Magic is the art of manipulating aspects of reality. Magic in Magience is powered through mana, a mysterious energy that flows through everything, living or not. It's unsure whether mana gives everything their elemental properties, or whether something's properties affect the mana.
Mana, as stated before, is the energy that flows through everything. By utilizing this energy, people are able to perform feats of magic. Often, someone will need a focusing item to draw out the mana from their surroundings, such as a wand, staff, or book. Sometimes, however, one is able to tap into their own potential mana, and use that. It's dangerous to do, but if mastered, is the most powerful form of magic available.
It's dangerous to tap into one's own mana because, should one use up all mana in their own reservoir, they will fall unconscious and in some cases even die. But, should one master the art of assessing how much mana they have, it's the most efficient and powerful use of mana, since none is wasted getting from point A (its original source) to point B (the focusing item) to point C (the spell itself).
"Mana is like a reservoir with a faucet stuck in the side. You can upgrade the reservoir to be bigger, and over time it refills what is lost. To use it, just turn the tap. But you can't see how much is inside, you can only guess. And if you run out... Well. Then you're in trouble, ain'tcha?"
Mana is measured in MP, or Mana Points. If something is capable of using magic it will have an MP bar that can be seen with the skill Wizard Eyes, or other similar abilities. MP is usually used by Players to refer to mana.
People are able to use magic even if their Mana is completely depleted. However, the magic will drain their life force instead if they don't draw upon an outside force, lowering their health by twice as much of a percentage as would have been lost had they had mana to spare. For example, say there's a spell that costs 25% of your MP. If you have 0% MP left, it will take 50% worth of MP points from your HP. We’ll use hard numbers for the sake of an example. You have 2000 HP and 1000 MP. 25% of your MP is 250. But, if you have 0% of that left, it will take 50%, or 500, out of your HP. That’s only 25% of your HP but its 50% worth of your MP. This can have very serious consequences if the person tapping their life force allows their HP to drop too far.
Mana can be drawn from outside forces as well as inner ones, though mana drawn from your own body is more potent and thus makes stronger spells for less. When using an item some mana is lost in the process of channeling it through the item and concentrating it into a spell, much like cupping water in your hands. Much will remain, but some will trickle out between your fingers.
Mana can be stored in things like wands, staves, or crystals to be used at a later time. If someone has such items on them it will add to the percentage of mana available shown on their MP bar, as casting spells will draw from the stored mana first rather than innate sources.
Some outside sources even allow a mage to draw mana from the surroundings, such as from an enemy or from surrounding plantlife, rather than a prepared storage unit or their own reserves. These items are rare, as are the spells that allow someone to do the same thing.
Focusing items are used to assist in utilizing mana to create magic. Some known focusing items are as follows:
Wands - Used by those with a flair for embellishment. Wands are short, usually wooden though metal, porcelain, and glass ones do exist. Can vary in lengths from 4 inches to 15, and most are designed flamboyantly.
Staves - More plain and practical than wands, with several uses. Staff designs are usually down to earth and ordinary, with only very high-level staves being ornate. Those who use staves also tend to have a bit of combat prowess, and can use their focusing item as a physical weapon if the situation calls for it.
Runes - Runes are usually crafted of wood or crystal, and when arranged in certain orders can create unique, devastating spells. It takes true talent to master runes, since they are quite complicated.
Books - Books require the caster to read a string of words or an incantation out loud to cast a spell. A common form of focusing item, since they're easy to use and cheap to purchase.
Crystals & Gemstones - The most common focusing item of all, crystals (and gemstones in general) are often used to augment other focusing items, further increasing their effectiveness. By itself, a crystal isn't that strong, but as an augment it can bring out hidden abilities in other items. Gemstones, however, can be quite powerful, and a summoning gem, though rare, can summon more powerful beings than any book or spell.
Scrolls are similar to books in that they require someone to read them. However, the spell is rarely said aloud, and activates for the first person to see its contents in its entirety.
Scrolls draw mana from the user when casting a spell, though significantly less than if they simply cast the spell themself. This allows weaker people to cast stronger magic, though spells in scrolls are not as easy to control as normal spells. They also cannot be cancelled once activated, and the spell has a fixed potency determined by the magical power of the person who created the scroll; you cannot power up a spell from a scroll, or make one weaker.
Once the spell is used up the ink disappears from the scroll and you're left with a normal piece of paper. You may then use it to create a new scroll, or throw it away, or wrap your lunch in it. Likewise, you can technically write a scroll using a napkin if you had to.
Creating scrolls requires a skill called Magic Writing, which allows people to write and understand magical writing and seals. You can only create scrolls with spells you personally know how to cast. You also need magic ink, which apothecaries or alchemists can create.
The creator of the scroll can store a bit of mana in the scroll to help lessen the amount it takes when it is used, but the amount stored will deteriorate over time until it vanishes completely, so it's best used on a scroll you plan to have used quickly.
Practical Magic is a rare ability that allows a Player to cast magic without a focusing item. Normally, it's required to use a focusing item until higher levels when the Player has mastered several kinds of spells and at least 2 elements. However, should a Player be extremely lucky, they may find a scroll that will teach them Practical Magic. They can also learn Practical Magic from another Player that already has it.