Fire Fantasy Tactics Ogre IV: The Fenwyn Chronicles
The History of Magic
Magic has been part of the world for as long as most can remember. Even the earliest of Pyrean records mention people working their wills in downright supernatural ways. Through experimentation, people eventually came to codify what they knew of these techniques, leading to the established schools and universities of the present age.
While there was once a time when magic was distrusted, its practitioners even discriminated against and victimized, most today accept it as an unusual, if uncommon, fact of life. Even in Ostia; widely regarded as a bastion of progress and technology, magic is used frequently, and the Ostian Grand Library and College is equal to any in the Confederation.
How Magic Works
When one chooses the vocation to study magic, they are given a battery of tests. This identifies the Concept one is best suited to manipulate. A ritual is then enacted to permanently bind the mage’s mind to the Concept.
Practitioners may choose another Concept other than that which was judged most compatible. Some argue that this hinders one’s magical abilities, though studies have disproven this hypothesis. At the most, individuals can only choose between three Concepts. Once a Concept is bound, the choice is permanent. The only way to change one’s Concept is to perform a long and grueling ritual that strips the mage of all magical talent, forcing them to start at the very basics. For this reason, few elect to change their Concepts.
Once a Concept has been bound, the practitioner is trained in ways of manipulating it in dedicated primary and secondary schools. While having a teacher sharing the same Concept is useful, it isn’t strictly necessary. The basic techniques of working a Concept remain the same, even if the specifics may differ.
Wherever they may be taught,s tudents are educated on how to control their magic safely and responsibly. If one’s Concept is Fire, one is generally a danger to themselves before others. The penalties for mages abusing their powers are more harsh, even for the same crimes, though it may vary from location to location.
On completion of their education, the student is considered a fully-fledged (and in Ostia, licensed) journeyman mage. There are many career opportunities for them, depending on the Concept. Some vocations include healers, communications experts, agricultural consultants, and other civilian pursuits. Other popular choices include entering a military, or entering into servitude with one of the Lords of the Middle Kingdoms. More and more mages also find themselves drawn towards wanderlust, boarding ships to the New World.
While many mages are self-taught, bound by ritual but largely learning through trial and error, these individuals are normally out of control or incapable of complexity. While there have been successful cases, such are often the exception rather than the rule.
Concepts are a mage’s source of power, taking the form of mental images and core ideas. Once submitted to testing, a mage knows instinctively what he may choose from.
Common Concepts often take the form of base elements: Fire, Wind, Water, and Earth. Other Concepts may be a bit more general, such as “Healing,” or catered towards specific fields, such as “Botany.” Rarer Concepts also exist that are more esoteric than the usual array, such as “Velocity,” “Gravity,” or “Vacuum.” While the later examples are more difficult to master and implement than the more common varieties, they can be used in unorthodox ways to achieve great effects.
The manufacture of enchanted items is a tricky business. Only in the Confederation of Magical States will anyone find anything close to mass production of these objects. Creating a magical item involves affecting the world in such a way that it permanently accepts the alteration.
As an example, constructing a sword that sets itself aflame is much more difficult than simply coating the blade in pitch and igniting the pitch. As it is, most extant magical items have comparatively simple effects: Swords that never dull, spears that provide extra strength behind every thrust, and silent armor. Such enchantments may never be grand effects, but they are almost always guaranteed to be useful in some way or another.
Every now and again, though, a magical item comes along with wondrous abilities far beyond the norm. These items are known as Artifacts, and every one is unique. There is no singular known method to create an item worthy of the title of “Artifact,” and their effects vary as much as there are mages in the world.