High and Low Magic

From Dragon Eye Atlas

The flow of magic is not even throughout the world of Auseka. In some areas it flows more freely, in others less so. These are called areas of high and low magic, respectively.

The two largest high magic regions are roughly the realms of Palan and Aluraba. The reason for these realms being near identical to the high magic reasons they occupy is political: They make it almost a principle of state to control that area.

There are several large low magic regions throughout the world, though none reach the size of an entire realm. The very north of Biesen and Schap are low in magic, as are the Njorun mountain range, covering large parts of the dwarven realm Ebronland.

Life in Low Magic Regions

As far as low magic regions are concerned, life there is simply more similar to the real world middle ages. There is still magic around, but it is less common and less powerful. The kings still have their court wizards, but out in the countryside, many villagers have never seen a real mage with their own two eyes. In other places, there are magic users, but their powers are small compared to the higher magic regions. If you would take the superstition and fairy tales of the real world middle ages at face value, it would be pretty much like that.

Hedge and Folk Magic

Magic becomes more mystical and rare in low magic regions, and the ability of common folks to tap into it goes to almost zero. While superstitions still exist, and folk lore swaps over from nearby regions with higher magic flow, common people engage in magical acts at about the same rate as they did in the real world's middle ages. Small charms here and there, tokens for good luck, folk traditions that are also rituals (fertility spring dancing, etc.) - the same stuff you can find in history books if you open your eyes.

Life in High Magic Regions

At the other extreme, life is very much different both from real history and from other places in Auseka.

Palan is the shining example, and at night in the literal sense - the streets of its largest cities are illuminated by magical street lamps, which re-fill their mana stores during the day.

Daily Life

Even in high magic regions, mages are relatively rare and magic is not available to everyone on a daily basis. Most peasants and even low nobles live a daily life not unlike that of their real-world medieval counterparts. Hedge magic is far more common, and it much more often actually works, but its effects are still limited to an occasional lucky break or fortunate recovery or the cows giving unusually much milk this week.

However, both hedge and true magic being more common and easy makes it possible for regular folks to get magical help such as healing in times of need. A healing potion or healing spell is still a serious expense for peasants, but it is possible to get and afford it when really needed. This leads to a considerably reduced number of cripples and slightly reduced death rates from accidents and child births. The problem for the later two is often that outside of cities it simply takes too long to find and fetch the nearest mage.

Other things such as harvest, animal husbandry, manufacturing, etc. are mostly untouched by true magic due to the scales involved, but the more prevailant use of hedge magic does lead to a slightly higher yield, except that the mathematical field of statistics hasn't been invented yet so nobody can really say for sure.

While a mage can use magic to craft items, skilled craftsmen are more numerous and can do most of what a mage could do. There is a small market for magically crafted items where magic can accomplish what craftsmen cannot, in materials and design.

Court Life

For those who can pay for magic, the higher magic flow brings massive changes. For the past ten years, magically crafted diadems for the court ladies, with impossibly intricate patterns or melds of materials impossibly to fasten together with common means, are a fashion statement. For the men, owning at least one magical artifact is a question of status. While lower nobles often cannot afford it unless one has been passed down the family line, fakes or items enchanted just enough to be detected as magical on simple detection spells are popular. The high nobility, the lords of provinces and upwards, almost always possess a magic sword or shield or item of armour. At this level, these items also start to be actual artifacts, which do not require a mage to recharge. The highest lords and the kings often have a full collection, easily on the level of even advanced adventurers.

In Palan, there is an additional factor - the magocratic ruling class that replaced the nobility is by themselves mages. They themselves as well as their palaces are often stuffed with magic items of all kinds, sizes and power levels.

Communication & Transportation

One of the main impacts of easier magic is that teleportation spells move from the extremely difficult into the merely difficult, and for small items such as packages and letters, actually manageable.

Teleporting a small bundle of letters to the next city (up to about 100 km) requires a 2 and 15 on the Sorcery roll. With one heroic die, and the +1 bonus per die in high magic regions, any die will satisfy the target dimension (1+1=2) while you need only a 13 (+2) for the range. Since you can put your lowest die to the target, the chance to get 13 or higher is quite good and with a small Casting bonus or by making a small ritual to gain one more die, such a spell becomes relatively reliable.

Transportation of people or larger objects is also possible for experienced mages or with rituals. However, keep in mind that teleportation of people, especially important people, is subject to the trust problem - a person about to be teleported cannot be protected with general counter-magic, so the mage doing the teleporting could just as easily teleport them to certain death.

For this reason, in Palan, portals are much more common than teleportation. However, portals are also more difficult to cast as they require a duration, and typically require a ritual. Therefore, there are no permanent magic portals, but there are many ready-to-use portals that are set up with all the proper magical markings (see the "Marking" spell) and can be activated with the proper ritual. Unlike teleportation spells, a portal can be tested by sending a servant through first.

The effect on politics within the two high-magic realms Palan and Aluraba is considerable, even if nobles are not teleporting around daily and most letters are still sent by courier (especially in Palan, with its Courier Service). However, managing a realm becomes considerably easier when rapid emergency communication is possible, and both realms can react to emergencies, invasions and other events much more rapidly and effectively than other realms can. Not only is the information available to the central government faster, it is also possible to quickly send an important person or a small group to handle the emergency.

This makes the government work in these two realms somewhat less feudal and more modern, with more power, expertise and decision power centralized and local regions less independent.


The effect on military and warfare in high-magic regions is considerable. While in most of Auseka magic on the battlefield is overwhelmed by sheer numbers, Palan and Aluraba are the exception to the norm. Both field units of battle mages that have can turn the tides of battles and have a considerable impact on wars.

Not only are there more mages in these realms, the advantages to casting magic make a difference as well. In game-mechanical terms, most combat magic requires three or four dimensions, and with a +1 or +2 to all of them, the total effect is considerable, allowing mages to cast more powerful spells more often.

An even bigger effect, however, is the result of the amount of magical artefacts that these armies bring to the battlefield. From small personal items, often protective magic webbed into armour, to the famous flying ships of Palan that bombard the battlefield below, these artefacts give the armies supplied from high-magic regions a considerable advantage.

Finally, what has been said above about communication also affects warfare on both the small and large scale. Palan and Aluraba consistently have the ability to have up-to-date knowledge of the strategic situation in a war and several battlefield commanders have coordinated battles with the help of scrying spells and magical communication.