The Nature of Magic
Magic exists as an energy source all around us, in the air, water, earth, stones (elemental magic), in the transmutative power of light and fire, in the cells of living plants and in the bodies of humans and other creatures. This energy may exist in the natural world of this reality, or wizards and magic-users may draw in magical energies from other planes of existence. To access magic, one must be attuned to it, to recognize it and sense it, then focus and channel it, drawing it into the body, then directing it with intention and finally making it manifest and tangible through speech, thought, or gesture, or a combination of these. Magic is wielded by causing it to produce an intended effect at the behest of the wizard. Mages are able to use magic, while Mundanes are not, because mages have first become attuned to the magical energies, then have trained themselves to access it, focus it, and control it with intent and will.
Magical energies can be bound to and stored within objects and artifacts, such as wands, staffs, orbs, or other talismans, amulets, or clothing. Most mages and wizards use a favored artifact such as a wand to enhance and direct their magical power. Magic often is directed in the form of a language — words that carry the power to manifest intention, such as an incantation. However, magic may travel through music, rhythm, touch, or in the most powerful wizards, through thought alone.
Magic resides within the mage and is deeply personal. No other magic-user has the same talents, perceptions, and abilities as you. As you live your life, the experiences you have and the choices you make affect your magical ability. Some choices — to use dark magic to harm others, for example — can irrevocably damage one’s magical abilities and close doors to gifts that may not have been yet explored. Magic can be honed and developed throughout one’s life, and a continuously curious approach leads to greater and more efficient magical powers. In the same vein, magical ability can be harmed or lost through curses, maladies, and trauma. It may be possible to recover from these, at least partially, through time, healing, and dedication to re-learning.
The Magimundi is also not a world of scientific rigor. Brilliant discoveries are hoarded rather than shared, seemingly contradictory ideas appear to produce documentable positive results. Mages often know that a spell or potion or artifact or ritual produces the desired effect, but do not know why it does so. Among the theories for why this is only half-jokingly called “The Arrogance Property.” That since a mage exerts their will upon reality to create spell effects, the mage intuitively places more trust in their own point of view than in any objective reality.
Mages’ gifts and abilities are varied and inconsistent. No one way has been found to be better, more powerful, or more efficient, though most mages tend to believe their own preferred techniques are obviously superior to all others.
Magical ability can consistently be improved by training and education. Likewise it can be debilitated by catastrophic effects like Lycanthropy and Vampirism, which usually require a mage to relearn much of their techniques. Those who complete their Magischola education are given the title of Wizard, and only Wizards are considered sufficiently well-trained and powerful to hold official roles in the Magimundi. Magic users who have not attained the title of Wizard are generally known as mages or sorcerers and can hold lower-ranked, lower-paying jobs that still require magical use. A table of sample Magimundi salaries is found elsewhere in this document.
Sanctioned Magic and Unsanctioned Magic
The Five Provinces of the Magimundi would describe their government as a Federal Republic or Commonwealth, but in truth it’s an obvious Oligarchy. The Arch Justices of each Province have risen to that position from a combination of wealth, status, and magical power, and hold those positions for life. They are styled as Judges, but one where the cases they decide become the law of the Province. There is no legislative body. All government authority is delegated directly from the Arch Justice, who has no real check against their power. Provincial Law is limited to that province, with the exception of Edicts from the Council of Five which apply across all provinces and require unanimous support from the Council of Five. Apart from those covered by Edicts, what spells or potions or artifacts are legal depends on which Province you are in. Punishments for crimes are likewise variable depending on the circumstances and opinions of the Justice hearing the case.
The Magimundi seeks to create and uphold a society the protects its citizens from persecution, harm, and want. As members of the Magimundi, we believe that each person contributes value to society, as a unique and autonomous being who should be free to pursue their life in a manner which suits them. No Magimundi citizen shall go without a minimum level of comfort: food, shelter, access to education and healing, the ability to use public transportation, and to be defended from those seeking to do harm. Those who breach the social contract of Magimundi society will find themselves held accountable for their behavior through the swift work of provincial Marshals and the equitable judgment of the Regional Justices. Appeals may be brought to the Council of Five, whose edicts become Magimundi statutes. Those, and Magimundi case law favors these values:
- Life is precious. Attempts to wield magic to deprive someone of their life or to harm their life are against the ethos we uphold together.
- The dead are to rest. Members of the Magimundi do not take kindly to their relatives being disturbed, let alone commodified.
- Individual autonomy is paramount. Magimundi citizens are free to make their choices and face their consequences. Magic should not be used to require or compel beliefs or behaviors.
- Truth and goodness are values of the highest order. Magimundi citizens display trust, respect, and compassion to fellow citizens and do not take measures to deliberately obscure facts and truths, nor do they seek to harm another.
The following types of magic are either forbidden by edict or by the law of Destiny Province, where Imperial Magischola resides.
- Spells and magical effects that cause the death of a person, regardless of whether the spell itself is forbidden.
- Spells and magical effects that deprive a person of their individual will, or compel them against their individual will are forbidden.
- The “Soul Searing Curse” (incantation is not to be documented by Edict of the Council of Five), is forbidden to even cast unsuccessfully.
- Spells and magical effects that compel or manipulate deceased persons (or sapient beings) are forbidden.
- Using deceased persons as resources, components, or reagents in the creation of potions or artifacts, or in the use of ritual magic is forbidden.
- Possession of potions or artifacts with deceased persons used as resources, components, or reagents in their creation is forbidden.
- Participation in ritual magic that uses the resources, components, or reagents of deceased persons is forbidden.
- Spells and magical effects that destabilize ley lines to disrupt standard reality are forbidden.
- Spells and magical effects that destabilize tectonic plates or create seismic activity are forbidden.
- Spells and magical effects that bring harm to or exploit protected species are forbidden.
- Spells and magical effects that destabilize the Leeuwendaalder or the mundane economy are forbidden (e.g. attempting to transfigure other items into money, attempting to curse or counterfeit money, etc.).
- Spells and magical effects that erase or alter memories, including the creation of false memories are forbidden, though accredited Marshals and Healers may use select spells and/or magical effects under certain permitted circumstances.
- Spells and magical effects that threaten the secrecy of the Magimundi, up to and including casting spells on mundane persons, allowing mundane persons to quaff potions, or allowing mundane persons to use magical artifacts or to have magical artifacts used on them, are forbidden.
There is no physical combat in this game. There are also no hit points or combat arbitration mechanics like rock, paper, scissors. If you choose to get involved in a magical duel (and it is possible to have a fantastic time without drawing your wand for anything other than to cool down your coffee), then casting a spell on someone else follows the same system as used in College of Wizardry. The caster faces their opponent (no spells can be cast at someone’s back, or around corners, etc.) points their wand, and says some words that describe the spell they are casting (“May your mind become muddled and your sight blurred! Confusio!” For example). The defender decides the outcome of the spell on them. Maybe the spell missed? Maybe they deflected it? Maybe it just fizzled out and didn’t work at all, or maybe it cause some other random reaction. The recipient always decides.
You can check out our Youtube Playlist called WYSIWYG Larp Roleplay Spellcasting and Magical Effects for College of Wizardry and New World Magischola which features a number of video demonstrations on how to use magic while playing.
Duels tend to go one of two ways:
Way number one: the duelists take turns being the aggressor with spell casting, and improvise their reactions to the spells in each case until a winner emerges. The only rule is that you cannot cast the same spell twice in a row; doing so in a duel means that it would fail, and usually signal the duel’s end, but since that iterated “to win a duel you must memorize as many spells and their effects as possible” we are a bit critical of that. What players decide to agree to about how a duel is run should fit the spirit of the system though.
Way number two: the players collaborate off game on the duel and the outcome, going so far as to create a loose script if they want. They then perform it. This allows for no misunderstandings, and a certain degree of dramatic performance that an improvised duel might not have.