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World of Magicosm
Behold the Power: Mana
Posted Sunday, April 8, 2001
Magicosm is a magical place and there are many ways this manifests itself. When the gods created the Codex and started forming the various worlds over which hold dominion, they also created the laws of magic which govern all aspects of the mystical energies. The powerful force that is harnessed to create magic is called mana. Mana is a quasi-intelligent energy pattern which forms the basis for turning thought into effect.
Pure mana is an essence which is extruded from the fabric of the universe itself, for it was with pure mana that the universe was constructed. The gods use pure mana to bring things into existance, and some say that the gods themselves are but aspects of Beings of pure mana. This pure mana is as far removed from us as the gods themselves. Even if the gods appear before you they are only manifesting an Aspect of themselves to you. It is said that if they reveal their true visage to you it will drive you mad.
In addition to pure mana, there are derivative forms of mana which play a part in the universe. They are Necromantic, Faery, Elder (demonic and deific), and Natural.
The god ' s Avatars are all-powerful, they seldom interact directly with specific mortals or magical beings. Demi-gods have no such compunction and often use their powers to further their agendas. Demi-gods have a limit to how much Elder mana they can contain, and gifting of that mana to a lesser being diminishes their capacity.
Mystical immortal beings are sustained through Faery mana. Their immortality and
innate magical abilities are the result of being suffused with faery mana.
Many mystical beings like fairies, brownies and dragons harness Faery mana to cast
powerful spells through mere thought alone. Some less intelligent mystical beings have
powerful innate abilities which they can use when needed. The powers of many such
creatures are directly tied to who they are and what their Purpose is. Nymphs, for
example, possess abilites unique to their gaurdianship of trees. Mortals are often
granted access to Faery mana by their gods, or by spells cast on them by mystical beings.
When the gods created the universe they also started its death, for everything is a
cycle in the great reaches of time and space. The creation of life also was the
creation of death, for without one you cannot have the other. Necromantic mana is
the mana generated by the decay of the universe and as such is the opposite of Natural
Mana. Death and decay release this mana into the Void, where it dissipates and is
re-absorbed into the fabric of the universe. The amount of necromantic mana
generated through the normal decay of matter is so thin and so quickly dispersed
that it serves little useful purpose, except to feed the universe. The death of a
living being generates a far greater amount of necromantic mana. The secrets of
harvesting this energy and using it to power spells is a closely held secret of a
select few. The dangers of using such power are manyfold, as exposure to the energy
saps at the vitality of the living. There are many things that exist as beings of
necromantic mana. The "un-dead", as they are often referred to, either refused to
let their souls dissipate or were forced to stay within the confines of the world.
This state, coupled with the intensity of the necromantic mana released on their death,
causes thier beings to transmute into the living-dead. Such beings are universally
reviled and feared throughout the universe.
Natural Mana was born out of the creation process and is suffused in all matter and energy that exists. Natural mana is intertwined with the physical laws of the universe, and has power over all matter and energy. Natural mana has so many faces that practitioners of magic often specialize in just one or two aspects to better hone thier control and understanding of the forces involved. Natural mana can be absorbed from the environment by beings who have been trained sufficiently and broadened their mind far enough to access the mana. Natural mana often collects in physical locations to form ley lines and mana pools. Wizards, sorcerers and other magic users can tap these energy sources to replenish their mana stores, or accumulate the mana over a period of time through study and meditation. Control of this type of mana often differs from one type matter and energy to another. Many fire wizards find it very easy to freeze water because the process of speeding up or slowing down loosly coupled matter is similar. Conversely a fire wizard can have an exceedingly difficult time affecting tightly coupled matter like stone or vegetation.
While all mana derived from Pure Mana, there are substantial differences. The interactions between mana types are not well known, but some things we know to be true. Necromantic mana is the antithesis of Natural mana, but Elder mana has no such conflict. Perhaps this is because Elder mana is closer to Pure mana and as such sees all manifestrations of itself as equal. Faery mana is the magic of "being", an infusion of life essence which is unnatural and outside the physical laws of the world. Magical beings do not generally like Natural mana, as they themselves are unnatural beings. They are also uncomfortable with Necromantic mana since they are innately outside death and produce very little Necromantic energy themselves. It is possible for a magical being to harness and use Necromantic energy, just as it is possible for them to harness and use natural mana, but it is very rare and often has long-term consequences to the mystical being.
Spells powered through one type of mana are substantially different then spells powered through a different form of mana. While not mutually exclusive, they have a tendancy to "slide" against each other, like oil in water. As an example, magic powered through Faery mana is of a substantially different nature from Natural magic. This makes it extremely difficult for these different magics to affect each other, even though they can affect the end-result. Natural mages might have difficulty counter-spelling a fairy ' s shield spell will still stop magically conjured pixie arrows, but will have great difficulty stopping a purely magical assult from the fairy.
There are ceremonies and spells which allow for mana to be converted and tapped from one being to another. Spells which drain or consume the mana from a being are rare and hard to use. Mana is much more easily gifted than taken and it is not unheard of for mystical beings or dieties to grant mana to mortals. Forceibly taking all the mana from a mystical being kills them, as they cannot exist without that sustenance. It is rumored that necromancers often track and kill mystical beings for just such a purpose, performing complex ceremonies before draining their mana and in the process gain powerful necromantic energies at the death of their victim.
Once mana has been formed into a spell and released it is much more susceptible to being stolen or absorbed by another practitioner of magic. For example, there are spells which allow a human mage to tap into a spell built by another person so that should the spell be released through the death of the mage, or through some other means, the "tapper" can receive some portion of the mana. This is similar to the spells mages use to reclaim the energy of their own constructs.
Mana is the basis for all magic and is the most precious resource that all magic users must collect and hoard throughout their lives.
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