Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The New Old Campaign Design - Part 6 - Arcane Magic

Arcane Magic is psionics. A person must have some natural psi ability but then can learn to improve it through rigorous study and concentration. A modern scientist might see this as the wild, fixed mutations of the Gamma Terra era gradually subsiding into a latent pool of abilities that can be unlocked through practice to create a variety of effects. This also means that magic-users are not 100% pure-strain humans, but the evolved version of Gamma Terra's humanoids. Not that anyone cares about mutants vs. pure-strains anymore

Because of this origin, Arcane Magic is totally self-contained to the individual, requiring no outside aid.

Magic Items created by Arcane Magic Users are the result of special processes used in their creation. Intensely focused magic is used to change the way a substance interacts with the universe.

Normal common materials used for this are generally temporary in nature, like potions and scrolls.

Permanent magic items like magic swords or armor are usually constructed from "starmetal" which is a highly valued substance in the campaign. In this campaign, starmetal is usually a chunk of living superdense metal fallen to earth from a starship destroyed in orbit during the War of the Gods. It is found in some installations as well but it was not a standard building material even in the height of pre-collapse earth. It is difficult to shape with standard tools which is why it takes a magic user to assist in the working of the metal.

Additionally, as human scientists explored human psionic potential certain materials were found to be psionically active, able to be imprinted on psionically much like writing on a blank piece of paper. This is taxing and not especially pleasant, more akin to writing on paper by cutting your finger and bleeding on the page - it takes a lot of control and both pains and fatigues the user. This is how additional effects can be built into an item such as an invisibility ring or a flaming sword. This is also why elves have created many magic items as it is more natural to them than to a typical human magic-user.

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