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The Flavour of Magicby Jeff Daly
But to continue the idea, here are some of my thoughts regarding magic items and the Nithian/Blackmoorian/Alphatian element. In each description I will use a wand of magic missile.
A tubular device of metal or a lightweight, non-metal/non-wood of unidentifiable substance (plastic). Perhaps even ceramic. If broken open, one can see the myriad thin metal strips of copper, silver and gold running along the length. The precise relationship between these strands of metal and the magic involved is undetermined.
That there IS magic involved is unquestionable. The device radiates magic and a dispel magic does have an effect on it if cast at a high enough level.
But rather than command words, the thing has a stud on the side which is depressed to execute a charge.
The spell which comes out of the tip is a beam or a small, fast projectile.
Perhaps a "plasmic beam" or an arrow-like beam.
This one is stylised with a crook at one end or a circle with a cross. Other than a few painted rings, or perhaps hieroglyphs, it is fairly plain.
Especially by modern standards...
The word of command is from the Nithian language and often is a bastardisation of one of the Nithian Immortals.
The spell manifests as a pulsating black arrow.
Thin, sometimes with a small "hilt" so as to fit into a wand sheathe, it is often the shortest of the three wands. The military version is usually plain while a mage's personal weapon is often adorned with jewels or tracery in some sort of valuable metal. Ancient Alphatian or draconic words are placed along the shaft sometimes as a hint to the command words but rarely as an outright "give-away".
The spell manifests as a vaguely arrow-shaped blast of yellow, gold, silver, or red.