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This is an old revision of MagicalTraditions made by BaxilDragon on 2009-12-02 13:23:05.


Magical Traditions in TTU

On one level, a mage is a mage is a mage: anyone who can "cast spells" is applying their willpower to produce direct effects on reality. But mages have very different ideas about where that power comes from, how to access it, and the constraints under which they can (or should) operate.

A "magical tradition" is a division of these ideas -- it is to spellcasting what a religion is to spirituality. It describes a group of mages united by shared ideology. It does not imply that all mages of that tradition practice together or are geographically united. Local subgroups of a given tradition typically exist, under the name of "covens" or "orders" or some such.

There are a number of magical traditions that exist in our Earth that also are prominent in TTU -- Wicca, shamanism, druidry, hermeticism, thelema, etc. There are also a large number of traditions that sprang from these roots -- or from seemingly out of nowhere -- after magic started demonstrably working in TheChanges.

Schools of Magical Thought

After The Changes brought magic into the world, people naturally sought explanations for what this effect was and why it worked. The explanations tended to fall into a few larger categories, which academic mages naturally began to refer to as "schools."

Broadly speaking, a tradition will subscribe to one of these views -- although they will not agree on the details with other traditions in that school! Intra-school disagreements are, if anything, more heated than the external ones.


- Magic is generated by the existence of life itself. Spells are merely taking the internal energy that animates our bodies and using it to animate things outside of us.

Advantages: Flexible and egalitarian. Virtually the only theory to coherently explain shapeshifting (see ShapeshiftingInTTU), and the only school with reliable shapeshifting spells.
Disadvantages: Spells are more physically draining, since they are inherently self-generated and sustained (even if tapping external power sources). Under this theory, animals should be capable of magic and/or therianthropy too -- which they aren't. Has a harder time explaining The Changes.


(Commonly AKA: "Theist.")

- Magic is generated by a supreme being (or higher power, space aliens, etc) and shared with us as a gift. Our belief opens a link to that source and allows us to channel its power through ourselves into reality.

Advantages: Theist mages, on average, have a power advantage due to the layering effect of magical faith and religious faith. Explanation is intuitive and doesn't stumble over The Changes (much).
Disadvantages: More prone to erratic failure and more helpless when it happens ("oh well, that spell wasn't God's will"). Much hand-waving is necessary to explain how mages of various faiths can all make it work. Leads VERY easily to hardcore dualism and eschatology.


- Magic is not "generated" so much as an inherent capability of the universe that some people have gotten smart/advanced/spiritual enough to unlock and access. Spells are the universe responding to our conscious requests; mages are much like programmers getting access to the universe's compiler.

Advantages: Spells are inherently cheaper, since they are simply sending directions for the universe to process and the only "willpower" needed is to access that control connection.
Disadvantages: Much more heavily ritual-based, since those directions have to be precise and correct. Elitist. Lots of hairy questions about "consensus reality".



- Magic is hard. Let's go shopping!

Advantages: Popular.
Disadvantages: Explains nothing. Potentially expensive.
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