Campaign Journal Entry:
Okay, I've been watching Fullmetal Alchemist. Alchemy is the art of Transmuting one material or many materials into something. So, it's time to talk about the Magic in the Known Lands. How magic works in the campaign setting, and what classes it uses.
Well, it only makes sense to tell you that the d20 System has many different sorts of magic options that have been created by creatives in the past ten years. One of the best that came out of it was the Advanced d20 Magic system published by GoO in 2006. It uses the system in Sovereign Stone d20, but with different effects. Advanced d20 Magic takes the system deeper and adds an anime quality to it. Although there is a lot of math involved (anything better in Roleplaying games does involve a lot of math, people!), I love the system and I love how it works. So, on with the show!
Magic Theory in the Known Lands is a bastardization of Quantum Theory from Ancient Times. It's an application of the theory to produce desired effects. Sometimes, these things seemingly override the basic laws of Physics. Which is why it is called magic or Sorcery. A sorcerer: whether he'd be a Wizard, Necromancer, or Warlock; exerts his will over the Universe to create an effect. A priest does this as well to produce a miracle. Desire is key to produce a certain effect: whether it is a fireball, or a lightning bolt, or a healing miracle.
In the Known Lands, Arcanists are divided into three different classes: Wizard, Necromancer, and Warlock. At the other end (Divine Magic) priests are divided into three different classes: Cleric, Druid, and Shaman.
Q. What about psionics? I thought you loved psionics in D&D.
I do. I liked how they worked psionics! But the Advanced d20 Magic system and the way it treats spells makes the psionics system seem obsolete. Psionics is in the Known Lands, but can only be learned from Ancient Technology (i.e. the Atlantean Codex) or passed down through the generations from an ancestor who has learned from Ancient technology. Eventually, what is learned is bastardized back into Arcane and Divine theory. So, you can have a psionic character, but according to how I'm describing how magic works: Psionics is already in the equation. All psionics is about is exerting your desires on the Universe and making them manifest (hence, MANIFESTER class). Magic in the Known Lands works essentially the same way, but people believe it is magic, not science, that is at work here.
The wizard is a master at spellcasting different sorts of spells. A wizard is a generalist, able to speak arcane incantations to produce a desired effect. While the game system that the Known Lands uses is BESM d20, the Wizard class is described in Advanced d20 Magic and has conversions worked out for the BESM d20 rules right in the BESM d20 book.
Wizards in the Known Lands are given respect and honor. So, hence many people seek to become Wizards in the kingdom of Caithness and in the Hordelands. Many people give wizards a wide berth. This is because wizards can cast spells that both help and hinder people. They also use destructive, battle magic to terrible effect. Typically, for all the power they muster, its possible that they can be defeated as for all their power they are only one man and a full company of soldiers will eventually overpower a wizard.
Wizards are secretive, actually. They don't teach powerful secrets to just anyone. In Caithness, the power of the wizard is handed down from Master to apprentice, from teacher to pupil. The young apprentice is often taught from a young age how to master magic, since younger minds are much more impressionable in learning magic. The result is that wizards are few in number, and that the power they can command can be great indeed.
Unlike the Warlock class in Complete Arcane and D&D 4th Edition (which is kept by a bunch of spoiled brats who live in Renton, Washington who don't want to share all their toys with us, the other children, because they happen to be special and say that it is their intellectual property), the Warlock comes from the World of Warcraft Roleplaying Game.
The Warlock is someone who traffics with demons and other beings from other planes, in an attempt to seek demonic power and other forbidden knowledge. The Warlocks of the Known Lands dabble in powers Wizards don't understand and thus their magic is forbidden. Unlike the Wizard, which has evolved from an incomplete understanding of Quantum Theory, the Warlock student learned his magic from demonic and devilish powers.
Warlocks first appeared in the Known Lands when the Orcs came to the Known Lands and fought the ancients with their demonic arcane power during the second Interstellar War. The warlocks were then organized, but since then they were defeated by the Ancients and their psions. As the years passed, Warlock magic became known to elves, humans, orcs, the undead, and gnomes alike.
Warlocks of the Known Lands understand, and use, dark magic. Their spells are much more destructive, more afflictive, and deals with controlling and enslaving demons. Often, warlocks are seen with a pet. Usually this is a demonic entity: an imp, a Void Walker, a succubus, and a fel hunter are the most often seen pets. Warlocks also have the power to summon a nightmarish Fel Steed from the outer planes, and can summon more powerful pets. The Warlock is a feared spellcaster, and they too, pass down their knowledge from Master to apprentice.
In all of the Known Lands, there is but one thing that is absolutely forbidden. That is the Transmutation of a human body. Such magic is forbidden since it dabbles with the cycle of Life. Necromancy, however, is the study of magic in the application of both Life and Death. Necromancers seek magic that animate, transmute, and control the dead. Above all else, this magic is absolutely FORBIDDEN!
But people try. While powerful psions Among the Ancients have been known to bring back the dead, Necromancy caused powerful problems in the History of the Known Lands. It brought down a powerful, Holy Empire; brought upset to the natural balance, and generally wrecked havoc. While Wizards are respected and Warlocks are tolerated in society, a known necromancer is often hunted down and burned at the stake. Still, the desperate often try. Necromancy lures people who are afraid, who have lost someone, and who are suffering from the death of a loved one into its grasp.
The magic of Necromancy has it's perils. While Warlocks may fall under demonic and devilish corruption, and Wizards bend the Universe to their will, Necromancy is a magic of give and take. When you use Necromancy, to give life you must give something up. When you animate the dead, you give a piece of your life force. When you transmute a human being to create life from its simple elements you give something up. Usually parts of your own body. Necromancers are slowly tainted by their magic. The life force they give to animate the dead slowly takes a toll on them. A being who is a necromancer slowly reveals his own soul: hollow eyes, pallid skin, foul odors, and so forth are the signs of a necromancer.