A Primer: Defining Magick in the Game World

If you are playing a practitioner of magick, it is of vital importance that you become familiar with all the previous passages: “What is Magick?”, “The Great Laws of Magick” and “The Ultimate Limits of Magick” before tackling the definitions and conventions established in this section and their applications under the heading “Magick in Play,” following.

Magick in RoM is considered to be “formulaic”. For all intents and purposes, most of the magick in RoM game worlds are performed by means of a combination of various sorts of gestures and/or poses and chants/incantations that have been handed down from master to apprentice over many centuries, even millennia. These are pre-established, tried and proven by the research of those who have gone before – at great risk to life and limb – and determined to produce a similar, established effect when performed correctly (depending directly on the caster’s talent).

Charms & Dweomers

The skills that define the practitioner’s knowledge and ability in the application of magick are known  as “charms” (pl.; sing. charm). Each charm represents more of a broad idea or concept than it does the narrow application of that force or influence in a particular way. In the same manner that a Warrior has the option to use his weapons in the melée in a number of different types of attacks, each charm may be applied in one of a number of ways, enumerated in its description.

The different applications of a charm defined in its description are considered to be exemplary but not exhaustive; if the GM or players come up with an idea for another application worthy of addressing with a description of its own, they should write it up and include it.

The charms are presented and defined in the specific descriptions provided in The Compendium (which govern the manner in which the magicks manifest in play).

The actual manifestations of the charms, their effects when loosed or encountered in the game world, are referred to as “dweomers” (“DWIM-merz”, pl., sing. dweomer, “DWIM-mer”).

The Spheres of Power

The charms wielded by all the practitioners in the game need a general measuring stick, a  basis on which their charms can all be compared, generally speaking . An indicator of the general strength of mana they represent and the intricacies and difficulty with which their patterns of power may be woven, are first defined by the general strata or levels known as the Spheres of Power, or simply Spheres, into which the charms are divided.

The Spheres are three in number: the Common, Noble, and Sovereign Spheres

Common Sphere magicks are the most numerous and, naturally enough, the most commonly encountered (if one can say that encountering magick is in any way at all common). These tend to be of a smaller scale and more personal in nature. All new characters equipped with trades practicing magick are posited to have been introduced only into Common Sphere magickal lore (charms), and it is from this Sphere that the player chooses the magickal skills with which his character begins play.

Noble Sphere magicks are more daunting, and generally are comprised of magicks that are more sweeping and potentially more dangerous in nature, applied to areas or groups of targets. Their uses are more likely to change the course of stories, even whole campaigns. A practitioner is not considered ready to seek out the secrets and charms of this Sphere until he has attained the Master LoA with his Common Sphere charms. Until reaching this LoA with the knowledge of the Common Sphere, the practitioner doesn’t have a sufficient foundation to be able to learn Noble Sphere charms with any chance of surviving their lore.

Few practitioners see this kind of knowledge and power.

Sovereign Sphere magicks encompass truly world-shaking powers, the most frightening and dangerous of magicks commonly encountered in heroic fantasy. They might end a campaign or start one, or be pivotal in plotting the course of an adventure or campaign. They can certainly impact game world history greatly. A practitioner is not considered ready to seek out the secrets and charms of this Sphere until he has attained the Master LoA with his Noble Sphere charms. Until reaching this LoA with the knowledge of the Noble Sphere, the practitioner doesn’t have a sufficient foundation to be able to learn Sovereign Sphere charms with any chance of surviving their lore.

Because so few ever survive to attain this threshold kind of knowledge and power, Sovereign Sphere magick mostly remains the stuff of legends and folktales and the great deeds and especially MIS-deeds of the ancient practitioners who commonly used it to build dreams and frighten children into behaving themselves. The rarity of any earning the ability to learn it has contributed over time has caused a gradual loss, furthered by an active effort by the greater part of the practitioners of the Arts to make this knowledge disappear, creates a vicious cycle resulting in a great dearth of such knowledge to be found. Indeed, many who do become ready for it die before they can locate it.

Though occupying varying positions in the spectrum of vibrations from one trade to the next, and given many different names by the different practitioners of magick over the years, equivalents to the Common, Noble and Sovereign labels can be found among all trades to distinguish relative power or orders of magnitude between magicks and also applied to “levels” of knowledge. These particular labels of Common Sphere, Noble Sphere and Sovereign Sphere are equally understood by all practitioners regardless of trade, whatever other names might also be in use specifically in the GM’s game world.