Tales of Skytopia
Magic in Skytopia
Magic is a force of nature in Skytopia. It radiates from Heaven, and flows invisibly through all things but has an impact on only two: Living creatures, and metal. A living creature is receptive to magic, and can absorb it, shape it, and breathe it – but most creatures cannot control their innate magic, so all it does is ensure they stay alive. It takes special talent or long training to use magic to cast spells or perform supernatural feats.
Metal is also receptive to magic, but in a different way. Metal absorbs magic, stores it, and obtains passive magical powers that can be tapped by humans. When it happens naturally, it’s a long and slow process – but over time, a regular gold vein in a mountaintop might absorb enough magic to turn into angel-gold. Some magical metals can also be synthesized. Skytopian sorcerers use magical metals in almost all the wondrous machines they construct. See The Magical Metals for more information.
All five of Skytopia’s floating islands have metallic cores. It is believed that once, they were mountains or features of the landscape, but over time they came to absorb so much magic that they tore themselves free of the Earth and began floating towards Heaven.
The vast majority of Skytopians rely on magitech, and rarely attempt to use magic directly. Magitech items are reliable, and almost never fail if constructed properly, but on the other hand they do require magical metals – and a skilled smith who can work them.
In game term, Magitech is represented with Items.
Besides magitech, there are two basic kinds of magic: Ritual magic, and Internal magic.
Ritual magic is the kind used to create magitech and other magical wonders. It can be studied and learned by anyone – at least in theory – but it is very complicated and can be highly dangerous if done wrong. It relies on manipulating magic through incantations, specific gestures and scientific principles rather than channeling ones’ own inherent energies. Ritual magic has the advantage that it is nearly without limits – with enough time, patience and magical metals, a wizard can accomplish almost anything.
In game terms, powerful and flexible abilities such as Power Flux are Ritual Magic. There are no (or at least, very very few) people who have the innate ability to manipulate the elements or craft powerful Items just by using their own inner power. Such abilities must be studied. However, Ritual Magic is difficult and time-consuming, and often fails or backfires if done hastily: Ritual Magic must either have the Activation, Concentration or Unpredictable Restriction, as appropriate. It additionally often requires specific Equipment.
Internal magic is often – but not always – a magical talent that a character is born with. It comes naturally and uses the characters’ own internal magic to fuel its powers. Some forms of Internal magic are not innate, but rather learned – such as magical martial arts, or some meditation techniques taught by the churches. They are still internal, because they draw on the characters’ own strengths rather than manipulate the magical energies of the world.
In game terms, Internal magic covers most simple innate magical abilities that are not represented as spells or rituals, such as Superspeed, Superstrength, et cetera. Most Internal magic costs Energy Points, as it draws on the characters’ reserve of strength. Recovery is also often an appropriate Restriction.
There is another kind of magic as well: Miracles. Miracles are granted by God, and lie outside a characters’ own control – he cannot will them to happen, no matter how much he tries. This might be represented, for instance, by the Emotional restriction – the power only activates when the character is in grave danger. A wizard who uses Sixth Sense cannot detect a Miracle, as the magic doesn’t come from anywhere – it isn’t drawn from the environment nor the characters’ personal reserves. Skytopians believe it is a direct act of God, and are appropriately awed by it.
A Miracle is often an Unknown Power.