power when used in the right hands. Defensive magic is frequently needed in RP—how do you think the Stormwind Regiment cells got warded against magic? Do not let abjuration’s subtlety fool you. It is a school of finesse and intelligence.

1. The Schools of Arcane Magic: Abjuration classify wards as ‘quick, potent incantations to protect the caster against a form of elemental damage’, referring specifically to the in-game spells Magic Ward, Nether Ward, etc. I expand the term to encompass all manner of protective spells, because ward is the best general term for that field, and is how the word is used in other sources like The Last Guardian.

[Khadgar] learned how to restore the age lost to an inanimate object, strengthening an old chair, and its reverse, to pull all the youth from a newly-crafted club, leaving it dusty and brittle.” – The Last Guardian

Necromancy. Many mages dislike admitting that it is one of the Schools of Arcane Magic, but there it remains. The study of necromancy is very limited in most settings—very few societies condone its use or study. Dalaran teaches some limited necromancy, but only for the sake of understanding how to counter it. Medivh on the other hand seemed to be well versed in it, and was capable enough to magically age Khadgar from a youth to an old man in a single spell.

There are many rumors about necromancy. Some say it is fel magic, others that it is unnatural. There is some credence to both, but not the whole truth. It was indeed demons that taught other beings how to use necromancy, but the art itself is not fel, nor requires demon blood to function. It is not unnatural either—while raising the undead is indeed unnatural, necromancy is not only about raising the dead.

What is necromancy, truly, then? It is the study of the forces that govern death. Death is natural, and therefore the study of the forces that control it is natural. The manipulation of those forces is no more unnatural than the manipulation of fire, or nature. Aging a creature before its time may be ‘wrong’, but it is a wholly natural process, just sped up.

As a school, necromancy focuses on the elements of life and shadow. It understands how life works, and, more importantly, how shadow consumes and destroys it. Thus, there is actually far more to necromancy than simple undeath—in fact, one can play a necromancer that outright avoids anything to do with undeath. The school offers far more than that, for anyone with a bit of creativity.

For starters, one can look at the original roots of necromancy. The word itself means to divine death, or to divine through death. Necromancers in the real world summoned spirits and reanimated corpses not to take over the world, but to instead uncover the secrets of a deceased individual. The raised individual is asked various questions about things it may have known, or things it might have discovered in the afterlife, with cooperation ensured through spiritual compulsion or some offer of a boon as a reward. Through this, a necromancer can gain keen insights into various facts that others are incapable of discovering. Imagine summoning the spirit of a rival’s deceased wife to learn all of his dirty little secrets…

Another intriguing non-standard use of necromancy is its ability to heal. In fact, necromancers are closer to ‘magical doctors’ than priests! Where a priest uses the Light to heal, they do not typically study nor understand the mystical forces behind death (though some may study the physical aspects). They are allowing the Light to flow through them and heal the wound, relying solely on their faith in the Light to provide the mending. Necromancers, however, are masters of both physical and spiritual anatomy. They not only understand internal bodily functions, but how those functions relate to the soul. A necromancer studies necromancy in the same way that a doctor studies anatomy—they get a dead body, dissect it, and learn how the individual actually died so that they might learn to counter (or use) it. The difference is that a necromancer does not dissect just the physical body, but also the ephemeral soul.

Typically, necromancer healing is vampiric, due to the focus on shadow. A necromancer healer is likely to either drain from his own life force, or life force from the surrounding environment (or surrounding persons) in order to then funnel that energy into the wound. Think spells like Life Drain, Harvest Life, Soul Leach, Mortal Coil, Health Funnel, Haunt, Healthstone, Vampiric Embrace, Vampiric Dominance, Void Shift, Devouring Plague, Death Strike, Blood Parasite, and Death Siphon. All of these are necromancy spells—they are shadow spells that drain life from one source and then transplant it into another.

The same goes for healing the soul. Again, necromancers, by nature of their study of the forces behind death, would understand the makeup of the soul much better than any other school. Thus, they would understand how to repair damage to the soul as well as how to reconfigure the soul in the creation of undead beings. In the event of spiritual damage, a necromancer is the best person to go to for repair if a priest is not available. This also goes for resurrection—necromancy is the only arcane school that can reunite body and soul in order to raise the dead to life (not just unlife), as seen in spells like Soulstone and Raise Ally. Indeed, in WoW there isn’t a single shadow-using class that isn’t capable of resurrecting in some manner. Of course, many still view such necromantic ‘proper’ resurrections as a perversion of life, as [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]. The divine is still normally more capable, however, as necromantic resurrections often employ a significant amount of shadow energy which invariably corrupts the soul to some degree. Only the most immediate resurrections are likely to be entirely successful--those taking place long after the subject's death will almost always result in undeath.

All that being said, when most people think of necromancy, they think armies of undead, or debilitating curses. The former is rather difficult to do in WoW. While death knight offers actual undead minions, pretending to be a ‘mere’ necromancer instead of an actual undead death knight is very likely to get you sour looks—most people prefer that death knights actually be death knights. In addition, death knight is mostly a melee class rather than spellcaster. Therefore, your two best options are Affliction Warlock or Shadowpriest, with the former being superior to the latter. While neither of these provide undead minions, they do grant a wide array of curses and shadow spells that fit well with a necromancer’s more destructive toolset.

Necromancers as a whole typically fall on the side of evil, though there are some examples of good necromancers (shamanism, for example, employs some necromancy to commune with the spirits of the dead). Regardless of good or evil, almost all necromancers are brooding and withdrawn. Most are obsessed with death--usually due to traumatic experiences with it--and necromancers are often far more devoted to their school than any other specialist. This devotion is only accentuated by the fact that necromancers are ostracized (if not put to death) in most societies, and so they are rarely able to find companionship outside of their fellow outcasts.

Universal covers any spells that don’t fit the above schools. Very few are actually classed as universal. The most common is Permanency—a spell that makes certain temporary spells last permanently.

Other Magical Disciplines:
Though the above are the primary schools, spells can often be categorized on a meta level based on adherence to certain traits. These "metaschools" do not refer to specific methods of casting spells, as the normal schools do, but rather the overall scheme or source of those spells, regardless of school. For example, all spells related to time manipulation would fall under chronomancy, even if the individual spells might be in different schools.

Some ideas for metaschools are mentioned here. It should be noted that not all of these have mention in canon. This should be seen as an idea of various categories of magic that a player character might be interested in pursuing.

Shadowcasting is the metaschool that envelops all casters who utilize the element of Shadow in their magic. Necromancy, evocation, enchantment, and conjuration are the schools most commonly associated with shadowcasting.

Less specific than shadowcasting, but the same idea. Elementalism is the general term for any caster who focuses on the elements, especially those who focus on a particular element. Evocation and conjuration are the most common schools for elementalists. This is sometimes divided to specific elements, such as pyromancy for fire or cryomancy for cold and ice.

After five days, Khadgar felt he had the spellmaking complete. The framework remained that of the farseeing, but it was now empowered with a random factor to allow it to reach through and search out the discontinuities that seemed to exist within the tower. These bits of misplaced time would be a little brighter, a little hotter, or simply a little odder than the immediate surroundings, and as such attract the full force of the spell itself.” – Khadgar developing a chronomantic divination spell, The Last Guardian

One of the most powerful and most dangerous metaschools. Chronomancy is the study of the forces of time. Even more than divination, chronomancy is an art of madness. To “understand” time is to understand that time is everything and nothing all at once. To learn chronomancy requires the caster to completely abandon what they know of reality. It also requires the caster to regularly contend with the Bronze Dragonflight, who may not welcome a chronomancer’s tampering. Divination, transmutation, illusion, necromancy, and abjuration are the most common schools for chronomancers.

The official teachings in the Violet Citadel, in Kirin Tor, is that demonology is to be eschewed, avoided, and abjured. Any attempt to summon demons are to be found out and stopped at once, and those involved are to be expelled. Or worse.” – Khadgar, The Last Guardian

A fel-focused metaschool, demonology incorporates all aspects of understanding, summoning, binding, controlling, and protecting against demons. Therefore, conjuration, abjuration, enchantment, and divination are all common demonology schools. On its own, demonology is not necessarily an evil metaschool (one can avoid fel spells and simply focus on spells that allow one to understand and combat demons), but it has a very negative connotation regardless.

Hemomancy, more commonly known as Blood Magic, is a metaschool that focuses on the power of raw life force—specifically blood. Due to the Law of Sympathy (details in Magical Components chapter), possessing the blood of another creature can grant great insight—and power—over that creature. Hemomancy’s most common spells come from the divination, necromancy, evocation, and enchantment schools.

Enough of this! Now I call upon the fury of the cosmos itself.” – High Astromancer Solarian, The Eye, World of WarCraft

Astromancy, also known as Star Magic or Star Scrying, involves understanding the power of cosmic configurations and phenomena. Its most common spells fall under the divination school, as well as abjuration, evocation, and illusion.

Tantric Magic
Tantric Magic, also known as nymphomancy or sex magic, is the metaschool of spells that involve sex. Though the immediate reaction may be immature giggles, and some tantric spells do have vain purposes, the intimacy and spiritual energy involved in sex can also be used to fuel very powerful rituals. In other words, while some sex magic might be a goal in itself, it is instead more often a means to another end, using sex as a part of a spell ritual. Spells that culminate in a coupling to enable a spiritual transcendance are tantric spells, as are spells that affect conception. Divination, enchantment, illusion, conjuration, and transmutation are the most common schools used by tantric mages.

Battle Magic
[Aegwynn] raised an arm, chanted a short, clipped phrase, and lightning danced from her fingertips.” – The Last Guardian

Battle Magic is the metaschool encompassing spells most useful towards war and combat. The most common spells for battle magic come from the evocation, conjuration, transmutation, and abjuration schools. Battle magic spells are almost always designed for ease of casting in tense scenarios. This makes them very inefficient, but quick and difficult to counter. Battle magic spells use limited reagents and gestures, and most battle magi will cast them silently in order to keep an enemy from identifying and counterspelling them. Shaping the spell is often but not always done through specifically-prepared staves, wands, swords, or other weapons, and most of their power comes directly from the caster’s own soul instead of material components. As a result, battle magic is very taxing, and quickly drains the caster.

Mentalism involves spells that affect the mind. It focuses on controlling it, tricking it, or digging deep into it to unlock its secrets. The most common schools for Mentalism are enchantment, illusion, and divination.

Healing Magic
Healing Magic, as its name suggests, involves spells that restore the mind, body, and soul. While the common idea is the mending of torn flesh and broken bone, healing magic might also include spells that sooth the mind and ease mental trauma. The most common schools for Healing Magic are transmutation, conjuration, evocation, and enchantment. Additionally, certain darker healing spells that repair the dead or steal life from one creature to give it to another might come from necromancy.

True Naming
There is only one way to harm the demon lord and his minions. A weapon of power must be forged bearing his true name.” – Loramus Thalipedes, Quest: The Name of the Beast, World of WarCraft

Alongside chronomancy, true naming (or true speaking) is one of if not the most powerful of the metaschools. Actual true naming spells are very rare, more often a true name is simply used to enhance some other spell. What is known of true speech is that it is a kind of primordial cosmic language. It transcends all other languages. It is unclear if true naming only applies to demons, or to all things. If it applies to all things, then everything that exists would have a true name, whether it be creature, place, object, or even idea. This is a single, individual name that applies specifically to that subject, and describes it in a complete and utterly perfect way. If true naming applies to more than just demons, then the Power Words, like Shield and Pain, are most likely true naming spells. When the personal true name of a creature is known, the utterance of this word confers amazing power over a creature, similar to hemomancy but to an even greater degree. Even the most powerful of creatures are compelled to obey. Despite all this power, true namers are rare—not only is it incredibly difficult to learn even a handful of true names, but they are even harder to say.

Nature Magic
[Can you use] nature magic? Ripening, culling, harvesting? Can you take a seed and pull the youth from it until it becomes a flower?” – Medivh to Khadgar, The Last Guardian

Nature magic is a rare school for arcane magi. While the element of life is most often associated with druids and shamans, there are some mages that focus on it. These magi manipulate nature, similar to druids or shamans, but through arcane methods rather than by communing with elements or nature spirits. Where druids and shamans request nature to act, nature magi command it, forcing it to do their bidding. The schools that would be most associated with nature magic would be necromancy, transmutation, divination, and evocation.

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Re: The Magnificent Manual of Mastering Mysticism: A Guide to Magic

Post by Anna on Thu May 07, 2015 11:28 am

-Arcane Corruption-
The patterns of traditional arcane spellcasting are not natural—the energy of the world, which emanates from the Well of Eternity, does not flow into those patterns without the dominating will of the arcane caster to bend and spindle it into those shapes. This is an act of supreme hubris; the forcing of the world’s essential power to submit to the desires of the caster is the reason that arcane casting causes corruption.” – More Magic and Mayhem

Arcane magic is often considered dangerous and evil. It is powerful and addictive, and its emanations are capable of attracting the Legion in the same way that a lighthouse shines the way for ships.

Arcane energy is not innately corrupting, however. For arcane energy to actually be corruptive requires a caster to abuse it. As stated before, mana is a natural energy that flows through all beings in the form of magical patterns—ley lines. Mimicing these natural ley line patterns, as a runecaster does, does not cause arcane corruption. Corruption only occurs when a caster unnaturally shapes magic, forces it into patterns that do not actually exist in the world.

Thus, those casters who use natural methods of casting, such as runecasters, druids, and shamans, all remain safe from arcane corruption. Holy casters also remain free of corruption, due to divine energy being “above the law”. Any method of casting that involves forcing the universe to bend unnaturally to the desires of the caster, however, does cause corruption. Spellcasting mages, spontaneous mages, divine shadowcasters, and fel users are all at risk of suffering from arcane corruption.

Like a drug, the first sign of corruption is addiction. Casting arcane magic is immensely pleasurable, and it can be difficult to resist the urge to continue using it. The entire high elf (now blood elf) race has become addicted to arcane energies, and each elf suffers severe withdrawals when they are unable to partake of it. The use of arcane magic is indeed a drug—the addiction is not merely an addiction to power tripping; there is a physical component as well.

As the addiction develops, a caster begins to desire more and more magic. Where one spell might have been pleasurable before, now an entire repertoire must be cast before one receives the same ‘high’. Eventually, a magic-addicted caster might find themselves drawn towards fel, which is far more pleasurable than any arcane spell. This is where the real damage happens.

Though embracing fel is the end stage of magic-addiction, there are plenty of negative side effects for those who remain with arcane magic. The clearest example of this is the Wretched of the Blood Elves. Having failed to control their magic-addiction, the Wretched have become pallid and thin. Their eyes glow with a deep blue light, their postures are hunched over, and their hair begins to thin. Fingers and toes often begin to mutate into claws. Other side effects from magic-addiction can include glowing blue-veins, culminating in massive blue pustules across the body. In rare cases, massive mutation can occur due to over-exposure, as can be seen in the fleshbeasts on Azuremyst Island.

Corruption to the degree of the Wretched is rare in most races. Typically only races with extensive magical exposure in their history, like blood elves, are likely to devolve to such a degree. For most races, a thinning and paling of the body are the most likely effects, with some exceptional cases receiving the blue eyes and veins.

Fel Corruption:
Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” – John Dalberg-Acton

Fel corruption is much more dangerous. Fel addiction is far greater than arcane addiction—using fel magic is more intoxicating than the strongest liquor, and more orgasmic than any sexual encounter. Those mages who have progressed to the state of embracing fel are unlikely to give it up. It takes a very strong willpower to resist the temptations of fel once one has partaken of it.

The pleasure, of course, is only the tip. Where arcane addiction weakens the caster, fel corruption strengthens them—but in the service of the Legion. Fel users will suffer changes in skin tone and strength, often to a leathery green or red, and begin to mutate greatly in form. Their bodies will grow increasingly muscular, their bones will become denser, and bony growths will begin extending from various part of the body. Eyes will start to either glow green or fiery red or orange. The caster will grow claws and fangs, and may start to develop wings.

This might not seem so bad, until one considers the mental effects. Fel corruption irrevocably affects the mind. It warps and twists an individual, drawing out their worst aspects. Even the most good-hearted of individuals will become a sick and depraved monstrosity, willing to sacrifice everything they cared for in the name of the Burning Legion.

Once at this stage, there is almost no chance at turning back. The caster has become a felsworn devoted to the Legion. Traces of the person they once were might still exist, deep down, but their core has become truly evil. It might still be possible to bring this person back, but for all intents and purposes they have become a demon.

Shadow Corruption:
[Necromancers] gradually take on the appearance and characteristics of the dead—hollow eyes, shambling gaits, pallid and sunken skin, foul odors and so forth.” – World of WarCraft: The Roleplaying Game

Those casters who utilize the element of shadow will typically suffer from a slightly different variant of arcane corruption compared to those who use the other elements. In addition, shadow corruption is often much faster.

The reason for this is that shadow is the most destructive element. Simply using shadow is exposing one’s self to the forces that destroy, rot, and age. Even those who use arcane magic through safe methods, like runecasting, might still suffer from this form of corruption if they use shadow, due to simply being in the presence of such destructive forces.

Like normal arcane corruption, shadow corruption usually causes the caster to weaken, to grow pale, thin, and frail. Unlike arcane corruption, shadow does not stop here. It actually begins to age the caster before their time, causing them to grow old far faster than other members of their race. Exposure to the forces of death hastens the onset of death. An experienced shadowcaster might be 40, but appear to be 60—or older.

The mental effects are equally disturbing. Like fel corruption, Shadow corruption often draws out the worse parts of a person. While it does not cause such a complete change as fel, it does cause the caster to become less empathetic towards others, and more willing to use evil methods to reach their goals. The personality change can most easily be described as ‘cold’. The shadowcaster will begin to seem empty inside, numb to most positive feelings. Some shadowcasters will begin to develop destructive streaks, as well.

Most worrying is the possibility of shadowcasters mutating into undead beings. While shadow destroys life, it is possible that the infusion of life and shadow over-exposure can sometimes ‘go wrong’ and unnaturally mix, causing the shadowcaster to become an undead being rather than dying outright. Such a result is typically rare, however. Most shadowcasters will simply drop dead after too much exposure to the forces of shadow.

There are some precautions that can be taken against developing shadow corruption. The most important is to avoid drawing on one’s own life energy. While it can seem like using one’s own body can serve as a quick and effective ‘battery’, the draining of one’s own life force to fuel shadow spells will undoubtedly hasten one’s demise. The safest method of using shadow magic is to draw life energy from other beings—plants, animals, and so on. This can be taken to the extremes, draining life energy from other sapient beings to fuel one’s own body and replace what was destroyed by shadow. This kind of vampirism is also able to slow or even reverse the onset of shadow corruption, but its innately selfish nature requires a vile mindset. Ultimately, only by abstaining from Shadow magic completely can the caster be truly safe.

Other Corruption:
While most users of arcane magic suffer from generalized arcane corruption, with only those using fel or shadow having to deal with further effects, there are circumstances where the "safe" elements cause their own unique effects. These are not as common, as these elements are not as destructive to the soul, but occasionally do happen. Casters that abuse the other elements might find themselves developing traits common with the element they are using, such as developing aggressive, volatile personalities with fire, or frigid, pale skin with frost. One of the most interesting forms of corruption is life corruption. There is one very noticeable sufferer of this in lore: Malfurion Stormrage. Though not an arcane mage, his continued exposure to life magic as an archdruid within the Emerald Dream has begun to manifest physically on his person. This is a form of corruption, if benign.


-Advanced Magic-

The following sections describe some more advanced applications of magic. These are not necessarily ways of empowering magic so much as they are more complicated methods of using magic in RP. The previous sections established the basics, now we are looking deeper into the actual use of magic. Many of the sections here won’t float your boat—that’s fine. These are methods that you can use to enhance your use of magic in RP, and aren’t necessary.

It should be noted that some of the techniques here have the potential to make a magic user overpowered if abused. Indeed, many magic users already use many of them in RP (mages who cast spells even with their hands bound and a sock in their mouths, without a single reagent in their vicinity). I still feel it appropriate to mention them, if only to show what the proper way to utilize these methods might be.

Those experienced with DnD might notice how familiar these techniques are. World of WarCraft: The Roleplaying Game imported many DnD aspects into the WarCraft universe, which is very apparent here. However, just because they have their roots in DnD, does not make them wrong to use. They can add several interesting facets to one's roleplay.

Spell Preparation:
This is, in my opinion, one of the most essential things to keep in mind. Spell preparation is the biggest limiter that any arcane-type mage can face (most divine-type mages don’t have to worry about spell preparation, which is one of their biggest strengths). By applying preparation to your RP, you force yourself to directly limit what your mage has available at any given moment. In other words, acknowledging spell preparation prevents you from just pulling spells out of your ass.

The basis behind spell preparation is that your mage only has a limited quantity of spells that he has specifically memorized ahead of time. While he can certainly pull out his book and prepare a spell from there, you don’t always have the opportunity to grab your spellbook. Spell preparation means limiting yourself to only having a handful of spells that you can cast ‘on the spot’.

Spell preparation can be a hard tool to apply to RP. It requires you to know exactly what spells your character has available overall (or at least a general idea). The simplest method is to simply look at your in-game spell list, and use those as your ‘prepared spells’. Anything not on that list (in other words, any ‘RP spell’) is thus not a prepared spell, and so requires additional work to cast.

In my case, I just have chosen a small repertoire of spells I see as being ‘common’ to Drustai, and treat those as my prepared spells. Any time I am asked or need to use a spell outside of those common ones, I have Drustai have to spent time looking through her spellbook to find something. When her spellbook is taken away, or otherwise absent? Then she has no access to her wider spell list. If she’s surprised and didn’t prepare spells that fit the current encounter? Then she’s fucked.

Utilizing spell preparation is something most people will probably consider overly complicated for RP. In my opinion, however, it adds a lot of immersion. It forces you to actually sit down before an RP encounter, and really think to yourself, “What would soandso have prepared for this encounter?” Again, thinking it out beforehand helps to reduce your tendency to pull spells out of your ass. It is a technique that I highly recommend to anyone playing a mage.

Metamagic refers to any magical technique that alters the basic effects of a spell. They can be used to enhance a spell’s power, increase its duration, and so on. Metamagic can cover a wide area, so we will focus on some of the ones most useful for RP here.

The key thing to keep in mind for metamagic is that it is not ‘free’. Metamagic makes a spell both more difficult to cast, as well as more draining on the soul. One cannot simply apply a metamagical technique to every one of their spells without penalty. Metamagic should be a variable that can be applied to spells on occasion, not used 24/7. Metamagic is best combined with spell preparation—while choosing what spells you have ahead of time, you decide which of those spells will have been prepared with metamagic. This way, you aren’t applying metamagic on the spot just to win an encounter. If metamagic is applied on the spot, then it should make the spell take at least twice as long to cast.

One more thing to mention before we begin—not every caster knows every single metamagical technique. People specialize, they pick what is most useful for them. Even a caster as experienced as Drustai only knows six, even though there are far more than that.

The ones most likely to come into play are Silent and Still Spell. Silent Spell refers to the ability to make a spell silent (requires no verbal incantation), while Still Spell refers to the ability to make a spell gesture-less. Silencing a spell can make it harder to identify and counter, or allow a mage to circumvent an area of silence. Still Spell on the other hand is useful primarily in that it allows one to cast a spell even when one’s hands are bound.

Another very useful RP metamagical technique is Quicken Spell. Quicken enables a spell to be cast far faster than normal. Consider Invisibility versus Improved Invisibility. Invisibility would be a spell with normal cast time, while Improved Invisibility would be the Quickened version. Again, in emergencies, a quicker speed can be a lifesaver.

Some other possibilities are Double Spell and Contingent Spell. Double Spell, as its name implies, is the firing of two of the same spell in a single casting. Contingent Spell on the other hand is a ‘condition’ spell. It is a metamagical technique that allows the caster to specify an ‘if-then’ scenario, where a spell automatically triggers once certain conditions are met. The most obvious example of this is a trapped artifact, which shoots a fireball as soon as someone touches it.

There are many, many more possibilities for metamagic than what is listed here. These are just examples. One can consider many different ways that spells can be shaped differently. Just keep in mind that these are not ‘insta-win’ tools that you can use in every situation. Keep them rare. Establish which spells have them applied, and stick with it. Remember that applying metamagic makes a spell more difficult to cast, and that only a handful of spells should have them.

Metamagic is a great way to ‘show off’ an experienced mage’s magical knowledge. Just always keep in mind that it can be easily abused, and don’t let yourself get carried away. Respect your fellow RPer.

Though the concept of metamagic has its basis in DnD, it is actually present as well in WoW's game mechanics. This is represented by various CDs and procs. Kil'jaeden's Cunning and Ice Flows for example represent a kind of metamagic similar to Still Spell, allowing a spell to be cast while engaged in other physical activity like running. Presence of Mind operates essentially as Quicken Spell, making a spell instantaneous. The Multistrike stat or abilities like Havoc or Fire and Brimstone act like Double Spell. Proc abilities are essentially Contingent Spells. Metamagic is a part of World of WarCraft, even if it does not go under that name in-game.

Familiars are an entertaining if sadly limited magical tool. A familiar is, simply, a normal creature (often a cat, toad, rat, raven, and so on) that a mage has bonded to themselves through ritual. This ritual increases the animal’s natural intelligence and reduces the rate at which they age, while allowing the caster and familiar to communicate in a pseudo-telepathic manner (sharing images and feelings). Familiars thus serve most often as spies, lookouts, and trusted companions. They can also be used to cast a few spells for the mage.

Due to the inability to directly control vanity pets in WoW, familiars typically have very limited play. Instead, we have to make due with imagination. For example, I have used Drustai's familiar to spy as well as to perform secret correspondence: Drustai’s familiar brought Sadok a letter and then returned to Drustai with his response. I have also seen others use their familiars in other situations. The other day, Kirin Tor RPer Alorah used her familiar to cast a Dispel Magic spell on an Anethionean during a confrontation.

With some imagination, familiars can have some fun uses. One just needs to remember that they are there, and to look for opportunities to use them.

Counterspelling and other anti-magic methods:
Combating magic is always complicated. A mage can create a fireball out of thin air, wink out of existence, even teleport halfway across the world. While there are some mundane methods of countering magic (gagging a mage prevents him from speaking incantations, tying his hands keeps him making gestures, and taking away his reagents keeps him from casting all but the most simple of spells), many of these can be countered with preparation of metamagic techniques, or by mage RPers simply ignoring them. Thus, it typically takes magic to fight magic.

Abjuration spells typically represent the first line of defense. Dispels and Wards are both used for different types of counters, based on the situation. A Dispel can be used to immediately end any persistent magical effect of its level or lower (though there is a chance of failure, especially for complicated effects), while Wards can protect people, items, and locations from specific types of magic. Mana Shield or Ice Shield, for example, represent the most basic form of a ward—an actual metaphysical shield around an individual that absorbs, redirects, or dispels the energy of an incoming offensive spell.

Circle of Warding,” snapped Khadgar. “To keep summoned demons at bay. The Magus cannot cross it.” – Khadgar, The Last Guardian

More complicated are warding circles. A warding circle is a magical circle placed upon an area that completely prevents the passage of whatever creature, element, or spells that they are designed to negate. For example, a warding circle against demons would prevent weaker demons from crossing it. Another example could be a warding circle against cold, which would keep a specific location at a stable temperature, unaffected by any mundane or magical cold effect.

Warding circles typically need to be prepared with reagents relating to the creature or effect they wish to halt. For very powerful creatures, like certain demon masters, one must use a true name or an object associated with that specific demon to ward against it.

One form of warding circle is a general anti-magic zone. An anti-magic zone is circle that completely negates any and all magic within it. Persistent effects ‘switch off’ when their bearer steps into an anti-magic zone, and any attempt at casting a spell within an anti-magic zone will inevitably fail. Very, very strong casters or spells might be able to negate the effects of an anti-magic zone, however. Holy magic especially can circumvent it with enough faith and necessity, due to the fact that the universe’s mortal laws do not limit the divine. That being said, holy magic often fails as well. Only in very rare circumstances does a holy caster have the faith and need necessary to break the ward. For the most part, anti-magic zones are a very effective way of countering magic users of all types.

Another method of countering magic lies in magical versions of mundane counters. A Silence spell is similar to an anti-magic zone, except that it only prevents an individual from talking. This will prevent a mage from being able to speak his incantations. With the exception of some non-verbal spells, or spells prepared with a Silent Spell metamagic technique, a Silence effect is an effective counter against casters. Likewise, a Hold Person or other paralyzing spell prevents an individual from moving, thus preventing arcane gestures—only spells without gestures or prepared with the Still Spell metamagic technique can be cast when under such an effect.

Finally, a mage can counterspell. Counterspelling is the stuff of mage duels, it is the way a mage parries and ripostes his enemy’s magic. Skilled counterspellers turn magical combat into an art form, with each caster seeking to deflect his opponents’s spells while exploiting weaknesses in his opponent’s defense.

Counterspelling requires many things to be done successfully, but the most important is identification. Just like a fencer can only parry a blow that he can see and react to, so too can a mage only counterspell a spell that he can identify. The simplest way of identifying a spell is through verbal identification—if a mage hears another mage chanting the incantation for a fireball, then he knows that the enemy is preparing a fireball. This is why many battle mages train themselves to cast their spells silently—a silent spell is much harder to identify. Gestures are typically less telling, though some might help give away a spell’s identity, too. The last form of identification is the actual spell effect. A gathering of fire at a mage’s fingertips hints at some kind of offensive fire spell, though it can sometimes be hard to determine exactly what spell by effect alone until it is too late.

Once a caster identifies the spell, he is able to tell what kind of energy it is using and what school of magic it is from. Once he knows these things, he can actually seek to counter it.

The simplest method of counterspelling an incoming spell is with a Dispel. This will disrupt the bonds holding the spell together, causing it to have no effect. Other methods include casting the exact same spell back on itself (a fireball against a fireball), or a spell from the same school and with the same energy type as the enemy spell (a fireblast against a fireball). Ultimately, the counterspell attempt seeks to do one of two things: destabilize the bonds holding the spell together, or block the spell with a similar spell.

Regardless of what method is used, it is essential that the spell used to counter must be as powerful or more powerful than the spell being cast. A weak mage will not be able to easily counterspell a skilled mage, even if he can identify the spell, simply because his spells lack the same amount of power.

This is typically the extent of counterspelling. However, very skilled mage duelists can often do even more. Some mages can absorb the energies of the countered spell, using it to refresh their own mana. Others are able to make a magical riposte, reflecting the spell back on its wielder instead of destroying it outright. Such deadly spectacles can be a marvel to behold.


-The Materials of Magic-
Medivh, of course, kept a fully equipped pantry of spell components, including a larder of aromatic and thaumaturgic herbs, and a lapidarium of crushed semi-precious stones.” – The Last Guardian

Magical components are often the elephant in the room for many mage players. Often looked over, and pretended they don’t exist because it’s “easier”, magical components are one of the most fascinating aspects of magic. And, based on lore, they are in fact a required part of using arcane magic (with some exceptions, like battle spells).

The general argument I’ve gotten for why people tend to overlook components is that they are ‘boring’, that they make it overly complicated to emote spells. They just want things to be simple, and easy. To this my only answer is that most people are lazy. Magic is not supposed to be simple, or easy.

Imagine if you were RPing a character with a wound. A priest comes along. Which would you prefer, for that priest to simply wave his hand and say you’re cured? Or would you rather him go through the process of identifying the wound, examining it, cleaning it, and then repairing it, all the while providing your character with herbs to help stem the blood flow and numb the pain?

The latter shows he actually cares about what he is doing. He cares about his RP. The former does not. All he cares about is about being a super-great-healer-guy. I for one would not want to be healed by the former.

It is the same way for mages. Waving your hand and suddenly solving whatever problem pops up shows a lack of care. It is far more interesting to take out your spellbook, flip to the proper page, trace the symbols of power in the air while muttering an incantation, and then take out a handful of dust from a pouch on your belt and throw it over the area.

And that would be a very simple spell, compared to some esoteric rituals.

What makes magic cool isn’t the big explosions or sparkles, the woosh or the kazaams. It’s the deep knowledge into mysticism that no one else can possibly hope to understand, the spell component pouch filled with all manner of herbs, mirrors, powders, eyeballs, and gemstones, the incomprehensible glowing circles on the floor, and the alien utterances of some long-forgotten language.

Material components are an essential part to playing a mage. While spontaneous mages do exist, who cast with nothing but focused will, the true mage is the mage that relies on ingredients and delicate preparation, building his spell just as a cook prepares a meal.

Spellbooks are perhaps one of the single most defining aspects of a spellcaster. When one thinks of a mage, they envision a robed scholar, carrying around a great tome of magic. When it comes to roleplay, however, most people ignore this aspect or take it for granted, treating their spellbook as a "belt decoration". Spellbooks are, however, essential to any non-spontaneous mage. It is this book that represents all the arcane knowledge the mage has collected through decades of study.

As mentioned in an earlier chapter, spellbooks are essentially magical recipe books. Each page (or collection of pages) details a single spell, providing the mage with all the necessary gestures, incantations, reagent lists, variables, and other properties of the spell that he would need to know if he wished to cast it. For simple spells, a single page will do, but for many advanced spells it takes many pages of description. Not all of these notes would necessarily be useful in every casting, of course. They are more likely to detail slightly different versions of the spell depending on the situation it is needed for. An illusion spell, for example, might have page after page detailing anatomical sketches of different creatures the mage might wish to create an illusion of, as well as notes on which incantations or reagents are necessary for each creature's illusion. The incantation notes, on the other hand, might comment on proper pronunciation, describing how rises and falls in pitch in certain syllables might subtly alter the spell's effect. Consider this line from the first Harry Potter book: "You're saying it wrong. It's Wing-gar-dium Levi-o-sa, make the 'gar' nice and long." Little facets like that are essential to keep in mind for each and every spell a mage casts, and are why spellbooks are so necessary.

Mages typically don't keep only one spellbook. Afterall, if this single spellbook were to be stolen or destroyed, it would represent a sudden and complete end to that mage's collected magical knowledge. Therefore, a mage will often produce many spellbooks over their career. The two most common types are greatbooks and workbooks. A greatbook is a pristine copy left at home, often well-organized and very well-guarded (advanced mages whom have collected many, many spells over the years might possess several greatbooks). A workbook is used for travel and every day use. It usually contains only a small fraction of a mage's collected spell knowledge--whatever he regularly uses--and is often a rugged book built (and enchanted) to endure harsh conditions. Such books usually contain various crude notations in the margins and lengthy note pages in the back, as the mage will often write down personal experiences with using his spells 'in the field'.

Reagents are the standard component for most magical spells. These are the eyes of newt, the toes of dog. To help understand things, we can divide the reagents into three different types: Essence, Transference, and Sympathy.

The first type of reagent, Essence, is the concept of a reagent simply providing a general source of energy. A cup of water, for example, will aid with frost spells, while a pinch of sulfur will aid with fire spells. It is the simplest concept to understand. An item strong in some elemental property will empower spells related to that element. The raw elemental essence is drained from the item (causing it to turn to dust in the casting) and added to the spell’s own energy.

Environments can also serve as essence reagents. Graveyards might empower (or be necessary) for certain necromancy spells, while snowy tundras might be useful for spells dealing with frost spells.

The second type of reagent is Transference. This is a bit more complicated. Again we go back to ley line patterns, those configurations of the soul that determine what an object is and does. Each of these defines a being, object, or area. These establish set properties, which can be mimicked by tracing the runic pattern.

However, that isn’t the only way to mimic them. Each object or being is, itself, a representative of its configuration. Take a bird, for example. A bird flies, its very being is woven by simple runic patterns that determine this configuration. Pluck a feather, and you narrow down the configuration. That feather is light, and it has a wide surface area to allow it to catch the wind, to hold a bird aloft. It, like the bird, has its own configuration, which determines what it is and what it does.

Remember, the creation of magical effects is done through the alteration of the soul’s configuration to encourage a change in reality. By using a component that represents a specific configuration, you can take basics of that configuration from the reagent to create a magical effect. Thus, if you wished to use a spell that makes you fly or levitate, you would use a feather. The essence of flight is taken from the feather and woven into your own being.

This allows for a wide variety of reagent possibilities. Healing spells, for example, can use anything from snake skin to the spinal column of a newt. Right away, this might make you tilt your head and say, “what?” But when you actually consider both, you realize how much sense it makes. Snakes constantly shed and regrow their skin, thus it possesses a great essence of regeneration, to the point that many real life medical organizations to this day still use [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]. The same thing with the parts of a newt—they can regenerate their eyes, their limbs, their jaws, their hearts, their intestines, and their spinal columns. All of these parts would be great healing reagents.

The above might make you think, ‘ew, that’s gross’. If so, good! In my opinion, one of the most interesting parts about playing a mage is when you pull out some disgusting reagent for a spell and everyone around you gasps. It instantly draws attention and generates a lot of RP. What do you think happened when members of the Orcs of the Red Blade discovered dried orc skin and vials of orc blood in Drustai’s spell pouch when she was their prisoner?

When crafting a spell, just consider what might be a good representation of it, and then use it as a reagent. Almost anything is possible, just use your imagination! You’ll start really surprising people with what you ‘pull out of the hat’ next.

Now, you might find it hard to think up reagents on the spot. I know I do. The key is, like spell preparation mentioned earlier, to think of these things beforehand. Put together a list of random things and what they might represent, and then keep that list handy so you can glance over it anytime you’re casting a spell. You might even want to put together a full list of spells and detail exactly what reagents they use ahead of time (I’ve been slowly doing this for Drustai’s spells), though this might be a bit much for most people. A simple list of reagents should be good enough.

Khadgar’s mouth formed into a tight line. His mind raised and his heart thundered in his chest. “Sympathy,” he said at last.

Medivh’s eyes remained unreadable, and his voice level. “Explain.”

Khadgar took a deep breath. “One of the magical laws. When someone handles an item, they leave a part of their own magical aura or vibration attached to the item. As auras vary with individuals, it is possible to connect to one by affecting the other. In this way a lock of hair may be used in a love charm, or a coin may be tracked back to its original owner.

Medivh’s eyes narrowed slightly, and he dragged a finger across his bearded chin. “Continue.”

Khadgar stopped for a moment, feeling the weight of Medivh’s eyes pressing in on him. That was what he knew from lectures. He was halfway there. But how did Medivh use it to figure out…

“The more someone uses an item, the stronger the resonance,” said Khadgar quickly. “So therefore an item that experiences a lot of handling or attention will have a stronger sympathy.” The words were coming together tighter and more rapidly now. “So a document which someone had written has more aura to it than a blank piece of parchment, and the person is concentrating on what they are writing, so…” Khadgar let his thoughts catch up for a moment. “You were mind reading, but not my mind—the mind of the scribe who wrote the letter at the time he was writing it—you picked up his thoughts reinforcing the words.
” – Khadgar, The Last Guardian

The third and last type of reagent is Sympathy. A Sympathy reagent is an object that has great connection to a person or place due to having been extensively involved with them. When used, these reagents can imbue a spell with a strong spiritual link to person or place. Common Sympathy reagents are precious heirlooms, as well as pieces of one’s self such as nail clippings, hair, and blood.

Sympathy reagents work due to the Law of Sympathy. This magical law is one of the most interesting in the WarCraft universe. It establishes that people or places leave spiritual traces. This leftover aura functions much like a fingerprint—it is a mystical signature.

How does Sympathy work? Simple—the ley line patterns are not static. They constantly shift and change as things grow, evolve, and experience. A table, for example, is a table because its soul defines it as a table. Add in the crafter, however, and we get further definition. The soul does not just define this as a table; it defines it as a table made by Bob. Expand it further, and we can get something like: A table made by Bob and broken by Jack. It is still a table, but that table has history etched in its magical aura. Every single action that occurs subtly alters the patterns within the table, establishing it as its own unique entity. Every item, object, person, or place has its own unique configuration, constantly mutating to reflect everything that has occurred to it.

Thus, when a person handles an item, he leaves his own presence upon it. Its configuration has been permanently altered to account for his existence. The longer and more involved in the object, the greater the level of sympathy.

This is especially true for parts of a person. Blood, for example, is not just a powerful essence of Life, it also has the Sympathetic connection of years upon years of life within an individual. Like the rings of a tree, this connection can reveal many things about the owner of that blood. Blood Mages in particular learn to study that connection, to read the stories that are “written in blood” through the Sympathetic link.

The same principle goes for psychometry, a form of Divination. Psychometry involves reading the Sympathetic signature in an object or place to determine what once occurred around that object or place. That object’s soul has been permanently marked by its experiences, and skilled pyschometrics learn how to unlock these secrets.  

Sympathetic links do not just permit knowledge of an object’s history, however. They also form a permanent link with everything that transpired around them. Thus, when a person picks up a sword, his signature is left upon that sword, bonding him with it. A skilled mage can track or exploit this bond.

This is why Scrying spells must possess a piece of or an item recently handled by an individual. That individual’s Sympathetic link bonds them to that item, and thus the Scryer can follow that bond back to its source. Likewise, a Blood Mage that possesses the blood of an individual is able to exert great dominance over that individual. Any spells he uses against that individual with the blood, from fireballs to mind control, will be greatly amplified due to the Sympathetic bond.

Of course, Sympathetic links only work with objects that have actual history. A Blood Mage might be able to exert great power over Bob with a vial of Bob’s blood, but that blood would do nothing against Jack. The Blood Mage would need a vial of Jack’s blood if he wished to have the same power against him.

The same goes for using warding circles against powerful individuals. Preparing the circle with an item Sympathetically linked with that individual will empower the circle against that specific target. However, it will do nothing against anyone that is not the Sympathetic link.
Sympathy reagents are very powerful components, but they only work against targets with which they have a link. Without the appropriate target, they become simple Essence or Transference reagents. Only when they are turned against something with which they share a Sympathetic link do they actually become Sympathy reagents.

Sympathy reagents are one of the most interesting reagents for RP. These are those things that typically require actual roleplay to get. You need to actually work for it—for example, if you are a Blood Mage, acquiring the blood of your enemies becomes an important and often difficult quest (especially if your enemies are other RPers!). If you are a diviner, you would need to actually acquire an item or piece of the person or place you wish to scry or psychometrically read.

Focuses are another common magical component. Unlike reagents, focuses are not typically consumed in the casting. In fact, they are often used over and over again for multiple spells.

The purpose of a focus is to channel the magical energy empowering a spell. It acts as a medium between the caster, the reagents, and the spell effect, collecting and coalescing energy as it is shaped, and then unleashing it.

The most common focuses are staves and wands2. Almost all mages carry at least one of these items, and they are typically constructed to channel specific types of spells better. For example, a staff or wand crafted of yew would be best at channeling spells of transmutation, conjuration, illusion, necromancy, astral travel, mediumism, knowledge, eloquence, and persuasion. On the other hand, a staff or wand crafted of oak would be best at channeling spells of domination, authority, power, protection, endurance, wisdom, fertility, and abundance.

More complicated staves and wands often combine multiple materials in their construction. The most common components are the shaft, the core, and the head. The shaft is typically a type of wood or metal, while the core is often metal or a strongly magical substance (like arcane powder). The head is often a crystal or gemstone.

Staves and wands are not the only focuses. Other weapons, like swords and daggers, can serve a similar purpose. In addition, where staves and the like are general focuses, useful for a wide variety of spells, there are many more targeted focuses that only apply to a handful of spell types. A mirror, for example, can be used as a focus for spells of illusion, divination, enchantment, and so on, while an ivory figurine might be used for other types of spells.

Like reagents, focuses can be prepared sympathetically. Voodoo dolls are the most prominent example of a sympathy focus. They are figurines or dolls constructed with pieces of a target individual. Any spell or action upon the doll affects that individual person due to the sympathetic link. Like sympathy reagents, sympathy focuses are tailored to a specific target, and have limited to no effect on any other target.

2. This refers specifically to channeling staves and wands. Staves and wands however can also serve a dual-purpose as “spell gun”, which is how they are typically used in-game. These types of items are imbued with a specific spell, or a handful of spells, which they are capable of firing (like a gun) by merely pointing and uttering the incantation (“pulling the trigger”). This does not drain the caster’s mana, though these “spell guns” are often rather weak and may have a limited amount of times that they can be fired before needing to be recharged.

Circles of Power:
Circles of Power are where the real meat of a spell ritual comes from. Weaker spells simply draw circles into the air, while complicated spells require complicated assembly of a circle upon the ground, with a careful arrangement of the reagents and focuses within it.

Circles of Power represent the actual process of shaping magic. Where the reagents provide the energy and general idea of the desired configuration, and focuses channel the energy, it is the circle that combines all of it into a single harmonious spell.

In many spells, the circle is simply a gesture made in the air, using a finger or wand to ‘draw’ an unseen pattern. For more powerful spells, the circle must actually be constructed physically. In these cases, the circles are carefully measured, and then either engraved into the ground or painted over it. If engraved, engravings may be filled with a substance—for example, demon summoning spells might fill the engravings with blood, often demon blood. Painted circles are typically made out of some required reagent for the spell… lines of gemstone dust spread carefully across the ground, for example, or actual paint that has had various mystical components mixed into it.

The actual design of the circle varies from spell to spell. As always with arcane magic, this design evokes specific cosmic patterns. A single circle can represent life, infinity, potential, femininity, or a cycle, for example, while criss-crossing rings might symbolize divided unity, two halves splitting from each other yet still linked. Concentric circles might indicate a dual form, or an inner being. Squares often represent stability, security, and masculinity, and triangles may represent illumination, creativity, or proportion. The direction of the shapes can also convey a specific meaning. A triangle pointing ‘northward’ might represent a mountain, emanation, or masculinity, while a triangle pointing ‘southward’ might represent a cave, condensation, or femininity. Combining both into one—a triangle facing one direction and a second facing the other direction—can be used to represent unity and balance.

Combining various shapes, in specific places and facing in specific directions, adds even more complexity to the cosmic pattern of the circle.

Obviously, coming up with the meanings behind complex patterns is beyond the desire of most RPers. Typically, simply emoting creating a circle of complicated design is enough—one does not need to actually think about what the exact spiritual composition of shapes needs to be.

Once the circle is made, it is typically adorned with further engravings or paintings of runic patterns or letters of some arcane language. These are, like the shape of the circle, establishing the specific cosmic configuration that the spell is seeking to create—in a way it is a written incantation, a command.

Following this, the reagents and focuses are brought into play. They are typically assembled around and inside the circle at specific places, usually convergences in the shapes—the center of a circle, the tip of a triangle, or at the four corners of a diamond. Typically reagents will be assembled in a cosmically significant number of groups. For example, the number nine is considered a peak of power and experience, the perfection of mind and spirit. Thus the reagents may be assembled in groups of nine, or nine groups of one. Three, seven, and thirteen are also powerful numbers.

The focus is the last part of the puzzle. It is often placed in the center of the circle, or held in the hand of the caster (who sometimes stands in the center, himself).

In the case of multiple spellcasters, they, like the reagents, are assembled in or around the circle in cosmically significant fashion. Nine casters evenly spaced around the circle, for example, or three casters each at one tip of a triangle engraving.

Once the circle has been finally prepared, the spell is actually cast. The mage focuses on the energy of his soul, channels it through the focus and into the pattern. The circle, with its painstakingly prepared cosmic pattern, then shapes the energy into the desired configuration, causing the spell to finally be made manifest.

Scrolls are essentially the spellcasting equivalent to a rune. Where a rune is a mimicry of a ley line pattern placed upon an object or person, and then empowered by imbuing it with energy, a scroll is a mimicry of a spell pattern placed upon a parchment of paper. Like the rune, infusing it with energy while reading the incantation causes it to activate and create its magical effect.

Scrolls are typically made only for weaker spells, as there is a limit to how much magical energy can be condensed into a single parchment of paper. Stronger spells can be made into scrolls, but it typically requires much more effort, and multiple or very large scrolls. Drawn on the paper is a small circle of power, and the ink used is an individually prepared concoction of mystical components that provides all the essence and configuration that the spell will need. The words on the scroll dictate the commands of the spell, and, when read, activates and shapes the magic. Typically, a scroll incantation will be much longer than the normal incantation for the spell.

Scrolls provide a single-fire spell for a character. Such a spell is not committed to memory, but also not needed to be prepared on the spot from a spellbook, nor does it require the mage to fumble with reagents. Instead, the mage simply prepares a scroll and, when necessary, pulls the scroll from a scroll case, opens it, and chants the incantation as he infuses energy into the pattern on the parchment.

Scrolls thus serve as great backup spells. Though often too clunky to use in combat, they allow a mage to easily cast support spells without having to mess with the most complicated parts on the spot. In essence, scrolls are a way for a mage to prepare a spell ahead of time, so they can easily complete the casting at a later date without much fuss.

One interesting way to play with scrolls is to create a whole tome of them. In this way a mage might carry two books with him--his spellbook, and a scrollbook. The spellbook would be where he goes to for preparing his spells, while the scrollbook would be the equivalent of a quiver of prepared spells. By reading off of each page (each scroll) in turn, he could cast spell after spell at the opponent, straight from this book. Such would be limited, however, as each page could only be used once before dissolving into ash.



As can be determined by the length of this compendium (three times as long as my DK guide), magic is not simple. A lot of people like to think it is, but it isn't. A mage uses Intellect, not Spirit. And Intellect is knowledge. Therefore, what this compendium seeks to do, is to provide you, the mage RPer, with a basis for your knowledge. Though Blizzard makes it difficult, the lore does provide information as to the essential foundations of magic, foundations that we as mages seek to understand and exploit. We find that the lore consistently props up not four, but six elemental forces--fire, water, air, earth, life, and shadow. We see that patterns are an integral part of the universe, with the ley lines emanating from the Well of Eternity acting as a magical blueprint for many characteristics in reality. Through the use of reagents, incantations, and established magical techniques, a mage is able to manipulate those patterns to perform his spells. And he performs his spells with mana. We see all magic-using classes using mana, and drawing on one's mana is as fatiguing as any physical endeavor. Each of these things is established by the universe we RP in, and are fundamental to magical RP. They are the foundation upon which magic is built.

I challenge each reader of this guide to go from here with a new consideration for roleplaying their mage. Focus on Intellect, instead of Spirit. For that is, perhaps, the most important thing to take away from this guide. "Thinking really hard" is not Intellect. It is willpower, which is Spirit. A mage is not about willpower. It is not about concentration. That kind of spellcasting is fine for a priest, but it leaves out the core of what a mage really is--a scholar. A purveyor of esoteric knowledge and arcane secrets. Though we can do battle, mages are scholars first. Our knowledge should be more important than our artillery spells.

I thank you taking the time to read this guide, and I hope that it has helped you in your endeavors to roleplay a magic-user.


-Appendix: Magical Laws-

Here is a list of some magical laws that you might find useful for RP. These are canon laws.

Law of Sympathy: Things leave spiritual imprints on other things.

Dalaran’s First Law of Magic: Magic is powerful

Dalaran’s Second Law of Magic: Magic is corrupting.

Dalaran’s Third Law of Magic: Magic is an addiction.

Dalaran’s Fourth Law of Magic: Magic attracts the Twisting Nether.

Dalaran’s Rules of Blinking, #1: Never Blink into a space occupied by someone else.

Dalaran’s Rules of Blinking, #2: Look where you are going.

Dalaran’s Rules of Blinking, #3: Don’t blink anywhere you can’t see.

Dalaran’s Rules of Polymorphing, #1: Do not turn a creature of lesser intelligence into a creature of higher intelligence.

Dalaran’s Rules of Polymorphing, #2: Use simplified creatures for polymorphs.

Dalaran’s Rules of Polymorphing, #3: Polymorphic debaucheries are to be disposed of in a timely and discreet manner.

Dalaran’s Rules of Polymorphing, #4: Do not polymorph a creature into another more powerful creature.

Dalaran’s Rules of Polymorphing, #5: Do not polymorph anything that is halfway through a portal, as this causes an explosion.

Dalaran’s Rules of Polymorphing, #6: Do not polymorph inanimate objects.

Dalaran’s Rules of Teleportation, #1: Do not create a portal to anywhere but the designated Kirin Tor drop-off zones. Special Issue License D-6 permits open portal usage.

Dalaran’s Rules of Teleportation, #2: Create a portal in the proper place, and use it in the proper way. Do not create portals beneath someone. Do not linger halfway in and out of a portal. Do not use a portal as a garbage disposal, shield, or umbrella. Do not back out of a portal after partially entering it. Do not try to grab the edges of the portal.

Dalaran’s Rules of Teleportation, #3: Never force or trick anyone to go through a portal.

Dalaran’s Rules of Teleportation, #4: Do not have someone who is polymorphed enter a portal, as this causes an explosion.

Dalaran’s Rules of Teleportation, #5: Do not remove the liquid filter from a portal spell when using a portal underwater.

Dalaran’s Rules of Teleportation, #6: Standard portal dimensions are 3 yards, 1 foot, and ¾ inches tall, 2 yards, 8 feet, 9 and 15/16 inches wide. Double-wide portal creation requires Special Issue License G-16.

Non-Canon Laws

Here's a few non-canon laws, for fun.

First Rule of Magic: Know when not to use magic.

Wizard’s First Rule: People are stupid.

Magical Law of Identity: Energy A is Energy A.
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