Dreams of the Slumbering Gods
Magical power originates from many sources. Some call these sources the planes of existence, some call it the weave, others, divine will. Those that claim to understand them beyond what it takes to wield them inevitably turn out to be con men or mad men, sometimes both. I doubt they are even understandable by the minds of mortals. But I have discovered some patterns to their nature. They are distinct from one another. Some are polar opposites, while others are allied. They provide power to their wielders in different ways. Most can only draw from one source. Through practice the great mages can learn to wield many.
The Celestial, The Realm of Angels
White is the color of law, order, and structure. White magic heals and protects and is often a force for justice and honor. When a white mage fights, legions of troops thunder across the battlefield with their banners held high. Enemy hordes are routed outside the gates of a castle. When white unleashes its wrath, the battlefield is cleansed of all life.
Order, protection, light, law: These are white magic’s values.
White mages achieve balance through strategy and organization. For white mages, society is more important than the individual. They build strong defenses, rally the troops, and protect their allies. White magic heals injured soldiers so they can answer the call of battle again and again. White mages amass enormous armies, but sometimes a single, awesome champion is necessary to teach the enemy a lesson. At their best, white mages are self-sacrificing and moral. At their worst, they are uncreative and even authoritarian.
Examples of white spells include cleansing and healing magic, blinding light, and devastating waves of purifying energy.
White-aligned creatures are orderly, defensive, and cooperative. They gather fast and strike first. White mages summon majestic angels to devastate the unworthy. Legions of soldiers and knights form effective armies under a white mage’s command. The soldiers might be small individually, but together they are overwhelming.
White is allied with green and blue. White magic and green magic share values of holism, order, and community. White and blue magic share values of thoughtfulness, structure, and progress.
White magic opposes red magic through the conflicts of order vs. chaos, defense vs. offense, and strategy vs. spontaneity. White magic opposes black magic through the conflicts of light vs. darkness, purity vs. corruption, and the needs of the many vs. the needs of the individual.
The Soul, The Realm of Spirits and Ancestors
Grey mages walk the line between good and evil. This is the realm of the soul. They master control of their own soul and can affect the souls of others. The mystics of Eluron can use this power to control what they call ki. The grey mage can harness tremendous power by tapping the souls of others and even those long dead.
The Infernal, The Realm of Demons
Black is the color of death, fear, and amorality—these are the twisted values of the darkness. Black magic is powerful and easy to wield, but it comes with a high price. Black mages are self-centered and self-serving. They will do anything to get power—no matter what the cost.
Death, ambition, and darkness are the stock and trade of black mages.
Black magic offers a host of gruesome spells. Black magic can unearth the dead from their graves and make them walk again. It can spread a pestilence across the landscape and drain the life from all who live there. Black spells can curse victims in horrible and enduring ways. They can warp the mind, poison the land, and kill creatures instantly. But the price is high and the risks are many. At their best, black mages are ambitious and unashamed. At their worst, they are enslaving and devouring.
Examples of black spells are tendrils of corrupting shadow, command over the undead, and projection of crippling nightmares into the minds of enemies.
Undead skeletons and ghouls, unspeakable horrors, and diabolical demons are native to places of black magic, and they’re as self-serving and treacherous as the mages who control them. Black magic isn’t limited to these abominations, though—death-cultists and secret societies of assassins carry out black mages’ nefarious plans under cover of darkness. Black mages control the most horrifying of creatures, but always at a price.
Black is allied with red and blue. Black and blue magic share the values of secrecy, manipulation, and desire for omniscience. Black and red magic share the values of individualism, instant gratification, and self-interest.
Black magic opposes white magic through the conflicts of darkness vs. light, corruption vs. purity, and the needs of the individual vs. the needs of the many. Black magic opposes green magic through the conflicts of death vs. life, decay vs. growth, and greed vs. abundance.
Life, The Realm of Beasts and Spirits of Nature
Green magic is about growth, life, and brute force. When a green mage fights, massive creatures crash through the undergrowth, animals enlarge to gargantuan size, and wounds close before blood spills onto the ground.
Strength, ferocity, and life: These are the values that sustain the green mage.
Green mages understand that the world obeys the law of the jungle—everything is either predator or prey. Green mages do what they can to accelerate and protect nature: jungles expand, artifacts crumble, and creatures regenerate themselves. For green mages, even the plants become lethal weapons. At their best, green mages are instinctual and adaptive. At their worst, they are savage, unthinking, and predatory.
Examples of green spells include wild, lush growth, sudden predatory hunger, and the might of an entire stampede.
Green mages summon a huge variety of creatures, from forest-dwelling animals to awe-inspiring behemoths. Some green creatures are living wellsprings of magic; others overrun their foes in a mighty rush of ferocious power. From towering nature elementals to carnivorous wurms, green creatures are the biggest and mightiest around.
Green is allied with white and red magic. Green magic and white magic share the values of holism, order, and community. Green and red maguc share values of action, base urges, and connection to the earth.
Green magic opposes blue magic through the conflicts of the natural vs. the artificial, reality vs. illusion, and growth vs. stultification. Green magic opposes black magic through the conflicts of life vs. death, growth vs. decay, and greed vs. abundance.
Air and Water, The Realm of Genie and Elementals
Blue magic is about deceit, logic, and illusion. To a blue mage, information and knowledge are paramount. Blue mages want to know everything, and they’ll go to any lengths to do so. When a blue mage fights, tidal waves crash against rocky cliffs, the wind whips out of stormy skies, and an enemy’s spells fail as their creatures vanish into thin air.
Knowledge, manipulation, wind, and wave: These are the blue mage’s tools.
Blue magic is reactive, calculated, and methodical. Its strength lies in patience and intelligence. Blue mages work behind the scenes, scheming and stealing secrets. They control their environments completely before making a move. Blue spells and abilities focus on prediction and illusion. Blue is also the color of technology and artifice. At their best, blue mages are inventive and progressive. At their worst, they are manipulative and treacherous.
Examples of blue spells include crashing waves, powerful storms, and manipulation of the mind.
Blue-aligned creatures try to deceive their opponents or trick them into using magic in a way they didn’t intend. Blue-aligned creatures often confuse, disguise themselves, or steal things from their enemies. Blue mages call weird beasts of the air and oceans to serve them. They summon crafty sphinxes, ferocious drakes, and elusive sprites. Titanic leviathans surface from the depths of the ocean to do their bidding.
Blue is allied with white and black. Blue and white magic share values of thoughtfulness, structure, and progress. Blue and black magic share values of secrecy, manipulation, and desire for omniscience.
Blue magic opposes red magic through the conflicts of water vs. fire, logic vs. emotion, and thought vs. action. Blue magic opposes green magic through the conflicts of the artificial vs. the natural, illusion vs. reality, and stultification vs. growth.
Earth and Fire, The Realm of Genie and Elementals
Red magic is about fury and passion. When a red mage fights, lightning arcs across the blood-red sky, lava erupts from the earth, and flash fires consume the land. Red mages can channel their wild emotions to raze a city or to harness flames into deadly weapons.
Freedom, fire, and impulse are the lifeblood of every red mage.
Red mages have no patience for talk or subtlety. They act quickly and recklessly. With red magic, a mage controls the power of fire and earth. Red mages scorch their enemies with fireballs or call down electricity from the sky. They can rattle the foundations of civilizations and destroy the land itself. At their best, red mages are dynamic, passionate, and unbound. At their worst, they are shortsighted, temperamental, and destructive.
Examples of red spells include rains of meteors, searing bolts of lightning, and huge gouts of flame.
Red-aligned creatures are warlike, frenzied, and dangerous. Red mages summon mighty dragons to dominate the skies. They send hordes of bloodthirsty barbarians or rampaging goblins to lay waste to their enemies. They also channel mystical energy and summon fire elementals of merciless power and destruction. Red creatures rage across the landscape cutting down anything that stands in their way.
Red is allied with black and green. Red magic and black magic share the values of individualism, instant gratification, and self-interest. Red and green magic share the values of action, base urges, and connection to the earth.
Red magic opposes white magic through the conflicts of chaos vs. order, offense vs. defense, and opportunity vs. strategy. Red magic opposes blue magic through the conflicts of fire vs. water, emotion vs. logic, and action vs. thought.
Time and Space, The Realm Between the Realms
Everything in the world is created from the sources: Celestial, Infernal, The Soul, Nature, Air, Earth, Fire, and Water. The student of Void, however, knows that all things are held together by the intangible Void. The Void is that which exists outside of and surrounding the other sources, defining them in its absence as silence defines the musical note it surrounds. This is the nature of the Realm of Void.
Void, while the most intangible of the sources, also holds the most potential for power. Void is at once both everywhere and everywhen. Its power is very similar to that of a raging river. It is possible to jump in and still swim safely back to shore, but it is extremely difficult; those who do not give the river their undivided attention and concentration will likely drown instead.
The power of the Void grants the mage power over time and space itself.
The Realmless Realm
The aether has been likened by the sages of Galtura to the great tendrilous mists that come from the sea. It ebbs and flows, thickening and dissipating. Areas can become more concentrated with the aether. Though only those who are attuned to it can sense it. Aether is the conduit through which magic flows. Like a lightning rod it provides no power of its own, it only lets power flow through it. If too much magical power passes through the aether it can be damaged, even destroyed. This is what happened to the late Galturan empire. Their appetite for magical power became insatiable and the aether was destroyed. It has been slowly recovering over the last 1000 years. Only recently has it become strong enough for those attuned to wield it. But there are few who remember the old ways. The aether does not provide magical power of its own but skilled mages have learned to use it to changes the sources. This is the way of metamagic, augmentation and manipulation of the source. By changing the way the aether flows you can drastically increase a spells power or remove magic from an area entirely.
The Realm of Dreams and Madness
The planar realm where the aether and the void meet is a place of madness. The aether tries to give form to the void and the void tries to dissolve the aether. This creates all manner of beings and phenomenon, most beyond the compression of mortals. Those who delve too deeply into the nature of this boundary go mad.