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Magic is a broad term to describe many of the newer phenomenon to occur around the world following the sundering of the veil in 1415. It can apply to both the powers that have arisen in some people, as well as some previously unheard of natural phenomenon.
Natural magic is naturally occurring magical phenomenon. This includes magical creatures such as elementals, and things such as the Fire Rain that occurred in the hours following the sundering of the veil.
Several magical phenomenon have been observed over the years since the sundering of the Veil, including the Fire Rain that caused the destruction of Bursa, Riga, and several other cities. Other examples include the Crystal Column in Coventry, UBK, the Vortex in the southern Atlantic, and the Oasis in Antarctica.
Main article: List of Magical Creatures
Magical creatures are animals or constructs that came into being solely through magical means and would not have arisen due to natural evolution. Examples include the Unicorns of the western Indian subcontinent, the Rocs of the mountains of Persia, Wendigos of northern Vinlandia, or Jackalopes of central and western Vinlandia.
While the previous examples evolved due to the magical energies unleashed following the sundering, other creatures or hybrids have been created over the years by human interference such as the Werewolves of the United British Kingdoms and the Byzantine Republic, the Pegasus, and the animated corpses common to Mexico known as Zombies.
Most of the more dangerous magical creatures have been hunted nearly to extinction and exist solely in zoos or reserves. The more intelligent humanoids have mostly integrated into society, though are generally afforded fewer rights than humans.
Personal magic is magic that can be focused and used by individuals for a variety of effects.
Arcane magic describes the classification of magic utilized by mages and sorcerers. It is mostly based on Aristotle's four natural elements of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water, but some arcane scholars have been able to use this type of magic to affect the minds of others (some theorize this to be manipulation of the fifth element, Aether), as well as advancing some alchemical theories.
Holy magic describes the abilities that have arisen in devout Abrahamic followers. Its effects mostly fall into several subcategories: Healing, Physical Enhancement, and Inspiration. Some rare extremely devout individuals have managed to create an effect they describe as "Holy Fire" a white hot flame that burns only the unfaithful.
Pagan magic is similar to holy magic in that its power seems to arise in devout followers, but in followers of pagan religions or traditions. Its effects are broad and vary from faith to faith. For example, some members of the Cult of Hephaestus have the ability to engulf their weapons in flame, while some of the pagan Skraelings of Vinlandia have shown the ability to transform themselves into various animal forms.
Instinctual magic is abilities that aren't derived from study or faith, almost always natural abilities. Some examples include lycanthropes and the divination abilities possessed by the Roma. These abilities are usually minor, or single effect, and manifest themselves at a variety of times. Instinctual magic is very rare and usually limited to certain areas or groups.
Religious Attitudes Towards Magic
McGregorist: The official McGregorist stance on magic is that it is a gift from God to reward his creation for their devotion to Him. It is simply a raw material for a skilled worker to form to his will much as iron for a blacksmith, or wood for a carpenter. Magic is not inherently evil or unholy and any use of it for evil purposes is entirely up to the individual who does so.
Roman Catholic: The Catholic Church officially embraces Holy Magic, and in fact has reformed its selection of Pope's and Cardinals based on a clergyman's ability to use such powers. Holy magic is a blessing by God on his faithful in order to aid in fighting the blasphemous wielders of Arcane or Pagan magics.
Initially, Muslims rejected magic as a trick or illusion, as the Qur'an portrayed it. As time went on and Christians gained ground using new-found arcane or holy abilities, Muslims slowly began to accept that magic was in fact a new facet of God's grace, a gift to mankind. When Mahdi Hajjar received his vision of a restored Baghdad of legend, he studied magic in order to achieve this goal. The restoration of Baghdad in 1654 signaled the beginning of widespread Islamic acceptance of magic, though Divination is still rejected through most of the Muslim world.
Judaism forbids the practice of any magic outside several specific practices such as Golemcraft.
The Hindu faith was the most accepting of magic upon its discovery, due to the long traditional belief that India was a land of magic. This was one of the key factors in the decline of Islam in most of the Indian subcontinent.
Having been established long after the introduction of magic into the world, Sihkism was accepting of magic from the beginning.
Languages and their effects on magic
While many magical effects can be achieved through the use of complex gestures or simple acts of will, the most common means of channeling magic is through incantation. Years of experimentation has deemed that the wording of the incantations themselves don't matter as long as the intent of the spell is clear, the language the incantation is spoken in seems to have an effect on its potency.
Latin is generally observed to be the most effective spellcasting language, though because of this it became very common, and therefore easy to counterspell. This lead to other potent languages being adopted as spellcasting languages, generally obscure local tongues. Nations that support spellcasting tend to encourage the education of these languages in order for potential magi to already have a basic knowledge when he decides on devotion to the magical arts.
Examples of potent spellcasting languages