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Thread: Mith's Musings on Methods of Magic

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    Apr 2010

    Default Re: Mith's Musings on Methods of Magic

    Since there's no evidence in the real world of the existence of magic, it wouldn't make much sense to criticize one's view of how magic should work.

    Given the above, what I can do in the name of intellectual honesty is provide my PoV and try to explain why I see things the way I see them.

    I picture magical powers to stem from 4 primary sources:

    Arcane magic:
    Drawing power from the weave. The weave of magic is all over the fabric of space-time. Unless powerful forces are activated to nullify access to the weave, it is always accessible.
    The class that does pure arcane magic in my system is "Mage".

    Nature magic:
    Drawing power from objects indirectly. Physics has taught us that matter and energy are the same. Well, all life forms are basically energy factories. The world itself moves through space, which produces tremendous amounts of energy. This gives spellcasters that draw from nature more than enough ambient energy to draw from.
    The class that does pure nature magic in my system is "Druid".

    Divine magic:
    Drawing power directly from a deity. You don't have to have ever met with the deity in question and you don't need to know how and why it works. The deity recognizes you as a follower worthy enough to represent it and wield its powers (and even deities make mistakes from time to time).
    The class that does pure divine magic in my system is Priest.
    Some divine casters tap into divine magic via instinct, w/o even realizing that that's what they do.
    Pact magic could be explained as a variation of divine magic, by saying that you tap into the residual energy of powerful extraplanar beings that seeps through dimensional cracks between the planes.

    Ki magic:
    Drawing power from one's self. With level progression, your body generates and stores ever increasing amounts of energy that may be utilized in various ways.

    There are many ways with which one can wield magical powers. Spellcasting is the obvious method, but certainly not the only one.

    I find the above split comprehensive enough to explain just about everything that one can accomplish with bypassing/overcoming the restrictions of one's physical body.
    I'll try to explain why I find the other methods detailed in official 3e materials to be unnecessary and even problematic.

    Psionic powers manipulate the mind and body.
    Manipulation of the mind is done via enchantments and illusions. Self-related mental effects and mental inquiry are divination effects.
    Manipulation of the body is done via transmutation and necromancy. Portive powers are conjuration effects. Restricting someone's actions is basically abjuration.
    Among my favorite house rules is making Heighten Spell feat an automatic feature of all spellcasters. This grants the ability to augment effects by putting greater investment into them w/o needing Psionic rules.

    This basically breaks down to 2 things:
    1. Augmenting creatures with magical effects.
    2. Augmenting objects with magical effects.
    For the former, I have a homebrew feat that allows spellcasters to grant spell-like abilities, and another feat to elevate spell-like abilities to supernatural abilities.
    For the latter, I've redefined magic item creation in a way that would allow you to put virtually any effect with any activation mode to almost any item, not just handwave magical items by comparing them to already proposed official items.

    Truenaming is basically persuading reality to bend to your will and change via words.
    In my view, the Bard encompasses that role perfectly, as well as many other roles (depending on the chosen Perform sub-skill).

    Shadow magic:
    Everything that can be attributed to Shadow magic can be broken down to illusions, necromancy, conjuration and evocation.

    Pact Magic:
    My main issue with pact magic is common sense that says: "if you can grant it, then by all means you can wield it" (to the point where granting it would not hinder your ability to wield it).
    Well, to this day, I haven't seen a monster in D&D that's not a deity but can serve for that function.
    The closest thing to pact magic that I could see viable is explained above under Divine magic, but that's not exactly pact magic, because your source of power has no say on the matter.