Magic on Saylua is a blanket term used to refer to a variety of unusual phenomenon perceived as supernatural which occurred after The Impact. Specifically, unusual observations after The Impact include:
- Creatures near the meteor crash site started to evolve very rapidly, believed to be caused by an increased rate of mutation.
- Luaria started to have a frequent aurora in the sky.
- The planet of Saylua started to have longer days until it became fully tidally locked during an era known as the Transition Age.
Sayluans referred to the seemingly miraculous observations they saw in the meteor crash site following The Impact as magic simply because the occurrences did not seem to be logical. Although it has been widely studied, magic on Saylua is still a poorly understood concept. The leading explanation for the working of magic on Saylua is the Luan Particle Hypothesis, which states that magic is tied to extremely powerful particles contained on the meteor.
Magic has brought great changes to Saylua. A dramatic example of this is the rapid transformation of Saylua's creatures in the years following the meteor impact. In general, species seemed to develop further along their original lines, although some transformed so completely as to bear little resemblance to their original form.
Magic seems to follow the "will" of the user, from interactions as complex as a bird growing more colorful feathers to those as simple as a river rushing more rapidly to the sea. Indeed, some even hypothesize that the tidal locking was a result of magic used by the planet itself!
In practical terms this means that magic has been incredibly useful to humans and animals alike, even with little training or understanding. Still, the more one practices and learns about magic the more precisely one is able to control their use of it. The feats that are possible are limited only by the skill of the user and the amount of magical energy available, at least as far as all experiments have shown. There does seem to be some sort of law of diminishing returns relating to magical energy, with the requirements for grander tasks growing very quickly.
A budding mage usually begins by training their will, as well as working to improve their self-understanding. It is all too often the case that a spell has an unexpected outcome simply because the caster actually intended something other than what they were attempting. Strong desires can help focus one's will, although strong emotions can often be less than straightforward.
Since the use of magic is controlled by intent, the ability to accurately visualize is key. A good way to refine visualization skills for magical use is to practice more conventional arts such as drawing and painting. Sculpting has proven especially effective as a training exercise, due to the three-dimensional nature of the form. Before attempting a new bit of magic it is customary to sketch out your intended results, both to clarify your vision as well as to evaluate how you did.
Magic has enabled many creatures to transform themselves into yet unheard-of forms. Often a creature that has been transformed by magic will be larger, faster, or have other beneficial adaptations as a result of the experience. Since magic follows the will of the user when used by a human, it stands to reason that the creatures themselves enacted these changes out of desires to change. This naturally raises some philosophical questions, especially since many of the creatures that have been transformed by magic weren't previously considered "intelligent" by human standards.
The Study of Magic
Magical instruction differs greatly depending on where one trains. A Luarian teacher might advise jumping in and making mistakes as quickly as possible, while practicing relatively safe spells. On the other hand, a Saydian teacher might recommend studying theory and literature, but would be more open to teaching riskier spells. Both schools emphasize the importance of practice and experimentation in personal development.
The two schools also differ in how they record the details of a magical experiment. Luarian records tend to be more specific, taking note of everything. The source of any ingredients or supplies used and even weather and the caster's mood are recorded. The Saydian system focus more on eliminating confounding variables. To do so, it describes magic in terms of basic principles applied. This can aid replicability, but sometimes omits relevant data if it was not expected to matter.
There is quite a bit of effort in magical academia to translate and replicate the work of those from opposing sides. The bulk of this work is done by student-researchers, and as a result it is not uncommon for a novice to find themselves asked to share their findings with those many years their senior. Most professionals end up working with a sort of a synthesis between the two systems, as ultimately each methodology has strengths and weaknesses that make it suited to specific tasks.
Sources of Magical Energy
The original source of all magical energy on Saylua was the meteor impact. No other sources have been discovered, but the abundance of magic on the planet suggests that it isn't being used up. Some have hypothesized alternate sources of magical energy but no such process has been observed under lab conditions.
Regardless of their source, Luan particles have to be gathered. The energy density of the auroras is extremely low, with a single cloud barely containing enough energy to boil a cup of water. The primary means for these clouds to enter the food chain is via absorption into vegetation. Luan particles are then concentrated through biomagnification, leaving immense magical power available to apex predators.
Cultural Significance on Luaria
The people of Luaria often credit magic with saving their side of the planet. Before the discovery of magic, the meteor crash site was believed to be a dead zone. However, a few creatures did survive The Impact and were hardy enough to eventually reproduce. Before the word Luaria was used to refer to the dark side of Saylua, the word was used to refer to the hope brought to the meteor crash site by the presence of life.
While Saydians tend to see magic as something that should be studied and understood, Luarians see magic as a necessity to their lives. Luarians are constantly directly interacting with magic and use magic in everyday activities from farming to adventuring.