Shadows of Aarn
The Mages Guild of Aarn categorise magic in Ambrethel into 12 major arcana, and a number of lesser arcana.
Magi consider magic to be a natural force which they know how to manipulate. Spells harness and control this magical force to create effects the mage desires. This viewpoint differs radically from priests, who consider their powers a gift of the divine; powers to be worshipped, rather than controlled.
Although the magic of Ambrethel is progressing – certainly, magi know more about the forces they control than their predecessors of long ago, the occasional genius notwithstanding – it is an art, not a science. It is a field of study marked by trial and error, rote learning, and listing and categorising, rather than experimentation and hypothesis testing.
In addition, some individuals possess unexplained powers; these are of great interest to magi, because they indicate their theories of magic are not yet universal laws. Many magi – particularly those of scholarly bent – would love to spend time in their laboratories or studies with anyone possessing such powers.
Each of the Arcana is a distinct speciality. Some magi choose to concentrate on one particular arcanum, others spread their interests wider. Some arcana are only available to mages of a particular region, race or tradition – the Ulronai, for instance, scorn any form of magic other than their warrior-magery, which they do not teach to non-Ulronai.
The Major Arcana
- Alchemy: The art of mixing potions, elixirs, ointments and the like my combining and activating substances to unlock the magical energies within them.
- Conjuration: The art of summoning beings from this or other planes of existence, controlling them and banishing them.
- Divination: The art of finding and foretelling.
- Druidry: Spells relating to animals, plants and nature in general (actual Druids regard this as a form of divine magic, not arcane).
- Elemental Magic: Spells relating to the greater elements of fire, air, earth and water, and to the lesser elements such as ice and light.
- Enchantment: The art of making and using enchanted items.
- Necromancy: Magic relating to life, death and undeath. Usually considered a dark and evil art.
- Sorcery: Magics of the mind, illusion, thought and deception. Usually regarded with suspicion.
- Thaumaturgy: The art of transforming, altering and redirecting energy and matter, including shapeshifting.
- Theurgy: Arts relating to divine and infernal powers, and celestial magic deriving from the power of the stars. Sometimes called the High Magic. Priests use prayer to ask such powers to help them; theurgists siphon of higher beings’ powers without asking.
- Witchcraft: An art combining aspects of other arts, including alchemy, conjuration, druidry, elemental magic and necromancy, along with lesser arcana and hedge magic.
- Wizardy: A body of mystic lore concerning magic itself, and of lore not part of other arcana such as naming-spells. Wizards are among the most high-level thinkers in Ambrethel.
The Lesser Arcana
What makes a form of magic a lesser arcana or a major arcana? Not all magi agree. Some would place aspects of the minor arcana within the major arcana, some would lump them all under wizardy, some would classify them as mere hedge magic. Meddle not in the debates of mages, for they are long-winded and extremely pedantic.
What is certain is that the minor arcana are usually very specific in their methods or in their areas of magical power.
- Arcanomancy: Spells working with fundamental arcana forces, such as pure magical energy.
- Areomancy: Battle magic concentrates on spells meant to be used in warfare, sieges and mass combat.
- Rune Magic: Spells invoking the power of spoken or written runes, sigils, glyphs and symbols. Rune magic is popular among Dwarves and certain ‘primitive’ races of men.
- Shamanism: A form of magic dealing with summoning, contacting, making use of or interacting with spirits.
- Song Magic: Using music, particularly vocal music, to create effects.
- Ulronai Warrior-Magic: Spells aimed at enhancing personal coombat ability, known only to the Ulronai people.