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FATE Spin comes with a lightly defined setting that GM's can use or abuse as they wish.
Magic and the World
An author's ability to solve conflict with magic is DIRECTLY PROPORTIONAL to how well the reader understands said magic.
The limitations of a magic system are more interesting than its capabilities. What the magic can't do is more interesting than what it can.
A brilliant magic system for a book is less often one with a thousand different powers and abilities -- and is more often a magic system with relatively few powers that the author has considered in depth.
- Brandon Sanderson's Three Laws of MagicMagic in FATE Spin is the result of energy leaking into the world from “elsewhere”. In psuedoscience terms, magic breaks the Law of Conservation of Energy. It simply vents through various geographic locales (ley lines) and pervades the nearby area.
Magic cannot do or create anything of its own accord. Instead, it latches on to existing forms or structures and changes them. Flora grow faster, larger, and stranger than they otherwise would. Animals gain queer aspects with strange hungers. People become less human and more... something.
Magic can be thought of as a peculiar form of radiation. Its influences are commonly cancerous but occasionally beneficial.There are those who have found ways to make use of magic without being overtaken by it. Various martial, academic, and theological traditions have codified methods for channeling unnatural energies to a useful end. There are also individuals that make use of magic-infested/enchanted items, distancing themselves from the direct impact. But for every competent magic-user, there are another four that have been corrupted into something monstrous.
The Arcane College
Just as there are doctors willing to push the bounds of medical science at any cost, so too are there scholars whose interest in magic courts disaster. The students of the supernatural are referred to as Magi, though the truly wise avoid them at all costs.
The conventionally power-hungry are usually dead before their first year of study is done. Ambition leads to unnecessary risks, and unnecessary risks lead to magic exposure. Students seeking an intellectual challenge may meet with a different fate. They learn the formal arts of manipulating magic; spell casting, power words, abjuration, summoning, or enchantment. The foundation of each branch is the redirection of energy. The orderly nature of the five disciplines lures magic away from the caster and into other forms (rituals, dead languages, magic circles, magic bindings, and artifacts respectively).
Even the vary careful will be subjected to low levels of magic throughout their career. The process is slow enough that most magi can adapt as time goes on, but veterans are undeniably less human towards the end of their lives. A small number will become supernatural creatures in their own right. An even smaller number will maintain the better part of their sanity. Those that do are called Archmagi.
While many supernatural creatures are hostile to humanity, there are a number who regard humans with interest and involve themselves in mortal affairs. They quickly accumulate a cult of followers who wish to gain some benefit from a relationship with the creature.
The first and most basic principle of theological magic is that the minds of gods are fundamentally different than the minds of men. The academic may write this off as magical contamination, but the theologian sees something more. Inhuman minds are capable of inhuman wisdom.
A mortal theologian has much to learn from the unnatural workings of their patron. The most favored will be blessed with a measure of power, carefully applied to avoid breaking the recipient. A theological magic user channels the power of their god to perform the miraculous. As they do so, they will gradually become more like their patron, possibly developing into minor gods themselves.
It's not an easy path. Most acolytes falter. Unable to adapt to the changes in their mind or body, they succumb to death. Others lose the sponsorship of their patron and with it the guiding hand that prevents their power from consuming them. Those marked so heavily by magic are invariably exiled from civilization, becoming monstrous with time.
Still, there are many who seek theology regardless of risks. It’s tradition in some villages to send the second- or third-borne child to live at a nearby monastery. Doing so ensures magical aid during times of plague or drought.
There are plenty who don't fall within the neatly drawn lines of academic and theological magic. Druids, for instance, find an inexplainable connection to the natural world through their magic. Rangers and Monks follow in secretive traditions to find a controllable relationship with magic. Sorcerers, possessed of power beyond reason, somehow manage to survive being a conduit and reservoir for magical energy.
Not all manifestations are so life changing though. Some find magic to be an usual quirk in their lives. They possess a knack or small trick which has unnatural origins. Most cultures regard such people as cursed, though a few revere them. Those with unusual powers invariably find themselves distanced from normal men and women.