Saltmarsh Journal

Journals for the Saltmarsh RPG Campaign

Magic in Anaria

Anaria is an intrinsically magical world, but using magic in a meaningful manner is more difficult. Magic flows through the world like a river. And like a river, it is easy to use magic when you are going with the flow and much harder when you are trying to swim against the flow. Magic is inherent to all living and natural things, and is a positive force of growth and renewal. Magic that attempts to change this process is un-natural and is much harder to cast. This also means that the ease of casting magic is very dependent on the environment in which it is cast. In an area full of life, like a great city or a faerie-wood, the current is very strong and casting against it is very difficult. Conversely in any area that is lifeless, like mountains or desert, the current is weaker and the casting of un-natural magic is easier.

You will encounter various sorts of magic in your travels.

Glamour is the magic of the faerie-folk, and goblins. It is mainly comprised of small cantrips and illusions which aim to befuddle and confuse the target. Faeries and goblins are full of glamour, but Lordlings can also use glamours, albeit with less proficiency. Their glamours tend to be less whimsical however, and often more powerful. Even ordinary men can use some glamours, but the effort is greater and the effects less as they are less attuned to the flow of magic. Glamour works by being attuned to the flow of magic and is therefore easier to cast in more magical places. The effects are limited because the caster and the environment must provide all the power for the spell. Glamour is resisted by intelligence because it has no physical manifestation, existing merely in the mind of the recipient. Even spells that appear to bar doors or the like merely persuade the castee that the door is barred no matter how much they try it.

Divine Magic is provided by the gods. Worshippers sacrifice magical energy to the gods, who use some of it to survive and return the rest to their priests in the form of spells. Here the caster only needs to provide enough magical power in order to open a gate or conduit to their deity, and the rest of the power is provided for them. However the deity will only provide power for spells that are in the best interest and nature of the deity.

Sorcery is the most brutal form of magic. Here the caster is setting themselves against the natural order of the world and attempting to change it through sheer will-power. Sorcery requires great strength of mind and prodigious expenditure of magical power. A sorcerer cannot hope to power more than the simplest spells with his own power, and even then that will have permanent effects on the caster. Blood and life energy and the normal sources of power for sorcerous spells and so a caster will either offer their own blood or youth, or the blood and life of other sacrificial creatures. Those of the same species as the caster are more potent, and those that the caster has an emotional bond with are the most potent of all.

Healers use a specialised kind of sympathetic magic that relies on equivalence and exchange. In effect they work by transferring the wound or injury onto another creature. In and of itself, this would be of little use, but a healer can make this more useful by sharing the wound amongst a number of willing recipients, each of whom shares their part of the injury.

The Dragons have their own form of magic, which is based on their primordial understanding of the world. Few others can master it, as it requires immense ages of study. Some in the south though use a weak form of draconic magic that manipulates the elements. They are limited to only being able to manipulate a single element though, and can only manipulate what is already present rather than summoning it or dismissing it.

Shamans are people who can see into and interact with the spirit world – a highly magical plane that is co-existent with the material plane. All sentient creatures exist on both the material and spiritual planes, but there are also spirits that exist purely on the spirit plane. Shamans can do deals with these creatures or even bind them to their will. In exchange for these deals, or as part of their binding, these spirits can perform simple magical spells, especially those that affect only the spiritual plane. These spirits can cause madness, disease, sensory delusions or even possess people, taking control of their bodies and exiling their own spirits. Some spirits also have limited powers of precognition. Shamans are common amongst more primitive societies and simpler people.

Necromancers are in some ways the exact opposite of shamans. While shamans are focussed on the spiritual side of people, necromancers are usually more interested in the physical body after death. They use magics that allow them to reanimate the dead and control their bodies with a small portion of their own will. Such reanimations normally require complex rituals and symbols, the exact meaning of which even necromancers are unaware of, but which are passed from master to apprentice. The effect of sharing their will amongst so many bodies strains the souls of necromancers, causing them to age and wither, both physically and morally.

Demonologists are a specific type of sorcerer, that use spells that summon and bind other-worldly creatures to do their bidding. The spells are cast in a similar manner, but are like divine spells in that they only need to expend enough power to open a gate and pull and bind a creature from the other side. The difference is that the creature does not want to come, and if not bound correctly is likely to wreck its revenge on the caster.

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