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Kaje
2010-10-11, 10:14 AM
Divine magic comes from gods. Incarnum comes from souls. Psionics comes from the power of the mind. 4e's primal magic comes from nature and the feywild.

Arcane magic... ?

CoffeeIncluded
2010-10-11, 10:16 AM
Divine magic comes from gods. Incarnum comes from souls. Psionics comes from the power of the mind. 4e's primal magic comes from nature and the feywild.

Arcane magic... ?

Hm, I always thought that Arcane magic was sorta...There, like air. Just there, waiting to me manipulated.

At least, that's the way I do it.

Emmerask
2010-10-11, 10:23 AM
Divine magic comes from gods. Incarnum comes from souls. Psionics comes from the power of the mind. 4e's primal magic comes from nature and the feywild.

Arcane magic... ?

Depends on the setting actually, in Faerun for example arcane magic comes from the weave or the shadow weave the books are pretty vague about what the weave actually is, some say its mystras body so in that case it is god given similar to divine magic others say its the fabric of reality which you change and others again say its a mix of both ^^

WarKitty
2010-10-11, 10:26 AM
In my world, magic is simply the ability to manipulate world energies. It requires tapping into a specific part of your mind, one everyone has but not everyone learns to use. Deities are those that have completely mastered the world energies, and are thus able to work through their servants to affect them. Mages learn to work with the energies directly, exchanging direct contact for less mastery.

Morty
2010-10-11, 10:28 AM
I think it's deliberately left vague so that every setting author or GM can make things up on their own.

Alleran
2010-10-11, 10:29 AM
the books are pretty vague about what the weave actually is
It's Mystra. Literally. The Weave = Mystra, and Mystra = Weave.

It's like a giant collecting net for the raw magic within the mantle of the world and Realmspace as a whole, and through it mortals can access magic safely without burning themselves from the inside out (I tend to theorise that epic magic is accessing raw magic, but it still requires assistance from Mystra in some fashion even though it doesn't completely go through the Weave). All divine magic goes through the Weave as well to get the power to the followers of the deity in question, with the exception of the gods/goddesses who make use of the Shadow Weave.

Yes, this does implicitly make Mystra potentially the most powerful of all the Faerunian deities with the exception of Ao, but Ao's laws outright prevent her from abusing her power in such a fashion. If she does, then the heavy end of the hammer will be dropped on her.

The Shadow Weave is like a negative impression of the Weave (think the space between the walls in a house), and can access that raw magic as well.

There are at least two other methods, AFAIK, but I'm not sure what they are.

Zaydos
2010-10-11, 10:32 AM
In Dragonlance magic came from the three gods of magic, at least until the Chaos War stuff came later and retconned in wild magic (haven't read that stuff, it seems confusing from what I've heard).

In some of the non-FR books it says FR's Weave is made by and powered by the goddess of magic.

Dark Sun it come from life energy and you gain power to fuel your spells by sucking the life out of plants.

In my longest running campaign it came from Thoth the Elder God of Magic (who was by definition all arcane magic).

In other campaigns of mine I've had it just be ambient energy, and often enough the gods where just beings who had truly mastered and became one with it.

So it really varies from setting to setting, but the main two are "it's from the god(dess) of magic" and "it's the ambient energy of the cosmos" in my experience. Although mana (as in the energy of all living things) is another common source (i.e. magic is this network created by the life force of all living things, and mana theory existed long before Star Wars).

Another_Poet
2010-10-11, 10:33 AM
Agree with the above posters.

That's why I've never agreed with the whole "magic is telling physics to sit down and shut up" thing. In fantasy worlds, the physical laws include magical energies, their properties and the way in which they can be harnessed/manipulated just like we harness/manipulate wind power, heat, etc.

There are reliable, tested methods that produce repeatable, observable magic results. You make this gesture (somatic) and say this chant (verbal) with these reagents (material) and you get effect x. You get it every time, with its strength (duration, save DC, etc) proportionate to certain knowable factors and its failure rate (SR, saving throw) affected by other knowable factors. There's nothing supernatural in the process whatsoever.

Some settings go farther than others in explaining what these additional energies/physics are. The answer ranges from psyche/willpower, to souls, to elemental energies, to "aether" or some other unique thing altogether. I personally enjoy settings that attempt a thorough, logical explanation of what magical energy is or why we're able to harness it with words, willpower and ritual.

But even in the more pulp settings, the fact is that you can press the Magic Button (I cast fireball!) to get Magic (a fireball appears!). That speaks to a reliable process based on natural laws woven into the physics of the fantasy world itself.

ap

Serpentine
2010-10-11, 10:34 AM
In my game, it's part of matter and existance. Sort of like Dark Energy and Dark Matter, electrons and protons, energy as a whole, the strings of String Theory, that sort of thing. It's an energy inside every atom, that helps to build reality as we* know it.


*in the campaign world

Coidzor
2010-10-11, 10:40 AM
It's the force, y'know, an energy field that binds us, surrounds us, etc. etc.

So, midichlorians.

Emmerask
2010-10-11, 10:47 AM
Midichlorians are a LIE :smallfurious::smallfurious:

Lev
2010-10-11, 10:49 AM
I've always been fond of:

Magic is not something you can control, you must see it and kneel in front of it as a traveler sees and kneels in front of a river, you may dip your hand in and drink or fill a canteen, but stumble into it and you may be swept away, try and manipulate it and you will just make a big mess.

Now, the weave is more like molecular magic, where all things are just made up of a flow of energy and using magic just means pulling strings in the tapestry so to speak. As such, you can also blow up parts of the weave causing a magical dysfunction in whole sections of the world, which is kind of like anti-magic radiation or wild magic radiation.

Shadowrun has an EXTREMELY interesting magic system, where magic is actually a flow based upon a combination of life energy (infused into the gaiasphere) and emotional context, so things that are important to people become magically charged and therefore RL religions suddenly have meaning.

Emperor Ing
2010-10-11, 10:52 AM
It's the force, y'know, an energy field that binds us, surrounds us, etc. etc.

So, midichlorians.


Midichlorians are a LIE :smallfurious::smallfurious:

Pretty much this. I've always believed it to be some omnipresent energy field that people are either born attuned to (sorcerers) or can be trained to use (wizards.) I also believe the Astral Plane or something similar to it to be the source of all arcane magic.

Emmerask
2010-10-11, 10:59 AM
I've always been fond of:

Magic is not something you can control, you must see it and kneel in front of it as a traveler sees and kneels in front of a river, you may dip your hand in and drink or fill a canteen, but stumble into it and you may be swept away, try and manipulate it and you will just make a big mess.

Dave Duncans Words of power is a really interesting system and Mistborn allomancy too :smallsmile:

...yeah a bit off-topic :smallwink:

Scarey Nerd
2010-10-11, 11:14 AM
In my campaign setting, arcane magic is the fifth force of nature. Gravitational, electromagnetic, strong nuclear, weak nuclear, and arcana. A Warlock's eldritch blast is raw magic, being channeled through the warlock. I drew this idea from the Inheritance Cycle, where magic was free in the world to be harnessed by anyone until it was bound and channeled.

[/$0.02]

DrWeird
2010-10-11, 11:49 AM
I just ripped off the Wheel of Time for most of my games.

Only, you know, without the implied (and not so implied) female domination and retconned Sauron making it impossible for guys to use it.

Aidan305
2010-10-11, 12:13 PM
My own setting has it as another type of energy, similar to any other which is channeled by the cast from the Far Plane. The gestures and whatnot are simply part of the energy conversion process.

Emmerask
2010-10-11, 12:17 PM
I just ripped off the Wheel of Time for most of my games.

Only, you know, without the implied (and not so implied) female domination and retconned Sauron making it impossible for guys to use it.

may contain spoilers :smalltongue:

Actually the male power is stronger then the female but females can create circles without men^^
Well and all females in the books all have the "benefit" of being borderline psychopaths, on both sides of good and bad, not caring the least bit about what they do to others.

Maybe with Sanderson they will become a bit more likeable :smallwink:

Dusk Eclipse
2010-10-11, 12:20 PM
Personally I fluff it as being a kind of energy matrix that overlaps with the planes, arcane spellcaster manipulate the matrix in different ways to cast their spells. Dead Magic zones and the like are kinda like holes in this matrix, and as such the spellcasters cannot manipulate them in those places.

Off-topic: Coffee, I believe this is the first time I see you posting on a subforum other than art and crafts and friendly banter:smallconfused:

Fax Celestis
2010-10-11, 12:21 PM
Arcane magic... ?

...is the forceful application of your own will upon the fabric of the universe.

Valameer
2010-10-11, 12:25 PM
Typically, the planes.

Everything varies setting to setting though.

Matthew
2010-10-11, 12:35 PM
As a point of interest, here is the explanation from the first edition AD&D DMG:



Spell Casting

All magic and cleric spells are similar in that the word sounds, when combined into whatever patterns are applicable, are charged with energy from the Positive or Negative Material Plane. When uttered, these sounds cause the release of this energy, which in turn triggers a set reaction. The release of the energy contained in these words is what causes the spell to be forgotten or the writing to disappear from the surface upon which it is written.

The triggering action draws power from some plane of the multiverse. Whether the spell is an abjuration conjuration, alteration, enchantment, or whatever, there is a flow of energy - first from the spell caster, then from some plane to the area magicked or enspelled by the caster. The energy flow is not from the caster per se, it is from the utterance of the sounds, each of which is charged with energy which is loosed when the proper formula and/or ritual is completed with their utterance. This power then taps the desired plane (whether or not the spell user has any idea of what or where it is) to cause the spell to function. It is much like plugging in a heater; the electrical outlet does not hold all of the electrical energy to cause the heater to function, but the wires leading from it, ultimately to the power station, bring the electricity to the desired location.

Many spells also require somatic motions in conjunction with words. The spoken words trigger the release of the magical energy, and the hand movements are usually required in order to control and specify the direction, target, area, etc., of the spell effects. When spell energy is released, it usually flows to the Prime Material from the Positive or Negative Material Plane. To replace it, something must flow back in reverse. The dissolution and destruction of material components provides the energy that balances out this flow, through the principle of similarity. Sometimes this destruction is very slow, as is the case with druidsĎ mistletoe. Those spells without apparent material components are actually utilizing the air exhaled by the magic-user in the utterance of the spell.

Release of word/sound-stored energy is not particularly debilitating to the spell caster, as he or she has gathered this energy over a course of time prior to the loosing of the power. It comes from outside the spell caster, not from his or her own vital essence. The power to activate even a first level spell would leave a spell caster weak and shaking if it were drawn from his or her personal energy, and a third level spell would most certainly totally drain the casterís body of life!

Because spells tap power from other planes, any improper casting is likely to cause the spell not to function (the heater is turned on, but you havenít plugged it in, or youíve plugged it in but not turned it on) or to malfunction (you held onto the prongs of the plug when you tapped the current, or you accidently dropped the heater as you were plugging it in, or perhaps you plugged in some other appliance or device by mistake). Such happenings are covered in the various chances for spell malfunction. If your players inquire as to how spells work, or fail to do so, you can explain, without difficulty, the precepts of the AD&D magic spell systems. (For background reading you can direct campaign participants to Vanceís THE EYES OF THE OVERWORLD and THE DYING EARTH as well as to Bellairís THE FACE IN THE FROST.)

some guy
2010-10-11, 12:45 PM
As a point of interest, here is the explanation from the first edition AD&D DMG:

That's cool. Wish my DMG had something like that in it's pages.
Anyway, I've been reading up on these blogposts on Vancian magicke.
-Jeffs gameblog (http://jrients.blogspot.com/2008/06/just-so-you-know-this-is-vancian-magic.html)
-some king's kent (http://somekingskent.blogspot.com/2010/10/some-observations-on-magic-use-on.html)
-the wheel of samsara (http://wheel-of-samsara.blogspot.com/2010/10/gedankenexperiment-vancian-rarity.html)
They have some nice points on the Fire and Forget system and it's origins, and the Dying Earth in general.

Christopher K.
2010-10-11, 12:51 PM
Magic comes from ground up puppies, obviously. Failing that it's pretty much open to interpretation.

In one campaign I ran, the origin magic was actually a major debate between two academies located in the planet's polar regions. The school of the north believed that it was a gift from their gods, and mostly consisted of clerics and the like, while the school in the south analyzed it scientifically and consisted of sorcerors and wizards. In the end, though, the players decided that they believed magical energies were left behind by the gods, while divine powers were ones received directly from the gods.

Zeofar
2010-10-11, 12:53 PM
...is the forceful application of your own will upon the fabric of the universe.

Gotta agree with this. Surprised it isn't a more common answer in here.

That said, there are obviously other schemes for magic, but as far as I see, this is pretty much the most sensible default one.

To expand on this, you start with the fact that the entire universe consists of energy. "Magic," or the application of it, is the ability to change the properties of energy and matter. Every spell is basically an extension of Prestidigitation. Exactly how this works with somatic, verbal, and material components in unknowable to people in this world, since we don't know about magic. Even though many people apparently have the ability to cast cantrips, they would start practicing at 12 and form their first spell at 68. Wrapping your head around the idea and then actually using it is beyond difficult.

The exact details really boils down to preference, whether you see casters as forcing the probability of an event to 1, drawing energy from other planes, or, as mentioned above, just expanding on the ability to heat, cool, and shape things.

Aron Times
2010-10-11, 02:12 PM
Based on my interpretation of the 4e power source fluff:

1. Martial - Raw physical ability. Martial characters are at the peak of human (or demihuman) physical fitness, at epic levels becoming physical gods.

2. Arcane - The energy of the multiverse itself. Basically a force like electromagnetism, gravity, etc. Warlocks manipulate this energy through a pact with a higher power, wizards through hours upon hours of study, sorcerers through innate talent, bards through music, and swordmages through hours upon hours of study and martial training (swordmages can have spellbooks through a feat).

3. Divine - The energy of the gods, or if your setting allows it, belief. Basically the power of truthiness and wikiality (not meant to be disparaging). If enough people believe that something is possible, it becomes true.

4. Primal - The energy of nature, basically life itself.

5. Shadow - The energy of death, a counterpart to Primal.

6. Psionic - The power of the mind. Psionic characters have such strong willpower that the reality bends knee to their whims.

ericgrau
2010-10-11, 02:12 PM
All the 3e fluff seems to imply that arcane magic comes from the caster, like some kind of superpower. Like superpowers, it's also a weak explanation, which sometimes bring in other explanations like those mentioned in this thread. Dunno about 4e.

Starbuck_II
2010-10-11, 02:18 PM
Ley lines.
Every World produces arcane magic motes. These are concentrated by the user to produce all kinds of phenomenom. Warlocks can't release as much, but can draw more than other classes.
As you level, you can draw more than previously.
When one stands on a ley line: there is a enhancement of your ability to concentrate/release these energies.

It is what Geomancer is all about in Complete Divine: sadly it isn't a strong Prc.


So similar to The Force, but not within you (midichlorians), but without you (motes). Plus, it doesn't bind the universe.

Malfunctioned
2010-10-11, 02:25 PM
In my first campaign world the source of arcane magic was an immense advanced slightly modified Hellfire Wyrm known as 'The Source'. It was one of the three sides of the campaign as the main antagonist, an over-templated bard known as Drake, and both the players wanted its power in order to destroy the other.


The Source wasn't happy.

Morph Bark
2010-10-11, 02:29 PM
Arcane magic is the laws of physics and probability and all that jazz. Wizards are scientists. Sorcerers are mutants with the ability to naturally manipulate the laws of the universe.

DrWeird
2010-10-11, 02:53 PM
Another note; I liked the idea near the top assigning Magic to the role of the fifth universal force; in D&D terms, this makes it part of the realms and all living things, and therefore acts exactly as we could extrapolate the idea; manipulating it like we do any other force with the sufficient talent to do so. This makes sorcerers direct conduits to THE SOURCE.

THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE...Sorcerer, that is.

Fax Celestis
2010-10-11, 02:54 PM
Sorcerer

*Sourceror.