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An Alternative way to Divide Magics


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I and @freespace2dotcom have both been intrigued by hints that the pillars of magic, despite their being taught as different, are at some deeper level unified. For example, incantation and gates magic are both used to summon things where there was once nothing, and revision was originally a subset of glamour. I have, therefore, concluded that an alternative conception of magic may exist. It has three parts.

1. Magic that Alters: To this division would go the entirety of revision and glamor, as well as teleportation spells (which alter the fabric of space time), Mastery (which alters pre-existing minds), astrology spells that actively change the influence that stars have upon events and people, and negation spells that cancel forces such as light and gravity (but not magic!) on the basis that to cancel is a type of alteration.

2. Magic that Creates: To this division would go Incantation, spells that imbue inanimate objects with life, spells that summon life (because while they twist the fabric of space-time, their primary effect is bringing living creatures where there had been none), spells that summon spirits but do not make inanimate matter living, and spells that merely reveal knowledge (so scrying, remote viewing, passive astrological spells, etc.) on the ground that such magic creates in the caster and/or audience knowledge that was not there before.

3. Magic that Affects Magic: This is the trickiest category of magic, but seems to involve magic that is most esoteric and meta-magical (even as it may use skills that non-mages can also use). So principles of how to properly write phemes, principles of how to recite mantras, spells, or dharanis, principles of how to maintain a mind that is focussed enough to use magic well would fit under this category. Also within this category would be negation spells that dispel magic, enchantment/artificing (as the pillar that extends the duration of magical spells and binds magic to certain items), wards that confine or repel various types of magic, and how to discover analyze phemes, and use phemes, either alone or in combination with other phemes.

Obviously, this three-fold division of spells has many problems, both as a basis for a game (too broad – and of radically differing power levels) and as the basis for teaching magic (scholars and teachers would need to know so many more spells in order to be masters of a category than a pillar). Still, as a metaphysical categorization based upon effects, I think that my system is interesting. Does anyone have any feedback about it?

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