The Four Schools of Magic

The Schools of Magic

Generally, Magic is divided in several fields, or ‘schools’. As Science is divided between Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and so forth Magic is divided between the schools of Mind, Heat, Force and Life or Entropy.

Mind

The school of mind control deals with manipulating the human mind, either for its benefit or against it. Spells from the mind school affect the consciousness in many different ways, from creating false stimuli, dazing and slowing reactions to shielding one against other mental assaults. Mind spells are easy to pick up but amongst the hardest to master, especially on the defensive, and true contests of raw magic power more often manifest as mental battles of will than duelling firestorms. The Bastion of the Mind is a spartan academy dedicated to mastery of mental attack and defense.

Examples:

- Possession
- Increased Awareness
- Sleep Charms
- Waking Terrors
- Mental Bastions

Heat

Heat control is a rather difficult specialty to get into and only those with an intense fascination of fire and understanding of heat manage to light their first spark without rigorous training at the hands of a master. Straightforward in its application the control of heat is very hard to describe. Most masters refer to it as condensing or dispersing microscopic bits of matter, like stirring a pot until it boils. Heat control has immense destructive potential, especially as it scales with a mage’s willpower. An apprentice might me able to light tinder but a grandmaster can melt steel doors in the blink of an eye or freeze an entire building brittle enough to break. Fire control also gives a mage a prestige unlike any other school, both in terms of instilling fear and instilling awe and worship, particularly during the freezing cold Dark. The Tower of the Flame has trained pyromancers in Old Thiofan for two millennia.

Examples:

- Fireballs
- Freezing Gusts
- Ice daggers
- Flame walls

Force

The manipulation of natural forces and the creation of new applied forces through magic are not hard to compose at a conceptual level but they are extremely hard to pull off for the untrained. Hedge witches who duck and weave their way into people’s minds and manipulate their very bodies often find it impossible to understand both the geometries of force manipulation or exercise the raw willpower necessary for an effective vector control. THat being said, an mage fully in control of force magic is possibly more dangerous than any of his peers of equal power. Manipulating an enemy’s mind into catatonia is effective and subtle but taking off his head from a hundred feet is also terrifying. Force control is also one of the most versatile schools of magic. A wedge or ‘vector’ as academic mages stubbornly call manifested forces can do pretty much anything from lift boulders to tie knots. It all depends on the caster’s stamina and concentration. The academy of the Cage, the mysterious conclave in Evangliea is the foremost assembly of Force Magic masters.

Examples:

- Vector blades
- Force shields
- Movement Augments
- Telekinesis
- Immobilization Spells

Life

The most philosophical of the four schools of magic is also the most crucial of all. And the least aptly named. Life magic has little to do with concepts of ‘souls’ or ‘life essence’ and is more akin to fire magic in that it manipulates matter at a microscopic level. It does this by decreasing or increasing the overall disorder of a system. Not even accomplished mages really understand the mechanics of this process in the fullest but they learn it by heart and find new ways to exploit it. Simply put, Life magic is the art of making things grow or withering them, of mending or breaking, of healing or harming. While life magic is usually dedicated to manipulating living matter it can also affect lifeless objects although the timescales these mend or decay at are vastly larger and therefore require immense expenditures of effort. The same effort put into withering a lock can help grow a field or prolong one’s life by years, something the highly practical entropy mages are quick to point out.

Life magic requires both an understanding of the core concepts of entropy control but also a firm philosophical posture on one part of the spectrum of life. Somebody content cannot really master life magic. Only a truly evil miser or a valiant defender of life can utilize entropic control to its fullest. Which is why more often than not Life magic has inspired faiths and philosophies, the most famous of which is the acclaimed Covenant, an ancient academy of magic that has helped humanity restore itself to glory through several cycles. More recently, the Disciples of the Crying seem to have uncovered new ways of using life magic to shape living beings, something most mages find both impossible and loathsome.

Examples:

- Healing Spells
- Withering blasts
- Life extension
- Insect multiplication
- Crop growth boons

The Four Schools of Magic

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