From the lowly farmer to the Queen of Gloriana herself, Magic touches the lives of all within the Northern Kingdoms and beyond. Most village have a wise woman or elder who knows a spell or two and can brew up a potion to chase off ills (with limited success). Objects of power are coveted and rarely for sale except by exclusive and secretive rings of buyers.
This world would not and could not be without magic, for magic is the lifeblood of Gloriana. That said, magic is not a monolith—power comes from many sources, and can be shaped many ways. Here is an accounting of the types of magic in the world, as understood by the party.
Dawn Magic — The Power of Wizardry
Substance and power once shaped themselves to the will of the living, hína. It was long ago, but if you kn ow the ways, if you learn the words, shape your mind, guide your hands—you can remind the world it was so.
— Ioth Curuvar, First Magus of the Alfar
Before there were four kingdoms, there was a single World of Dawn. It was a land of will, vision, and substance, and the three were bound and woven together. By sheer desire and purpose, a sentient mind could alter the elements, create whatever they envisioned from the sheer stuff of Dawn. This is how the Tuatha De built their legendary city, Luminias, from spires of light.
When the Firmament was raised and the Dawn World separated into the Four Kingdoms, this power was used to change creation. The Dawn was over, and its light gathered mostly into the Otherworld. But pockets of this light remain, scattered throughout creation. By pulling these reserves of Dawn Energy to overlap with the Four Kingdoms, it is possible to temporarily relive the Days of Dawn, using that power to call forth the elements, reshape the world, and change Will into Reality.
The art of using this Dawn Magic is called by humans, Wizardry, and those who practice it, Wizards. It is the art of the Alfar, who of all the elven people yearn most for the lost world offthe Dawn. Their hidden sanctuaries are built upon and around these pockets of the Dawn, allowing them to recreate in some small fashion that ancient light of Luminias.
It was Ioth Curuvar who first taught this art to mortals. During the First Day, Ioth came to the grasslands of Khara and the various tribes and peoples. Since the power of Dawn in the mortal world was not limitless, Ioth used the humans as a labor force, helping to build a great nation of Elves and Humans alike. In exchange for their efforts, Ioth first shared with them the basics of Wizardry, teaching them magic that did not derive from spirits or Divines. Ioth preached of the importance of self determination, of shaping destiny.
Eventually, Ioth’s empire was destroyed, torn apart by civil war between mortals and their own magic: the Sorcerers and Priest Kings of Khara. Much of the art of Wizardry was lost, as the Alfar withdrew from the Mortal World and the teachings were destroyed or carried off by refugees. Most of the writings made their way to the protected valley of Kraius, who hoarded it at terrible cost, keeping Wizardry away from other humans.
Some Wizard magic made its way to the far southern city of Aberatum, but the great era of human mages would not return until Kraius was robbed and forbidden teachings made their way to the Northern Kingdom of Galadron. With little guidance from the aloof Dawn Elves, human wizards struggled and studied based on scraps of magic. A few mighty wizards did emerge, including one of the most prolific arcane historians of all time, Ison Siranox.
Ison wrote most of the primers and codices of knowledge still used in the Third Day, including Codex Anathema, the Draconomicon, and the famous text used to educate the young nobility across the East, Ison Siranox’s Little Book of Knowledge.
Unfortunately for mortal wizardry, the greatest human wizard of the First or Second Days lived in the days of Raivinith, the Dragon Wars, and ultimately the Bale, when Chaun the Dread Wyrm seized the Underworld from Ramius. He perished along with the kingdom of Galadron, leading to a dark age for the study of wizardry.
It was not until Blessed Child founded the kingdom of Gloriana that human wizards started a new era of magic, and this largely because the Alfar appeared to the young Queen offering friendship and knowledge once more. They founded the University and have been the wardens and guides of humanity’s forays into the power of the Dawn ever since.
Sorcery: the Power of the Scion
Wizards create magic by extending the Dawn World into the Mortal Realm, allowing them to shape reality and call power from distant places.
Sorcerers are power. Their magic does not lie in incantations and gestures that tap into the ancient dawn—instead, they learn how to call up the magic that flows inside them. Depending on their bloodline, this power takes on different shapes and pulls from different wells.
Because sorcerous magic is dependent on an ancestor with supernatural heritage, many sorcerers are scions or descended from scions.
The Magic of Dragons
Hearken now, sons of snow, to an age, long ago,
And the tale, boldly told, of the one!
Who was kin to both wyrm, and the races of man,
With a power to rival the sun!
— Song of the Dragonborn
Dragons were not part of the world when the Dawn broke over creation. They were forbidden, exiled and imprisoned for crimes committed against the World Before. It wasn’t until the Infernals cast down the spires of Luminias and began to consume all creation that they were brought back, out of desperation.
It is said that the dragons were locked behind Seven Gates in a Silent City, and that a wisdom older than the Elemental Sovereigns opened those gates to release them. Their power, older than the Dawn, scattered the fiends. Though they returned to their prison when the battle was over, the Sovereigns created new dragons in their likeness, and the same magic of the World Before flowed in their veins as well.
Dragons are capable of changing their shape, and in mortal guise they can bewitch or woo mortals. The first of these couplings occurred among the Ten Tribes of Okarthel and in the plains of Khara. From these unions, powerful heroes like Taras are born. Primordial magic flows in their veins, and if they learn the gestures, rituals and incantations needed to summon up that magic, they can wield spells that bind the elements, ensnare mortal minds, and summon beings from Beyond.
Unlike the magic of Dawn, which causes a pocket of the Dawn World to overlap with the mage’s surroundings and become susceptible to their Will (detailed by a specific spell), Dragon Magic is inherent to the wielder. When a dragon sorcerer casts a firebolt, that fire emerges from within their soul, from their raw power, shaping it into fire by words and gesture. For more powerful magic, this innate energy can create conduits to other worlds, siphoning might from the Elemental Wells, the Otherworld, or elsewhere.
Dragon Magic is hereditary in nature, found most often in the Dragonborn of Elam-Okarthel or in mortals who have a draconic ancestor somewhere in their family tree.
Wild Magic — The Power of Fairy
You spotted snakes with double tongue,
Thorny hedgehogs, be not seen.
Newts and blindworms, do no wrong.
Come not near our fairy queen.
—A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 2, Scene 2, 9-12
Some wonder why Wizardry is not called Fairy Magic. It is taught by the Alfar, who dwell in the Otherworld, and of the Four Kingdoms it is Fairy that shines brightest with the last light of Dawn.
But the magic of Wizardry obeys the will and obeys certain rules. Anyone who crosses paths with the fair folk know that Fairy obeys no will but its own whim, and scoffs at rules. It is wild, passionate, free, alive of its own accord.
Fairies fall in love with, seduce, and abduct mortals throughout the lands they share, and while carefully managed bloodlines of dragon magic survive in Elam, new fairy-blooded mortals appear every day. Such offspring of the fey are gifted in the ways of magic. Like dragon sorcerers, their blood and souls contain raw power that they can guide via song and spell learning. This power resides within them, but is also a door to the Fairy World waiting to be opened if they need more might.
Such power shifts with the whims of fate, however. Fairy-blooded sorcerers are not often in full control of their magic, which can flare wildly in bizarre ways. A fairy sorcerer may find their spell of invisibility has given their compatriots hair made of glass, or that their charm spells have turned their tongues into literal silver. Wild Mages are feared by wizards for their unreliability.
The power of Wild Magic can be found among any mortal whose ancestors mingled with Fairy, but is very common amongst Dusk Elves (the Huldra).
Pacts and Channelers — The Power of the Warlock
Philosophy is odious and obscure;
Both law and physic are for petty wits;
Divinity is basest of the three,
Unpleasant, harsh, contemptible, and vile.
’Tis magic, magic that hath ravished me.
― Christopher Marlowe, Dr. Faustus
To those without access to the strenuous learning required to master the powers of Dawn, whose blood carries no arcane heritage, magic must be found without. Some worship one of the many Divines, entreating them with prayers and rites. Others go into the wilderness and learn the names of each blade of grass, the wolves and hawks, the spirits of the rivers and the land.
But there are other paths to power. In the lands of Kast, they are called Channelers, the foremost champions of their families, bound to their hosuehold Spirits. In the Northern Kingdoms they are shunned as Warlocks, who sell their souls to spirits and demons in exchange for a glimpse of true might.
Divines, Paragons, Spirits, Archfey, Fiends and ancient ancestors all seek ways to spread their influence. For many of them, beyond the pale of Mortality, their greatest chance of changing the tides of fate is through Mortal Hands. So they bond with mortal souls, by rite of blood, by sworn oath, by the trade of names or souls, or by birthright.
Channelers open a door within themselves, allowing a spirit to inhabit their body and use them to work their magic. Warlocks receive magical gifts from their benefactors in exchange for their service or some pact. In any case, such a bond lets the wielder only use powers possessed or granted by their patron. As they grow in strength, they become less mortal and more like their patron.
Most famous are the Channelers of Kast, proud rulers of their bloodlines, each with an ancestral spirit. In the Northern Kingdoms, mortals who wander into Fairy may come back marked with a kiss and the strange blessings of the fey. Those who make pacts with the Underworld smell of sulfur, spread unnatural signs where they go, and are feared by the folk of the land.
Spirits of the Land — The Power of Druids
The world is alive. From the earth below your feet, to the trees you walk beneath…the streams that run to the see, the mountains that loom above us. The air you breath, the fire of your hearth, the sun and the stars and the moon at night—alive. The lowliest squirrel and the mightiest dragon have spirits all the same.
Those who who the names of these spirits, who share gifts with them, who can call them to account or gather them for wise counsel, are called the Druids. From wise men to the village healer, from ancient Huldra god-kings to wandering healers, blood-sacrificing circles of madness and peaceful wardens of nature, Druids are not a monolith. Anyone who learns the names of their nearby natural spirits and how to commune with them can become a druid.
That is not to say this is easy — the spirits do not idly give away their secrets. It takes a special sort of soul or a transformative experience to open the senses to the power around us. Still, once this way is opened, a druid can summon the elements, call on the spirits of animals for strength, change their shape, and much more.
Unique among magic wielders in the world, much of Druids’ power is taken from the Mortal World, rather than the Otherworld. If they summon spiritual allies or call on voices beyond for aid, that power may lie in the Spirit or Faery worlds, but for the most part, their allies are the world around them.
Voice of the Gods — The Power of Clerics and Paladins
Mortals yearning for power beyond their reach may heed the caresses of the Archfey, the sulfurous whispers of the fiends, the chilly void of the Hungry Dark, or communion with a powerful Spirit. But becoming a Channeler or Warlock does not imply true devotion. Beings of a higher nature—those truly called Divines—can bestow their grace and might upon their most loyal worshipers and servants.
Bearing the gift of Divine Might is a heavy burden, and not all are suited to the task. It requires strict mental discipline, cleansing and purification rituals, precisely recited prayers and rites, and true devotion in one’s heart to the Divine. In exchange, the gifts of the Divines include healing wounds, granting might in battle, summoning spirits and other entities to one’s aid, and many more miracles.
In Gloriana, the chief examples of Divine Magic are the Clergy of Our Triumphant Family. While most priests of the various orders perform very few miracles, those charged with leadership or a sacred task go forth with the full celestial might of Brave Mother, Kind Father, and Blessed Child. Their power channels the same Stellar Light promised by the Prophecy of the New Day, though they know it not.
The Paladins of Angiris, protectors of the Huldra Royalty, have sworn a similar oath to the ancient spirits of the Caonach Vale, to preserve the beauty of nature and of their people.
Primal Music — The Power of the Bards
Then the voices of the Ainur, like unto harps and lutes, and pipes and trumpets,
and viols and organs, and like unto countless choirs singing with words, began to
fashion the theme of Ilúvatar to a great music; and a sound arose of endless
interchanging melodies woven in harmony that passed beyond hearing into the depths
and into the heights, and the places of the dwelling of Ilúvatar were filled to
overflowing, and the music and the echo of the music went out into the Void, and it
was not void
— The Music of the Ainur, JRR Tolkien
Gloriana, the Northern Kingdoms—indeed, all the world—teem with wandering musicians, storytellers, playwrights and heralds. All the lands are alive with song.
But for a few, this is more than the calling of their soul, the expression of their art. Whether they know it or not, some students of the arts find their words and music shudders them to their very core, flows out into the world, and changes it. Though scholars and sages have known of this magic since the first music, all the way back in the Dawn era, very few of them understand why.
Bards are those whose hearts chime with an ancient song, a melody and rhythm that underpins existence itself—the Primal Music. This is the lifeblood of the cosmos, the thread that connects the World Before, the World of Gloriana, and all that shall come afterwards. Transcending the Dawn, the Elements, the Emerald Tablets themselves, the Primal Music is what separates Reality from Nonexistence.
To its wielders, however, it is simple the soul of song, the power to win hearts and change history through word and wit. Bards are leaders, messengers, spies, entertainers, heroes of fortune, beloved by the Laughing God, wanderers and rapscallions.
- A few old tales, much beloved by bards and believed by very few, speak of an order of warriors whose attunement to the Primal Music was so strong, they embodied it and wielded it as champions. These heroes gathered in a secret stronghold called the Chorus, and with the power of Song they traveled the kingdoms righting wrongs and battling titans.
Ki — The Power of Monks
Those who seek to ready the body and do not ready the mind, they try to dam the river without touching the water. Those who seek to ready the mind and do not ready the body, they try to drink the water without touching the river.
— Onthi of the Four Pillars
Life is a form of power. The flow of Positive Energy into Negative Energy, the turning of the Great Wheel, the cycle of Birth, Life, Death and Renewal—all these things are a kind of movement, a force that flows inexorably in a circle.
Esoteric cloisters and small groups deliberately train to become aware of this flow, to understand the movement of energy through the world and through themselves, to find how all things are connected. Through this understanding and awareness they learn to direct this flow—not to turn it back upon itself, but to change the course it takes to its ultimate destination. This knowledge results in supernatural mastery of mind, body, and soul, and those who master it are often called Monks.
Monks use their bodies as weapons and shields. Because of their mastery of the flow of energy (often called Ki, but it goes by many names) they can withstand strikes that would shatter armor, and deliver blows mightier than the swing of an axe.
Many who go by the title of “Monk” in Gloriana are more likely to be clergy of Our Triumphant Family. There are a few monasteries across the plains of Emankorrak and the mountains of Taranat, but far more can be found throughout the Ten Tribes of Elam-Okarthel. Those born without the gift of the Dragon’s Blood can turn to the teachings of the Path of Righteousness to master inner and outer self and develop the talents of a monk.
Far away, across the Endless Ocean in the lands of the West, a temple sits in a high mountain, overseeing a small village in the valley below. This place is called the Temple of the Four Pillars. Masters of the temple claim knowledge of the Cosmic Principles that bind all creation, even the gods themselves.
Emerald Tablet — The Power of Alchemy
This is true and remote from all cover of falsehood
Whatever is below is similar to that which is above. Through this the marvels of the work of one thing are procured and perfected.
— Theatrum Chemicum, from Georg Beatu’s Aureliae Occultae Philosophorum
At the end of the Dawn era, the Elemental Sovereigns combined their will and might to reshape the world. From a single world of infinite possibility they created the Four Kingdoms. Their edicts, the laws of the new worlds, the way in which the elements would combine and separate, the physical constraints that determine why things fall, why birds can fly, why poison kills and food sustains, all the workings of the cosmos, they set forth in a sacred inscription to bind all creation: the Emerald Tablets.
No mortal is said to have witnessed the Tablets themselves, for they exist beyond the physical, a manifestation of occult truths beyond the grasp of matter and substance. Instead, scholars claim to have spoken to entities with direct access to the Tablets, or to have read transcriptions set down by immortal beings.
This is an esoteric path filled with mystery and symbols. Alchemists seek to understand the principles of creation, the way in which the elements mix with each other, where in the cosmos the Soul can be found, how to change one thing into another, all for the sake of obtaining true understanding of the nature of reality. Success in this endeavor would render the master of the Tablets a being beyond mortal life, capable of enacting their will through supreme adjudication of physical law.
Oneiromancy — The Power of Dream
And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself—
Yea, all which it inherit—shall dissolve,
And like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.
— The Tempest, Act 4, Scene 1
Ison Siranox wrote of Kingdoms Four: Above, Below, Other and Ours. But when the Elemental Sovereigns used the power of Will to separate the Dawn World into four, another world sprang up outside of their designs: The Fifth Kingdom, Dream.
It seemed that though the Will of the Gods of Before had been put to good use, the Vision, the divine creativity, was left to its own devices. A sea of infinite possibilities, of thought unbound by substance, flowed throughout the Kingdoms Four. With the world fresh and new once more, this Vision manifested itself upon the Mortal World and created Humans and other races from the elements. These peoples, children of no one, wandered the world of Dream in their minds at night, unlike the elves and dwarves, who tracked through the paths of their own shared memories instead.
Magic that manipulates this Fifth Kingdom is unlike any other. Fairies and Spirits have been known to use the paths of Dream to visit mortals in their sleep; the night hag Aunty Atropa is infamous for this power. The Dokkalfar are also practitioners, perhaps the first, for though they do not truly dream, they abduct humans and immerse them in long slumber, using their minds as windows into this world.
But only humans and other Children of Dream can become true masters of this forgotten magic: Oneiromancers. Novices in this magic start by learning to become aware of their own dreams, to shape their dreams around them to their liking, and eventually to wander in their sleep, visiting the dreams of others, or even stranger vistas and places beyond mortal minds in the Fifth Kingdom. More powers are said to await those who follow this path, and whispers speak of a man who could blend the Mortal and Fifth kingdoms together.
The Penitents do not practice full fledged Oneiromancy, but their rituals draw the attention of the Phoenix Scion, an entity that exists wholly in the Fifth Kingdom. Mairg, Mother of Mists has an ancient crown derived from the last remnants of Despair’s Herald. Through her Crown of Roots, she can ensnare and torment sleepers, feeding off their suffering to become even stronger.