A Theoretical Treatise on the Origins and Nature of Magic


Following discussions with member of our nations, the newly uncovered information regarding the Conflux plan and a period of study with the Wizards Concillium I have decided to collect together some findings regarding the nature of magic and elementals. There are also comparisons drawn, where appropriate, between magic and power.

This is my no means an exhaustive study and as more information regarding Conflux is brought to life I will follow this up. Where possible I have tried to minimise any potential bias but for full disclosure I am a primary Grey Sorcerer with no direct Sphere connection. 

  1. Overview
  2. Source and attitudes
  3. Manifestations and higher beings
  4. Magic as a subset of spheres
  5. Conclusions

Magic exists as one of the primary forces on Orin Rakatha, it has been here for as long as any of the Valley or Concillium are aware. Many nations and individuals cast colours of magic, often these colours will reflect nation or race traits though several nations cast all eight colour.

The similarities and differences between the colours is an interesting subject in its own rights. There are common themes across multiple colours, mostly skins and bolts of some description. Yet each colour has distinct applications and feel. However, for the rest of this paper the various colours of magic will be treated as indistinct. These differences may well make form the basis of a follow up paper.

Magic is however, not a direct power of the person casting it. When wizards draw upon magic they are drawing on an external source. It is summoned from the place of origin, used and then released. This shows in the common attitude that Magic is largely treated as a thing to be commanded and manipulated.
Sources and Attitudes

The source of magic used to cast spells, particularly as the spell becomes more powerful, does not come from our plane directly. Rather when spells are cast the power is drawn from another place, used to achieve the wizard’s aim and then released. More specifically (as learned very recently) what is actually summoned is an elemental. It’s power is then used and the elemental is released to return to its home, though somewhat weakened. On occasions some of these elementals either do not have the strength to leave or are angered and choose to attack. This is also why when the ways were closed in the lead up to the Cataclysm the elementals were unable to leave and almost every high level spell would result in attacks.

These elementals inhabit a series of elemental planes that exist in a way similar to the Plane of the Sleepless Dead or the Abyssal planes. We know that individual planes exist each dedicated to a colour of magic where many of the elementals live and their prince stays for the most part. These planes may simply be a place where the sphere of an element is particularly strong, as the Necromantic sphere is on our own plane during all hallows. However, the spheres are in constant unpredictable motion. If the flow of magic changes constantly on all planes how are the elemental planes stable enough that we can constantly draw our power through them?

These are certainly not the only place that elementals inhabit. We have encountered them in the Elemental Garden which seems to be a demi plane that lies between our plane and the elemental planes. We also know of the Conflux plane where elementals gather, ruled by an Elemental Lord. Unfortunately, not much else is known about these planes at the moment. We have been told that the pure elemental worlds are unlikely to be visit able by normal races as they would not be able to sustain us. Conflux however is known to be able to sustain humans and much of the progress that is being made currently is with the aim of being able to travel there. 

While the source of our magic power is a recent revelation the attitude to magic reflects this state of affairs. Magic is largely treated as a force to be controlled and commanded. If you listen to the vocal component of many spells they will directly order the source of magic to do as it is commanded. This is one of the starkest contrasts with power. When listening to power users invoke it is far more common to hear worship of the sphere and a request for aid rather than the demanding nature of many spell vocals. The elementals summoned do not have a choice in the matter. They must come and their raw essence is what is used to cast the spell. Look at the extent of the experiments that are performed in Aether town or by the Concillium. Even during the lead up to the Cataclysm when the ways off plane were closed. The Wizards Concillium collected together a huge number of elementals to power a weapon designed to reopen inter-planar travel and effectively fired them at a tower. 
Manifestations and Higher Beings

Most elementals that we encounter are mindless creatures and will attack (and be destroyed) on sight without any issues. However, there are elementals that are capable of speech and the Elemental planes appear to have a hierarchy structure with the Lieutenants, Princes, and even The Prince of All Elements who seems to function as a king and resolve disputes between the various other princes.

The standard eight colours each have elementals with abilities corresponding to what mages can achieve by casting the colour. There are also “purple” elementals discovered on a recent mission. These had the ability to cast all colours of magic seemingly at will and were also able to supress all magic on a person. They seemed more sentient than normal elementals thought unfortunately not much else is known about these unique creatures yet. It is believed that they are likely to be present on the conflux plane.

The princes themselves are very protective of their people and seem to try and stop Mages casting where possible. They especially dislike those who cast their respective colour heavily. This is why we are currently being attacked by Green elementals. The elemental prince of water has taken against our people specifically and is trying to stop people using green magic forcibly. This fits with the current theory that our use of magic directly weakens the elementals and plane of the corresponding colour. There are indications that the elemental power regenerates over time but we currently have no idea how fast this happens, or what happens if a colour were cast heavily or not at all.

We have been told that it is possible when one understands magic at a higher level to manipulate the flow of mana directly in subtler ways. This may mean that a skilled individual could create effects similar to normal magic without the need to summon elementals to do so. 
 Magic as a Subset of the Spheres
Excerpts from the Book of the Dead
“One of the key characteristics of the Spheres is their sentience. Some Spheres (such as Good and Evil) have high sentience and may be represented by a physical manifestation of the Spheres, called an "Avatar". Other Spheres have low sentience and are frequently called "Elements". Physical manifestations of low-sentience Spheres are frequently called "Elementals". There are many Sphere that fall between these two extremes, and even the Elements are believed by some to have a sentient aspect (hence Tarn Gurrack and the Temple of Earth and Usharl Oberon and the Temple of Storms). This reflects the fact that different people may view a sphere in different ways. “
“Then we have the Spheres of low Sentience, commonly referred to as the eight Elements. This belief is more primal and concentrates in the manipulation of the physical aspects of the Life Sphere as opposed to its spiritual component. Perhaps this is why the Elements and its manipulation are more complex and difficult, conforming to rigid rules rather than the flow of the Spheres. To call upon one's favour and strength of spirit must be easier than manipulating the Elements and banding them to your will? There are also other variations of the eight Elements and the corrupted forms such as Shadow magic, but they all relate to the prime eight elements. Then there is the ninth Element, that utilised by the Concillium, referred to as Purple. But there is no ninth Element, it is but a greater understanding of the eight Elements and the ability to return them to a greater Sentience, more akin to the Spheres. The closer to the higher sentience that we go the more power and strength we obtain. Perhaps in some places it has achieved Sentience and stands with the Good, Neutral and Evil Spheres.”

This is a fascination viewpoint and one that tallies well with much of the recently uncovered information. For example, the fact that purple elementals seemed all to have a level of sentience. It is important to remember however that Cardinaris was a very knowledgeable caster of power and so that may well bias his view of things.

This view point would place the elemental Princes as something akin to the Avatars of a Sphere that can manifest from time to time. The lieutenants with Angels and so on. It also lends support to the idea that we do not need to use elementals to cast spells. Were one able to tap into the sphere of fire in a similar way to the sphere of evil magic should flow directly from the source. 

However, there are a few points that do not line up with this view.
The first is that it is known to be possible for a mortal to gain enough support and worshipers to ascend to become an aspect of a sphere of power. These Aspects encourage those who use their power and are strengthen by it. There is no such recorded case that I have found for a mortal becoming an aspect of magic. There are cases of individuals becoming elemental either deliberately or through accidents but they seem to be more a fusing of life and magic than an ascension to magic.    

The second point is that the Elemental Princes are so discouraging of the use of their colour of magic. The idea of an Avatar of Ushaz appearing and demanding that evil priests stop invoking is one that is very hard to imagine. Yet this is exactly what the Prince of water has done. If they are Avatars of magic, then they clearly draw their power very differently from the sphere if they are in direct competition with mages for it. 

The third point is the elemental planes. Admittedly very little is known about these currently but Cardinaris claims that all spheres are in constant motion in some unpredictable way. This is why for example the sphere of Necromancy is strongest on our plane during All Hallows. It may simply be the case that these elemental planes are just the eight planes most closely aligned with the sphere at this time and that they will change in nature as the spheres move. 

It is possible to modify the view of the magic being spheres slightly to fix these points but there are other possible explanations. 

My current working hypothesis is that these Lords and planes are not directly connected to their respective magical sphere but are pools of mana that exists outside of the spheres. If these elemental Lords and planes are simply pools of magic, then it is possible that we are drawing upon this pool rather than directly on the sphere which would explain the attitude the princes seem to have.

There is much that we still do not know about magic but we have an established model and are working to improve it.
Our recent information has taken us on a long way and our upcoming expedition to Conflux is a wonderful opportunity for gathering more data. There are already a number of interesting experiments being planned and an ever growing list of questions for the Prince of all Elements. 

The important parts that we have discovered so far:
  • Our source of magic is not native to our plane, it exists externally and we draw it here to cast spells.
  • There are elemental planes that are places of raw magic. At least one for each colour and a number of multi-coloured planes.  
  • The Prince of All Elements exists on Conflux, one of these multi-coloured planes.
  • When we cast we are in fact summoning an elemental from its plane, using its power and then releasing it.
  • This use of magic weakens the elemental and in turn the elemental plane it was summoned from.
  • It is believed that the true source of magic are spheres in much the same way as power.
  • It may be possible to manipulate the magic from these sphere without the use of elementals.
As ever if you wish more information or discussion I can easily be found in the Grey School of Magic or Darkhome. 

Khandis Greyspider
11th Sorcerer of House Drannath,

Last Updated on Friday, 02 September 2016 17:33