This article explores the realms of fiction, and strives to describe the properties of magical energy as part of the fabric of a world where magic exists in a pseudo-scientific way. The content below aims to establish a basis to which all upcoming articles regarding magic will refer.
Throughout the process of building Project: Cove, we will try to keep everything we do accessible and useful, regardless of the game system you are playing. In the instance of magic, in order to describe some concepts, we will have to delve a bit deeper and give some supplementary rules.
Magic as an overlay
In physics, we understand that there are four fundamental forces (also referred to as fundamental interaction). These four forces, namely gravitational, electromagnetic, strong nuclear, and weak nuclear, govern the laws of physics as we know them. In a world where magic exists, it could be considered as another of these fundamental forces – the fifth force.
Each of these forces is primarily described by the medium upon which it acts, the particle which experiences the force and, finally, the particle mediating the force.
By reverse-engineering magic as it appears in commonly-known fantasy worlds (such as Forgotten Realms, Inner Sea etc.) we may understand that it has an altering effect which frequently transcends matter, energy, space, time and even thought-patterns; thus, we can stipulate that the force of magic acts on every single object or energy of the world as a blanket which indirectly controls their reactions.
As gravitational forces are experienced by the unobserved Graviton, so could Magic or Prime (as it is referred as by the Mages of the Arcane University) be expressed via the Primon. The Primon is a particle which serves as a conduit of energy; multiple Primons form part of a three-dimentional fabric which engulfs all matter, and fills the gaps between everything (some could say that Prime is the dark matter/dark energy). The Primon is not like an electron which transmits energy; it may rather be considered like the Higgs Boson, which itself fundamentally embodies energy. The Primon is able to interact and alter the state of all other matter and energy around it, almost like an ocean in which everything else floats.
We live in a world of wonder governed by physics; even if we don’t completely understand the physical rules we can still function in this world and use, or be subject to, those inherent physical laws. The same goes for the magic users in a world were magic exists. In most cases, spell casters are not aware of the implications – or even necessarily of the existence – of a magical particle in the fabric surrounding them. What they do know is that, through a series of actions or rituals – verbal, somatic etc. – they can alter the world around them. It stands to reason that, as one works more with Magic, one gains a deeper insight into the actual workings of it, allowing more magnified effects, better manipulation and, eventually, the achievement of more complex tasks.
Most mages conceive of magic as a deep personal experience, involving a thorough understanding of themselves or of their deities; only higher beings, or those who are much more attuned with the weave of magic, can really see it for what it truly is. This means that you will hardly ever see or hear anyone describing magic as a set of physical laws, because the experience of discovering its true nature is altered based on the user’s or researcher’s personal experiences.
Magic as Energy
Magic exists everywhere and can be used, depending on the capability of the user, to channel its effects. But we are aware that certain items can be imbued by temporary or permanent magical effects; this denotes that magic, or at least some of its facets, can be stored within some structures. Staffs, metals (weapons, armour), stones, crystals, parchments or even liquids (potions) are commonly known to carry these effects, or are able to replicate the effects of the rituals (spells) used to manipulate the Prime. We also know that certain types of items can be recharged by transferring magical energy into them (such as staffs), or that their effects can only be used a certain number of times a day, which may denote a slow recharge rate (absorption of magic from the environment). All these properties seem to indicate that magic is an energy, which can be stored, absorbed and used or manipulated. We also know that magic can be interrupted (dispel), or even disappear all together (dead magic area), which means that the volume, or even existence, of the weave can be altered, and can fluctuate.
Although strictly in the realm of the imagination, magic can be thought of as a fundamental energy of the world; it can be perceived and manipulated in different levels via the use of rituals (spells) performed by conduits (casters), who allow Prime (magic energy) to shape the forces it engulfs. Finally, the nature of magic is almost surely unknown to most of its users, but via the use of ritualism and study it can nevertheless be expressed.