We will start with the first question: Where does the energy come from?
As a general case, all magic is powered by drawing on the energies of the six planes of power. It is possible to mix power sources in a single effort so long as all of the sources agree as far as energy or negative energy are concerned.
- Energy Based: Enchantment, Arcane Energy, Life, Psychic Energy
- Negative Energy Based: Dark Enchantment, Dark Arcane Energy, Unlife, Madness
As a general rule, the positive and negative versions of an energy form work exactly the same way, and so will be taken together.
Life Force: Manipulation of the Life and Unlife planes
- All life-forms contain energy, a certain amount of which they radiate as they go about their life processes. Some life processes radiate more than others, with death liberating the most.
- The available energy of any life form (that is, the amount that would be made available if the life-form was killed) changes during its life cycle, peaking at physical maturity.
- This life energy can be collected and manipulated by sentient entities that contain life-force of their own.
- In general, this energy is transparent to, and cannot directly be affected by items in the material world: it can only be affected through the poorly understood link between the energy and the life-form that contains it. This should not be taken to imply that life energy cannot affect material items. You cannot control life with something that is not alive. You can cause effects to something not alive by using life energy.
- Life energy that is from a source external to a life-form is damaging to the life-form. The effects of foreign energy on a life-form range from temporary age-like effects to burns and eventual disintegration.
- “Undead” are creatures using Unlife as their energy source.
Belief lends power. That power can be directed back to the believer. This is an unusual use of both Life and Psychic Energy (or Unlife and Madness, depending on the particular situation).
- Belief gives power to the entity believed in, regardless of their nature. The fervency of believers, the nature of their belief, and the number of them all contribute to the power of the believed-in being.
This has interesting consequences: a king whose people believe in him gains a certain amount of power from that. Similarly, a general who has the full backing of his army has power. People in these positions will often not know, and there are all sorts of possibilities for exploitation…
- The power bestowed by belief is an unusual combination of life energy and mind energy. However, it is not otherwise special and has all of the limitations and consequences of both energy types.
- Spell effects can be essentially permanent because the life-force link goes to the entity rather than the caster. Still, if the entity dies or otherwise loses the link, then the spells will end.
- Many deities are entities who came into existence because of belief focused on an embodiment that previously did not exist. Such deities depend on continued belief for their very existence.
This actually provides a very reasonable explanation for why traditional deities would be so very protective of their worshippers and are jealous and intolerant of each other: Their power is directly dependent on the number of believers. While they may be vastly powerful in the case of a popular Deity, their power is still constrained by the normal rules for life and mind energies.
- The native power, goals, and cooperativeness of the being in question dictate the overall power of a magician relying on a powerful third party.
True Magic: Manipulation of Arcane Energy and Dark Arcane Energy
- There are two powerful energy fields that permeate the entire universe. Various thoughts, motions, words, materials, and items have the side effect of manipulating this energy. By varying these methods, it is possible to create a wide range of effects.
- Like life energy, the arcane energy can be damaging to the material objects that it passes through. The exact type and nature of the effects of the arcane energy have a much greater variance than life energy.
- Also like life energy, this energy is generally transparent to items in the material world: it can only be directly affected through the poorly understood link between the energy and the life form that controls it. This should not be taken to imply that arcane energy cannot affect material items.
- Unlike life energy, the Arcane energies do have some links to the world of substance, and therefore can be bound to and stored in physical items. This is of low quality and tenuous duration, and must not be confused with Enchantments.
- This energy is more ‘pure’ than life energy, and as a result is more difficult to work with. Even foreign life energy is attuned to use by a living thing; arcane energy is not.
Enchantment: Manipulation of Enchantment and Dark Enchantment
- Enchantment is mistakenly thought by the masses to be the result of magicians somehow imbuing mundane items with magical properties. While this can indeed be done, it is of poor quality and tenuous duration.
- True Enchantments manipulate the magical properties of substances to produce desired results. Most often this takes the form of various crafts, but studies such as Alchemy also fall under this grouping. It is not in any way a brute forcing of Arcane Energies onto a mundane object – rather it is a fine craft and high skill of its own which brings the natural powers of materials into a useful state.
- A True Enchantment cannot be broken or dispelled, as it is part of the object in question. However, it cannot be applied to an existing item either, as the enchantment must be taken into account when the item is crafted.
The Mind: Manipulation of Psychic Energy and Madness
- The minds of sentient beings contain a mystical link to vast stores of energy.
- Magicians can learn to control this energy through study, meditation, enlightenment, and practice.
- This energy is internal to the magician and is therefore not subject to items or other material artifacts. This should not be taken to imply that psychic energy cannot affect material items.