Alternate Earth Campaign
To the uninitiated magic is, well, basically anything they cannot explain. But it is more properly understood as the science of controlling chaos. There are laws to the natural world. For instance people die. Animals die. Plants die. People do not grow new limbs. But with magic these rules may not be applicable. One could perhaps describe magic as a means of finding the loop holes in the laws of nature.
Lykeus once postulated that at the beginning there was chaos, formless possibility, but also there was a demiurge, the creator, the lawgiver, the binder, order – whatever it would be called it sought to control and contain chaos. Lykeus further postulated that in the struggle between chaos and order, that order ultimately won, at least in so far as it bound chaos with rules. These rules are what we would call the laws of nature. But these laws are imperfect, or at least incomplete. They do not bind everything about chaos. One with the right knowledge can find the cracks, the seams between the laws of nature. Knowing the language of the bindings upon chaos will allow an individual to shape that chaos itself to his own will.
Lykeus’s theory has thus far proven to be an effective description of the mechanics of magic as we know it. This knowledge of the language of binding is, in effect, what we call wizardry. The wizard studies arcane formulas and uses that knowledge to call upon chaos to do the wizard’s bidding in a way contrary to the laws of nature. Most wizards use spells that they have learned from other teachers. These spells are imperfect understanding of the language binding which they are invoking. Rarely do wizards have a true comprehension of the true language of binding. They only know specific formulas that have been passed down from teacher to student for generations. This is not the only method for harnessing magic. Words of power, for instance are widely believed to exist. Others manipulate magic as a gift, or through pact with a more powerful being.
We now turn to the methods of drawing upon magic. This is usually described by 3 terms: the source, the draw, and the well. Different cultures and different traditions have different words for each of these concepts.
In general, the source is the starting point where the magic wielder draws his power. For wizards this is the unbound chaos that exists, unseen, all around us. For a priest this power is drawn from the priest’s God, or demon, or whatever. It could easily be argued that the wizard draws on a purer form of energy that is more difficult to grasp and more difficult to control, whereas the priest draws on processed energy that is made available by a more powerful the. The energy is less pure already been shaped, and perhaps more limited therefore in application. In any event, source is the starting point from which the magic wielder draws his power.
The draw is the ability of the magic user to pull magic from the source to himself. It could also easily be described as a channel – how quickly and how much energy comes from the source to the caster. It could be a trickle or it could be a river.
The final concept is well or the reservoir, etc. When the magic user draws energy from the source must go somewhere. This concept describes the ability of the magic to store the energy within him or herself or possibly some other prepared vessel.