Legend of the Tiger Generals
Magic of the Four Continents is almost boundless in the ways it may manifest. It is the Jewel With a Thousand Facets, the Wellspring Of a Thousand Fountains, or whichever other metaphor the local magi may favor.
It’s impossible to master in all its many forms, so the great majority of mages specialize in some form or another. In fact, the average magician is a specialist even within his or her larger field; only the true prodigies are those who can master the full suite of disciplines within an art such as necromancy. The following are just a few disciplines by which a talented mage can draw on the wellspring of magic.
- Alchemy: The magic of potions, elixirs and chemical transmutation. Specializations include transmuting metals, biological elixirs, and homonculi creation.
- Artifice: The art of infusing metals and machines with magic. Specializations include clockworks, weaponsmithing and armoring.
- Beast Magic: Also called theriomancy. This discipline involves drawing on or duplicating the power of mystical beasts. Specializations include shapeshifting, dragon magic and sphinx magic.
- Celestial Magic: Drawing magical power from celestial bodies. Specializations include solar magic, lunar magic, and astromancy.
- Divination: Various arts of learning to “read” the patterns of the world. Often considered a fusion discipline, as other disciplines frequently involve some form of divination as a potential technique. Specializations include cartomancy, astrology and mathematical divination.
- Glyph Magic: Using the power of carved runes or painted glyphs to focus spells. Specializations include Jotun rune magic and scrollmaking.
- Elemental Magic: Binding the raw elemental power of the world. Specializations focus on specific elements such as earth, water, ice or metal.
- Lapidary Magic: The art of using gems and jewels as vessels or foci for magic. Specializations usually involve prismatics, passive enchantments, or specializing in a particular form of jewel such as pearls or rubies.
- Life Magic: Drawing on the power of the living world or things within it. Specializations include botanomancy, zoomancy and soul magic.
- Necromancy: Using the dead as an interface for magic, and drawing on the energies of the Underworld. Specializations include animation, spirit divination, shadow magic and curses.
- Summoning:: Drawing power and allies from other, outworldly sources. Often considered a fusion discipline; summoning from the Underworld, for instance, may be classified as a specialization of summoning or of necromancy. Specializations include elemental summoning, Pandaemonic magic and teleportation.
Most practitioners of magic are taught in an apprentice/master relationship. The talent to manipulate magic does not reliably breed true; even the notable mage-clans adopt and marry magi from outside to bolster their ranks. As with martial arts, being chosen as apprentice by a notable practitioner is a highly prestigious station, and a great deal of pressure is placed on the apprentice.
In Chalcedon, the largest mage organizations are the Nexus Pact and the Spiral Clan. These two collections of sorcerers both offer allegiance to the Tiger Kingdom, and both are vying to become the premier arcane fellowship on the continent. Their rivalry is legendary: the two factions stop short of violence and outright criminal actions, but they take many other opportunities to advance themselves and make their rival look foolish.