Good question. There are numerous types of Magic on the world of Calydorn and the Cosmos in which it floats. Much of this is uncertain speculation on the parts of the ignorant masses who inhabit the Seven Worlds.
Many academies of magic have opposing views and see things differently, but here I will describe the magical lore which is most commonly agreed by the learned scholars and philosophers of Calydorn. I will quote some parts from the background, and summarize others, as well as add some additional points.
The first factors to consider are that mythologically the Cosmos is composed of Elemental matter and Keraunic energy.
At the edge of the Material Plane, reality diverges into two distinct forms – the five Elemental Planes and the innumerable Aethernatos Realms.
There are now 6 elemental planes (since the birth of Darkness)
The 4 primary planes earth, air fire and ice all surround the material Plane, which lies at the centre. One could imagine that the Plane of Ice lies to the north of the Material Plane and the Plane of fire to the south. Above is the Plane of Air and below the Plane of Earth. Each primary plane faces it's diametric opposite. To either side is the Plane of Shadow. Darkness grows at the outer rim of the cosmoss and seeps in through the crack, jostling with Shadow.
Again, at the centre rests the Material Plane which contains the worlds, moons and suns etc. The Material Plane is considered to be the result of the mixing of the 5 original elements.
Now existing concurrently with this is a completely separate form of reality - the Aethernatos Realms.
Girdling it like the layers of an onion are the Aethernatos Realms, forming thousands of mirror images of the central plane. Resounding like an echo through the chasms of existence, these dimensions are said to stretch all the way to the edge of the cosmos, where reality meets infinity, though no mortal has ever returned with his sanity intact to confirm or deny such.
Anchored equidistantly around the reality shell of the cosmos are the twelve Grammata – mystical nodes radiating the very fabric of existence itself. The twelve powers emanated by the Grammata are called the Keraunoi, and where these emanations converge, realms are woven into being. The ephemeral outer realms, woven from just two strands of Keraunoi, manifest as vague and mercurial existences; while toward the core of the cosmos, where many of the twelve powers have bonded, solid realms of reality take shape. Shimmering at the centre of the cosmos is the Grand Conjunction – the Material Plane – the glorious combination of all twelve Keraunoi, so finely interwoven that the individual powers can be sensed only by powerful sorcerers.
Mortals strut out their insignificant, three-dimensional lives upon the stage of a single Plane, oblivious to the walls of their prison; walls which to Immortals represent mere veils through which one may slide with ease. Towering above Mortals are the gods and devils, which by their very nature, tread the skies of countless dimensions simultaneously. Conversely, the ghosts of the dead are beings struggling to manifest in merely two or three dimensions.
In some manner, the Aethernatos Realms bestraddle the elemental planes, rather as light may exist simultaneously with sound; so that the elements and the Keraunoi are two independent forces which cannot ordinarily interact. In fact, the Material Plane is the only place where the twelve Keraunoi and the five elements preside together.
Those able to channel the powers of the Keraunoi are called Sorcerers.
Those who wield the power of the five elements are known as Mages, and conversely,
In the West the great mystic-masters of the fallen Gnostic Cabal sought to comprehend the entirety of existence, and they theorized that all matter consisted of combinations of elemental atoms. They believed that the five types of atoms were bound together by the 12 Keraunoi and that the various combinations of atoms and Keraunoi formed all the unique solids, liquids and gasses of the Material Plane.
The Cosmic Puzzle
It is common knowledge among sorcerers and mages that the elements and the Keraunoi cannot interact with each other directly, and perhaps the most ancient and potent secret of all the cosmos’ mystic arts is the esoteric process enabling these two independent forces to be combined. Several of the firstborn Jotuns are said to have been taught this reality altering magic by the Mother of the Cosmos at the dawn of time. Vast and prolonged rituals are required to shift both forces into a third, mutually interactive form of power; most of these rituals require months or years, and at any point the entire process can be ruined by a misstep. At the culmination of the rites, sacred symbols are inscribed which activate the enchantments. These symbols are known as the runes.
So we have:
Elemental magic which derives from the power on the 6 elemental planes.
Sorcery, which is manipulation of the 12 Keraunic powers which form the cosmos.
Runic Magic which is a combination of both forces.
Next we have the powers of numerous immesely powerful entities - Gods and Demons. This magic results not only from the gods/demons but also from theire relationship with Mortals. It seems that gods and Mortals have a sort of symbiotic relationship and Demons a similar parasitic relationship. The Gods have been great movers in the mythical ages of the cosmos and during the Asraedian Age (40,000 BSC to 22,000 BSC) they gained individuality, emerging as masters of some certain aspect of life - Hunting, fertility, war, art, love, peace, strength, etc. Every aspect of the lives of Mortals is encompassed by one or more gods, who congregated into nine separate pantheons. (listed on p47 of the Background book).
The Magic of the Halodynes derives 100% from the gods they worship. this magic is not merely the gods granting requests, its a lot more subtle and complex than that.
As each god is worshipped, its power grows. In effect the god becomes inflated by the power of its worshippers. This power forms in a field around the god, which the Halodynes call the "logos". Each Logos is divided like a spectrum into the key defining aspects of that god. For axample, Maenandros has the aspects Wine, Feasting and Frenzy, so within each aspect are mythic feats and skills. these can be drawn upon by priestesses and used to alter reality. these are losely called "spells", but called also be called "prayers" or "´Miracles" or "Divine Magic". In this way a god can only offer his worshippers spells which relate to his field of expertise or his mythical deeds.
Normal people can also access the Logos of a god through prayer. Not all prayers are answered or even heard; many factors influence the outcome including how strong the faith-bond is between worshipper and deity, how weighty the matter at hand is, how worthy the individual is and how earnestly he prays, not to mention attentiveness of the deity in question. A lazy farmer who prays every day for more his crops is unlikely to ever be heard, but a renowned hero with a lifetime of colorful exploits who is defiantly battling against the odds to save his city will surely be looked upon favorably. Indeed, the gods find some individuals such wonderful play-things that they maintain a constant watch upon them. Worthy individuals can therefore often enjoy some form of divine intervention, but altering the natural flow of reality takes a considerable toll on deities who are consequently reluctant to right every little wrong in the cosmos. The fate of a devout man is also subject to the fickle whims of the gods, for they may grow bored or take offense at some imagined slight.
Demonic magic works in exactly the same way as divine Magic, except they give less back and take more.
Necromancy is a macabre and twisted form of Sorcery. But that's a separate subject. Essentially it is enslaving the souls of the dead and re-animating dead flesh with Keraunic power instead of life-force. But of course there is a lot more to it than that, since it involves breaking the natural order of life-forms in the Cosmos.
Life-force brings us to the final power of the Cosmos. Life-force is some form of energy or spirit created by the mother of the Cosmos (Dhannya) or the father of the cosmos (the Urghast) depending on your view. This power animates all life-forms such as plants and animals. Like the cosmos it moves in a circle of birth-change-death or birth-growth-death. This form of power is manipulated by Animist magicians, and is essentially a type of nature magic. The Wyldfolk Tuathan use this power.
Lastly there are the Dreamspinners of the Golden Age who claim that all of reality is only the dream of Dhannya and that the coming of demons was an invasion of that dream by another force. They believe that the celestial Death was not the true death of the goddess Dhannya, but was instead a collapse of consciousness as she became trapped within her own dream, unable to awaken. Dreamspinners seems to on to something because there are many who claim their magic works. They claim to cause changes in the Cosmic Dreamtime, which then effect reality (normally with a few days or weeks delay).
There are tales of a few other forms of magic throughout the historical and mythological ages such as the Akashic Knights of the Gnostic Cabal, but the above are the primary forms of magic on Calydorn.
There is actually more to be said about each of the above types of magic, but I think that's enough for this post :-)
(This post was last modified: 03-12-2013 10:49 AM by David.)