|Arachnea/A Thesis on Magic|
|Illustrator||Leila Kala Aren|
|Publication date||1 Bennath, Year 1, 6th Age|
|Published by||Aren Arcane Institute|
| Preceded by|
Raising Fire Incarnate
| Followed by|
OOC Notice: If anyone has something to add, or wants to put forward his own theory of magic, you are welcome to share in the comments below.
Let us begin in the Origins of Gielinor, where nothing existed; only peace and nature. Guthix then approached the world and opened it to all sorts of influences, including magic. At this point, everything becomes very much complicated, as different sorts of magic entered from different realms. To days date, we know of Rune Magic, Runeless Magic, Crystal Magic, Godly Magic, Ritual Magic and Direct Magic (Which may overlap with Runeless Magic).
Allow me to go a little in depth on each of them.
Rune Magic is a form of magic created by Guthix, utilizing the Stone of Jas. The basic concept of this type of magic is to utilize the power contained within RuneStones by combining them in various ways. Its potential power is limited by the availability of Rune Stones and the magical proficiency of the user: Bigger spells require larger amounts of runes and inexperienced mages fare in danger of spontaneously combusting if they cannot control the Arcane Power contained within the Stones. Well-known users of runestones are the wizards at the Wizard's Tower.
Crystal Magic is a form of magic used only by the Elves, presumably created by the goddess Seren or brought from their homeworld. It relies on the use of crystal seeds, which are 'sung' into shape. Not much else is known about Crystal Magic, as the Elves are very secretive of this magic. Crystal Magic is used only by elves.
Godly Magic is, rather obviously, the form of Magic utilized by the Gods apparent on Gielinor. It has been proven that Godly Magic operates on a completely different power scale than any mortal's magic and is, by default, far more powerful than most mortals could ever hope to achieve. As Gods are rarely willing to divulge Magical secrets, nothing more is known on this type of Magic. The obvious users of this form of magic are the gods.
Ritual Magic appears to partially rely on calling upon Godly Magic to perform an action. It is classified by long periods of chanting, often coupled with waving symbols of the respective god about. As such, it is largely useless for actual combat. However, it may be used to call upon devastating creatures of the Netherrealms or to bind beings to the performers. As such, it is not to be underestimated. This form og Magic is commonly used by cultists.
Runeless Magic and Direct Magic are the forms that I will concentrate most on in my Thesis. They are both classified by utilizing a corporeal form of Magic, a corporeal essence, if you will. This form of magic appears to be near boundless, as the use of direct magic allows the user to bend any and all laws of reality and surrealism. However, there seems to be a power limit even to this. A group known as the Ikra are prominent users of this.
Expanding on how Magic works and what it is
Magic is, in essence, a sort of supernatural force surrounding us at every point. Runestones are, in a way, a physical manifestation of this power. The basic process to using magic is to reach out with your mind until you locate the background magic everpresent, and then using it to warp the laws of reality, such as the one commanding that there will not suddenly be a fireball in front of you, and even less that it goes in the right direction (away from you). With the use of magic, any use of magic, you break a set of fundamental physical rules of the universe.
Now, the easiest way of using magic would be to directly reach out to the essence of magic around you and commanding it to shape itself in the physical realm, essentially creating a small ball of liquid magic. With runestones, this has already happened to a degree; the magic is bound into physical forms that contain a specific command to the universe. A fire rune tells the universe that, when it is used, there shall be an amount of fire equal to the magical power contained in the rune (However, the amount of fire one may extract from the rune depends on the magical skill of the user). Either the rune will create an appropriate amount of its respective element, or it will grant you control over a body of the rune's element approximately one and a half time as big as if the rune had created the element itself.
Obviously, directly reaching out to the wild magic present would allow you to present a far wider range of spells, as well as manipulating far larger and more diverse subjects far more delicately than may be done with runes.
Comparison: Runes against Raw Magic
Using runes versus not using runes is an interesting subject. I will, in this section, expand on the pros and cons of runes and runeless magic, as well as pitting them in a theoretical duel against each other.
Runes, being the physical manifestation of magical power, can be combined in innumerable ways to create an extensive host of spells. However, their use is strongly limited by
- The availability: The number of runes is limited and they can be hard to obtain
- The combinations: There are only a certain amount of combinations that are secure and researched. Any others may result in fatal mishaps.
In short, runes are a great way to be introduced to magic, as you need nothing more than a suitably large host of runes, a set of nimble fingers to pick the right ones to combine, and a basic knowledge of which combinations will give a certain effect! The power contained in various spells varies depending on the type and number of runes used. As such, a wizard using runes should only cast spells to his limit of ability, lest the excess magical energy he fails to control backlash on him and, in many cases, fry him instantly.
This type of Magic, in comparison to the relative ease of using runestones, is a lot harder to get started with. This stems largely from the fact that Magic, as a substance, is rather volatile and highly interpretive.
Runeless magic is utilized by mentally gripping on to the natural background magic present everywhere on Gielinor, and using it to bend, or break, any other laws of the world that might be present. As such, runeless magic offers a far wider range of available spells than runic magic, but it is unpredictable. The caster must be highly focused on the spell he/she intends to cast, because the natural magic everpresent will interpret his commands to the limit of its ability. Said differently, if you are not completely focused, you may end up with a warped spell, or a spell that does something completely different than originally intended.
Major limits on Runeless Magic include
- Mental Exhaustion: Focusing hard enough to cast runeless magic is not an easy task, and will quickly exhaust the mind of the user. With training, the mind becomes more adept at keeping up said level of concentration, thus widening the limit of ones magical ability.
- Thought Barriers: There is a limit to how big humans can think. This limit limits the amount of magic one can channel, as well as the size of spells cast. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as larger objects require greater focus to move, and more power.
- Creativity: There is a limit to what people can, or are willing to, think of in the context of magic. This, of course, limits the amount of possible spells castable, but it varies from person to person.
A Theoretical Duel
Assuming you were to pit two wizards of equal skill against each other, one using runes and one who uses runeless magic, the results would probably look something like this.
- In the beginning, no wizard has the upper hand. The wizard using runes would most likely be in the offensive, with the runeless wizard working to deflect or block his spells.
- As both wizards slow down, one because of mental exhaustion and one because of a lack of runes, the wizard using runes will gain the upper hand (dependant on the number of runes he has at his disposal, of course).
- The runeless wizard will gain ground again, as the wizard using runes has a far lower defence against all kinds of strikes. A lot of minor injuries will have afflicted him by this point, until he falls.
- The duel ends in a draw on most counts. However, the wizard not using runes is still the favored winner, tapping the strenght of the other wizard enourmously.
A side-note on Chaos Magic
Chaos magic is, as far as we know, probably the most volatile of all magical schools. It is, in fact, a paradox upon itself, as chaos attempts to break rules, while the use of magic implements a strict set of rules, of which a neglect to follow will usually end in instant death.
Now, chaos magic is the form of magic that will break the most laws of the universe, including physics and all but the strongest magical and mental barriers. The direct introduction of chaos magic to an organic element will result in its immediate destruction.
For example, assume a skilled chaos mage were to cast one of his pure chaos spells on a generic person. Providing the subject does not move to avoid the spell, it will inevitably be hit. Here is where the trouble begins. Due to most living things being governed by strict elemental laws, the introduction of chaos will cause massive damage, in the form of bones weakening and cracking quickly, blood vessels bursting randomly, internal organs bleeding out or slipping from their places, as well as pretty much everything else one can imagine going wrong in your body (Very much). A very painful process, yet probably mercifully quick as the victim's body will decompose within a few seconds (This is of course variable depending on the strenght of the spell).
Another reminder that magic, as a subject, is DANGEROUS. Any false move and most magic users will be subject to a fate of sudden combustion.
Formulae for Arcane Power
To apply a general formula for arcane power, one needs first a unit to measure Magic. Therefore, I have chosen a unit of magic: the Thaum.
1 Thaum = The amount of magic needed to move 1 pound of lead 1 foot.
Runes in Thaum
Different runes contain different amounts of magical power. This is the main reason that runecrafters need more training to be able to craft high-tier runes. Elemental runes are, of course, the lowest tier.
A Mind's Magic Capability
Is calculated through an intricate equation involving age, body mass, magical training... (etc.)
A most interesting conversation with the Anima Mundi, occured through a magical journey I wish not to disclose more on, has lead me to the assumption that raw magic replenishes itself at a rate of approximately 47 trillion teaspoons per lightyear, which again disproves my long-held suspicion that light is stationary. (But I digress). This number is not only insanely large, but also completely impossible to understand, as there is neither a way to calculate how much a teaspoon is in this case, nor do we have any idea what a 'lightyear' is.
An OOC note on Magic
The point of magic is that yes, it takes time to learn, yes, it is exhausting, NO, it does NOT take extremely long to cast.
Mages are, by definition, WAY OP. A single mage should be able to take out a small sqaudron of people (15?) all by himself easily. That is why they are so immensely dangerous and hence, nobody should attack a mage.
The point why Mages are so vulnerable to archers is because archers can hide and snipe the mage real easily, even at range. Anyone can take down a mage easily, as they wear cloth robes, the problem is usually to get close enough to do it. Hence why melee people tend to get cooked before they can do damage. An interesting point at this time is that magic users should/must vary their use of magic depending on physical condition, i.e. an old man will be taxed far more by casting a high level spell than a younger man casting the same spell.
Now, the real point of magic in warfare, according to this, is: You have mages on both sides. You KNOW that a mage is devastating. Hence, you use your mages to defend against enemy mages and attack enemy forces, whose mages will defend against your magic.
THUS, the use of magic in warfare becomes to nullify all magical damage, essentially making it look like there was no magic.