The ADN Protocols redefine spells as either Arcane, Divine, or Natural in origin. Though the spell effects may be essentially the same, the origin of the magic governing a spell, and the powers that shape the spell, may differ from mage to priest to druid. The different origins of the magic, and the different rules governing them, do not alter or change game-play in any measurable way. They do, however, further define the magic – a necessary step on a world as polarized about magic as Gaeleth.
Each 'plane' of existance is like the page of a book; each page is sandwhiched between two other pages, and yet each is unique and individual. Each plane is a separate and distinct universe, sandwhiched extradimensionally between other universes. Because of the higher-order mathematics involved, here, each plane is not just adjacent to two other planes at a time, but a larger number, variant upon the status of the plane. Most of the planes are considered 'prime material' planes, like Gaeleth and Oerth. All prime material planes (or 'primes') border the ethereal plane, the astral plane, and several others. Some prime material planes are adjacent to one another, but most are not.
All through a prime, the borders with the neighboring planes fluctuates, letting small amounts of energy leak through the barrier. Some planes, such as the one earth is in, have very strong borders, with very little energy leaking in. Other planes have very weak borders, with a great deal of energy leaking in. This energy, a form of radiation that is currently unclassifyable, can be transformed, harnessed, and used for a variety of purposes.
Oft times a catalyst is necessary to use the energy, and the nature of the catalyst often determines the type of the energy used. Gods are considered to be self-aware energetic patterns of this radiation, and dole it out to their followers as needed. Some people have the genetic inheritance or the sheer effort of will necessary to harness this power. It is thought that in some places, the energy pervades everything, down to the smallest groupings of protons, and the energy is available even to life itself.
There are eight primary forms of the energy:
|Color||ADN||School of Magic||Effect|
|Black||AD||Necromancy / Death||undead, spirits, transform time, some forms of healing|
|Red||A||Evocation / Destruction||unleash energy, fire, cold, lightning, force|
|Orange||AN||Conjuration / Summoning||creatures, acid, demons, teleportation|
|Yellow||AN||Transmutation / Alteration||all primal effects, regeneration healing, transform matter|
|Green||ADN||Illusion / Invisibility||camouflage, transform energy|
|Blue||AD||Abjuration / Protection||shields, damage reduction|
|Purple||A||Enchantment / Phantasm||psychic, transform souls|
|White||AD||Divination / Divine||all divine effects, most forms of healing, scrying|
Some beings are capable of catching and harnessing the energy, and then converting it into matter, other forms of energy, or gateways to other planes of existance (such as the elemental plane of fire). The energy itself can burn out a sentient's mind, or destroy a creature's body. Sentient spell-casters prepare the harnessing pattern that calls the energy into formation, but do no complete the pattern until the last moment. Once the pattern is completed, the energy takes on the form the pattern dictates, and gives off the indicated spell-effects. Older patterns would often wipe that portion of the mind from the spell-caster, although newer patterns have been developed.
From the very beginning, sentients that utilze the energy learn to partition their minds, storing the pattern in discreet areas of their consciousness. Whenever the sentient completes the pattern, with a word, or a gesture, or a material component, the pattern harnesses the energy, burns with it for a moment, and then takes on the form the pattern dictates. More powerful mages and sorcerors learn to apportion more and more of their minds, sometimes at a risk of great insanity.
Some races have genetic predispositions for or against arcane energies. Dwarves, for example, inherently alter these patterns, sometimes to disasterous effects. Elves have a built-in pattern system that protects their minds and their conciousnesses from mind-affecting patterns of magic. Humans tend to be about average, in terms of initial magical abilities. With enough training and discipline, however, man's ability to partition and refract his own mind holographically far outstrips the potential of the other races. Those mages able to cast the most powerful of magics are inevitably human.
Some patterns become inherent, burning themselves into the physiology of the spell-caster. Other patterns are the result of genetic design, either by evolution or engineering. Generally, the more often a given individual creates and utilizes these patterns of energy, the more potent the patterns become, and the more resistant to external patterns the individual becomes. This is the basis of spell resistance (although, as mentioned, some species have an inherent resistance to external patterns).
The abilities of wizards, and sometimes bards and sorcerors, falls under this category.
Priests' magic works a bit differently. The pattern is formed by others, and transferred to the priest. These 'others' are usually the deities, and attending secretarial archons, solars, and planetars of the priest. Because these patterns are formed by beings that are, themselves, nearly nothing but patterns (albeit sentient patterns of energy), they are particularly potent. Divine magic is, essentially, the same sort of energy as arcane magic – but the source of the energy is the deity itself, and the processing of that energy is formidble. Divine spells tend to 'appear' smoother and more refined (more subtle) to those sensitive to these energies.
Sometimes, the power derives from the archons of a deity – who are, in a sense, spawned, sentient patterns of the deity. Archons form the source of such divine magics as divination and enchantment spells.
The abilities of clerics, paladins, and sometimes bards falls under this category.
The source of natural magical energy is life itself. The patterns are often sculpted crudely, when compared to divine magic, but can be considerably powerful. Because these life energies – both of positive living matter, and negative death matter – are natural to the environment, they are often supernatural abilities – such as a basilisk's gaze attack, or a shocker lizard's electrical power. Mages and priests both tend to tap into natural energies for the construction of animated beings, be it the undead, golems, or a homonculus.
Most of the powers associated with creatures and beasts fall into this category of magic. This is why spells such as dispell magic do not affect such creatures's abilities.
Oddly enough, sorcerors fall into the category of 'natural mages' – a strange combination of arcane and natural energies. The sorcerous abilities of dragons lie in this domain, as well – much to the consternation of many mages and priests.
The abilities of druids, rangers, and sometimes sorcerors and bards, falls under this category. Many scholars have used other names for these powers, such as 'primal' or 'martial'. Other scholars have argued that 'martial' abilities are just manifestations of pure will. Obviously the debate and exploration of all these powers will continue for some time.