The ability to use Supernatural Powers, "Magic", appears randomly in creature of Asmythe; it is not hereditary and there is no way to predict who will have magical ability. Any person or animal could manifest the ability to use magic at any time.
In Asmythe magic can manifest in two different ways: Dragon Magic, the magic of life and change, or Arcane Magic, the magic of energy and movement.
Supernatural powers are very rare in Asmythe. Only about one in a thousand humans have the potential to wield arcane or dragon magic. Elves are ten times more likely to have dragon magic, and ten times less likely to have arcane magic; and visa versa for dwarves.
The Elder Dragons sleep and dream and those dreams change the world. Some people have the ability to become part of those dreams through music and art, and through the dragons dream changes to the world.
Dragon magic is the magic of life and mind, of thought and living things. It can not affect non-living things directly. Those who have mastered the ability to walk in the dreams of dragons find they can affect the emotions of others and even cripple or heal other people. Elementals can not do any kind of dragon magic, only those native to Asmythe and living in the dreams of the Elder Dragons are able to affect those dreams. Elementals can be affected by dragon magic, because the elemental animating the object is a living entity.
Nobody knows why dragon magic can only affect living things. Some speculate that the Elder Dragons only dream of living things and therefore can not "see" non-living things in their dreams. Others speculate that while life only takes days or years to change, stones and metals take centuries or millennia to change and that the Elder Dragons do dream of these things but nobody has been able to maintain a connection to the dragons long enough to affect them.
Those who can work dragon magic use music, art, meditation, and rituals to effect change. Dragon magic works slowly and requires considerate concentration to work.
- Humans who are trained to use dragon magic are divas of The Hand of Sol.
- Elves who are trained to use dragon magic are druids.
- Anybody else is untrained and their use is sorcery.
The Ilthura were masters of the elemental planes, able to summon elementals into Asmythe. Some dwarves and humans have the ability and dedication to learn how to use the language of the Ilthura and though the symbols and structures of that language summon elementals Asmythe. Arcane magic is the magic of moving energy and elementals from another plane into Asmythe, it can not directly change anything in Asmythe.
Arcane magic can not channel elemental energy directly but it can summon an elemental and control it long enough to create an effect or bind it to an inanimate object. Elementals are as varied as animal life on Asmythe, simple elementals can be used to create "dumb" and weakly powered objects while advanced, intelligent elementals can be used to create autonomous machines or animate constructs.
Those who work arcane magic use symbols and language to effect change and thus require some kind of "spell book" to read and a wand, staff, or similar to draw Ilthura symbols when using magic. The language of the Ilthura can not be memorized and even a small mistake can cause a magical backlash.
Sometimes arcane magic disrupts the AEther that surrounds and protects Asmythe from the elemental planes. When the AEther is disrupted by arcane magic is becomes more difficult to summon elementals and elementals are more likely to go crazy. Depending on how badly the AEther is disrupted that could mean that only spells of the same element are more difficult, or that all spells are more difficult; and the effect can last for hours, days, or years in extreme cases.
- Humans who are trained to use arcane magic are wizards of The Eye of Horus.
- Dwarves who are trained to use dragon magic are alchemists.
- Anybody else is untrained and their use is sorcery.
Each elemental realm is distinct and separated from Asmythe and each other by the AEther, a substance or energy that does not truly exist but is ever-present and strong enough to prevent the realms from interacting with each other.
Any entity from another realm is called an elemental. The Ilthura mastered means of manipulating the AEther and thus manifesting and controlling elementals. These techniques are the source of arcane magic in Asmythe.
Each element directly opposes another element as seen on the chart below. Opposed elementals are not usually hostile to each other but opposed elemental energies will cancel each other out.
These elementals take a physical form when summoned. These forms have all the advantages and limitations of any other physical form on Asmythe. Elementals usually take on an animalistic appearance enveloped by a characterization of their element; but the weakest elementals may appear as nothing more than an orb or spark.
These are Fire, Magma, Stone, Ice, Frost, Water, Air, and Electricity
These elements do not have a physical form and are not affected by any physical object, unless it is also magical. Elementals of the outer elements don't have predictable or consistent shapes and often appear, if they are visible at all, as pulsating or morphing blobs of energy.
The outer elements are: Light, Force, Dark, and Sound
Elven Nature Magic
The Ilthura themselves mastered both kinds of magic. They taught the elves of the First Age how to use the most rudimentary dragon magics. During the Second Age this power increased and the elves learned how to access the dreams of the Elder Dragons. They developed their power into a mastery of nature. Elven druids are able to affect how plants grow and to talk to animals.
Nature magic is slow and tactile compared to how humans use dragon magic. Elven druids must be able to touch and manipulate the subject of the magic and they prefer to use rituals to create long lasting effects. Elven druids are adept at creating potions and empowered wooden tools.
Dwarven Alchemy Magic
The dwarves that have mastered arcane magic are able to empower and animate their devices by binding elementals to them. To the other races of Asmythe this looks like advanced technology, although in reality it is much less reliable.
Dwarven magic works by creating a device and making a pact with a powerful elemental to animate that device. The pact is only between the creator of the device and the elemental. Dwarven devices never work properly for anybody but the dwarf that created it. Dwarves are also able to bind less powerful elementals into simple devices, creating single-use devices that can be used by anybody.
Worldbuilding Note: Dwarven magic resembles Steam Punk technology, like that found in Girl Genius.
Goblin Sorcery Magic
Hobgoblin and other untrained sorcerers can use arcane or dragon magic but have little understanding of its use or capabilities. They have raw magical power that they can manifest but don't have the knowledge to generalize their power to the wide variety of uses that human clerics and wizards developed. Ritual magic requires knowledge and expertise beyond the ability of sorcerers.
Rituals and Enchantments
Rituals are spells that create long lasting effects.
Arcane rituals can be used to bind an elemental to a non-living thing and imbue it with an elemental aspect. Enchantments are as dangerous and complex as the elemental used to create them, so they tend to be rare and treasured. They are often heirlooms and always have a story behind them.
There is no such things as a "sword +1", instead there is "Fang", "Icebane", and "The Nightmare".
Dragon rituals can create long lasting natural effects and change the nature of living things. With enough time and focus it can create massive trees, transmute a cat into a dog, imbue a wooden staff with courage, or create the water of life.
Arcane Magic Arcane magic is the ability to summon energy and elementals from other planes.
- Can create, summon, or destroy elementals.
- Can summon elemental messengers, couriers, and servants.
- Can use elementals to move objects without touching them.
- Can create illusions that exists without an observer.
- Can enchant an object or area with an elemental.
- Can acquire information about something nearby without inspecting or interacting with it, by asking an elemental, though the information is typically vague, unreliable, and limited by the kind of elemental summoned.
- Can create an "anti-magic" effect on an area or non-living thing by disrupting the AEther.
Dragon Magic Dragon magic is the ability to change living and natural processes.
- Can affect the mind and emotions of creatures.
- Can create a telepathic connection with another creature.
- Can cause or cure wounds, diseases, and curses.
- Can change the shape or physical characteristics of a living creature.
- Can create illusions in the mind, especially ones that provoke an emotion.
- Can create persistent effects and change the nature of things.
- Can detect and disenchant a persistent magic.
- Can acquire information about something nearby by inspecting it closely or "talking" to a living creature.
- Can create an "anti-magic" effect on an area or living creature.
Exceptions Magic in the world of Asmythe comes from elementals and the dreams of the Elder Dragons. It can do many impossible things but there are a few things that it can never do.
- No kind of magic can directly transmute or change non-living things, such as turning lead into gold.
- No kind of magic can change the flow of time or move anything through time.
- No kind of magic can teleport a creature or objects from one place to another.
- No kind of magic can permit creatures of Asmythe to exist on any elemental plane; the creatures of Asmythe are composed of essence from all planes and moving them out of Asmythe would remove most of their essence and destroy them.
- No kind of magic can bring a creature back from the dead, or even communicate with a dead person. When something dies it is lost forever: dissolved into AEther or consumed by dragons.