Author Topic: Zealian schools of magic - revised  (Read 3902 times)


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Zealian schools of magic - revised
« on: November 24, 2014, 07:35:24 am »
The following is a revamped account of magic in the world of Chrono, and, specifically, how the people of Zeal classify it and train in its use.  I wanted to lean away from strictly elemental descriptions such as fire, water, or lightning, as well as esoteric concepts like Shadow (darkness/evil).  The casting of magic is all about a state of mind and what that state can achieve.  The way that power is manifested in a given school can vary greatly, so describing a school as "water", for example, really doesn't explain what all can be done with that particular discipline.  I am making these changes in the interests of my ongoing novel series, which will incorporate these concepts when magic is first introduced to the reader at The End of Time, and explained more fully in book two when Crono's adventures in Zeal take place.

Zealians are given a general education in the magical arts at a young age, and most people gain rudimentary ability in several different schools.  They are not mutually exclusive.  Training in one school will not preclude training in another, even if certain elemental manifestations of differing schools, like fire and ice, would seem to oppose each other.  That said, the great majority of Zealians dedicate their lives to the mastery of a single school and often avoid training in others.  The mental discipline it takes to achieve the correct state of mind for each school is difficult, and only exceptional individuals achieve mastery of more than one school.  To achieve mastery of three is a feat usually reserved for the most potent of bloodlines, such as the Imperial Family or that of the Gurus.  Mastery of four schools is something only one person - Schala - has ever been able to achieve.  No one on record has mastered all five schools.

The five schools of magic all invoke certain emotional states and use discipline to guide the user's will into useful applications.  The stronger the discipline, the more power and control the user has over the abilities his or her school can manifest.  An untrained mind, driven to emotional turmoil, can manifest great power as well, but the uncontrolled nature of such outbursts are often exhausting and inefficient, even dangerous.  However, it can be just as likely that an emotionally turbulent individual, unable to focus on any one mental state, cannot effectively channel anything.  This is most often seen in the very young, and even a strong bloodline - as in the case of Prince Janus - cannot overcome a lack of mental fortitude.  This must be considered in the training of every school.  The five schools are as follows:

Passion:  Passion is the power of self.  It channels the desire of the individual into power that can mold the world around the user however he or she chooses.  This power often manifests itself in the form of fire.  In terms of sheer strength, Passion is the strongest of the five schools.  A focused channeling of Passion can melt the hardest of metals and turn solid stone into liquid fire.  The destructive potential of Passion is without limit, and is mitigated only by the desire of the user.  For this reason, Passion is also the most dangerous school.  An individual's desires can well exceed their ability to effectively channel those desires into power - sometimes ending in a self-immolation or more wide-ranging calamity.  Because of its ability to melt and mold various elements together, Passion is often the province of builders and architects.  An aptitude for Passion is often triggered by a desire to change the world.  Practitioners have a tendency to be overconfident and even narcissistic, particularly when they are young.  Barring formal training in the Zealian ways, powerful feelings of anger or love can manifest unfocused channeling of fire.

Energy:  Energy is the power of transformation.  It transforms the will of the user into raw energy that can be directed either outward or inward.  This power often manifests itself in the form of lightning, though great physical prowess can also be attributed to an Energy user.  Due to its ability to direct power and enhance strength, Energy is often the province of guardians or warriors, and is the school of choice for a dedicated magical duelist.  Great care must be taken with the use of Energy.  It is possible to enhance strength well beyond what a practitioner's body can withstand, and the outward applications of this school are no less perilous if poorly channeled.  An aptitude for Energy is often triggered by a desire for self-improvement and the ability to protect others.  Practitioners have a tendency to focus on the moment, and are very decisive when it comes to taking action.  Barring formal training in the Zealian ways, powerful feelings of fear or single-minded focus can manifest unfocused channeling of lightning, or a surge in strength.

Force:  Force is the power of matter.  It channels the wishes of the user into the power to manipulate the world around them.  This power can manifest itself in many ways, but it is usually in the form of a telekinetic feat; moving and shaping matter with the power of the mind.  Force is the most versatile of the five schools, and has applications for almost any endeavor.  It can move the heaviest of objects, hurl them at extreme velocities, condense moisture into a block of solid ice, or condense air into an impenetrable screen.  An expert practitioner of Force can use their telekinetic abilities to protect themselves against almost anything, whether it be an environmental hazard or an attack.  An aptitude for Force is often triggered by a desire to change one's circumstance.  Practitioners have a tendency to be emotional and sometimes erratic, and this must always be borne in mind when training a Force user.  Barring formal training in the Zealian ways, powerful feelings of despair and loss can manifest an unintended telekinetic feat.

Healing:  Healing is the power of the body.  It channels the will of the user into a power that can rejuvenate living things.  This power usually manifests itself in the healing of the sick or the injured, but it can also be used to drain the energy of another if the user desires.  This school is unique in that its applications are only useful to the living.  It can accelerate and enhance a body's natural healing process to cure diseases, heal wounds, or purge maladies.  It is important to note that the power of Healing does not come solely from the user, rather the user simply enervates what is already there.  Therefore, Healing powers cannot be used to bring people back from the dead.  Expert use of the Healing school can extend a normal lifespan by many decades, but even this has limits.  A Zealian under the lifetime care of an accomplished Healing user can live about 180 years, and in rare cases as many as 200.  An aptitude for Healing is triggered by an intense desire to help others.  Practitioners have a tendency to be sympathetic to those of lesser standing or circumstance.  Barring formal training in the Zealian ways, a user can unconsciously heal minor injuries to themselves or others by pressing hands on the wound.

Dreams:  Dreams are the power of the soul.  Unlike the other four schools of magic, the applications of Dreams are useful only in the metaphysical plane.  It is the province of thinkers and philosophers, people who contemplate questions such as the meaning of life and the nature of existence.  It is the most difficult of the five schools to master, and some would say that mastery isn't possible.  Through the use of Dreams, people can analyze the realm of the subconscious, both in themselves and in others.  A practitioner of Dreams can enter the mind of another person and guide their unconscious thoughts, so long as the recipient is willing.  However, expert users can move well beyond entering the dreams of mortals and can enter the dream of the World itself.  Gurus of the ancient past spoke of a singular unfocused, yet all-encompassing consciousness that spanned both the physical and metaphysical planes.  One who heard the song of the World, it was said, could gain insight into the past, or even the future.  People who can enter the dream of the World are extrodinarily rare, and only a small number of those people can understand what the dream is telling them.  Practitioners of Dreams must have a strong sense of self.  Those who do not, or who falter, suffer cruel fates.  Their essenses can become trapped in the mind of another.  They can question who they are, or if their existence is even real.  The most terrible fate is that of a Je'saal'ook (roughly translated "The foolish transformed"), who, through becoming lost in a dream and questioning his or her own nature, transformed themselves into a non-human form without the ability to change back.  Due to the inherent dangers of the Dreaming school of magic, novice practitioners are closely monitored by Elders and high-ranking Adepts.  Everyone has a certain aptitude for Dreaming, but to make any practical use of it requires extensive training.  There are no records of anyone without training developing useful skill.

Jumping out of encyclopedia mode, it isn't hard to guess which characters are suited to which schools.  Lucca is the poster-girl for Passion and takes it up to eleven.  Crono is the perennial Energy practitioner.  And Marle would be anyone's best friend in a scorching desert - or if you need someone to help you move the furniture.  Where things might differ a bit from expectations is how some of the characters in the story combine different schools to achieve their full potential.  Lucca, for example, isn't a one-trick fire pony.  She also develops skill in Force magic, but uses it in a very different way from Marle's applications.  Lucca's barrier skill is taylor-made to protect herself - and only herself - from enemy attack.  And "Flare" is a fire attack backed up by a telekinetic Force bubble or thrust to either explode at a desired point or to penetrate the defenses of powerful opponents.  Other magic practitioners use their schools to aid themselves and their allies in ways appropriate to their skillset and disposition, and with different levels of efficacy.  Dreams are harder to quantify.  Magus develops considerable skill in Dreams, but only in response to an important plot point involving Lucca.  Lucca herself gains some experience from this event, but can only ever link minds with Magus.  Glenn has a bond with the Masamune, but often has difficulty making sense of what the child-like spirits of the blade tell him.  And Crono and Marle share an empathic link in close proximity but cannot manage true telepathy or thought guidance with themselves or anyone else.  Obviously, I use Dreams as something of a plot device to advance character interaction and to establish certain limits on the characters.  Any other thoughts on the nature of this new magic classification and how it can be applied to the world of Chrono would be welcome.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2015, 05:43:20 am by Lennis »


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Re: Zealian schools of magic - revised
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2015, 06:28:22 am »
I mentioned it on another post, but, maybe this can be useful as a alternative reference :)