There are many Ways that can be used to focus and create the powers called magic. Of these, there are three main types. Most Ways are one of these, or a combination of these:
Invocation: When performing magic, the wizard invokes the power of extra-planar, extra-dimensional, or extra-universal entities.
Continuum/Matrix: The wizard utilizes the force within another plane, dimensional matrix, or universe, and focuses this raw force into magical power.
Psionics: Magical power comes solely from the wizard’s mind. The wizard’s strict training and discipline allow the wizard to call forth the forces that can be created by the mind.
The Elven Way of magic utilizes disturbances between the normal and the Astral planes. The Goblin Way uses a combination of the Elven Way and Invocation of Extra-Planar Entities.
Far back in the history of mankind, 250 millennia ago, travelers from another star found themselves lost on Earth. This people became the Elves of our legends. They called their planet Orrión. The people of Orrión had developed magic in much the same way that we now have developed technology, and their entire culture was based upon a magical struggle between good and evil.
A space warp brought a small number of the Elves to Earth, in the Ural Mountains. There were three intelligent races in the area at that time: Humans, Dwarves, and Goblins. The Dwarves and Goblins were constantly at war, and each side was helped by the primitive humans in the area, as different tribes and individuals allied with different sides in the battles.
When the Elves first appeared on Earth, they were attacked by Goblins, who were subsequently attacked by a band of Dwarves. Elves and Dwarves forged a loose alliance from that point on. It was the Humans that gained the Elven wizards’ attention. Dwarves had no liking for magic, but Humans, taken at an early age, could learn much about the arcane art. This Elven magic is the main ancestor of most modern magical Ways.
Human wizards did not always maintain good ties with their teachers, and after many generations there were powerful wizards on both sides of the fight. Goblins, like Dwarves, had no affinity for magic, but what magic they did learn was twisted. It is possible that there was an older form of magic that, with the new Elven magic, formed a hybrid that they used well. The years and decades that followed brought war the likes of which had never been seen in the history of the Earth. Magical battles and mundane battles raged across that small area of the planet.
Pronounce Farra-Min Fá-Ruh-Mén. That’s Fa as in Fact, and Ru as in Rug.
In the end, the Elven/Dwarven alliance was victorious, but few Dwarves or Goblins survived. Those who did survive could not halt the extinction of their races. The Elves finally discovered how to return to their homeland. Within a few centuries, only humans were left. This had been prophesied from the start by the Elf Farra-Min. He was the only Elf to die of old age on Earth. The trip to Earth somehow made him mortal, and gave him the gift of prophecy. His prophecies filled tomes, and detailed the history of the Earth through three circles.
The First Circle detailed the Elven arrival, and ends with the arrival of super heroes. The first verses of the First Circle of Earth translate as follows:
Translated to English by Carol Channing
The Elves shall enter wonder
in the midst of war and strife.
They shall strive to aid the weary,
bringing magic in for life.
But the forces shall be stolen,
and become a two-edged knife--
In the end the land engulfs it,
through their blood and sacrifice.
And the land it causes wonder
for the wonder is the land,
And two races that inhabit
shall be mixed up in the sand.
Yet the lowly shall be greater--
the race that is called man.
They shall make their mark and flourish
all alone upon the sand.
The final verse of the First Circle translates as:
And again there shall be wonder,
as the singer draws the pen,
And legends fill the story,
as the Eagle learns its ken -
As heroes fight for freedom,
on the planet, end to end,
They shall strive a fight for justice--
Men, and Supermen.
There have been many traditions of magic, both on Earth and elsewhere. These are a few of the traditions that have existed on, or been known by the people of, Earth.
No one knows where Abu Nah came from. Regxol’lent believes he is an alien energy being. Mr. Weird never said where he believed Abu Nah came from. Abu’s magic is General Classical, and it utilizes the Universal Continuum and the Living Matrix. It is believed that Abu Nah greatly influenced Egyptian magic, and through that, the modern Western tradition.
The Council of Twelve rules over a portion of another reality (dimension) adjacent to ours. The Council consists of twelve wizards. Other wizards in their domain are strictly regulated. The magic of this culture is Special Classical, taking its power from the astral continuum and innate psionics.
Actually, this is only the magic from one planet of the Dark Universe. The planet’s ruler is Darksën, master of the night.
The Magic of the Dark Universe is General Mnemonic, and involves the invocation of extra-universal beings and the universal continuum.
Druidic magic was a direct descendent of both Faerie magic and the Old magic. This magic involved psionic ability and the invocation of extra-planar beings to a small extent, but was largely dependent on the power of the Earth and the biosphere--the ambient energy of life. Druidic magic is Special Classical.
Abu Nah is the force inside the helmet worn by Mr. Weird, the wizard hero of the allies in World War II.
Most of the Egyptian Tradition was lost when Alexandria was destroyed. This magic is a forerunner of the Medieval tradition, and is directly descended from the Elvish. It was influenced by another alien tradition, through the wizard Abu Nah. This version of the Elvish magic added the invocation of deities and a limited use of psionics. Egyptian wizards are General Classical.
Probably the most famous Elven mage on Earth was Merlin, the Red Wizard. The Rainbow Wizard is the only modern practitioner of the Elven Tradition.
The natives of the planet Orrión have followed a social evolution that developed magic, rather than technology. Their magicians are General Classical, and most Elves are at least skill level 0 or 1. In the same way that we use a television or a car without even thinking about it, the Elves use magic.
Elven magic involves the use of the planar and universal continuum to power spells. There was a period on Earth, after the Elves left, but before the artificially created human civilization of the time died out, when this tradition was General Mnemonic.
Brogue, Rayzon, and Darkling are all practitioners of Faerie magic. It is rumored that Merlin’s adversary Morgaine leFay also practiced a form of Faerie, though it may have been influenced by Druidic magic.
Faerie magic is one of the two oldest forms of magic on Earth. Practiced originally by the extra-dimensional Faerie who have inhabited our psyche since the beginning of human memory, Faerie magic utilizes extra-dimensional pockets of power, as well as ambient psionic energy. Faerie magicians are General Classical.
Greek magic was developed almost directly from the Egyptian tradition, with the worship of their own deities playing a very important part. Greek magic involves the invocation of deities, and a somewhat stronger use of innate psychic ability than its Egyptian heritage. The Greek tradition is also General Classical.
The origin of Hebrew magic is unknown. It may have developed independently of other magics on Earth. The Kabalic tradition involves the invocation of deities and extra-planar beings. It is a Special Classical form of magic.
There are those who believe some of the Latin wizard orders have survived into the twentieth century. Of course, there are those who believe in Santa Claus as well.
The Roman wizards changed the Egyptian magic to a much more ‘traditional’ and scholarly approach, and developed with only a little influence from the Greek tradition. Their magic used the astral and universal continuums to power their enchantments and spells. Latin mages were General Classical, Special Classical, and General Mnemonic.
Some scholars (Professor Njoa particularly) believe that an extremely old and barbaric form of mysticism survived into Aztec and Mayan times.
Before even the Elves, there were two forms of magic. The Old magic was practiced by non-human creatures who died or were imprisoned hundreds of thousands of years ago. Some of our stranger forebears helped keep this magic alive, and parts of it have survived in Voodoo and Druidic Magic. The Old Magic still exists in a more pure form among the strange beings, who still haunt the forbidden parts of the world.
Old Magic utilizes invocation of extra-planar beings, psionics, and ambient cosmic energy. The Old Magic is Special Classical.
Spirit magic often develops in the early stages of an area’s cultural development. Usually, it then dies out. Sometimes it metamorphoses into Worship magic, and sometimes it remains as spirit magic and develops along with the culture. Spirit magic involves the invocation of either extra-planar entities (often spirits of the dead) or the invocation of extra-dimensional creatures (plant, earth, and object spirits). Spirit magic is usually Special Classical.
Ian McKellan is the most famous modern practitioner of this tradition. The Dream Sorceress also practices this magic.
The standard magic of Earth is descended almost directly from the Elvish tradition, combined with Jewish Mysticism. The modern version of this is also influenced by the Witchcraft tradition.
This tradition combines planar barrier disturbances, psionics, and the invocation of extra-dimensional, extra-planar creatures. It is a General Classical tradition.
The Witches of the medieval world used a magic tradition that combined the Greek and Druidic traditions. Witchcraft involved the invocation of extra-planar deities and spirits, and the power of life and death. These witches are Special Classical mages.
The witchcraft as envisioned by the witch hunters seemed to be a combination of Faerie magic and Kabalic mysticism. It probably never existed.
Today, many people are joining together in groups, and calling themselves Witches. The techniques they use may soon develop into a form of magic based on innate psionics and the communal mind.
Most worship magics, as performed by priests, are spells that contact deities. The deity is then implored to perform some boon.
Worship magic doesn’t always occur in a culture, but it has often occurred on Earth, from Sumeria through the early Greeks. It involves general worship of a pantheon of representative deities, and often develops from spirit magic that involves belief in spirits inhabiting specific objects and controlling specific events. Worship magic usually doesn’t use spells at all. The priest will have certain powers, depending on the god’s spheres of influence, and will then have some form of Godlike Ability (see Power Enhancements) on those powers. The priest will have the weakness of having to ask permission from the god in order to use the power. Priests invoke the power of their pantheon or specific deity to perform their miracles.
The foremost public practitioner of this magic is Madame Power, of New Orleans.
A very distinct magical tradition arose among the African slaves taken to the Americas. It was influenced heavily by their native spirit magic and the old magic that still existed in the deep recesses of the South and Central American jungles.
Voodoo mages are General Classical, and invoke extra-planar entities, and twist the extra-dimensional Living Matrix.
Talk of the devil...
It has been firmly established in comics that a devout Christian can turn away vampires with a Christian Cross, and a devout Jew can turn away vampires with a Star of David. But the faithful of one religion cannot use another religion’s symbols.
Oddly enough, the faith of the vampire rarely matters.
How do you account for the ancient pantheons of legend? You have at least five choices, not counting simply claiming that the pantheons and gods don’t exist, which is certainly a viable option.
I’ve placed my gods in the Void. I use the Astral Planes for more concrete denizens of goodness and evilness.
You can decide that gods are the psychic projections of their worshippers. Or, gods can be from societies who existed in previous Ultra-Multiverses, and now live in the Void between the Multiverses. You’ll find this to be a very Kirby-esque approach to gods. Or, you can take a cue from Douglas Adams, and put your gods in other Dimensions. The traditional approach places each pantheon in another Astral Plane. Asgard, Olympus, and the Happy Hunting Grounds are examples of such planes. Finally, gods may very well exist in out-of-the-way places on this plane, in this dimension, and on this planet. In many legends it was assumed that Olympus was just a mountain. The gods of the Yoruba simply lived in the sky. Asgard was across the Bifrost Bridge.
There is some concept of a supreme divine entity in the world of super heroes. Faith in such an entity can turn away, even hurt, certain evil spiritual creatures. Some good extra-planar entities claim to serve a single divine entity, although different servants often have a different conception of this divinity.
In some descriptions, this supreme divinity is ultimate good. In others, it is an anthropomorphic entity of generally good intentions, yet still subject to the flaws and failings of mortalkind.
There is the less defined concept of a supremely evil entity to oppose the supremely good entity. This opposition seems to be described anthropomorphically more often than its good counterpart, and is often considered less powerful than the good counterpart. This may be because there are creatures who find it to their advantage to impersonate the supreme evil in order to get what they want.
Whereas Dimensions are physical shifts in physical (however abstract) dimensions, the planes of existence are psychic shifts in psychic dimensions. There are three levels of planes. These are the dream planes, the medium planes, and the major planes.
There are either an infinite number of these planes or only a few which are used differently by different people. People’s dreams do not always take place in a dream dimension. Only rarely, under great need or stress, does someone’s astral form leave the body during sleep.
When in a dream plane, whatever a person thinks of comes into existence. There are a very few planes which are nightmare planes. Most nightmares are simply results of a distraught mind impressing itself on the dream plane, but the nightmare planes create nightmares themselves, nightmares worse than anything that anyone can think up alone. Very rarely does someone’s astral form wander into one of these, but when it happens it is an experience which will never be forgotten.
The Dream Planes can be controlled in powerful ways. Travelers to the Dream Planes can train in Dream Control, as a standard skill, which acts as a skill level in Weavers’ magic. Only the bases of Physical, Energy, and Mind can be used.
Note that while the astral form is in another universe, the perception of time and space are for that universe.
The Medium Planes are planes that border on physical effects. There is a plane that borders on time, a plane that borders on universes, a plane that borders on multiverses, and a plane that borders on time lines. There may be other planes as well. In these planes, the astral traveler can view other times, other universes, other multiverses, or other time lines.
Many strange creatures live in the medium planes, though there are few, if any, societies.
In the Major Planes, spiritual values take on real form. The Planes of Light and the Planes of Darkness encompass vast cultures and societies. The societies of the Planes of Neutrality are nearly incomprehensible to us.
For each of those planes, there is one pure plane that is the bastion and heart of that plane’s ethos.
The barrier between the astral and the real is known by many names. It has been called the Sea of Fate, the River Lethe, the World Tree, and the Caverns of Life, among many names. This barrier exists everywhere, and must be crossed to enter the Major Planes.
Ley lines and places of power once existed across this entire planet. The only remaining places of power are certain areas of the rapidly diminishing rain forests, a privately owned area of Appalachia, and one American Indian reservation in Arizona. Stonehenge is no longer a place of power, but a few of the lesser-known monoliths retain some power, and the ley-lines connecting them do as well.
In general, as a people become ‘civilized,’ they ignore and then destroy these places of power. Places of power are in delicate balance with the earth itself. Any upset, such as an influx of people, mining, or drilling, will remove the power from the earth. Arabia was once a land of magic, but that magic now drives our cars and powers our lights.
In the United States, there were perhaps 5 or 6 places of power known to the American Indians. But the musket and whiskey of the invaders caused much of this knowledge to be lost. Later generations, not knowing the power of the land they controlled, left or were forced off the shrines. Even those southwestern tribes who retained a shrine on their reservation no longer understood the true power within the earth. They allowed, or were forced to allow, oil and mining companies in, upsetting the delicate balance of the shrine, and draining the area of its magic.
There are three kinds of places of power, and these often overlap. There are places of magic power, places of psychic power, and places of cosmic power. At a place of power (or along a ley line), it is easier to use that type of power, and it’s also easier for strange things to happen.
Loci of Magical Power: Using magic shifts down a certain number of rows on the EP Use Chart, reducing EP cost. This same shift is applied as an addition to the Astral Continuum in the area of the loci. Ley lines and monoliths are loci of magical power.
Loci of Psychic Power: Psychic and mental powers are shifted down on the EP Use Chart a specific amount in the area. This amount is also the chance that the power in question is unable to be controlled by the user, and follows the importance of the locus. The Arizona area is a locus of psychic power. Some monoliths are loci of psychic power. Stonehenge used to be one. Loci of psychic power are often places where dimensions meet.
Loci of Cosmic Power: Powers that affect the universal continuum, such as cosmic rays, time travel, time-line travel, and universal travel, are shifted down on the EP Use Chart, and the Universal Continuum is shifted up that amount. The Appalachian area is a locus of cosmic power.
Allegheny: In the Allegheny Mountains, perhaps the most powerful loci of power still exists nearly untouched. The central part of this area is approximately 100 square kilometers owned by one Melias Kramer, who is the mystical caretaker of the forest there. His land is approximately 15 kilometers east of Poplar Hill, West Virginia. See the adventure A Taste of Jasmine. This forest is a locus of cosmic and psychic power.
Arizona: There is a reservation in central Arizona which retains the natural balance of its shrine. Michael Dannbird is Shaman of this Navajo tribe. Sparrowhawk (a winged Apache) has been seen in that area as well, and there have been reports of a strange super-baby in the region. The origin of this shrine is murky, and may have been Apache before the Europeans resettled the American Indians.