In this article we will be talking about magic, which, for any of us who are fans of high fantasy is known to be a hugely broad topic. Mysts of Eyr follows a very strict guideline policy for magic users in its roleplay. While we know players are capable of pulling off some spectacular things with magic, there is a way it must be done so that no one overpowers their character and the game is not unbalanced. Before roleplaying as a caster, you should read through the various guides that Mysts of Eyr has on magic in order to further your understanding and play within the confines of these rules.
We encourage players to take to their own unique style with casting and assure that our policies on casting are here to prevent overstepping and give you suggested uses not only to help you define your magic and smooth your own roleplay, but also will give you ways to implement your magic in roleplay so that it encourages storylines rather than stops it.
The simplest way to begin things is to begin at the beginning. Many realms may describe magic in various ways but here, magic is described as an ethereal force of energy that works in a variety of ways to manipulate matter and energy. There are multiple interpretations of the details of how this works and our lore is built to accept this within logical reasoning.
As we explain what magic is, now we will explain how it works. There are four ways magic generally works:
By channeling your own energy
By channeling someone else’s energy
By channeling energy from materials
By channeling energy from a certain place
By example, one’s own energy may be channeled in casting a spell through a song; someone else’s energy (such as that which you get by praising a deity, though should be mentioned are not ‘god like’ powers) may be channeled through a prayer; a material’s energy may be channeled in an amulet or crafting spell; or a place’s energy (such as the elemental plane) may be channeled through an elemental attack. These are all concepts that you must keep in mind when you begin to create your casting style. You must consider where your magic comes from and how you must channel it and with this, it should reflect in your roleplaying style.
You, as a player, must understand not only where your magic comes from, but the effect it will have both on others and on your character. Different characters are going to manage it in different ways and their method of casting will have different impacts on the caster as well. You might think of it like, a television set plugged into the wall. It pulls both electricity and data from outside sources to produce a television show. But there’s always a cost associated with that. Namely, your power and cable bill.
So when you're casting, you're sort of plugged in to something. Your own life energy, the elemental energies around you, a deity or higher power, etc. But drawing on that is going to have limitations and costs and it's those limitations and costs that help develop not only your own story but the stories of others around you.
Determining Skill Level
If you can assess where your magic comes from you will next need to determine how you use it. Consider if you trained yourself or if you trained under a mentor or if this was something that you knew innately and had to practice. These kinds of factors will be what determines your skill level, because being a caster is like learning any skill; you have to practice with it before you know how to use it properly.
A key concept to keep in mind when determining skill level is that while one may have natural affinity, they won’t go far without the proper training. For example, a child may be the product of two top athletes but if they do not practice and push themselves they may be relatively good at physical tasks but will fail in athletic competitions. Similarly, someone with a knack for magic, either due to their race or heritage may have some very minor magical abilities, such as causing a fire to grow in size or waver, but their control and degree of energy to put forth into action will be extremely low. This is even for creatures that are embodiments of magic. This concept is based on the theory of genotype versus phenotype.
Something else to bear in mind is that learning alone does not yield the same results as working with a teacher. Often called “hedge wizards” or “hedge magicians”, self-taught magic users are typically unrefined and lower in power due to not having some sort of guide to help them understand greater concepts and fine nuances of the magical fields. There will be an obvious difference in roleplay between a caster who has undergone extensive and dedicated training and one who bought a bunch of books and did a lot of reading. It is a bit like using “Rosetta Stone” for magic instead of going to a school for it.
When determining skills of your caster, we have broken the skill levels up into three categories: beginners, intermediates, and masters. You must assess where you sit in these categories with whatever kind of caster you may be. While beginners are still learning and may not be able to do much, intermediates and masters have certain skills that they have learned over previous years and are able to do larger scale spells.
Mysts of Eyr asks that you please be consistent with your skill level and go through the process on your own in roleplay of advancing your sets. This keeps it realistic and prevents inconsistencies between characters.
Three Cardinal Categories
Now we have come to the different categories of casters. Every spell caster must pick what they wish to be from the set of these three categories, which are:
Kinds of Magic
Type of Caster
Schools of Magic
The simplest division is to split magic between two kinds: divine and arcane. Divine magic is the ethereal energy or force gained from or challenged through the power of a belief, often a deity or religion, but also through general spirituality with the universe. Arcane is, essentially, everything else. Arcane magic pulls from a variety of resources including other planes, the elements, lay lines, life force, or other materials. Users in this field usually cannot rely on a higher power and focus more on the help of their own studies, practice and knowledge to acquire and refine skills.
After considering what kind of magic your character possesses, you must then learn the type of caster you may be. There are many different types of casters and that can be apparent to anyone who is familiar with high fantasy roleplays. Consider the difference between a witch and a mage or a bard and a druid. These are the types of casters that you may be. Mysts of Eyr does not restrict you to a set list of types of casters you may choose from but we do highly recommend you seek various sources of information before playing your type.
Finally, there are the schools of magic. Schools of magic, or categories of spells, are basically just that. Mysts of Eyr has an approved list of the eight different schools that players may use in their roleplay. All eight are very basic and broad in their creation to allow players the freedom of creativity in their roleplay - within reason. Schools of magic can be compared to languages of the world in that they are tough to learn and must have constant practice to keep up with as well as keeping someone from mastering every one there is.
This will give you a basic idea on what you will need to go through when making your caster. Every caster must follow these three cardinal categories and not deviate. In order to learn more, please visit the “Creating Your Caster” article for a more in-depth explanation for each of these categories and a further look into the different types of casters and explanation for our schools of magic.
Magick in Roleplay
Now that you have a basic idea of the outline for casters and their creation, you must now remember the guideline policies that Mysts of Eyr has set in place for casting in roleplay. Something to keep in mind is that this is not intended to restrict your character’s creativity but rather to halter overpowered players and scene killers.
First thing to keep in mind is the different types of foci for casting. Foci are broken up into three different types: verbal, somatic, and material components. This is just a way to list off the things a caster needs in order to complete a spell cast. Verbal components are chants or power words, or other verbal commands that help direct the magic. Somatic components are body movements that have the same effect. Material components are physical objects that must be held in the possession of the caster and are usually consumed in the process of the cast.
This outline of foci can be really helpful to you and is recommended because it gives a quick reference for not only the descriptiveness of posts, but because it helps other players know how they can interrupt a cast. While these types are not restricted to only one type for your caster, as any caster can do any type of foci, it is necessary for players to only stick to these three forms of casting.
You may be wondering how we use all of this thinking, research, and homework in practical roleplay. While there are a variety of methods to use magic, the rule of roleplaying thumb is that the more powerful, advanced, or complex action, the more concentration and energy it depends, and subsequently the more preparation posts that need to be in active roleplay. This also goes for counter magic: the bigger the counter, the more attention it needs.
Preparation posts usually include actions such as chanting specific words, assembling materials in desired arrangements, tightly closing eyes and stiffening the body with concentration, and other, similar actions. The nature and degree of the spell will determine what is exactly done, but it needs to make sense.
As spells require preparation, they can also be interrupted. This is why that, unless you have someone acting as your guard or previously put up a shield to protect yourself, you will likely be unable to cast major spells in the heat of battle, as someone will break concentration or the flow of the spell prior to it being finished. All players should be reasonable in what will and will not break their concentration- you might be able to ignore a child’s song, but a siren’s song is much, much more compelling.
Furthermore, as energy and focus is required for these actions, you can’t be doing too much in one post and still be realistic. By example, you shouldn’t be swinging a two-handed mace at someone’s face while also preparing a complex holy spell that requires you to sign things with your hands.
Eyr uses this guideline for determining how many posts needed to execute a cast:
- One Post Cast - Minor effects on the self that are neither harmful nor beneficial. For example, temporarily enhancing hearing, or throwing the voice across the room.
- Two Post Cast - Relatively minor effects that are either harmful or beneficial and that impact other players but will neither be lethal nor life-saving. Minor heals, or minor damage or minor enchantments. These are usually easily overcome by most common magic resistances.
- Three Post Cast - Pretty majorly impacting effects. Area effect spells, major damage or Major heals. These require either a very specific or a very powerful magic resistance to overcome.
- Four or More Post Cast - These are the whammies. They’re rarely done, they can have lethal or life-saving effects, or will affect large groups of people. These spells can overcome most magic resistances.
Try to think of every action you do in Eyr as inviting a reaction. Give other players a chance to react to your cast, and you’ll see a lot more impact overall. Likewise. when you're dealing with Resistances you need to keep a few things in mind, since few things are more annoying in roleplay than simply having a well-thought out and posted cast just laughed off.For those looking to counter or resist magic, bear in mind two key things:
- You need to be roleplaying actively paying attention and noticing that magic is being cast in order to show resistance- don’t just ignore people, and just don’t swoop in from out of nowhere to counter or resist it. You too, need to prepare.
- Your character’s resistance can be overcome. Eyr frowns upon immunity, as it removes a roleplay opportunity, both on micro and macro levels. Just as their spells can fail, your resistance can falter, especially if the resource (such as a magic-absorption trinket) is taxed.
Hopefully, you can read through it and pick through some things to help enhance your own spellcasting roleplay in your own unique way. Also included is an example of a three-post cast to show a general description of the preparation, build up, and execution.
Three Post Cast Example:
- Preparation: Caster holds his/her staff with a firm grip. Closing their eyes as he/she begins to focus on pulling at the the energies of arcane energies. Slowly concentrating their focus as he/she prepares their energies.
- Build Up: Caster continues pulling on the the threads of their magic. Focus and concentration take much of their attention as arcane energies start to form a ball of fire. Meanwhile, Caster's fleshy hands begin to redden and burn slowly as he/she raises their hand.
- Execution: Caster's stamina slowly drains. The fireball in the Caster's hands fully develops. Holding the fireball for a moment, wincing in burning pain. The Caster hurls the fireball at their target.
Both casters and resistors must avoid the concept of deus ex machine, where a spell or counterspell is essentially pulled out of nowhere to immediately fix a situation. This is a conflict and ultimately a plot killer. Stories are not written based on the hero having immediately what they need on hand.
Remember that all roleplay is consensual, and that your powers end where your partner's nose begins. That being said, always try to be a good sport about your magicks! Remember when you cast or fight or anything, you are not "In it to Win it". You are in it to make great story. Not only for yourself, but for your scene partner. Even in a toe to toe fight scene, you are never and will never be an "Enemy". You will be a scene partner. We are working together to make some great story.
You should see anyone who you roleplay combat or conflict with as doing you a favor. Those fast paced intense scenes have real impact on everyone involved and Magic can be a game changer. Taking on a role as a caster is a huge responsibility and it's one we hope you don't take lightly. That you use your magic to further story, not bring it to a grinding halt.