Magic

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The Mortal Realms are made of Magic itself and it is such a pervasive, powerful and complex subject not even the gods fully understand it. Harnessing the volatile forces of the aether is not only dangerous, leaving many mad or worse, but also a great opportunity for glory and triumph.[1a]

Nature

An Arcanoscope that shows all eight colors of magic.

Magic is the most powerful and dangerous of all resources, mystic energies that flow and permeate everything in the Mortal Realms. Traces of their existence is found in nearly every environment, on the wind, bedrock, flora or fauna. Magic is not distributed evenly across the mortal realm, thinner at its centre growing strength as it gets close to its edges, with the opposite being true for the Realm of Shyish after the Necroquake. So dangerous is magic at its edges, that few who visited it have returned with their sanity intact, most not returning at all. Other places also draw more magic to themselves, like geomantic pylons, ley lines, temples and realmgates.[1a][1d]

Some supernatural creatures are gifted with uncanny traits due to magic, like the spirit-life of a Cairn Wraith or the eternal fires of the Flamespyre Phoenix. Sometimes when raw magic meets reality, which might be from a natural process that takes a long time or a great metaphysical process, it solidifies into realmstone.[1c]

Origin

The Pantheon of Order originally taught the mortal races how to harness magic, but the Age of Chaos destroyed all records of the formal history of the development of arcane arts. In its place each organisation and races has different theories and legends on where the magic originally came from, many tying it to their own creation myths, and it is not know which is true or if they all contain a degree of truth.[1a]

Some of the known theories of origin are:

  • The Collegiate Arcane believes that magic comes from the destruction of the World-That-Was releasing it into the void where it would later form the mortal realms.[1a]
  • Orruks believe that magic came from a indigestion Gorkamorka had after eating large number of defeated primal monsters and would vomit magic in chunks.[1a]
  • Slann starmasters claim that magic comes from even older beings than themselves and deeply related to a eternal struggle between those beings and a corrupting menace that lies beyond reality.[1a]

Hues

Magic particles can be refracted into components of different color, with each of these having their own elemental characteristic, attracted to each other by cosmic laws. Each of the eight Mortal Realms embodies magic of a single color or particular trait and, therefore, that type of magic is stronger and easier to cast there, through wizards will have no problems with casting magics of other realms there. Many scholars of the Collegiate Arcane theorise that is attractive force is how the Realmspheres of each Mortal Realm formed. Each race has their own views on how to use the spectrum of magic and how to apply their unique abilities to channel the eldritch force in a way that works better for their kind.[1a]

These rules does not apply to magics discovered in the Aetheric Void.[1a]

Spectrum of Magic[1a]
Realm Colour Description
Azyr Celestial Concerns the unknown, prognostications, storms and stars. It dissipates and drifts.
Ghyran Jade Concerns life, growth, healing and nature. It waxes and wanes in cycles.
Ghur Amber Concerns the hunter, the hunted, beast, prey and the feral aggression of nature. It is a wild and untamed magic.
Chamon Gold Concerns metallurgy and transmutations. It is the heaviest of all magical hues.
Aqshy Bright Concerns flames, fireballs, fury and burning passions. It shimmers like heat haze and smoulders like burning coals.
Shyish Amethyst Concerns endings, doom, inevitability and death. A grim magic with a chilling hue that can be easily found on battlefields and cairns.
Ulgu Grey Concerns shadows, mists, illusions, ruses, lies, phantasms and hidden meanings. It is fundamentally a trickster force.
Hysh Light Concerns illumination, purity, symbolism and learning. It has the power to banish shadows and reveal truths. It is enemical to Grey Magic.

Spellcasters

A wizard is a being that can channel arcane energies into spells and conjurations with the right sequence of incantations, thoughts and gestures.[1a]

Witch-Sight

Witch-Sight is an ability that allows one to see magic, a gift that only a few have.[1a]

This ability is not necessary to observe Realmstone and some devices, like the Arcanoscopes and Kronuscopes, can be used to observe magic.[1a][1c]

Dangers

Simple errors during spellcasting can lead to hazardous effect, like self-immolation or their destruction after losing control over their enchantments.[1b] It can also take a toll on their soul and many end up corrupted by their own zeal or incantations gone awry.[1f]

Other more insidious effects are the desires for greater power and knowledge, and there are plenty opportunities for those who delve too deeply into eldritch lore. They learn that they can trade health, loyalty and souls at the risk of death, madness and corruption by the forces of Chaos. The cults of Tzeentch are adepts at manipulating those with such desires with promises of forbidden knowledge and mystic renown.[1b]

Endless Spells and their tendency to go rogue is often one of the best examples of the danger of sorcery, with many battles turning to complete disorder as both sides sought to scramble to survive these living spells. Casting spells of such magnitude can lead the arcane energy to cause breaches in reality, allowing for invasions by daemons.[1f]

Learning

Each of the races of mortal realms learned to draw magic in their own way, but because they all use the same source to power their spells, they all face the same dangers despite its differences.[1b]

Chaos

The magic of the forces of Chaos is unique in that is granted by the Dark Gods using the dark and corrupting forces of the Realm of Chaos to augment the magics of the Mortal Realms. Tzeentch, Slaanesh and Nurgle embrace wizardry and imbue their daemons, their wills made manifest, with abilities that reflect their domains and all other forms of corruption. The Skaven focus their magic into decay-oriented powers and twisted alchemical sciences. Khorne on the other hand despises all magic.[1b]

Known types of wizards are:

Death

The magic of Death comes directly from the World-That-Was, brought to the Mortal Realms by Nagash and his Mortarchs, who found a magical haven of amethyst magic in the Realm of Death. Nagash does not share his knowledge with anybody, only those who have become his thralls. And despite this cost, many still seek the death-defying powers for themselves.[1b]

Known types of wizards are:

Destruction

The magic of Destruction, notably that of the greenskin races and the ogors, is often connected to the Realm of Ghur and it's bestial magic. Orruks abilities to cast spells is innate to their very beings, something they know by instinct. For example, Wurrgog Prophets train constantly on how to control, or atleast aim better, the spells that keeps popping out of them. Ogors had to perfect spellcrafting by trial and error, with Butchers experimenting with various recipes and ingredients to activate spells.[1b]

Known types of wizards are:

Order

Magic is not easy for mankind and it requires years of study and apprenticeship to master a single discipline. Many devices, artefacts and esoteric machines, were developed by the Battlemages of the Collegiate Arcane, the preeminent faction of human spellcasters, to help with casting. The Age of Chaos destroyed much of the knowledge of spellcasting outside of Azyr, but still some feral tribes passed down the generations some arcane knowledge and practices that managed to survive, through they aren't as strong as a Battlemage.[1b]

Aelves on the other hand quickly learned magic and how to harness it. The first few that Teclis instructed were the Idoneth Deepkin, but their instability of spirit led to them creating hidden kingdoms beneath the oceans with what they learned. Teclis would not repeat the same mistakes with the Lumineth Realm-lords, the aelves he next introduced in Hysh, and to them he instructed the secrets of light magic. On the side of Ulgu, Morathi only taught magic to those most useful to her and what Malerion did to shadow magic in Druchiroth only rumours of its greatness exist. The aelven refugees of Azyrheim formed the Eldritch Council, welcoming many apprentices and helping the armies of the Free Peoples they deem worthy of their service.[1b]

The magic of the Duardin depends mainly on outside sources rather than innate ability. The Fyreslayers are its most frequents users, tapping into the elemental magic of Aqshy embedded into runes and ur-gold. The Kharadron Overlords rely on science and inventions to manipulate arcane energies and unlock the wonders of aether-gold.[1b]

The Sylvaneth magic was always more focused on nurturing than destruction, by the will of their goddess Alarielle. But the depredations of chaos on their groves compelled the Ghyranie goddes to divulge the most violent life spells to them.[1b]

There are a myriad of different types of spellcasters found across the realms, counting hundreds in just humanity alone, but only a few are skilled and powerful enough to fight alongside armies.[1b]

Known types of wizards are:

Lesser

There are several types of less specific casters in the Mortal Realms. The Arcanum Optimar empowered their abilities allowing them to do minor cantrips like creating sparks or change their hair color on whim.[1e]

Some of the lesser known types of casters are:

  • Tawdry Illusionists[1e]
  • Soothsayers that can predict a lover's faithful[1e]
  • Ragged Hermits casting incantations[1e]
  • Ostentatiously robed high priests that deliver mystic blessing[1e]
  • Quasi-Charlatans who are only strong enough to use their abilities to do little more than entertain[1e]
  • Fortune Tellers[1e]
  • Local Healers[1e]
  • Learned masters in high towers[1e]
  • Tribal Witch-doctors[1e]

Spells

A spell is a magical effect created by a wizard by channelling arcane energies into spells and conjurations with the right sequence of incantations, thoughts and gestures. Examples of spells are a sizzling fireball or the ability to raise the dead from their burial grounds.[1a]

Endless Spells

For more information see: Endless Spell

Endless Spells, know by many other names such as Living Magic or Arcanus Infinitum, are spells that after being cast do not naturally dissipate and therefore lasted indefinitely, often called by many as self-sustaining. They first started to be summoned after the Necroquake, the shyishian energy released by this magical disaster changed the nature of eldritch energy in the mortal realms allowing it to be channelled in a entirely new way. They have the unusual tendency of going rogue and causing widespread damage across the realms.[1f]

Spell Hunters are wizards that hunt down rogue Endless Spells. Some among these seek to stop the devastation these spells cause, like the Lord-Arcanums of Sigmar's Stormhosts, the Battlemages of the Collegiate Arcane and the Eldritch Council, though some wizards of dubious morality hunt the spells for un-altruiatic reasons, often at the head of press-ganged warbands or mercenaries. Other Sepell Hunters include Tzaangor Shamans who seek to gain the power of such spells by consuming them. The Grey Seers of the Skaven seek to unbind the living spells and take the Realmstone that coalesces when the spells are unbound. Among the forces of Nagash, some Necromancers have risen up to stop such rampaging spells.[1e]

Magical Objects

Magic can be used to imbue and enchant weapons with superlative qualities. A few examples of these are blades that can slice through rock or arrows that never miss their targets. Many of the most powerful artefacts of the Mortal Realms were created during the Age of Myth.[1a]

Realmstone

For more information see: Realmstone

Realmstone, or Cursestone are concentrations of raw magic, a disparate collection of substances that can be found in the Mortal Realms. It is the most sought-after resource in the Realms, it is of such value that a rich seam might start battles or call the attention of the gods. Each of the Realmstone is made out of a hue of magic, corresponding to each of the Mortal Realms and one more kind for the corrupted realmstone from the Realm of Chaos.[1c]

Devices

There are many devices made to help enhance one's ability to interact with magic, most notably:

  • Arcanoscopes: These celestial lens of the Arcanoscopes of observatoriums, created by the astromancers of Azyrheim. Its construction is a carefully guarded secret, renders magic visible and breaks it down to it's component colours.[1a]
  • Kronuscounters: After the Necroquake the observatoriums were upgraded with these devices to record the unprecedented levels of amethyst magic.[1a]

History

Age of Myth

Aelves, Men and most other races were first taught spellcasting during the Age of Myth by the Pantheon of Order, most notably Teclis. He taught the various factions under the protection of the Pantheon of Order the basic principles of sorcery and how to draw upon its eldritch energies. The most talented of wizards he showed them advanced spells in order to survive against the monsters and mythic beasts that inhabited the realms. The other gods also taught mortal how to use of magic in their own way. Magic became fundamental to the rise of civilisations and many of the most powerful artefact were created during this mythic era.[1b]

Age of Chaos

Much of the knowledge of magic by Order was lost during the Age of Chaos, especially the formal history of the development of its formal arts. In this age magic became feared as dark practices turned magic into a tool of corruption and destruction, with many spellcasters mutating or falling to chaos. Entire people shunned those who used magic and feared the supernatural.[1a][1b]

Little survived by feral tribes passing it down the generations. However the Collegiate Arcane in Azyrheim preserved much of the magical knowledge in its towers.[1b]

Age of Sigmar

Magic was crucial to the the restoration of civilisation and hope by the forces of Order at the start of the Age of Sigmar, with many cities raised by arcane means. Magic quickly became an accepted part of daily life.[1a]

With the Age of Sigmar the Collegiate Arcane has opened many new branches across the other Mortal Realms. The revelation of the Sacrosant Chamber also came to empower the Stormcast Eternals with formidable magics.[1b]

Arcanum Optimar

For more information see: Arcanum Optimar

After the devastation of the Necroquake, magic in the Mortal Realms became more potent and wild. Godbeasts stirred in their slumber and elemental creatures thrashed in fury. Items made out of realmstone grew in power, noteworthy objects became spontaneously enchanted and wizards could channel magic easier, almost as if by instinct.[1f]

New conjurations of concentrated power of the realms were created by wizards but they did not fade away as it would expected and the wizards that summoned them felt a sense euphoria at doing so. These Endless Spells, as they would come to be called, would soon began to devastate the Mortal Realms and many magical organisations created Spell Hunters to hunt down and unbind these wild spells.[1f]

Sources

  • 1: Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Malign Sorcery
    • 1a: Magic in the Mortal Realms, pg. 6-7
    • 1b: The Learning of Magic, pg. 8-9
    • 1c: Concerning Realmstone, pg. 10-13
    • 1d: How Living Magic came to the Mortal Realms, pg. 14-15
    • 1e: A New Era of Magic, pg. 16-17
    • 1f: Magic Unending, pg. 18-19
Magic of the Mortal Realms and Beyond
Spells Magic Spectrum HeavensBeastsFireMetalLifeDeathLightShadows
Realmsphere Magic AzyrGhurAqshyChamonGhyranShyishHyshUlguEightpoints
Chaos Beasts of Chaos (Twisted WildsDark Storm) • Chaos Ascendant (Ruinous Sorcery) • Disciples of Tzeentch (FateChange) • Hedonites of Slaanesh (SlaaneshForbidden Sorceries of SlaaneshPain and Pleasure) • Maggotkin of Nurgle (MalignanceVirulenceFoulness) • Skaven (RuinWarpvolt Galvanism) • Slaves to Darkness (Damned)
Death Flesh-Eater Courts (Madness) • Legions of Nagash (SorrowsSoulblight Gravelords (DeathmagesVampires)) • Nighthaunt (Underworlds) • Ossiarch Bonereapers (Mortisans)
Destruction Gloomspite Gitz (MoonclansSpiderfangs) • Ogor Mawtribes (GutmagicSun-Eater) • Orruk Warclans (WeirdSavage Waaagh!Savage BeastSwamp)
Order Cities of Sigmar (CinderLeavesSmogPhoenixDark SorceryWhitefireEaglesUmbral SpiteIlluminationGhurish Heartlands) • Daughters of Khaine (Shadows) • Idoneth Deepkin (Deeps) • Lumineth Realm-lords (HyshHigh PeaksWindsZaitrec) • Seraphon (Celestial DominationCelestial Manipulation) • Stormcast Eternals (StormInvigoration) • Sylvaneth (Deepwood)
Other Common SpellsEndless Spells Units SpellsShadespireIce
RealmstoneNullstoneArcanum Optimar