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Terrenus Laws of Magic

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In the ten or so years administrating Terrenus, this is my first public attempt at a cohesive, semi-organized "system" of magic. The first private attempt was in 2013, which was a lot less organized but discussion between desolate, lastlight, and Off Topic (among others) prompted me down certain paths of thought. It's pretty bare right now but I think there's enough here to work with and try out. In the future I'm hoping for something immersive and engaging to which this will be an index or an appendix.

So long as it adheres to the Mild Powers ruleset, Terrenus is agnostic as far as metaphysical systems are concerned. This means that members can feel free to adopt or adapt whatever system lends itself to their creative expression. That said, the below is the official system of Terrenus magic. It is recognized as the mainstream cosmological view of the world in Terrenus. 

Keep in mind that like any field of study, the laws presented below are subject to improvement and modification as new information is found. Science is not math, meaning that scientific knowledge, even or especially about magic, is tentative and provisional, with nothing being final, and the accepted explanation being "the best among all available alternatives". To say this is subject to change for reasons in-character and out is an understatement. 

Laws and Theorems of Magic

A law is the description of an observed phenomenon. A theory is the explanation of that phenomenon. A law tells us that something is, not why it is - a theory attempts to explain it. Below are the laws of magic as they are currently understood in Terrenus. 

Law of Origin: All magic comes from the Spirit Realm and is regulated by various layers of genius loci.

Law of Chaos: Even with proper observance of the Laws, magic is chaotic and dangerous. Spells can go awry. Spell Permanency is a new and specialized field that can only guarantee longevity to within an acceptable margin. The longer a spell goes on the higher the chance it will go awry.

Law of Method: Methods for manipulation of magic so far include written words and symbols (including glyphs and runic formulas), spoken words and rhymes, color theory, music theory, hand symbols and gestures, esoteric components, and direct energy manipulation. These are all considered means by which a caster can negotiate arcane intent with a genius loci.

Law of Equivalent Exchange: All magic carries comes with a cost. This is usually seen as the consumption of material spell components but can also be seen as physical damage (bruises, cuts, disfigurement, etc), intangibles (sanity, memories, emotions, and in particular secrets), accelerated aging, and in extreme cases even death. Casting magic in a group mitigates this effect.

Law of Arcane Inertia: With rare exception, spells that are cast will remain cast as long as the Loci supports their existence. A fireball will burn out with lack of fuel but will not randomly disappear. A curse will remain until its neutralized (or its respective energy source runs out). Contrast against Law of Chaos.

Law of Parallel Symbolism: "Like produces like" or "an effect resembles its cause". It is easier to produce a fire effect from a spell focus related to the base element (coal, a phoenix feather, etc) than an unrelated or neutral component (earth) or diametrically opposed component (water or ice).

Law of Contagion: Objects in contact become entangled and the contact persists over distance but attenuates with time. This law is commonly applied in voodoo, allowing a magician to perform spells on an item and produce an effect on a person or place. Contagion is affected by tangible variables like how many people contacted the item, for how long, and whether the item is part of the target (hair, skin, blood provide a stronger link than clothing). Intangible factors like sentimental attachment and emotional trauma are also a factor. Contagion links can also be semantic or metaphorical.

Theorem of Many Worlds: Both the Real World and the Spirit World are infinite in nature, and in an infinite universe all things that can be eventually come to pass. TMW theorists posit that all instances of different worlds, dimensions, realities, and planes are either spatial distortions that link disparate parts of the infinite universe, or spiritual nexus that join parts of the physical world with parts of the irrational spiritual world.

General Principles and Terms

Arcanosphere - Like the magnetosphere and the stratosphere, the arcanosphere is a planet-wide atmospheric phenomenon that accounts for concentrations of magical influence and force (or lack thereof), and the ease with which magical forces can be accessed, harnessed and manipulated. There is a known heavy concentration over Shawnee Glacier and a known thinning over Dead Peaks.

Epicoramine - Abbreviated as EPC, epicoramine is the only known arcane neurotransmitter in existence. EPC is a monoamine transmitter with excitatory properties. It can be found in minerals and foods that have been irradiated with, or subjected to, prolonged exposure to arcane energies. The presence of this mineral transmitter in food and water has led to magic-based mutations in various species, most notably in, but not limited to, humanoids and hominids.

Genius Loci - During the reign of Levas, the 'genius locus' was defined as 'the protective spirit inhabiting a plane'. The post-Zengi age, during the Oligarchic reign, sees the genius loci understood as the basic foundation from which an area's magical rules spring, thus defining the basic means of arcane operation. Genius Loci can "onion", meaning one can exist within another and alter the rules inside of a localized area. This explains why ritual magic works better in Blairville, magitech is more functional in Hell's Gate, and neither are fully functional in the Dead Peaks. The influence is uniform from core to edge rather than attenuating at the periphery. It is not uncommon to come across references to the loci in ancient texts as "the gods of magic"

Spirit Realm - Terrenus cosmology posits only two planes of existence or realities. The "Real"/Material/Physical world and the Spirit/Other world. The Spirit world is one of infinite complexity and scope (in Gaianism this is thanks in large part to the augmented Wyld presence here) so it contains the various other "settings" that most people interpret as being alternate realities. For instance, those that physically visit "hell" dimension(s) are visiting pockets of the Spirit World as are those that visit various "heaven" dimensions, and so on.

Tripolar Synapse Junction - The TSJ is a cluster of specialized tripolar neurons located near the base of the pons, bordering the medulla oblongata and spreading both into the midbrain and the brainstem. The TSJ is unique in that it is a source of the EPC neurotransmitter and belongs strictly to mutated species capable of innately manipulating magical energies. Species with the TSJ mutation account for less than 5% of the national population. A TSJ is not required for knowledge-based magic, which accounts for a majority of the world's magicians. 

Edited by supernal

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