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Thorn's Chronicle: On Magic

by Robert J. Nuttman, Jr.

The magic most readers are familiar with, the scripting of formulae and working of that formulae into spells to manifest magical effects, is what is known upon the Mystara of Thorn's Chronicle as "Old Magic."

The source of that manifestation of magic was tainted by the corrupt touch of demonic influence in a last desperate attempt of those demons to retain their hold on the world. The Old Ways still work, but at a terrible price, and always results in the madness and eventual death of the user. There are workarounds, such as the elves' use of soul gems, and pacts between unscrupulous wizards and witches and very powers that have corrupted the magic. But such methods are temporary measures, merely putting off the ill-effects. The chickens, eventually, as they say, always come home to roost.

What is commonly known as "magic" in the present-day Mystara is actually several different phenomena which --to the untrained eye (which includes most of the peasantry -- and indeed, much of the nobility as well) appears as "all the same thing."

Most magic is of the Alphatian way, which taps directly from the Spheres of Influence, which borders closely with and sometimes overlaps with elemental forces: Air, Earth, Fire, Water. Entropy, too, can be drawn upon -- but as with demonically-tainted "Old Magic," weaving the forces of chaos and decay leaves lasting effects for the weaver.

Weavers have no need of books or scrolls as they do not rely upon written formulae. The use of other trappings, such as staves or wands is also not something seen very often, as their powers manifest outside of the use or need of such vessels.

What seems to be a balancing force of Entropy has appeared in the manifestation of what the Alphatians term the Silver Flame: the embodiment of purity, of unblemished spirit. Some speculate that it is the very stuff of souls yet to be made. Whatever the case, it is a wild force, and one must have a strong will to use the powers it grants. There are whispers that the Silver Flame is not so pure as most would think, that it actually serves as some kind of prison for the souls of demons and other wicked beasts... Whether it is or not has been a topic of much debate amongst the orders' cardinals.

The other source of magic comes from clerics, and is fuelled both by their strength of purpose and the favour of their Immortal patrons. Some would term such manifestations as "miracles" or "blessings."

Magic manifesting as it does with Silva's bracers is something unheard of in the present day -- it involves no weaving, no invocation, simply springing into being from one or the other of the stones. As demons have been known to possess such mundane items such as swords, armour, or adornments, it is no wonder that some would view Silva as a witch, in traffic with any number of demonic entities.