Basics of Magic
Magic as a concept
Magic is a delicate and heavily argued subject in the world of Syd’Cathil, but there a few things on which all scholars agree. For one, all magic is composed of a series of threads, known as Strands. These Strands are woven together into what we know as spells in a process known as Spellweaving, or casting. Each strand represents some principle of magic, some alteration to the standard ways in which the world works. It is in regards to what these threads are, and where they come from that things start to get…hairy. Despite variances in the specifics, there are two primary schools of thought: the Intrauniversal Theory, and the External Influence Theory.
Intrauniversal Theory: This theory states that the Strands are the particles of the world itself, coming undone at the seams. It hurries to state that this is not a harmful state, but rather the natural condition of the world to be a bit…ragged. This theory is corroborated by the condition of Orckosto, where the overuse of magic has caused the once-fertile land to whither and die. It is the proponents of this theory who caution against the overuse of magic, that such devastation might be avoided in the future.
External Influence: This theory state that the Strands are pieces of worlds adjacent to ours, intruding into our world through pathways unknown to humanity. This theory has certain disturbing ramifications, such as magic not originating in our world, and what possible physical rules the worlds adjacent to ours could have. While planar travel has been conducted and certain expeditions have been cited by proponents of this theory as proof, they are tenuous at best, and generally disregarded by the community at large.
Magic in application
Primarily, there are many and varied ways in which magic is practiced, and similarities tend to result as a process of culture, rather than practicality or common sense, if such concepts can even be applied to magic. However, the many forms can be distilled into a few pervading schools of practice.
Arcane: The popular Apharnian text A Forward Look to the Arcana describes Arcane Magic as “the willful manipulation, if not control, of physical and mental forces via Strands to create forces outside the physical norm”. While this sounds very vague, it is actually quite distinct from other forms of magic, as it is the only one that mentions Strands directly, and also directly references the will of the user, a primary force in Arcane magic. The practitioners of the Arcane tend to be either very intellectual or very charismatic individuals, depending on how they approach the Strands. Arcane magic is very common in Irrni, where Strands have been known to be extremely common.
Divine: Defined as the channeling of magic through a human conduit by an outside force, the term “Divine” can actually be somewhat misleading. What forces exactly do channel the magic are unknown, but their influence is undeniable. Divine magic is often characterized by its use in those who have absolutely no training, and occasionally unintended effects. Divine magic is most often found in Apharna, where the connections to the Gods are known to be strongest.
Psychic: A form of magic that is still extremely poorly documented, as most of the cases of it appear in Elterme, where people are less agreeable to being studied. Yet, there are some commonalities that have been observed. First and foremost, Psychic magic does not seem to manipulate Strands, or rather, not external ones. Rather, it seems to exist in people who have Strands embedded in themselves for one reason or another, granting them their uncommon power. As such, Psychic magic is much rarer than Divine or Arcane.