As of this draft, the system is currently a fusion of John's system, heavily neutered (for spell casting times and racking capacity), combined with my own ideas about how "magic" could be made to work cross-Shadow.
Magic can be divided into three categories:
The kind of magic practiced by the characters is not the kind practiced by Gandalf. The wizardry of Gandalf and otherwise is merely a kind of skill that relies upon an understanding of the laws of the Shadow the wielder occupies and how to work with them, not particularly different from engineering or science on Shadow Earth. Given time and practice, anyone can learn how to apply them, in the same manner they could learn physics on Shadow Earth--physics applicable only on Shadow Earth, just as the laws by which Gandalf does his magic apply only in Middle Earth.
Cross-Shadow Magic, as practiced in the books by characters like Merlin, Fiona, Jasra and Julia, is useful precisely because it is not tied to any one Shadow, but rather relies upon having an understanding of Shadow, Reality, and the interactions between them, and how to manipulate them anywhere for effects that, on the surface only, bear a similarity to the magic practised by Shadow types like Gandalf.
CROSS-SHADOW MAGIC INITIATION
You understand the theory, if not the application, behind the construction of spells that work all across Shadow, the interactions between Shadow and Reality necessary for Conjuration, and the tapping of raw power.
You can do minor magic tricks simply by tapping raw power, up to the Petty or Minor level--this is very draining and very wasteful. You may not rack spells.
Cross-Shadow Magic Initiation costs 5 points.
Power Words channel the active or latent Reality inherent in the life-force of the user for their effect, and by this means are a form of magic that will function anywhere with about the same effect.
Power Words primarily deal in making small conversions of energy from one state to another, sometimes in a concrete manner (Spark, which generates a small discharge of flame) and sometimes in a more abstract one (Defensive Luck, generating a burst of fortune).
Power Words are a refined form of the "raw power" usage that Merlin is so disdainful of as "aesthetically barbaric". They are very quick, potent for the time expended, and slightly draining. The "word" may also be a gesture, a brief musical note, or a certain image brought to mind; whatever it is, it is probably best thought of as a kind of mnemonic for focusing the use of raw power in a certain way.
Knowing someone's so-called "true name" is of no help in affecting them with a Power Word, although the amount of familiarity one has with them and their particular mind can be a tipping factor when the mental strengths are closely matched.
The kind of magic practiced in the books by Merlin, Mandor and Suhuy is a specific kind of Cross-Shadow Magic, Chaos Sorcery, which draws upon the pervasive influence of Chaos throughout the universes for its power. At higher levels, in combination with essaying the Logrus, a Chaos Sorcerer becomes a Logrus Sorcerer, which is rather like the Ph.D. to Chaos Sorcery's B.A.
Behind all Cross-Shadow Magic lies one of the underlying principles that creates Reality and Shadow. This is why it is a much higher order of magic than that practiced by Shadow dwellers according to the specific magical laws of their Shadow.
When you first purchase Sorcery for 15 points, you must choose the principle by which your magic works. These are the commonly-known principles among the small, elite group who practice Cross-Shadow Magic:
The Principle of Order
"...I know that I am going to make it despite the fact that I am approaching the Grand Curve, which is tough and tricky and long. Not at all like the Logrus. The power here is synthetic, not analytic..." --Merlin, Blood of Amber
How It Works:
Order Magic works by bringing together the specific combination of factors required for the desired effect within a particular setting. Thus, like the Pattern as opposed to the Logrus, it tends to be slower and less flexible, but more powerful.
What You Can Do:
Without an active Pattern Imprint (or Broken Pattern Imprint), Order Magic is capable of spells up to the Difficult level. Broken Pattern Magic can do spells up to the Challenging level. Pattern Magic can do spells up to the Hard level.
How You Store Spells:
Order Magic and Pattern Magic both tend to use Racks: specially-prepared items upon which nearly-complete Order-based spells can be hung and then released with a few quick words, gestures or thoughts. These items all tend to be invested with Order-based Reality, and it is traditional for an apprentice to receive one as a gift from his or her master upon attaining a certain level of competence.
Those who practice Broken Pattern Magic can hang spells upon it in a manner similar to those who use the Logrus. Broken Pattern holds spells much less reliably and safely than the Logrus does, however, and their effects will not always be what was originally intended when they are released.
Attemps to hang spells on the image of the Pattern have all met with failure. There are a number of theories as to why this is: the commonly-held one is that the unchanging nature of the Pattern cannot admit the change that would be necessary to allow spells to be hung upon it, whereas the flawed Broken Pattern and the ever-changing Logrus can do so.
Learning Order Magic:
If you know Order Magic and are a known member of the family of Amber, you have likely learned it from Fiona, Bleys or Dworkin. Depending upon your age and the particular twistiness of your background, you could also potentially have learned it from another of the known users, such as Brand or Jasra.
In <u>Trumps of Doom</u>, Merlin makes reference to "mighty sorcerers" who exist in the Shadow kingdoms closest to Amber and Chaos (page 636 if you have the Great Book of Amber), who bear "imperfect" images of the Pattern or Logrus. A background involving learning Order Magic under one of these mages might also be possible.
The Principle of Chaos
How It Works:
Chaos Magic eliminates the sometimes-slow process of making a spell work under the laws of the particular place you're in, which is how Order Magic operates. It simply grabs the power and throws it, using the underlying principle of Chaos to briefly twist the laws as is convenient.
What You Can Do:
Without an active image of the Logrus, Chaos Magic is capable of spells up to the Average level. Logrus Magic can do spells up to the Hard level.
How You Store Spells:
Basic Chaos Magic can store spells in Chaos-infused racks in a similar manner to Order Magic. A practitioner of Logrus Magic can hang spells upon his or her personal image of the Logrus, as Merlin does in the books.
Learning Chaos Magic:
A Chaosian character who knows Chaos Magic will have learned it from a master in Chaos, such as Suhuy. Each particular House will have its own particular teachers. The possibility also exists for a background in which the characters learn Chaos Magic from one of the master sorcerers living in a Black Zone kingdom.
The Principle of Trump
How It Works:
Trump Magic relies upon the energy and power of trump for its effects. Trump's workings tends to be rather mysterious except to true initiates of the art, relying as they do upon an understanding of the flux and balance inherent in the interactions of Order and Chaos: you may not use Trump Magic as your principle without also possessing Trump Artistry, and you must have either Order Magic or Chaos Magic as a more "basic" principle.
What You Can Do:
Trump Magic is capable of doing spells up to the Challenging level.
How You Store Spells:
Trump Magic stores its spells upon specially-prepared Trump Sketches (or Trump Scrolls, Trump Spellbooks, etc), good for one use. You may not store spells at a power level that you can only attain using Trump Magic on a regular racking item: you must make trumps for them.
Learning Trump Magic:
You must be a Trump Artist, and possessed of either Order Magic or Chaos Magic at the very least. At that level of understanding, developing Trump Magic on your own is not difficult, although you could potentially learn it by studying with Fiona, Bleys, Suhuy, or another Trump Artist who is also a sorcerer.
Sorcery deals with the manipulation and shifting of Shadow. It will not work in places where this is not even slightly possible, such as at the Primal Pattern of Amber.
Conjurations deals with the manipulation of Reality. It is the art of making Real things, as opposed to Shadow things. A quick spell can make a rope for you, but the rope will be Shadow: easily dispelled, easily changed. If you make a rope with Conjuration, it takes more time than simply using a spell to assemble a rope, but the rope is Real. You can enchant a sword with a spell, but the spell is thing of Shadow, and passes away quickly; an enchanted sword made using Conjuration has the power of Reality in it, and is far more durable and long-lasting.
You must have the blood of Reality, either active or latent, in order to practice Conjuration, OR you must have a power like Broken Pattern or Trump that draws in some way on Reality for its power. Conjuration, like Sorcery, operates on one of the underlying principles of the universe, on Order or Chaos; alternately, a Trump Artist may practice Trump Conjuration without resort to either of these principles.
You can do the following things with Conjuration:
Charges a Shadow object, creature or location with Reality, making it resistant to molding or alteration by means of powers that manipulate Shadow. This usually takes a half hour to an hour depending upon the size and complexity of the Conjuration.
You may also use Reality to temporarily empower the object, creature or location with exceptional abilities. Use the object construction rules: each point takes a half-hour to empower. These empowerments last an amount of time dependent upon the complexity of the object and the Psyche of the Conjurer; periodic renewal is recommended.
Create a Real object or creature. This takes an amount of time dependent upon your Psyche and the complexity of the object. Someone of Amber Psyche can make a small Real item of low complexity (a plain dagger, for example) in about ten minutes.
Remove the Reality that another Conjurer has Infused into an object, creature or location. Doing this takes half the time that the Reality Infusion took (it is easier to destroy than to create). Given a lot of time and the knowledge of how to do Complex Conjuration, Reality Negation can also undo Complex Conjurations.
Build Real things with exceptional powers. This takes two hours per point plus the time necessary to make the Real thing, and you cannot be interrupted or the entire Conjuration will fail. Once made, the item is nearly as permanent as any other point item, although you must actually expend advancement points to make it a part of your personal reality.
Combining Sorcery and Conjuration
With Sorcery and Conjuration, you may rack Conjurations as you would regular spells. The amount of time required for the Conjuration determines the difficulty of the spell: double this, and that is the amount of space the Conjuration (which deals in Reality, and is thus more complex for the time it takes) occupies on a rack.
You may also make, using Reality Negation and Sorcery, counterspells that will easily knock out or negate the exceptional abilities of Conjured objects, creatures or locations.
The Item Negation Power Word can be used to briefly suppress the abilities of a Conjured item. A properly-prepared spell could do the same, and a spell based one of the higher powers could potentially permanently destroy the empowerment of an object. Logrus tendrils could, if used skillfully, unweave a Reality Infusion, as could a careful use of Pattern (this is more useful for static objects or locations than anything else, as it takes time).
The only way to permanently destroy a Complex Conjuration is to use Reality Negation (and thus have knowledge of Conjuration yourself), or to destroy the object physically.