Guide to Magic
To be a mage is to wield mana as not only a weapon, but as an ally. Some believe it alone holds the key to humanity’s salvation, or to their ascension- others believe it is a tool of the damned, born only to tempt the greedy into unraveling all that humans have accomplished. In either case, only a fool would claim magic is without influence… Especially as of late. With the Convergence approaching, the magical abilities of the denizens of Rhyst are surely escalating.
Magic in a literal sense is simply a manipulation of mana. The five Schools of Magic have different philosophies on how to do this, but the general theme is the same: use the mana generated by your body and soul to accomplish something.
The Five Schools of Magic
Long ago, around 700AC, humanity discovered that magic was not just conjuring fireballs and shaking the earth. To those with talent, there were other paths available, many of which allowed for vastly more interesting techniques to arise. These techniques diverged and became what we now know as the Five Schools, each with their own opinions and knowledge on the art of magic.
Elementalism is the root of most magic. It is the simplest form to access as an aspiring mage, and thus many mages proceed to this path without even considering the other four. While it was the first to unfold in Rhyst, though, it is not at all the most limiting or limited. Since 700AC, Elementalism has expanded vastly in every direction. Where before a masterful Pyromancer would own at best a handful of fireball-related spells, now a Pyromancer of the same tier may conjure explosions or liquid fire from their fingertips instead.
It is unique in that, unlike most Schools who have split themselves down the middle, Elementalism has instead split into four equal disciplines: Pyromancy, Aquamancy, Geomancy, and Aeromancy.
Weaving is a step beyond traditional Elementalism. Where a Geomancer conjures earth and may derive metal or magma upon greater learning, Weaving is the art of combining elements in such a complex manner that they start to look like something else entirely. The best example of this is the absurdly difficult practice of Arcanery, or more specifically the practice of Arcane Magic. Arcane Magic is the combination of all four elements, resulting in a pure, almost mana-like energy capable of feats of incredible power. Arcane mages are among the most gifted and/or talented, yet they frequently lack endurance due to the excessive amount of studying required for their field.
On the other hand of the School of Weaving, you have Druidry. Much like Arcanery, it is a complex mix of multiple elements in one- primarily earth and water, but occasionally with influence from fire and wind for more advanced spells. They’re known to be connected beyond compare to nature, and their magic revolves around using that connection to their advantage. They can create nonsentient life on a whim from their mana, which cleanly separates Druidry from the same tier as other magic.
Battlemastery is the art of empowering your weaponry with mana and other types of magic. It is split down the middle into Bow- and Blademastery, each of which takes a different stance entirely in combat. Bowmastery, despite its name, also includes some extraneous groups of armaments like throwing knives and other projectile weaponry. It fixates on empowering the projectiles themselves, and talented Bowmasters can even conjure poisons, blights, and elemental afflictions to coat their arrowheads. They are notoriously swift and viciously frustrating to catch due to their propensity for high dexterity physiques.
Blademastery, on the other hand, isn’t as cohesive. Blademasters are known to use any number of weapons to achieve their goals, ranging from spears and swords to axes and even hammers in some extraneous cases. Their dexterity is typically high, but many praise the value of strength instead; in either case, their force is one to be reckoned with. Most fixate on drawing blood from their targets or empowering the weight of their weapons to excessive degrees.
Augmenting is the least developed of all existing Schools of Magic thus far, but it’d be a mistake to call it undeserving of a title as one of the five. Augmenters are those who empower their bodies and physicality with mana and magic, becoming monstrously strong and tanky behemoths that cannot be taken down with mundane weaponry alone. This is most commonly classed as Berserking. While Berserkers must still wield weapons and armor to match the best mages in combat, they tend to need them less, and no mage serves better without such tools than a Berserker in their prime.
Theories exist that claim far-off lands may bear extensions of Augmenting, focused on self-healing and physical, hand-to-hand combat. Some think these techniques may soon leak into the world of Rhyst…
If Elementalism is the art of unpackaging a box of blocks and creating a fireball from said blocks, Sorcery is the art of hurling the entire box at your opponent. Among novice Sorcerers, this is as complex as it gets: you’re merely firing mana wholesale at your target in a demonstration of extremely inefficient but similarly powerful magic. And for many years following this level of expertise, its methodology doesn’t change much. However, once you approach a degree of mastery, it expands into a much greater talent encompassing complicated mana manipulation, Blood Magic, and even some Fae and Void Magic.
It is commonly organized into two categories: Witchery, which deals with Blood and Blight Magic, and Incanting, which deals with the closest approximations of Fae and Void Magic we humans can manifest. Witches are renown for their ability to manipulate the mana latent in human bodies before it is made manifest, making them adept at controlling existing life and degrading it. Incanters, on the other hand, specialize in manipulating existing magic, and are exceptional in the pursuit of controlling other mages’ magic as well as denying it.
Relic Magic exists in the realm beyond the magic we’re currently aware of. It is what the Schools have yet to catalogue, and what they likely never will; the Necromantic methods of Vul’Karik, or the Fel Magic of Paschia Fel. The mass-sacrifice spells of Oberon, or the Planeshifting of Titania. Yet it is not only the magic of the Eidolons that classifies, as some masterful mages can accomplish creation of a spellcraft at this tier with a lifetime of work. Some say talented Druids may prove capable of one day melding into the trees for a lifetime… Others believe Sorcerers hold the key to creating pocket planes, or to delve into the depths of the human psyche.