Magic and religion are inseparable in the world of the White City. Magic by its very nature draws on the power of the divine in order to affect the physical world. Each of the Forms of magic is associated with some divine Power or group of Powers. Full descriptions of the Forms of magic and the Powers with which they are associated are given on separate pages:
Ash magic calls on the Burned Lords, the sombre gods who rule the dead and the land of the dead, via meditations on mortality. Sorcerers and necromancers use this power to call up clouds of ash, communicate with the spirits of the dead, animate corpses, destroy the walking dead, turn things to ash, open gates to the Burned Realm and make sure things die at their appointed time. Ash priests are respected, while necromancers are universally despised and necromancy is illegal in the White City.
Blood magic calls on the Old Powers, the primal gods and spirits of the natural world, through the medium of the caster's own spilt blood. Sorcerers use this power to heal and inflict wounds, cure diseases, bestow blessings and curses, change into animals and grow plants.
Dream magic manipulates the stuff of dreams, and can be incredibly powerful in the Dreamlands to the far North. Nobody is sure if there are gods of Dream or not. The more powerful sorcerers can send their spirits abroad while they sleep, to travel the world and consume the spirits of other dreamers, and are able to turn people's dreams (and nightmares) into reality.
Glass magic calls on the Vitriarchs, the mad and broken gods created when the Bound Ones were imprisoned, tearing chunks from the caster's sanity in the process. It's illegal in the White City itself. Sorcerers use this power to drive people mad, summon up storms and towers of glass, create illusions, open passageways to the Shattered Plain and turn things (or people) into glass. Sorcerers who are not priests of the Vitriarchs risk having their soul consumed by the Shattered Plain. Almost all Glass sorcerers are mad, as are all priests of the Vitriarchs.
Light magic calls on the Light, the transcendent indivisible essence of purity, a wholly alien power whose presence illuminates, purifies and burns. Calling on the Light's power burns the flesh and will eventually burn out the caster's eyes, but enables sorcerers to burn and purify things (and people), see truly without using their eyes and turn their flesh into living light. Most priests of the Light tend to be mad, fanatical or both.
Wind magic calls on the Princes of the Breath, the capricious gods of weather and stories, via continuous chanting which is extremely tiring if kept up for too long. Sorcerers use this power to call up winds and storms, fly, exhaust or invigorate people, blast things (and people) with lightning bolts and infect people with disease.
Chain magic and Name magic are both associated with the Bound Ones, strange gods who were defeated a thousand years ago in a great war and imprisoned deep beneath the earth. Name magic calls on the Bound Ones directly and can be used to create physical items and even living creatures from nothing, or to understand and change the nature of what already exists. Extremely rare, those who practice it are viewed with suspicion and hatred by those who realise what it is and they become bound like the gods from which their power comes. Chain magic is stolen from the Bound Ones and channelled through symbolic connections to the chains which bind them, sorcerers can use this power to bind natural phenomena or the body, eyes, voice, magic, will and spirit of another.
Flame magic calls on the Black Flame, a new Power which arose from the Western Forest within the last year. Little is understood of this Power, but it seems to consume sacrifices in order to fulfil the user's desires. Sorcerers can use this power to protect themselves both physically and magically, gain secret knowledge, restore a fading spark of life and turn themselves into beings of power. Few have yet mastered the art of the Black Flame, but its cult is growing in the White City and elsewhere.
Note that Name Magic is rare and powerful, is no longer available to PCs and should not be used by NPCs without first checking with the LARP Organiser.
There are, however, some similarities between all Forms of magic which can be summarised here:
All Forms of magic are associated with one set of Powers. Most involve worship of those Powers in some way. Ordained Priests of those Powers will often have access to slightly different versions of the spells presented. These versions will rarely be more powerful, but they'll generally be considerably less dangerous to the caster.
All Forms of magic have limitations, things which stop spellcasters casting spells all day every day. These limitations are different for every Form of magic.
All Forms of magic have, for ease of reference, five levels of spells.
Some points probably need to be made regarding magic. Firstly, and probably most importantly, the spells listed are not supposed to represent the full extent of the capabilities of different types of Sorcerers. If you want an NPC to be able to do something which isn't listed on the spell lists but which fits the style of a Form of magic, feel free to put it in. Similarly, if there's something that a PC could be able to do with their magic that would advance the plot then feel fee to allow them to do that. Magic is, by its nature, changeable and difficult to define, so calls made by one GM are not binding on other GMs.
Note that it is possible, but very rare, for beings to have magic resistance. Big Scary Monsters may have it, and it may be acquired from serious ancient artifacts, but it is by no means common. For those who do have it, your resistance level is the maximum level of spells that will bounce off. Magic resistance is almost always Form-specific.
Note that many styles of magic can summon stuff. Since it's impractical to give summoning spells to PCs in LARPs (it's asking for trouble and depletes the monster pool rapidly) these spells will not be listed on the spell lists. There are creatures in the monster lists which are described as being summoned by magic; PC Sorcerers will in theory be capable of summoning these beings, but it's not a standard thing and will generally require lengthy rituals at magically appropriate times and places.
Are discussed in detail here
The eight groups of Powers listed above represent the eight cornerstones of religion in the world of the White City, however scope is left for the players to design their own religions under the auspices of the eight sets of Powers. The aim here is to allow people to come up with their own mad cults and the like, whilst at the same time keeping a coherent sense of mythology. More details on Priests and religion and such can be found on the Priests page, while a set of sample gods and their cults are described on the Gods & Cults page.
Any character may swear a Binding Oath before the gods. Sometimes the Powers in question will notice and sometimes they won't. If the character subsequently breaks that Oath they'll be subject to the punishments of the gods. See the section on Binding Oaths on the Priests page for further details.
To the initiated, alchemy is about the pursuit of spiritual and physical perfection in an attempt to comprehend and become one with the divine. To everybody else it's about healing potions. More details on alchemy are here on the Alchemy page.
Since the system was first written the rules governing the various Forms of magic and the spells that can be cast have evolved as a result of problems, loopholes and game balance issues which became apparent during play. The old versions of the Forms of magic an be found on the following pages:
Old Ash Magic - Old Blood Magic - Old Chain Magic - Old Dream Magic - Old Glass Magic - Old Light Magic - Old Wind Magic
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- This page last updated: 6th May 2006
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