Schools of Magic

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Artemis
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Schools of Magic

Post by Artemis » Fri Jun 13, 2008 8:19 am

Magic is, for all intents and purposes, the same no matter how it is performed. At the same time, there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of methods, practices, and traditions for working magic, and each has it’s own dozens of variations, evolutions, and breakaway practices. There is no way to tell how many schools of magic have existed and been lost in the sands of time.

Some have equated the schools of magic to the various martial arts. Whether a fighter uses kickboxing, Ju-jitsu, or Greco-Roman wrestling, ultimately they are all using their bodies and a weapon or a defense. Certain schools have advantages over others, some are easier to learn and practice, and some have simply been around longer and have the experience and knowledge of such longevity.

A definite advantage of learning from a school, or several, is the so-called “imprint” effect that individual spells develop over time. Once a spell has been cast, effecting a change in the natural order of things in a non-standard fashion, it leaves an imprint on reality, a groove on the surface. Over time, with more casting of the spell, reality becomes more receptive to the spell. While a single nail scratch on a slab of concrete might not leave much of a mark, a million of them will carve a trench into it, and it will be that much easier to make the trench deeper. Students of the various schools have been casting these spells for years, decades, even centuries and millennia, and they are extremely easy and relatively risk-free for even a novice magician.

The catch is that these spells must be cast in precisely the same manner in which they were done the first time, using the same motions, words, rituals, symbols, etc. This is why many spells are conducted using dead languages (such as Ancient Hebrew for most Kabbalist spells) or outdated slang (such as Cockney rhyming, for English gutter magic), and involve prayer to religions and societies that few, if any, are still members of. Most particularly powerful spells involve a seemingly needless amount of ritual and tools to conduct. This is, in many cases, a precautionary measure taken by elder magicians to keep their great works from being easily copied - either out of jealousy, or out of concern for the safety of those who might discover the spell. Extremely ancient spells, though theoretically very easy to cast because they’ve been around so long, are rarely used because of the complex and often enshrouded means of casting the spell.

There are two alternatives to magic taught by the schools, sometimes referred to as “codified magic.” The first is “free” magic, and followers of this practice are widely considered to be extremely powerful magicians, because the spells they use have never been, and will never again be, cast. While codified magic might be easier and safer, the exact effects leave little room for interpretation or customization. Such libertarian magicians prefer to cast spells “on the fly,” with little or no preparation, using only their will and pure magical expertise. It may take much more effort, and it might not be safe, but it guarantees that a magician will always have the right spell for the situation, provided he or she can develop and cast it in time.

The second alternative is referred to as “wild” magic, and while it may sound similar to free magic, there are not at all the same. Wild magic involves almost no input from the magician itself, and is a wholly natural occurrence, as much as any magic can be said to be wholly natural. Wild magicians are surrounded and attracted by stray strands of magical energy, which buzz about their person and are apt to congeal into wild spells, barely under the control of the person or place they swirl around. Often, they are attracted to insane or disturbed individuals, or people not in possession of their full mental faculties. Certain animals are also attractive to these magical energies, and have formed a kind of symbiotic (or perhaps parasitic) relationship. Wild magic can be “called” to an individual through a variety of means, and while the magician will have little if any say in how the magic is done, they will quickly become very formidable persons, a walking natural disaster that should not be trifled with. Willful use of wild magic is considered illegal in most industrial nations, because it is often far more destructive than most codified magic.

Some of the older, more popular, and most recent schools of magic are listed below, including those used by non-mortal beings such as Fae and Demons.
"The universe's most essential beauty is its endlessness. There is room and resources enough for all of us. Whether there is room for all of our passions is the question, and the problem that we work tirelessly to find a solution to."

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Re: Schools of Magic

Post by Artemis » Sun Jun 29, 2008 5:37 am

Blood Magic of Nosferatu

Despite its name, the Blood Magic of Nosferatu has no more to do with blood than any other schools. It was instead called so for nationalistic reasons, to make it sound as “vampiric” as possible - when Blood Magic was formally created in the 1920s, the Duchy of Nosferatu was entering a very prosperous time, as more vampires became registered citizens than during any other time period, and there were more people volunteering to become fledgelings of Nosferatu as well. It was out of this patriotic attitude that Blood Magic was born, a symbol of vampire-kind’s new acceptance by mortal society. Perhaps fittingly, when the purges and hunts of the 1930s and 50s threatened to decimate the vampire population in North America and Europe, Blood Magic was one of the only things that kept many Nosferatu alive.

Blood Magic focuses on drawing power from within the body, supposedly from the blood that vampires ingest to keep their bodies functioning. While self-generated magical energy is very potent, even more so for vampires, it is exhausting, and can often “burn out” a rash user, sending them into a sanguivore coma. The types of spells are often modeled after popularly-believed powers vampires are said to have, including shapeshifting, flight, invisibility, and supernatural senses. Other powers, such as invasive hypnosis and illegal necromancy, have been observed by criminal vampires, but the Duchy of Nosferatu insists that these are instances of other, unsanctioned schools, or free magic developed by older vampires, and are not part of the teachings of Blood Magic.
"The universe's most essential beauty is its endlessness. There is room and resources enough for all of us. Whether there is room for all of our passions is the question, and the problem that we work tirelessly to find a solution to."

-Qhameio Allir Nlafahn, Commonwealth ambassador, during the signing of the Kriolon Treaty.

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Re: Schools of Magic

Post by Artemis » Sun Jun 29, 2008 5:37 am

Cool Beats

The Beatnik movement in the 1950s stood for for free thought in the face of the ultra-conformist culture, a whole new literate movement as television became the main source of information and entertainment, and a greater awareness of the world even while most of the world turned inward to rebuild after the hardships of the Great Depression and World War II. It also created a whole new school of individualist magic, spells that would be useful on the road and on the streets, it would keep squares from hassling you, and it would make the best cup of joe known to man. And it all flowed from the power of beat, from the rhymes and poems and philisophizing that personified the beatnik movement.

Cool Beats are, at their core, mostly survival spells, ways to keep you going physically, mentally, and spiritually. Some very basic combat magic would keep a cat safe if he found himself bothered by unsavory fellows, and physiological spells could keep his body running on little more than coffee and late-night diner meals. If the magician was a performer of some kind, she could incorporate a little low-fi special effects into their beats. The nomadic lifestyle of a lot of beatniks included trips to other parts of the Aurasphere, so there were also a lot of teleportation and portal-opening spells. There were also a lot of changeling beatniks, who brought with them useful Low Magic spells from the “Old Country.”

While the beatnik movement has been “over” for a long time, any real beat can tell you that Cool never goes out of style, and there are still plenty of people, all over Terra Firma and beyond, who continue to believe so. And as long as there are those guys and gals, among them there will be the undisputed masters of Cool Beats.
"The universe's most essential beauty is its endlessness. There is room and resources enough for all of us. Whether there is room for all of our passions is the question, and the problem that we work tirelessly to find a solution to."

-Qhameio Allir Nlafahn, Commonwealth ambassador, during the signing of the Kriolon Treaty.

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Re: Schools of Magic

Post by Artemis » Sun Jun 29, 2008 5:38 am

Cybernetic Thaumaturgy a.k.a. Reality Hacking

Computers, we are told, are the future of everything from technology to culture to philosophy, and even magic. Reality Hackers, as the practitioners of Cybernetic Thaumaturgy like to call themselves, certainly believe this to be the case. Originating in the dorms and classrooms of MIT in the mid 1980s, Cybernetic Thaumaturgy works on the concept of “programming” a spell. To hear a Reality Hacker say it, this is a very new and innovative concept, much different from “writing” a spell, as most schools do. The same way a hacker can code a program to react differently to different scenarios, so too can Reality Hackers use the same spells for vastly different situations, having programmed them for such an eventuality. Most of this programming, naturally enough, takes place on enchanted computer systems, and then transferred to some kind of mobile data storage system, like a floppy disk or, much more common these days, an external hard drive.

Most Cybernetic Thaumaturgical spells have a definite technological feel to them, as well as a strong anti-establishment theme. This should come as no surprise, as a lot of the spells Reality Hackers use are “upgraded” versions of spells they’ve taken from Punk Magic. The cyberpunk movement, while it lasted, was the great heyday for Cybernetic Thaumaturgy, the cultural movement and the magical school meshing so tightly that Hackers were occasionally called “Neuromancers,” “Molly,” and “Case,” “Snow Crashers,” and “Hiro.” Like punk magic, Reality Hacking is very showy - bright as neon and chrome, full of screaming static white noise and bleating modem hook-up sounds. It may be a very complex school, but subtle it is not.

Unfortunately for the cyberpunks, Cybernetic Thaumaturgy has caught on just as strong with corporate employees and up-to-date yuppies, and since one of the core tenants of the hacker’s laws is the information is free, so they really have no control over who gets their hands on the spells and programs they’ve coded over the last two decades. Some hardcore Reality Hackers, though, have chosen to go really underground, even going so far as to “upload” into Cyberspace.
"The universe's most essential beauty is its endlessness. There is room and resources enough for all of us. Whether there is room for all of our passions is the question, and the problem that we work tirelessly to find a solution to."

-Qhameio Allir Nlafahn, Commonwealth ambassador, during the signing of the Kriolon Treaty.

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Re: Schools of Magic

Post by Artemis » Sun Jun 29, 2008 5:38 am

Domestic Sorcery

Just about everyone in the First World knows a little Domestic Sorcery - if they’re five-star chef mama or their handyman grandpa didn’t teach them, then Home Ec class sure did. Domestic Sorcery originated as a mixture of simple servant’s spells from Elizabethan times and before, and included magical help for everything from cooking to pest control to keeping tabs on their livestock and children.

According to the story, a few innovative women in the United States put together the school after coming home from the factories at the end of World War II, adding their own family spells and streamlining some of the more archaic practices of the old spells. Pretty soon their husbands started getting involved, and developed their own techniques for fixing windowsills, or jump-starting cars, just little things they found useful and thought others might as well. Before long, the spellbook the community of suburban magicians had written became an international bestseller, and newspapers all over the world, from the London Times to the Baker County Herald, began publishing additional spells that people had written in to include.

Strictly speaking, Domestic Sorcery is not very powerful. It will not conjure great elemental fire (except maybe a small lick in your palm for lighting a cigarette, and that spell isn’t all that popular these days) or craft life-saving healing potions (though it can help whip up a very relaxing cup of herbal tea). What Domestic Sorcery is, without a doubt, is practical. With it, you can banish termites and cockroaches forever, do a tracking spells on the TV remote, cut wood for the treehouse with nanometer precision, and make a dinner for ten out of any old thing in the pantry and fridge.
"The universe's most essential beauty is its endlessness. There is room and resources enough for all of us. Whether there is room for all of our passions is the question, and the problem that we work tirelessly to find a solution to."

-Qhameio Allir Nlafahn, Commonwealth ambassador, during the signing of the Kriolon Treaty.

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Re: Schools of Magic

Post by Ford Prefect » Sun Jun 29, 2008 1:41 pm

Man, Cybernetic Thaumaturgy just made me think of Young Wizards and the magical iPod. It scares me somewhat that Beatniks were able to get their own school of magic though. :D
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Re: Schools of Magic

Post by NoXion » Mon Jun 30, 2008 8:31 pm

I find the idea of magic being something as practical and reliable as cookbooks or home improvement manuals to be a very different take on it. As for Cybernetic Thaumaturgy - well cool. Perhaps a practitioner of such could be called a Cybermancer?

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Re: Schools of Magic

Post by Siege » Mon Jun 30, 2008 11:35 pm

Artemis wrote:Cool Beats
Their spells should begin or end with 'shoobie doo wah' rather than 'abra ca dabra'...
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Re: Schools of Magic

Post by Artemis » Tue Jul 01, 2008 8:22 am

Oh believe me, they do! I've been seriously thinking of writing a few incantations in the form of poems, and the Beats would totally do something like that.

Cybermancer is actually a term for someone who uses magic within Cyberspace itself, the difference being that other types of magic will manifest as codes and programs, rather than starting out that way. Someone who uses Cybernetic Thaumaturgy is much more likely to be called a Reality Hacker.
"The universe's most essential beauty is its endlessness. There is room and resources enough for all of us. Whether there is room for all of our passions is the question, and the problem that we work tirelessly to find a solution to."

-Qhameio Allir Nlafahn, Commonwealth ambassador, during the signing of the Kriolon Treaty.

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