The Magic of Evo
Thrumming throughout the entirety of Evo is a vast energetic latticework, comprised of reservoirs, conduits, and channels for the natural force known as magic. Concentrations of magical energy are abundant across and beneath the face of Evo and can be found within every living being dwelling upon her, including the Kif and the Travelers themselves.
Put another way, it is reasonable to consider the entire planet as a colossal battery of sorts, an intricate, living receptacle for the power of magic. To the best of the Travelers’ knowledge, all living beings residing on this world both produce and use magical energy in some manner. In the aftermath of the Joining, the Travelers are in the process of discovering a variety of energetic structures residing within organic life forms, collectively referred to as “internal magical circuitry.”
The ultimate source of magic is the endless cycle of life and death that occurs within all creatures. As cells are born, serve their purpose, and perish, the frequency of energy known as magic is released, a process the Travelers will come to call “bio-thanatic generation.” Birth, growth, struggle, and death. As these myriad cycles play out ceaselessly across the planet, magic is formed. Its energy flows, pools, and aggregates within Evo’s very soil and sky. Thus, magic is an integral part of this world’s ecosystem, and utilizing it effectively is a core survival strategy for the various species that call this planet home.
Furthermore, many living beings on Evo can absorb and channel the ambient magical energy present in the local environment and even more are able to detect magical emanations from a considerable distance. Those beings capable of manifesting this energy in specific manners, either internally or outside of their bodies, are generally referred to as mages, or magically-gifted in the case of animals, plants, and monstrous life forms.
In most regions, the flows of raw magic are gradually altered by the surrounding natural forces, also known as elements. A portion of the magic exposed to such elemental energy begins to change in frequency, resonating with the ambient forces of the local landscape. Through this reaction, many reservoirs of power begin to take on additional properties corresponding to the specific element in question, while simultaneously becoming a great deal more difficult to shape and manipulate for those beings not possessing specialized magical circuitry. These various frequencies of natural magic are generally known as elemental, or aspected magical energy. Unlike Earth’s classical elemental theories, these elements do not appear to exist in opposition to one another.
First comes earth magic, the most plentiful element on the continent, whose conduits run all throughout the stone and soil of Evo. Many beings can use at least small amounts of earth magic in some manner, and earth is the most common elemental affinity amongst the Kif people. Ecosystems rich in organic life tend to generate more earth energy than the land can readily store, and the streams formed from this excess runoff continue on and merge into great rivers and pools of earth-aspected magic that the Kif call ley lines and nodes respectively. Beings possessing the ability to draw freely upon earth magic are capable of vastly enhancing their spellpower and in many cases, the abilities of their physical bodies as well.
Water energy accumulates in and near large bodies of fluid, most notably the oceans, rivers, and swamps of Evo. The ability to utilize water magic, especially the tiny flows present in the atmosphere, is a great deal rarer than earth magic, despite the element’s relative abundance. Water magic is most often employed in healing alongside life-aspected energy, as the body contains so much fluid relative to its mass. Water-aspected spellcraft is also used to manipulate bodies of liquid directly, as well as in small-scale weather modification. The seas of Evo are infused with high concentrations of both earth and water magic, however the ocean floor lacks the structured ley lines and nodes found on land, presumably due to the chaotic and ever-shifting nature of the aqueous terrain.
Although it is found in every region of Evo in trace amounts, concentrations of Air energy are considerably scarcer than either earth or water-aspected magical energy. Flows of air magic are generated in places frequented by fierce gusts and storms and are spread across the globe via great ley lines located in the upper atmosphere.
As one might expect, fire-aspected magic aggregates in and emanates from regions frequented by excited molecular states and beings capable of flamecrafting are almost as common as those able to utilize earth energy. Many mages use fire magic in the formation of offensive spell casting, as well as in a wide variety of utility spells. Hundreds of animals, monsters, and even plants are capable of storing enough-fire aspected energy to mount a significant offense, and those are just the ones the Travelers have discovered so far. Conversely, as fire magic springs forth from the excitation of molecules, ice-aspected energy is generated from terrain where molecular states are slowed and solidified. Thus, snowy mountain tops, glacial plains, and even the Softlands in winter generate significant flows of cold magic.
Moving away from the classical elements, come light and shadow-aspected magic, more commonly referred to as “the school of illusion.” At present, the Travelers are still uncertain whether illusory-aspected magic represents one element with a dual nature, or two closely paired individual elements. Nor do they understand the mechanisms by which illusion magic generates naturally in the wild, although some have speculated solar and lunar origins. Light and shadow-aspected spellcraft specialize in the warping of sound and sight, although advanced illusion magic can affect the other senses as well. The word illusion may prove to be rather misleading in the end, for illusory light is indistinguishable from regular photonic emission, and the sound waves created through light and shadow-aspected spellcraft appear to behave identically to any other noise transmitted through the air and surrounding solids.
Nearing the end of this list come two categories of magic that utilize the bio-thanatic energies of this planet directly, and are thus not strictly considered to be elemental aspects. Both are capable of manipulating the internal physiology and magical systems of their targets, which are normally protected by a naturally generated field shared by all living creatures on Evo. Able to draw directly upon the non-elemental energies abundant throughout Evo, the magics of life and death are both extremely powerful, although each possesses more limitations than one might expect.
Life magic most commonly manifests in healing and enhancement spells and is able to manipulate the inside of living beings without first penetrating their energetic defenses. Life-based healing magic infuses additional magical energy into the recipient, as well as helps to mend and regenerate wounded tissue. Enhancement magic on the other hand, extends a field of shaped energy to surround the target, providing them with a chosen buff for as long as the field has power, boosting the target’s capabilities across a wide spectrum of potential attributes. These enhancements can last as long as several days when cast by a master Magi, but more commonly endure for only a few minutes at a time unless channeled continually by the original caster. Additionally, a few rare variants of enhancement magic can be consumed all at once in a flash of power, a rapid expenditure known as flaring. While most forms of enhancement magic are able to be used freely on both oneself and others, a few specialized spells target only the caster, often providing an even greater effect.
Entropy magic, commonly manifested as death or curse magic, bypasses a target’s magical defenses in order to directly harm or disrupt the affected organism. These attacks possess a remarkable ability to penetrate non-specialized magical defenses, largely thanks to the ubiquitous presence of bio-thanatic energy residing within all living creatures. Death magic is generated from the demise of organic tissue and is able to destroy healthy cells when concentrated and directed against living creatures. Curse magic utilizes bio-thanatic energy to impede and disrupt the internal magical balance within living beings, rather than assaulting their tissue directly. Curse magic is thus less predictable in its manifestation, often generating symptoms comparable to toxins or diseases within its victims as well as impairing their spellcasting ability. Also of note, some users of curse magic possess the power to consume their own blood in exchange for a temporary surge of power, depleting their stamina over the long term until rest or healing magic can restore what was lost.
Although they are exceedingly rare, Evo is also home to numerous unique and lost forms of magic that do not fit into the simple taxonomy the Travelers have constructed thus far. For example, a handful of mages belong to a classification known as chromatic or prismatic affinities. Such individuals appear able to freely draw upon and utilize all known frequencies of elemental energy as well as cast those spells requiring them, as long as they first invest adequate time into studying with a skilled practitioner. Although their versatility is unmatched, such chromatic casters tend to produce weaker spells than those of elemental specialists.
Corrupted Magical Energy
Last comes the frequency of magic referred to by the Kif as corrupted or tainted. Unique to monsters and demons, as well as the tainted lands that breed them, this energy seeks to mutate and assimilate Evo’s natural forces, although even monstrous beings require traces of Evo’s natural magic to survive and grow. Corrupted magical energy is toxic to non-monstrous life forms, capable of poisoning those unlucky enough to become infused with this taint, or in rare cases, transforming plants and animals into monsters. At this time, the relationship between corrupted magic and various elemental frequencies is still unknown.
In addition to manipulating magical energy to cast spells and enhancements, talented individuals can bind a field of magic to a physical item. In item imbuement, large quantities of magic are concentrated to produce a lasting magical effect that can endure for years or even centuries. Imbued items known as charms can also be infused with a lesser amount of energy, empowering them with a single use of a magic ability. Despite their limitations, charms can produce remarkably powerful spell like effects and as such are a key tool for the Travelers and Kif.