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MAGIC OF THE HETERONOMY

December 8, 2011

The academic wizards of the New Ways have discovered the means to draw power out of their own bodies and are no longer able to draw magic from the earth as was done in the old days. But the magi of the Heteronomy still valued the more difficult-to-access, but likewise more powerful magic protected by the Dozen Tribes of the Black Forest, who jealously guarded their nearly-forgotten ways. It was the southern wizards’ lust for this knowledge that brought bloody ruin upon the Black Forest.

The magi of the Heteronomy are also known as egomancers, because it is their own desire, their own insistence, on creating magic from their own life-forces that brings them power.

Egomancers are able to sense magic in others. This is one of the first lessons an apprentice magus learns, and unless the would-be egomancer shows talent in the detection of the ebb and flow of magic energy, their training ends there.

As an egomancer progresses in his or her studies (there are no restrictions placed on gender in the Heteronomy), they learn to trace the magic they sense in others back to it source, and if their own life-force is stronger, a magi can then use their victims’ own innate magic against them.

Individual magi then embark on a course of study wherein their specific talents are identified and enhanced. Some magi find they have some limited ability over the elements, can move objects from a distance, or can seize control of a weaker person’s mind.

When an egomancer summons their magic, they enter a trancelike state, meditating on the sources of their power and drawing it out of themselves in the precise measures necessary to conjure a desired effect. Egomancers in this state glow from within, as their innate magical power separates from their physical form. The more power they muster within themselves, the brighter they glow.

Likewise, the more magical energy they draw from their own life-forces, the more exhausted they become. It’s not unheard of for an egomancer to pass out after casting a particularly complex spell, and if they’re careless, or forced to by some outside agency, they can even fully deplete their own life energies, at which point they simply fall over dead.

Egomancers are treated with respect, even fear, in the Heteronomy. An experienced magus is considered a member of the aristocracy, but it’s rare that they seek too much overt political power, fearing reprisals from the majority. An egomancer grows up knowing the dangers of over-reaching. One who attempts to weild too much power can easily drain himself dry.

—Philip Athans

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