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Arcane Magic and You - A Dummy's Guide to the Arcane
#1
Life in Azeroth is full of adventures and hidden horrors few have ever seen, but even the most mundane peon or peasant will have seen a display of magic at some point in their life. Magic is everywhere in Azeroth, from the demon-summoning Burning Blade fanatic to the righteous paladin who heals his allies, magic in Azeroth comes in all shapes and forms. Yet the magic of a shaman is fundamentally different from a mage's magic. And magic isn't without risks of its own. This guide will help you better understand what exactly Arcane magic is, and what kind of consequences it could have.

Arcane Magic and Divine Magic?
There are two kinds of magic in the world of Azeroth, divine magic and arcane magic. This guide is about arcane magic, but we'll quickly go into divine magic as well to show the difference. Divine magic comes a strong faith in oneself or their gods. A Paladin who believes firmly in her cause for good will be able to call upon the Holy Light for holy magic, while a priestess of Elune can call upon such powers thanks to her faith in Elune. A druid can call upon the natural divine magic of the lands by serving nature, while Shamans are gifted incredibly power by their faith and dedicated service to the elements.

One thing all Divine magic has in common is that it is that divine spellcasters must constantly affirm that they are worthy of their gifts. A paladin who fails to use his powers for the betterment of the innocent will lose his powers, and a priestess of Elune who breaks with her faith will no longer be able to channel her magic. A Shadowhunter who stops pleasing the Loa spirits will lose his ability to call upon their powers, while a shaman who no longer serves the elements will not be gifted a single bit of their power.

Arcane magic on the other hand isn't earned, it's taken by force.

A history lesson in Arcane magic.
In ancient times, the Titans came to Azeroth to shape the world, bringing order to chaos. In the very centre of the world they placed the Well of Eternity, a source of unimaginable arcane magic. A gift to the world, arcane magic runs under Azeroth in ley lines, empowering all life, allowing it to grow and flourish. Without arcane magic pulsing through the ley lines, the evolution of the various species in Azeroth would never have been possible. In many ways, they are the bloodstream of the world.

As you can see, Arcane magic is not inherently evil or corrupting; it is in fact a powerful gift from the titans that empower all life in Azeroth. Yet this is if you leave it to its natural cause. The Highborne discovered that they could weave the natural currents into powerful spells that created magnificent effects, and quickly succumbed to the addiction. The Burning Legion invaded the world and could only just be beaten back.

High Elves would later warn the humans about the addicting magic, but they proved even more reckless with their magic than the elves. "It won't happen to me" is usually the first words into arcane addiction and corruption.

What are the various magic schools?
There are eight different schools of magic. One would be tempted to list "Fire magic", "Runic magic" or "Fel magic" as schools at first glance, but this isn't how the categorization works. While rune magic works fundamentally different from fel magic, drawing upon the power of magic symbols formed by the Ley Lines instead of deals with demons, they still follow the same magic schools. Each school of magic focuses on a different thing.

1. Abjuration. Abjuration is the art of using magic to conjure up shields and wards. Spells such as fel armour, frost armour, fire ward and mana shield are all spells from the abjuration school of magic. It relies heavily on protecting the caster from harm.

2. Conjuration. Conjuration is a school of magic which focuses on summoning creatures and objects. This ranges from summoning water and food for the hungry, to pulling a flaming demon or a water elemental into the physical world.

3. Divination. Divination focuses on seeing things you couldn't normally see with your bare eyes. Powerful divination magic can show you remote regions of Azeroth, or things that would normally have been invisible to mortal eyes.

4. Necromancy. Necromancy is the foul magic that focuses on raising the dead, creating plagues and create shadowy spells of destructive power. This kind of magic is outlawed by Dalaran law.

5. Enchantment. Enchanting is the art of empowering objects and people with magical buffs, or removing them again. (Also known as disenchanting) With it, magical swords can be formed, or a person's natural prowess can be increased a tenfold.

6. Transmutation. Transmutation focuses on transforming one thing in something else, or switching places with it. A very well known example of this magic is polymorphing a vicious creature into a harmless critter, but blink and teleportation are also examples, which involve switching places with the air in a different location.

7. Evocation. Evocation is the magical art of conjuring up balls of fire or bolts of deadly ice. It is one of the more destructive sides of magic, conjuring forth fiery storms, or even attacking with arcane magic in its purest form.

8. Illusion. The magic school Illusion focuses on making things seem different than they really are. Invisibility is one of the forms of magic in this school, but a powerful illusionist can create duplicates of themselves, make enemies think you are their friend or even hide entire cities from view.

The Rules of Arcane Magic
Like it or not, there are several things that are set in stone when it comes to Arcane magic. Those who foolishly call upon its powers usually don't even realize it, but there's no real way around it.

Magic is Powerful.
Magic in Azeroth is the difference between a slave and a master, a foot soldier and king. Few races and nations can operate without powerful mages and warlocks. The use of arcane magic is growing; historically, each time this has happened before, a great disaster shortly follows. However, even though the history of the arcane is well known, mages and their patrons invariably come to the same self-serving conclusion: It won't happen to them.

Magic is Corrupting.
Magic corrupts the soul; if the humblest person in Azeroth became a practitioner of the arcane, by the time the practitioner reached the higher levels in their art, all traces of her humble roots would be lost. Magic breeds pride and arrogance. Magic corrupts the body; it ages the caster before their time and hastens the blight that the world inflicts on things fair and beautiful.

Magic is an Addiction.
When one feels the power of an arcane spell coursing through one's body as it's being cast, resisting the urge to cast it again is difficult. Frequent use leads to a desire for more and, eventually, to a desire for the highly addictive fel energy.

Magic attracts the Twisting Nether Like Flies to Honey.
The Burning Legion has invaded Azeroth three times, drawn by the power of the Well of Eternity and those who employ it. Magic is a literal gateway drug that allows dark titans such as Sargeras to bring evil influences to the world. Those who employ arcane magic must deal with demons and other servants of the Twisting Nether.

Arcane Magic and Corruption
Divine magic doesn't corrupt people, but arcane magic does. It serves as a powerful addiction, making casters feel euphoric when they channel it through their body, but overusing it can lead to even worse effects on both body and mind. As previously mentioned, the power that comes with magic will make even the humblest of people arrogant in the long run, and magic hastens the ageing of a body.

Yet those are perhaps the least risky sides of magic. More corrupting still are necromancy and fel magic. Using necromancy leaves one open to the constant whispers of the Lich King, while Fel Magic is a direct hotlink to Sargeras's Corruption 101. Unless extreme caution is used with utilizing such magic, it'll quickly break down any good intentions and shift them for the worse, without the person even realizing it. It'll soon be too late and evil will have taken over their once good intentions.

But there are still other corrupting factors that come with magic, and each school of magic has its own hazards. Recklessly using magic, especially when near demons or other powerful corrupting entities, can wreck hazards on the body and mind. If you wish to use these corruption hazards on your character, try to figure out what kind of spell-school they use the most, and go by that.

Corruption leads from minor, to moderate and then to major. A minor corruption will hardly be a problem to most mages, it is the initial phases of addiction and not all that severe a flaw yet, but as you get more severe, their ability to function in an ordinary society goes down tremendously. If a mage were to suffer even more arcane corruption after already having been inflicted with major corruption, the odds are very likely that what little was left of their sanity would snap. Advancing from minor to moderate does not remove the minor affliction, and going from moderate to major will leave them afflicted with all three at once, making life incredibly difficult.

Abjuration Corruption
Minor: The spellcaster got addicted to magic. They'll find it hard to resist casting a spell, living for the thrill of magic coursing through their body. They'll become noticeably more distrustful of strangers, often ascribing the worst possible motives to their words and deeds.

Moderate: The caster becomes notably defensive. They shun intimate contact with others and will even avoid making physical contact under any circumstances, hesitating if it would mean saving a friend from falling down a cliff. They'll become incredibly suspicious of people trying to poison their food or water, and will not share their own food with anybody, nor accept food from others.

Major: By this point, the caster has gotten incredibly paranoid, concerned only with defending themselves from danger. Anything that seems remotely dangerous such as traveling away from home or making social contact with others will be avoided if at all possible.

Conjuration Corruption
Minor: Whenever possible, they'll wear robes inscribed with magical symbols, and their taste for clothing is often considered gaudy.

Conjuration Corruption (Calling / Summoning)
Moderate: At this point, the summoner gets incredibly attached to her summoned pets. These pets will be treated as pampered pets, and the arcanist will have trouble resisting their suggestions. If they ever get in danger, the caster will try to protect them with their life, and if they did end up getting killed, a mental breakdown would likely follow.

Major: Having summoned things so often, it'll start happening by itself around the caster. Without even realizing, often while being asleep, the caster might suddenly summon a demon or elemental. These creatures will try to convince the arcanist to join the Burning Legion and the idea will grow ever more tempting for the caster.

Conjuration Corruption (Creation)
Moderate: The caster becomes obsessed with magically created objects, always taking one over ordinary, mundane creations. Conjured food, weapons made with magic, anything that was created by magic will be prefered over ordinary things, and their home will be decorated with such conjured items. Their appearance has also shifted, taking on an artificial appearance as if they too had been crafted. Destroying magic items becomes difficult for them, and they'll greedily accept any magical item as a present, even if it is likely poisoned or cursed.

Major: Crafts made by the caster take on sinister overtones, statues start tracking movements, intelligent weapons try to turn their wielders into murderers and other such oddities. They'll also grow incredibly protective of anything they have made or summoned, and sharing anything becomes neigh impossible. Even a starving friend will have trouble getting their one time comrade to hand over some conjured food.

Conjuration Corruption (Teleportation)
Moderate: Teleporting will take the caster through the Twisting Nether far longer than needed, and demons may very well try to grab a hold of them to travel with them back to the physical world. In addition, teleportation spells might start failing, leaving anybody who passes through the portal trapped in the Twisting Nether.

Major: In their sleep, the teleportation addict will teleport to other places without even realizing it. They'll find themselves waking up in a completely different place from where they fell asleep, often far more dangerous than their own home.

Divination Corruption
Minor: Though not entirely addicted to magic in itself, those corrupted by divination magic will become extremely superstitious, doing everything they can to avoid bad luck, based on their own customs and traditions. Some of these might make no sense at all, such as "Never speak the name of the King without clapping your hands", but the arcanist will not listen to any such reasoning.

Moderate: The caster becomes obsessed with fortunes and auguries. Any significant action, such as going on an adventure or donating a large sum of money to the church must first be approved by an augury, or they'll refuse to do so, worried about tempting fate.

Major: Auguries become the caster's only source of trust at this point, and not even close friends will be able to tell them to do something against an auguries wishes. Even so much as talking to a stranger requires a divination by an oracle, and if an augury tells them to jump off a roof, they'll likely do so with no heed of the consequences.

Necromancy Corruption
Minor: The caster becomes addicted to magic. Their flesh becomes cold to the touch. Wounds and blemishes, unless healed right away, take on a rotten, infected appearance.

Moderate: At a moderate corruption, the caster stops healing naturally and must rely on magical healing to cure their wounds. The air around them becomes chill and animals will avoid them. Paladins will be able to detect a slight aura of undeath around the caster with detect undead.

Major: The necromancer prefers death over life. They'll sleep in coffins and try to be surrounded by undead at all times. Tolerating the living becomes difficult. Anybody who attacks an undead in the necromancer's surrounding, even if they're trying to defend the necromancer, will be attacked by the necromancer. They'll start trying to join death cults or the Scourge and trying to become a Lich.

Enchantment Corruption
Minor: At a minor corruption, the enchanter becomes addicted to magic, suffering from withdrawal if they do not perform magic for a while.

Moderate: The arcanist becomes obsessed with magical enhancements, desiring to live in places enhanced by magic spells and refusing to use weapons that weren't enchanted. They are so obsessed with magical effects that they will not even dispel buffs on their enemies, far too intrigued by such spells to ever ruin them.

Major: At this point, insanity starts setting in and the enchanter will find people with a free will difficult to be around with. If at all possible, they'll try to use mind control spells and trinkets to keep everybody under their control. And if somebody was ever so much as disagree with the enchanter, the character would almost surely fly into a rage and attack the other person.

Evocation Corruption
Minor: The spellcaster got addicted to magic. Their body starts feeling warm to the touch, and intimate contact with them becomes unpleasant due to the heat. Metal objects and fur within their vicinity start getting charged with static electricity, often forming harmless electrical discharges when touched.

Moderate: The caster seems to draw on bad weather at this point. If there's a windstorm, it is worst around the character, if there is thunder, it'll surely strike near them. Stormy weather will be something the arcanist prefers and calm weather will leave them depressed. People who aren't capable of casting evocation spells are seen as inferior creatures, and treated with ridicule.

Major: In stormy weather, the arcanist will feel the compulsion to commit acts of violence. When they see a simple flame, like a candle, they'll instantly wish to set the room ablaze. When there's a dangerous storm, they want to be in the middle of it. Natural forces of earth, wind, water and fire become an obsession, and they'll refuse to save people who get caught within. If their area of effect spells happen to hit other people or cause damage to objects and buildings, they'll feel no guilt about it, refusing to do so much as apologise.

Illusion Corruption
Minor: At its earliest level, Illusion corruption will cause the arcanist to hear imaginary voices. Following them to find out where they're coming from will almost always lead to dangerous situations, yet trying to find the voices will quickly become an obsession.

Moderate: When casting illusionary effects, the spellcaster themselves will also be convinced the effects are real, having to truly focus their willpower to remember that they created the illusion themselves. Mental images of a ghost, likely a person they killed in the past, starts haunting the character in their head, mocking the caster and trying to provoke them into performing other evil acts.

Major: When the corruption is at its worst, the spellcaster will no longer realize the boundaries between reality and fiction. They'll constantly see visions of their friends betraying them or mysterious assailants waiting in dark corners, but they're unable to tell that these things aren't real. At this point, the arcanist will almost surely break off all contacts with other people, always haunted by visions of betrayal.

Transmutation Corruption
Minor: The caster becomes transformed themselves, warts forming on their body and boils covering their skin. They'll quickly end up looking badly blemished.

Moderate: Odd abnormalities start happening to the arcanist's body. Extra fingers might grow on their hands, or they might suddenly gain an infernal rune birthmark on their chest.

Major: Bizzare things start growing on the caster, such as eyestalks in odd places, extra mouths on their body and new hands forming on their elbows. To ordinary people, the caster will look hideously deformed, but the arcanist themselves will see their new changes as a form of perfection. Insulting the character by looking away from them, or showing discomfort about their looks, will quickly infuriate them into attacking.

Summary
Do you have to use arcane corruption for your character? No, of course not. It is perfectly possible for a cautious warlock to remain good aligned, or for a mage not to get addicted to magic, but it is unlikely. This guide is in no way meant as a personal attack against those who do not make their mage arrogant or their warlock evil, it is merely meant for educational purposes.

The next time you create a caster, you now know where their magical powers come from, and the great costs your character might have to pay in the end. Remember, magic isn't a toy for foolish mortals, be careful with what you summon! And never try to polymorph a bunny into a dragon "just to show it's possible".

I hope this guide was helpful to some people out there. =)
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#2
Very nice! A good read and worth keeping in mind while creating or playing spellcaster characters!
All makt åt Tengil, vår befriare!

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#3
This is a wonderful guide, and should probably in the Articles and Guides section! I plan on using this for my next spellcaster.

Edit: And it is! What did I just miss?
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#4
Glad to see you like it. =)
I just realized I forgot to add the necromancy school of magic corruption so I edited that in. =)
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#5
Quote:The necromancer prefers life over death.

Think you got that one wrong there, eheheh.
All makt åt Tengil, vår befriare!

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#6
Oops, fixed it. xD
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#7
I really like this guide. I always was interested in Arcane magic, I just never knew what toll the user would actually pay for their use of arcane magic. Now I feel like making an Illusionist, though.
Little by little, one travels far.
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#8
Great guide.

I will certainly use this further in my RP as a mage.
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#9
A nice read, and I'll be sure to keep it in mind with my Mage.
10,000 days in the fire is long enough,
You're going home...
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#10
Wow. Necromancy is from an arcane school? Didn't know that. Now I do. C:
Azheron's back in business. For reals.
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#11
I wonder, what PnP inspired this? I recognize alot of it but cannot place which one. Not WoD: Mage, right?
(02-24-2012, 10:15 AM)Piroska Wrote: Conspiracy. That's all it is; Kret's afraid that your pure, digital awesomeness would crash the server if it were allowed.
(06-14-2013, 05:42 PM)McKnighter Wrote: Bovel, Lord of Beards

Character About Involvement
Causticity Blackbreath Goblin Alchemist -
Telaah Draenei Anchorite Writings of an Anchorite

[Image: kiXJxhI.gif]
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#12
I love this :D
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#13
(06-27-2010, 02:19 AM)Bovel Wrote: I wonder, what PnP inspired this? I recognize alot of it but cannot place which one. Not WoD: Mage, right?

I recognize that this is HELLA thread necromancy, but:

I was reading the RPG book Magic & Mayhem last night and this all stems from Variant Rule: Arcane Corruption starting on page 16. I figured it would be useful information to post here, as we've decanonized the RPGs, so use at your own risk I suppose/for base inspiration, but maybe not as strict guidelines, for anyone who uses this guide in the future.


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#14
Woah. I remember this thread.

This is -really- an old thread.
[Image: desc_head_freemasons.jpg]

△Move along.△


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#15
Oh, gosh, Theik.

*lights an incense stick for his ghost*
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