Magic in Jhendor
The Source of Magic
Magic is an all-pervading force in Jhendor. Philosophers, magicians, priests and other wise men offer a multitude of explanations of what magic actually is, but most would agree that it is everywhere where life is. All living beings, from the smallest of grasses to the tallest of trees, from the tiniest insect to the most powerful sentient, are connected to the natural flow of magic and store magical energy (called Mana) in their physical shell. Many creatures, especially sentients, learn to use that Mana to affect their surroundings in certain ways. Specific ways to use Mana that sentient beings can learn and teach to others are called spells.
The Power attribute of a being measures how closely it is attuned to the flow of magic and how much Mana it can store. The actual amount of Mana that a being has currently available is expressed by its Magical Strength (or Mana) trait and cannot normally be higher than the Power attribute. Unliving objects like rocks or swords do not connect to the magical flow and therefore do not collect Mana. Neither do unliving creatures like undead zombies, vampires, etc.) or constructs (golems, gargoyles, etc.). Although they usually have Magical Strength, they lack a Power attribute and therefore they do not naturally refill with Mana.
In Jhendor there are three major approaches to magic that differ significantly in the way spells are acquired and used, the philosophical outlook of their practitioners and their role in society. These are Spirit Magic, Divine Magic and Sorcery. Spirit Magic uses learn their spells from spirits and communicate with these denizens of the astral (or spirit) plane. Spirit Magic experts are usually called shamans, witches or witch doctors and act as intermediaries between their culture and the spirits. The followers of the gods - priests, initiates and lay members of the cults - receive their spells as gifts from the gods they worship. Their spells are very powerful but closely tied to the nature of the individual gods. Last but not least sorcerers perceive magic as an impersonal force in an impersonal universe and manipulate the flow of magic through intricate formulas that have been established, tested and handed-down through generations of other sorcerers. They tend to isolate themselves in their studies and their pursuit of esoteric power. More on the three ways of magic is available in the respective chapters.
Planes are distinct but connected parts of the universe, each with its own environment and inhabitants. Each plane is discreet and usually has well-defined borders. Creatures live on various planes, but rarely travel from one plane to another. A creature on one plane cannot ordinarily communicate with one on another plane, but there are supernatural ways to circumvent this. The three planes known in Jhendor are important factors in the use of magic and each of the three ways of magic is mainly connected to one of the planes.
The Mundane Plane (also called Physical or Material Plane) is the place where humans and other sentient beings live that they experience in their daily lives. Plants, rocks, the sun, the sky and the earth are all part of the mundane plane. Sorcerers are most strongly connected to this plane, since they directly manipulate the flow of magic within it.
The God Plane is where the gods live. It is a realm similar to the Mundane plane but grander in scope, both beautiful and ugly, both good and evil. The gods collect the souls of their most devout followers there. Naturally priests and other Divine Magic users are most concerned with the god plane and its inhabitants.
The Spirit Plane (or Astral Plane or Otherworld) is the home of a large variety of discorporate entities, lost souls, nature spirits, elementals and others collectively called spirits. Spirit Magic users interact with spirits and even travel across the Spirit Plane. Its outer reaches are contiguous with the Mundane Plane, but its deeper areas are separate and sometimes very far removed. Certain parts of the Spirit Plane are closely connected to the elements and are sometimes regarded as subplanes and labeled "Plane of Fire", "Plane of Earth", etc.
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