Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Nine Disciplines

I've been agonizing about not having a very good magic system for my novels, but a few month ago, that finally changed. Below is a set of guidelines and lists for my magic system, known as the Nine Disciplines. This is the magic system I am using for my series, The Proanadi, as well as the world in which the scene Prisoner is set in. If you read closely, you can figure out how Alaeph can do what he does.

The way it works is thus: any known magic-user has access to one, several, or all of these Disciplines. All "magic" as people know it derives itself ultimately from the Nine Disciplines. Where magic-users differ is WHERE they get their power from--their power source. There can also be differences in areas of focus, and ways that they use the different disciplines (because, the possibilities within the Disciplines are almost unlimited).

Here are the Nine Disciplines below, grouped as they would be commonly, with three groups of three:

The Nine Disciplines

1 Physical (change in physical matter)
2 Sensory (change in perception)
3 Elemental (manipulation of the elements)

1 Influential (change in feeling)
2 Intellectual (change in thought)
3 Essential (manipulation of life energies)

1 Continuous (disruptions in space or time)
2 Creative (creation of new energy or matter)
3 Potential (manipulation of force)

Examples of something being done with each Discipline below:

Physical: Enhances your (or another's) strength
Sensory: Tricking another individual's perceptions, making you effectively invisible
Elemental: Shooting fire from your hands
Influential: Providing a morale boost to your comrades
Intellectual: Tampering with someone's memory
Essential: Bringing someone back to life
Continuous: Teleportation (space) or slowing time (time)
Creative: Creating food and water out of nothing
Potential: Throwing up a wall of pure force

Now, there are many different limitations and tricks associated with each Discipline, and points where they overlap, but different Disciplines work better in different situations. Where the line is drawn between the different types of magic-users in the world comes from one major thing (though there are other, less important differences): Power Source. Where do they derive their power from?

Below is a list of some magic-users and their power sources:

Wizards – Power through learning (words and rituals that channel the energy)
Clerics – Power through prayer*
Sorcerers – Power through lineage (having some form of magical creature’s blood in your DNA)
Favored Soul – Power through divine connection*
Dragosamns – Power through dragon totems (similar to Stewardic power)**
Roshi – Power through Chaos**
Druids – Power through natural connection and energy
Talir-Knights – Power through one’s own energy
Demons – Power through destruction (breaking down of matter or energy)

* Both Clerics and Favored Souls gain their ultimate power from the Stewards. Only the means are different.
** Although both Roshi and Dragosamns gain their abilities through their dragon blood, their actual power sources come from outside their bloodline, unlike sorcerers.

Different ways of organizing the same categories of energy are found below:

Clerical Blessings

Earthly Blessings
1 Physical (Blessing of the Flesh)
2 Sensory (Blessing of the Eyes)
3 Influential (Blessing of the Heart)
4 Intellectual (Blessing of the Mind)

Holy Blessings
1 Elemental (Blessing of the Burning Blood)
2 Essential (Blessing of the Living Blood)
3 Potential (Blessing of the Compelling Blood)

Heavenly Blessings
1 Continuous (Blessing of the Soaring Soul/Eternal Soul)
2 Creative (Blessing of the Inceptive Soul)

Dragosamn Totems

Physical (Totem of Substance)
Sensory (Totem of Image)
Elemental (Totem of [Insert Element Name Here])
Influential (Totem of Presence/Inspiration)
Intellectual (Totem of Reason)
Essential (Totem of Blood)
Continuous (Totem of Foresight/Passage/Intervention)
Creative (Totem of Origin)
Potential (Totem of Impact)

That is the extent of it, but there is much more in the way of details to be ironed out with this system. Thanks for reading, and I hope you liked it!

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