Magic in Savage Dawn

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n this primitive world, magic originates from spirits in the mysterious Ethervale – a plane that shrouds the Mortal Realm. Each humanoid has a soul within them, a mote of life that contains the essence of their being. When a humanoid (other than an elf) dies, their soul is claimed by the Ethervale where it becomes a spirit. Spirits are a form of pure spiritual energy, and their presence in the Ethervale has caused the plane to become saturated with this energy (or perhaps the other way around). Some spirits are more powerful than others, and seem to maintain some element of will and intellect. These are known as ancestrals. When mortals manifest magical abilities, it is drawn in some way from spirits in either the Ethervale or the Firmament – an astral plane containing powerful ancestrals bound into constellations.

There are three main sources of magic linked to the Ethervale; the Ethervale and the spirits themselves, the Firmament and constellations, and prysm.

The Ethervale

The Ethervale is an afterlife plane that covers the Mortal Realm. Humanoid souls enter the Ethervale upon the death of their mortal forms, where they manifest as spirits. Because these spirits are pure spiritual energy, they emit a power that spreads throughout the Ethervale and can be harnessed by those with the knack. Powerful spirits, called ancestrals, manage to keep some element of will and intellect, and can control the use of their power, but most spirits have less command over the use of their energy.

An easy way to imagine the Ethervale is like a tapestry that flows over the Mortal Realm. This great purple fabric mimics the surface that it is draped across (the Mortal Realm), but the pattern is slightly different. It has its own features that are not present in the surface beneath. When a creature uses the Ethervale for magical reasons, it’s like they scrunch the tapestry into a knot for a brief second. Here, where the tapestry bunches, the magic of the Ethervale is concentrated and can be used in the Mortal Realm to cast spells.

Another way that mortals can use magic is by petitioning the spirits themselves. Sometimes spiritual energy can be drawn out of the spirits, and other times a pact must be forged with a mighty ancestral who has command of their power.

The Firmament

Above the Mortal Realm is an astral realm of stars called the Firmament. It is in this plane that the eight great constellations shift and align. These are trapped ancestrals from before the first dawn, and each has its own personality and power. Humanoids in the Mortal Realm can draw magic from the stars and constellations in two ways.
Guidance. Some folk seek guidance from the constellations for their magic. By doing as they believe the trapped ancestrals command, they gain access to a portion of their power. This power typically only lasts for as long as a humanoid dedicates their life to a specific constellation, and often the magic manifested has a mind of its own.
Understanding. Other folk seek to understand the motion of the constellations, and their influence on the Mortal Realm. Rather than asking for magic, they try to take it for themselves. By careful study over many years, some have managed to discern parts of the cycle of stars, and translate these into words and gestures that can draw upon the movement of the celestial bodies and channel their magic. This form of mimicry is easily repeatable, and can be written in a strange language of sigils and symbols.

Prysm

Prysm is a crystalline substance that emanates magic as powerfully as the spirits in the Ethervale, but is present in the Mortal Realm. Where and why prysm appears is not yet understood. Sometimes prysm appears when a portal to the Ethervale closes, sometimes not. Scholars have put forward many theories based on the touch of spirits, the movements of ancestrals in the Ethervale and Firmament, and slashes in the fabric of the Ethervale where magic leaks out. Although the means by which prysm appears is unknown, it is clear that prsym contains magic and that this can be released in different ways by those who understand its use.

When prysm is cut for use, it is fractured into smaller, fist-sized crystals, commonly called prysm shards. The shards recharge their magical energy when the stars come out. Some say the ancestrals speak to mortals through the prysm, and the crystals let us hear what they are saying. The energy of the prysm is believed to permeate the world and influence certain aspects of existence on a deeper level. To the ordinary eye, majestic floating islands, aerial ships, and himdrinn sky whales are obvious manifestations of the prysm’s powerful energy, but smaller wonders are just as magical, such as a tiny prysmcrafted amulet that alerts the wearer of someone’s ill intent.

Prysm Shards

Each piece of this crystalline substance filters starlight into different colours of light, taking on a shade permanently that reflects the motives or devotions of the person using it. The colour of the prysm can directly correlate with one’s chosen star sign, and thus path in life. Some even believe that the prysm reflects our subconsciousness, intellect, and destiny as demonstrated by how it is altered when one attunes their mind to the shards of crystal.

Using Prysm shards

The gnalmyr stand at the forefront of study into the nature of prysm and have discovered many ways to utilize and enhance shards of this arcane substance. Raw prysm shards are a natural conduit for magic. They are generally colourless and are regarded as one of the most valuable trading resources.

Prysm Colors

When a creature attunes to a shard that has not been used before, the colour of the prysm is changed in the process. Typically the creature can direct the change as it mystically communes with the crystal, but sometimes the colour will vary of its own accord. Once a prysm has attained its colour, it cannot be changed. The crystal’s colour determines what type of magic it interacts with and enhances. Attuned shards hold value too, but only to the right person.

  • Red. Ranging in colour from the light tones of sunset to the dark red of spilt blood, red prysms are associated with passion. This might come in the form of destructive magic, or healing magic. Evocation magic produces red prysms.
  • Green. Symbolic of the earth, growth, life,  regeneration, and vitality, these green prysm crystals pulse in a pattern that tends to synchronize with the heartbeat of any creature that holds it. Conjuration magic produces green prysms.
  • Blue. Prysms that turn blue are associated with creativity, insight, vision, water, and wisdom. Their vibrant colour rolls inside like a gentle wave. Transmutation magic produces blue prysms.
  • Yellow. Glowing with a warm, yellow light like the sun, yellow prysm crystals have come to signify blessings, radiance, rebirth, and spirituality. Abjuration magic produces green prysms.
  • Violet. The soft purple glow of these crystals is  often connected to the influence of the Ethervale. Many also associate them with deception, the moon, and trickery. Illusion magic produces violet prysms.
  • Orange. Orange crystals are filled with hypnotic, shimmering light and are connected to emotions, laughter, mirth, and obsession. Enchantment magic produces orange prysms.
  • White. Though called white, these crystals shine with inner silvery starlight prysms of this type are representative of honesty, purity, salvation, and virtue. Divination magic produces white prysms.
  • Black. Having the appearance of the inky darkness between the stars, these crystals appear to absorb light rather than radiating it. These crystals are associated with necromancy magic and are viewed superstitiously as emblems of decay, death, manipulation, and the void. Necromancy magic produces black prysms.

Mercurial Magic & Null Zones

In some areas of the Mortal Realm, the magical energy of the prysm seems disrupted, causing magic to behave erratic and different. Usually, a crystal shards glow changes colour – flickering and trembling like a candle flame. While the energy of the prysm permeates the very fabric of the world, some areas are void of magical energy. These “dead zones” nullify any form of magical power and prevents casting spells, or otherwise activating items that use prysm energy.

Copyright Loresmyth Publishing. All Rights Reserved. Artwork used with permission.