In the beginning, Oaa created a great many things . . . one of them was magic, and Toonaria has never been the same since. As promised, today I’ll be talking a little about the unusual magic system found in both my Toonaria and Cosmoverse universes. If you are just jumping on board (welcome!) feel free to read Part 1 first. It isn’t necessary to enjoying this post, but I’m sure you’d get a kick out of it, (and our Mysteries of Toonaria series a few posts down, for that matter.)
Okay, I’m just going to dive right in, focusing on Toonarian magic for now, and give a brief rundown. Magic works largely the same in both of my universes.
Absolutely no one who knows a thing about magic in Toonaria uses scrolls or spell books. They’re much too frail. Wands? What are those?
Before you drag me off to be stoned, bare with me, read further, and check out my earlier posts about magic. Doing so, you’ll likely surprise yourself and fall in love with the magical Toonarian and Cosmoverse tools of the trade. For the record, while I started writing about Toonaria and the Cosmoverse long, long before Harry Potter became a thing, I have nothing against wands and spell books. But with my universes, I was shooting for upping the cool factor. I wanted to see if it was possible to come up with exciting options that were off the beaten path. I couldn’t be happier with the results!
Here’s an overview of Toonarian and Cosmoverse magic:
Magic is very dangerous, but also terribly useful. Most creatures can’t tolerate more than a little magic flowing through their veins. Storing large amounts of magic internally can make you sick, or worse. As such, most rely on a magical device called a power template (also known as an arcane apparatus) to store the bulk of one’s magic. Beats dying of the Withering any day. Mages also use racassas to aim their magic (among other things). Such devices can look like anything from a bladeless sword hilt to a gun, and oftentimes mages will mount a weapon or power cube (f’lantii) onto their racassa to unlock additional cool features.
Templates are also used to store arcane notes, runes and spells, which can be used to shape spells. During a battle, it’s possible for a template to become damaged, lowering its efficiency, cutting off access to spells, enhanced features and more.
Financing a template’s construction is no small matter. Usually, only children from wealthy families manage to avoid sizable bank loans or lengthy indentured servitude to cover such costs.
Thanks to the Onji Mojo dueling system that I’m hoping to also release as a standalone card game one of these days, it’s possible to protect one’s template from arcane hacking and direct damage and still engage in a high octane magical duel without ever casting a single spell. Instead, shapers can manifest traps, special guardians and champions to protect them from harm.
The mysterious GodStorm, which has most folks (and gods, too) on the edge of their seats, made casting spells even more dangerous, especially misfires. When things go wrong, they can go way wrong, sometimes in amusing ways, but other times in downright deadly ways.
There is no limit to the amount of magic an arcane shaper can cast, though they have a “safety threshold” and a maximum number of potent spells that are possible without upping the danger even further. All day long a shaper’s template absorbs magic. The problem is trying to expend too much magic within a short period of time. Doing so can result in an arcane accident, template damage, etc. The trick is to know just how far you can push your luck and resist the temptation to go overboard and get yourself in over your head.
Most spells range in power from Power Order (PO) 1 through 10. There are also ancient spells which pop up every now and then. These start at PO 10 and get quite powerful, though few beyond the gods can master them.
There are also Epic spells, miracles and enchantments, which are rare and slightly more powerful than normal spells. Epic spells range in power from PO 1-15. They offer more potent, fun effects, even at PO 1. For Example, with the epic miracle, Awaken, even a Sleeper (Read “Dead” for people living outside Toonaria) can be awakened at PO 1. They don’t stay awake long from such a weak miracle, but Awaken has its uses, and when a holy adept learns how to cast higher order versions of it, such miracles (and epic spells) can be very handy.
Magic is only useful for spellcasting, miracles and enchantments when it is in its quintessence form. Power users store another, weaker form, within their bodies called “maki”, which they use to control their template and perform minor magical tricks (also called maki.) Quintessance is the refined form of maki, which itself is a little more refined than pure magic (quari.) Quari is found in a huge abundance throughout most of the realms. Some creatures breath quari and exhale quintessance. Maki is the result of an expended spell or other magical effect breaking down after the effect has worn off. It, too, is found in abundance.
When quintessence is exposed to significant amounts of certain mundane metals and chemicals, Entropy forms. Volatile, Entropy has been known to disrupt the flow of magic, causing accidents and misfires. It can also be harmful to creatures exposed to it—especially magic wielders. As such, most mages don’t wear armor, and those that do, only wear special metals.
Shapers with advanced training can crack into their spell templates and swap out key components to improve spell efficiency and expand their spells’ options. It isn’t uncommon to see a mage rush over after an illegal street duel and attempt to hack into a fallen mage’s template in hopes of salvaging something. One has to be careful fooling around with another’s template, as such devices can be rigged to discourage tampering.
This last one is super secret, so don’t share it with anyone, okay? Promise? Great! Here goes . . . Toonarian magic doesn’t really require lil components like the wing of a bat, snot from an ogre, blood of a virgin or anything else like that. We’re not talking witchcraft real, or imagined. We’re talking Toonarian magic, and it only needs a physical component in certain cases (as when you want to imbue a ring with power – you gotta have a ring, of course!) Further, shapers don’t need to gesticulate wildly or most of the other antics you see in movies and fantasy books to look cool.
Toonarian magic needs a sharp, clear mind, concentration, and certain runes to be present, as well as the shaper to use her mind to “shape” a spell. That’s it. All that other mumbo jumbo, when it’s done at all, is merely to baffle and impress onlookers and keep magic even more mysterious than it already is! Call it job security, if you will.
Actually, there is a lot about magic that we just don’t know, and even without all the gimmicks I mentioned above, learning magic is just not easy (though some artists are able to do it without the geometry and other trappings–intuitively, and with paint or markers, no less!
You can read even more about magic in my novels (read a free excerpt!) If you join my newsletter, you can even get a free book to boot! In it there is a conceptual adept who can indeed use his creativity instead of brains to manifest spells. Read The Train Less Traveled!) Hopefully before long you’ll be able to read about magic in my games, too, and actually try it out in-game.
That’s all for this week, friends. Questions? Comments? I’d love to hear from you! Cheers!