The Dragonlance Nexus

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The Magic of Souls

D&D 3e (3.0/3.5) Rules

by Trampas Whiteman

The Magic of Souls is divided into two powers known as divine and arcane magic. Divine magic is the power of faith, and is powered by belief, heart, and spirit. Arcane magic is the power of creation, stemming from the elemental powers of creation. The powers of arcane and divine magic exist in two states—the ambient energies surrounding the world of Krynn, and the focused energies that are derived from the connection of the gods to mortals.

Ambient magic exists in the form of Mysticism (ambient divine magic) and Wild Sorcery (ambient Arcane magic). These magical arts were practiced in the early Age of Dreams, but were largely forgotten by the end of that era, not to be rediscovered again until the Age of Mortals.

It is the harmony between gods and mortals that the powers of Devotion (focused divine magic) and High Sorcery (focused arcane magic) come. As mortals worship the gods and pursue the very ideals that the gods patronize, they provide power to the gods. In return, the gods complete the "circuit" by returning and focusing that power back to the mortals in the form of Devotion or High Sorcery.

The end of the War of Souls sees the return of focused magic. For the first time, the "Four Powers" of Devotion, Mysticism, High Sorcery, and Wild Sorcery co-exist in the world of Krynn.

Divine Magic

Divine magic is the spiritual energy of faith, fueled by the heart and spirit of mortals. It is through faith that mortals can gain access to this power. While the center of faith is different for each divine spellcasting class, it is through faith that all divine magic is cast.

Divine magic comes in two forms: the focused power of Devotion and the ambient power of Mysticism. While these two powers are gained in different ways, both draw upon the same cosmic forces associated with Divine magic.

Devotion—Power of Faith

The power of Devotion is the focused divine magic of the world. Devotion binds mortals and deities together to form a union, in which the deity grants divine power to his follower, who then uses it to fulfill the will of the deity he serves.

Devotion requires those who tap into its power to make a leap of faith. While a mystic looks inward for divine power, the cleric looks outward and places his faith within one of the gods of Krynn.

Clerics bring forth the word and the will of the gods to the peoples of Krynn, and are the cornerstone of the magic of Devotion. Clerics must choose one of the gods of Krynn (excluding the High God, Chaos, and the gods of magic) in which to place their faith.

The gods also work through other classes as well. Often, a deity will seek out a divine champion, such as a paladin or blackguard. Druids and rangers draw upon the power of Devotion as well, gaining their abilities through their ties with nature and the gods of nature (Habbakuk, Chislev, Zeboim).

Mysticism—Power of the Heart

Mysticism is the ambient divine magic of the world, generated by the power of life itself. All living things contribute to the power of Mysticism, forming a living web of energy surrounding the world.

Mysticism begins as a divine spark that resides in the souls of all living things. This spark grants the gifts of life, death, and free will to the sentient species of Krynn.

This spark of the gods also generates the power of Mysticism. As a mystic focuses inward on his inner faith, so to does he tap into his inner divine spark and the power of Mysticism.

Arcane Magic

Arcane magic is derived from the elemental and creative energies of Krynn. Arcane magic-users shape this power through intellectual means or through force of will, producing fantastic results.

Arcane magic exists in two forms: the focused energies of High Sorcery, and the ambient primal energies of Wild Sorcery.

As the world of Krynn was created, the arcane energies used in its creation became part of the world itself. As Chaos had tainted the world with his power, so too was the power of Wild Sorcery tainted.

As the power of Wild Sorcery became too chaotic and was causing harm, the gods of magic sought to bring it under control. As such, they removed themselves from the heavens, and have been represented in the sky by three moons named after the gods of magic: Solinari the white, Lunitari the red, and Nuitari the black.

The gods of magic, in bringing arcane magic back under control, focused it back down to those who would follow their teachings, and who would embrace the power of magic.

With the Age of Mortals, High Sorcery had been absent from the world of Krynn for nearly 40 years. In that time, Wild Sorcery was discovered once again. With the power of Chaos released into the world, no longer is Wild Sorcery uncontrollable.

After the War of Souls, High Sorcery and Wild Sorcery now stand side-by-side. It remains to be seen whether they will work together, or fight for dominance.

High Sorcery

High Sorcery is the focused arcane magic of the world, purified from its chaotic form for those who follow the gods of magic, and their teachings.

Wizards of High Sorcery gain their power from intense study of arcane magic, learning how to shape the magic of the moons to produce desired results. While the gods of magic are venerated by the Wizards of High Sorcery, there is no direct link between the wizards and the gods of magic.

The gods of magic do have the power to turn on and off the flow of arcane magic to those who gain their power from High Sorcery, although they seldom do this. Instead, they allow the Wizards of High Sorcery to keep watch that arcane magic is used responsibly.

Wild Sorcery

Wild Sorcery is the ambient arcane magic of Krynn. This type of magic is sometimes referred to as "wild magic" or "primal sorcery".

The power of Wild Sorcery is drawn from the various elemental energies of Krynn, including those of space, the River of Time, and creation.

As the world of Krynn has been affected by the touch of Chaos, so too are its creative energies. As such, Wild Sorcery is much more fluid than other forms of magic. Those whose minds can grasp Wild Sorcery are able to shape it to greater effect than other magic-users.

The primary users of Wild Sorcery are sorcerers, a new brand of magic-user who channels the power of Wild Sorcery, rather than accessing the power of magic through study.

Bards have also recently discovered the power of Wild Sorcery as well. Prior to the Age of Mortals, bards were simply performers and storytellers whose bardic lore was known throughout the lands. In recent years, they've discovered the ability to tap into the power of Wild Sorcery. As such, Wild Sorcery is now being taught at the major bardic colleges.

Focused and Ambient Magic

Beyond the distinction between arcane and divine magic lies another distinction. Arcane magic and divine magic are distinctions based on the type of magic. Focused and ambient magic is a further distinction that denotes the source of magic.

Focused magic is derived from the gods, whether it be a direct union (as with clerics) or whether it be directed arcane magical energies, such as that of High Sorcery.

Ambient magic is derived from the hearts of mortals and the creative energies of the world. Unlike focused magic, which requires spell preparation, ambient magic is channeled without preparation, and cast "on the fly".


Dragons of a Vanished Moon, by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman.

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