This is the second entry on Arcana, so make sure to first read last week’s article.
In the game, magic (arcana) is an integral part. We developed it to be intricate and complex in a way that feels almost as though you are dealing with real magic and real spells. This might mean that mastering the playstyle of a spellcaster requires more effort and knowledge from the player. We wanted it to be engaging: it almost puts the player in the role of a real scholar of arcanities (magic). Every element is unique in playstyle and offers different solutions in the game.
In this second part on magic (arcana) let us talk about where mana comes from, how it can affect people and nature. Next time we will talk about the game mechanics regarding the system of magic.
Again, let us listen to one of our senior lecturers at the Grand Academy of the Sand Kingdoms!
It is the term that defines shaping mana into spells, which we can use for various purposes: we can use spells to fight; to build cities or constructs (inanimate objects or materials that “come to life”); to provide food and materials; to affect the weather; replenish and maintain abundant water sources in the desert and even to keep the body healthy. There also exist other lifeforms, predominantly creatures crossing over from the Void, that mana is a vital part of; they require mana for sustenance. Some can be considered merely as animals, while others as highly intelligent sentient beings.
In the world of Calad, there are many sapient races capable of interacting with mana.
The driving force of understanding and researching mana is the Grand Academy, the central archanist institution, located in the Sand Kingdoms.
In the Empire of Soga, the gift of manipulating mana is not common. Certain humans can spellcast, but the main practitioners are the Rishinkyo monks, Ritualists of the Court and the tribes of Kitsune people – ancient chimeric peoples, bearing fox-like features. As a contrast to the scholastic methods of the Academy, the Empire of Soga is successful in understanding the mystical ways of mana.
The rin in general are gifted with the ability to interact with mana. The Helrin prefer wielding mana through spellcraft, while Thenrin prefer an intuitive approach. The rinnan knowledge of mana is said to be transmitted from ages past.
When spellcasters shape their spells, they channel the mana from the environment or their amulets (which keep or amplify elemental mana) through themselves into desired manifestations. Whilst this process is fairly common, when used over-extensively, it may harm the arcanist in the form of soulrot.
Soulrot is an affliction that occurs when the individual’s body becomes overly-worn by the channeled flow of mana, which the body fails to adequately project out of itself. The severity and the amount of mana an individual may withstand, affects various races differently. However, when the individual’s threshold is reached, the unexpelled mana starts to materialize and crystalize within. This looks as if the veins become overflown with a tar-like substance (the crystalized mana). It spreads throughout the affected one’s body, leading to paralysis. The patient can be cured with extensive care, yet, one should never exert their body in this manner. If not tended to immediately, one might be rendered lifeless, killed from within and left without hope of resuscitation.
Despite the popular belief, this ailment is not contagious. However, there have been many instances in which larger masses fell to this affliction, spawning such misconceptions. When people find themselves prolongedly exposed and located in the vicinity of a potent mana rupture, outbreaks of such a disease are a common occurrence.
It is noteworthy, that the rinnian physique is significantly more suited to spellcasting than that of a human. While channeling mana intensively, mana can shine on their skin in the shape of luminescent markings, alarming them that their threshold is about to be reached. After, their bodies start to repel mana and deny it entry.
The ruptures are a poorly understood phenomenon. Usually, the phenomenon occurs at potent locations, which are oftentimes recognizable by ruins and holy sites built atop of them. They begin with the crackling of earth above swelled mana veins. This can escalate into the violent opening of a chasm, that we believe is connected to the Void – a chaotic plane, dividing the material worlds. From the chasm, fierce light and mana burst, carrying creatures and abominations to our world. There are divergent opinions on whether the ruptures should be closed.
However, one fact is certain. The interval in which the ruptures are spawning seems to be quickening as of late, forcing the hand of the Academy to turn its energies into researching and managing them.
The Void is another complex topic– in its essence it is home to all known mana-based lifeforms. There, normal physics do not apply as everything consists of mana. From ancient tomes, conjurers learned to summon creatures from the void, but we do not yet have much understanding of this realm. It is accepted that mana pours to our world from the Void through the mana vein network underneath the surface.
Join us next time when we’ll discuss gameplay mechanics regarding magic!